Motorsport: Back to back Monaco podiums for Evans

Mitch Evans has scored back-to-back podium finishes on the streets of Monaco. Photo / Getty Images.
Mitch Evans has scored back-to-back podium finishes on the streets of Monaco. Photo / Getty Images.

Mitch Evans has scored back-to-back podium finishes on the streets of Monaco.

In last night's closely-fought GP2 race the 18-year-old Aucklander charged through from sixth place on the `reverse-top-eight' grid for the 30 lap sprint race to finish third and earn a place on the steps of the Royal Box podium at Monte Carlo for the second day running.

Evans gained two places with another lightning fast getaway and was through into third with an audacious dive down the inside at the famous downhill Mirabeau corner on the opening lap.

Just 3.7 seconds covered the top five drivers with a narrow win going to Stefano Coletti; while Englishman Adrian Quaife-Hobbs resisted race long pressure to finish just half a second ahead of Evans.

The result backs up Evans fighting third place in the GP2 feature race on Friday.

He led that race from a front row start until his first pit stop.

The storming Monaco drives move Evans into 7th place in the GP2 Series leading into the next round at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in one month.

It was an impressive performance from Evans in Monaco. Third fastest in Friday practice, fastest in his qualifying group, starting from the front row and scoring two podium finishes in the toughest race of the season; has his season back on track.

Evans scored points in both races on debut in Malaysia - including a fine third - but scored no points at the Bahrain and Barcelona and rounds.

As in the Friday Feature race, Evans was again exceptionally fast off the grid. A review of the Arden International team's data showed Evans accelerated from 0-100kph in just 2.6 seconds on Friday, which was the fastest getaway logged by the British team during a decade in GP2 racing.

``On the warm up lap I was struggling for rear tyre temperature. For the whole lap I was trying to get heat in them because the start is the most crucial time to make positions, especially when you start from sixth.

``I knew the podium would be a long shot so I thought, if I could get a good crack at the start, then maybe we can make up a few positions. Yesterday I had a really good launch and the grip stayed with me and I managed to pass a couple of cars around me.

The 3.3km Monaco street circuit was still slightly damp after rain showers during the earlier Formula 1 qualifying session on Saturday afternoon but Evans got good traction off the start and, as he did on Friday, sought the security of the inside line going into the first right hander at St Devote.

``After Turn 1 I was in fourth behind James Calado who seemed to be struggling. I seemed to have a good enough grip to pass him into turn 5. I had to have a crack because I know James is pretty crafty. I went for the inside and I think it was too late for him to do anything about it. From then on I held the position.

``I had a couple of goes at Adrian Quaife-Hobbs because, after Stefano got him, I thought he didn't have a good pace. He was quite slow. I was holding back, saving the tyres and then I pushed.

``After Stefano got him Adrian was covering all the time. He was wary so Stefano ruined it for me because Adrian was very defensive.

``It was a good race. We made some improvements on the car and we had saved a new set of the soft prime tyres. I spent the whole race staring at Adrian's gearbox basically. But it was a great result for the team and very special for my first time here in GP2.''

Coletti extended his championship lead by winning the GP2 sprint race around the streets of Monaco, the Principality in which he was born. He made a fine start from third on the grid, outdragging front row man Rene Binder to chase polesitter Quaife-Hobbs on the opening lap.

Coletti pounced for the lead on lap three at the Nouvelle Chicane, pulling a sublime outbraking move down the inside of Quaife-Hobbs.

Coletti pulled out a two-second lead, but this then fluctuated as the leader managed his tyres, which appeared to grain as the race progressed. It came down to as little as seven tenths of a second at one point, but was back out to 1.8s by the finish.

Felipe Nasr also passed Calado, the latter cutting the apex at Ste Devote and being forced to give his place up. Behind the top five, Binder clung to sixth after his slow start. Friday's winner Sam Bird ran seventh early on, but his tyres wilted badly after Kevin Ceccon passed him at the chicane and he was forced to pit for fresh rubber.

After four rounds and eight races in the 2013 GP2 Series, Coletti leads with 120 points. Nasr is second on 96 points followed by Bird on 58 points. With his third third-place podium of the season Evans improves to seventh in the standings, only 4 points off fifth overall.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 28 Aug 2014 09:56:32 Processing Time: 860ms