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Evans Wins I-PACE eTROPHY Season-Opener

Victory for New Zealand’s Simon Evans in the opening race of the weekend at Diriyah…

Photo: Jaguar

Simon Evans took a commanding lights-to-flag victory in the opening round of the 2019-20 Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY at the Diriyah street circuit in Saudi Arabia.

The New Zealander protected his pole position by moving across to deter any potential advances from defending champion Sergio Jimenez, who started second.

Evans then pulled out the gap over the course of the 25-minute race, which was the first IPACE contest to feature attack mode, to win by a margin of 5.25 seconds.

Jimenez never challenged Evans during the race and was instead forced to concentrate on defending second place from Britain’s Alice Alice Powell.

The pair engaged in an entertaining battle in the second half of the race with Powell briefly getting past Jimenez when the Brazilian took his first attack mode boost.

However, Jimenez quickly fought back with the brief power surge and managed to force his way around the outside of the W Series race winner a couple of corners later.

Powell was then left to rue an error during her second of two mandatory trips through the off-line attack mode activation zone, which failed to generate the boost.

This afforded Jimenez a few car lengths of space but Powell came back in the closing laps and was right on the Brazilian driver’s tail as the two drivers crossed the line.

Yuqi Zhang finished fourth overall and won the Pro-Am class after overtaking Abbie Eaton with five minutes to go.

The Chinese driver put Eaton, who was one of two VIP drivers taking part, under pressure leading to a lock-up for the Briton into the 90-degree Turn 1 right-hander.

Eaton ultimately came through in fifth, ahead of Saudi Arabian Pro-Am driver Fahad Algosaibi and China’s Chao Sun.

Former British F3 racer Mario Haberfeld finished eighth overall on his racing return while Masshur bal Hejaila and Reema Juffali – who became the first Saudi woman to compete in a motor race on home soil – completed the top 10.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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