Fans Put Finger on ePrix Power in Putrajaya
The second ePrix in Putrajaya took place on November 22. After being brought forward by two hours when a forecast of heavy rain threatened the race, the drivers lined up for an early start on the Sunday morning ready to fight for the second win of the season.
After his conduct at the end of the last race, Nicolas Prost started with a ten-place grid penalty in qualifying – he had caused a crash with Nick Heidfeld on the closing lap of the previous ePrix, forcing both drivers to retire. Belgian driver Jerome d'Ambrosio for Dragon Racing was also given a grid penalty for exceeding power usage limits during qualifying.
Understanding ePrix FanBoost
Sam Bird during the Y Capital Putrajaya ePrix
The new FanBoost system also played a heavy part in the Y Capital Putrajaya ePrix; viewers and fans can vote for their favourite drivers who then receive boosts to their bhp for the race.
This time, Bruno Senna, Katherine Legge and Nick Heidfeld received the FanBoost support and Senna used his boost in the race and managed a fantastic overtake on Nicolas Prost.
This new system is intended to involve the fans in the sport and make the viewer really feel like they can have an impact on the outcome of a race with their support.
The Race at Putrajaya
The track at Putrajaya was a street track made especially for the race, and one which featured a lot of challenging corners but also some great places to overtake, and the race did not disappoint.
There was plenty of wheel-to-wheel action, particularly among the frontrunners, with both Prost and d'Ambrosio managing to push their way through the field into the top five after their grid penalties.
The winner of the race was Sam Bird, a British driver for Virgin Racing, who got off to a great start and though he was beaten by the pole position Oriol Servia.
Victory for Sam Bird
The first safety car stint gave him an opportunity and he pounced, slipping past the leader and taking control of the race. He cruised for most of the race, controlling the rest of the field well, and though there was a tense moment after the second safety car when he had to fight off the advances of Daniel Abt, he managed to pull ahead once more, maintain a comfortable lead and cruise to the finish with a display of pure speed from the Virgin car.
There were three non-finishers in total. Michela Cerruti was taken out by Katherine Legge on the first lap when the British racer lost control of her car and spun out. Nelson Piquet Jr. was having a great race, contending with the Italian Jarno Trulli for third place until almost simultaneously, Trulli was told he would have to take a drive-through penalty for energy infringement, and at the same moment the two drivers made contact, causing Trulli to limp back to the pits, effectively ending his podium contention and forcing Piquet Jr. to retire from the race.
Another Senna on the racing track
Bruno Senna, after a fantastic race in which he made many excellent wheel-to-wheel maneouvres, endured a heartbreaking finale where he spun out of control and into a wall just three corners away from the finish.
The Brazilian would have been very disappointed with this result, but we can only hope that next time he comes back with the same speed and precision he displayed in Putrajaya.
The drivers' standings after this race, then, end with Lucas di Grassi still on top by 2 points after coming second. Bird is close behind him, though, and the Virgin car looked unbeatably fast; it will be interesting to see whether they can keep it up in the next race on December 13th in Uruguay's Punta del Este.
Will di Grassi extend his lead? Can Sam Bird overtake him and push ahead? Or will someone else rise from the field and challenge the leaderboard?
Don't miss out. The races are being shown live on ITV 4 and with the thrilling climax happening in Battersea Park, London in June 2015, you could fly directly to area with Atlas Helicopters.