Mitch Evans has stolen the spoils in the Racing Local Eseries finale after executing a wily last corner overtake on Shane Van Gisbergen around the classic Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit.
Evans’ incredible victory came courtesy of a late lunge at Parabolica as the Formula E racer’s race-long dual with Van Gisbergen reached its climax.
Staged on the 10km Oval/Road course layout reminiscent of the pre-war Monza circuit spectacularly sees drivers cross the finish stripe twice in one lap – a perfect setting for the curtain closing event.
A sluggish start from the front meant Van Gisbergen was mired amongst the midpack while Liam Lawson claimed an early lead.
However, drama struck as the field approached the Rettifilo chicane for the inaugural time as a multi-car collision, triggered by Lawson being tagged onto the grass, eliminated most of the field.
While multiple drivers wrestle their wounded Lotus 49’s back to pitlane, Tom Blomqvist found himself in the lead with Evans, Van Gisbergen, Brendon Hartley and Sam Dunstall in tandem.
But high-speed nature of Monza ultimately meant Blomqvist became vulnerable to the tow, and after separate incidents for Dunstall and Hartley, Van Gisbergen and Evans become engaged in a two-horse race.
Relinquishing the lead exiting Parabolica for the first of two tours on the final lap, Evans seemingly abdicated his chance for victory with an unforced error at the Lesmo curves.
But a strong run out of the final chicane meant Evans narrowed the margin to essentially nil as himself and van Gisbergen ran wheel-to-wheel along the start/finish straight.
Evans proved to have the superior straight-line speed and dragged himself over the line 0.091s ahead of Van Gisbergen.
Will Bamber rounded off the podium as the Carrera Cup regular steered himself clear of any incident while a revitalised Dunstall finished a credible fourth despite being tipped into a summersault earlier in the race.
The rest of the top Ten was made up of Brendon Partridge, Matthew Pluck, Zach Blincoe, Taylor Cockerton, Daniel Stevens and Chris van der Drift.