Lucas di Grassi has claimed victory in Saturday’s New York City E-Prix, leading a 1-2 finish for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, while a fifth place result for Jean-Eric Vergne was enough for him to clinch the ABB FIA Formula E Championship title.
Di Grassi held off teammate Daniel Abt following a late-race restart for his second consecutive victory, in another commanding performance from Audi.
Abt took over the lead from pole-sitter Sebastien Buemi on Lap 5 and stretched out an early advantage prior to the mid-race pit stop and car change, which saw the reigning drivers’ champion claw back significant time.
A bold move around the German on Lap 23 put di Grassi out front and en route to a 0.965-second victory in the race, which reverted to a 60-minute timed format due to an accident by Alex Lynn.
Lynn lost control of his DS Virgin DSV-03 before clouting the barriers with 11 laps to go.
While climbing from the car uninjured it essentially dashed any hopes of his teammate Sam Bird from closing the gap to Vergne on track to keep his title hopes alive.
Vergne, who started from the rear of the 19-car field, vaulted to fifth in the end and locked up his first Formula E drivers’ title, one race early.
The manufacturers’ championship, however, has tightened to just five points between leaders Techeetah and Audi following the 1-2 finish by the German manufacturer.
Buemi completed the podium in third for Renault e.dams, followed by Tom Dillmann, subbing for Edouardo Mortara this weekend at Venturi, in fourth.
Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld, Andre Lotterer, who like Vergne also started from the rear due to a technical infringement in qualifying, Maro Engel, Bird and Nicolas Prost completed the top-10.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans, who was on the front row, suffered a suspected driveshaft failure and failed to get off the line at the start.
Teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. also retired following his car change, in a race to forget for the British manufacturer.
Trouble also struck the pair of Dragon entries at the start, when Jerome d’Ambrosio ran into the back of Jose Maria Lopez in Turn 1, resulting in nose and rear wing damage to the cars.
Lopez later pulled off track after completing just 30 laps, as the race’s fourth retirement.
The second round of the Brooklyn doubleheader gets underway Sunday at 3 p.m. EDT.
RESULTS: New York E-Prix (Race 1)