Formula E Jakarta E-Prix: Evans beats Vergne in Thrilling Duel
Jaguar TSC’s Mitch Evans claimed his third win of the season after a race-long battle with DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne with the pair duelling right until the last lap.
In the first FIA sanctioned race to be held in Indonesia since 2006, drivers and teams faced an unknown challenge as they ventured onto the track for the first time. Drivers seemed to compare the track – and the challenge – they would face to previous race events in Diriyah and Santiago.
DS Techeetah locked out the front-row with Vergne edging team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa to claim a record-equalling 14th Pole Position. Evans, who lost out to Vergne in the duels, settled for third but the Kiwi kept the Techeetah drivers within striking distance as the lights went out.
When da Costa locked up and ran wide at Turn 7, Evans nipped ahead despite both drivers making slight contact. This brought Evans into the fold in the battle with Vergne that rumbled on for the rest of the race.
As the race progressed, Evans decided to take both of his attack modes later than the two-time champion and set about chasing down the Frenchman. The Jaguar driver, who was now right behind, made a fantastic move on the Techeetah driver down the inside of Turn 7 to claim the lead of the race once more.
Evans then had to manage the race and account for the extra time added onto the race due to an early safety car as Mahindra’s Oliver Rowland retired having lost a wheel. This brought Vergne and ROKiT Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara back into the fold and the three drivers remained nip and tuck until the end of the race.
Evans emerged victorious having withstood enormous pressure from the drivers behind – for the final few corners, Vergne concentrated all of his attention on keeping Mortara at bay. This led to a grandstand finish with the drivers crossing the line just as their energy ran out.
Season 6 Champion da Costa equalled his best result of the season with fourth as the Portuguese driver finished ahead of Mercedes EQ Stoffel Vandoorne who now has a reduced lead in the championship.
Jake Dennis claimed sixth in a much-needed result for Avalanche Andretti while the second Venturi of Lucas di Grassi finished seventh having started tenth.
Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein fought hard throughout the race with the German climbing from outside the points, thanks to a five-place grid penalty, to claim eighth. The second Jaguar of Sam Bird finished ninth ahead of Season 2 Champion Sebastien Buemi.
Mercedes EQ Nyck de Vries suffered a late puncture whilst fighting for points which could prove costly in the Dutchman’s defence of his title. It was also an off-race for Envision Racings’ Robin Frijns who trailed team-mate Nick Cassidy home in 16th and 17th.
Vandoorne still leads the Championship on 121 points but his lead has been reduced to only five points with Vergne on 116. Mortara and Evans follow closely on 114 and 109 while the next driver in fifth is Frijns on 81.
With solid performances from both of their drivers, Techeetah and Venturi closed down the gap to Mercedes in the Championship. The German outfit, on 186 points, has a 16 point lead over Techeetah with Venturi just a point behind. Jaguar remains fourth courtesy of Evans’ victory but will have their work cut out if they want to challenge for the title with the ‘Big Cat’ on 139 points.
The teams and drivers have a long wait until the next round which takes place on the 2nd of July in Marrakesh for Round 10.