Mitch Evans clawed his way passed Andre Lotterer in a hard-fought duel on the streets of Rome to earn his first victory in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and a maiden win for Panasonic Jaguar Racing.
Evans stalked the back of Lotterer’s car in the opening phase of the race, with the DS TECHEETAH driver unable to pull a gap. 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 using 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 on the bounce in a bid to counteract the advance of Evans. But 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 chequered flag, Evans punched the air as he crossed the finish-line – adding to the list of consecutive different winners so far this season and taking the tally to seven.
Vandoorne hung on to the coat-tails of the top-two and rounded-out the podium places, before coming to a halt on the cool down lap. 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.
Four points for Jerome D’Ambrosio in eighth was enough to vault him above Antonio Felix da Costa, returning to the top of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship standings with the top-nine drivers covered by a mere 13 points.
Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne couldn’t replicate his form from Sanya, failing to score points after being caught-up in the first lap melee with Jose Maria Lopez and Gary Paffett that eventually brought out the red flag. Vergne was later penalised for overtaking Da Costa under Full Course Yellow – dropping him further down the order.
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship now heads to Paris for the second instalment of the voestalpine European races on April 27.