Kuala Lumpur: Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird put up a superb performance Saturday to clinch victory in the Formula E on the Putrajaya street circuit in Malaysia despite a raging Lucas Di Grassi hot on the Englishman`s heels.
Bird, who was second on the grid, completed the 31 laps in 51 minutes 11.979 seconds in a race punctuated by a series of dramatic crashes which allowed Beijing winner Di Grassi of Audi Sport ABT to sneak up from the back 18 for a spectacular second.
With a second podium finish just 4.175 seconds behind his British rival, Brazilian Di Grassi extends his domination of Formula E with 43 points while Bird is second in the driver`s championship with 40 points.
"The track was extremely challenging. I am sure of more podiums if we continue to improve," Bird told reporters after the race.
Oriol Servia who was first on the grid ended seventh.
The second race of the season was held in Putrajaya, seat of Malaysia`s government, where the single-seaters with a distinctive whine race close to the prime minister`s office at speeds of 225 kph (140 mph).
Regarded as an environmentally friendly future for motor sports, Formula Electric has won the backing of Hollywood star Leonardo Di Caprio and British tycoon Richard Branson.
The twisting 2.5 kilometre street track which allows lots of overtaking is punctuated by two long straights with a tight right-hand sweeping left corner in the middle along with a series of right-left chicanes and one hairpin bend.
Di Grassi attributed his success to his ability to concentrate on the race despite the heat and to avoid mistakes.
"A small mistake can ruin your whole weekend," he said.
Switzerland`s Sebastien Buemi of E.Dams-Renault was third after starting 19th on the grid in the field of 20 drivers.
Nicolas Prost, the son of four-time F1 champion Alain, clinched his second straight pole position for the race but the Frenchman had to serve a 10-spot penalty for a crash with ex-F1 driver Nick Heidfeld in the inaugural Beijing race.
Prost, E.Dams-Renault driver, finished fourth after rolling off from 11th on the grid.
Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton Senna, had another miserable race finishing 14th.
The 10-race championship concluding in London next June pits 10 teams and 20 drivers in one-hour, urban-centre races and is being touted as the future of F1-style racing.