Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans claims an emotional first victory in Rome with DS Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer in second and HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne bringing home both his and the team’s first podium finish in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
Here’s how it all happened…
Poleman Lotterer pulled away from Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans close behind in second and Geox Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez in third. With all cars running downhill, Lopez teammate Max Gunther slid sideways through turn eight, clipping the wall, which sent his front splitter flying across the track.
Moments later, his teammate Lopez struck Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, sending him into the wall and limping back to the pit lane. Following Lopez incident with Bird, the Argentinian Geox driver failed to make it through the chicane, crashing into the wall on the apex of Turn 19. With nowhere to go, HWA Racelab’s Gary Paffett collided with Lopez before DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne went into the back of Paffett, ending the Brit’s race.
With the red flag out, racing was suspended while the cars were recovered from the track, stopping the clock temporarily with 42 minutes left to go. Once the racing had restarted, Lotterer pulled away with Evans in second and HWA’s Vandoorne chasing them down in third.
With the Attack Mode Activation Zone open (running up the inside of Turn 7), Antonio Felix da Costa was the first driver to engage it, within seconds of getting back out on track. Each driver is permitted to engage Attack Mode at least twice during the race, with each power boost lasting four minutes.
Still battling it out at the front, Lotterer led Evans with 25 minutes left to go. Following Evans’ disastrous race last season, where the Kiwi driver ran out of energy after leading the race, Evans was keen to prove his pace and potential here in Rome.
For home race hero Felipe Massa, the Brazilian’s race was cut short with 23 minutes remaining after a suffering a technical failure. With his car stranded on track, a full course yellow followed while the Venturi was recovered.
With 16 minutes left to go and, with Attack Mode engaged, Evans used the additional power and made a break for the lead on Turn 11, passing the German as he slid into second ahead of Vandoorne.
Lotterer, hungry to regain the lead and claim his first win in the series, hunted down Evans using his final Attack Mode to try and squeeze past the Kiwi driver. Holding him back, Evans battled at the front with his energy fast depleting.
With the memory of last season’s disastrous Rome race still fresh in his mind, Evans went all out for the finish, eager to claim both his as Jaguar’s first ever win in Formula E. Crossing the line with only two per cent battery left, Evans clinched the win with Lotterer coming second and HWA’s Stoffel Vandoorne claiming both his and the teams’ first podium finish.