Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans claimed an emotional first ABB Formula E Championship 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 an eventful race that included a lengthy red-flag stoppage.
Poleman Lotterer pulled away from Evans at the start, and Geox Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez in third. With all cars running downhill, Lopez teammate Max Gunther slid sideways through Turn 8, 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. Lopez 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 then collided with Lopez before DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne went into the back of Paffett, ending the Briton’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 16 minutes left to go and with Attack Mode engaged, Evans used the additional power boost to made a break for the lead at Turn 11.
Lotterer, hungry to regain the lead and claim his first win in the series, hunted down Evans using his final Attack Mode boost to try and squeeze past the New Zealander.
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 percent battery left, Evans held on for the win.
“The first few laps were tricky, and Andre and I looked comfortable out in front — but it wasn’t easy,” related 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 3 — so I’m really delighted to be the first winner for Jaguar.”
While disappointed, Lotterer felt comfortable he’d gotten the most out of his car.
“I really wanted to win this one — we’ve been working really hard — but Mitch was a lot quicker today… so congratulations to him and his team,” he admitted. “I need to check what happened because from the middle of the race I started to struggle with the tires, and it looked like the pressures were getting higher. I tried to hold onto the lead thinking he would back off, but obviously he had his nose in it and tried to leap me. He left me space, which I think was fair.”