Bryan Sellers takes maiden I-PACE eTROPHY victory in Hong Kong
Bryan Sellers secured his maiden victory in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY in Hong Kong, beating Katherine Legge to the chequered flag to front a second consecutive 1-2 finish for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
While Sellers started from second on the grid, it was Jaguar Brazil Racing's Caca Bueno who secured pole position, beating the American racer to the top spot in qualifying by 0.327s.
Getting a strong start from pole position, Bueno maintained his lead into Turn 1 from Sellers while Legge, who started from fifth place, got the jump on Simon Evans and Stefan Rzanzinski, taking the outside line in the right-hand hairpin to move into third position.
Utilising a similar strategy, Celia Martin emulated Legge's opening attack into Turn 1, with the French racer overtaking Yaqi Zhang, Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed Bin-Khanen to take the lead in the second category.
Following contact in Turn 1 between a number of drivers, the Full Course Yellow was quickly deployed in the race after just under two minutes of running before the green flag soon waved once more.
Pushing hard at the front of the field, Bueno tried to extend his lead at the race restart, only to run straight on into Turn 1, with this mistake handing Sellers the lead while the former first-placed runner dropped to sixth in the overall running order.
Remaining out in front, Sellers extended his lead over Legge, taking the chequered flag at the end of 25 minutes + 1 lap of racing to secure his maiden victory in the championship after two consecutive second-place finishes in Ad Diriyah and Mexico City.
Legge took the chequered flag in second place, completing a 1-2 finish for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing squad while it was Sergio Jimenez who took a controversial third place.
Starting from the back of the field after failing to complete a single lap in qualifying due to a technical problem, Jimenez battled his way through the pack, jumping into fifth place from 12th by the end of the opening tour of the circuit.
After clearing VIP driver Darryl O'Young with a diving move for fourth, Jimenez engaged in a close battle with Ad Diriyah race winner Evans for third, punting the Kiwi into the barriers in Turn 10 in the final run to the chequered flag.
Despite crashing hard into the wall in the dying moments of the race, Evans took fourth and was followed by polesitter Bueno while O'Young was sixth.
Zhang emerged as the eventual winner of the Pro-Am category after overtaking Martin in Turn 1 with an aggressive overtaking manoeuvre, with Alesayi standing on the second step of the podium while France's Martin was third in class, taking ninth overall.
Bin-Khanen, Qi Lin and Rzadzinski failed to see the chequered flag in Hong Kong after sustaining extensive damage over the course of the race.
The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will return on March 23 in Sanya, China, for the fourth round of the 2018/19 season.