Just Electric

Sims on pole for season-opening race

BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alexander Sims took pole position for the season-opening Formula E Diriyah E-Prix.

Sims posted a time of 1m14.563s to claim pole, a time which was faster than Envision Virgin Racing’s fastest time in group qualifying.

It means Sims has claimed two consecutive pole positions having taken pole in the season finale in New York back in July.

Mercedes EQ FE’s debut showed qualifying pace with drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries qualifying second and third.

De Vries had been fastest overall in sector one, and up on Sims in the second sector, but lost about half a second in the final sector.

Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara, using a Mercedes powertrain, was fourth with Bird in fifth place.

Bird had set the pace in groups qualifying and picked up a championship point for being fastest after that segment of qualifying, but a mistake in the early sequence of corners cost him eight tenths of a second.

He recovered to beat Mahindra Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio who qualified in sixth place.

Andre Lotterer qualified his Porsche 99X Electric in seventh place on Porsche’s FE debut, beating Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland by just over a tenth of a second.

Sims’ BMW team-mate, Maximillian Guenther, was ninth fastest with NIO333’s Oliver Turvey in tenth despite the year-old powertrain in the car.

Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne was 11th in his DS Techeetah, beating Virgin’s Robin Frijns and Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein.

Frijns and Wehrlein both set a 1m16.200s, with Frijns starting ahead on the basis that he set the time first by virtue of being in group one.

Sebastien Buemi, Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Daniel Abt and Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans made up positions 15th-16th, with Venturi’s Felipe Massa in 17th.

FE debutant Brendon Hartley was 18th, beating Audi’s Lucas di Grassi by around a tenth of a second.

Porsche’s Neel Jani, DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa and NIO’s Ma were 20th to 22nd on the grid.

Debutants Nico Mueller and James Calado were 23rd and 24th after incidents in qualifying. Both drivers made similar errors at the same corners.

Jack Amey

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