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Rowland fastest in qualifying; Vergne on pole in Monaco

Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland was fastest in qualifying for the Formula E Monaco E-Prix but a three-place grid drop means DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne will start from pole position.

Rowland carried over a three-place grid drop from the previous round in Paris after he was deemed to have caused a collision.

In the legendary streets of Monaco, along a shimmering Mediterranean Sea and a harbour inhabited by luxury yachts and boats, the 2019 Monaco E-Prix’s qualifying took place. Generally labelled as a circuit where qualifying is a key factor, drivers were ready to give it all in the Principality’s iconic track. 

Di Grassi initially set the fastest time of the group, but as BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Antonio Felix da Costa and Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns gained speed in the straights, the Brazilian dropped to second, with the Portuguese and the Dutchman qualifying ahead of him. 

From Group 2, Vergne was the first one to set a time, and seconds later, the reigning champion was able to take his car to first, replacing da Costa on top of the standings. Mitch Evans, an outstanding qualifier, moved up to second

Sam Bird, Daniel Abt, and Edoardo Mortara did not get the same luck as the other group drivers, not making it to the top five. 

Group 3, had some outstanding qualifying laps. Rowland, Massa, and Wehrlein all traded times for second place, with the latter ending the session in that position. Sebastien Buemi, was able to take his car to P4. 

Sims ended his qualifying stint in seventh, just ahead of his teammate da Costa; and Vandoorne did so just two places behind the Brit. Having the six drivers within the Top 10 is a clear proof that anyone can fight for the win in the series this season. 

The times in Group 4 were not as fast as in the previous group. The best placed driver was Jaguar Racing’s Alex Lynn in eighth, and Geox Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez followed suit in 10th. Guenther, Turvey, Dillmann, and Paffett could not enter the Top 10, with the last two finishing close to the bottom of the standings. 

The drivers who would contest in Super Pole, were Vergne, Wehrlein, Massa, Buemi, Rowland, and Evans.

Evans set a time of 50.112s, and Rowland went faster than the Jaguar Racing driver, setting a lap time of 50.021s – although Evans was placed under investigation for a Super Pole infringement.

Season 2 champion Sebastien Buemi came next. The Swiss, who qualified on pole and won this race in the previous two editions, could not surpass the lap times done by the two previous drivers, setting a time of 50.234s. 

Felipe Massa, a driver with a vast experience of this track’s extended F1 layout, had his first taste of Formula E in Monaco this weekend. Driving for home team Venturi, the Brazilian finished in third, with a time of 50.218s. 

Pascal Wehrlein had a good lap around the Principality but ultimately finished in third, displacing Massa, with a time of 50.128s. 

Finally, it would be Vergne’s time to do his Super Pole lap. The Frenchman finished his lap in P2, behind Rowland, setting a lap time of 50.042s. 

 

Andrea Perilli

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