ALEXANDER Sims claimed his first podium finish in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship at the final race of the 2018/19 season in New York
The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver, from Bickmarsh, near Bidford, ended his maiden Formula E season on a high with a strong drive to finish second in Sunday’s race.
It followed a fourth-place finish on Saturday in this season’s double-header finale.
Sims claimed 33 points during the weekend to finish 13th in the Drivers’ Standings, with BMW i Andretti Motorsport finishing fifth in the Teams’ Championship.
“The car has felt really good all weekend and it’s so nice to bring it all together and get positive results,” added Sims. “I’m so pleased for everyone in the team. There have been lots of ups and downs, some disappointments this season, but it felt so good to be in strong starting positions, particularly to start from the front, and show what we can do. It feels like it’s been a long time coming, but it’s been a great way to end the season.”
Sims qualified in pole position with a fastest lap of 1:09.617 during Sunday’s Super Pole top-six shootout.
Making his first front-row start in Formula E, Sims got a fast and clean getaway to lead from Sébastien Buemi. An early safety car was called for a spinning José Maria Lopez, with Sims getting an incredible restart to pull away from the pursuing pack. Taking his first Attack Mode, Sims powered forward to increase his lead.
Approaching the mid-point in the race, second-placed Robin Frijns had been in pursuit, with a slight lock up from Sims allowing him to close in on the Brit. Sims defended hard against his advances, making it as difficult as possible for Frijns but the Dutchman was able to squeeze past on Lap 16 to take the lead.
Running in second place, Sims held strong for the remainder of the race, defending from a championship-chasing Buemi in the closing laps to take his first podium finish of the season.
In Saturday’s race, Sims jumped straight from fifth into fourth off the line before passing Pascal Wehrlein on the outside of Turn 1 for third place. Pursuing Alex Lynn in second and Buemi up ahead in the lead, Sims also had to defend from Daniel Abt,.
With 20 minutes remaining, Lynn suffered a failure that slowed him to a halt, allowing Sims through into second place. A safety car was called for the stranded Lynn bunching the field, and when racing got back under way, Sims continued his strong defence against Abt, who lost two places after making a challenge, allowing Sims and Buemi to break away.
In the final ten minutes of the race, the hard-charging duo of Mitch Evans and António Félix da Costa, Sims’ BMW team-mate, were closing in on the leading pair. Evans found his way past Sims and in the closing laps, Sims let Da Costa through for third place, supporting his position in the standings, with Sims holding onto fourth.
“If you’d told me ahead of this weekend that I’d be walking away with a second- and fourth-place finish I’d have been delighted,” said Sims.
“I’m competitive, so when you start from pole you do hope to win, so there is the slightest amount of disappointment that we didn’t get that result, but ultimately it’s been a fantastic weekend and deserved results for the team. They’ve worked so hard all season doing an incredible job.
“Everyone has kept pushing, kept striving for the results and I’m glad we have lots of positives to take from this weekend at the end of the season.”