Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne has won the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF after overturning a 14-point deficit to Pascal Wehrlein in the final race of the season.
Vandoorne finished in second place behind race winner Oliver Rowland, with Maximilian Guenther in third. But a tantalising battle with Wehrlein failed to materialise after a chaotic start to the race ended the German’s chances in the double-points Grand Final.
Wehrlein had out-qualified Vandoorne to begin one spot on the grid in front of him in second but his day was ruined on the second corner of the race by being caught up in a multiple-car pile-up which sent him down to 21st.
While the expected two-man fight for the title never materialised Wehrlein began climbing the ranks needing a fourth-placed finish to take the title but could only finish a valiant ninth as Vandoorne was crowned Driver Grid Winner.
And while the Belgian was delighted at taking the title he insisted his eyes would be on a restart for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship season with the aim of taking his online form into the real world.
"First of all I am really happy to win this Championship," said Vandoorne. "The start was very chaotic, I had a good start alongside Pascal on the outside and then into turn two I got bumped from behind, which sent Pascal into a spin.
"It would have been nice to have had a proper fight on track, but I have been unlucky as well in a couple of races, so it is a well-deserved championship for us.
"A lot of things have happened and there have been a lot of good races and we’ve kept it clean all the time so the consistency has been key.
"It's got more and more difficult with drivers getting up to speed so it has been a good championship, a lot of fun but I’m looking forward to real life and the start of the real season soon and put these performances into reality."
Nissan e.dams’ Rowland rounded off his fantastic second half of the competition by taking Julius Baer Pole Position and backing it up with a fine drive to take his second race victory of the season and finish third overall.
BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Guenther also made his second podium of the weekend after a three-race streak without – a run which ended his own title hopes after winning the opening two races of the season, and he had to make do with fourth place in the driver standings.
But the day and the competition belonged to the consistent Vandoorne who has never finished below fifth as the best qualifier – with four poles - despite only winning one race as he finished 24 points ahead of runner-up Wehrlein.
In the winner-takes-all Challenge Grid final, Kevin Siggy held off an early challenge from main rival Lucas Mueller to be crowned the Challenge Grid Winner and, with it, claim the prize of driving the Formula E Gen2 race car at a future race weekend.
The Slovenian was a deserved winner having won four races out of eight during the competition to also finish top of the standings.