Diriyah E-Prix 1 – Nyck de Vries put in a fantastic final lap to claim his first pole in the series as he tops every session of the weekend so far.
Going out in the second qualifying group, de Vries’ time was good enough to see him top the group stages by just over a thousandth of a second. SuperPole however was where the Mercedes-EQ driver came into his own, last out in the session the Dutchman went fastest in every sector to seal the pole position with a 1:08.157.
TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein had been on provisional pole but had to settle for second after de Vries went 0.664 seconds faster than him. Rene Rast put his Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler into third while Edoardo Mortara’s Mercedes powered ROKiT Venturi had a slow start to his lap but improved as he got through it to seal fourth on the grid.
At the end of group qualifying Sergio Sette Camara couldn’t turn his Dragon/Penske car into the final corner and ended up going straight into the barrier. The drivers behind him, Nick Cassidy, Tom Blomqvist and Nico Mueller, all finished their laps and improved their times, with Mueller even setting the fastest final sector time of the session.
The three laps were put under investigation and given Mueller and Cassidy’s times were enough for them to be in SuperPole, that session was delayed while the stewards made their decision on the laps. The ruling was that the three times would be deleted, knocking the drivers down to the back of the field and upping Mahindra’s Alex Lynn and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans into the pole shootout.
Lynn’s lap was good enough for fifth while Evans, who had been in casual clothes and just about to head for lunch, said it was a “manic rush” to change into his racesuit and get back into the cockpit for his lap. The Kiwi’s had been going well with a fast first sector but got a bit carried away and hit the wall, breaking his rear suspension and leaving him sixth.
Andre Lotterer and Sam Bird made Porsche and Jaguar the only teams with both drivers in the top ten, they will start seventh and eighth respectively. BMW i Andretti’s Maximilian Guenther is ninth, while Oliver Rowland, who had put in an incredible lap in group 1 to see himself over seven and a half tenths faster than his rivals, will start from tenth.
The defending champions, DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne will start 18th and 19th, ahead only of the three drivers whose fastest lap times were deleted, Sette Camara, who crashed on his final lap and Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns who was unable to compete as McLaren ruled his battery needed to be changed as a result of his crash at the end of FP2.