After a promising start in Friday’s practice in fourth place, Evans qualified sixth: ‘We were competitive in qualifying, the pace was good, but I made a slight mistake coming out of the chicane in the last few corners and ran wide and lost some time, and then I got into traffic on the second set of tyres,’ Mitch said after qualifying. Saturday’s feature race was incident packed before it even started. The race had to be aborted at the last minute following Stoffel Vandoorne stalling his ART on the grid which caught out a few other drivers including pole sitter Stephane Richelmi who was forced to start from the pits. When the race finally got underway after an additional formation lap, Evans had a great get away challenging Palmer for the lead into Turn 1. Stefano Coletti, on the outside, tried to swipe across in front of the two but made contact with and damaged both cars, forcing Evans to pit for a new nose while Coletti had to return to the pits with a puncture.
"I got a good launch off the lights and had a lot of momentum challenging for the lead into turn 1, but Coletti who was on the outside cut across hitting Palmer and then my car damaging the front wing quite badly. I tried to continue but the front wing was too bad to carry on, I had a lot of understeer, so I had to stop and get a new nose. I had to go a long distance on that set of tyres which wasn’t going to work out unfortunately. I managed to gain a couple of places back again but our strategy had been ruined at the start. The only positives to take away from the race were my good start and of course setting the fastest lap, which unfortunately I didn’t get any points for as I finished out of the top ten.’
After a few drivers were penalised following the first race on Saturday, Evans started Sunday’s 26-lap sprint race from 14th position. He got a flying start passing four cars off the line and another four through turn 1, 3 and 5 climbing up to sixth place after the first lap. Halfway through the race he started to struggle with the front left tyre and subsequently front brake locking and then came under pressure from Jonny Cecotto who finally managed to pass him in the last five laps of the race. With the tyres gone and no chance to defend, the Kiwi dropped back through the field and after having to pit for new tyres in the final few laps he retired from the race and was ranked in 20th place.
‘The car ran better than in yesterday’s feature race where I had a lot of understeer, the pace was quite fast at the start and I was feeling ok. With only a couple of laps to go I had to retire because the tyre was down to the canvas. A lot of the other guys were struggling with the tyres too in the final stage of the race. Yesterday the car felt worse but I could do more laps whereas today I couldn’t even complete the race.’
‘I think we have got good pace overall, and my race starts seem to be pretty solid. The team have got a good set up for Monaco and I seem to go well around there. We haven’t been able to show our potential in the first two races. It’s not been going our way so far but hopefully that’s our bad luck for the season now and we can focus on getting a good result.’
Round 3 takes place in Monte Carlo on May 23/24.