Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne achieved his third ABB Formula E pole position in a close-call qualifying session, clocking in a lap just over one-tenth faster than Porsche’s Andre Lotterer.
Britain’s Oliver Rowland took third, after putting in a strong lap that teetered on the edge until the final corner.
In a change to proceedings, cars were allowed to wait at the end of the pitlane for the session to start and with only four minutes per qualifying group, timing would prove to be crucial.
On an alternative strategy, Envision Virgin’s Robin Frijns chose to get out early and managed to set two preparation laps, topping Group 1 with a 1:39.081s, with championship leader Nyck de Vries 0.008s behind.
One notable absence from qualifying was Edoardo Mortara, who was forced to sit out as his ROKiT Venturi suffered from a battery software issue.
Rowland got Group 2 underway with a flying lap to put himself nearly sixth tenths clear of Frijns. Pascal Wehrlein also slotted into the top six, in fourth, as Rene Rast was forced to abandon his lap.
The German driver’s rear brakes locked on the entrance of Turn 14, forcing the Audi driver into the run-off area.
Despite the increasing rain and cold temperatures, both Mahindras and Vandoorne chose to go straight for a warm-up lap in Group 3 as Lucas di Grassi, Jean-Éric Vergne and Lotterer battled for track position.
This group appeared to be the place to be – Lotterer went second with Vandoorne, di Grassi and Vergne all making it into Super Pole.
Envision Virgin’s Nick Cassidy then became the one to watch in Group 4, as he was four tenths up after the first sector. However, the Kiwi driver will be disappointed as he tapped the wall on the exit of the chicane and was forced to come to a stop on track.
Maximillian Günther, who topped the red-flagged FP2 earlier today, then slotted himself into the final Super Pole position in sixth.
The battle for pole position then got underway with Günther clocking in a 1:39.751s, as all drivers were warned about a loose banner on track on the exit of Turn 13.
In a strong showing for DS Techeetah, Vergne then seized the quickest time in Super Pole with a margin of eight tenths before di Grassi, who last started from pole at the first race of the Montreal E-Prix in Season 3, went quickest with a 1:38.903s.
With de Vries not making it into Super Pole, it was up to Vandoorne to lead Mercedes EQ’s efforts, which he did in a stellar fashion, going four tenths quicker than di Grassi.
Despite his best efforts, Lotterer was forced to settle for second. With Rowland as the last driver standing, pole position was going to go down to the wire.
On a blinding lap that looked as though it could take pole, the Nissan e.dams driver played a risky game. He narrowly avoided several collisions with the barriers before his luck finally ran out on the exit of the final corner.
The heavy knock into the barriers saw him miss out on pole position and he will start the Rome E-Prix race this afternoon from third.
Di Grassi ended up in fourth, ahead of Vergne and Günther, who has a five-place grid penalty due to his crash last time out in Diriyah.
Frijns will start in seventh, narrowly missing out on Super Pole. After achieving his first pole position during Round 1 and with his team-mate on pole, de Vries will be disappointed to have qualified in eighth.
Wehrlein qualified in ninth, with Buemi for company on the fifth row. The two Jaguars of Bird and Evans ended up in 11th and 12th on the timing sheets, respectively.
Alexander Lynn ended the session in 13th, ahead of Norman Nato and Mahindra team-mate Alexander Sims.
Sette Câmara will start from 16th, with his team-mate Nico Müller for company alongside him. It was an underwhelming session for the reigning Formula E Champion, da Costa, who qualified in 18th.
Blomqvist ended up down in 19th, but is currently under investigation for entering the fast lane too early. Dennis finished in 19th, ahead of Rast and Cassidy, who was unable to complete his lap.
Mortara and Turvey will start from the back of the grid, as neither driver was able to set a time. Turvey has also been issued with six penalty points as a result of the collision he caused with Vergne and Dennis during the first practice session and he may be forced to start from the pitlane.
|1||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||1:38.484|
|2||Andre Lotterer||Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||1:38.651||0.167|
|3||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams||1:38.889||0.405|
|4||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||1:38.903||0.419|
|5||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:39.047||0.463|
|6||Maximilian Guenther||Andretti Motorsport||1:39.751||1.267|
|7||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||1:39.081||0.590|
|8||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||1:39.162||0.671|
|9||Pascal Wehrlein||Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||1:39.241||0.750|
|10||Sebastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams||1:39.348||0.857|
|11||Sam Bird||Jaguar Racing||1:39.443||0.952|
|12||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||1:39.654||1.163|
|13||Alex Lynn||Mahindra Racing||1:39.743||1.252|
|14||Norman Nato||Rokit Venturi Racing||1:39.762||1.271|
|15||Alexander Sims||Mahindra Racing||1:39.829||1.338|
|16||Sergio Sette Camara||Dragon/Penske Autosport||1:39.943||1.452|
|17||Nico Muller||Dragon/Penske Autosport||1:40.057||1.566|
|18||Antonio Felix da Costa||DS Techeetah||1:40.079||1.588|
|19||Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333 Formula E Team||1:40.120||1.629|
|20||Jake Dennis||Andretti Motorsport||1:40.456||1.965|
|21||Rene Rast||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||1:48.022||9.531|
|22||Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing||1:51.081||12.590|
|23||Edoardo Mortara||Rokit Venturi Racing|
|24||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 Formula E Team|
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