Simon Evans has won the opening race of season two of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY at the Diriyah E-Prix, in the historic UNESCO site. After starting on pole, he dominated the all-electric race leading from lights to the chequered flag. Following a competitive qualifying session which saw female drivers Abbie Eaton and Alice Powell, Jaguar Ran Racing eTROPHY Team Germany deliver impressive performances to challenge for podium positions. Brazilian Sérgio Jimenez started and finished in second to get his season off to a positive start.
Simon Evans, Team Asia New Zealand, said: “It’s been amazing to come back here to Saudi Arabia and win again like I did last year. This was a particularly good race as I controlled it from the start, so I’m really happy with the result. There were other drivers who were very fast too though so I know there are no guarantees that I’ll be as successful tomorrow - but I’ll definitely be trying.”
Alice Powell and Sérgio Jimenez jostled throughout the race, with Alice taking the opportunity to overtake with 17 minutes left on the clock. Jimenez retaliated with the pair making slight contact, this allowed the Brazilian to regain his second position. With a fastest lap time of 1:32.054, Alice’s race delivered a well-deserved a podium finish.
Abbie Eaton put in a strong debut performance in the Jaguar I-PACE racecar and held off advances from Zhang Yaqi for a large proportion of the race, especially through turns 18 and 19 which are the best overtaking opportunities on the Diriyah circuit. Zhang finished first in the PRO-AM category after he took his opportunity to pass the VIP driver with five minutes remaining when Eaton went wide.
Yaqi Zhang, Jaguar China Racing, said: “The race went really well and I’m incredibly happy that I have been able to win the PRO-AM category. I was trying to put pressure on Abbie and I think she made a mistake which allowed me to overtake her. This season I’d really like to chase the PRO drivers but I need to try to look after my car at the same time. In qualifying – I scraped the wall in the same place twice causing some damage.”
Local Saudi Arabian driver and fellow female VIP driver, Reema Juffali made history today by becoming the first Saudi Arabian woman to race within the Kingdom.
Reema Juffali, said: “It’s been an incredible day creating history in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY race series. I loved being out on track in my home country for the first time and battling against the competition has been really exciting. I can’t believe it, it’s amazing! I’m looking forward to refining my ATTACK MODE strategy ahead of tomorrow’s race and really can’t wait to get back on track.”
Mark Turner, Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series Manager, said: “Season two has got off to an incredible start. The racing was close with some good, clean passes. The whole team are pleased with the introduction of ATTACK MODE, it spiced up the racing and had us on the edge of our seats right up to the final lap. Congratulations to Simon Evans for winning the first race of season two”.
The final results are:
Position Driver Nationality Team Classification
1 Simon Evans NZL Team Asia New Zealand PRO
2 Sérgio Jimenez BRA ZEG iCarros Jaguar Brazil PRO
3 Alice Powell GBR Jaguar Ran Racing eTROPHY Team Germany PRO
4 Zhang Yaqi CHN Jaguar China Racing PRO AM
5 Abbie Eaton GBR Jaguar VIP car Guest
6 Fahad Algosaibi SAU Saudi Racing PRO AM
7 Chao Sun CHN Jaguar China Racing PRO AM
8 Mário Haberfeld BRZ ZEG iCarros Jaguar Brazil PRO
9 Mashhur Bal Hejaila SAU Saudi Racing PRO AM
10 Reema Juffali SAU Jaguar VIP car Guest