Robin Frijns rounded out the season in style with victory in New York for Envision Virgin Racing, as Jean-Eric Vergne pulled his way up into the points to clinch the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
Starting from the pole, BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alex Sims led the way at the start of of Sunday’s New York ABB Formula E finale on the Brooklyn street circuit, chased by Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns and Nissan e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi, the Saturday race winner.
Starting back in 12th after a disastrous Saturday race, DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne made it through the first few laps unscathed, closely shadowing his main opponent Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) through the early laps.
With 40 minutes left on the clock, Geox Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez stopped on course in the exit of Turn 7 owing to damage sustained from a collision with DS Techeeath’s Andre Lotterer. The BMW i8 Safety Car was deployed while Lopez’s car was retrieved; Lotterer returned to the pits and retired from the race.
On the restart, all the drivers cycled through the Attack Mode Activation Zone, receiving an extra 25kW of power for four minutes. This time, there was little effect on the race order.
With 25 minutes remaining, title challengers di Grassi and Vergne had moved up to ninth and 10th respectively. Both in the points, only a win would secure the title for di Grassi; Vergne, meanwhile, needed just eight points.
With 20 minutes remaining, Frijns challenged Sims for the lead, finally forcing the Englishman wide in Turn 1 and relegating him to second. Further back, in a bid to better his position, di Grassi passed HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne on the inside of Turn 1 to take eighth, then charged past Nissan e.dams rookie Oliver Rowland to move up to seventh.
Vergne held a steady 10th, though he seized an opportunity to pass Vandoorne and move into ninth just before the end.
As the checkered flag waved, Frijns led from Sims and Buemi, while Vergne safely brought home the title win finishing seventh, moving up two positions on the last lap as di Grassi and Evans collided in Turn 11, taking both drivers out of the running with just meters to go.
Drained, Vergne lifted his hand and saluted the crowds as he crossed the line in an historic back-to-back title win.