Senna finishes 5th for Mahindra at Long Beach

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Long Beach (US), April 5 (IANS) Mahindra Racing’s Bruno Senna came up with a brilliant drive to finish fifth at the Formula E Long Beach ePrix here with teammate Karun Chandhok crossing the line in 12th and out of points.

The Brazilian charged throughout the race to gain positions for the only Indian team in the electric car series on Saturday.

Having started from outside the top-10, the race was a frantic fight for positions which eventually got him 10 points at the Long Beach Street Circuit.

Following three free practice sessions and qualifying, Senna started 12th and Chandhok in 18th.

As the lights went out, it was a tight squeeze to the first chicane. Thankfully, all the drivers made it through safely. As Senna and Chandhok passed the line for the first time, they were running in 11th and 19th positions, respectively.

However, the race was slowed down with the appearance of the safety car after Scott Speed collided with the wall, leaving his front right destroyed. With the safety car neutralising the ePrix, Senna was already running in top-10 and Chandhok 18th.

The restart didn’t last long when moments later a second safety car was deployed while the stricken car of Jarno Trulli was removed from the track, following a collision with Charles Pic.

The delay, however, altered the strategy for both Senna and Chandhok, allowing them to remain out on track for a couple of extra laps before needing to pit for their second cars.

However, when they did, both stops were quick and smooth. With all mandatory car swaps complete, Senna had made his way up to sixth and Chandhok was 14th.

The rest of the race settled slightly until the final few laps when a drive through penalty for pole-sitter Daniel Abt, a consequence of exceeding his maximum power allowance, meant that Senna was able to claim fifth.

Senna began to chase Sebastian Buemi ahead but with a few laps left, he settled for fifth. Chandhok was less fortunate and after a difficult race in the mid-field.

“I’m glad we got a good result out of a qualifying that wasn’t the strongest for us but still an improvement on previous rounds,” Senna said.

“It was great to be competitive on track when we needed to be and have the chance to gain those positions. The team did a great job and we can be happy with the result. We got the most out of the race and will be aiming for even better in Monaco.”

The race was won by former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet for China Racing ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne (Andretti Autosport). Lucas di Grassi of Audi Sport ABT finished third.

The next race will be held in Monaco on May 9.

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