DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa has won the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with two races to spare at Berlin Tempelhof – emotionally admitting post-race that he had considered quitting motorsport in previous seasons.
The Portuguese has been magnificent in his first season for DS Techeetah having finished 13th, 20th and 15th in the three seasons before his sixth-placed finish for BMW i Andretti Motorsport last year.
But it has been pure dominance since joining the reigning Team’s Champions – never finishing outside the top four in the previous six races which included four E-Prix victories and adding a second-place finish today.
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Teammate and former reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne won the race but conceded his title defence on the same day although the one-two finish allowed DS Techeetah to retain their Teams’ Championship.
Another former champion in Sebastien Buemi of Nissan e.dams rounded off the podium but the day belonged to Da Costa who looked back on the tough times of battling it out mid-table for much of his Formula E career.
“The bad times have really come to my mind because I came so close to giving up so many times,” he said. “But thanks to the people around me I never did.
“But more than that thanks to these guys who I have raced with since Season 1 [now at Techeetah]. Even when I was finishing lower down in P15, P-nothing they knew what I could do and brought me back, I have no words.
“Also a massive thanks to JEV [Vergne], he is a hard bone to chew. He pushed me all the way, he helped me out a lot, so thanks to him I was able to be get away and be so quick today.”
Vergne began the day on Julius Baer Pole Position while Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns luck ran out after two top-four finishes in a row, a battery problem ensuring the Dutchman couldn’t make the starting grid.
Da Costa’s closest challenger in the Drivers’ Championship, Max Guenther was out of the race on the opening lap after crashing into the back of NIO 333’s Oliver Turvey and failing to back up his race win yesterday.
10 minutes into the race rain began to fall but the treacherous conditions did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the racers who all looked in the mood for overtakes, causing the best racing of the behind-closed-doors rounds so far.
The DS Techeetah pair had hinted pre-race of a gentleman’s agreement and Vergne soon showed this as he let his teammate da Costa pass him halfway through the race to help defend against the chasing Nissan e.dams team.
The pair swapped positions again in the final 10 minutes with Oliver Rowland and Buemi continuing to push them all the way with the Swiss soon leapfrogging his partner with more usable energy.
Despite pushing the DS pair all the way to the final there was nothing Buemi could do and the day was complete for the manufacturer and Da Costa, who has not finished outside the top four for seven races.
And with Formula E becoming an official FIA World Championship next season, plenty of eyes will be on DS Techeetah now with two champions amongst its ranks.
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship returns for the final two races of the season at Berlin Tempelhof live on BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport Website and Eurosport 2 on Wednesday 12 August at 18:00 BST.
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