Starting at the back of the grid after a hard qualifying session, which saw him blocked in sector three, the Jean-Eric Vergne made up ground on those ahead of him and headed into the halfway stage of the race having made up five places. After successfully winning the Fanboost vote, the 25-year old Frenchman was able to use the extra 100KJ of power gained, following the changeover, to overtake Stephane Sarrazin on lap 26 and set his sights on Nelson Piquet Jr. who was in eighth place.
A scintillating battle developed over the final half a dozen laps as Vergne went wheel-to-wheel with Piquet Jr., before forcing a mistake to overtake on the penultimate lap. With Daniel Abt now in his sights, Vergne and his DSV-01 made up another position on the final lap to secure his first points finish with DS Virgin Racing.
Earlier in the race, having started from third on the grid, Sam Bird was looking like he would again be a contender for a strong points finish, quickly overtaking Loic Duval going into the first corner. A battery issue however after the changeover on lap 19 saw his race cut short.
Like Vergne, the Briton also won Fanboost – the second time in three races this season and the first time in Formula E that both DS Virgin Racing drivers have been rewarded with the extra fan power.
Speaking about his race, Vergne said, “I’m really pleased with my race and don’t think it could have gone much better after starting at the back of the grid. I drove hard and had a lot of fun with what was in front of me. It was a great effort from the team. I’d also like to say a special thank you to all the fans that helped me win Fanboost, which made a real difference during the race.”
Bird was also positive about his performance and said, “In the first half of the race, things felt really good and it was going really well. We showed a good turn of pace and I think there’s lots of positive signs to suggest that we can be challenging again in Buenos Aires. Like in Malaysia, I must give a lot of credit to the team, who put in a huge amount of work to repair the car between free practice one and the race after I hit the wall.”
The team now head straight into a day of testing in Punta, before moving on to Buenos Aires for Round Four of the FIA Formula E Championship on February 6, 2016.