Sam secures first podium of the season for DS Virgin Racing
Sam Bird secured a dramatic first podium of the season for DS Virgin Racing at a chaotic Putrajaya E-Prix, storming through the field to seize second place.
Sam's first win last season came at the Malaysian street circuit and he was again fast in free practice as FIA Formula E made its 2015 return.
However, a challenging qualifying session left the two DS Virgin Racing cars sharing the seventh row of the grid with the odds seemingly stacked against a good result.
Instead, Sam found the right combination of attack and caution to seize a great second place in what commentator Dario Franchitti described as "one of the maddest races I've ever watched".
Heading into the halfway point of the race Sam was able to pit among the second group of drivers, putting him a strong position when re-joining in ninth place.
After the changeover his gutsy driving, combined with efficient battery management, saw him climb the field as he once again demonstrated the impressive form that secured his previous victory at the circuit.
With a little over three laps to go Sam took advantage of a coming-together between Loïc Duval and Robin Frijns, taking a perfect racing line to pass his rivals into podium contention.
A suspension failure for Duval’s team-mate Jerome D’Ambrosio on the final lap gave Sam second place, moving him on to 24 points for the season after two successive point finishes and into third place in the overall Drivers’ Championship.
The result was even more extraordinary because one of the charging systems to Sam’s car had blown with less than an hour to go the race, forcing the DS Virgin Racing team to undertake an entire rebuild of the back end of the car under severe time pressure.
Speaking about his race, Sam said: “This really is one for the team. The boys at DS Virgin Racing worked incredibly hard to fix the problems we had in the immediate lead-up to the race. They were under huge time pressure - not to mention having to work in baking hot conditions.
"We know that this championship is about speed, but it’s also about getting to the finish and we did that superbly today.”
DS Virgin Racing Team Principal Alex Tai said: “We are delighted to claim another podium here in Putrajaya after Sam’s victory last year. His tenacity together with the reliability of the DS drivetrain gave us a great result today.
"I’d also like to praise the effort of the entire team, who put in a huge effort to replace two car components shortly before the race.”
Sam and the team now move on to Punta del Este for the Uruguayan ePrix on 19 December.