After a two-month wait, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship held its fourth round on the streets of Rome today. This race was the first round of a doubleheader this weekend in the Italian capital to begin the championship’s European season.
Qualifying concluded with a head-to-head duel between Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Envision’s Robin Frijns. The Mercedes driver didn’t give Frijns a chance as he set a lap time three-and-a-half tenths of a second faster. At the race start, Vandoorne held the lead from pole position.
While Vandoorne was focused on driving away, there was a melee further back in the field on the opening. Several cars collided through turn 7. The bumpy entry into the corner unsettled cars all day, and in a pack, carnage unfolded. When the metaphorical dust cleared, Nissan’s Maximilian Günther limped his damaged car straight into a barrier a couple of corners later. Race control seemingly waited until the last possible moment to deploy a full course yellow. The leaders had almost reached the stricken Nissan.
Sixteen minutes into the 45-minute race, Frijns drove up the inside of Vandoorne into Turn 4. The rough surface served as the perfect environment as both drivers fought each other and their cars as they exchanged positions every few laps.
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As the leaders fought, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans methodically made his way through the midfield until he chased down the two pacesetters. With under ten minutes to go, Evans got around a slowing Vandoorne and quickly used his Attack Mode advantage to take the lead from Frijins. Evans was untouchable for the rest of the race and won his first race this season.
Mitch Evans and Stoffel Vandoorne would both hold to second and third, respectively, despite late challenges from Techeetah’s Jean-Éric Vergne and Jaguar’s Sam Bird. Venturi’s Edo Mortara, who finished seventh, still leads the Drivers’ Championship by three points over Vandoorne. Formula E will race again in Rome tomorrow.