Jaxon Evans has fallen just shy of a podium finish in the inaugural Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup virtual edition race, while a rare mistake in the second race would cost the young kiwi a chance for victory.
Held from the Circuit de Barcelona-Cataluyna, the round consisted of 30 minutes of free practice, 15 minutes of timed practice, a first 25-minute race, 20 minutes of warm-up to allow drivers and teams to make final adjustments, and a second 25-minute race.
In qualifying, Evans’ best lap time of a 1m48.291s was quick enough to secure fifth position, four-tenths down on pole position and fellow Porsche junior driver Ayhancan Guven.
Australian rookie’s Jordan Love and Stephen Grove failed to make an impact in qualifying, finishing 17th and 24th quickest.
In the first race, pole sitter Ayhancan Guven would relinquish the lead to Dutch driver Larry ten Voorde at turn one.
The opening lap was punctuated by factory Porsche driver Nick Tandy being tipped into a barrel roll. Attempting to execute a daring move around the outside of turn one, Tandy was tipped over by Dutch rookie Max van Splunteren. Tandy would retire from the race while a wounded van Splunteren battle on, albeit down in 30th position.
Luxemburgish driver Dylan Pereira eventually found his way ahead of Guven for second while Evans had fallen to fifth, behind Jesse Van Kuijk.
The young New Zealander slowly began to etch into Van Kuijk’s advantage lap after lap, and by half race distance Evans was within earshot of fourth position.
Evans then utilised Barcelona’s incredibly long front straight to draw level with his rival. Braking late into turn one, Evans made a spectacular move around the outside of Van Kuijk and snatched away fourth position.
Evans’ teammate Ayhancan Guven was also making inroads into the lead. Overtaking Pereira for second, the Turkish driver sets his sights on ten Voorde who had pulled out a comfortable three-second margin.
Some blistering lap times were enough to get the margin down to less than half-a-second come the final lap, but ten Voorde resisted the pressure and went on to claim a victory in the inaugural Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup ‘virtual edition.’
Guven rounded off the podium while Evans followed his teammate home in fourth position.
For the second race, the drivers were ordered according to the results of the first race.
With Evans in fourth, the kiwi could sense the chance for a victory.
The getaway amongst the top four was surprisingly equal as pole sitter ten Voorde held onto his lead ahead of Guven.
However,fourth-placed Evans was a little too eager on the throttle coming out of the opening turn, lighting up the rear tyres and consequently spinning to the rear of the grid. The kiwi would finish the race down in 20th position and six laps down.
Ex-Supercars regular Simona de Silvestro who was guest-starring in the round capitalised on others’ opening lap squanders to find herself on the fringe of the top ten.
But a bold attempt of an overtake around the outside at the flat-out final bend proved to be the Swiss driver’s undoing, spinning herself out and into the wall.
The lead switched hands early on when Guven made light work of ten Voorde, while Pereira maintained third position the entire race, never threatening the lead and held a comfortable margin over fourth.
Guven ultimately won the race ahead of ten Voorde while Evans was left pondering over a race of ‘what-could-been.’
Round two of the Porsche Supercup virtual edition is on April 18 from Silverstone.