In what turned out to be the hottest race in the Formula E history, Mahindra Racing grabbed their third consecutive podium finish of the season at the Santiago e-Prix. DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird took his first win of the season, followed by Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein while the title defender Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s driver Daniel Abt finished third.
With the temperature soaring beyond 40 degrees, the drivers had to be careful not to let their batteries overheat. Mahindra Racing’s Pascal showed excellent performance right from the practice schedule, setting the second fastest time in the first practice and a fifth fastest in the second session. Starting on the grid alongside Sebastien Buemi were Pascal, Daniel and Sam battling it out for the top spot while the rest of the racers struggled to compete with them.
Buemi and Bird opted for an early attack mode at Lap 6 and 11, leaving Pascal at the third position. Racing under pressure from Sam, Buemi crashed out in Lap 22, promoting Bird to the first place while Pascal rose up to second. He remained close to Sam through the race with Daniel at the third spot. Pascal even used the attack mode as the race was nearing conclusion, but the extra 25kW could not help him as he had to slow down owing to high battery temperatures. Pascal scored 18 points and was 6.4 seconds behind Sam Bird in what turned out to be an exhilarating race.
Speaking on how the temperature affected the performance, Pascal said, “At the end we were not limited by energy but by temperature. I had a lot of energy left in the car which I’d have liked to have used but we couldn’t [because of team orders]. If they hadn’t come through, I’d have gone like hell.”
After his win at the Marrakesh e-Prix Jerome d’Ambrosio had a tough race at Santiago. Starting out in the tenth row at the 20th place, Jerome raced well and ended the race at the eighth position. However, after being handed a five-second penalty for speeding during FCY (full course yellow), his position dropped down to tenth.
Sam Bird currently tops the overall leaderboard, followed by Jerome d’Ambrosio in second place in the fifth season of the FIA ABB Formula E. The next race is the Mexico City E-Prix to be held on February 16.