Formula E Hyderabad e-Prix: The DS Penske team's two-time champion Jean-Eric Vergne kept his cool to win his first race at the inaugural Formula E race Hyderabad E-Prix on Saturday at the street circuit by the Hussain Sagar Lake at the NTR Marg. The DS Penske driver held off a strong challenge from Nicky Cassidy and Sebastien Buemi of Envision Racing. He exhibited great performance in the final 100 metres, as he used all of his available power to clinch a remarkable victory. His previous victory was in Rome in April 2021. The race had plenty of wheel-to-wheel action and minor crashes, which sent the city's motorsport fans into a frenzy. The TCS Jaguar driver Mitch Evans, who won the pole in the morning session and was running third at the time, crashed along with three other vehicles when his teammate Sam Bird struck him on the first turn of the 12th lap, giving the French driver Vergne the opportunity to capitalise.
The twists and turns, combined with an unforeseen crash, made for an exciting race, which has been dubbed one of the best Formula E races in over two years. Vergne, a French native, finished the race in 46:01.099 minutes. 'I am very happy. Though it was tough in the end, I am happy to finish it well,' he remarked. This race marks Vergne's first victory of the season. Nick Cassidy of Envision Racing and Antonio Felix da Casta of TAG Heuer Porsche finished second and third, respectively. The final laps were tense, with both Vergne and Cassidy battling for the chequered flag, with the latter relying on his battery power in the final stages. However, Vergne held off Cassidy to win by one of the narrowest margins in front of a raucous crowd of 25,000 people.
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Sebastian Buemi came in third, but due to an overpower violation, he was dropped to 15th and given a 17-second time penalty. Da Costa of Porsche was able to finish third in his 100th race, thanks to that. Although he qualified in 12th place, his teammate Pascal Wehrlien, who was aiming for a hat-trick of victories, finished fourth.
The home team Mahindra Racing didn't have much to celebrate, for their drivers could not finish on the podium. Oliver Rowland finished sixth, giving the home team some points. Wehrlien's fourth-place finish increased his championship lead over Dennis to 18 points, while Vergne jumped to third. In the team standings, Porsche extended its lead over Avalanche Andretti to 23 points.
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For the uninitiated, a total of 11 teams and 22 drivers took part in the event. These include Avalanche Andretti Formula E, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, Envision Racing, Jaguar TCS Racing, Mahindra Racing, DS Penske, Nissan Formula E Team, Maserati MSG Racing, NIO 333 Racing, and ABT CUPRA Formula E Team. The next race in Formula E will be held on February 25 at the Cape Town Street Circuit in South Africa.
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