Rome E-Prix: Cassidy takes maiden Formula E pole in wet qualifying

Formula E rookie Nick Cassidy scored a remarkable maiden pole position over fellow championship newcomer Norman Nato in a treacherous wet-weather shootout ahead of the second Rome E-Prix.

Rome E-Prix: Cassidy takes maiden Formula E pole in wet qualifying

Cassidy put the advantage of running in group four to good use to overcome the super slippery conditions as new patches of asphalt left the morning drizzle to sit on the track surface.

The Super GT and Super Formula champion, who had set the pace in final practice, then progressed through the top-six superpole fight having just been pipped in the group times by fellow point-less racer Nato.

Cassidy was the penultimate driver to run in the final dice, setting first and final sectors that could not be matched as he posted a 1m52.011s yardstick and claimed Envision Virgin Racing’s second pole position in three races by 0.332s.

Nato emphatically delivered for the Venturi Racing squad as he converted his group four running order into a first-ever superpole appearance.

Promoted from reserve driver to replace Felipe Massa in the team, Nato dropped a couple of tenths in the opening part of the track but set the best second sector of the day to claim a front-row start.

That came at the expense of Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein. The German looked odds on to top the session when he smashed to provisional pole by a massive 1.7s over Mercedes racer Stoffel Vandoorne.

Pascal Wehrlein, Tag Heuer Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric

Pascal Wehrlein, Tag Heuer Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

At the time of his run, Wehrlein found 1.3s over anyone else in the final sector before track conditions improved to suit Cassidy and Nato.

Vandoorne attempted to tame his lively Mercedes and bagged fourth ahead of BMW Andretti driver Maximilian Gunther.

Mahindra Racing’s Alexander Sims starred in group qualifying as he found 0.6s through the high-speed Turn 6 alone to put himself into superpole. However, too much aggression and oversteer cost him a second in sector one alone.

Running over the slippery painted white lines and fractionally locking his brakes then meant he eventually fell 3.6s adrift of Cassidy.

Edoardo Mortara was the first driver to miss out on a superpole appearance, missing the cut off by four tenths and citing a lack of grip through the 90-degree Turn 7 left-hander as a particular area of risk.

The Venturi Racing driver set about undoing his “nightmare” Saturday, kicked off by a connector failure that ruled him out of qualifying, and delivered a strong seventh place ahead of Oliver Rowland and Nico Muller.

Points leader Sam Bird, who finished second in the first race, dominated proceedings in the opening group bout to move some 1.49s clear with his initial 1m59.737s benchmark.

Sam Bird, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-Type 5

Sam Bird, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-Type 5

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

That put the Jaguar Racing driver a full 2s clear of race winner Jean-Eric Vergne, who was off the pace throughout, and ahead of team-mate Mitch Evans.

But as the track conditions began to improve as more cars took to the circuit, Bird and Evans were shuffled from their early 1-2 standing down to an eventual 12th and 13th.

Lucas di Grassi was another experienced name to struggle in the low-grip conditions as he qualified in 14th ahead of Tom Blomqvist and defending champion Antonio Felix da Costa.

The DS Techeetah driver had delivered the goods in the first sector if going a little wide through the high-speed sequence of corners but then dropped a hefty seventh tenths to provisional polesitter Bird in the final few turns.

Sims’ team-mate Alex Lynn will line up on the grid in 17th ahead of Oliver Turvey, the NIO 333 driver well short of running aboard his freshly build car after triggering a Saturday practice shunt that benched him for the day.

Saudi Arabia race winner Nyck de Vries led a gaggle of high-profile wet-weather strugglers that included Robin Frijns, Rene Rast and Vergne – all hit by running in the unfavoured group one batch.

Dragon Penske Autosport driver Sergio Sette Camara stopped on his flying lap with a technical failure while exiting the Turn 13 chicane. BMW Andretti rookie Jake Dennis did not take part in the session.

Andre Lotterer had originally put himself comfortably into superpole but had his full-power lap deleted as he became the latest casualty of a reprimand for exceeding energy limits.

Rome E-Prix II qualifying results:

Superpole results:

Group qualifying results:

shares
comments

Related video

Rome E-Prix: Cassidy tops damp practice ahead of Guenther
Previous article

Rome E-Prix: Cassidy tops damp practice ahead of Guenther

Next article

Cassidy glad to get "the monkey off my back" with Rome FE pole

Cassidy glad to get "the monkey off my back" with Rome FE pole
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How Evans kept cool in Jakarta heat to renew his Formula E title push Plus

How Evans kept cool in Jakarta heat to renew his Formula E title push

Jean-Eric Vergne had comfortably taken a landmark pole for Formula E's first visit to Indonesia and looked set to win his first race of a highly consistent campaign. But the DS Techeetah driver couldn't answer a late attack from Jaguar's Mitch Evans, who profited from the Frenchman's change in battery management tactics to seize a third win of the campaign

Formula E
Jun 6, 2022
Why de Vries' F1 practice debut could add a new path to his current crossroads Plus

Why de Vries' F1 practice debut could add a new path to his current crossroads

A Formula 2 and Formula E champion, Nyck de Vries is currently considering where his future in motorsport lies. Continuing in WEC and Formula E is possible and he's also courted glances Stateside after impressing in an IndyCar test. But ahead of his Formula 1 FP1 debut with Williams, he could have another option if he impresses...

Formula 1
May 18, 2022
How Jake Dennis’ struggles turned him into a Formula E front-runner Plus

How Jake Dennis’ struggles turned him into a Formula E front-runner

Having emerged as one of Formula E’s strongest drivers in his one-and-a-half seasons in the championship, Jake Dennis cemented his place in the series with a breakout maiden season. But it's not always been smooth sailing for the Brit

Formula E
May 10, 2022
How Vandoorne recaptured Mercedes' winning feeling in Monaco Plus

How Vandoorne recaptured Mercedes' winning feeling in Monaco

The Mercedes Formula 1 team is struggling, but its Formula E arm is in fine form at the moment and once again leads the drivers' standings courtesy of Stoffel Vandoorne. Here's how the Belgian took a well-judged Monaco victory to emerge at the head of the brewing four-way championship tussle

Formula E
May 2, 2022
Will lighter, greener, faster Gen3 deliver on Formula E's many promises? Plus

Will lighter, greener, faster Gen3 deliver on Formula E's many promises?

With a fighter-jet inspired design, revamped technical specifications and a new tyre supplier, Formula E's Gen3 car is set to shake up the series. But can it deliver on all of the promises that Formula E has set out to ensure that manufacturers consider the outlay on going racing in an all-electric arena worthwhile?

Formula E
Apr 29, 2022
Why spanning different genres has lent Lotterer's career longevity Plus

Why spanning different genres has lent Lotterer's career longevity

Although now well into his 24th consecutive season in racing, Andre Lotterer has no intention of winding his career down. Here he talks to Autosport about his and Porsche's continued progress in Formula E, his love for racing in Japan, and recalls his sole Formula 1 outing - and considers what's next in his lengthy career

Formula E
Apr 27, 2022
Why Nissan's e.dams buyout signifies its Formula E victory intent Plus

Why Nissan's e.dams buyout signifies its Formula E victory intent

The e.dams Formula E squad is one of the most storied in the championship's short history as its original benchmark, but its successes in the Gen2 era have been fleeting by comparison. Nissan's decision to take full control ahead of Gen3 marks a statement of intent that it intends to get back to winning ways

Formula E
Apr 12, 2022