Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) came up with a searingly-quick effort in the Super Pole session to secure the pole position for Round 1 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, following up on three sessions spent atop the timing screens in style.
The Dutchman headed home Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein by a 0.6 second margin with a 1m08.157s lap, while Rene Rast (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler), Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing), Alex Lynn (Mahindra Racing) and Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) rounded out the top six spots.
“It was a good start yesterday and we carried that momentum through today even though the conditions were very different in FP2,” said de Vries. “I want to thank the team for all the hard work since Season 6 and Berlin. We’ve worked on our weaknesses and I’m glad I could give this qualifying to them today. We are aware this is only the beginning, but we are pleased with this performance and hopefully we can finish it off this afternoon.”
De Vries and Mercedes-EQ had looked the most sorted driver/car combination through practice, and come qualifying, the Dutchman proved that to be the case, making it three benchmark laps on the spin to top the tree and take his first point of the season with him into Super Pole.
What made the 26-year-old’s lap even more impressive was that he was one of only two drivers to make it into the shootout from Group 2 — the other being Jaguar’s Evans, after Nico Mueller (Dragon/Penske Autosport), Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing) and Tom Blomqvist (NIO 333) had their efforts removed having improved their lap times under yellow flag conditions.
Track conditions steadily came to the drivers with each passing qualifying group as Season 6’s top six — comprising Group 1 — were left looking increasingly marooned, with reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa and DS Techeetah teammate Jean-Eric Vergne down in 18th and 19th respectively.
De Vries was last to run in Super Pole and assembled a monster lap; leaving nothing on the table on the way to gaining 0.2s on Wehrlein’s benchmark through each sector — shunting the Porsche man, on his debut with the outfit, into second.
Rast matched his best Formula E grid slot of third, and whilst Mortara notched the fastest final sector of anyone, a poor opening section by his own admission ultimately cost him a real shot at pole, leaving him fourth.
Lynn will line up for Round 1 fifth after a solid Super Pole effort, and Evans looked to have laid down a marker through Sectors 1 and 2 before getting all crossed up and hitting the wall, breaking the left rear of his Jaguar.
The Diriyah E-Prix Round 1 gets underway at 8 p.m. local time. The race airs live on CBSSN, with coverage starting at 11:30 a.m. ET.