Wednesday, 14 January 2015

da Costa prevails in thrilling Buenos Aires ePrix

Antonio Felix da Costa took his first Formula E win in dramatic fashion last weekend in Argentina as other front runners fell by the wayside.

After a rather straightforward first half, the race came alive after suspension failure on Karun Chandhok's Mahindra entry at turn 10 brought out a safety car, causing confusion throughout the field.

Race leaders, e.Dams Renault's Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi of Audi Sport Abt would also fall victim to turn ten when the race resumed, handing the lead to Nick Heidfeld on lap 27.

The German finally looked set to make up for the upset in Beijing and take his first Formula E victory. Putrajaya ePrix winner Sam Bird ran in second but would have to ceed that position due to a drive-through penalty for ignoring pit exit lights.

More drama was to follow though with  Heidfeld also being handed a drive-throughpenalty six laps later for speeding in the pitlane.

As a result of Heidfeld's penalty, the race had yet another leader in Antonio Felix da Costa with one lap to go. - With a close scrap for second and third developing behind him, his lead looked safe as the race approached it's conclusion.

Jaime Alguersuari, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Abt and Nicolas Prost were fighting for the remaining top-three positions on the penultimate lap but a lock up from Abt took both Alguersuari and himself out of podium contention.

Going onto the final lap, Prost made a move on Vergne for second at the first turn, forcing his compatriot to make a mistake and lock up his brakes. That allowed the e.Dams Renault driver to move into second. Nelson Piquet Jr. meanwhile got past the now slow-moving Vergne and then Alguersuari, who was suffering from his collision with Abt a lap earlier to move up to third, despite believing he was a lap down.

da Costa was never to be challenged for the race victory and went on to scoop both his and Amlin Aguri's first Formula E win.

Nicolas Prost took second - his first podium of the seson despite leading more laps than any other driver prior to this race - while a surprised Piquet Jr. took third for Team China.

Jaime Alguersuari managed to hold on to fourth while Jean-Eric Vergne was relegated to sixth after a late-race move from Bruno Senna saw him complete the top five.

Sam Bird Rallied back to seventh after his penalty while da Costa's Aguri team mate finished eight on the road, before being excluded from the race for using too much power. That saw Nick Heidfeld move up to eighth with Dragon Racing's Oriol Servia and Stephane Sarrazin of Venturi complete the top ten.

Making his debut in place of the suspended Franck Montagny, Marco Andretti was classified 12th. He looks set to continue to race in Formula E for Andretti Autosport as the series moves on to back-to-back races in the United States next.

The Series will visit Miami next on march 14 before heading to the legendary long Beach Street Circuit on April 4.



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