Evans wins first Jakarta Formula E race in a nail-biter
Saturday 4th June, 2022 - 9:25pm
Mitch Evans has won the first Jakarta E-Prix for Jaguar TCS Racing after a nail-biting final-lap scrap.
Less than a second covered the top three across the line at the Jakarta International circuit as Evans took an incredibly close win from third on the grid.
Pole-sitter Jean-Eric Vergne took the flag in second with zero percent energy remaining after a lively battle in the closing stages of the race.
Edoardo Mortara benefitted from an alternative Attack Mode strategy to fill the third step of the podium.
It was a relatively clean first lap with Vergne leading Antonio Felix Da Costa, Evans, Mortara and Jake Dennis away from the grid.
The field were pulled under the control of the Safety Car on the second go around after Oliver Rowland’s wheel parted company from his car, seemingly without any intervention.
The Mahindra limped out of the way but his wheel remained on the circuit, which was quickly cleared.
The pack was released on the fourth lap, with a struggling Da Costa making an error while running second; the DS Techeetah locking up, heading wide and letting through Evans.
Strategically, both of the DS Techeetahs took Attack Mode early, on Lap 8, with Vergne giving track position to the #9 Jaguar. It only lasted for a lap, with Evans ceding with his activation on the following tour.
Mortara opted to keep position, sitting second behind Vergne and ahead of Evans.
Both of the Techeetahs jumped early again, with Da Costa activating on the 13th lap and Vergne two laps later.
As they came up on the 16th lap the order was Evans, Vergne, Mortara and Da Costa followed by Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vergne then used the momentum from Attack Mode to re-take the lead from Evans into the first corner.
The Frenchman put some space between himself and the Kiwi, however the Jaguar driver doggedly reined the #25 back in.
Evans was egged on by the Jaguar squad to use more energy in his chase of the two-time champion and, with a handy gap held over Da Costa, he went through the activation area and came out comfortably ahead of the Portuguese driver.
Da Costa was then forced into using Fanboost to defend from the #48 Venturi of Mortara, who was steaming through with Attack Mode, but ultimately lost out and fell back to fourth.
Evans set purple laps in his hunt for the lead, never letting Vergne feel comfortable.
The driver from Auckland made his move on Lap 31, firing up the inside of Vergne into Turn 7 with just over five minutes remaining in the race.
However, he wasn’t able to run away with it, Vergne keeping him in sight and deploying his Fanboost in his pursuit.
Just 1.192s covered the top three, rounded out by Mortara, as the added time (1:30) from the earlier Safety Car came into play.
On the penultimate lap, Vergne attempted a lunge into the first corner but wasn’t able to make it work. The top three were marginal on energy but Vergne held slightly less than the other two.
In the final scrap to the flag Evans held on to take his third win of the season, while Da Costa finished fourth at just over three seconds from victory and Vandoorne was fifth.
Nyck De Vries was a high-profile retirement in Round 9, taking to the lane after an incident with Andre Lotterer for which the German was dished out a five-second penalty.
“That was hard, I was just happy to be in it at the end,” said Evans at the conclusion.
“It was a tough last race and this track was kind of similar.
“It was really tight at the end with JEV, I actually thought I was going to pull away but my tyres started going off as soon as I got past him so I was under a bit of heat.
“But got the job done, but yeah it was what we needed.”
In the drivers’ championship, Vandoorne now leads by five points over Vergne at the top of the table.
Formula E next ventures to Marrakesh for Round 10 on July 2, with that event live and ad-free on Stan Sport.