Mitch Evans has bounced back after a turbulent qualifying to finish third in the opening race to this weekend’s Rome Formula E doubleheader.
The result is Evans second podium this season and it marks Jaguar’s first double podium in 30 years of racing, with Sam Bird coming home in second.
Evans started the race 12th after he smacked the wall on his qualifying lap and picked up an advertising banner, hurting his time.
However, the Kiwi steered clear of the awaiting drama throughout the race to charge up to the top three.
Victory went the way of Jean-Eric Vergne after erstwhile race leader Lucas di Grassi suffered a mechanical issue five minutes from the chequered flag.
Di Grassi had just snatched the lead from Vergne moments earlier with a brilliantly executed dive bomb at turn four.
But the Audi would then lose all its speed and begin to crawl along the main straight.
That gifted Vergne the eventual win as Stoffel Vandoorne, who was running fourth, swerved into the barrier while trying to avoid di Grassi.
Vandoorne had started on pole but dropped back to 13th at the end of lap one after he was punted down the escape road by Andre Lotterer.
His collision with the barrier in the final five minutes put paid to a sublime recovery effort and duly put the race under safety car conditions for the run home.
Evans, meanwhile, came out of the drama with third after running most of the race’s second half engaged in a tussle with Vandoorne and Robin Frijns.
It’s such a great moment for the team with our first double podium in Formula E,” Evans said.
It was a great race, in very difficult conditions, where things can go wrong really quickly, but I’m happy to reward the team with this result after all the hard work they put in.
“Sam did a great job too, we both moved forward in the pack together and executed a brilliant race. It was a great moment and milestone for the team and we look forward to tomorrow.”
Evans was also awarded an additional championship point for setting the race’s fastest lap. He is now fourth in the standings, 12 points behind teammate and new points leader Bird.
Fellow Kiwi Nick Cassidy had crawled his way back from 22nd on the grid after an incident in qualifying up to an impressive tenth.
While the result would have been Cassidy’s maiden Formula E points, the Envision Virgin rookie was demoted to 16th after a post-race penalty.
It is the second post-race penalty in as many races that Cassidy had a points-paying position stripped away from him.
Still, the result suggests Cassidy has the potential for a big result in tonight’s weekend finale.
“I’m a bit disappointed with today as we had the pace to be right at the front, especially in qualifying,” Cassidy said.
“We had a few challenges during the race, but we were up on energy towards the end so disappointed it was cut short, but we’ll see what we’ve got for Sunday’s race and hopefully come back stronger.”
The final leg of the Rome E-Prix will start at 11.00 pm on Sky Sport 5.
Provisional race results:
|Sérgio Sette Câmara
|Nyck de Vries
|Lucas Di Grassi
|António Félix da Costa