Mitch Evans passed Oliver Rowland to win Formula E Seoul EPrix amid slippery conditions with Lucas di Grassi in third.
Mitch Evans produced the goods 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.
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.
#ABBFormulaE #SeoulEPrix #Round15 EPrix results, which ended behind the safetycar. Final EPrix tomorrow in which Vandoorne still leads with 21 points over Evans. 29 points left to on the table. #MsportXtra @FormulaEZone pic.twitter.com/64XF5iD4Xb
— #MsportXtra (@MsportXtra) August 13, 2022
[Note: The story is as per press release]