Formula E: Günther Takes Maiden Win In Santiago

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Maximillian Günther continues BMW I Andretti’s winning streak by claiming a maiden victory in the Santiago EPrix.

Which in turn makes him the youngest Formula E winner in the series’ history.

DS Techeetah’s Antonio Da Costa took second as pole-sitter, Panasonic Jaguar’s Mitch Evans rounded out the podium.

Starting on Pole for the second time in his Formula E career after a silky smooth lap, Evans lined-up in first with Günther in second with Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein in third.

Great performances from Venturi’s Felipe Massa and NIO 333’s Oliver Turvey saw them qualify in fourth and fifth.

Championship leader, BMW’s Alexander Sims lined up in 15th while Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird right behind in 16th.

It was a good start by Evans to hold the lead as Wehrlein went round the outside of Günther to take the inside line of turn two to take second.

Behind, as ever in Formula E, drivers fought hard for positions as Sims started to make up ground. He battled hard with the Porsche drivers of Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Contact was made several times between the three drivers and it would be the Porsche’s that would end up retiring because of the amount sustained.

Evans led, as Wehrlein was hounded by Günther.

The early contact had caused Sims too many problems and his lack of speed started to show.

He fell down the pack and eventually came to a halt triggering the Full Course Yellow for a matter of seconds.

Moving his way up the field, Bird and Nissan’s Oliver Rowland made contact – spinning Bird which dropped him down the order.

After the FCY, both Techeetah’s of Antonio Felix da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne pounced on the Mercedes of Stoffel Vandoorne for 7th.

After the contact with Bird, Rowland’s front wing disintegrated on the start/finish straight which caused the Brit to pit the next lap and effectively ruining his race as he finished 4 laps down at the chequered flag.

Activating his Attack Mode, Evans remained in the lead and kept his lead to just under two seconds.

Günther regained his third place after losing it to Mortara whilst he activated his Attack Mode.

With half an hour to go, Evans activated his second Attack Mode – a very confident move by himself and Jaguar.

The Audi’s of Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi had a steady start and were running in 12th and 13th.

The Venturi teammates, Mortara and Massa, clashed with Massa coming off worse and dropping places to Vergne and Da Costa.

With 18 laps completed, Gunther challenged Evans for the lead as the BMW was in Attack Mode.

A challenge into turn one nearly paid off but on the run-down to turn 9, Günther pulled off a stunning move to go round the outside of the Jag to take the lead.

Third place Wehrlein was the only driver in the top pack to have used his second Attack Mode yet.

After such a strong qualifying and early part of the race, Turvey dropped down the field to 13th after being overtaken by Di Grassi.

A small mistake by Mortara gave Wehrlein the opportunity and the breathing space to activate his Attack Mode and to try to close the gap to the top two.

After a few attempts, Da Costa made his way past Mortara with Vandoorne sneaking past as well to climb to 5th and 6th.

It seemed like Wehrlein was struggling with temperatures and this allowed Vergne to make his way to third as Di Grassi overtook Mortara for 10th.

However, Vergne’s third place came under threat as bodywork started to rub against the front-left tyre.

This was holding up teammate Da Costa and now it had turned into a slight puncture for the Frenchman.

Meanwhile, Günther had extended his lead to two seconds over Evans.

The bodywork for Vergne had flown off and was on the track but offline causing no concern.

Vergne pulled into the pits after 32 laps and this had ruined his race, he was out.

The focus then shifted towards the other Techeetah of Da Costa who was starting to hunt down Evans for second.

Da Costa had done it into turn 9 and was now on the prowl for the lead in which Gunther held.

It was going to be easy-pickings for Da Costa as his pace compared to Günther was miles better.

Onto lap 36, Da Costa forced his way through into the lead with a dive into turn 10.

A lap later Gunther was still on the back of the Techeetah and onto the final lap, the pair were nip and tuck. Round the outside, down into turn 9, Günther took the lead away from Da Costa with a great move.

The German had been told by his team that he was in a better place with his temperatures and battery usage and this was the confidence he needed.

The youngest driver on the grid crossed the line to take his first podium and win.

Da Costa crossed the line in second as behind, everyone else were running low on remaining energy.

Passing Evans for third, De Vries was demoted to fifth after a 5 second time penalty. Wehrlein took fourth with Vandoorne sixth, Di Grassi seventh, James Calado in eight, Massa in ninth and Bird salvaging a point in tenth.

Günther’s victory gave BMW its second consecutive win.

After leading for the first half of the race, Evans said he struggled for pace throughout.

Evan’s also put some doubt on the race tactics that he and his Jaguar team used but nevertheless, he was pleased at taking away a podium and valuable points.

Vandoorne’s sixth place moves him up into the lead of the championship on 38 points and despite retiring from the EPrix, Sims only dropped to second on 35 points while Günther’s win promoted him to fourth.

In the team’s Championship, BMW took the championship lead – displacing Mercedes who moved down to second but just 4 points behind.

After three rounds, NIO 333 still remain the only team not to score any points this season.

The next round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship takes place on the 15th of February for the Mexico City EPrix.

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