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Bird moves into championship lead with New York victory

Sam Bird brings it home with a lights-to-flag victory in the second race of the weekend in New York.

The Jaguar driver jumps from 13th to first in the championship standings with a dominant win ahead of Nick Cassidy and Antonio Felix Da Costa.

Despite an early safety car bunching up the order, Bird was relatively unchallenged throughout the race.

The only other driver to lead the race was Mitch Evans, who briefly took over from his team-mate after Bird took Attack Mode, but soon relinquished the position.

Evans looked set to make it a Jaguar 1-2 but suspension damage late in the race meant he almost failed to take the chequered flag and dropped from second to 13th in a matter of laps.

Evans had spent much of the race battling against Cassidy. Cassidy slipped through to second while in Attack Mode, but the Jaguar driver soon reclaimed P2 when he moved into the extra power mode.

He couldn’t shake Cassidy and spent the second half of the race with the Virgin driver on his tail. Da Costa made it a three way fight for P2. As Evans defended, Bird was able to pull away at the front of the order and the Porsche duo of Pascal Wehrlein and Andre Lotterer closed onto the back of the fight.

By the closing stages of the race, second through to sixth were running nose to tail, so when a mistake left Evans with damaged suspension he became a sitting duck.

Cassidy and Da Costa were able to pass Evans with ease, but Evans slotted in behind the Techeetah driver and managed to hold of the Porsche’s for roughly half a lap before they too came through.

With a little over a lap remaining, Cassidy couldn’t close the gap to Bird and finished 4.167s behind the race leader.

The leading group had a considerable gap back to P6, where Alexander Sims was leading the next train of drivers, but Evans wasn’t able to hold on long enough to finish inside the points. He crawled to the line and came to a stop just afterwards, finishing P13.

Sims, who spent the first part of the race battling Lotterer, took sixth ahead of Norman Nato and Robin Frijns.

Alex Lynn and Maximilian Guenther rounded out the top 10.

It was a day to forget for the Audi works team. Rene Rast was forced to pit early on after suffering a flat tyre. He returned to the track but could only recover to P20. Team-mate Lucas Di Grassi was fighting a little higher up the order with Sebastien Buemi, only to make contact with the Nissan driver and be awarded a 10 second time penalty.

There was drama for Jean-Eric Vergne, who couldn’t get off the grid. The stationary Techeetah was the reason for the early safety car period.

Bethonie Waring

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