In a weekend of firsts for Kiwi racers at the Austrian Grand Prix, Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup pilot Jaxon Evans has upstage his rivals to claim a maiden series victory in a lights-to-flag domination of the delayed season-opener around the Red Bull Ring.
It was a sublime return to racing for Evans after he crushed his rivals at an official test ahead of the weekend before snaring his second career pole on Saturday to give him the best possible platform to own Sunday’s 17-lap affair.
A circuit which surprisingly proved to be difficult to overtake, Evans led every lap to lead home teammate Dylan Pereira in a BWT Lechner Racing 1-2.
Evans got the perfect launch off the line to head the field out of Turn 1 while it was three abreast directly behind the Porsche junior as Pereira grabbed hold of second as the 25-strong grid completed a clean opening lap.
Rookie racer Leon Kohler was sitting third half a car length behind Pereira as the race lead established a comfortable one-second margin.
Starting alongside Evans on the front row, Florian Latorre suffered the worse getaway out of the front runners as the Frenchman fell to fifth though he did show great pace early on, setting the fastest lap of the race but struggled to muster a successful overtake on those ahead of him.
Team GP elite’s Max van Splunteren had his arms full – quite literally – when he was tagged at Turn 1 in a heated battle for the minor placings involving several cars. The Dutch driver then spun back across the circuit in a blanket of tyre smoke. Fortunately, everyone behind managed to avoid the stricken car and the race remained green.
As the race wore on Evans began to feel the pressure of Pereira as the battle for the lead heated up at half-race distance.
The Kiwi’s German teammate was deliberately abusing track limits in an attempt to latch onto the back of the race leader, earning himself a black and white flag by race control for his troubles.
Lucas Groeneveld decided to give the Austrian countryside a fresh trim when the GP Elite Porsche skated off the road at Turn 4, safely re-joining the race albeit in last.
Larry ten Voorde then executed an entertaining overtake at the penultimate corner as he muscled his way past Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer and Latorre in one move. A brief investigation by the stewards yielded no further action and ten Voorde was able to hold his position to claim fifth at the chequered flag.
Jukka Honkavuori would be the race’s sole retirement when he pulled off the circuit at Turn 4 thankfully in a safe position and the race could resume with no safety car intervention.
Evans now leads the Porsche Supercup championship for the first time in his career as the grid begins preparations to return to the action next weekend for round two of the Austrian GP doubleheader.