DS Penske’s Jean-Eric Vergne wins inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix

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Jean-Eric Vergne of DS Penske won an action-packed Hyderabad E-Prix on Saturday, marking a successful return of a high-profile motorsport event in India.

Vergne held off a strong challenge from Envison Racing’s Nick Cassidy to cross the chequered flag in the first place despite having less than 0.5 percent energy left in the car.

Antonio Felix Da Costa of Porsche gained from a 17-second penalty handed out to Sebastian Buemi for ‘over power’ to secure the final spot on the podium.

Mahindra Racing, in their first home race, recovered from an ordinary qualifying session earlier in the day to seal points finish via Oliver Rowland. He finished sixth from 10th on the grid while Lucas di Grassi came 14th from 17th on the grid. Loss of energy in the final moments of the race cost Mahindra a double points finish.

Jake Hughes’ crash on lap 23 brought out the safety car, contributing to a thrilling finish.

Mitch Evans of Jaguar Racing bagged the pole position but a collision with his teammate Sam Bird on Lap 13 effectively ended the race for the Tata Group-owned team.

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“So happy for the team. It has been a very difficult three races and I could not be more proud of my team because we never gave up. We have a good car, may be not best at the moment but we never give up and keep working hard,” said race winner Vergne.

A sizeable crowd turned up to watch the electric cars competing around the heart of the city, covering Hussain Sagar Lake, NTR Gardens and NTR Park.

In the qualifying held before the race, Evans claimed pole position after beating in the final duel. Vergne himself was fortunate to make the final after losing out to Bird earlier, but lap deletions due to exceeding track limits meant Bird, Rast and Edoardo Mortara bowed out in the duels stage.

The organisers raced against time to get the Hyderabad Street Circuit ready for Formula E’s debut in India but in the end, they pulled off the event amid a lot of fanfare.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem was in attendance at the race along with other special guests like Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuzvendra Chahal and sports minister Anurag Thakur.

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