Simon Evans has set up a last race title showdown in the Jaguar I-Pace eTRophy, sliming an eight- point deficit to just three after the Kiwi claimed an emphatic third consecutive victory around the Berlin Tempelhof circuit.
Evans was engrossed in a race-long battle with pole-sitter Caca Bueno, but the Brazilian made the costly error of missing the deployment of attack mode with a little over ten minutes remaining, gifting the lead to the Kiwi.
From there, the 29-year-old would only relinquish the lead on his penultimate tour when he activated his final dose of attack mode but swiftly recovered the lead a handful of corners later before pulling out a 3.6-second margin across the line.
Evans would have usurped reigning series champion and current points leader Sergio Jimenez in the points if it were not for a strategic position swap with teammate Bueno for second at the final corner.
Starting behind the Kiwi in the second successive race, Jimenez failed to make any headways on the front runners and when Bueno yielded the lead to Evans at the 10-minute mark before charging away from the field, the Brazilian was vividly flustered with his drop in performance.
“I need to improve the car,” Jimenez said. “If I do not improve the car then we will not win and beat [Evans].
“Right now we are too far, very far, from him but I did everything. So I will just have to do more than everything tomorrow.”
Evans admitted after the race he and the Asia New Zealand racing team had made quite a few changes across the weekend with a stern focus on qualifying but says there is still performance left in the car ahead of tomorrow’s finale.
“I knew it was going to be close with Caca, very fortunate he missed the attack mode and that just set me up beautifully.
“I knew when he would come up on my again that I just had to be very precise with my defence and then I thought I would be within a sniff.
“You hope there is a little bit more in the car, whether you want to try [a new setup] on the most important day of the year or not I don’t know.”
Nick Foster fronted a 4-6 result for the Jaguar China team as Gregory Segers followed Alice Powell to the chequered flag. The Australian’s sublime debut event continues but today found himself mired in the midfield and offered little attack on the top three.
By nature of points, a top-four result where he finishes ahead of Jimenez will be enough for Evans to clinch the championship. The pair are also locked on four wins apiece as it stands should the end result be decided by a countback.
Tomorrow’s final race is also the final ever race for the I-Pace eTrophy which will be discontinued from next season due to financial strain caused by the global pandemic.
The season finale gets underway from 2.30 am NZT on TVNZ Duke.