Lucas Di Grassi took full advantage of a nightmare weekend for championship rival Sebastien Buemi, including a race victory, to secure his maiden FIA Formula E Championship title in Montreal.
Jean-Eric Vergne secured his first win in the all-electric single-seater series since joining in 2014 for Techeetah on Sunday.
Renault e.dams driver Buemi – hampered prior to the Season Three finale by his absence in New York for the penultimate two events, with a contractual obligation to race in the WEC for Toyota at the Nurburgring taking precedence – arrived in Canada with a 10-point lead in the standings over Di Grassi.
The Brazilian made the perfect start by securing pole position for the opening race on Saturday, with Buemi stranded in the midfield.
The Frenchman battled through in the first contest to fourth, but would later be disqualified for a technical infringement as Di Grassi duly claimed the spoils ahead of Vergne and Stephane Sarrazin.
That prompted an angry tirade from Buemi in parc ferme afterwards, who felt the Amlin duo of Antonio Felix da Costa and Robin Frijns had made unnecessary contact with him at Turn 2, before accusing Di Grassi team-mate Daniel Abt of attempting to hold him up.
The net result, however, saw Di Grassi – who had never won a professional title in a career that also included a stint in Formula 1 with Marussia – take a healthy 18-point advantage into the finale on Sunday.
Pole position might have gone the way of Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist – who eventually secured third in the standings overall – but courtesy of a seventh place finish Di Grassi was crowned champion.
Buemi’s final attempt at defending his title, which began again from the rear of the field, unraveled early on as loose bodywork forced him to pit and drop to the rear of the pack. He would eventually take the chequered flag outside of the points in 11th.
Jean-Eric Vergne, meanwhile, made a pass on Rosenqvist in the latter stages of the event to seal his first victory for Techeetah.
This writer argued in the build-up to the weekend that Di Grassi – who finished the season with two race victories compared to Buemi’s six – should never have been as strong a force in this title fight. In many ways, Buemi’s absence in New York lost him the title, rather than any on-circuit action.
But Di Grassi has proven over the last three seasons to be the only other driver truly worthy of being a ‘headline’ act in the series – if anybody else deserved the championship in Buemi’s place, it’s him. He finished the season 24 points ahead of rival Buemi.
Formula E will return in Hong Kong later in 2017 for the hotly-anticipated start to Season Four.