French racing driver Jean-Éric Vergne has brought home the Andretti Formula-E Team’s third FIA Formula-E Championship trophy today with a second-place finish and his fourth successive FanBoost gain.
Friday shakedown was resumed for the sixth round of the all-electric racing series which took place at the iconic road racing location of Long Beach, California. Modified for the Formula E event, the 2.1-km track featured seven turns and utilised the IndyCar start/finish line adjacent to the Marina before heading off in a clockwise direction past the Rainbow Lagoon. The track then turned right onto South Pine Avenue before re-joining with the more familiar track configuration. The cars then passed around the grounds of the Convention Centre before a final right-hand hairpin brought them back across the start/finish line to complete the lap.
During free practice on Saturday morning JEV hit the wall at Turn 7 damaging one of his No. 27 Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars severely. The team worked relentlessly to ensure it would be ready for the race, working through Qualifying and up to the wire for lining up on the grid for the start at 4:00 p.m. PST.
Both JEV and Scott took part in the first of the four qualifying sessions at noon local time and were quick to set the first and second-fastest lap times of two early groups. However, as track conditions improved, they were overtaken, but their times remained good enough to secure P5 and P6 respectively for the start of the ePrix.
With his fourth consecutive FanBoost, JEV lined up on the third row of the Long Beach ePrix grid alongside teammate Scott Speed. The California native unfortunately crashed out on Lap Two at the Turns 1/2 chicane, but JEV produced a blistering first stint, utilising FanBoost as soon as the safety car went in, overtaking Nico Prost for third. On Lap 22 of the 39-lap race the Frenchman was running P2 just before he came in for his mandatory pitstop.
A superb car-change meant that JEV was able to rejoin the race in second placed podium position where he remained behind Nelson Piquet Jr. until the chequered flag.
Roger Griffiths, Team Principal, Andretti Formula-E Team: “I’m very happy for Jean-Éric Vergne finishing with a second-place finish for the team. I believe it’s been four years since he last stood on the podium and it was great recovering from the FP2 incident - the guys worked extremely hard to get the car ready to race. Unfortunately, Scott was unable to repeat his Miami success as he crashed out. Prior to this he’d shown good pace in both the practice and qualifying sessions, and we’d been confident of another good result.
JEV’s podium further strengthens our position in the Team Championship and we are closing fast on third place. We saw a fabulous day here in southern California – the crowd was large and very enthusiastic, so we look forward to hopefully returning here with Formula E.”
Jean-Éric Vergne, No. 27 Spark-Renault SRT_01E
• Former Formula One driver clinched the FanBoost vote for the fourth-consecutive race
• 24-year-old qualified in the fifth position and with skillful use of FanBoost, stormed to the chequered flag in P2
“I am really pleased, first of all, to finish the race and be up on the podium. Second place starting from fifth position is a really good result and I want to thank the team for the work they’ve done because I damaged the car quite badly in practice, and they worked really hard to fix it. I am really pleased to give the boys this podium. The speed of the car has been good this weekend; qualifying was probably not as good as it could have been, but nevertheless, it was a really good day overall. I think it has put us in a strong position for Monaco and winning the race there will be the target and push for the team championship.”
Scott Speed, No. 28 Spark-Renault SRT_01E
• Only American driver racing at the inaugural Long Beach FIA Formula E event.
• California native started the race in the sixth grid position but suffered his first DNF after a crash on Lap Two.
"We had a really good run up to the race - it’s a shame we got the kerb. We still don’t know what happened, it wasn’t like I was attacking - I was just kinda cruising. For whatever reason, maybe I hit it in a weird spot and it just took the front end off the ground and straight in to the wall. So there it is.”
The American team remains fourth in the FIA Formula E Team Championship with 80 points. The seventh round of competition takes place in Monaco, Principality of Monte Carlo, on May 9, 2015.