Diriyah E-Prix | Qualifying Report: Vergne equals yet another record ahead of Evans and Dennis

DS Penske
Spread the love

The first qualifying session of the weekend is underway in Diriyah. Group A gets on track featuring both Jaguar, ABT and Mahindra drivers, as well as Dennis, Wehrlein, Frijns, Rowland and Hughes.

Hughes is the first to sign a lap, quickly bested by the ABT drivers. The McLaren jumps back at the front with a in 1:15.360s, but his effort is improved by Wehrlein and Dennis, with the Jaguar drivers getting into the provisional Duels as well.

The Porsche driver has a comfortable 0.233s gap over the reigning champion. The top four is still the same at the halfway point in the session, when all drivers stop for fresh rubber.

Hughes is the first driver back on track, as he improves Wehrlein’s time by half a second. Another great improver is Oliver Rowland, who slots in between Wehrlein and Dennis, effectively kicking out for the moment the Jaguar duo.

In the final, heated moments of the group, and a shocking turn of events, Cassidy takes the lead over Dennis with a strong 1:12.619s, Wehrlein and Evans, with Muller and Frijns almost passing through but ultimately out.

To the Duels from Group A: Cassidy, Dennis, Wehrlein, Evans.

Sacha Fenestraz is the first driver to record a lap in Group B, with ERT’s Sette Camara signing the first competitive lap in 1:13.606s.

Bird bests the Brazilian driver’s time by half a second, followed by Buemi, as Ticktum joins his teammate among the drivers provisionally at the Duels.

The McLaren driver mentioned that he had an issue with his seat on the radio, with it being too hot. But the trouble didn’t seem to slow him down as he bolted to the lead.

Many drivers cycle between the coveted four spots, but ultimately Sette Camara sets another impressive lap to provisionally return in P1. Gunther, Bird and Vandoorne are through at the moment as well, with Buemi and Vergne very close to the Belgian’s best time so far.

Traffic might play a key role in setting the order as all the drivers wait for the chequered flag before signing their last attempt of the session.

Sette Camara is the first driver to sign a lap in the 1:12s, but his time is ultimately improved by Jean-Eric Vergne, who takes P1 with a 1:12.856s. Other drivers through are Gunther and Nato, with the Andretti new face confirming the positive speed shown during the earlier FP2.

Photo credits: DS Penske

Many illustrious faces are out of the decisive stage, including a very upset Mexico City podium finisher Sebastien Buemi, former champion Stoffel Vandoorne and a very rapid looking Sam Bird. Nissan’s Fenestraz unfortunately ruined his last shot making contact with the wall in the final stages of the lap.éP

To the Duels from Group B: Vergne, Sette Camara, Gunther, Nato

The first quarter final of the day sees Wehrlein and Dennis face, for a very interesting fight between two of the most serious title contenders of 2023. The German started in the lead, but Dennis recovered towards the middle of the lap. Ultimately it was a matter of tenths of seconds, as the Andretti driver gets by for 0.083s.

In the second, it’s an all Jaguar and Kiwi round with Evans and Cassidy  competing for a semi-final spot. Evans starts with a consistent advantage of 0.250s over Cassidy, which grows to half a second by the second sector and even more. The podium sitter in Mexico City caught up a bit in the final corners, but Evans is very comfortably through.

Gunther and Sette Camara are on next. The ERT driver starts with 0.087s over the Maserati, a gap that increases in the Brazilian’s favour to four tenths by the end of the lap, for what’s shaping up to be a very positive day for the team formerly known as NIO.

Lastly, it’s an all French clash between Vergne and Nato. The DS Penske driver started with a small gap over the former Nissan driver, which grew consistently, allowing the two times champion to sign a very impressive 1:12.100s.

The first semi-final of the day sees yet another competition between 2023 title contenders, as Dennis and Evans meet again. It’s an incredible close one, as Dennis starts with a 0.0012s over the Kiwi, who then goes on to build a 0.199s advantage mid-lap. The reigning champion closes a bit of the gap, but it’s not enough as Evans is the first finalist of the day, as well as the first driver to lap in the 1:11s.

Sette Camara and Vergne face for the remaining spot, as Vergne starts out with a 0.037s over the younger colleague. The gap to the Brazilian grows to over 0.114s by the second sector, and to almost half a second by the end of the lap, as Vergne earns the opportunity to fight for pole for the first time in Season 10.

The pole position will be an affair between Evans and Vergne, with the Frenchman first out on track. It’ll be extremely close, as Evans makes up the 0.017s he had from Vergne, taking the lead by 0.087s. It’s short lasted however for the Jaguar driver as Vergne comes on top with a 1:12.060s.

It’s the first pole position for JEV with Gen3 cars, since Jakarta 2022, and the sixteenth of his Formula E, tying Sebastien Buemi’s record of most P1 starts in the championship.

Stay tuned for the race in approximately three hours!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *