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Diriyah FE: Mercedes' de Vries surges to dominant pole by over 0.6s

Mercedes' Nyck de Vries continued his dominant run in the Diriyah E-Prix weekend, smashing the lap record in Friday's first qualifying to take pole for the Formula E season opener

Having set the fastest times in both practice sessions as well as the group qualifying, de Vries upped the ante in superpole, beating the Porsche of Pascal Wehrlein by six tenths of a second.

The 1m08.157s time set by the Dutch driver was the fastest of the weekend so far, and comfortably the quickest in the history of the Riyadh Street Circuit following a reprofiling of certain corners and a resurfacing of the track itself.

Audi's Rene Rast qualified a strong third at the start of his first full Formula E season, finishing just under half a tenth behind fellow German Wehrlein.

Edoardo Mortara was left on the back foot after losing more than half a second in sector one, but he recovered strongly in the final part of the lap to qualify fourth for Mercedes customer Venturi, ahead of the lead Mahindra of Alex Lynn.

Mitch Evans put Jaguar back in superpole but a brush with the wall at the exit of Turn 17 left him down in sixth, nearly a second off the pace of polesitter de Vries.

Porsche's Andre Lotterer was the fastest driver not to make it into superpole and will start seventh, ahead of Sam Bird, who will line up eighth on his first race with Jaguar.

Maximilian Guenther was ninth for the BMW Andretti team, while Oliver Rowland was the best qualifier from Group 1, ending up 10th quickest ahead of Mahindra's Alexander Sims.

The two DS Techeetah cars qualified near the rear of the pack following a horrific qualifying session for both Antonio Felix da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Already handicapped by being placed into Group 1, both drivers left it until late before heading onto the track and were then caught out in traffic, with the sextet crossing the line virtually nose-to-tail.

Vergne lost further time by running wide at the final chicane and ended up 2s off the pace in 19th, just behind team-mate da Costa.

Fellow Formula E champions Lucas di Grassi (Audi) and Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) didn't fare much better in Group 1 either, qualifying 16th and 17th respectively.

Stoffel Vandoorne qualified 15th for Mercedes after starting in Group 1.

Both Nick Cassidy and Nico Muller originally made it to the superpole, but had their fastest laps deleted for improving under the yellow flag caused by the crashed Dragon of Sergio Sette Camara.

That left Cassidy and Muller down in 20th and 22nd respectively, separated by the NIO 333 of Tom Blomqvist - who provisionally qualified seventh before losing his time for the same infringement.

Robin Frijns failed to make it to qualifying after the Envision Virgin team had to change the battery on his car following his crash in FP2 this afternoon.

He will start at the back of the grid, sharing the last row with Sette Camara.

Diriyah E-Prix first qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Nyck de Vries Mercedes 1m08.786s
2 Edoardo Mortara Venturi Racing 0.012s
3 Pascal Wehrlein Porsche 0.099s
4 Rene Rast Audi 0.173s
5 Alex Lynn Mahindra Racing 0.347s
6 Mitch Evans Jaguar Racing 0.366s
7 Andre Lotterer Porsche 0.371s
8 Sam Bird Jaguar Racing 0.479s
9 Maximilian Guenther BMW Andretti 0.491s
10 Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 0.576s
11 Alexander Sims Mahindra Racing 0.773s
12 Norman Nato Venturi Racing 0.842s
13 Oliver Turvey NIO 333 0.845s
14 Jake Dennis BMW Andretti 0.937s
15 Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes 1.342s
16 Lucas di Grassi Audi 1.688s
17 Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams 1.808s
18 Antonio Felix da Costa DS Techeetah 1.949s
19 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah 2.018s
- Sergio Sette Camara Dragon Penske Autosport 12.659s
- Nick Cassidy Envision Virgin Racing 13.234s
- Tom Blomqvist NIO 333 14.379s
- Nico Muller Dragon Penske Autosport 16.169s
- Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing -

Diriyah E-Prix superpole times

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Nyck de Vries Mercedes 1m08.157s
2 Pascal Wehrlein Porsche 0.664s
3 Rene Rast Audi 0.712s
4 Edoardo Mortara Venturi Racing 1.160s
5 Alex Lynn Mahindra Racing 1.188s
6 Mitch Evans Jaguar Racing 1.549s


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