Vergne wins as race ends behind Safety Car

Jean Eric Vergne won a frantic Rome E-Prix after a titanic battle with Lucas Di Grassi. Di Grassi’s race ended with the Brazilian’s car breaking down in the final seven minutes of the race.

The slowing Audi meant all the cars behind had to take evading action, including the Mercedes of Stoffel Vandoorne, who clipped a manhole cover and spectacularly crashed out of the race, taking out his teammate and former championship leader Nyck De Vries in the process.

Vandoorne had started from pole, while the race started behind the safety car, however 6 corners after the safety car, the front row men of Vandoorne and Andre Lotterer came together gifting the lead of the race to Nissan’s Oliver Rowland. Lotterer was given a five second penalty for the incident, which dropped him out of the points.

Rowland was then issued a drive through penalty for power overuse, meaning the car had spiked over the allotted 200kw of energy, meaning that Di Grassi became the fourth different leader in as many laps.

Di Grassi and Vergne then entered a race long titanic battle for the lead, which was joined at points by De Vries, Robin Frijns and Sam Bird.

The strategic element of Attack Mode was vital and we saw take it one after another Vergne taking his Attack Mode caused him to drop to P8, but cycled back up to the front when others had taken their 35kw power boost.

Late on in the race, the Jaguars came to life with Bird and teammate Mitch Evans, closing in and then passing the two Mercedes, and when Di Grassi started to slow, the two Jaguars inherited the two lower podium places as the race came to its conclusion.

Behind Vergne, Bird and Evans were Frijns and Sebastien Buemi. Rene Rast came home sixth salvaging some points for Audi, Pascal Wehrlein ended seventh and Alex Lynn in eighth.

Max Guenther took his and BMWi Andretti’s first points of the year, and Nick Cassidy took his first point of his Formula E career in tenth.

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