Defending Formula E champ wins season opener in HK

Updated: 2016-10-10 07:32

By Honey Tsang and Li Yinze in Hong Kong(

Defending Formula E champ wins season opener in HK

Renault-eDAMS's Sebastien Buemi (C) of Switzerland celebrates on podium after winning the FIA Formula E Hong Kong ePrix in Hong Kong, China on Oct 9, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Defending champion Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland steered his electric Renault e.Dams team to victory in what was both the first race of the 2016-17 FIA Formula E season and the inaugural FIA Formula E Hong Kong ePrix.

Buemi, who won last year's Formula E Drivers' Championship, roared along the waterfront streets of Hong Kong's Central District, and his win saw him collect a maximum25 points.

Runner-up Lucas di Grassi from the German team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport took 18 points, while Nick Heidfeld of the Indian team Mahindra Racing Formula E finished third, taking 15 points.

Ten teams headed out on the 1.8-km street circuit, which included a 555-meter straightway and two hairpin turns at Lung Wo Road and the Star Ferry Pier.

The electric racing cars are powered by giant lithium ion batteries, each of which packs the same punch as 10,000 AA batteries. Despite this, the batteries still lack the power necessary to carry the cars through the entire 45 laps of the race. Each driver was required to make a mandatory pit stop to change cars half way through the race.

After the vehicle change, the top three finishers dueled it out at the front before they finally started to run out of steam on the final lap, leaving both their teams and spectators to wonder anxiously whether one or all of them might fail to make it to the finish line.

All three of the top finishers were down to 3 percent or less battery power when they eventually crossed the finish line.

"I had to save a lot of energy, and then the temperature was really high at the end. I am not sure that I could finish another lap," Buemi told reporters after winning the race.

He added that though the track was relatively short this time, he looks forward to returning to Hong Kong to compete again in future.

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