Formula E Ad Diriyah: Antonio Felix da Costa gives BMW debut pole

Antonio Felix da Costa topped a delayed, reformed and disrupted ABB FIA Formula E qualifying session for the Ad Diriyadh E-Prix to give BMW Andretti a debut pole

Formula E Ad Diriyah: Antonio Felix da Costa gives BMW debut pole

After wet weather cancelled the planned FP1 and FP2 sessions, qualifying took place just a short while after a hastily rescheduled practice run did occur.

Qualifying was organised into two groups instead of the usual four, with NIO's Tom Dillmann taking to the track early in the first 15-minute session.

The drivers were only permitted to complete one qualifying run as per the regulations - out-lap, a 200kW sighting tour, 250kW flying lap, in-lap - but Dillmann ran solidly for 10 minutes before putting his flying lap in.

He therefore topped the early running with a 1m17.893s, but was immediately placed under investigation for not respecting the qualifying format.

The rest of group one - which included the top five finishers in the 2017/18 championship per the expected qualifying format for the first race of the year - hit the track, led by Dragon's Jose Maria Lopez, with just under five minutes of the first segment remaining.

Lopez failed to better Dillmann's effort, but da Costa did, with a 1m17.728s.

Sebastien Buemi wound up fourth, with Jean-Eric Vergne and Lucas di Grassi finishing towards the end of the first 11 runners.

The group B runners took to the track after a 10-minute gap, with a more even split in when they appeared.

Gary Paffett and Oliver Rowland went out after a few minutes, but both had moments on their 250kW laps - with the latter appearing to clip the barrier at the exit of Turn 1 - and did not trouble the front runners.

Shortly after Oliver Turvey posted his 250kW effort, ex-Formula 1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne slotted into fifth place.

Just as DS Techeetah driver Andre Lotterer was completing his flying lap, red flags came out after Maximillian Gunther (Dragon) stopped on the flowing left of Turn 7 with what appeared to be a damaged left-front corner of his car.

After a lengthy delay, the drivers - including Lotterer - who had had been on-track before the stoppage, were allowed to re-run their 250kW efforts.

Lotterer ended up as the second fastest group B runner, 10th overall behind Vandoorne, Bird, Vergne, Robin Frijns and Jerome D'Ambrosio.

While Lotterer was able to get a clean 250kW effort in, several drivers, including Alexander Sims, Felipe Massa and Jaguars Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr appeared to have theirs disrupted by a late Felix Rosenqvist crash.

In the dying moments of the session, Rosenqvist clipped the outside wall approaching the final corner and went into the barriers at speed at the edge of the turn, nose-first.

With the Mahindra Racing driver stopped at the final right-hander, a red flag was briefly shown by a marshal situated near the incident, but a full stoppage was not called by race control.

The drivers following Rosenqvist therefore crossed the line for the final time in qualifying after passing the accident.

Evans finished 11th, while Sims ended up 17th, with Massa and Piquet bringing up the rear of the field ahead of Gunther and Rosenqvist, who did not set a time respectively.

Rowland, Turvey, Paffett and Mortara filled positions 13-16, with Audi's Daniel Abt ending up as the lowest-placed group A runner in P18.

Ad Diriyah FE starting grid:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Antonio Felix da Costa BMW 1m17.728s
2 Jose Maria Lopez Dragon 0.385s
3 Sebastien Buemi e.dams 0.541s
4 Stoffel Vandoorne HWA 0.762s
5 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah 0.843s
6 Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra 1.349s
7 Andre Lotterer DS Techeetah 1.589s
8 Mitch Evans Jaguar 1.984s
9 Gary Paffett HWA 2.201s
10 Edoardo Mortara Venturi 2.602s
11 Alexander Sims BMW 2.639s
12 Daniel Abt Audi 2.657s
13 Felipe Massa Venturi 2.679s
14 Oliver Rowland e.dams 3.121s
15 Nelson Piquet Jr. Jaguar 3.761s
16 Maximilian Guenther Dragon 4.155s
17 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 5.309s
18 Lucas di Grassi Audi 7.376s
- Sam Bird Virgin 11.897s
- Robin Frijns Virgin 13.838s
- Oliver Turvey NIO -
- Tom Dillmann NIO -

shares
comments
Formula E Ad Diriyah: Qualifying changed, Vandoorne tops practice

Previous article

Formula E Ad Diriyah: Qualifying changed, Vandoorne tops practice

Next article

Watch Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy debut live

Watch Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy debut live
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Drivers Antonio Felix da Costa
Author Alex Kalinauckas
How Valencia E-Prix farce left Formula E with an image problem Plus

How Valencia E-Prix farce left Formula E with an image problem

Formula E was under the microscope at Valencia, on its first visit to a permanent circuit. But after a mere nine drivers were left classified following Saturday's Valencia E-Prix, the electric championship once more faced criticism after rising energy deductions and miscalculations produced a farcical affair

Formula E
Apr 25, 2021
The silver bullet signing that has launched Jaguar into title contention Plus

The silver bullet signing that has launched Jaguar into title contention

It's taken a long time for Jaguar to reach the cusp of contending for championships in Formula E. But, after last season's challenge crumbled in Berlin, the team has been bolstered by a top-line arrival who has helped to end an unwanted 30-year wait

Formula E
Apr 22, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Plus

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Plus

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Plus

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
How Andretti is planning for life after BMW Plus

How Andretti is planning for life after BMW

Michael Andretti's team is a Formula E ever-present and that's not about to change despite BMW's forthcoming exit. But, with both its drivers contracted to the German giant and McLaren weighing up a possible entry, some key decisions lie ahead

Formula E
Feb 26, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Plus

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Plus

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021