Despite dropping out of qualifying as a result of a strategy call, Jaguar TCS Racing's Mitch Evans stormed to victory at the Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR street circuit in Rome for the second time in his career. The Kiwi driver explains how the race went better than expected and why the second win in Rome feels just as special as the last.
"We knew we'd be strong but not this strong," says Jaguar TCS Racing's Mitch Evans, visibly shocked after a battle on the streets of Rome that saw him claiming victory here for the second time in his career.
"It was a really good race for the team. We've struggled with points since the start of the season, so to bag a load of points has come at a really good time.
"The way the car is designed means it's very strong on raw street circuits like Rome. There's a lot of surface changes, bumps and 90 degree turns," he explains.
Since Evans last win in Mexico City in the 2019/2020 season, the Jaguar driver's 2020/21 campaign was looking promising until a shunt on the start line of the Berlin E-Prix dramatically scuppered his championship chances. Overcoming the disappointment that came with that, the drivers' 2021/22 campaign was, once again, looking to be disappointing - until now, that is.
"I knew I was going to have a good race but not like that. The car was just fantastic and the team gave me one of the best races I've ever had. It was energy positive and the balance was just perfect.
"Today we dropped out [of qualifying] but we had the pace, so we just made the wrong call with tyres - we stayed out and it bit us but I knew I was gonna have a good race but not like that the car was just fantastic.
"I was feeling good in the car and I thought we were on for a podium here and then I heard the energy [read out from the engineer] but I wasn't expecting to get to the front that early.
"The win here feels just as special as the last but for different reasons. The first one is always special because everyone wants to get the monkey off their back."
Qualifying ninth after an unfortunate strategy call saw the Jaguar drivers drop out of the Group stages, Evans called on four years of Formula E experience during the race and battled his way through the field and into the lead.
"The way we did it today was so dominant. We had a tough start to the year - I've not won since Mexico City 2020 and that's been in the back of my mind for a while and after the tough start.
"I thought I maybe have to wait even longer. But the team has been amazing in the last eight weeks to turn things around, so this is for them.
"I was just biding my time and then started picking them off here and there. ATTACK MODE started mixing things up - it's not always that easy to overtake in ATTACK, so I was able to hold position well, and then it was down to my pace to make that happen.
"Then I was able to keep the momentum up and keep chipping forward. Sometimes in Formula E, you make one step forward and two steps back and I was able to just keep progressing forward.
"Then when I was in the top four or five, I had good energy so I just had to play smart and use it correctly. The car is just unreal so when you have that you just become a lot more in control of the situation," added the Kiwi driver.
With a much-needed points haul in Rome Round 4, the Jaguar team now sit sixth in the standings as they prepare to take on the streets of Rome for the second time.
"It would be nice to do the same tomorrow but doubleheaders can sometimes be odd - the track changes, as does the grip.
"The way it felt today, I'm hoping for something similar but you just never know. Obviously, I'm feeling optimistic but you never know."
Published on 9th April 2022