It was a day of mixed fortunes for the Kiwi pair in the penultimate FIA Formula 3 race of the season with Mitch Evans putting up a late charge to nestle himself nicely within the points while newly promoted Jaguar teammate Tom Blomqvist slumped in the dying stages to 12th after a top-ten finish was on the table.
Victory went to an imperious Oliver Rowland who blitzed the field from pole position, keeping a comfortable two-second advantage over Robin Frijns for the rest of the race to give the Nissan driver his first-ever championship win from 21 career starts.
It also surges Rowland from ninth to second in the points race heading into tomorrow’s finale.
Staged on an all-new Berlin Tempelhof Airport layout, the tenth race of the championship was a lot less chaotic the opening rounds of the finale with many of the front runners making a blunder of Q1 to start well down on the grid.
Among them being Evans who could only wrestle himself to 14th on the grid while stand-in teammate Blomqvist had a more complete session. The former New Zealand karting champion initially set a time strong enough to challenge for pole but made an error on his top-six Super Pole lap which left him starting sixth.
Rowland’s emphatic Super Pole performance ultimately gave the Brit an unchallenged run into Turn 1 which he excellently executed with Frijns in tow all the line to the chequered flag.
Audi’s fresh recruit Rene Rast bullied his way to a maiden Formula E podium after triumphing a last-lap scrap with Andre Lotterer which required the investigation of the stewards due to some minor collisions.
Evans had quietly worked himself into the top-10 before deploying two late doses of Attack Mode which allowed the Kiwi to narrow the gap and overtake Stoffel Vandoorne and Edoardo Mortara in the leading Venturi to claim seventh.
A double points finish for Jaguar was well within grasp but a late collapse by Blomqvist saw the Kiwi yield the final points-paying position to Sebastien Buemi before losing another spot to Alexander Sims moments later to come home in 12th.
Champion-elect Antonio Felix da Costa had a turbulent race after he and Lucas di Grassi came to blows in qualifying in an incident which nearly resulted in the DS Techeetah being sent into the barrier.
The duo then clashed with each other again in the race as di Grassi attempted an opportunistic lunge at Turn 1, cutting across the front wing of da Costa before spinning on his own.
Di Grassi was dealt a five-second penalty for his fault in the clumsy incident which left him classified 21st while da Costa retried with a sudden electrical failure at the end of the race.
Three successive points finishes have given new life to Evans points tally, the Kiwi elevating himself two spots to sit fourth in the standings and within reach of annexing second from Rowland with one race remaining.
The final Formula E race of Season Six and the last of 2020 gets underway from 4.30 am NZT August 14.
|14||Nyck de Vries||+28.723s|
|15||Sérgio Sette Câmara||+31.132s|
|21||Lucas Di Grassi||+1m15.119s|
|António Félix da Costa||DNF|