The exciting E-Prix of Portland had another interesting seasoning during the debut with the great comeback of Mitch Evans, who was able to overcome adversity and overtake his rivals.
With 16 overtaken positions, the Jaguar driver won the “ABB of Progress” award in the United States. His spectacular crusade brought him close to the podium and kept him dreaming of winning the Formula E season 9 title.
Two Safety Car exits interrupted the first part of the race. One for the recovery of Roberto Merhi‘s stranded Mahindra, and a second after Nico Mueller’s ABT CUPRA was pinned to the wall through a damaged front wing lodged under its wheels.
Round 12 already looked to be a race where energy management would be a focus given the fast and wide nature of the circuit, and drivers would look to take every opportunity to conserve their usable energy for a late-race charge in a challenging energy-harvesting layout.
Related content: Five Key Highlights from the Portland E-Prix
Extreme Power and Pace
This time, the combination of the unique characteristics of the new circuit on the Formula E calendar and the circumstances as the race unfolded meant that the inaugural visit to Portland International Speedway was destined to become a more extreme manifestation of this.
Evans was running 16th on lap 17 of 32 when the comeback began. By lap 19, the racer had moved into second place, although this strong progress towards the podium boxes was always going to be a bit short-lived, as he still needed to activate his first 50kW ATTACK MODE boost.
Those two laps were astounding and resulted in an unusually dramatic acceleration. As expected, Evans dropped to ninth place over the next few laps as the final strategy unfolded in the pack, but the critical work was done, with strong points now a viable outcome from the most unlikely positions.
Losing points to immediate title rivals is never a good thing, but for Evans things were looking worse after the disappointing qualifying stage.
The Jaguar driver’s great comeback keeps him alive ahead of the final races that will define the new champion, in the first campaign of the GEN3 era of Formula E.