Sam Bird (Jaguar Racing) pulled a storming recovery drive out of the bag in the ABB New York City E-Prix Round 10 to reward his team's "unbelievable" efforts that saw his car completely rebuilt between Free Practice 1 and qualifying.
Bird had set the fastest time through the first and second sector on a flying lap late in FP1 but an overzealous third sector proved costly, with the Brit clipping the wall at the apex of Clinton Wharf, a tricky quick left-hander, which spat his I-TYPE 5 out into the barriers.
The team set to work and were able to complete the job with just six seconds to go before parc ferme ahead of qualifying came into force. Bird made it out on-track and despite lacking a proper setup on his car, and a tangle with Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams), he managed 20th on the grid.
From there, a storming recovery drive yielded points and ninth spot, plus the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap. Bird's optimistic for Round 11 on Sunday, too, as long as he makes it easy for himself in FP3 and gets some laps - and a setup - in the bag.
“It wasn’t the best day, unfortunately,” says Bird. “I made a mistake in practice and I paid massively for it – so did the team. However, they did an unbelievable job to get me out at all. Some of the other teams may not have been able to achieve what we did but it’s a whole new car.
“We literally had 10 minutes to get the car ready on the setup patch. Some systems weren’t working quite right so I’m made up that we were able to score some points for the guys and I owe them some beers tonight for sure. It was a great recovery.
“Formula E is physical. Sometimes you have to get your elbows out and that’s what I had to do today. There was no point sitting there and coming 16th or 17th – there’s no points for finishing there. So, I had to push on strategy. We did great with the ATTACK MODEs and the pace in the race itself was very good.
“We seem to be one of, if not the quickest cars out there – we were catching everybody during the second phase of the race. When I got past Alex Lynn, I was really happy considering we’re not the final item yet – we’ll be pretty much there on-track tomorrow.
“The first thing I’m going to do is learn to make it a little bit easier for myself and put in some good quality laps – then I’m sure we can find the front tomorrow.”
Published on 11th July 2021