Jaguar TCS Racing Team Principal James Barclay hailed Mitch Evans‘ recovery drive to fourth at the inaugural Portland E-Prix as a “great achievement”, after the New Zealander endured a disastrous qualifying.
To say it was disastrous is somewhat of an understatement, given that Evans didn’t even take part. The Kiwi suffered a battery failure ahead of the session, with his car having ultimately not been ready in time for the race. There wasn’t much to celebrate in qualifying on the other side of the garage either, as Sam Bird secured fifteenth on the grid.
Both drivers made excellent starts to the twelfth round of the season though, as Evans and Bird progressed into the top ten. The pair remarkably crossed the line in fourth and seventh respectively; however, Bird was awarded a five-second time penalty for forcing another driver off the circuit, demoting him to seventeenth. This was a difficult thing to hear for the Coventry-based team, who therefore lost crucial points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Jaguar still sit third but are now forty-seven points behind TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, ahead of Rome. In the Drivers’ Championship, Evans is still just within touching distance of the top; albeit, thirty-two points behind. Evans arguably kept his title chances alive with his recovery drive, although Barclay is aware that the team must “keep pushing”.
“A challenging day that ended well, with both cars in the top ten as the chequered flag fell. The team has been brilliant today, managing a circuit power cut this morning and then a battery failure on Mitch’s car put us on the back foot. To therefore come back with Mitch from 20th to finish fourth, just missing out on the podium, and securing fastest lap was a great achievement.
“Sam had an excellent race and his subsequent penalty, which we thought was a racing incident only, has cost us important championship points. The performance of all Jaguars in the race is a positive sign but it’s clear that it’s becoming incredibly close at this point in the season – so we need to keep pushing.”