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Inaugural Formula E race ends with dramatic crash

The inaugural Formula E race in China has ended in a crash with front-runners, Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld coming together on the final corner. Both drivers were unhurt.

A DRAMATIC LAST corner crash between race front runners, Nicolas Prost (e.Dams Renault – founded by Alain Prost and Jean-Paul Driot) and Nick Heidfeld (Venturi Formula E Team – founded by Leonardo Di Caprio) has seen Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas di Grassi steal victory in the inaugural round of the Formula E Evergrande Spring Beijing ePrix.

In a dramatic finish to the race, Prost, who had led the race from pole position, was setting up for the final corner when Heidfeld who’d driven strongly out of the second to last corner came up on the inside. The video below clearly shows that Prost looked before moving into the corner; when he turned in he collided with Heidfeld who was charging up on the inside. That collision resulted in Heidfeld’s car launching into the air before flipping and landing upside down.

Video courtesy of Burning Wheels.

Miraculously, Heidfeld was okay, saying: “I thought it was going to be a very big crash as well. Once I hit the kerb it felt like I was in the air forever. I closed my eyes and waited for the impact and then I thought ‘Oh that was lucky!’ I have a small pain in my calf but apart from that I’m perfectly fine.”

Both drivers took to social media to vent (Heidfeld) and apologise (Prost). Heidfeld was first onto Twitter, writing: “Just to let everybody know: I am fine … physically… could/would/should have won that. Now nothing…”

Prost followed, tweeting: “I feel very bad about the incident and after looking at the videos I understand that I am responsible. I just did not see him, feel very bad”. Straight after that he tweeted: “The most important thing is that my friend @NickHeidfeld is ok, sorry again Nick, you know I would never do something like this…”

Luckily none of the drivers became caught up in the crash with third-place Nicolas di Grassi driving around the wrecked vehicles to take the chequered flag.

He said: “Firstly, I’m happy Nick [Heidfeld] is ok and it shows how safe these cars are. To win the race is like a dream come true. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The team did a great job all through practice and qualifying, yes we made a few mistakes but overall I’m extremely happy to be the first ever winner of a Formula E race.”

Andretti driver Franck Montagny finished runner-up nearly three seconds adrift of Di Grassi as the Brazilian’s team-mate Daniel Abt crossed the line in third place. On return to the pitlane Abt was handed a time penalty for exceeding the battery consumption. The German driver used 28.2kW of the allocated 28kW available.

Katherine Legge and Jaime Alguersuari were also penalised for being over the limit. Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was eventually promoted to claim the final place on the podium.

FIA Formula E Championship – Drivers’ Standings

1. Lucas di Grassi – 25

2. Franck Montagny – 18

3. Sam Bird – 15

4. Charles  Pic – 12

5. Karun Chandhok – 10

6. Jerome d’Ambrosio – 8

7. Oriol Servia – 6

8. Nelson Piquer Jr – 4

9. Nicolas Prost – 3

10. Stephane Sarrazin – 2

11. Takuma Sato – 2

12. Daniel Abt – 1

13. Jaime Alguersuari – 0

14. Nick Heidfeld – 0

15. Michela Cerruti – 0

16. Katherine Legge – 0

17. Ho-Pin Tung – 0

18. Sebastien Buemi – 0

9. Jarno Trulli – 0

20. Bruno Senna – 0

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober