Vergne defends FIA Formula E drivers’ championship title

Frijns wins last round of the season with DS Techeetah securing team title

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By Olivier Ferret

15 July 2019 - 01:17
Vergne defends FIA Formula E drivers’

Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne is the first driver in the history of the ABB FIA Formula E championship to defend his title. After winning the crown in the previous year, a seventh place in the last race of the season is enough for him to clinch the title again. His DS TECHEETAH team outscore the opposition and take home the teams’ title. Robin Frijns rounded out the season in style with a victory in New York for Envision Virgin Racing, his second win of the season.

Entering the final E-Prix of the season, Vergne still held a sizable advantage in the points table and only needed to avoid a non-scoring finish to put himself in prime position to pick-up the prize. After again struggling in the first group of qualifying, the Frenchman found himself down in 12th on the grid and looking to gain places during the race. However, he wasn’t the only championship contender eager to make a move forwards, with both Lucas di Grassi and Mitch Evans failing to make it to the super pole shoot-out.

Despite Sebastien Buemi’s best efforts, his championship chances were cut short after being beaten to pole position by Alexander Sims - missing out on the three precious points on offer. Vergne kept di Grassi and Evans in his vision and calmly controlled his championship destiny by negotiating his way to ninth nearing the end of the race. Although it was settled shortly before the finish and quickly became a formality as di Grassi and Evans came to blows and ended in the barriers only four corners from the chequered flag.

Taking two places on the final lap, Vergne vaulted further up the field to seventh and crossed the line to confirm his place in the history books as the first double champion and the first driver to defend his title.

Frijns fended off Sims and Buemi to finish in the points for the first time since winning on the streets of Paris back in April. The result moves Frijns to fourth in the standings and marks Sims first podium finish in Formula E.

With the last event of the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E championship the most unpredictable, most competitive season so far comes to an end. Formula E now starts the countdown for season six, with the first race scheduled in Ad Diriyah, Saudia Arabia on November 22.

Quotes:

Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing

“Seb caught me at the start and despite being behind him, I felt very strong from the start - I felt I had a better pace than him. I think that the only opportunity I had to overcome Buemi was when I was in ATTACK MODE and he wasn’t, so I took a shot which was clean, hard but very good from both sides. I’m happy this season is over and I could wrap it up on a high note so that we can prepare better for the next one.”

Alexander Sims, BMW i Andretti Motorsport

“I certainly had a couple of other opportunities throughout this season where it seemed like it was going to be possible to be on the podium but in the end it didn’t happen for whatever reason. If before this weekend you’d have told me I would’ve been first, a second place and pole I’d have bitten your arm off, so very pleased with that!”

Sebastien Buemi, Nissan e.dams

“It’s been a very difficult season for us as we had loads of issues in the end, for this reason finishing second in the championship is something I would have hardly dreamt of. I’ve just told Robin that him puncturing my tyre in Paris cost me the title, I was only seventeen points behind, leading the race! It’s motorsport and these things happen, but I’m just happy for my team as it’s been a tough season.”

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH

“I couldn’t be prouder of my team. Last year we did an amazing job being a private team with no test days, with very little resource. This year, DS brought in more and of course, it took time to successfully work as a team but in the end we did a great job and I’m so proud of them. This will boost the confidence of the team for the upcoming season and I strongly believe I’m in the best Formula E team and we’ll keep working hard to make it stay this way.”

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