Jean-Eric Vergne hailed a "big day" for the DS Techeetah team after bouncing back from a three-race streak without points to chalk up his first win of the Formula E season in Sanya on Saturday, boosting his hopes of defending his drivers' title.

Reigning Formula E champion Vergne won a race-long battle with Nissan's Oliver Rowland in Sanya to pick up his first win since the New York City E-Prix last July, moving up to third place in the drivers' standings in the process.

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The result marked the first win for the partnership between French manufacturer DS and the Chinese Techeetah team, which also celebrated a home victory on the island of Hainan.

"I feel very proud and happy to be able to bring this win to DS. It’s a new relationship, always difficult when you start, but after 20 races in a row in the points, the last three races not being able to score any points was extremely hard and tough on me," Vergne said in the post-race press conference.

"I did not sleep very well inbetween Hong Kong and here. But the fact that we were able to stick together as a team and keep working with the same wish of moving forward and doing the best job possible has paid off today. I can’t be any happier with the job we have done.

"It’s a big day for us. We are a Chinese team and winning here is absolutely amazing. Up until the podium when we had the Chinese anthem, all the fans were singing it, and it was actually quite emotional."

Vergne made the race-winning move just past half-distance after diving past Rowland, who had managed to fend off the Frenchman through the opening stages with aplomb.

"He’s a tough man to overtake. He was moving a little bit, but that’s racing, you play within the rules," Vergne said.

"I thought there was only one corner I could overtake him. I tried to attack him on many other corners, but not that one. Many laps I was lifting extremely early, so he saw that I was never, ever close to him.

"When the moment came, I just went for it, and I think I surprised him."


Vergne was quick to dedicate his victory in Sanya to the late F1 race director Charlie Whiting, who died suddenly last week at the age of 66.

Vergne worked closely with Whiting during his time in F1 as a member of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.

"We had a lot of discussions, and I got to learn a lot from him. He was a brilliant man, a lot more than just a race director, and losing him was a massive loss for the world of motorsport in general," Vergne said.

"He was not only working for F1, but all the race directors around the world were working with him.

"Losing him was not very nice, so I dedicated my win to him. It is the minimum we could do as racing drivers, so it goes to him."



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