Defending champ Da Costa grabs podium in Diriyah race 2

Reigning ABB Formula E Champion Antonio Felix da Costa made up for a disappointing opening round by securing a deserved podium in race 2 of the Diriyah ePrix.

Da Costa qualified ninth on the grid, two places below DS TECHEETAH teammate and former champion Jean-Eric Vergne before both drivers made steady progress, utilising Attack Mode to good effect to pass rivals and then enjoy a titanic battle between one another for the final podium position.

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE20, leads Sebastien Buemi (CHE) Nissan e.Dams, Nissan IMO2, and Antonio Felix da Costa (PRT) DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE20

Following a frightening late crash involving the Mahindra of Alex Lynn, the race was red flagged and the positions were frozen. But because Vergne had not used his mandatory second Attack Mode, a time penalty dropped him out of the points from his podium position, promoting Da Costa.

“It was a good performance and a good result today, we showed that we have the pace again and I am super pleased with that,” said Da Costa. “It truly was a fun race, with amazing overtakes and a great recovery. This was our last time with the old car, for the next race we will have the new one, which is now ready, and I can’t wait to drive it!”

Antonio Felix da Costa (PRT) DS Techeetah, on the grid

“Everything looked like it had come together today, but in the end I’m afraid to say that it didn’t,” added Vergne. “When there is a big crash like the one Alex had today the only thing that matters is that he is OK. Unfortunately, it meant that I couldn’t take my second attack mode, which is compulsory, which in effect gave me a post-race penalty and cost me my third position.

“It would have been a really nice start to the season to have that place, but we have seen that you don’t have to win the first race to win the season. It was nice to retire the DS E-TENSE FE20 with some eventful racing today so I will be taking that with me when I re-load for Rome.”

Fireworks light the sky as Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) DS Techeetah, 3rd position, celebrates with his trophy before his time penalty was confirmed

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.