Evans supreme in Shanghai as Jaguar star pounces on last lap

Jaguar TCS Racing ace prevails in dramatic duel as the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship thrills fans on Chinese return.

Mitch Evans pounced on the final lap of inaugural Shanghai E-Prix (25 May) to snatch his second victory of the 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship campaign, as the chase for the crown closed up on the series’ return to China.

After starting third on the grid at the Shanghai International Circuit, the New Zealander was a factor throughout the race, first taking the lead on lap seven. With the pace subsequently intensifying, the battle boiled down to a showdown between Evans, his Jaguar TCS Racing stablemate Nick Cassidy and TAG Heuer Porsche pairing Pascal Wehrlein and António Félix da Costa.

Evans stole the initiative from long-time leader Wehrlein on lap 23, before the German repaid the favour two laps later in what was becoming an increasingly physical fight. As Wehrlein got his elbows out to defend his position, the Jaguar duo – who had more remaining energy – went on the prowl, with Evans trying every which way to prise the door open again.

The 29-year-old’s persistence paid off heading onto the last lap, sweeping boldly around the outside of his Porsche rival at Turn One to seize an advantage he would not thereafter relinquish. The result represented Evans’ 12th career victory in the all-electric single-seater series and bolstered his burgeoning title bid.

Wehrlein held on to take the runner-up spoils, fending off a hard-charging Cassidy as the pair made contact over the course of a frenetic final few corners. In so doing, he reduced the New Zealander’s championship lead from 16 points to 13, although the latter’s eighth podium from 11 races keeps him in control at the summit of the standings.

From the front row of the grid, Nissan Formula E Team’s Oliver Rowland slipped as low as ninth prior to fighting his way back, pulling off a number of audacious passes and opportunistically pinching fourth place from da Costa almost within sight of the chequered flag.

The Season 6 champion – another to lead on more than one occasion – crossed the finish line fifth but was penalised five seconds post-race for contact with former team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne, dropping him outside of the top ten.

That benefitted defending title-holder Jake Dennis (Andretti Formula E), who deployed a different Attack Mode strategy to the majority of his competitors to climb from 11th up to fifth, grabbing an extra point for setting the race’s fastest lap.

Pole-sitter Vergne conceded the initiative on only the second tour and ultimately slipped to sixth for DS Penske, while fellow former champion Nyck de Vries scored his first points since his series return as he wound up seventh. The Dutchman hit the front of the order on lap ten in his most competitive outing to-date for Mahindra Racing.

Maserati MSG Racing’s Maximilian Günther took the flag just behind de Vries but picked up a ten-second penalty for causing a collision, elevating Sébastien Buemi (Envision Racing) to eighth, DS Penske’s Stoffel Vandoorne to ninth and promoting Lucas Di Grassi (ABT CUPRA Formula E Team) to the final points-paying position in tenth.

The action in Shanghai continues on Sunday, 26 May, with round 12 of the campaign getting underway at 15:03 local time (09:03 CEST).

Mitch Evans, No. 9, Jaguar TCS Racing, said: “Super happy, but it was not an easy race to manage. Starting towards the front can be good, it can be bad, but I think we managed it well. I thought I got into the lead at the right time, but actually Pascal kind of caught me napping a bit into turn 8 and he put his nose up and then had another go at me. I’m surprised they didn’t get anything for going off track and passing me, so we have to look at that afterwards. I had the energy advantage so I just wanted to bide my time and hopefully let the race come to me, and it did so yeah, super stoked to get this one three for [Jaguar TCS Racing Team]. Great points for our championship, it was a good one.”

Pascal Wehrlein, No. 94, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, said: “Yeah, it was a tough race. I think in the end, we went to the lead a bit too early and for a bit too long. I think that’s where Evans and also the others could build a bit of an energy advantage. I think in the past we’ve been a bit too conservative, and maybe today a bit too aggressive.

In the last lap, and because of defending, my target [dropped] so I had to coast quite early. That’s how Mitch overtook me into turn one. Tough fight in the last lap with the drivers because Mitch clearly tried to slow me down so that Nick could pass me. A few contacts, but that’s how it is, I think it was hard but fair. I think we did what we could do. We kept it clean, and a well-deserved podium for the team.”

Nick Cassidy, No. 37, Jaguar TCS Racing, said: “It was a nice race today, awesome to get a one-three! I had the energy to win for sure, but it wasn’t my decision so it’s ok.”

Final Race Classification

Drivers Championship Standings

Teams Championship Standings

Source : Fia