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World's first Formula E champ crowned

2015-06-29 09:27

VICTORY IN LONDON: Nelson Piquet Jnr celebrates his overall Championship title after the Formula E London ePrix race at Battersea Park, England on June 28 2015. Image: AP / Tim Ireland

LONDON, June 28 - Nelson Piquet Jnr became the first Formula E champion on Sunday (June 29 2015) as the new electric series wrapped up its debut season with a race that had the crowd making more noise than the cars.

Piquet, whose father and namesake was a triple Formula 1 world champion, finished seventh in the final race in London's Battersea Park to beat Sebastien Buemi by one point.

The final race winner was Sam Bird, a former Mercedes F1 test driver, for Virgin Racing after Stephane Sarrazin took the chequered flag first but was then demoted to 15th for excessive energy use.

TRIUMPH IN THE RAIN

Three drivers, all of whom have competed in F1, were in title contention going into the finale on a wet track before Team China Racing's Piquet prevailed.

Piquet after the uncertain ending: "I only knew I had won the championship when the commentator went onto the radio and said, 'Can we interview the champion? The team didn't tell me."

VIDEO: World's first Formula E champ crowned

Piquet, who was helped by team mate Oliver Turvey letting him through, raced in F1 with Renault in 2008 and 2009.

He subsequently triggered a major scandal after revealing to the sport's governing FIA that he had crashed deliberately into a wall in Singapore in 2008 to help team mate Fernando Alonso win. After that he raced in Nascar and rallycross.

Piquet said when reminded of that 2008 F1 incident at a post-race news conference: "I don't know what you're talking about, it's long, long away."

STRONG MESSAGE

The ePrix brought motorsport to the capital, the cars racing on fenced off park roads just south of the Thames while locals walked their dogs and enjoyed picnics without being troubled by noise.

Apart from the squeal of tyres around the tight corners, the cars made a whistling sound less intrusive than the roar of passing airplanes overhead.

The series started in Beijing in 2014 and included races in Monaco, Miami and Moscow.

Jerome D'Ambrosio a runner-up in the London race, said: "Being in a park in London is a strong message.

"In two days nobody is going to be able to see that Formula E was here. And that's great. I think it's going to just grow and grow."

The e.dams Renault outfit, backed by retired four times F1 champion Alain Prost, won the team title.

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