A clever drive from Mitch Evans allowed the Jaguar driver to take victory in Round 13 of the 2023 Formula E World Championship at the Rome E-Prix on Saturday, just ahead of fellow New Zealander Nick Cassidy of Envision.
The fight for the Drivers’ Championship is heading into the final stretch and after taking pole position earlier on Saturday, Evans got the win and fastest lap in Rome to cut Cassidy’s lead to just 20 points with three races remaining in the season.
Evans led a Jaguar front row alongside teammate Sam Bird took the lead of the Rome E-Prix into Turn 1, with Evans seemingly content to sit in second and conserve energy.
Andre Lotterer brought out the safety car after crashing into the wall on Lap 3 and that bunched the field up. Evans then jumped Bird not long after the restart, with Bird then falling down the field.
“It was almost two races that we had today,” Evans told select members of the press after the Rome E-Prix, including Total-Motorsport.com
“I was a little bit down on energy compared to Nick and Jake, so I had to try and equalise that, the energy targets dropped a lot after the safety car, so it became much more of an energy race than we were expecting.
“But I managed it well, and the team helped guide me through like always, and then leave the rest for me.
“One little scare was missing the Attack Mode. I missed it at the last loop, I was going through super slow and I still missed it! I need to practice that tomorrow.
“But a huge result today, maximum points, which was what I needed. Only a small dent into Nick’s lead, but its better than nothing.
Evans made the same move on the Frenchman and took to hunting Dennis down. Meanwhile, Nick Cassidy was keeping pace with the two leaders and got himself into third, behind his two championship rivals.
“We were hoping to break that curse [becoming first driver to win from pole in Rome]. Four wins here is amazing, not sure what it is about this place, but I love the track.
“We obviously have another day tomorrow, I think people will make another big step, Nick was quick in the race as well.
“It is there for the taking tomorrow but we need to take the right steps, and hopefully we have got a good balance like we had today.”
Huge Rome E-Prix crash involving Sam Bird
Things took a dramatic and heart-stopping turn on Lap 9 when huge crash involving Sam Bird, Sebastien Buemi, Antonio Felix da Costa and Edoardo Mortara and six other cars from the grid, brought out the red flag.
Bird lost control of his car at Turn 6 and it stopped in the middle of the track on a blind corner. Buemi then chopped the rear of Bird’s car, before Mortara slammed into the side of the Jaguar.
Buemi momentarily went on his side as Da Costa went underneath the Envision driver against the wall. Several other cars were damaged, including Stoffel Vandoorne. His DS Penske teammate Jean-Eric Vergne said “holy f**k, that was crazy” in reaction to the accident.
Thankfully all drivers walked away unscathed, but overall 10 cars took damage due to the incident.
Sacha Fenestraz had the lead on the second restart and Jake Dennis made his way through the field, jumping Evans and then taking advantage of the Nissan driver’s energy issues to make it into first place.
Dennis and Evans opened up a gap on Cassidy, then with five laps to go the Jaguar driver made a move on the Andretti man and drove off into the distance. Energy issues hampered the final laps for Dennis and he was knocked out of the podium places by Max Gunther.