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Vergne Leads Historic Techeetah 1-2 in Dramatic Santiago E-Prix

Jean-Eric Vergne wins inaugural Santiago E-Prix as Techeetah scores series’ first 1-2 finish…

Photo: Formula E

Jean-Eric Vergne took victory in the inaugural Santiago E-Prix on Saturday afternoon after an action-packed race netted a historic 1-2 finish for Techeetah.

The Chinese team claimed the first ever 1-2 finish in ABB FIA Formula E Championship history as Vergne led home teammate Andre Lotterer after leading all but one of the 37 laps.

Lotterer hounded Vergne all the way until the checkered flag and the pair made contact several times, but the result means that the Frenchman and Techeetah now lead both the drivers’ and teams’ standings.

Vergne started the race from pole position and led from green ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr. who made a strong start off the line from fifth place on the grid.

Jose Maria Lopez hit the tire wall at Turn 4 in an attempt to make a move on Sam Bird while the first safety car of the season was deployed after Maro Engel also ended up in the wall in a similar collision.

The safety car stayed out for four laps before the race went green again.

Vergne initially managed to open up a gap as the race restarted and Piquet fought back but the Techeetah Renault Z.E 17 was again able to stretch a four-second gap during the pit stops.

Vergne emerged from the pits in the lead after a faultless stop but he also lost his radio communication and Lotterer soon caught him.

A brief battle ensued and contact was made with five laps to go.

The Techeetah cars both survived the incident but third-placed Buemi, who had passed Piquet for third, caught up to the leading pair.

Buemi was closely followed by a hard-charging Felix Rosenqvist and Bird but was able to hold them off after a thrilling finish in which the top seven finishers were covered by just seven seconds.

Behind Buemi, Rosenqvist and Bird came a frustrated Piquet who lost time after locking up while attempting to regain a position on Buemi.

Mitch Evans took a remarkable seventh position after not only starting from the very back of the grid but also serving a ten-second penalty for an inverter change before the race.

Jerome d’Ambrosio scored his first points of the season in eighth while Antonio Felix da Costa and Nico Prost rounded out the top ten.

There was more dejection for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team as it registered a rare double non-finish.

Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt both suffered technical issues and were out of the race just after the halfway stage.

RESULTS: Santiago E-Prix

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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