SANTIAGO, Chile – BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Max Guenther clinched his first Formula E victory after a fierce battle with DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa on Saturday at the Parque O’Higgins Circuit.
Pulling away from the pole, Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans led the way in the opening laps Santiago E-Prix, followed by Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein, who passed Guenther, who was now sitting in third.
Running clean for the opening laps, championship leader Alexander Sims came to a halt on track with a full-course yellow being called. After his car was retrieved, racing restarted with 37 minutes left on the clock.
Heading through turns 10 and 11, Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland made contact Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, damaging his front wing which broke away from the car. At the same time, Bird spun, loosing precious places and dropping to 19th.
Picking up Attack Mode, Guenther advanced on Rokit Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara, using the extra power to blast past the Venturi driver and move into third. Heading into Turn 10 together, Felipe Massa was forced wide by his teammate Mortara, hitting the wall and dropping to seventh. Taking advantage of the situation, reigning champion and DS Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne slipped past into fifth.
With 25 minutes left on the clock, Evans maintained the lead with Guenther now in second and Wehrlein in third. Still in Attack Mode, Guenther went for the lead, slipping past Evans on the approach to turn nine.
With 14 minutes of the race left Wehrlein slowed, allowing Vergne to move into third and da Costa now sat behind him in fourth.
With the two DS Techeetah drivers in third and fourth, reigning champion Vergne’s front left tire started rubbing on the wing, leaving a trail of smoke behind him. Regardless, Vergne continued – now in sixth – before the wing broke off. With seven minutes to go, Vergne pulled into the pits with his damaged car, leaving his teammate battling on track for the top step of the podium.
Making a break for second, da Costa passed Evans on the long turn eight, now hunting Guenther for the win.
Holding out, Guenther maintained the lead with less than three minutes left on the clock. With both cars coming into turn 10 together, da Costa forced the BMW driver wide, passing on the inside and into first.
With less than a minute left, Guenther was back on the attack as da Costa led the way. Guenther stormed past da Costa going into turn nine, regaining the lead. Once around turns 10 and 11, the BMW driver clinched the win with da Costa in second and Evans in third.