Vergne claims first Formula E race in India


Jean-Eric Vergne claimed victory in the first Formula E race held in India at Hyderabad

Jean-Eric Vergne has secured victory in the inaugural Formula E World Championship race held in India.

Vergne took the chequered flag in the Hyderabad ePrix ahead of New Zealander Nick Cassidy, with Antonio Felix da Costa elevated to third, after a post-race penalty for former Formula 1 driver Sebastien Buemi.

After qualifying second, the DS Penske driver passed Buemi at the hairpin for the lead on Lap 15, remaining unheaded from thereon to claim his first victory in Formula E since Italy in 2021.

“I’m very, very happy. It was a tough race,” the Frenchman reflected.

“I had to defend quite hard at the end but we somehow managed to win it, it was a clean race, no mistakes.

“Very happy with the win – it’s good for everyone’s heart in our team.

“For the first few races it’s good to boost it with a good race like that so couldn’t be happier.

“I like new tracks – I think it’s cool, especially this one, it’s a lot of fun.
“When there are a lot of little secrets to find on the track, I probably find them quickly enough.”

Polesitter Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) made a great start, leading the way from Vergne, Buemi, Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan), Maximilian Gunther (Maserati MSG Racing), Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing), Edoardo Mortara (Maserati MSG Racing), Rene Rast (McLaren Formula E Team), Cassidy, and Oliver Rowland (Mahindra Racing).

Beginning his charge to the podium, Cassidy had improved from ninth to sixth by Lap 5, as his fellow Kiwi remained at the head of the field.

Evans managed to hold onto the lead until Lap 7, when Buemi made his way past the New Zealander and Vergne at the hairpin for the race lead.

Vergne overcame Evans for second on Lap 10 via the Attack Mode loop, while Cassidy continued his charge forward with a move on McLaren steerer Rene Rast on Lap 12.

A pivotal moment in the race arrived the following lap, when Bird collided with team-mate Evans, while challenging Fenestraz for fourth – ending the race for both Jaguar TCS Racing entries.

At the head of the field, Vergne made his race-deciding pass on Lap 15, as Cassidy and Avalanche Andretti Formula E pilot Jake Dennis moved up to second and third respectively by Lap 17.

The Safety Car came out on Lap 23, after McLaren pilot Jake Hughes found himself in the wall at the hairpin.

The race resumed on Lap 27, with Vergne leading from Cassidy and Buemi, as fourth-placed Dennis and fifth-placed Rast collided, with Rowland moving up to P4.

The Brit attempted a pass on Buemi for third on Lap 30, however the Swiss held him off, with da Costa benefitting from the scenario to displace Rowland to fifth.

Vergne held on to take his second Formula E victory 0.400s ahead of Cassidy, with da Costa elevated to the podium post-race.

Formula E will next head to Cape Town, South Africa for Round 5 of the 2022-23 season on February 25.

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