Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans kept his cool in the searing Indonesian heat to win the inaugural Jakarta E-Prix and take his third race victory in Season eight of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Formula E made its debut at the Jakarta International E-Prix Circuit as the drivers dealt with the additional challenge of temperature management in the 30+ degree heat of the Indonesian capital.
Evans, who started in P3, battled for the lead during much of the race with Julius Baer Pole setter Jean-Éric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH), with the latter looking set to take his first win of the season for much of the race.
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But some exceptional energy management from the Jaguar team helped the Kiwi driver overtake his rival with just minutes to go.
And speaking after the race, Evans admitted he had to dig deep to hold on and take the chequered flag in the most challenging of conditions.
"That was hard,” he said. “I was just happy to be in it at the end. We had a tough last race, and this track was similar with the climate being on another level. We put a lot of work into the set-up and the systems, but the team gave me what I need, gave me the goods.
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"It was really tight at the end with JEV, I thought I was going to pull away, but my tyres started going off as soon as I got past him. I was under a bit of heat, but we got the job done.
"We needed a good result. But obviously it was a new track, new climate, new everything – you don't really know how it is going to go. I am very happy with the result, we are back in it although we were never really out, but it has put us in a strong position, so I'll take that."
Evans had to fend off the close attention of Vergne and Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing).
The Kiwi made a late-race lunge that caught then-leader Vergne off-guard at Turn 7 on Lap 31 in an opportunistic move from way back.
From there, energy management became increasingly critical for the lead duo as they fought between themselves and against searing track temperatures at the Jakarta E-Prix International Circuit in the exotic Ancol Beach resort.
That allowed Mortara to join the party as Evans and Vergne squabbled. Evans had some five minutes plus added time to hold the pair off, with the race anybody's heading into the final turn and his rear tyres fading fast. Evans held on to lead Vergne and Mortara home as all three drivers finished within a second of each other.
António Félix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) slipped from second at the start to fourth come the chequered flag, with standings leader Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) making three crucial passes through the race to wind up fifth and retain his Drivers' World Championship advantage, albeit a slenderer one.
With Vandoorne's closest rivals all finishing on the podium, the Drivers' standings closed-up: now just 12 points split the top four, with Vergne five points back from the Belgian, Mortara two shy of the Frenchman in third and Evans another five back in fourth.
President of Indonesia Joko Widodo and Governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan were guests of honour at the race, Formula E’s debut in Indonesia.
Mitch Evans racing in the inaugural Jakarta E-Prix
Image credit: Eurosport
Grandstand seating was packed with thousands of fans, who cheered loudly as every car sped by throughout the race. More than 60,000 fans in total attended the Jakarta E-Prix and the festival in Ancol.
Before the race, executives from Formula E and the FIA joined the drivers in a moment of silence in memory of José Abed, Honorary Vice President of the FIA and President of the Mexican International Motor Sports Organisation, who passed away on Thursday this week aged 82.
Mercedes-EQ still sit atop the Teams' running on 186 points, 16 ahead of DS TECHEETAH who climb above ROKiT Venturi Racing in the points table.
Next stop for Round 10 in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is the Marrakesh E-Prix on Saturday July 2.
Grandstand seat tickets for the 2022 London E-Prix on July 30 & 31 are available now starting at £49 from www.FIAFormulaE.com/London
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