Mitch Evans negotiated a chaotic opening lap that saw bumps, crashes and a multi-car pile up before pulling off a dramatic overtaking maneuver to secure victory at the Rome E-Prix Saturday.
Evans’ triumph is his first in Formula E and a first for Panasonic Jaguar in the sport. It also means that for the seventh time in seven races this season, a different driver and constructor has taken the checkered flag.
“I’ve got no words, to be honest,” Evans said after the race.
“Everyone has worked their hearts out. This feels really special.
“The car was an absolute rocket-ship today.”
The race was halted early when Jose Maria Lopez in the Geox Dragon brushed a curb and collided with a wall on the final corner of the first lap.
A pile up ensued, drawing a red flag that saw all cars hauled into the pits as some semblance of order was restored.
The race restarted after a lengthy delay with Andre Lotterer, who began on pole, setting the pace until Evans made his move at the Obelisk chicane whilst in attack mode.
The New Zealander later described the move as “a little bit creative” and both cars appeared to touch as Evans burst into the lead.
Lotterer was philosophical about the incident after the race saying “it’s Formula E, there’s a bit of rubbing it’s alright.”
The German would go on to finish second in the DS Techeetah ahead of Stoffel Van Doorne of HWA Racelab.
Mahindra Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio went top of the driver’s leader board despite finishing in eighth.
Yet, his lead is a narrow one. Just 13 points separate the top nine drivers.
With 25 points for a win, more chopping and changing can be expected in the weeks ahead.
Evans victory Saturday propels him into fourth place in the driver standings with Lotterer in third place just three points behind D’Ambrosio.
Antonio Felix da Costa, who won the season opening race in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, is second, one point behind D’Ambrosio and two ahead of Lotterer.