Sports

Jean Eric Vergne Wins Hyderabad E-Prix, Mahindra Racing Earn Points Finish

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.

Vergne celebrates after winning the Hyderabad E-Prix on Saturday.
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The seasoned Jean Eric Vergne of DS Penske won an action-packed Hyderabad E-Prix here on Saturday, marking a successful return of a high-profile motorsport event in India. (More Motorsport News)

The 33-lap electric race had thrills both on and off the track. 

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.

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 a points finish via Oliver Rowland.

Rowland finished sixth from 10th on the grid while 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 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  endws the race for the Tata Group-owned team.

"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 vrooming around the heart of the city, covering Hussain Sagar Lake, NTR Gardens and NTR Park.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem made a statement by turning up for the first world championship status race in India in 10 years.

The other special guests included the great Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuzvendra Chahal and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur. 

It was not a surprise to see Tendulkar in the pit lane as he was also in attendance in the first-ever Formula 1 race in India back in 2011. His love for motor racing is well-documented.   

Renewable energy major Greenko organised the event with the support of Telangana government.

In the qualifying held before the race, Evans saw off Maximilian Guenther (Maserati MSG Racing) and Buemi (Envision Racing), and topped Group A to fire him into the Final.  

Vergne made it through after thinking he was all done in the Quarters when Jaguar’s Sam Bird beat him on-track. 

Track limits came into it in a big way, though, and the Brit had his time removed, much to his frustration, as did Rene Rast (McLaren) and Edo Mortara (Maserati MSG Racing) in the fourth Quarter-final. 

All that meant the Frenchman was promoted to the final, and ultimately second on the grid - beaten by the smallest deficit this season.

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