Daniel Abt became the first ever German winner of a Formula E race, as he took the chequered flag following a dramatic fifth E-Prix of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Mexico City.
Abt’s victory provides redemption for the second E-Prix of the season in Hong Kong, when the Audi driver thought he had secured his first ever race win on his 25th birthday, only to be later disqualified due to a technical breach on his car.
But things went to plan for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler this time around, as Abt won ahead of NIO driver Oliver Turvey and Renault’s Sebastian Buemi. The result gave Briton Turvey his first ever podium finish in Formula E and a third-consecutive top-three finish for Swiss driver Buemi.
The race also saw struggling champion Lucas di Grassi gain his first point of the Formula E season, having delivered a stunning drive to finish ninth, having started the race at the very back of the grid.
In one of just two traditional track races on the Formula E calendar, the 20 drivers raced 47 laps of an adapted 2.093-kilometre circuit at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez and contented with altitude of over 2,200 metres above sea level.
With all proceeds from the race being donated to post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Mexico City, and all teams sporting the hashtag #FuerzaMexico on their cars’ livery, there was a special atmosphere in the packed grandstands.
Both Rosenqvist and Turvey got off to excellent starts from the front row, while third-placed Antonio Felix da Costa quickly fell back to seventh place as both Nelson Piquet JR and Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne took advantage.
Leading the race by over two seconds, the race looked to be a procession for Rosenqvist, until his car came to a sudden halt after 15 laps, as the entire grid overtook him. He was forced to stop again three laps later and lost ground in the championship race with a 19th place finish.
Abt began in fifth and quietly worked his way up the field until a mistake from Buemi allowed the young German to slip into second place and he quickly closed the gap between him and race-leader Turvey.
And at the pit stop Turvey was held up by Nico Prost which allowed Abt to come out in front and take the lead which the 25-year-old never relented.
Buemi used his FANBOOST to overtake Vergne on lap 28 to move back into third place and soon was closing down Turvey. The Swiss racer tried an audacious overtake on the penultimate lap but locked up, as did Turvey in a slightly panicked response, but that was the final test as the Englishman held on to second place.
Despite finishing off the podium, it was a good day for Vergne, who continues to lead the Drivers’ Championship, as both second placed Rosenqvist and third placed Sam Bird failed to score points. Sebastian Buemi also moves closer to contention, lying in fourth place and just nine points behind DS Virgin Racing’s Bird.
The race also ended on an unlucky run of results for di Grassi, as he raced brilliantly to move from 20th to ninth and also drove the fastest lap to gain an extra point and keep slim hopes of retaining his title alive.
But the day belonged to Abt, who’s victory has throwing the title race wide open ahead of the Punta del Este E-Prix in two weeks’ time.