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Sim racer Bono Huis beats Formula E stars in Vegas eRace

© Formula E

Faraday Future Dragon Racing sim racer Bono Huis emerged victorious in this weekend's inaugural Formula E Visa Vegas eRace after a post-race technical inspection resulted in a penalty for Mahindra Racing's Olli Pahkala, who had originally clinched the virtual chequered flag.

Huis had started from pole position having topped every session over the weekend heading into Saturday evening's race. He got a clean getaway and held the lead of the race until the first round of pit stops which saw him drop to second place behind Pahkala.

However Pahkala was subsequently deemed to have gained an unfair performance advantage in the race from a software glitch which gave him a sustained power delivery of FanBoost over and above the limit for five laps during the second stint.

Because of the issue, Pahkala received a 12 second post-race penalty which cost him the victory and promoted Huis back onto the top step of the podium, handing him the biggest prize in eSports racing history with a cheque for $200,000, together with a further $25,000 for having clinched pole position.

The experienced sim racers were competing against their real life Formula E counterparts, with Mahindra's Felix Rosenqvist taking second place behind Huis and ahead of Pahkala, who was ultimately classified in third place after his penalty.

Rosenqvist was the only official Formula E driver to finish in the top six, while Jose Maria Lopez finished in seventh place for Virgin Racing ahead of his team mate Sam Bird in eighth. Daniel Abt took ninth for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, and Nelson Piquet Jr (NextEV NIO) pipped Sebastien Buemi (Renault e.dams) to tenth place.

Others competing in the event being staged at global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow CES included Robin Frijns (Andretti Formula E), Loic Duval (Faraday Future Dragon Racing) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Andretti Formula E) who finished in 13th, 14th and 16th positions respectively.

Sim racer David Greco (Renault e.dams) won a $10,000 prize for setting the Visa Fastest Lap on his way to finishing in 15th place.

"This first eRace in Las Vegas was a great success," said Alejandro Agag, the founder and CEO of Formula E. "It’s exciting to have brought Formula E into the inner sanctum of CES - the biggest and most influential technology show in the world.

"I think this can be the first in a big future for Formula E in eSports racing. We will continue to pursue new and innovative ways to improve our presence in this fast growing landscape, while maintaining fan engagement at the forefront of all our initiatives."

Formula E returns to the US for real with the maiden running of the New York City ePrix on July 15-16 against the backdrop of Lower Manhattan on the purpose-built Brooklyn Street Circuit.

The next race on the 2016-2017 Formula E calendar is in Buenos Aires on February 18.

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