British racer Sam Bird stayed cool during the sweltering Formula E race in Santiago, Chile, to take victory and move him and his Envision Virgin Racing team into first place in both the drivers’ and teams’ championship. Air and track temperatures pushed 37°C and 44°C respectively – that was officially the championship’s hottest ever race. Bird, 32, drove superbly from fourth on the grid to take his eighth career victory. It was also the first win of the new Gen2 era for the team and its Audi e-tron FE05. The result also means he, and his team, continue their impressive record of recording victories in every Formula E season to date.
Bird, who has now competed in all 48 Formula E races for the team, said:
“That was a great, but challenging race! No-one really knew going into this race how the battery and tyres would react in these extreme temperatures. The whole race we were going into the unknown. But to get the result we did is fantastic, and my thanks goes to everyone at Envision Virgin Racing for once again putting in the hours to give us this win. It’s been a steep learning curve for the team, with the limited testing we’ve had, so to find ourselves in a situation where we’re winning races – to go with pole positions and podiums from previous races – is an incredible achievement.”
Still reliving the first win of the season! 🇨🇱 Thanks to our partners @envisioncn @Virgin @kaspersky @stanleytools @audisport @Genpact @alpinestars @ErreaOfficial #ProudPartners pic.twitter.com/KKgQHwf8DV
— Envision Virgin Racing Formula E (@EnvisionVirgin) January 27, 2019
Meanwhile, teammate Robin Frijns, 27, drove an equally superb race. He made up 10 places to finish fifth and secured yet more valuable points for the team. The Dutchman is now lying in fifth place in the championship standings.
“Starting towards the back of the field was always going to make things tougher but we fought hard from the off and managed to gain some good ground early on. Towards the end I was really in the thick of it, but we came away with another strong result for me and the team”, Frijns commented.
Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at Envision Virgin Racing, said:
“After the success of our double podium at the last race, it’s an amazing feeling to come here to Chile and go even better. The whole team, as always, put in a huge effort to prepare for this race and that hard work clearly shows in the results today. I’d also like to thank the whole Audi Sport team for their contribution to this result.” He added: “The high temperatures were always going to make the conditions tough, but Sam and Robin drove superbly, and we now head to the next race in Mexico full of confidence.”
Envision Group’s Franz Jung and Chairman of the Board added: “It’s great to get our first victory of the season. To keep improving and finding the pace race-by-race is a credit to the team and I’m super proud of Sam and Robin.”
— Envision Virgin Racing Formula E (@EnvisionVirgin) January 26, 2019