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29 April 2018

Paris podium keeps Sam in championship hunt

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird secured third place in a dramatic Formula E Paris E-Prix, clinching the final podium place on the last corner of the last lap.

Sam on the Paris FE podium

The result means the team maintains its momentum in the all-electric championship, lying second in both the team and the driver standings.

Sam, winner of the previous round in Rome, once again looked quick from the off, topping the timesheets in the opening practice session and only narrowly missing out on pole to Jean-Eric Vergne.

As the race got underway he held off pressure from Andre Lotterer to run second throughout the first half, all the while pushing Vergne ahead.

But in the second a half of the race Lotterer passed Sam with an aggressive move that drew a post-race stewards’ investigation and left the DS Virgin racer vulnerable to Lucas di Grassi, who passed him a lap later.

The podium seemed to have escaped Sam but, with seconds remaining in the race, Lotterer ran out of energy and slowed suddenly.

Sam was helpless to avoid the stricken Techeetah car, making contact, but he somehow still managing to limp over the line in third to earn his 14th podium in Formula E and maintain his title challenge.

Sam said: “The weekend has been strong for us and the team but Jean-Eric fully deserved the win and I know how special it is to win on home soil. It was certainly an eventful race and I’m really pleased to come away with third place and more points for me and the team.”

DS Virgin Racing Team Principal Alex Tai commented: “Paris has been a fantastic weekend for the team, both on and off the track. It’s great to see Sam on the podium yet again, and at the home race of our manufacturing partner DS Automobiles.

“With just four races to go, the team remains in a very strong position and we’re very much looking forward to the next race.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “It’s great to see Sam on the podium three times in a row and to continue being in the top three in our home race, and a real satisfaction to be still in the race for both titles in this really demanding championship.”

The next Formula E race takes place in Berlin on May 19.