The Formula E debut in Jakarta saw a slick winner: Mitch Evans kept his Jaguar cool in the Indonesian heat. The World Cup evolves into a four-way fight. After the weekend in Jakarta, Porsche is close to participating in the World Championship race.
Mitch Evans proudly presented the national flag of his country. With his victory, the New Zealander occupied the temporary race track in Jakarta for a day. The 27-year-old kept his head cool in tropical temperatures and won ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne and Eduardo Mortara. The Jaguar driver is back to fight for the title. Evans has been driving in Formula E since 2016. Until this season, he had won two races for the traditional English brand. With the victory in Indonesia, he celebrated his third win of the season – more than any other driver.
The man from Auckland laid the foundation in qualifying when he put his electric race car third on the grid. Championship contender Fernie and teammate Antonio Felix da Costa of DS-Techeetah were in the front row. Both drivers had the best track on the new track with a total of 18 corners and a length of 2,370 km. Alongside Evans, Berlin winner Mortara qualified fourth in the Mercedes customer Venturi. Championship leader, Stoffel Vandoorne, is in the works Mercedes succeeded only in seventh place on the grid.
The positive surprise in qualifying was Nissan’s Sebastien Buemi in sixth place. Thus, the Swiss achieved the best starting position for the team this season. On the other hand, Porsche’s André Lotterer missed the KO stage for the first time this year. Teammate Pascal Wehrlein had to drop five places and start 11th because of a penalty that was pulled from Berlin to Jakarta.
oven in Jakarta
Even before his debut in DC, it was clear that racing would be a challenge for both man and machine. The country is currently in the rainy season, humidity and temperatures are very high. On Saturday, the thermometer showed more than 30 degrees Celsius. Humidity was 65 percent at the start and it kept going up as the race progressed. Mitch Evans, who was drenched in sweat, also noted this in the winner’s interview: “It was a hot, tough race.” The E-Prix in Jakarta was a “completely different climate challenge” for the New Zealander. Mortara agreed with the winner: “It was very difficult. The temperatures were very hot.”
Pole Virginia won the start at 3 p.m. local time. And behind him there were no changes. Only Pascal Wehrlein climbed to ninth place. The safety car had to be deployed after one lap because Oliver Rowland’s bike crashed after a collision in the rear midline. In the end, race control extended the E-Prix by 1:30 minutes due to the car’s safe stage. After the restart, the pilots initially focused on energy management.
Up front, Evans grabbed second-placed Antonio Felix da Costa, who crashed into the rear of the Jaguar driver. Of the leading group, Vergne was the first pilot to use attack mode (two and four minutes in Jakarta) ten minutes into the race. Evans later followed suit. Behind the duo was now Eduardo Mortara, who, as in Berlin, waited a long time to call the additional service.
Evans surprises Virginie
After 19 minutes, the Swiss activated his attack mode. At this point, Felix da Costa had already ignited the second batch at DS Techeetah. Vandoorne chose a strategy similar to Mortara’s and delayed the first attack mode for a long time.
Vergne activated the extra energy early and briefly lost the lead to Evans. The New Zealander himself, like his chaser Mortara, only decided to use the second attack position 15 minutes before the end of the race. Although Evans narrowed the gap to the Virgin, he couldn’t get past it despite the additional 30 kW of power. Behind the leaders, Felix da Costa tried to get ahead of Mortara. That’s why he ignited his fan reinforcement – but Mortara worked his way past the Portuguese.
Then Evans grabbed the leader six minutes before the end: Vergne left the door open at Turn 7 and pressed the Jaguar driver past the inside. However, he could not get rid of the French. This was due to the rear tires getting too hot and no longer providing enough grip. As a result, Mortara met the two leaders again. But Evans kept his cool, crossed the finish line first and chanted into microphones before the awards ceremony: “This is exactly what we needed. We’re back!”
In the world championship standings, his victory reduced the lead over leader Stoffel Vandoorne to 12 points. The Belgian holds 121 points after fifth place. Virgin is five points behind and Mortara two more. Porsche drivers Andre Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein should stay away from the title race after the weekend. The next race will be in Marrakech on July 2nd. Maybe Mitch Evans will throw the New Zealand flag over his shoulders again.