New Zealander Evans managed to overtake pole-sitter Andre Lotterer in a hard-fought battle 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 pursued 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.
Just after the halfway mark, it was Evans who activated ATTACK MODE first. Despite losing some time moving off the racing line, Evans stayed ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in third and quickly closed the gap to Lotterer.
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, Evans brushed past Lotterer with a late-breaking move up the inside of Turn 11.
With the lead changing hands, Lotterer used ATTACK MODE twice in quick succession in a bid to counteract the advance of Evans. But despite his best efforts, he couldn’t get close enough and had to 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 followed the top-two over the finish line and rounded-out the podium places. 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. Antonio Felix Da Costa of BMW i ANDRETTI MOTORSPORT and Pascal Wehrlein rounded out the top ten.
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.
With the first race of the European leg coming to a close, Formula E heads to the French capital for the fourth edition of the Paris E-Prix on 27 April – round eight of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing:
"It’s beautiful to be honest. I was getting excited with the race - the first few laps were tricky. Andre and I looked comfortable, but it was tricky. After the red flag I wanted to stay after him, as normally DS TECHEETAH are really strong in the race so I thought, let’s see what we’ve got behind them. Once the energy information came up I thought this is a nice surprise, I need to use it now so I was just trying to get close and attack. Obviously it was on the edge but it could be done, luckily for us. I want to thank everyone at Jaguar Racing for the hard work. It’s not been easy - we’ve been in the championship since season three - so I’m really delighted to be the first one for Jaguar."
Andre Lotterer, DS TECHEETAH:
"I have mixed feelings obviously. I really wanted to win this one, we’ve been working really hard but Mitch was a lot quicker today so congratulations to him and his team. I need to check what happened because from the middle of the race I started to struggle with the tyres, and it looked like the pressure was getting higher. I tried to hold on to the lead thinking he would back off, but obviously he had his nose in it and tried to leap me. He left me space which I think was fair."
Stoffel Vandoorne, HWA RACELAB:
"I’m very happy with the result today. We’ve had a really difficult start of the season and we haven’t always had a good pace. Anything is possible in Formula E considering what’s been happening in the past races. It’s unpredictable and we’ve made progress race after race and we’ve improved our pace. We ticked off a few boxes this weekend; it was a good learning for myself as well to get to the flag which I hadn’t managed this year."