DS Virgin Racing clinched a double victory this weekend in the New York City ePrix.
With reserve driver and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson watching on from the garage on Saturday, Sam Bird clinched victory in front of a sell-out crowd in Brooklyn after lining up in fourth position on the grid. He quickly moved up the field making a great pass up the inside of the hairpin to take the lead from Daniel Abt. He maintained that lead for the rest of the race, pulling off the perfect restart for the two-lap dash to the line after a brief safety car period.
Fellow British driver Alex Lynn had a bittersweet start to his Formula E career. Competing for the first time in the championship in place of Jose Maria Lopez, the 23-year-old topped the timesheets in practice and then went on to claim pole position. However, he was unable to capitalise on his strong start after a mechanical issue forced him to retire three-quarters of the way through the race.
Sunday’s race saw another difficult one for Lynn and his time on track was cut short due to an electrical issue.
Bird, however, secured an incredible win from pole position, rounding off an amazing weekend for the team. After losing out on the first corner to Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist, Bird utilised the full course yellow (Formula E's 'virtual safety car' that forces drivers to slow to 50km/hour and prevents overtaking) during lap nine to pull off the same hairpin pass as the day before to take the lead once more. After a neat pitstop, Bird returned out in front and from the on it was a case of managing the gap and his car’s energy – both of which he did faultlessly to cross the line with an 11-second margin.
“I’m still in shock!” Bird said after stepping onto the top of the podium for the fifth time in his career with DS Virgin Racing. “What a weekend it’s been and what a car the DS Virgin Racing guys have given me. Being a longer race today I thought it would be hard on energy but we managed it so well. The pitstop was a key point but we timed it well to just get out in front. I’m just delighted for everyone in the team, especially the engineers and mechanics who have worked so hard for this.”
Team Principal Alex Tai added: “It’s been an absolutely fantastic weekend for the team and all our partners. To be the first team to win in New York is incredible but to do it again is unthinkable! Sam and Alex both did an incredible job, as did all the mechanics and engineers, and showed the true potential of the car. Now it’s on to Canada and to end the season on a high.”
The Formula E 2016/17 season concludes in Montreal on July 29th and 30th. Head to the DS Virgin Racing website for all the latest team news.