Mitch Evans kept his Formula E title hopes alive with victory at the first Seoul E-Prix of the weekend, as he took the race win ahead of Oliver Rowland.
With Vergne and Mortara mathematically out of the fight after Round 15, Evans is now the only driver with a chance to beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the title.
The first race of the Seoul E-Prix weekend only counted 13 finishers – and started with a fiery fight for the lead and a huge pile up in the back.
Mitch Evans was quickest off the line, immediately overtaking pole-sitter Oliver Rowland from third. Behind, Lucas Di Grassi in the black Venturi joined the scuffle for the lead – even briefly getting ahead of Evans’ Jaguar before the red flag.
After a clean first lap, the race was brought to a halt for 45 minutes when eight drivers drove straight into the barriers of Turn 20, seemingly unable to stop their cars. Norman Nato and Nick Cassidy were the only drivers able to return to racing after the red flag, with Nyck de Vries, Sébastien Buemi, Dan Ticktum, Oliver Askew, Andre Lotterer and Oliver Turvey all retiring – although thankfully uninjured despite the nasty-looking incident.
Evans was able to retain his lead over Rowland and Di Grassi at the restart, with championship rival Stoffel Vandoorne chasing Jean-Eric Vergne for P6.
The Techeetah driver was himself in a fight with Edoardo Mortara – with whom he made contact, resulting in the black Venturi going into half a spin and losing not only a spot to Vergne, but also one to Vandoorne.
Mortara was judged to be primarily at fault for the contact, and penalised with a five-second time penalty for moving under braking – which further reduced his chances to stay in the points and therefore in the title fight. His bid however sadly came to an end later in the race, when a right-rear puncture forced him to an early retirement.
With Vandoorne eventually passing Vergne for a P5 finish, Mortara might have to defend his third position in the standings from the Techeetah driver, who is now only 8 points behind.
Further ahead and celebrating on the top step of the podium, Evans made sure to do everything he needed to do in order to extend the title fight to the final round of the season. After a great, aggressive start, the Kiwi driver was able to keep a safe gap to Rowland throughout the entire race, and secured a vital win ahead of Round 16 – which now puts him 21 points behind Vandoorne.
The Mercedes EQ driver was never able to apply pressure on Jake Dennis – who finished just outside the podium in P4. A late Safety Car caused by Alexander Sims hitting the barriers in Turn 10 made sure that Vandoorne could not beat Dennis’ fastest lap either, taking one more point away from him in the title fight.
The top 10 was rounded up by Pascal Wehrlein, Robin Frijns, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Nick Cassidy – who despite falling behind after the big shunt in the opening stages of Round 15 managed to score the last point available in the race.