Formula E: Mitch Evans secures Jaguar’s first major motorsport victory in 28 years at Rome E-Prix

The New Zealander ensured a different driver has won each of the season’s seven races thus far

Tom Wakey
Saturday 13 April 2019 21:01
Formula E Gen2 car unveiled at Geneva International Motor Show

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans admitted he had lifted a weight off his shoulders, after claiming the British manufacturer’s first major motorsport win in 28 years with victory at the GEOX Rome E-Prix.

The New Zealander ended the brand’s long wait for a major motor racing victory - having last won in the 1991 World Sportscar Championship - and his own three-year wait, to stand atop the Formula E podium becoming the seventh different winner across the first seven races of Season 5.

The victory, claimed after brilliant overtake on pole-sitter Andre Lotterer, continues a remarkable streak of a different driver, team and nationality winning each race in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship this season.

Lotterer was forced to continue his wait for a maiden race win in Formula E, while HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne claimed his first podium since switching to the all-electric championship - his first champagne moment since 2016.

Having parted company with Season 1 champion Nelson Piquet JR since the last race in China, along with a tough time on and off the track for the British manufacturer, Evans dedicated the result to Jaguar Land Rover, whose I-PACE electric vehicle was recently named the European Car of the Year.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time because it has been a tough time for JLR and this is a huge project for them – [electric development] is their biggest project,” said Evans.

“It’s nice to hopefully lift the spirits of everyone there and we probably haven’t hit our targets yet but this has come literally at the perfect time.

“I qualified last in Sanya and it was the opposite this weekend. The turnaround has been really remarkable because you carry that, you carry the weight of the team and of the brand.

“To do it for them and with there being such a big drought since Jaguar’s last victory it is an amazing feeling, a very proud feeling. I’m super happy to have done it for them.

“It has been a tough couple of seasons, and we’ve sort of last our way the last couple of races and we didn’t really know why but we’ve got the car back and the car was an absolute rocket ship which is testament to Jaguar racing and everyone at JLR.

Mitch Evans celebrates his victory

“We’ve got the monkey off our back although it had probably turned into a gorilla by the time we got it off. We’ve started the team from scratch and I’ve been there since that start – we would have loved to have done it earlier but I’m very proud to have rewarded everyone with a victory. There were a few tears when I crossed the line.”

After starting in second, Evans patiently built up to a fantastic overtake on Lotterer whilst using Formula E’s Attack Mode - which gives the car a temporary power boost after veering off the racing line - to take the lead.

And having won the gladiatorial wheel-to-wheel battle with the German for the chequered flag, the Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver is lifted to fourth in the ABB FIA Drivers’ Championship, with the top nine drivers separated by just 13 points, ahead of the next E-Prix on the streets of Paris in two weeks’ time.

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