Jake Hughes takes pole position for his third race in Formula E, setting a lightning time of 1:08.693.
Jaguar’s Mitch Evans joins Hughes on the front row of the grid, showing pace all day but unable to make it count against the McLaren.
In Qualifying Group A, the teams’ strategy was again dominated by the developing track conditions as the desert dust was cleared off of the racing line by the drivers.
After showing lightning pace over a lap all weekend, neither NIO 333 made it into the duels for the first time this season, with Dan Ticktum being impeded by a cat on his last flying lap. Sergio Sette Camara was just four hundredths slower than his teammate in the closest qualifying margin between the two drivers so far this season.
For the first time in Season 9, DS Penske made it out of the group stages with reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne finishing Group A qualifying in third, joining Jake Dennis, Sebastian Buemi and Jake Hughes in the duels.
Over in Group B, Maserati also made it out of the group stages for the first time this season with Edoardo Mortara finishing the group stages in fourth. After topping the times in FP3, Evans also topped the group in qualifying three hundredths ahead of Rene Rast in third; yesterday’s race winner Pascal Wehrlein finished the session in third.
After a promising day yesterday, Lucas DiGrassi struggled with the control of his car, having a similar incident to the spin he had in FP3, this time managing to keep his Mahindra out of the wall.
Hughes continued his fine qualifying form in the duels and progressed to the final, beating out championship leader Jake Dennis in the quarter-finals and Buemi in the semi-final. The rookie hasn’t started a race lower than third in his Formula E career so far.
Both duels debutants were beaten in their matches with Buemi beating out Vandoorne and Evans getting the better of Mortara.
McLaren almost earned a front-row lockout with Rast progressing to the semi-finals, however, he couldn’t quite put together a strong enough lap to beat Evans who advanced to the final to face Hughes.
The second race of the Diriyah E-Prix doubleheader kicks off at 20:00 local time.