Bryan Sellers leads a second successive Rahal-Letterman Lanigan Racing 1-2 finish in drying conditions in Hong Kong for the third round of the 2018-19 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy to take the championship lead from his team-mate Katherine Legge after a challenging race in wet and dry conditions around the tight, twisty and narrow street circuit.
Caca Bueno led Sellers from pole position, while Legge made an inspired start from fifth up to third place, displacing both the TWR Techeetah car of Stefan Rzadinski and Simon Evans in the Team Asia New Zealand entry.
Further behind, it was a great start from Sergio Jiminez, who made up three places at the first corner and four places on the first lap after a technical problem in qualifying forced him to start from last place on the grid. This saw a complete reshuffle in Pro-Am, with Celia Martin moving into the lead of the class early on.
But Martin was soon demoted by Jiminez to P8, and then the following lap, Yaqi Zhang for Team China Racing made a bold and aggressive lunge on Martin at the first turn, pushing her wide, which gifted a place to the first of the Saudi Racing cars of Bandar Alesayi, who moved into eighth place.
At the same time, Jiminez was able to easily catch and pass Rzadinski, who sustained damage yet again, and after the Brazilian passed him, he sustained too much damage and was forced to retire from the race.
After controlling the first part of the race, Bueno struggles with the changing conditions and locks up at turn one and struggles to get round, dropping him from first to sixth place in a matter of moments, gifting Bryan Sellers the race lead after the American finished the opening two rounds in Ad Diriyah and Mexico City on the podium.
More damage for the Pro-Am runners brings out another Full-Course Yellow with both Qi Lin and Ahmed Bin-Khanen sustaining significant damage and were forced to retire as a result.
But after having a good first part of the race and eying up a potential podium finish, the VIP driver Darryl O’ Young had a bad restart and was shuffled out of the way by the two Jaguar Brazil Racing cars of Jiminez and Bueno as they hope to fight after the top three.
After nerfing Simon Evans at turn one, Jiminez appeared to sustain some damage and was forced to defend against his team-mate Bueno for fourth place and had to scramble around the first turn to fend off the former race leader in a bid to minimize the damage this result would do to his championship challenge.
But the feisty Brazilian wasn’t done yet as Jiminez found the pace to keep up with Evans and on the final corner of the final lap nerfed Evans into the wall to claim a podium position on the track, but whether he keeps that podium place is subject to ratification.
As the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy heads to Sanya in two weeks time, it is Bryan Sellers and Rahal Letterman-Lanigan Racing who lead the series. But will be victorious in Sanya?