(Reuters) – BMW Andretti driver Alexander Sims took the first Formula E victory of his career on Saturday in the second of two races in Saudi Arabia.
The victory also made it a British double in Diriyah, with Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird winning Friday’s season-opener. [nL8N2823QB]
Bird was unable to carry the momentum through, crashing out with 27 minutes remaining after a tangle with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, and slipped to third in the overall standings behind Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
Sims has 35 points to Belgian Vandoorne’s 30, with Bird on 26.
Brazilian Lucas di Grassi inherited second place for the Audi Sport ABT team after Sims’ German team mate Max Guenther was handed a 24 second post-race penalty for overtaking during a safety car period.
He dropped from third to 11th and Vandoorne moved up to the podium for the second time in two days for series debutants Mercedes, making it a German manufacturer one-two-three.
Guenther’s penalty meant Techeetah’s reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne scored his first points of season six, moving up to eighth in the race.
The Frenchman had dropped to the back of the starting grid with a 20-place penalty for a battery change. He had retired from Friday’s race.
“That was pretty much a dream race,” said Sims, who started the race from pole position — his third in a row.
“We seemed to execute everything really well, made the right decisions at the right times. It just all went smoothly today.
“Crossing that line was an amazing feeling. All of last season and yesterday, I feel there’s so many lessons that we’ve learned.
“They’ve stuck with me through the tough times last year and now to deliver a win is pretty cool,” added the bespectacled 31-year-old.
Bird was squeezed into the wall by New Zealander Evans, with a nudge from Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein, while running in fifth place. Evans collected a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.
The safety car was also deployed when Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns hit the wall, with the race restarting while marshals were still removing the car and leading to full course yellow flags being waved.
Porsche’s Andre Lotterer, second on Friday, was demoted from sixth to 14th post-race for overtaking during the second safety car period.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris)