Jaguar TCS Racing executed a near-perfect race at the inaugural Julius Baer São Paulo E-Prix as Mitch Evans took the chequered flag and teammate Sam Bird finished third in Round 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
It was an excellent day for the British manufacturer as they locked out the podium – secured as runner-up Nick Cassidy drives with the Jaguar powertrain for Envision Racing – the first time they have done so in the all-electric racing series.
The result makes it five different race winners in the opening six races of Season 9 and still also means no driver has been able to convert their Julius Baer Pole Position into a race victory – highlighting the competitiveness and unpredictability of the Gen3 era.
It also marks a significant moment for Jaguar, who had endured a frustrating season up until the weekend with just one podium to their name across the first five rounds of the season.
And speaking after the race, Evans underlined the importance for himself and the team as they look to get their collective title challenges up and running.
“This has come at the perfect time, we had a tough start but the car has been quick - so to finally get the victory and some points is incredible” he said. “A Jaguar 1-2-3, Nick pushed me all the way - we pushed each other - both teams executed brilliantly. This is down to a lot of hard work, there is a lot of graft that goes in with simulations, to try and put these races together regarding strategy is not easy. I wouldn’t have wanted it much closer than that!
“We obviously thought about track position and where you want to be at certain phases in the races. I had a good energy advantage from quite early on, but it was just about trying to find the right time to use the energy advantage. I thought I maybe went a bit too early, once Nick got behind me he was able to accumulate some energy and he was able to stick to my toe, but we got the victory so we obviously managed to do the right job. Super happy to get some big points on the board.”
It was a flat out push to the finish at the rapid 11-turn São Paulo Street Circuit, with Evans managing to navigate his way through constant position changes up-and-down the pack to take the chequered flag from third on the grid. The Kiwi took the initiative and the race lead from his compatriot Cassidy as the race headed into four TAG Heuer Added Laps.
His move on Lap 32 proved to be decisive, with neither Cassidy nor Bird able to undo the leader’s defensive driving – despite the latter having collected a couple of extra percentage points of useable energy during his climb from 10th on the grid at the start. Cassidy had led the race more than once, but will be more than satisfied to score three podiums on the spin for the first time in his Formula E career.
Polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE) had led the way early on, fending off TAG Heuer Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa during the first round of Attack Mode activations until the race reached its half-way stage, with the lead impossible to keep track of on Lap 14 – three or four changes over that tour alone and Cassidy coming out on top. The Belgian would end up sixth after struggling for usable energy from his time out-front. Da Costa had slipped to fourth and briefly made designs on the podium but wound up settling for that berth just outside the podium positions. Jean-Eric Vergne headed his teammate home for an eventual fifth spot.
Standings leader Pascal Wehrlein had it all to do from 18th on the grid and sliced his way through the pack to seventh position at the chequered flag with Jake Hughes finishing eighth, just ahead of teammate Rast in ninth - Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) rounding out the top 10. Meanwhile, Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) suffered a non-finish after contact from Dan Ticktum’s NIO 333 saw his 99X Electric shoved into Wehrlein’s Porsche.
All that saw Wehrlein keep a hold of his Drivers’ World Championship lead on 86 points from Dennis’ 62, while Cassidy clambered into third just a point behind the Brit. TAG Heuer Porsche heads Envision Racing 144 points to 103 with Jaguar TCS Racing third on 83 points.
A double-header trip to Berlin is next up for Formula E on 22 and 23 April.