Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Mitch Evans: “I’m glad we salvaged something”

Mitch Evans managed to keep his title chances alive with a sensational performance at the inaugural Portland E-Prix, after the Kiwi recovered from last on the grid to fourth.

A battery failure and then a DC problem at the start of the day at the Portland International Raceway certainly wasn’t ideal for Evans, who failed to take part in qualifying due to the issues. It had appeared that his car was just about ready in time; however, he seemingly jumped out of his car not long after he got in.

It left him to start the twelfth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship from twentieth (last on the grid as both DS Penske cars started in the pits), putting his title chances in jeopardy. Knowing that a bad result would end his fight for the Season Nine crown, Evans put on a stunning display to fight through the field to fourth, keeping him just in reach of new championship leader Jake Dennis.

Evans was awarded ‘Driver of the Day’ and claimed the Fastest Lap, with him now sitting thirty-two points behind Dennis ahead of the Rome double-header, a venue he claimed both wins at last season. It was certainly a solid end to Evans’ birthday, with him simply being pleased that he “salvaged something” from what was a really tricky day.

“It’s been an interesting day – it doesn’t feel like my birthday! We had a problem after FP2, so it was a massive race to get the car ready again and the team did a great job. Even after all the hard work, I unfortunately still wasn’t able to qualify which meant I started at the back.

“When we got into the race, the team and I executed our plan pretty well. I found myself in second at one stage with good energy and thought I might be able to secure a podium. To finish fourth is still good so I’m glad we’ve salvaged something from today. We’re at that part of the championship where you need to perfectly execute races, but I’m up for it and can’t wait to get to Rome.”

“I feel like I can’t catch a break” – Sam Bird

On the other side of the Jaguar TCS Racing garage, it was another disappointing day for Sam Bird. The Briton feels like he “can’t catch a break” at the moment, as a post-race penalty saw him demoted from seventh to seventeenth.

Bird started the race in fifteenth and, like Evans, worked his way towards the frontrunners. Jaguar tried to get Bird and Evans to work together; however, the veteran complained of having better pace. He was ultimately awarded the post-race five-second time penalty for forcing another driver off the circuit, extending his point-less streak to five races.

Despite not qualifying well, Bird believes he had the pace for a podium on the West Coast but that it was just “one of those days” in the office.

“I genuinely believe I could have fought for a podium today. The Jaguar I-TYPE 6 was quick, we were very efficient but it’s one of those days where things haven’t gone my way. My race itself was quite good and I climbed eight places to cross the line in seventh but the penalty has pushed me back out of the points and I feel like I can’t catch a break. Now I’ll be looking ahead to Rome and the final four races of the season.”

Credit: Jaguar TCS Racing