Mitch Evans produced under pressure to keep his title chances alive and slice into Stoffel Vandoorne's points advantage as the Kiwi jumped from third on the grid to the race win in the Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix Round 15.
The Jaguar TCS Racing driver dispatched Julius Baer Polesitter Oliver Rowland (Mahindra Racing) off the line as the Brit struggled to get away cleanly over greasy road markings - the circuit still soaked from an earlier downpour. Evans then rounded Lucas di Grassi with a stealthy move into Turn 3, again on the opening lap.
A hefty multi-car shunt at the penultimate corner on the first tour caused a 45-minute Red Flag stoppage. Sebastien Buemi, Oliver Askew, Andre Lotterer, Dan Ticktum, Oliver Turvey, Nick Cassidy, Norman Nato and Nyck de Vries were all involved - caught out by standing water. It was a nasty-looking incident, with de Vries' Silver Arrow 02 undercutting Buemi's Nissan. Thankfully, all drivers involved were uninjured.
From there, after the restart, it was relatively serene for Evans, who managed a comfortable three-second gap for much of the race to Rowland; the Brit happy to seal his first podium of the season and his first with Mahindra. Di Grassi's 39th podium brought about his 1,000th point in Formula E - the first driver to do so - in his 99th race.
Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) steered to the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap with a tidy drive to fourth and Vandoorne limited Evans' points progress by coming home a handy fifth. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) rounded out the top six while Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche), Robin Frijns (Envision Racing), Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) and Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) rounded out the points-paying positions.
The season finale and Formula E's 100th race follows on Sunday, where the destination of the Drivers' and Teams' World Championship trophies will be decided.
As it happened...
With the circuit still holding plenty of standing water, but with no further rain falling or scheduled to fall, Evans fired away from third to slice by Rowland right from the off. He had a look around the outside of leader di Grassi and made it by the Venturi at Turn 3 – the Kiwi on a mission.
Di Grassi lost out to Rowland in the stadium and was immediately under pressure from Dennis who made a move stick for third.
On the penultimate corner, a collection of eight cars fell foul of some of that standing water with each finding the wall and one-another - Buemi, Askew, Lotterer, Ticktum, Turvey, Cassidy, Nato and de Vries all involved, with the Dutchman’s Silver Arrow 02 spearing beneath Buemi’s Nissan. A Red Flag was the only realistic outcome from that and we’d go again some 45 minutes later.
On Lap 5, Mortara was the recipient of contact from Vergne into the final corner, causing the Venturi to half spin – though the Swiss looked to have moved in the braking zone, possibly trying to avoid puddles or bumps, in fairness. That saw Vergne take fifth and Vandoorne follow through to take sixth. Mortara, then seventh, was slapped with a five-second time penalty.
Dennis and di Grassi were first to jump for ATTACK MODE on Lap 4 and 5, respectively, with the circuit looking half a second quicker per lap as the standing water shifted and burned off. Even so, that extra 30kW was causing a little extra wheelspin – some drivers had made the call to wait until the track dried further for maximum benefit, with Vergne and Mortara the last of the top 10 to blink.
On Lap 8, it was Evans from Rowland, di Grassi, Dennis, Vergne, Vandoorne, Mortara, Wehrlein, da Costa and Frijns the top 10 with the field strung out – cars a second or so apart.
Second round of mandatory ATTACK MODE activations, Evans went first and set the then-TAG Heuer Fastest Lap.
Vandoorne made more ground with a regulation pass on Vergne for fifth spot – another couple of points in his pocket, and further damage to his standings lead limited with Evans still leading.
On Lap 20, Mortara’s championship hopes came to an end via a right-rear puncture, and retirement was the result. Doubly costly for Venturi in their Teams’ title battle with Mercedes-EQ. The Monegasque team had a good chance to profit from de Vries’ earlier retirement.
Evans looked serene out front with the hard work now done. Three seconds was his margin over second-placed Rowland inside the last five minutes plus one lap. A brief blip with a lock-up into Turn 22 was just about the only wobble the New Zealander had all race.
Alexander Sims (Mahindra Racing) had clambered up to 10th position but once again found the wall after hitting the barriers in qualifying – the Brit losing the back end of the car in the stadium.
A Full Course Yellow then a spell under the Safety Car was required for the Mahindra’s recovery, and that saw the race come to a close – Evans the winner, cutting Vandoorne’s standings lead to 21 points – still doable heading into the final round on Sunday.
Rowland in the sister Mahindra had a far better time of it, bringing things home in an unbothered second position, with di Grassi making the final step of the podium. Dennis followed in fifth while Vandoorne came home fifth – limiting Evans’ progress in the points battle handily.
Wehrlein, Frijns, da Costa and Cassidy rounded out the points-paying positions.
Published on 13th August 2022
5 min read