RED HOOK, NY – Sam Bird battled from fourth place on the grid to become the first driver in motorsport history to win a race in New York City as Formula E hit the streets of Red Hook, Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.
Bird managed to rise through to the lead of the race in the first half of the race after completing passes on Jean-Eric Vergne, pole-sitter Alex Lynn and Daniel Abt, the latter being his final victim on Lap 15.
Bird enjoyed a comfortable lead of around three seconds prior to the car swaps, only for Vergne to go on a charge and reduce the gap to just one second heading into the closing stages of the race.
A late safety car bunched the field and gave Vergne another chance to reel Bird in, only for the DS Virgin Racing driver to perfect his restart and ease home for his fourth Formula E victory.
Vergne took second ahead of Techeetah teammate Stephane Sarrazin, who charged from 11th on the grid to score his maiden Formula E podium.
With championship leader Sebastien Buemi absent due to his LMP1 commitments with Toyota at the Nürburgring, Lucas di Grassi was able to reduce the gap at the head of the standings to just 20 points after finishing fourth for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport.
Title race outsider Felix Rosenqvist saw his dim hopes of a run to the championship fade when he spun out from fifth place in a bid to keep di Grassi back, damaging his Mahindra and eventually crossing the line 15th.
Loic Duval finished fifth for Faraday Future Dragon Racing ahead of NextEV NIO’s Oliver Turvey, while Red Bull Formula 1 junior Pierre Gasly enjoyed a solid run from 19th on the grid to P7 on his Formula E debut, standing in for Buemi at Renault e.dams.
Nicolas Prost took eighth place in the sister Renault ahead of MS Amlin Andretti’s Robin Frijns, while Adam Carroll completed the points for Jaguar in 10th.
Formula E hits the streets of New York once again on Sunday for the third-to-last round of the season.