Jimenez beats Evans as curbs cause havoc in Mexico City eTrophy race

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Sergio Jimenez wins eTrophy race in Mexico City
Credit: Jaguar Racing

Sergio Jimenez secured a well-deserved victory in the 2019-20 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy race in Mexico City, beating New Zealander Simon Evans after a race-long duel around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

This result now means that the Brazilian pulls six points clear of the Team Asia New Zealand driver after both Jimenez and Evans shared the wins at the last round in Diriyah.

After qualifying was cancelled following Daniel Abt’s crash in Formula E practice, the grid for the third round of the season was based on the times from Free Practice earlier in the day.

Jimenez was on pole ahead of Evans, with the returning ZEG iCarros Jaguar Brazil racer Caca Bueno lining up in third position.

As the lights went out, Jimenez held the lead just about from Evans who tried to replicate the move his brother made in the Formula E race just a couple of hours before. But he was forced to slot into second place with Bueno running in third position.

Further behind, Takuma Aoki was on a charge, making up two places past Mashhur Bal Hejalia and David Cheng right at the start as the ex-World Superbike racer was determined to show his racing skills.

On lap three there was disaster for both Alice Powell and Manuel Cabrera as both suffered punctures owing to curb overuse which meant they had to take to the pitlane and lost a lap to replace the errent tyre. They would rejoin in eighth and ninth positions respectively.

At the same time, Cheng and Bal Hejaila got too close for comfort as the pair tangled on the start-finish straight as the Saudi racer tried to pass Cheng on the inside which saw him shoot towards the wall. Cheng made it back to the pitlane, but his race was over.

This brought out the safety car to repair all of the damage which now saw Jimenez lead from Evans, Bueno and Jaguar VIP driver Mario Dominguez into fourth place.

Jimenez held a solid margin over Evans and Bueno at the restart as the top four had all armed their first attack mode in order to pull away from the chasing pack.

On lap eight, disaster struck for Bueno as the Brazilian was out of luck on his return as he got a puncture which forced him to return to the pits and rejoined just ahead of Powell in seventh place.

With all the punctures ahead of him, Aoki was having a good attacking drive and moved past Adalberto Baptista into fifth place and onto a provisional pro-class podium on his first outing after starting at the back of the grid.

Things about to get serious out front as Evans knew that his only chance to beat Jimenez was to take attack mode early, so decided to make his move on lap thirteen. The New Zealander judged it to perfection and closed right onto Jimenez’s tail and cruised past him at turn nine.

But Jimenez responded and in Attack Mode did the same thing to Evans the following lap, ensuring that he one step ahead of Evans the whole race.

In a race of attrition and drama, Jimenez won ahead of Evans with VIP driver Dominguez taking third place, but Aoki will be on the pro podium courtsey of a fabulous fifth in Mexico.

Fahad Algosaibi finished a superb third to put himself right in contention for the Pro-Am title after Yaqi Zhang missed the round in Mexico City due to the flight schedule in China after the Coronavirus outbreak.

Jimenez now leads the chammpionship by six points over Evans ahead of the next round of the season around the streets of Rome on April 4.

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About author
NCTJ Graduate and nominated finalist for Sir William Lyons Award in November 2018. Formula E and Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy TCF correspondent.
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