Spectacular fightbacks, fiercely-contested racing and a host of popular attractions combined to create a fantastic atmosphere at this Saturday’s Putrajaya ePrix. The second ever race in the history of the FIA Formula E Championship served to confirm the growing enthusiasm for the new racing category. In the heart of the “World’s First Intelligent Garden City”, the 20 Spark-Renault SRT01_E drivers once again put on a very high quality sporting spectacle.
Following the success of the inaugural round of the FIA Formula E Championship in Beijing in September, all of the teams and partners involved in the new series were looking for further confirmation in Putrajaya.
A key player since the start of the project, the Renault Sport teams had not rested on their laurels since the opening race. Their never-ending search for complete reliability, maximum safety and optimised architecture led them to strengthen the gearbox installation in order to meet the demands of racing on the streets of Malaysia’s administrative centre.
Mission accomplished, as once again the Spark-Renault SRT01_E race cars experienced no technical problems during this, the second ever ePrix. The single-seaters also proved to be robust and safe again, as the drivers who went off the Putrajaya circuit would confirm. The characteristics of the circuit equally enabled the drivers to show off their skills, as fans were treated to a series of closely-contested battles and incredible fightbacks throughout the 31 race laps.
Before the start, the enthusiastic crowd was thrilled by a brand-new electric vehicle on-track demo, showcasing the performances of the Renault ZE range. Many spectators also took the opportunity to test drive the brand’s flagship models, Zoé and Twizy, in the eVillage during the day.
In a dramatic, incident-packed day, Nicolas Prost (e.dams Renault) relinquished pole position to Oriol Servia (Dragon Racing), following the penalty he was given in Beijing. On lap five, Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) got past the Catalan and held the lead until he came into the pits to change cars. Third in Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2012, the British driver retook the lead four laps from the end when he overtook Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT), who was on a different strategy. He went on to secure the win, ahead of Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) and Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault), both of whom had fought their way through the field from the back of the grid.
The Brazilian continues to lead the championship standings going into the next round at Punta del Este, in Uruguay, on December 13.
Kuan Kim Luen, CEO of TC Euro Cars, Renault’s sole franchise holder for Malaysia: “Electric vehicles are set to play a key role in Renault’s development in Malaysia. What we saw today makes us proud and gives us a lot of confidence for the future. Not only did we witness a very exciting race but there was also a great performance from the two e.dams-Renault cars, which finished third and fourth! Renault, which is involved in a major EV car sharing programme, was also here with a fleet of Zoé and Twizy cars for members of the public to try out in test sessions, not forgetting the Renault Electric Show. It was without doubt a fantastic day for Renault, both on and off the track!”
1. Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) 31 laps
2. Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) +4.175
3. Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault) +5.739
4. Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) +9.552
5. Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) +13.722
6. Karun Chandhok (Mahindra Racing) +17.158
7. Oriol Servia (Dragon Racing) +18.621
8. Antonio Félix de Costa (Amlin Aguri) +19.926
9. Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin Racing) +20.053
10. Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT) +45.663
Fastest lap: Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin Racing) 1:24.429
1. Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT), 43 points
2. Sam Bird (Virgin Racing), 40
3. Franck Montagny (Andretti), 18
4. Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault), 18
5. Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing), 18
6. Karun Chandhok (Mahindra Racing), 18
7. Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault), 15
8. Charles Pic (Andretti), 12
9. Oriol Servia (Dragon Racing), 12
10. Nelson Piquet Jr (China Racing), 4
1. Audi Sport ABT, 45 points
2. Virgin Racing, 44
3. e.dams-Renault, 33
4. Andretti, 30
5. Dragon Racing, 30
6. Mahindra Racing, 18
7. Amlin Aguri, 6
8. China Racing, 4
9. Venturi, 2
10. Trulli, 0