Vergne: Victory out of reach for DS Virgin Racing in Berlin

© FIA Formula E
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BERLIN, Germany – Jean-Eric Vergne felt content with fifth place in the Berlin ePrix despite starting the race from pole position, deeming that victory was out of reach for DS Virgin Racing on Saturday.

Vergne stormed to his first Formula E pole position in almost a year in qualifying, but lost out to eventual winner Sebastien Buemi in the early stages of the race.

Despite losing the majority of his front wing towards the end of the first stint, Vergne managed to battle his way to fifth place at the flag.

Vergne said that he was pleased with his result given the pace of the Renault e.dams and ABT cars as the title-fighting teams locked out the top four positions in Berlin.

“No it was not a missed opportunity. I think it was a great day,” Vergne told NBC Sports after the race.

“Obviously you start from pole, you want to be winning the race. But Paris to here, the track was more or less the same length, but you had four more laps. With our car, race energy was way too difficult.

“I tried to attack as much as I could today. I was extremely aggressive, even sometimes a bit too much. The two DAMS and the two ABTs were way too quick today.

“There was nothing I could have done to stop them. I tried as much as I could, but I couldn’t do any more. The pace was simply not there compared to those guys today. Maybe if there had been less laps it would have been a different story like in qualifying.”

Vergne said that the whole DS Virgin Racing team was happy with the weekend despite going from first and fourth on the grid to only bring home 10 points after an unplanned pit stop resigned Sam Bird to an 11th-place finish.

“The whole team was really happy with the weekend, especially qualifying,” Vergne said.

“I think we outperformed, so that was amazing, amazing feeling, really nice. P5 is the best we could have done.

“Considering the two teams ahead have two good drivers, I think today in the race they clearly had a better day. I did the job. I tried my max to block them. I was really aggressive in trying to do so.

“Therefore I’m really happy with fifth position. If we had the car to win and we don’t win, clearly we’re going to be disappointed, but today there is no reason to be disappointed.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.