Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing) came out on top after a thrilling late scrap to win the inaugural Rome E-Prix. The Briton was chased home by Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) and André Lotterer (Techeetah).
Bird collected his seventh Formula-E victory after taking control when pole-winner Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing) parked up with rear suspension damage on Lap 22. The Virgin DS driver then shrugged off late pressure from a charging pack formed by defending champion di Grassi, Lotterer, Daniel Abt (Audi Sport), Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) and Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams).
Evans and Buemi were unable to challenge for a top-three finish because of dwindling energy reserves, but di Grassi did his utmost to clinch his first success of Season 4. Bird held firm, though, to win by nine-tenths of a second.
Abt combined fourth place with the day’s fastest race lap, while Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah) rounded out the top five after fighting back following a tangle at the start with Alex Lynn. The Frenchman continues to top the provisional Drivers’ standings.
The relatively hilly circuit (2.860km) in Rome’s EUR district proved extremely technical. A multi-car shunt on Lap 16 saw the front-runners take advantage of the ensuing full-course yellow period to perform their car swaps, although Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Dragon) stayed out for two extra laps which enabled him to finish seventh, ahead of Maro Engel (Venturi Formula E Team)