Formula E - Evans prevails in heavyweight bout in Indonesia as title tussle heats up | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Formula E - Evans prevails in heavyweight bout in Indonesia as title tussle heats up

04.06.22

The battle for glory in the 2021/22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is taking shape after the leading protagonists duelled it out in Jakarta.

On a day when the action on-track was as hot as the temperature off it in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the chase for the crown intensified in Jakarta as Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans fought to his third triumph of the season in a heavyweight bout on the streets of the Indonesian capital.

Prior to the start of the race, a minute’s silence was held in memory of Organización Mexicana De Automovilismo Internacional (OMDAI) President and honorary FIA Vice President José Abed, who passed away shortly before the weekend.

From third on the grid, Evans immediately made his intentions clear by challenging front row starter António Félix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) when the lights went out. Following a short early safety car intervention – to clear up an errant wheel that had parted company with Oliver Rowland’s Mahindra Racing single-seater – the New Zealander then punished his Portuguese rival for a lock-up at Turn Seven by stealing through into second.

Thereafter, Evans set about hunting down da Costa’s DS TECHEETAH team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne in the lead, hitting the front of the field when the Frenchman activated his first Attack Mode of the E-Prix just over ten minutes in. The pair went on to engage in an enthralling cat-and-mouse duel, trading the top spot as one or the other deployed subsequent Attack Modes.

Their frenetic pace propelled them away from the pursuing pack and the decisive move came in the closing stages, when Evans caught Vergne off-guard with a late dive into his favourite passing spot of Turn Seven to grab the lead for good.

Although the two-time champion launched a counter-attack as the Jaguar driver began struggling with tyre wear as the clock ticked down, he was unable to prise the door back open. Vergne ultimately had to settle for his third runner-up finish of the campaign as Evans determinedly held on to the end to add to his Rome double top with victory in the inaugural Jakarta E-Prix – adding a potentially crucial bonus point to his season tally by posting the fastest lap.

Indeed, in addition to trying to reclaim the lead, Vergne had to keep one eye in his mirrors in the final laps on a resurgent Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing). Having initially run fourth, the Swiss star exploited a late Attack Mode strategy to advance to third, before artfully keeping both Evans and da Costa behind him when they had the extra power at their disposal and he did not.

With more usable energy remaining than Evans and Vergne, Mortara zeroed in on the back of the two leaders like a lion stalking its prey, piling on the pressure but narrowly running out of time to pounce. His late charge pulled him away from da Costa, who took the chequered flag fourth, and Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne, who came on increasingly strong as the race progressed.

The Belgian did not have the most straightforward of afternoons – sliding off-line going through the Attack Mode activation zone for the first time and then missing the sensor entirely later on – but his pace was impressive, as he fought back on both occasions and very nearly unseated da Costa from fourth on the last lap.

Fifth position keeps Vandoorne in the championship lead, albeit now by the reduced margin of just five points as the top four protagonists bid to break away heading into the second half of the season.

Jake Dennis was a consistent contender throughout for Avalanche Andretti, and while not quite able to stay with the front-runners, the series sophomore raced well to cement his third-best finish of the campaign to-date in a fine sixth place.

Former title-winner Lucas Di Grassi drew upon all of his extensive experience and guile to climb three spots from his starting position to wind up seventh ahead of TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein, with the pair making light contact along the way. The German showcased his fighting spirit to overcome a five-place grid penalty, applied after his team broke the seal on a component on his car.

Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing) battled back from a slow start to rise to ninth in the final reckoning, with double champion Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) unable to replicate his excellent qualifying form but nonetheless securing the final point on offer in tenth.

André Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche) slipped out of the points-paying positions after picking up a five-second penalty for causing a collision with defending title-holder Nyck de Vries that ended the Mercedes-EQ driver’s race. Another high-profile non-scorer was Robin Frijns, who could only improve from 21st to 17th on a difficult day for Envision Racing, dropping the Dutchman some 40 points away from the championship lead.

Following a four-week break, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will resume in Morocco on 2 July for round ten of its 2021/22 campaign – the fifth Marrakech E-Prix.

MITCH EVANS, JAGUAR TCS RACING, #9 said:

“That was hard. I was just happy to be in it at the end. 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 set-up and the systems, but the team gave me what I need, gave me the goods, which is what I need.

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.”

JEAN-ÉRIC VERGNE, DS TECHEETAH, #25 said:

“It was a good race. Hats off to Mitch and Jaguar, they were simply faster today. I need to understand what happened as I had to save a lot more [energy] at some point for temperature reasons, so I need to understand what happened here. 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!”

EDOARDO MORTARA, ROKiT VENTURI RACING, #48 said:

“We had a good race weekend in Jakarta. The qualifying was already very good, we did an intelligent race, it was very difficult with the temperatures so hot. To manage the tires and the battery was not easy today, but we managed it at the end. I could see that they were fighting at the front and I was kind of part of that fight. I was hoping for some kind of move from JEV to get some free places but unfortunately it didn't come. But I am very extremely happy with another podium.

We finished with 0.0% energy on the line, and on top of that you need to manage the temperatures at some point - if you exceed a certain number then the power is going down. So that goal is to get that [to no energy) at the finish line, I could see that Mitch had it and I had a little bit more reserved but unfortunately I could not pass him.”