CNN  — 

In the first eight Formula E races of last season, there were eight different winners.

The 2019-20 season has started in much the same way, after BMW driver Alexander Sims claimed his first ever Formula E win in Diriyah in Saudi Arabia.

Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, having won Formula E’s season opener on Friday, was forced to retire early in the race following a sequence of collisions with opposing drivers.

Starting on pole for the third race in a row, Sims led from start to finish, with the British driver’s use of the ‘Attack Mode’ helping him overcome the distractions of the multiple safety cars that were deployed.

In an incident-packed race, with crashes aplenty, the British driver finished 1.383 seconds ahead of BMW teammate Maximilian Günther in second, while Lucas di Grassi came third.

Later on Saturday, however, Günther lost his place on the podium after the FIA adjudged he was in breach of the regulations – for overtaking Di Grassi – while the safety car had been out.

The 22 year-old Günther was handed a 24 second time penalty, while Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne moved up to the podium.

Sims’ victory pushed him top of the Formula E standings with 36 points after the two races, while Vandoorne jumps up to second.

“That was pretty much a dream race, from what I could see anyway,” Sims said on the podium.

“We seemed to execute everything really, really well. Right decisions at the right times. Energy consumption was good. It all went smoothly today.”

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Sims driving during practice ahead of the Diriyah E-Prix.

Chaotic race

Saturday’s race started off in a messy manner.

Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne’s nightmare start to the season continued as he started at the back of the grid after being handed a 20-place grid penalty following a collision with the wall in practice.

Returning to the pits with a broken axle, Vergne’s battery was switched for a replacement, which is a breach of FIA regulations, handing him the punishment as well as a stop and go time penalty which he took in the opening lap.

Mahindra’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio failed to pull away for the warm-up lap and then Bird crashed out with over 30 minutes of the race remaining.

Bird was clipped first by Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans, before being tapped again by Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein.

The race went from bad to worse for Envision Virgin Racing after Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns also crashed out.

With all this confusion going on behind him, Sims drove on serenely, using all his driving experience.

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“I’ve been doing this for 20 years so it’s not something that you get too pent up[ about,” he said. “You’ve got to keep doing your job and get rid of any other distractions that creep into your head but crossing that line was an amazing feeling.”

The championship reconvenes in Santiago, Chile on January 18.