In only his second Formula E event, Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist has taken pole position for the inaugural Marrakesh ePrix.
Having progressed from qualifying group four to Super Pole with the second fastest time, the Swede’s 1:21.509s time in the one lap shootout placed him at the top of the field.
An error from the Techeetah team saw Jean-Éric Vergne, who has been fastest from the qualifying groups released late for Super Pole and greeted with a closed out exit. Consequently the Frenchman could not set a lap time and will start this afternoon’s race from fifth place.
Championship leader Sébastien Buemi will share the front row of the grid with Rosenqvist, recovering from a mistake at Turn 1 on his Super Pole lap in the process. DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird ended qualifying in third, with NEXTEV’s Nelson Piquet Jr in fourth.
The best of the drivers to not make the Super Pole shootout was Daniel Abt, ahead of the second Renault e.Dams of Nicolas Prost. The top ten was rounded out by Oliver Turvey in the second NEXTEV and the two MS Amlin Andretti cars of Robin Frijns and António Félix da Costa.
It was not a great qualifying session for perennial championship challenger Lucas di Grassi, who qualified twelfth for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team.
Speaking after the session, Rosenqvist was ecstatic to take his – and the Mahindra team’s – first pole position in Formula E: “It’s absolutely fantastic. We knew in Hong Kong that we were quick and we took it to the next step here with pole. Sam [Bird] was quick so we had to push hard. The car has been quick all day so big thanks to the team for that.”
Earlier, di Grassi had started the ePrix well by setting the fasted lap in the opening practice session. A 1:21.923s lap placed the Brazilian 0.182 seconds ahead of Prost, followed by Buemi, Vergne and da Costa.
DS Virgin’s José María López – the only driver to have previously raced on this track layout – endured a difficult session, tagging the wall twice. Initially the Argenitian damaged the front suspension in his first car, and then the right rear of his other car in the second hit.
The second practice session was punctuated by a major crash for Sam Bird, whose DS Virgin suffered significant damage in the impact with the Turn 8 barriers. Although Bird emerged unharmed, the resulting red flag period brought an early end to proceedings.
At the front of the field, Buemi topped the session with a 1:20.599 second lap, and setting a new unofficial lap record for the Circuit Moulay El Hassan. The time was one of six that were faster than the fastest pole position time set by the World Touring Cars at their event at the circuit earlier in the year, as the Formula E field ran 200kW qualifying simulation laps.
The first-ever Marrakesh ePrix race is scheduled to begin at 16:03 local time. (GMT +0).
Image via LAT