The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship’s first appearance in India did not disappoint! In Hyderabad, the capital of Télangana, the 100% electric single-seater category produced a superb spectacle, with a race full of overtaking and twists and surprises, all in front of a crowd of 25,000 people.
Surprises in the race there may have been, but the first victory of the season for the DS E-TENSE FE23 was less a surprise and more of a confirmation of potential for DS Performance, the racing division of DS Automobiles. This potential, present since the start of Season 9, was evident from free practice, with Jean-Éric Vergne taking second place in qualifying, just two hundredths of a second off pole position.
A few hours later, the only double champion in the electric discipline managed the situation perfectly during an E-Prix that was almost run flat-out despite the extreme heat (37 degrees Celsius at the start). After taking the lead shortly before the halfway stage of the race, the 32-year-old Frenchman used all of his experience and the efficiency of the DS E-TENSE FE23 to resist his challengers. “JEV” therefore took his 11th victory in the championship, with DS Automobiles celebrating its 16th success in Formula E. The victory has also launched Vergne into the championship mix too, with the Frenchman third in the provisional drivers’ standings.
Despite only starting 17th on the grid, Stoffel Vandoorne also delivered a superb performance, thus confirming the impressive pace of the DS E-TENSE FE23. The Belgian driver cut through the field to finish sixth on the road after the chequered flag, an incredible 12 places gained. However, the reigning Formula E world champion was penalised five-seconds for exceeding track limits, dropping him to eighth position. Nonetheless, Vandoorne was still able to score points for the second time this season.
Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will continue in two weeks’ time at another brand-new circuit for all competitors in Cape Town, South Africa, on Saturday 25 February.