Vergne wins as Audi steals teams’ championship in New York

Vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne ended his season four championship winning year by sealing victory in the second race in New York, but Audi stole the teams’ championship from Techeetah as Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt finished the race second and third. 

The teams’ championship went down to the final lap after Andre Lotterer fought back to ninth place after receiving a ten-second stop-go penalty for jumping the start.

Vergne was also under investigation for the same infraction, but the stewards deemed the Frenchman’s start to be legal.

With Lotterer in ninth, the Techeetah team were praying on Sebastien Buemi in the Renault e. Dams to pass Daniel Abt for third place, but the Swiss driver was unable to do it and finished four with Abt in third.

There was an intense battle for the lead of the race as di Grassi was on the tale of Vergne and was looking to pass the Frenchmen, but the Brazilian played his cards close to his chest as he knew that he didn’t need to pass Vergne for Audi to win the championship.

However, that didn’t stop di Grassi from having ago into Turn 6, and the Audi driver even nudged to the back of Vergne’s car going into the final corner.

In the end, di Grassi was unable to pass Vergne and settled for second and his seventh podium in a row this season. Di Grassi also claimed second in the drivers’ championship ahead of Sam Bird.

Techeetah were in the stronger position for the teams’ championship at the start of the race, but that quickly evaporated when Lotterer jumped the start and Vergne so nearly followed him.

Vergne’s rapid start allowed him to dive down the inside of Buemi to take the lead of the race which he held to the chequered flag.

Lotterer also passed Buemi to move into second place but was later hit with his stop-go penalty which promoted Buemi back to second and di Grassi to third.

The full course yellow was called on lap 8 of 43 after Jose Maria Lopez broke his right-rear suspension and then in a separate incident,  Antonio Felix Da Costa collided with NIO driver Luca Filippi which caused the Italian driver to hit Jerome D’Ambrosio taking them both out of the race.

Da Costa received a ten-second stop and go penalty and three-penalty points on his licence for causing the collision.

After the FCY, di Grassi then passed Buemi for second on lap 12 to move into second, while on the same lap Abt moved up into fourth place by passing Jaguar Racing driver Mitch Evans.

Abt pitted a lap earlier than the front-runners, which put him on the back foot in the second stint, but the young German was able to save a laps worth of energy to match Buemi’s energy levels by the end of the race.

Felix Rosenqvist was able to pass the two Jaguar drivers to finish the race in fifth place, comfortably in front of Evans in sixth and Nelson Piquet Jr in seventh.

Nick Heidfeld also had a strong performance for Mahindra as he finished in eighth. Lotterer finished in ninth with Bird in tenth.

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