Mitch Evans takes pole position ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne in a track-limits hampered qualifying for the Hyderabad E-Prix.
Three drivers had their times deleted in the quarter-finals of the duel stages, leaving Vergne to face nobody on track in the semi-finals.
It was Jake Hughes who set the quickest time during the first group session, but the McLaren driver missed out on the duels for the first time in his Formula E career.
Despite managing a time of 1m14.121s to go quicker than anybody, Hughes had his two quickest times deleted for spending too little time in the pits. The minimum pit time at Hyderabad is 100 seconds, but McLaren only kept Hughes in for 95 seconds.
Instead, it was Evans who topped the first session. Evans had set the pace early on before a late flying lap for Hughes.
Sacha Fenestraz, who was also briefly top of the times, qualified second ahead of Buemi and Maximilian Guenther.
In Group B, the red flag was thrown at the halfway mark when Kelvin van der Linde came to a stop on track.
At this point, Jean-Eric Vergne was top of the order with Rene Rast P2, but there was still time to be found.
Rast improved on Vergne’s time by just 0.004s, setting a time of 1m14.091s and topping the times.
Vergne and Bird both had lap times deleted for track limits during the session, but improved to go second and third respectively, with a late improvement from Edoardo Mortara making it two Maserati MSG Racing cars in the quarter-finals.
With no Porsche cars making it through to the duels, championship leader Pascal Wehrlein qualified highest of those powered by the German manufacturer. He starts ninth, having just missed out on a spot in the duels. Nick Cassidy will start 10th.
Track limits would play an important part in the quarter-final duels.
The first two duels went without issue, but Sam Bird was hit with track limits at turn one during his duel with Vergne. The Jaguar Racing driver had gone 0.036s quicker than Vergne, but he put all four wheels over the white line at the first corner and had his time deleted.
Edoardo Mortara and Rene Rast went head to head in the final quarter-final. It was a messy lap for Rast, with a big slide early in the lap and a trip over the kerbs at turns 12 and 13. Mortara was more than half a second quicker, but a track limit violation at turn one meant the Maserati driver’s time was deleted. Rast’s time was then also deleted, meaning neither driver would progress to the semifinals.
Semifinal one progressed as normal, with Evans going head-to-head with Sebastien Buemi and beating the Envision driver by 0.283s. Vergne then drove a lap by himself on track and progressed to the final.
Evans and Vergne were neck and neck throughout their final laps and were separated by just 0.001s at the chequered flag. It was Evans who was just ahead at the line, denying Vergne the chance to reclaim the record for most Formula E pole positions.
Vergne will start second ahead of Buemi and Fenestraz, who was the fastest of the quarter-final losers.
Those with lap times deleted line up behind Guenther, with Bird starting ahead of Mortara and Rast.