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

Championship Points:

  • 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.

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • 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

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.