Mitch Evans rallied under pressure to keep his title chances alive and cut into Stoffel Vandoorne’s points lead as the New Zealander jumped from third on the grid to win Saturday’s Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix in style.
The Jaguar TCS Racing driver took pole sitter Oliver Rowland (Mahindra Racing) off the track as the Briton struggled to get clear on the greasy road markings, the track still wet from the previous downpour. Evans then passed Lucas di Grassi (ROKiT Venturi Racing) by sneaking into turn three on the first lap and not looking back.
It was an incident-filled first lap as a multi-car shunt at the penultimate turn prompted a 45-minute red flag stoppage. Sébastien Buemi, Oliver Askew, Andre Lotterer, Dan Ticktum, Oliver Turvey, Nick Cassidy, Norman Nato and Nick de Vries were caught in standing water and hit the wall. Mercedes De Vries was clipped by Nissan Buemi, who stopped on the Dutchman’s car. Fortunately, there were no casualties.
Good to see all seven riders come away unscathed from this early race incident.
Round 15 is currently being red flagged as the cars have been removed from the track.
— ABB FIA Formula E Championship (@FIAFormulaE) August 13, 2022
After the restart, it was a relatively quiet Saturday for Evans, who spent most of the race ahead of Rowland, opening a comfortable three-second gap.
“A lot of work has been done from London to make sure we can make this result possible,” Evans said. “This morning was challenging; we didn’t have the speed, but then the rain came at the right time. I qualified at the front and had a good start. It was a very difficult race with conditions changing all the time, so thanks to the team for seeing me through. This is what we need, we don’t give up, so we go into tomorrow and keep fighting. Can I do a take? I’ve already made such a plan – let’s do it again!”
Rowland was delighted to get his first podium of the season and first with Mahindra. Meanwhile, the Briton’s future Mahindra team-mate Lucas di Grassi earned his 39th podium in third to become the first driver in Formula E to surpass 1,000 points. Tomorrow he will become the only driver to have competed in all 100 E-Prixes.
Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) finished fourth, while Vandoorne kept his points tally in fifth. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah) had the mathematical odds of winning the Drivers’ Championship before the race started, but his sixth place finish ended his unlikely title run. Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team), Robin Freins (Envision Racing), Antonio Félix da Costa (DS Techeetah) and Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) round out the points.
It is now a head-to-head battle between Vandoorne and Evans for the Formula E drivers’ championship, which will be decided in Sunday’s final race of the season. Mercedes-EQ leads the teams’ championship with 301 points, but ROKiT Venturi Racing can still overtake the German manufacturer.
The second race of the dual championship Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix will also be the 100th E-Prix in Formula E history and will mark the end of the Gen2 race car era ahead of the debut of the all-new Gen3 race car next season.