Diriyah E-Prix | Rowland dominates qualifying to take pole for the second race; Dennis back on the eighth row

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A sunny but cooler afternoon greeted the drivers as the second qualifying session of the event got underway in Saudi Arabia.

Group A

A 1:11.276 from Mitch Evans saw the New Zealander lead the way ahead of the final attempts in Group A. He led Robin Frijns by 0.233s. De Vries and Fenestraz completed the top 4.

Wehrlein, Ticktum, Vandoorne, Vergne, Günther, Nato and Da Costa completed the order, with 1.242s covering the 11 drivers.

An excellent lap from Fenestraz saw the Nissan driver log a 1:10.848 go fastest by over 0.4s as the track ramped up significantly from yesterday. He went even better on his second run as an improvement of 0.207s saw him top the times. Frijns and the two Penskes of Vergne and Vandoorne also delivered when it counted to make it through to the duels.

The biggest shock was Mitch Evans getting knocked out as he could only manage 7th in the Jaguar following a front row start yesterday. A disappointing last sector caused it. Wehrlein and Da Costa also dropped out as Porsche’s tough weekend continues.

Wehrlein, Günther, Evans, Ticktum, De Vries, Nato and Da Costa was the full list of drivers who got knocked out.

Group B

Nissan’s impressive turn of pace continued as Oliver Rowland pumped in a 1:10.784 to lead the standings ahead of the final runs on new tyres. He was 0.063s quicker than fellow Brit Jake Hughes. Daruvala and Buemi rounded out the top 4.

Bird, Sette Camara, Dennis, Müller, Mortara, Cassidy and Di Grassi needed to find improvements to find a way into the duels.

Rowland chipped away even further and smashed in a 1:10.486 to comfortably take the fastest time in Group B. Cassidy made a big step to take P2. Jake Hughes and the outstanding rookie Jehan Daruvala also booked a spot in the duels.

However, multiple drivers were left frustrated as Sebastien Buemi crashed at turn 1 as he started his final lap and caused a red flag. The Swiss driver carried too much speed in and had inevitably hit the tecpro barrier. The biggest casualty was defending World Champion and yesterday’s race winner Jake Dennis as he was only P8 at the time of it.

Buemi, Sette Camara, Bird, Dennis, Müller, Mortara, Di Grassi got knocked out.

Quarter-Final duels

Vergne vs Frijns

Yesterday’s polesitter Jean Eric Vergne went up against Robin Frijns. The Frenchman put in a 1:11.112, but he was beaten by 0.227s as the Dutchman put in an excellent lap to book a spot in the semi-final.

Vandoorne vs Fenestraz

Unfortunately for Sacha Fenestraz, his hopes of getting through ended immediately as a big error in turn 1 saw him lose half a second. A 1:10.538 from Vandoorne was incredibly impressive, however.

Although Fenestraz was strong over the rest of the lap and the gap remained the same, all the damage was done at T1.

Cassidy vs Hughes

One of the favourites for the championship this year delivered a stonking lap as a 1:10.385 saw Nick Cassidy put 0.6s into Jake Hughes as the Jaguar driver showed his quality.

Rowland vs Daruvala

Oliver Rowland confirmed Nissan’s incredible pace as a stunning 1:10.149 saw the Brit outpace Jehan Daruvala by 0.637s. Nonetheless, it was a very good showing by the Indian rookie in the Maserati and will start P5 in a few hours.

Semi-final duels

Frijns vs Vandoorne

It was an aggressive lap from Robin Frijns as a 1:10.415 put the Dutchman into the final. He had a couple of big slides but got through by 0.212s as Vandoorne never looked like beating him.

Cassidy vs Rowland

It was Rowland who delivered again as a 1:10.098 from the British driver as he continued to be the fastest driver in terms of lap times. He was 0.197s quicker than the Jaguar driver.


Rowland vs Frijns

It was Frijns who crossed the line first to get the final underway. A 1:10.329 was good from the Dutchman, but it was ultimately not enough to stop the steamroller that was Oliver Rowland. A cracking 1:10.055 was the fastest time in qualifying as he dominated from start to finish.

The form throughout qualifying suggested and the Brit delivered the goods to bag three points and pole position for this evening’s race. They are also his first points of the 2024 season.

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