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Vandoorne takes pole on the streets of Rome

Mercedes continues its qualifying dominance as Stoffel Vandoorne claims pole position for the Rome Eprix.

Vandoorne went head to head with Robin Frijns in the final duel of the day and beat the Envision Racing driver by 0.348s.

His time of 1m38.151s was enough to earn his second pole position of the season and Mercedes’ third.

Vandoorne finished third in his group having set the exact same lap time as Frijns. Both drivers ended the group stages behind Jake Dennis, who jumped up to the top of the times with his final lap of the session.

Pascal Wehrlein joined them in going through to the duels, with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and championship leader Eduardo Mortara narrowly missing out on a spot in the top four.

There was upset for the other Jaguar driver as Sam Bird crossed the start-finish line for what was expected to be his final lap just moments after the chequered flag dropped. Bird had been held up multiple times during the session, including just after setting the fastest first sector time.

Antonio Felix Da Costa led the way in the second group ahead of team-mate Jean Eric Vergne.

The pair had been top of the order, albeit with Vergne ahead of Da Costa, when the yellow flag was brought out in the second sector. Oliver Rowland had recreated his free practice incident with a spin and almost collected Maximilian Guenther, though the Nissan driver managed to avoid.

The yellow flags meant a number of drivers couldn’t improve, but the two Techeetah drivers had passed the location before the incident and both lowered their lap times.

Da Costa went ahead of Vergne by just 0.08s, with Andre Lotterer and Nyck de Vries joining them in the duels.

The duel sessions were relatively drama free, with a lock up for Frijns in his final run the biggest mistake.

Vandoorne beat Vergne and Da Costa on his way to the final while Frijns faced Lotterer and de Vries.

Frijns’ driving style had put him on the edge throughout the duels and he finished seven tenths of a second ahead of Lotterer in the quarter finals. It wouldn’t be enough to put him on pole, though, and he starts from P2.

De Vries pipped Da Costa to P3.

Vergne will start fifth ahead of Dennis, Wehrlein and Lotterer.

Having narrowly missed out on a spot in the duels, Evans and Rowland will complete the top 10 on the grid.

 

Bethonie Waring

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