Defending champion Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah/Michelin) claimed his first win of the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E Championship at Round 6 in Sanya, China. Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams/Michelin) and Antonio Felix da Costa (BMW I Andretti Motorsport/Michelin) were second and third.
In contrast to rainy Hong Kong, the Sanya E-Prix took place in stifling tropical heat as ground temperatures soared to more than 40°C on China’s southern coast, with humidity standing at 90 percent.
To prevent the track from cutting up in the heat as we saw in Santiago, Chile, the organisers took the precaution of resurfacing certain turns of the new circuit where the all-electric cars exceeded 200kph in two places.
The Michelin Pilot Sport rose to the challenge in style and its acclaimed longevity even helped Vergne to post the fastest race lap on his 36
The afternoon’s numerous victims included championship leader Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing) and Stofel Vandoorne (HWA RACELAB) who collided on Lap 2. Only 14 of the 22 starters made it to the finish line.
After qualifying on pole position for the first time, Rowland led until he was passed by Vergne on Lap 20. Meanwhile, da Costa and Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) were locked in a fierce battle for third place when the red flag was brandished two laps later after Alexander Sims (BMW I Andretti Motorsports) crashed into a wall.
Action resumed with 12 minutes remaining and the top five drivers immediately triggered their Attack Modes. Vergne held firm, however, to secure his first Formula E victory since last July’s New York E-Prix.
André Lotterer (DS Techeetah) found a way past Abt (5
The 2018/2019 FIA Formula E Championship will reconvene on April 13 for the season’s first European fixture in Rome, Italy.
Sanya E-Prix – final positions:
1. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah), 36 laps
2. Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams), +1.762s
3. Antonio Felix da Costa (BMW I Andretti Motorsport), +3.268s
4. André Lotterer (DS Techeetah), +4.631s
5. Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler), +5.972s
6. Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams), +9.405s
7. Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Mahindra Racing), +17.340s
8. Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing), +18.367s
9. Mitch Evans (Panasonic Jaguar Racing), +20.646s