BIRD IN NAR­ROW FOR­MULA E WIN MATT AMES

THE VOICE OF NA­TIONAL RAC­ING JAMES “Tandy will be per­fect for his new role”

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Bri­ton Sam Bird claimed his first vic­tory of the For­mula E sea­son af­ter fend­ing off a charg­ing Se­bastien Buemi in Buenos Aires.

Bird earned his and the DS Vir­gin Rac­ing team’s first pole po­si­tion in qual­i­fy­ing and led from start to fin­ish in the glar­ing heat of Ar­gentina.

Hav­ing held off Buemi’s Re­nault e.dams team-mate Ni­co­las Prost in the early stages, then An­to­nio Felix da Costa and Lu­cas di Grassi, Bird’s big­gest chal­lenge came in the fi­nal quar­ter of the race.

Buemi, who started 18th af­ter a spin in qual­i­fy­ing, tore through the field and was up to fourth (al­beit 12 sec­onds be­hind Bird) when a safety car – called to re­cover the luck­less da Costa’s stricken Team Aguri car – bunched the field to­gether again.

He passed Stephane Sar­razin and then ti­tle ri­val di Grassi with de­ci­sive moves, then piled the pres­sure on Bird in the clos­ing stages. Bird de­fended bril­liantly, and had saved a lit­tle more en­ergy than Buemi to edge slightly clear on the last lap and clinch the vic­tory.

The heavy twin-mo­tor pow­er­train adopted by DS Vir­gin, and cham­pi­onship­win­ning out­fit NEXTEV TCR, has lagged be­hind its more con­ven­tional ri­vals in sea­son two, but Bird’s squad has made par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant gains in re­cent rounds.

Af­ter a point­less open­ing race in Bei­jing, Bird bagged a podium in Pu­tra­jaya but re­tired in Punta del Este. His Buenos Aires vic­tory puts him a com­fort­able third in the cham­pi­onship, 28 points be­hind Buemi.

“It has been tough,” he ad­mit­ted. “Bei­jing was very, very dif­fi­cult. Malaysia was a bit for­tu­nate but we took the points any­way. We were un­for­tu­nate at Punta be­cause we did show good speed there, and we were up there with the big boys again.

“Here we got the ul­ti­mate points haul re­ally, apart from fastest lap. I’m ab­so­lutely thrilled for the team. It was a re­ally tough win, my hard­est race so far.”

Bird (right) stayed out of trou­ble Bird took big re­sult

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