Jean-Eric Vergne clinched the Formula E drivers' championship with one race to spare after recovering from 18th on the grid to finish Saturday's New York City E-Prix fifth, as Lucas di Grassi headed up a one-two finish for Audi.

Entering the penultimate race of the season with a 23-point lead over Sam Bird, Vergne saw his qualifying times deleted after he was deemed to have exceeded the maximum permitted level of power, leaving him 18th for the start, four places back from his title rival. the longest-serving motorsport website in the world

Despite a serene start that saw him run last through the early stages of the race, Vergne was able to rise up the order before getting the jump on Bird on-track just before the mid-race car swaps, needing to make up four more positions to stand a chance of wrapping up the title early.

Vergne was able to gain the places through the pit-stop cycle to run sixth before Andre Lotterer allowed his Techeetah teammate through, leaving the Frenchman fifth entering the closing stages.

Vergne crossed the line P5, meaning that with Bird only finishing ninth for DS Virgin Racing, the points swing was enough to secure Vergne the championship.

At the front of the pack, Audi was able to sweep to a one-two finish to set up a final-race showdown with Techeetah for the teams' championship on Sunday, led by Lucas di Grassi ahead of Daniel Abt.

Abt managed to storm from P5 on the grid to take the lead from pole-sitter Sebastien Buemi on Lap 6 before opening up a lead ahead of the car swaps at half distance.

Di Grassi had battled his way from 11th on the grid to sit third after the car swaps before getting the jump on Buemi, and then pulled a bold move on Abt to take the lead after light contact, much to the team's frustration.

Abt made a lunge to try and reclaim the lead from di Grassi, prompting Audi to invoke team orders via a 'Code 100' radio call. Abt vented his anger about the move being against the spirit of the race, but was forced to settle down in P2.

The race was given a twist with 10 laps to go following a heavy crash for Alex Lynn that left debris on-track and damaged the TecPro barrier, resulting in a Safety Car period.

As marshals worked to repair the barrier, the race was shortened to time, with the green flag returning with three minutes left on the clock. Di Grassi was able to retain his advantage over Abt and Buemi, though, with the trio filling the podium spots. Thanks to di Grassi and Abt's finish, Audi heads into the season finale trailing Techeetah by five points at the top of the teams' championship.

Tom Dillmann took an excellent fourth-place finish for Venturi on his return to the series, standing in for Edoardo Mortara, crossing the line ahead of newly-crowned champion Vergne.

Nick Heidfeld managed to get the jump on Lotterer just before the Safety Car to grab sixth, leaving the Techeetah driver P7 at the flag. Maro Engel finished eighth for Venturi after passing Bird during the second stint of the race, with the DS Virgin driver taking ninth overall. Nicolas Prost completed the top 10 for Renault in his penultimate appearance for the team.

Antonio Felix da Costa and Stephane Sarrazin finished 11th and 12th respectively for Andretti ahead of Jerome d'Ambrosio, with Felix Rosenqvist and Luca Filippi rounding out the classified finishers.

Lynn was joined on the retiree list by Jaguar drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. and Mitch Evans, with the latter suffering a suspected driveshaft failure off the line when starting P2. Piquet retired upon exiting the pits after the mid-race car swap.

NIO's Oliver Turvey was ruled out of the race due to a hand injury, with team reserve Ma Qinghua set to step in on Sunday.