THe DS Virgin Racing driver started the 43-lap race in second place behind pole sitter Jean-Eric Vergne and looked to be in control after passing the Frenchman on Lap 20. But his race hit a snag when he skidded into the side of his team's pit garage during the mandatory car swap. Follow @cnnsportThe error cost him minimal time and he returned to the track in the lead before race stewards hit him with a penalty for not stopping inside the garage. With Vergne and third placed Nick Heidfeld waiting to pounce, Bird was in danger of losing his lead when he served his drive-through penalty but emerged from the pit lane meters ahead of his rivals.Now with a clear track ahead, Vergne and Heidfeld were powerless to stop Bird from streaking away and the Briton eventually came home nearly 12 seconds ahead.Techeetah driver Vergne held on to second — a good start to his season after winning the closing race of season three in Montreal — with Heidfeld taking third, his eighth podium finish in Formula E. "What an amazing result," Bird said afterwards. "I served my penalty. I thought I'd (come back out) in P6 or P7."The car was great … we didn't know what to expect when we came here but what a great start to the year."Saturday's ePrix got off to a chaotic start when the race was red-flagged on Lap 1 as Vergne's new teammate Andre Lotterer bumped into the barriers blocking several drivers behind him. A lengthy delay ensued before the race resumed behind the Safety Car. Bird's sixth win in Formula E lays the foundation for what could be a serious title push after finishing fourth in the drivers' championship in the last two seasons.The previous two years were dominated by last year's champion Lucas di Grassi and 2015/16 winner Sebastien Buemi, but both may have their work cut out this season. Visit CNN.com/motorsport for the latest Formula E news Di Grassi finished down in 18th place after he had to swap cars early in the race following a collision with his Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler teammate Daniel Abt. The news wasn't much better for Buemi who started the race in ninth and finished outside the points in 12th place. Both men will have a chance to make amends on Sunday as drivers return for the second race of the weekend.