Photo: Formula E

Rome E-Prix: Evans wins following scary crash bringing out red flag

Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans has won Saturday’s Rome E-Prix, ahead of title rival Nick Cassidy and Maximilian Guenther, with the race being halted following a mega high-speed crash involving multiple drivers, all of which were able to exit their cars by themselves.


At the start of the race, Sam Bird was able to get past his Jaguar TCS Racing teammate and take the lead of the race as Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis climbed two places to fifth and crucially remained ahead of his title rival Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) who was in sixth. With Evans in second, the lowest of the remaining realistic title challengers was Wehrlein, who dropped down the order following contact on the opening lap.


On lap three, the safety car was out as Andre Lotterer was stopped on track with damage his the front right of is car. He hit the wall and came to a stop amidst the gust of leaves blowing around the circuit. Bird was still in the lead from Evans, with Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz remaining in third, where he started the race.


With the green flag waved only a lap later, the pack remained calm, with no ambitious moves being made straight away. However, after the hill, there was a change for the lead as Evans got past Bird and was leading the rather congested pack that was all sticking with each other following the restart.


The drivers down the bottom of the field, Nico Mueller (ABT Cupra), Robin Frijns, Sette Camara and Wehrlein all dived into the attack mode zone, with Roberto Mehri (Mahindra) being the only driver on the bottom five not to opt for attack mode at that point.


Fenestraz was then being able to make a move on Bird, with the British driver not putting up much defence to allow the French driver through to second place. Bird would then fall further down the order as Rene Rast (NEOM McLaren) was able to get past him and into third place. Behind Bird now were the two title challengers of Dennis and Cassidy.


As Evans took attack mode, he was able to get out ahead of Rast and the following pack, but crucially allowed Fenestraz into the lead but reminded within distance to him that would give him the opportunity to retake the lead when the Nissan driver took his attack mode.


The red flag was then brought out after a horrible crash involving multiple drivers at high speed.  Bird lost control of his car after hitting one of the manhole covers and bottoming out. Buemi then clips the rear of Bird’s car at near-full racing speed. Eduardo Mortata (Maserati MSG) hit Bird after being unsighted. Then both DS Penske cars passed the crash site, one hitting its right-rear on the wall and the other hitting its left-rear on the wall. Nico Mueller’s ABT Cupra’s then lost the rear of his car and clipped the front of Bird’s car. During the incident, Antonio Felix Da Costa also went underneath the car of Buemi that was sideways after it flipped up into the wall.


At the restart, which was a standing start, it would be Fenestraz starting on pole, joined by Evans on the front row. As the five red lights went out, it would be Fenestraz that would keep the lead, with Dennis getting up to third and pushing Evans for second place. His title rival Cassidy would lose a place, running in sixth.


With Rast and Guenther battling for fourth place, it allowed Cassidy to sneak through to fifth place with 4% more energy than Rast ahead in fourth. Cassidy would then get past Rast down at turn 14 on lap 12, with Dennis ahead of him. Rast then dived into the pitlane, promoting Jean-Eric Vernge (DS Penske) to fifth place.


Dan Ticktum would then suffer damage to his NIO 333 car and had to go into the pits. The damage occurred when Ticktum hit the back of Guenther’s car.


Dennis would then be able to get into second place with a move on Evans. The train that was developing for first place was pretty much the entire field that was still running. Dennis didn’t waste any time in pushing Fenestraz and was able to get into the lead of the race on lap 15, with Fenestraz’s energy levels not what they ideally needed to be.


On lap 17, Cassidy would get up to third place after making a move on Fenestraz, with Dennis setting the fastest first sector of the race so far as he attempted to create a gap out front.


Evans then regained the lead of the race following Dennis taking attack mode, with the British driver getting the lead back with Evans taking attack mode, but crucially had less useable energy. However, Evans missed one of the activation zones and would be forced to go into the zone again.

It wouldn’t take long for Evans to get passed Dennis, who would then fall further back behind Cassidy after massively overconsuming his energy. He would fall further back as Guenther passed him, dropping Dennis out of the podium and giving the Championship lead to Cassidy.


With two additional laps, a yellow flag or debris would put an end to some of the late battles taking place. Evans was able to cross the line to take the win, with Cassidy and Guenther making up the rest of the podium positions. Dennis held off the challenging pack to take fourth, with Vergne and Mueller rounding out the top five.

Wehrlein, Norman Nato (Nissan), Sergio Sette Camara (NIO 333) and Fenestraz rounded out the top ten.

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