The Andretti Formula E Team have today announced that Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne is to drive for the squad at the FIA Formula E Championship Punta del Este ePrix.
“It’s not often that you get to race at this time of the year,” said Vergne. “I am really looking forward to this opportunity, especially given its location in a place like Punta del Este. Although I have no experience in this new series, I am excited about the prospect of racing in Formula E, and racing for such a prestigious team as Andretti. As always, the main objective of the weekend is to stay out front and finish the year on a high note. The weekend will be a little like a journey into the unknown, but it is a journey that I am thoroughly looking forward to!”
The 24-year-old has three seasons of Formula One experience and has participated in seven championships throughout his career, recording 40 victories and 68 podiums. The 2010 British Formula 3 Champion will join fellow countryman Franck Montagny to complete the Andretti Formula E two-car line-up for the American team led by Michael Andretti.
“We’re really happy to put JEV (Jean-Éric Vergne) in the car for Punta del Este,” said Andretti. “He has great talent and we think he’ll pair well with our team for competitive results. I also think having interest and participation from respected F1 drivers shows great strength and the true potential for Formula E as a series and World Championship.”
The Punta del Este ePrix will mark the Formula E debut for Vergne, who competed full-time on the Formula 1 circuit with Scuderia Toro Rosso where he ranked 13th in the 2014 F1 Drivers’ standings. The previous two rounds in the inaugural all-electric racing series saw the team’s full-season championship driver Montagny, as well as Charles Pic and reserve driver Matthew Brabham in competition for Andretti.
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Nicolas Prost claimed his second consecutive pole position in Putrajaya but will start from 11th on the grid following a 10-place grid penalty.
The e.dams-Renault driver clocked a 1:21.779s ahead of Dragon Racing’s Oriol Servia but the Frenchman will move back on the grid after picking up a grid penalty for the last-lap crash with Nick Heidfeld in Beijing.
Prost said: “My goal was just to stick it on pole so I could start 11th and that’s what we did. The Beijing pole was a bit of a surprise but here felt really good. We’ll have to see how the race goes, fastest lap would be great too but overall I’m really happy with the result and my performance.”
Both Dragon Racing drivers put in a strong performance to lockout the front row of the grid but following a post-qualifying investigation Jerome d’Ambrosio was sent to the back of the grid for exceeding the maximum power usage.
Speaking straight after qualfying the Belgian said: “This is a great result on a difficult track which is very bumpy. I thought I only had an ok lap and clipped the wall slightly which damaged my suspension – almost finished on three wheels. It’s a great result for the team, especially with Oriol on pole.”
Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird will line-up second with Daniel Abt in third. The Audi Sport ABT driver set the initial pace in the opening qualifying group with a 1:22.342s and remained fastest for a long period until Prost and Servia lowered the benchmark.
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Matthew Brabham, grandson of three-time Formula 1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham, has been confirmed to replace Charles Pic for the Putrajaya ePrix.
The American-born driver will race alongside Franck Montagny for Andretti in the second race of the 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship.
At 1.59miles (2.56km) and featuring 12 turns, the Putrajaya street circuit is located near the Perdana Putra housing the Prime Minister’s Office, using much of the main high street and passing several of the city’s most recognisable buildings such as the Ministry of Finance. It also encompasses the beautiful Seri Wawasan Bridge and Putra Mosque and will see drivers tackle a mixture of straights, slow to medium speed corners, a hairpin plus a tight first-corner chicane.
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