Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne became the fourth different driver to win the Formula E championship. The Frenchman rose from last on the grid to finish fifth in the opening round of this weekend’s double-header in New York. After winning the title, he dedicated it to friend and compatriot, the late Jules Bianchi.
Vergne overtook championship rival Sam Bird on his way through the field. The and teammate Andre Lotterer started at the back due to a technical infringement in qualifying. Fortunately for him, Bird started four places ahead of his rival in 14th, having had a poor qualifying himself. The Englishman could only manage ninth place in a race where his DS Virgin car was off the pace.
Vergne joins the likes of ex F1 drivers Nelson Piquet Jnr, Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi.
“I need more time to process it,” said Vergne. “All I know is that it’s a good feeling.
“I guess still having the race tomorrow – I cannot completely relax. I can’t go crazy tonight, so on the Sunday night when everything will be over I will be able to enjoy it to the full extent. I have waited the whole season for this.”
Vergne’s road to the top five was helped along by team mate Lotterer and the memory of Bianchi.
“When I crossed the line I honestly didn’t know I had won. My engineer told me, ‘I guess we’ve done it,’, so I said, ‘what do you mean?’ Then Lotterer went past me and clapped, so I knew something was up.
“When I found out I was speechless. I enjoyed the race, but obviously, it was very tough. Some drivers were quite hard and over-consumed energy to try and not let me by. It was actually really complicated, a real fight unlike in Zurich – today, the drivers were tougher.”
Meanwhile, outgoing champion di Grassi claimed his second victory in a row on Saturday.