Sebastien Buemi claims his 15th career pole position and his first for Envision Racing at the Diriyah E-Prix.
Buemi, who hasn’t taken pole position since 2019, beat Jake Hughes in the final to take the pole.
Hughes earned his first front row start in Formula E, while Sam Bird starts P3.
Hughes topped the first qualifying session of the day, a 1m10.269s lap setting the early benchmark for the field.
It was a disrupted session, with a red flag flown just after the halfway mark when Maximillian Guenther hit the wall hard at turn 11. The Maserati Racing car couldn’t return to the pits, forcing the team to wait another hour before they could get started on trying to repair the damage before qualifying.
At this point, Sacha Fenestraz was top of the order with Hughes second, but the McLaren Formula E driver jumped to the top of the order almost as soon as the track turned green.
Times tumbled in the remaining five minutes, with Dan Ticktum briefly taking P1 before Hughes jumped back to the top of the order.
Meanwhile, Maserati’s day turned from bad to worse when Edoardo Mortara clipped the wall after a half spin at Turn 16. He limped back to the pits with significant damage to the rear of his car.
If the cars can be repaired in time, the Maserati duo will start from the back of the grid.
Oliver Rowland was second quickest in the group ahead of Ticktum, with a late flying lap for Di Grassi putting both Mahindra’s in the top four.
Group B was a quieter affair, albeit with a driver missing as the Abt Cupra Formula E Team continued to work on Nico Mueller’s car.
Buemi was top of the order at the halfway mark and continued to find improvements. However, a late flying lap from Sam Bird knocked Buemi down to second.
Mitch Evans took third, making it three Jaguar powered cars through to the duels, with Rene Rast rounding out the top four.
Buemi’s route to the finals started with a head-to-head against Evans, who he beat by 0.249s. He then faced off against Evans’ team-mate Bird, beating the second Jaguar driver by just over a tenth of a second.
Meanwhile, Hughes comfortably beat Lucas Di Grassi in his quarter final then went head-to-head with Ticktum. A small tap of the wall at the start of his lap could have denied Hughes the chance to fight for pole position, and Ticktum was faster throughout the majority of the lap. But a big slide at the final corner for the NIO 333 driver gifted Hughes the chance he needed. Hughes came through to win the duel by half a second.
Hughes and Buemi were evenly matched throughout their final qualifying runs, but it was Buemi who just had the edge. He was just 0.06s ahead of Hughes at the chequered flag, but it was enough to secure pole position. He now equals Jean-Eric Vergne for the record of most Formula E pole positions.
Ticktum’s final corner mistake put him fourth on the grid, ahead of Rene Rast, who was beaten by Bird in the quarter final, and Mitch Evans. Lucas Di Grassi leads Oliver Rowland in an all-Mahindra fourth row of the grid.
Pascal Wehrlein will start P9, with Nick Cassidy rounding out the top 10.