After Sam Bird’s victory in Buenos Aires last year, DS Virgin Racing arrived to Argentina with high hopes for the event. Promising performances from their drivers Sam Bird and José María López in the practice sessions kept the team’s spirits high.
The first set back was experienced in qualifying. Changeable grip conditions resulted in 10th position for Bird, whilst López hit a wall during meaning he had to start the race as last, in 18th position. However, from green light on, both drivers made it clear they were up for the fight. Bird immediately moved up one place to 9th while López narrowly avoided Adam Carroll (Panasonic Jaguar Racing), sliding into 17th shortly before a full course yellow halfway through lap 1.
By Lap 4 a coming together on a corner saw Bird’s DSV-02 sandwiched against a wall, with critical damage to his rear left suspension. Bird limped through lap 5 and pitted with the intention of moving immediately into his second car in an attempt to salvage something from the race by trying to set the fastest lap, gaining a point for the championship. Once out on track Sam almost achieved this, until it was pipped by Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing) in the latter stages of the race.
Thereafter the Briton continued to put in quick laps until a slippery track led to a coming together with the wall towards the end of the race. “Today was just one of those things. However I was pleased with the pace of the car in the early stages. Let’s hope I can take the fight further in Mexico City”, Bird stated.
Meanwhile López worked his way through the field, chasing and passing his opponents. In addition, the Argentinian showed his developed skill for energy management as he opted to stay out through lap 19 as most of the pack pitted, eventually returning to the pits himself on a nail biting 1% battery on lap 20. López rejoined the race as 14th, immediately back on attacking his fellow Formula E drivers.
The crowd were on their feet by lap 31 as a battle erupted between António Félix da Costa (MS Amlin Andretti), Stéphane Sarrazin (Venturi) and López, with cars 3 abreast around the tight corners of the Puerto Madero street circuit. The DS Virgin driver managed to successfully move through into 13th, before going past Robin Frijns (MS Amlin Andretti) up to 11th and eventually 10th place by lap 36.
“I’m delighted with the continuing development of Pechito, the racer in him was truly evident today, I am confident that we will see him gaining racing honours this season”, said Team Principal Alex Tai. The team will build on this positive momentum on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico at the beginning of April.