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Bird wins inaugural Rome race as Rosenqvist retires – Race Report

Rome E-Prix – DS Virgin’s Sam Bird took victory in the inaugural Formula E race in Rome, after taking the lead from polesitter Felix Rosenqvist who retired from the race.

Rosenqvist led from pole, and built up a three second advantage over Bird in the early stages of the race. Bird was able to close the gap to approximately one second before the pit stop phase, coming in on lap 16 of 33.

Bird took the lead on lap 24 when Rosenqvist pulled over with left-rear suspension damage, which he reported happened when he hit the kerbs during the Turns 16-19 complex.

Lucas di Grassi was second for Audi from sixth on the grid. He stopped a lap later than the leaders and worked his way through the pack, passing Sebastien Buemi for the podium using his FanBoost.

He took second away from Jaguar’s Mitch Evans who was struggling with energy management towards the end of the race. The Brazilian is currently under investigation for an unsafe release.

Andre Lotterer took the podium away from Evans on the final lap as the Jaguar driver began to crawl to make the finish. He eventually crossed the line in ninth.

Daniel Abt was fourth ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne who now has a 18-point over Bird in the championship, who jumped Rosenqvist in the standings. Sebastien Buemi was sixth.

Jerome D’Ambrosio finished seventh from the back row of the grid after stopping two laps later than the leaders and using his energy advantage to come through the field. Venturi had two cars in the points with Maro Engel eighth and Edoardo Mortara in 10th.

Both NIOs missed out on points as Jose Maria Lopez attempted to put his Dragon up the inside of Nick Heidfeld and Oliver Turvey, who was running fifth in the early stages of the race but fell back with high energy consumption.

Contact was made into the Turn 13 hairpin, Lopez escaped unscathed but Turvey and Heidfeld were both in the wall, and were then rear-ended by Luca Filippi and Mortara.

Mortara had more drama late in the race as he was tagged by Lopez, damaging his rear wing. Lopez eventually retired from the race with suspension damage.

Alex Lynn retired after going into the back of Vergne’s car at the second corner of the race, leaving him in need of a front wing change at the request of the stewards.

Nelson Piquet retired from the race after stopping in pit lane with a suspected seatbelt issue.

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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