Antonio Felix da Costa has clinched a remarkable first FIA Formula E Championship win in Argentina after benefiting from the drama that befell four cars that were running ahead of him during the closing stages.

The Portuguese racer was the only driver to stay out of trouble during a remarkably eventful second-half to the race around the streets of Buenos Aires as those ahead gradually hit problems, beginning with Sebastien Buemi, who crashed out, Lucas di Grassi who suffered suspension failure, and Nick Heidfeld and Sam Bird, who were both hit with drive-thru penalties.

A breathless race that came alive in the final stages, it looked as though Buemi was on course for victory having controlled the race from pole position and during the pit-stop period - despite an ill-timed caution that created confusion for several laps when it picked up the wrong car.

Indeed, it was that safety car that created a gulf in the order as Buemi, di Grassi, Heidfeld, da Costa and Bird escaped at the restart as the chasing pack had to contend with a lapped runners.

With di Grassi - who had earlier planted a superb pass on Heidfeld - putting pressure on Buemi, the Swiss driver buckled first, clipping the inside wall at the high-speed chicane, damaging his front-right suspension and ruling himself out of the equation.

Promoting di Grassi into the lead, the championship leader looked destined for his second win of the year when two laps later his rear suspension snapped at the same point, putting him out on the spot.

It meant Venturi's Heidfeld was now in the lead, with da Costa up in second place after Bird ahead of him was handed a drive-thru penalty for exiting the pit lane on a red light during the safety car period. However, the German's hopes would be dashed cruelly just two laps from home when he was also hit with a drive-thru for speeding in the pit lane.

Their demise one-by-one would duly promote a surprised da Costa into the lead for the final lap, the Red Bull-backed driver coming round cautiously slowly to give Amlin Aguri its first Formula E victory of the year.

If the battle for the win was surprising, the fight for the remaining podium positions was bewildering as several drivers tussled - and tripped over one another - for the other spots. In the end, it was Nicolas Prost that would grab the position, but only after several of his rivals knocked each other out of contention, not least Jaime Alguersuari, who was already crawling after wasting energy catching up with the field during the safety car farce, causing the chasing field to bunch up behind him.

In the end, both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Abt would rear-end the Virgin Racing car at separate moments, with Vergne duly slipping out of contention and Abt retiring on the spot when he speared him under braking. Remarkably, the Spaniard dragged his crabbing car over the line in fourth, behind an equally bewildered Nelson Piquet Jr, who had little clue where he had finished when he crossed the line.

As a measure of the topsy-turvy race, Bruno Senna recovered to fifth despite almost being a lap down at one stage, ahead of a damaged Vergne and the delayed Bird.

Like his winning team-mate, Salvador Duran was one of the few others to enjoy a clean race and was rewarded with eighth, ahead of the livid Heidfeld and Oriol Servia.

Despite his exit, di Grassi retains his lead in the standings, now ten points ahead of Bird and 13 clear of Prost.

 

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