Formula E: Bird launches himself back into the title race with New York victory
Jaguar Racing's Sam Bird took a second win of the season with a dominant display on the streets of New York that propels the British driver not just back into contention but into the lead of the Championship with four races remaining.
After securing Jaguar's first ever Formula E front-row lockout, Bird and team-mate Mitch Evans delivered the goods for the team in SuperPole and that continued into the race with both drivers working well together in the early part of the race.
LIGHTS OUT: Leading from Pole, Bird would go onto to win from lights to flag to cross the line first for the 11th time in his Formula E career
Bird had the measure over Evans and beautifully controlled the race with his team-mate playing rear-gunner and fending off attacks from the drivers behind. However, Evans defence was put under huge a amount of pressure as Envision Virgin Racing's Nick Casidy hounded his fellow countryman and with less than two minutes remaining, Evans defence came crashing down as he clipped the wall.
The New Zealander clipped the wall on exit and the hopes of a potential Jaguar one-two finish vanished. Evans immediatly lost positions to Cassidy, Techeetah's Antonio Felix da Costa and both of the Tag Heuer Porsche drivers of Pascal Wehrlein and Andre Lotterer but limped across the line out of the points in 13th.
Formula E now heads to London for a sixth double-header of the season and Bird will be hoping for luck on home soil with two final races after London in Berlin to contend with as the championship seeks to find it's first FIA World Champion.
BACK ON TOP: Bird is only the second driver this season to have won twice having won the second race of the season in Diryah
After crossing the line to win, Bird could not believe how his fortune had turned around after a couple of difficult races in Puebela, Mexico where he was unable to score any points. Coming into today's race, Bird was 13th in the championsip, now he leads it.
"I thought my championship was over!"
The win in New York puts Bird in a comfortable position at the top of the championship on 81 points - five points clear of Defending Formula E Champion Da Costa.
Benefitting from Evans' mistake, Cassidy took a second career podium and this has helped the Kiwi's title hopes as he moves up to fifth and only 11 points behind Bird.
It was a decent result for Porsche as Wehrlein and Lotterer both finished inside the top five to bring home much needed points for the German outfit.
Joint championship leaders heading into the race, Venturi's Edoardo Mortara and Envision Virgin Racing's Robin Frijns had contrasting races. Both started near the rear of the field but a collision with BMW's Jake Dennis put Mortara's hopes of a decent points haul out of the question.
Frijns meanwhile, who started 21st out of the 24 drivers, came home in eighth and like Da Costa, he sits only five points behind Bird in third in the standings.
After a stand-out qualifying performance from Dragon/Penske Autosport's Sergio Sette Camara, the Brazilian was unable to hold fifth and tumbled down the order eventually finishing in 11th after struggling to manage his energy throughout the race.
Old rivals, Audi's Lucas di Grassi and Nissan's Sebastien Buemi clashed during the race as an attempted overtake by Di Grassi sent Buemi into a spin. Di Grassi was penalised 10 seconds at the end of the race but still managed to lead his rival home in 14th and 15th.
Double Formula E World Champion Jean-Eric Vergne was unable to start the race as the Frenchman's Techeetah would not move as the lights went out to signal the start of the ePrix.
The 2021 London ePrix will take place on the 24th/25th of July for Rounds 12 and 13.