By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer
Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s breakout weekend to open Season Four for the FIA Formula E championship was capped off with a career-best result for Mitch Evans.
Evans put together a spirited drive to take the HKT Hong Kong E-Prix’s checkered flag in fourth and – when original race winner Daniel Abt was disqualified – gained a position to give Jaguar their first podium in their second season.
The result came after Evans reached another new mark for Jaguar – making the Super Pole round of qualifying for the first time in the team’s existence. The Kiwi lined up fourth in the starting grid, and put together his best drive to date to score his first podium.
“I am proud to secure Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s first podium in Formula E,” Evans said afterward. “It is bittersweet as Daniel (Abt) is a good guy and a mate of mine. After a tough year in our first season this is a great reward for the hard work of everyone in the team.
“Tonight we will celebrate this achievement together and then work hard to repeat it.”
The result finished off what was largely a triumphant weekend for Jaguar. After struggling to contend in their debut run in Season Three, Jaguar matched – and then bested – their previous best result of fourth in back-to-back races.
Team newcomer and Season One champion Nelson Piquet Jr. was the first to hit big for the team, giving them a fourth-place run in Saturday’s first E-Prix. While Piquet couldn’t match his result in Race Two, finishing outside of the points in 12th, the Brazilian still expressed optimism over the organization’s pace.
“Mitch’s podium is a great start to the season for the team,” Piquet said. “The car is definitely on a different level to last year. The whole team have improved a lot. Our hopes are high after this weekend’s results. It was a bit of an unknown coming into the weekend so after these two good results on both days hopefully we have a bit of confidence and can continue to score points throughout the year.”
All told Jaguar left the opening weekend with 27 points in the team championship – matching their total from the entirety of Season Three.
“Well that was a very pleasant surprise,” Panasonic Jaguar Racing Team Director James Barclay said. “We felt like a podium was on today so I am delighted for Mitch and the whole team.
“This weekend has exceeded our expectations but we won’t let it go to our heads and we still have many areas to improve upon. Hopefully this is the first of many podiums ahead and we will raise a glass tonight.”