Qualifying remains Jaguar Racing's 'Achilles heel' - James Barclay
Jaguar Racing team boss James Barclay has stated that qualifying continues to be the British marque's "Achilles heel" in Season Five of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship following a weekend of mixed results in Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, Jaguar experienced another difficult weekend of racing, salvaging six points through the efforts of Mitch Evans while Nelson Piquet Jr failed to see the chequered flag.
The team's potential in the race was spoiled by its poor pace over the course of one lap in qualifying, with Piquet only managing to secure 15th on the grid while Evans started from 17th after having limited running ahead of the session due to a driveshaft failure in FP2.
With qualifying being a vital part of a Formula E race weekend, Jaguar's race was, in effect, hampered from the outset as its so far difficult 2018/19 campaign continues, with the team starting from a best position of fifth in January's Marrakesh E-Prix while neither Evans or Piquet have started inside the top 10 since.
"Conditions have been tricky for all the drivers," said Barclay. "Mitch [Evans] put in a really mature drive and showed composure to rise through the field during the race.
"We know the Jaguar I-TYPE 3 has good energy efficiency and race pace but qualifying is still our Achilles heel. With the race pace, [if] we have a strong qualifying [it] will make all the difference.
"As we have seen here before in Hong Kong the opening laps are a risk and Nelson [Piquet Jr] unfortunately was caught up in one of these incidents ultimately ending his race.
"We now look forward to our Chinese mainland debut in Sanya. We can rely on the support of Jaguar China and our passionate motorsport fans there."
For Evans, continuing his current points scoring run as one of two drivers to have finished inside the top 10 in every race this season brought about an element of positivity in the Jaguar camp, especially when paired with the context to his race:
"Given the weather and circumstances of the day, I am happy to come away with points for the team," said the Kiwi.
"There were a few incidents on track and everyone was pushing to be at the front of the group, so to come through the race and finish in seventh is positive.
"When you start at the back of the group, the focus has to be on a top ten finish and we were able to achieve that. There are still plenty of things to learn as we go through the season and [Hong Kong] is no exception.
"This is the first wet race we have had in fifty Formula E races, so we will all take a lot away from the experience."
On the other side of the garage, frustrations continued to rise for Piquet, with the inaugural Formula E champion's poor form in 2018/19 continuing by failing to see the chequered flag for the second race in a row:
"When you qualify at the back of the grid you put yourself in a situation where the chance of an accident happening is high because you must be aggressive to challenge for positions," he added.
"One small touch to the car and you can suffer damage, which is a risk. This is what happened and while frustrating, this is a part of motorsport.
"We need to focus on improving qualifying to give us the best possible start and reduce these risks."