Gary Paffett ended his maiden ABB FIA Formula E campaign on a high as he finished in the points at the New York E-Prix double-header finale.
The two-time DTM champion has had a season filled with mixed fortunes, however Gary came back from narrowly missing out on scoring in the first race in the Big Apple to coming home 10th in the final round of the 2018/19 Formula E season. With the championship reaching its end, the New York doubleheader also marked HWA’s last race in the series - they will be replaced by Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team.
During the first of two New York qualifying sessions, Gary struggled for grip on the dusty track surface, meaning he could only manage a time good enough for 15th on the starting grid for the opening race of the weekend.
When the race got the green light later on that day, Gary looked like a man on a mission as he made a fantastic start and passed two cars into the first corner. As the opening lap continued, Gary overtook another two cars to see him in touching distance of the points in 11th.
After his fiery start to the proceedings, Gary’s race settled down as he managed his pace and kept within touching distance of a solid finish in the points. However, Gary’s race took a twist as Felipe Massa got his braking wrong when attempting to overtake him. Avoiding certain contact, the #17 car was forced to back out and several drivers capitalised on this opportunity to overtake Gary.
This wasn’t the end of the drama - on lap 25, Jerome d’Ambrosio forced him in the direction of the crash barriers. This once again allowed several rivals to pass Gary and the 38-year-old suddenly found himself 17th. With last minute action - true to Formula E’s style - Gary made good fortune of the incidents and was able to cross the line in 11th.
While he narrowly missed out on the points due to some questionable manoeuvres from rivals, Gary could be happy with the pace and racecraft he demonstrated.
"That was a tough race, a little adventure - I made up a few places at the start and was well positioned to pick up some points,” Gary said. “After that, a few drivers attempted some unfair manoeuvres. We certainly also saw some good racing today, but a few people clearly crossed the line. The car felt good and I did everything I could. Here's to a new day tomorrow!"
Sunday provided more drama for the British driver. In the morning’s practice session, an uncharacteristic error saw Gary hit the wall and meant that the team had to work hard to ensure his car was fit for qualifying.
When the time came for the final timed session of the season, Gary recovered from the earlier mishap to deliver a strong ninth-place starting position for the season finale.
When the final race of the immense 13-race calendar got the green light, Gary got off to a good start and maintained his place. Unfortunately, the high temperatures in the city started to take its toll on the Venturi VFE-05 car and he fell down the order.
Now running in 12th position, and defending valiantly, a stroke of luck saw a last-lap collision hand Gary 10th place and he ended his debut all-electric season in a point-scoring fashion.
"I am very happy with our last race,” Gary said. “After a good start, I was able to defend 12th place, despite the issues we had with the temperature. The collision at the end allowed me to gain two positions and end the race in the points. It is a fantastic way to end the season."
Gary’s Formula E season has been a real rollercoaster of emotions. After 13 races across all four corners of the globe, Gary amassed a total of nine points to finish 19th in the standings in his and HWA RACELAB’s debut season.