Sergio Jimenez triumphs in mixed conditions in Rome
Sergio Jimenez took a dominant victory at the fifth round of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY's inaugural season in Rome, winning in mixed conditions at the Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR.
After dominating in qualifying, Jimenez started the 25-minute + 1 lap race from pole position while Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Bryan Sellers lined up alongside the Brazilian driver on the front row of the grid in second.
Securing a strong start from pole, Jimenez held off Sellers into the first corner of the race, marked by the tight left-hand hairpin of Turn 13, maintaining the lead.
While Sellers had a poor getaway from second, briefly coming under pressure from third-placed starter Simon Evans, the American racer quickly fell into a rhythm, closing in on Jimenez out in front.
Lapping in formation, the lead pack of the field of 12 were closely grouped and when rain began to fall with 11 minutes to go, the race was quickly shaken up, with Pro-Am leader Ahmed Bin-Khanen failing to slow for Turn 13, running deep into the corner before crashing into the barriers while Yaqi Zhang copied the Saudi driver's excursion.
Despite a number of drivers making mistakes, Jimenez kept his cool, taking the chequered flag at the end of the final lap to become the I-PACE eTROPHY's fifth different winner in five races, being joined on the podium by Sellers and Evans.
Katherine Legge missed out on a top-three finish in the second Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry after failing to find a way around Evans in the dying stages of the race, taking fourth while TWR Techeetah's Stefan Rzadzinksi completed the top five.
After starting from seventh as a result of a puncture in qualifying, Jimenez's Jaguar Brazil Racing team-mate Caca Bueno took sixth, benefitting from Bin-Khanen's late mistake.
As a result of Bin-Khanen's error, Bandar Alesay inherited victory in Pro-Am in seventh overall while Jaguar VIP driver Luca Salvadori took eighth.
Zhang recovered from his mistake in Turn 13 to take ninth while Celia Martin was 10th, beating 11th-placed finisher Bin-Khanen to the chequered flag with Qi Lin retiring from the race.
The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY's inaugural season will continue on April 27 where the championship will take to the streets of Paris, with Archie Hamilton occupying the VIP seat for the sixth round of the present campaign.