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Santiago Formula E: last-lap pass gives BMW's Guenther first win

Alex Kalinauckas
Guenther snatches first win with dramatic late pass

BMW Andretti's Maximilian Guenther won a breathless Santiago E-Prix ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa with a last-lap move as the DS Techeetah driver battled battery temperature issues.

Guenther, who lost a maiden podium at the season-opening Saudi Arabia double-header for overtaking under the safety car, claimed his first FE win, with polesitter and longtime leader Mitch Evans rounding out the podium.

At the start, Evans held the lead off the line at a sweltering Park O'Higgins in the Chilean capital, while Mahindra Racing's Pascal Wehrlein forced his way by Guenther - who had started second - on the tight off-track approach to Turn 2, which the field cut en masse throughout the race.

Guenther snatches first win with dramatic late pass

Most of the action in the early stages happened in the pack well behind the leaders, as Evans marshalled his lead up front.

The Jaguar driver went for an aggressive early attack-mode strategy, taking his first activation on lap eight of what became a 40-lap race.

He used his second activation five laps later and although he held the lead of the majority of the race, he was vulnerable to attack from behind as his rivals cycled through to take their time in the higher power mode.

Guenther used his second 235kW attack mode to move back ahead of Werhlein, and he then attacked Evans at the start of lap 19, although that move was rebuffed.

But later on that tour, Guenther swept around the outside of the blind, rapid left of Turn 9 to take the lead.

Behind the leading pair, da Costa and his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne were making their way up from 10th and 11th on the grid, muscling their way by feuding rivals - including Venturi pair Edoardo Mortara and Felipe Massa, who clashed at the Turn 10 hairpin on lap 15.

Vergne closed in and got ahead of Wehrlein to run third approaching the race's final quarter, but damage he had picked up in the rough early exchanges came back to haunt him as his left-front wheel cover began to rub heavily on his tyre - eventually breaking loose and deflating the tyre.

That dropped Vergne to fifth behind da Costa and Wehrlein, but he was later forced to come into the pits and retire due the damage he had sustained.

Guenther snatches first win with dramatic late pass

Up front, Guenther had pulled a significant two-second gap over Evans, who rapidly came under pressure from da Costa, with the former BMW driver getting by with another sweep around the outside into Turn 9 on lap 34.

Da Costa immediately set about demolishing Guenther's lead and they ran nose to tail from the start of lap 37.

Towards the end of that tour, da Costa dived to the inside of Turn 10 and biffed his rival wide to take the lead.

It briefly looked as if that would settle the result, but da Costa was suddenly informed he needed to watch his battery temperatures in the dying laps, which gave Guenther the chance to retake first.

Da Costa rebuffed a forceful move from Guenther at Turn 1 on lap 39, but on the final tour Guenther was able to drive around the outside on the run to Turn 9 and swept in the lead at the death, shooting clear to win by 2.067s.

Evans was beaten to the line by Nyck de Vries, but the Mercedes driver was immediately dropped back to fifth due to a five-second penalty he had been handed for a so far unspecified technical infraction.

De Vries dropped down the order from eighth on the grid but fought his way back into contention, although his penalty left him behind Wehrlein in the provisional result.

Stoffel Vandoorne was classified sixth after a similarly up-and-down race to his team-mate de Vries, with Audi's Lucas di Grassi taking seventh having started 22nd after his qualifying issues.

James Calado was eighth ahead of Massa, with Sam Bird boosted up to 10th by immediate post-race penalties for Daniel Abt (eventually 14th) and Buemi (13th).

Unlikely superpole star Oliver Turvey ran with the leaders early-on, but the British driver was eventually shuffled back to 12th.

Seven drivers - including Vergne - were not classified, with Jerome D'Ambrosio and Brendon Hartley stopping in the pits late on.

Mortara did likewise, but his retirement was as a result of damage picked up in a clash with da Costa.

Andre Lotterer was running at the flag but was 12 laps down for most of the race after an early clash with Alexander Sims.

Shortly after this clash, Sims - erstwhile championship leader - stopped on-track after hitting the wall and breaking his driveshaft.

Neel Jani also retired in the pits following the early melee at the lower end of the order that also involved Lotterer and Sims.

Result - 40 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Max Guenther BMW BMW 46m11.511s
2 Antonio Felix da Costa DS Techeetah DS 2.067s
3 Mitch Evans Jaguar Jaguar 5.119s
4 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Mahindra 7.050s
5 Nyck de Vries Mercedes Mercedes 9.883s
6 Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes Mercedes 11.237s
7 Lucas di Grassi Audi Audi 14.437s
8 James Calado Jaguar Jaguar 18.255s
9 Felipe Massa Venturi Mercedes 20.430s
10 Sam Bird Virgin Audi 21.780s
11 Oliver Turvey NIO NIO 27.778s
12 Nico Muller Dragon Penske 33.786s
13 Sebastien Buemi e.dams Nissan 43.257s
14 Daniel Abt Audi Audi 47.198s
15 Robin Frijns Virgin Audi 1 Lap
16 Ma Qinghua NIO NIO 1 Lap
17 Oliver Rowland e.dams Nissan 4 Laps
- Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra Mahindra Not classified
- Brendon Hartley Dragon Penske Retirement
- Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah DS Retirement
- Edoardo Mortara Venturi Mercedes Retirement
- Andre Lotterer Porsche Porsche Disqualified
- Alexander Sims BMW BMW Retirement
- Neel Jani Porsche Porsche Retirement

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Stoffel Vandoorne 38
2 Alexander Sims 35
3 Sam Bird 28
4 Max Guenther 25
5 Lucas di Grassi 24
6 Oliver Rowland 22
7 Antonio Felix da Costa 21
8 Mitch Evans 21
9 Andre Lotterer 18
10 Edoardo Mortara 18
11 Nyck de Vries 18
12 Pascal Wehrlein 12
13 Robin Frijns 10
14 James Calado 10
15 Daniel Abt 8

Teams' standings

Pos Team Points
1 BMW i Andretti Motorsport 60
2 Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 56
3 Envision Virgin Racing 38
4 Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 32
5 Panasonic Jaguar Racing 31
6 DS Techeetah 25
7 Nissan e.Dams 22
8 ROKiT Venturi Racing 20
9 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 18
10 Mahindra Racing 14
11 Geox Dragon 2
12 NIO 333 FE Team 0


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