BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alexander Sims scooped his second pole position in Saudi Arabia – his third in a row counting his pole last season in New York City – ahead of Nissan e.dams’ Sebastian Buemi and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi.
Rounding off the ‘Super Pole’ standings were Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans – later excluded for a weight infringement – Mahindra Racing’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio and DS Techeetah’s António Félix da Costa.
A fast evolving Diriyah street circuit saw the qualifying lap times tumble in comparison to Friday, with Sims’ pole-winning effort a full three seconds faster than his time the day before.
With the group qualifying sessions’ running order determined by the current championship standings, Friday race-winner Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing) joined his teammate Robin Frijns, the Mercedes-Benz duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, André Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche) and Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams) in the opening six-car group.
That presented a major handicap on a rapidly improving track surface and all drivers were unable to get into the ‘Super Pole’ session for the fastest six group qualifiers – Bird would miss out by just 0.035 seconds and qualified an eventual seventh-fastest, while rookie de Vries was slowest of all with a poor flying lap.
The Group 2 runners – which included Venturi Racing duo Edoardo Mortara and Felipe Massa, the Mahindra Racing pairing of Pascal Wehrlein and Jérôme d’Ambrosio, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Sims – proved to have the best of the conditions. D’Ambrosio was the quickest of the sextet, with Sims and Evans also making the eventual ‘Super Pole’ cut.
Among the Group 3 runners, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi was second-quickest while da Costa was quickest overall in his first weekend in DS Techeetah colours. In Group 4, only Nissan e.dams’ Buemi posted a time quick enough to make it into the ‘Super Pole’ shootout.
There was no representation among the Mercedes-Benz or Porsche-powered runners in ‘Super Pole’ this time. Edoardo Mortara placed eighth-fastest with Mercedes’ customer outfit Venturi, while Race 1 podium finishers Lotterer (Porsche) tenth and Vandoorne (Mercedes-Benz EQ) twelfth-fastest.
Defending two-time champion Vergne could only place eleventh-fastest, having crashed his DS Techeetah in Saturday practice. The impact was heavy enough to warrant a medical check for the Frenchman, but worse still his battery was damaged and had to be replaced. He will therefore start the race from the back of the grid thanks to a 20-place grid penalty for the battery change.
De Vries need not have felt too bad after his qualifying effort, given the newly-crowned Formula 2 champion will be joined by all of his fellow rookie drivers – GEOX Dragon’s Brendon Hartley (P20), Jaguar’s James Calado (P22) and GEOX Dragon’s Nico Müller (P23) all off the pace.
|2019 Formula E Ad Diriyah ePrix – Race 2 ‘Super Pole’ Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:11.476|
|2.||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams||1:11.696||+ 0.220|
|3.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:11.784||+ 0.308|
|4.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||1:12.093||+ 0.617|
|5.||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||1:14.314||+ 2.658|
|6.||Mitch Evans||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||excluded|
|2019 Formula E Ad Diriyah ePrix – Race 2 Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|7.||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||1:12.007||+ 0.589|
|8.||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:12.008||+ 0.590|
|9.||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:12.051||+ 0.633|
|10.||André Lotterer||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||1:12.153||+ 0.735|
|11.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:12.327||+ 0.909|
|12.||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team||1:12.422||+ 1.004|
|13.||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||1:12.454||+ 1.036|
|14.||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||1:12.635||+ 1.217|
|15.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:12.642||+ 1.224|
|16.||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams||1:12.656||+ 1.238|
|17.||Felipe Massa||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:12.660||+ 1.242|
|18.||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||1:12.671||+ 1.253|
|19.||Neel Jani||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||1:12.732||+ 1.314|
|20.||Brendon Hartley||GEOX Dragon||1:13.182||+ 1.764|
|21.||Ma Qing Hua||NIO 333 FE Team||1:13.205||+ 1.787|
|22.||James Calado||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||1:13.430||+ 2.012|
|23.||Nico Müller||GEOX Dragon||1:13.703||+ 2.285|
|24.||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team||1:14.082||+ 2.664|
*Denotes gap to fastest preliminary qualifying time of 1:11.418 posted by António Félix da Costa
- Three bonus points are awarded to the driver (Alexander Sims) and their corresponding team (BMW i Andretti) who claims pole position.
- A bonus point is awarded to the driver (António Félix da Costa) and their corresponding team (DS Techeetah) who is the fastest driver in the group stages of qualifying.
- Mitch Evans was stripped of his ‘Super Pole’ time after his car was found to be below the 900kg minimum weight limit.
- Jean-Éric Vergne was issued a 20-place grid penalty due to an unscheduled battery change before qualifying.
Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship