ROME – Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans raced to his first Formula E triumph and the first for Jaguar Saturday afternoon on the streets of Rome.
Evans stalked the back of polesitter Andre Lotterer’s car in the opening phase of the race, with the DS TECHEETAH driver unable to build a gap over Evans. With both teams and drivers evenly-matched on pace, it became a tactical battle about when to deploy Attack Mode.
It was Evans who blinked first – activating Attack Mode just after the halfway mark. Despite losing some time moving off the racing line, Evans stayed ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in third and quickly roped Lotterer back in.
Lotterer chose not to mirror Evans and ran an alternate strategy, holding off on using the higher power mode and keeping the Jaguar behind – intending to reap the rewards later in the race and use track position to his advantage.
However, Evans had other ideas and made a lunge with only seconds to spare with Attack Mode running out. Staying in his slipstream with the shining LED lights on the halo, Evans squeezed by Lotterer with a bold move up the inside of turn 11.
With the lead changing hands, Lotterer used Attack Mode twice in a bid to counteract the advance of Evans. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t get close enough and had to once again settle for second place.
Managing and closely monitoring his energy to the checkered flag, Evans punched the air as he crossed the finish-line. Evans became the seventh-straight different winner in Formula E action this year.
“The first few laps were tricky, and Andre and I looked comfortable out in front – but it wasn’t easy,” said Evans. “After the red flag I wanted to stay after him, as normally DS TECHEETAH are really strong in the race. So, I thought let’s see what we’ve got behind them. Once the energy information became visible, I thought it was surprising and I needed to use it to get close and attack. Obviously, it was on the edge but it could be done. I want to thank everyone at Panasonic Jaguar Racing for the hard work. It’s not been easy – we’ve been in the championship since season three – so I’m really delighted to be the first winner for Jaguar.”
Vandoorne hung on to the coat-tails of the top-two and rounded-out the podium. The result marks the first podium for the Belgian in his rookie season and the first for HWA RACELAB in Formula E.
Robin Frijns progressed through the field to fourth ahead of Sebastien Buemi – who picked-up an extra point for fastest lap – with his Nissan e.dams team-mate Oliver Rowland a place further back, in front of Lucas di Grassi in seventh.
Jerome D’Ambrosio was eighth, which was was enough to vault him above Antonio Felix da Costa to the top of the Formula E standings.
Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne couldn’t replicate his form from Sanya, failing to score points after being caught-up in a first lap melee with Jose Maria Lopez and Gary Paffett that eventually brought out the red flag. Vergne was later penalized for overtaking Da Costa under caution – dropping him further down the order.