Mitch Evans heads to the Italian capital this weekend with last season’s heroics still very much on his mind, as the Kiwi looks to remain in the colossal four-way title fight.

After winning both races at the Rome E-Prix double-header last year, Evans openly admits that the Eternal City is “definitely” a venue he’s glad to be visiting at this point of the season. With so much on the line with just four races remaining, a circuit he’s been formidable at in the past could work very well in the Kiwi’s favour.

Evans enters the weekend as many people’s favourite because of his track-record in Rome, with his first win in Formula E having also come in the Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR) district back in 2019.

Being fourth in the Drivers’ Championship and 32 points behind Jake Dennis is a precarious position for the Jaguar TCS Racing driver to be in, given that one poor result will realistically mark the end of his title chances for another season.

That’s largely why a trip to Rome so late in the year is a huge advantage for the New Zealander, who could very easily leave this weekend significantly closer to the top of the standings. Whilst Evans does have previous form at the Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR in Gen2, being in Gen3 machinery means the two races will be “tougher”, something he recognises.

Evans ultimately knows that his back-to-back masterclass last season doesn’t guarantee him anything on either Saturday or Sunday; however, he does “feel like I’ve got a good shot” at repeating his 2022 magnificence.

“If I could choose – at this stage of the Championship – a venue, it’s definitely the one I would want to be going to,” Evans told Formula E.

“I don’t want to be naïve and just expect that it’s going to be amazing as this category always throws up challenges and surprises and I’ve experienced that before. I don’t want to be complacent that after three wins here in the past and the back-to-back last year, that it’s going to be a walk in the park.

“I think that this year is going to be tougher, but I still feel like I’ve got a good shot. As long as we get the car right, I’ll be right there I’m sure. I feel like I know what the car needs at this track. It’s certainly a venue that I’m happy to be going to and hopefully we can capitalise on that.”

Four podiums in the last seven races is the type of form which would normally see a driver labelled as a title favourite, yet that’s not the case for Evans in FE. Dennis is on a sensational run of five consecutive podiums, whilst he’s already claimed a record-equalling eight rostrums this season.

Evans has been consistent in featuring amongst the top four, but Dennis has been consistently amongst the top two. Four of his five podiums in recent rounds have come after finishing second, a spot Evans has finished in just once this season.

Due to the Avalanche Andretti driver’s form, it would come as no surprise if he were to claim two more podiums this weekend, despite having endured a miserable free practice 1. Dennis ended the opening session of the weekend in 18th, after completing just two laps following an issue with an upright.

FP1 was certainly better for Evans, who ended the session in fourth, although he was severely blocked on his final push lap by Mahindra’s Roberto Merhi. The 29-year-old was clearly ruffled by the incident with Merhi, which boiled over whilst they were queuing to weigh themselves.

Being as experienced as he is in the paddock, Evans will put the argument behind him and focus on the task at hand.

He’s very aware that he must be flawless in Rome given that Dennis is “very dangerous” based on his current form in the fight for the championship, with the Briton being labelled as “extremely hard to beat” by the Auckland-born driver because of his podium streak.

“I think Jake is looking very dangerous,” Evans admitted.

“He obviously had that win back in Mexico, and loads of P2s. With all those P2s he could have won those races if timings were a little bit different. I think he’s been strong in Rome in the past and I think last year he’d been in the duels, so he’s got good form there. And in London, he’s definitely had a strong history there.

“The Porsche powertrain is clearly extremely strong this year like ours. And I feel like there’s still maybe a slight edge in the race on pure efficiency. We’ll see how much that matters for the next few races. I think that any guy in the top four at the moment is really strong. But Jake’s definitely going to be extremely hard to beat.”

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