Jaguar TCS Racing driver Mitch Evans' historic double-win domination on the streets of Rome in Round 4 & 5 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the Kiwi will start the Monaco E-Prix on Julius Baer Pole Position after a faultless performance around the Principality.
"It's been a long time since I actually got pole position," admits Evans with a smile, immediately after stepping out of his car in the pit lane of Monaco's iconic harbourfront. "The last time was back in Santiago, Season 6, so it's been long time coming."
Lining up at the front of the pack in Monaco is a good sign for the Kiwi driver who came painfully close to closing in on the win in Monaco last year, before DS TECHEETAH's Antonio Felix da Costa swooped in, seconds from the end in a last ditch overtake and claimed victory. It was a hard lesson to learn for Evans who saw his first win in Monaco slip through his fingers but, if his qualifying performance is anything to go by, he'll come back fighting.
"It's been a tricky day. This morning wasn't amazing, but we've sort of pulled ourselves together and kept calm and the guys gave me a really predictable car. Repeatability is obviously important for the for the Duels, so it feels really, really nice."
Rome was an indicator of how strong the Jaguar package was on an especially challenging street circuit, not to mention Evans' form as a driver. Starting from ninth in Round 4, Evans held his nerve and carefully picked his way through the traffic in a beautifully thought through race to come out on top. It was the first time in Formula E history that a driver had won from so far back. Hoping to continue that fine form here in Monaco, Evans remains cautiously confident as he starts from pole in Monaco.
"The way that Formula E races are, you can't be too confident. Obviously, pole gives us a nice little boost and it's nice to start with track position and we'll see what the race brings. In Rome, we had good race pace so we just hope to continue that now."
Barclay: "It's going to be a fight"
While Evans savours the three points he's added to his championship campaign, putting him just nine points from Driver's standings leader Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH), Team Principal James Barclay shares Evans' cautious confidence as the team edges closer to the race this afternoon.
"It's a magical moment," says Barclay, stepping forward from the Jaguar garage. "Our pole position in Monaco is something very special for Mitch and for all the team but this is Formula E and although being on pole is definitely a big step towards where we want to be but we saw six overtakes for the lead last year, so without a doubt, it's going to be a fight."
While the focus is firmly on Evans at the front, fellow Jaguar driver and longstanding Formula E veteran Sam Bird will start the race in 13th. Despite his length of service, Bird hasn't shared the same success as his teammate this season.
"Sam knows the car has that speed - he's seen it with Mitch," says Barclay. "We can obviously look at where Mitch is performing and where maybe Sam has areas to improve but he was very close today. He touched the wall twice in his lap and lost a tiny bit of momentum. If it wasn't for those two touches he would have been through - it shows he was pushing.
"These are tiny margins. Sam is a World Class driver - he won two races last year and without a doubt, Sam will be back."
Published on 30th April 2022