After long-awaited high expectations for Stephane Sarrazin, he finished in second position in the Long Beach E-Prix. The Venturi driver from France had a good qualifying session Saturday morning earning a place in the SuperPole for the third time this season
. Sarrazin was in 4th position behind DaCosta (Aguri), Bird (DS Virgin), and DiGrassi (ABT) when the Portuguese Da Costa received a penalty for low tire pressure and was sent to the back of the grid to start the race, landing Sarrazin in third position. It was a much more difficult day for Mike Conway who began in the 14th position on the grid after a disappointing qualifying session.
In the beginning of the race Stéphane controlled his position well and kept just behind Di Grassi and Bird. The team did a great job swapping the cars mid-race at lap 21 and Stéphane was able to hold his position until lap 23 when he overtook Bird who had a braking issue in turn five. « I won’t fall behind. » Sarrazin promised in the pit before the race and he kept that promise finishing the race in second place. Conway also had success as he was able to gain a few positions ending the race in the 10th position and scoring points for the Venturi Team.
« We are very happy » said Stéphane at the end of the race. « We have been so close to a win so many times since the beginning of the Formula-E series. Today is a great relief, and a great joy – everything really came together for us today. My cars were fast, efficient, reliable and our team did great in the pit. It really feels amazing to finally be on the podium. We are all really happy – and yesterday was Gildo’s birthday and he has done so much for this team and has been so patient, so it’s a great feeling to have been able to show him that today ».
The timing couldn’t have been better for the Monaco-based Venturi Formula-E Team to have both drivers score points for the first time in season 2. Team owner, Gildo Pastor, was in attendance with his family and extended Venturi after celebrating his birthday saturday, and enjoying this victory today.
« I am so happy » explained Gildo Pastor « The Venturi team has done a great job today. We have always known that we have a great engine and a great powertrain, but also that we have a team that is continuing to grow and learn in this specific motorsports environment. Today everyone was focused and efficient. We achieved our first podium, and have both drivers earning points – that’s great. We still have a lot to learn, and a long way to come but it’s really wonderful to see that we are competitive and that our hard work has paid off. This is the second time in a row that Venturi Automobiles, as a manufacturer, is on the podium after Dragon’s victory in Mexico. Congratulations. »
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