ROME: Mitch Evans won an exhilarating first Rome E-Prix of a double-header weekend in the Italian capital on Saturday.
The New Zealander’s success capped off a brilliant day for the Jaguar TSC Racing team, with Evans’ teammate Sam Bird finishing in the top five after starting the race 13th on the grid.
Mercedes-EQ and former Formula One driver Stoffel Vandoorne could only claim a third-place finish having started the race on pole position, while Robin Frijns in the Envision Racing car started and finished the topsy-turvy race in second place.
Monaco-based team ROKiT Venturi Racing finished inside the top ten in the Formula E World Championship’s return to Rome, scoring six points courtesy of Edoardo Mortara.
From Groups A and B, Edo and team-mate Lucas di Grassi narrowly missed out on the duel stages and by both classifying sixth in their respective sessions, lined up in 11th and 12th on the grid.
When the race commenced the duo were caught in a collision with Oliver Rowland which left the pair in 11th and 17th before a subsequent Safety Car period.
In a strategic drive, however, both were able to recover, with Edo advancing through the points-paying positions to threaten for a place on the podium in the closing stages.
The Swiss-Italian took advantage of a hard-fought race to run as high as fifth after passing Jake Dennis moments before a time extension of five minutes.
Falling behind Sam Bird on the penultimate lap, Edo took a provisional sixth at the chequered flag before the application of a five-second penalty which demoted him to seventh.
Di Grassi, meanwhile, recovered from his loss of time on lap one and displayed strong pace by posting the fastest lap of the race.
The Brazilian challenged for points up until the line but unfortunately missed out on 10th by a mere 0.392s.
Courtesy of his six points, Edo continues to lead the World Drivers’ Championship while ROKiT Venturi Racing holds second place in the Teams’ Standings.
“It was quite an eventful race from my side, I got stuck with Oliver (Rowland) on the first lap and I tipped him into a spin into turn seven which is something you never feel proud of,” Mortara said. “From there on in it was a struggle, the car was missing a large part of the front wing and as a result, my energy and tyre management was more sensitive.
“Fortunately, we had good pace and were able to fight back into the top 10 and at one point, were within sight of the podium.
“We are scoring points today but it isn’t in the way that I would like to, we have another race again tomorrow and if we can get into the duels in qualifying, I think we should be in a position to fight at the front,” he added.
Formula E’s eighth season contined on Sunday, with another race around the Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR.
His teammate, di Grassi, added: “We were very quick in the race today with fastest lap overall but luck was not on our side, I was caught in the crash between Edo and Rowland at the start and had to recover from last to P11. Tomorrow we fight again.”
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