MEXICO CITY SEES DS VIRGIN RACING MOVE UP TO 3RD POSITION IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE
The day wasn’t without its ups and downs, as disappointing practice sessions left the team struggling for grip moving into qualifying. However, set up changes and great performances from both drivers meant Jose Maria Lopez started in 2nd position on the grid and Sam Bird in 5th.
A chaotic start to the Mexico City ePrix saw an early crash on lap 2 which resulted in Prost, Sarrazin and Di Grassi in the pits for nose and wing repairs. Both DS Virgin Racing drivers managed to avoid the chaos and maintained their positions at P2 and P5 with a safety car for the next 2 laps.
Jose Maria Lopez was able to pass a slowing Oliver Turvey and took the lead before the safety car was deployed to move his striken car off the track. The Argentinian driver was looking strong and was pulling away from the field for several laps.
An early car change from Di Grassi and D’Ambrosio during the safety car period meant that following all pit stops Lopez and the chasing pack were leapfrogged, but Jose Maria Lopez had more than 20% more energy than both drivers ahead of him.
Sam Bird was also looking strong in 5th place and it looked as though a 1 and 2 finish could have been possible as D’Ambrosio was struggling for energy in 2nd place. After fighting with D’Ambrosio for a number of laps, Lopez tried to overtake on the outside of turn one, but lost the rear of the car in the dust causing him to spin off track losing a number of places.
A drawn out battle with Sam and Vergne saw their cars coming very close at times. With D’Ambrosio losing more energy, Sam moved into 3rd position on lap 44 with an excellent pass on the outside of turn 2 securing his podium finish. Shortly after, a collision in the stadium section involving multiple cars meant that Lopez finished the race in 6th place.
Sam Bird “The team did an amazing job, we struggled in FP1 and FP2 so finishing in 3rd and 6th place is a great result”.
Lopez commented “The team gave me an excellent car today. Throughout the first half of the race I was faster than those behind me and didn’t have a problem keeping the gap. For the first time this season I knew I had the pace to win. I felt I needed to overtake D’Ambrosio at that time but maybe it was the wrong place . This will take some time to pass but the positive is we proved as a team today with Sam, we have the pace to win races”.
Team Principal Alex Tai stated “I’m delighted with the performance of the team today, despite the fact that a 1st and 2nd didn’t materialise. Challenging engineering and strategy decisions were correctly judged and both drivers showed their ability throughout the day. We can move forward to Monaco with a deserved increase in confidence”.
Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director commented “We’ve made encouraging progress in team championship. The first half of Jose Maria Lopez’s race showed our car has good performance and pace in it. Despite the mistake in the second half of the race, we can see that the DSV-02 is able to increase the gap between other teams while consuming less energy.”