Virgin Racing lined up on the grid for the fourth ePrix of the brand new all electric racing series with Jaime Alguersuari on the front row and his teammate Sam Bird in P4, both with ambitions of a podium finish.
Alguersuari and Bird strategically let Heidfeld and di Grassi through in the opening laps to conserve battery power and were third and fifth respectively. The Virgin Racing pair maintained their positions until Jaime Alguersuari became the first driver to pit for his car changeover and exited under a safety car, leaving him in sixth position. Sam Bird performed an extra lap before completing his car changeover though drove through a red light when rejoining the track and was given a drive through penalty whilst attempting to overtake for the lead of the race costing him nine places.
24-year-old Alguersuari then drove aggressively to fight back into third position and was on track for his first podium of the season before Jean-Eric Vergne of Andretti made contact with his rear left wing which cost the Spaniard time. With a lap to go, Alguersuari had battled into fourth and was pushing for a top three finish when Daniel Abt overshot a corner and hit the Virgin Racing driver. For the final lap, Alguersuari handled a damaged car with a bent steering wheel but competitively drove to the finish line to secure fourth position.
British driver Sam Bird recorded the fastest lap time of the race with 1:11:540 whilst finished in seventh place to move within ten points of Lucas di Grassi at the top of the Driver Championship.
The Virgin Racing team leave the fourth race of the FIA Formula E Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina second in the Team Championship with 74 points and are one of only two teams to have two drivers in the top half of the Driver Championship.
The next race takes place on the 14th March 2015 for the first of two North American races as the Virgin Racing team travel to Miami, USA.
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing driver, said, “I have to be honest, I am disappointed with the race today. It was very exciting for the fans of Formula E and it was an action-packed race, but for me it was disappointing. I lost a lot of time with the incident with Vergne in turn six when he made contact with me and then I got hit big time on the final lap and I had to finish the race with my steering wheel bent. I tried to do as best as I could, but it lost me a podium finish. This weekend was a great event as Buenos Aires is an incredible place and the track was great, but we must now look ahead to Miami and work towards a successful race there.”
Sam Bird, Virgin Racing driver said, “Today’s race was very exciting and I am sure that it was a very enjoyable race to watch. I was pushing to take the lead in the race when I was given a drive through penalty for ignoring a red light on the pit exit following my car changeover. This ruined my chances of winning the race. There are some positives to take from the race, however, as despite finishing in seventh we recorded the fastest lap of the race so at least we demonstrated our speed potential.’
Alex Tai, Virgin Racing Team Principal, said, “As a team, we were in a great position today to have both drivers finish on the podium. Unfortunately, there were a number of factors that meant we were not allowed to do so. Both Sam and Jaime showed incredible spirit to drive competitively through to the end of the race and we are now just within eleven points of the Team Championship as we leave Argentina in second place. We now have time before the next ePrix in Miami to work hard and keep on improving as we have shown at each race in the Championship so far.”