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Heading into the finale, Mitch was just 40 points off DS Techeetah’s Jean-Éric Vergne and was among eight drivers mathematically still in contention for the title.
The tension was ramped up further after the first race of the weekend, as Mitch put in a superb drive to claim second place and his third podium of the season. It brought him to within one point of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas Di Grassi, and crucially, within 25 points of leader Vergne – after he crashed out.
The final race of the season was a nail-biting affair as Mitch lined-up 8th on the grid, but was hindered in his progress thanks to Audi Sport’s Daniel Abt’s defensive driving.
Heading into the final lap of the race the New Zealander stood a chance of taking second place in the championship, but dropped from 6th to 17th after colliding with Di Grassi. That allowed Vergne to go on and win his second ABB FIA Formula E drivers’ championship.
Speaking after the weekend, Team Director James Barclay said he is incredibly proud of the team and its achievements throughout season five, adding:
“Fighting for the championship up until the last race of the season shows the progress we’ve made. Although it was ultimately frustrating, we gave it our best shot today.
“The team has created a fantastic race car with the Jaguar I-TYPE 3 and it has shown great speed and efficiency during the season. Season five has been important as we’ve learned to win as a team, and run at the front of the championship.
“The work for season six has already begun. It will be the toughest season yet but that motivates us and makes us ever hungrier for more success.”
Mitch was in reflective mood considering what might have been, and acknowledging the progress the team has made.
“I knew I needed pole to really have a crack at taking the championship, to miss out by half a tenth was a real shame – and that is what cost me the title,” he says.
“We’ve made great progress as a team – particularly in the second half of the season – so we should all be really proud. The guys have given me a great race car in the I-TYPE 3, and we’ve shown great pace, so I am grateful for that.”
Mitch finished fifth overall in the drivers’ championship just 31 points off Vergne, while in the team championship, Panasonic Jaguar Racing finished in seventh place.
But now the focus will switch to next season, as the team aims to go one better.