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Beijing ePrix Ratings: DS Virgin Racing

Over the course of the season, ERN senior editor Laurence Thorn will be rating the performances of all drivers and teams on each ePrix weekend.

This time around, he takes a look at DS Virgin Racing and their two drivers, Sam Bird and Jean-Éric Vergne, in Beijing.

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DS Virgin Racing – 6.5/10
Lack of efficiency leads to disappointing race day

With one of the best driver line-ups on paper, and support from Citroen-owned French manufacturer DS, a strong season is expected from DS Virgin Racing. But after having both cars in the top ten during qualifying, with one in the Super Pole session, everything took a turn for the worse in the race. A combination of driver errors, poor efficiency from the one-gear DS powertrain, and questionable strategy led to a race in which Sam Bird salvaged four points with a 7th place that could have been so much more, and Jean-Éric Vergne slipped out of the points to finish 12th, a full seven positions lower than where he qualified. The single lap pace of the DS Virgin car cannot be questioned, however Formula E is about so much more than that – and the team needs to work on its energy efficiency and battery management if they want to challenge for both championships this season.


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Sam Bird (qualified 9th, finished 7th) – 7/10
Points salvaged after difficult day

Sam Bird experienced a roller-coaster race day in Beijing, with some ups and just as many downs. After qualifying 9th, four places behind team-mate Vergne, Bird lost a place off the line to a fast-starting d’Ambrosio, before getting it back a lap later. He then passed Sarrazin and Duval in quick succession, before a huge lock-up sent him off track and down to 11th. However, this did not stop the Brit, as he went on an overtaking frenzy – passing Abt, d’Ambrosio again, Senna, and team-mate Vergne to run 7th prior to the car swaps. All this overtaking took a lot of energy out of his DS powertrain though, and he crawled into the pits with just 1% of usable energy left. Coming out the pits in 10th, he passed a slowing Piquet for 9th, inherited 8th when Prost retired, and overtook Berthon on the very last lap to salvage 7th place and four points.


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Jean-Éric Vergne (qualified 5th, finished 12th) – 6/10
No points despite promising qualifying pace

After reaching the Super Pole session in qualifying, Vergne locked up hugely at the first turn of his hot lap, going off track and therefore securing fifth on the grid. Right from the start of the race, things did not go the Frenchman’s way – Bruno Senna passed him on the first lap with a brave move. Vergne hung onto the back of the Brazilian’s car, re-passing him on lap nine, but two laps later was passed by both Loic Duval – after a long battle – and team-mate Sam Bird, dropping to seventh. After struggling with energy consumption, Vergne pitted and returned to the track in 12th. He was able to pass Sarrazin and gained a position when Piquet had a technical issue, however was overtaken by rookie Frijns, and re-passed by Sarrazin, in the closing stages as he struggled to make an impression in his second car. Vergne ended the race in 12th place, outside the points.

Images courtesy of FIA Formula E Media