Oliver Rowland has taken his first Formula E pole position, as the Briton and Nissan e.Dams teammate Sébastien Buemi dominated practice and qualifying for the inaugural Sanya ePrix.

As the third of six cars on circuit for ‘Super Pole’, Rowland set a 1:07.945 lap time that could not be beaten by the three drivers who followed, while reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne will start second, 0.100 seconds slower than Rowland. Third place on the grid will be filled by BMW i Andretti’s António Félix da Costa, ahead of Daniel Abt.

The third row is filled by two drivers who were unable to complete their ‘Super Pole’ laps. Buemi was the fastest driver after the group stages of qualifying, but made a mistake at Turn 3 while trying to chase down his teammate’s time and hit the barrier. In the second BMW, Alexander Sims was sitting third ahead of ‘Super Pole’ was unable to exit the pit lane due to gear selection issues, and will start from sixth place as a result.

Starting just outside of the ‘Super Pole’ positions in seventh is DS Techeetah’s André Lotterer, ahead of the Mahindra pair of Jérôme d’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein. Lucas di Grassi rounds out the top ten in the second Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.

The winner last time out in Hong Kong, Edoardo Mortara will start eleventh for Venturi, while championship leader Sam Bird will need to fight through the field having only managed a time good enough for 16th position on the grid. Bird’s Envision Virgin Racing teammate Robin Frijns fared only slightly better, starting two rows ahead in twelfth.

Jaguar Racing faced struggles in qualifying for both of its drivers, with Mitch Evans brushing the wall during his full-power lap and ending 20th on the grid, while Nelson Piquet Jr will start from 22nd and last on the grid.

2019 ABB Formula E Sanya ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 1:07.945
2. Jean-Éric Vergne DS Techeetah 1:08.045 + 0.100
3. António Félix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:08.122 + 0.177
4. Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 1:08.331 + 0.386
5. Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport no time
6. Sébastien Buemi Nissan e.dams no time
2019 ABB Formula E Sanya ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
7. André Lotterer DS Techeetah 1:08.371 + 0.701
8. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Mahindra Racing 1:08.372 + 0.702
9. Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing 1:08.455 + 0.785
10. Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 1:08.468 + 0.798
11. Edoardo Mortara Venturi Formula E Team 1:08.504 + 0.834
12. Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing 1:08.546 + 0.876
13. Stoffel Vandoorne HWA Racelab 1:08.560 + 0.890
14. José María López Geox Dragon Racing 1:08.568 + 0.898
15. Felipe Massa Venturi Formula E Team 1:08.585 + 0.915
16. Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing 1:08.641 + 0.971
17. Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team 1:08.800 + 1.130
18. Felipe Nasr Geox Dragon Racing 1:08.823 + 1.153
19. Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 1:08.923 + 1.253
20. Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:08.955 + 1.285
21. Gary Paffett HWA Racelab 1:09.072 + 1.402
22. Nelson Piquet Jr. Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:09.399 + 1.729

*Denotes gap to fastest preliminary qualifying time of 1:07.670 posted by Sébastien Buemi

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • None

Earlier, Rowland was fastest in opening practice, clocking a 1:07.561 lap ahead of the BMW pair of da Costa (1:07.625) and Sims (1:07.751). The trio led a group of 15 drivers within one second of Rowland’s time, as several drivers ran down escape roads as they learned the new 2.36-kilometre Sanya Street Circuit.

Buemi kept Nissan e.Dams on top in Practice 2, lowering the benchmark to 1:07.288. Close behind and continuing their pace from the opening session were da Costa (+0.109) and Rowland (+0.165). Despite his pace, the session was not all smooth sailing for Buemi, who hit the wall at Turn 3 following a lock-up. Pascal Wehrlein also found the wall at Turn 6, ending the German’s session early.

Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Professional motorsport engineer and all-round tech head.