Mitch Evans wins first leg of Seoul E-Prix after eight-car pileup delays race
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The Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix started off Saturday with an eight-car pileup and a lengthy red flag before Jaguar driver Mitch Evans emerged triumphant to win the penultimate race of the 2022 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
The Seoul E-Prix is the crowning event of the 2022 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with the two final races held on the streets around the Jamsil Sports Complex in Jamsil, southern Seoul.
At the qualification race in the morning, Mahindra driver Oliver Rowland topped the table, crossing the finish line with a time of 1:35.406 to take pole position for the final race, while Lucas di Grassi took second.
But the rain kicked in after the qualifiers, stopping in time for the final race but making the track very wet.
The eager fans in the Seoul Olympic Stadium had barely found their seats for the penultimate race of the season when Jaguar driver Norman Nato crashed into the wall on the 20th corner.
Nissan driver Sebastien Buemi followed Nato into the wall, with Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries crashing straight into the back of Buemi and ending up underneath his car.
The five drivers who followed — Dan Ticktum, Oliver Askew, Oliver Turvey, Andre Lotterer and Nick Cassidy — all hit the barriers but escaped without injured.
“In the middle of the pack, the visibility in the last sector was quite poor and I think one guy — I didn’t know who he was, I couldn’t really see — was quite cautious on the brake and the two cars in front of me tried to avoid him,” Nato said after the crash.
“When I arrived I got a bit surprised and I had to avoid going on the left-hand side of the apex, but the tarmac is really different at this part and that’s why we saw so many cars [off] because so many people tried to do the same to avoid those inside.
“But the problem is on the outside if you go there you have no chance to turn. Six or seven cars out in one corner is not what we expected.”
Just two drivers, Cassidy and Nato, managed to reverse out of the barriers and get back to the pits with what appeared to be less damage than the other cars.
The race was paused for 30 minutes while the track was cleared, with de Vries spending most of that time sat in his car underneath the Nissan. After the long break the race resumed with 16 cars and 43 minutes plus one lap on the clock.
Evans was able to take the lead in the restart, having already overtaken Rowland and Di Grassi from third in the first two turns.
After the restart, the race calmed down until the final 10 minutes of the race, with title-contender Edoardo Mortara pulled out with a punctured tire in his Rokit Venturi. Penske driver Antonio Giovinazzi span out with four minutes left on the clock, with Mahindra's Alexander Sims hitting the barrier in the stadium with three minutes to go.
The yellow flag that followed Sims' crash stayed out for the rest of the race, allowing Evans to top the podium with a time of 1:29:55.478, Rowland 0.082 seconds behind in second and Di Grassi 1.393 seconds in third.
Avalanche's Jake Dennis had the fastest lap of one minute and 25.497 seconds to finish in fourth place while title-contender and current No. 1 in total points Stoffel Vandoorne finished fifth.
After Mortata failed to finish the final race, the contention for the championship trophy is down to two drivers, Evans and Rowland who each have 195 and 174 points. Only a win in the final race will allow Evans to be named season champion.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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