Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) fended off the close attention of Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah) and Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) to take his third win of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season at the inaugural Jakarta E-Prix.
The Kiwi made a late-race lunge that caught then-leader Vergne off-guard at Turn 7 on lap 31 in an opportunistic move from way back. From there, energy management became increasingly critical for the lead duo as they fought between themselves and against searing track temperatures at the Jakarta E-Prix International Circuit in the Ancol Beach resort.
That allowed Mortara to join the party as Evans and Vergne squabbled. Evans had some five minutes plus added time to hold the pair off, with the race anybody’s heading into the final turn and his rear tires fading fast. Evans held on to lead Vergne and Mortara home as all three drivers finished within a second of each other.
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“That was hard. I was just happy to be in it at the end,” said Evans. “We had a tough last race, and this track was similar with the climate being on another level. We put a lot of work into the setup and the systems, but the team gave me what I need, gave me the goods.
“It was really tight at the end with JEV, I thought I was going to pull away but my tires started going off as soon as I got past him. I was under a bit of heat but we got the job done. This is what we needed.
“We needed a good result today. But obviously it was a new track, new climate, new everything — you don’t really know how it is going to go. So I am very happy with the result; we are back in it although we were never really out, but it has put us in a strong position so I’ll take that.”
“Hats off to Mitch and Jaguar, they were simply faster today,” said Vergne. “I need to understand what happened as I had to save a lot more [energy] at some point for temperature reasons. Anyway second is good — strong points, so if we carry on like this for the rest of the championship it is good. I am happy there were no more laps!”
Antonio Felix da Costa (DS Techeetah) slipped from second at the start to fourth at the checkered flag, with standings leader Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) making three crucial passes through the race to wind up fifth and retain his points advantage, albeit a more slender one. With Vandoorne’s closest rivals all finishing on the podium, the drivers’ standings closed up: now just 12 points split the top four, with Vergne five points back from the Belgian, Mortara two shy of the Frenchman in third and Evans another five back in fourth.
President of Indonesia Joko Widodo and Governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan were guests of honor at the race, Formula E’s debut in Indonesia. Grandstand seating was packed with thousands of fans, who cheered loudly as every car sped by throughout the race. More than 60,000 fans in total attended the Jakarta E-Prix and the festival in Ancol.
Before the race, executives from Formula E and the FIA joined the drivers in a moment of silence in memory of Jose Abed, Honorary Vice President of the FIA and President of the Mexican International Motor Sports Organization, who passed away on Thursday this week aged 82.
Mercedes-EQ still sits atop the teams’ running on 186 points, 16 ahead of DS Techeetah which climbs above ROKiT Venturi Racing in the points table.
Next stop for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is the Marrakesh E-Prix on Saturday, July 2.