Alexander Sims claimed his maiden ABB FIA Formula E Championship victory by leading home a BMW one-two in the second race of the Diriyah E-Prix weekend.
The Englishman won Saturday’s 45-minute contest from pole position while his teammate Maximilian Guenther finished second to notch up his first career podium.
Sims, whose previous best result was second in New York last season, led the entirety of the race but his attempts to build a large advantage at the head of the field were thwarted by two Safety Car periods.
These were caused by a clash between Race 1 winner Sam Bird and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and then a solo accident for Bird’s Envision Virgin teammate Robin Frijns.
This second interruption left a 10-minute sprint to the line with Sims leading at the restart from Audi’s Lucas di Grassi, Guenther and Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
Sims successfully managed to preserve his energy allocation to win by 1.383 seconds while Guenther resisted the advances of di Grassi, who unlike the BMWs had an Attack Mode boost in hand, to secure the 1-2 result.
Vandoorne rose from 11th on the grid to finish fourth for the new Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team while Edoardo Mortara completed the top five for ROKiT Veturi Racing.
Antonio Felix da Costa featured at the head of the field in the early stages but the Portuguese driver ultimately finished 13th, two places behind his DS Techeetah teammate Jean-Eric Vergne who started from the back of the grid.
Da Costa started fourth but overtook di Grassi for third eight minutes into the race.
Last year’s Diriyah winner then moved up to second after 12 minutes when he tagged Sebastien Buemi’s Nissan e.dams machine into a spin at the Turn 18 right-hander.
This action resulted in a drive-through penalty for da Costa, while Buemi was handed an additional 10 seconds to his race time for rejoining the track unsafely.
The Swiss racer was therefore classified down in 14th.
Da Costa’s drive-through and Buemi’s spin promoted di Grassi to second behind Sims, while Guenther’s terrific restart after the first Safety Car put him third on the road when Frijns hit the wall to cause the second stoppage.
When di Grassi took his second and final Attack Mode boost by going off-line at Turn 19, Guenther slipped through to take a second place he would hold until the flag.
Di Grassi’s Audi teammate Daniel Abt received a drive-through penalty for a throttle map infringement, but the German recovered to finish ninth and in the points.
Abt finished behind Oliver Turvey (NIO 333) in eighth, Nyck de Vries (Mercedes) in seventh and Oliver Rowland (Nissan) in sixth down the road from Mortara and the rest of the top five.
The top ten was completed by Jaguar’s James Calado, who earned his first Formula E points in only his second race.
However, Jaguar was forced to pits its driver car driven by Evans following its contact with Bird’s Envision Virgin car in the most controversial moment of the race.
Evans and Bird both got a run on di Grassi heading into the twisty back section of the Diriyah circuit with 17 minutes completed but the Audi driver, who himself was challenging da Costa, managed to keep his position.
Evans then got up alongside Bird heading under the bridge which led to contact when the pair tried to negotiate the following right-hand kink.
Bird slowed after the touch and was then clattered by Pascal Wehrlein’s Mahindra through the next corner.
Mahindra endured a difficult afternoon as its lead car, which was qualified on the second row by Jerome d’Ambrosio, failed to set off from the pre-grid.
Another driver to hit trouble during the starting procedure was Venturi’s Felipe Massa who was given a drive-through for being out of place on the grid lineup.
RESULTS: Diriyah Race 2