Diriyah E-Prix: Bird wins, Lynn hospitalised after crash

Jaguar Formula E driver Sam Bird won the second leg of the Diriyah E-Prix that was red-flagged after a massive collision involving Mahindra's Alex Lynn, who is conscious and talking.

Having left the Envision Virgin Racing team after six seasons with the British outfit, Bird won on only his second race appearance with Jaguar to continue his record of scoring at least one victory in every FE campaign so far.

The race was red-flagged with three minutes left on clock after an extensive safety car period that followed multiple crashes at the chicane at the end of the back straight.

Lynn was seen skating across the run-off area upside-down in an incident not shown on TV, with Mitch Evans' Jaguar also seen parked a few metres away.

The race was not restarted and results were declared based on the order behind the safety car.

At the start of the race, Bird immediately cleared the slow-starting Dragon Penske of Sergio Sette Camara to move up to second, as Frijns led the field from pole position.

The gap between Frijns and Bird remained stable at 0.5s for the first half of the race, with the Envision driver able to repass the Brit after briefly falling behind him after arming his attack mode.

However, after admitting over team radio that he needed to save energy, Frijns’ pace visibly dropped, allowing Bird to pass him into Turn 18 on lap 21 and take the lead of the race.

Behind, DS Techeetah drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa had made rapid progress up the order from seventh and ninth on the grid, and had closed right on the tail of Frijns’ Envision.

Having initially cooperated during each other's attack modes, Vergne and da Costa came together while battling for the final spot on the podium on lap 23, with Vergne lucky to avoid the barrier at the outside of the final corner.

But, having escaped from the incident without any visible damage, neither could make a move on the struggling Frijns after the full course yellow was deployed for Maximilian Gunther locking up going into Turn 18, collecting the NIO 333 car of Tom Blomqvist.

Lynn and Evans' incident appeared to happen right afterward, prompting the deployment of the FCY and then a full safety car.

The race was not restarted with Bird crowned the winner ahead of Frijns, with Vergne and da Costa classified third and fourth following their previous contact.

Nick Cassidy impressed further on his maiden Formula E weekend, charging from 10th on the grid to take fifth at the flag and finish as the top rookie.

The two Dragon/Penske cars were able to remain in touch with the leaders in the early part of the race before being overtaken by the two DS Techeetah cars and Cassidy’s Envision entry, leaving Sette Camara and Nico Muller sixth and seventh respectively.

However, this still represented a massive upturn in performance for the outfit, which scored just two points in all of the 2019/20 season.

Oliver Rowland, again the top qualifier from Q1, was ninth in the sole remaining Nissan after teammate Sebastien Buemi stopped on tracks moments before the clash between Gunther and Blomqvist that effectively caused the end of the race.

Rene Rast, who failed to set a laptime in qualifying, took the final point in 10th for Audi, ahead of Mahindra’s Alexander Sims.

Sims’ teammate Lynn has been taken to hospital for evaluation following his aforementioned crash towards the end of the race. Both Mahindra cars are also currently under investigation for an alleged throttle map infringement. 

Neither Mercedes-powered cars were able to break inside the top 10 after being barred by the FIA from taking part in qualifying following Edoardo Mortara’s crash in free practice. Having been given permission to take part in the race following software changes, Friday’s race winner Nyck de Vries finished 14th in the lead works Mercedes, one place ahead of Venturi’s Norman Nato.

Stoffel Vandoorne was last of the classified finishers in 18th after taking a stop/go penalty for a technical infringement. 

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Series Formula E
Event Diriyah E-Prix II
Author Rachit Thukral
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