Andre Lotterer beats Mitch Evans to pole position in thrilling Rome E-Prix qualifying

Andre Lotterer stormed to a maiden Formula E pole position on the streets of Rome, beating Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans to the top spot in changeable conditions in qualifying.

Completing his initial qualifying run in Group Two, posting a competitive 1m 29.761s lap, Lotterer set the fastest time in the group qualifying stages to front the Super Pole shootout, joined by Evans, Jose Maria Lopez, Stoffel Vandoorne, Maximilian Gunther and Sebastien Buemi.

With an ever-present threat of rain throughout group qualifying, the potential of wet weather held off until Super Pole, with a short burst of rainfall in-between sessions leaving the 2.870km-long Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR with changeable conditions, the first half of the track dry while the second half was wet.

As the slowest component of the top six, Buemi was the first driver to take to the track in Super Pole and quickly discovered the slippery nature of the racing surface ahead, running deep into Turn 13 and spinning on his warmup lap.

Learning from his error, Buemi posted a clean 1m 36.331s on his 250kW flyer to lay down a benchmark time, only for Formula E returnee Gunther to eclipse this time, claiming provisional pole position for GEOX Dragon with a 1m 35.640s run. 

When HWA Racelab's Vandoorne beat Gunther's best efforts by 2.407s, it became apparent that track evolution would become a major component of Super Pole, meaning that the last man over the line would most likely claim the top spot. 

A pacy 1m 32.906s run from Jaguar's Evans saw the Kiwi claim provisional pole, meaning that Formula E would see another new polesitter in Season Five, with Lotterer remaining as the final runner. 

Taking to the track, Lotterer had a strong run through sector one before locking up and running wide into the left-hand hairpin of Turn 13, making the chances of pole position for DS Techeetah appear to be unlikely. 

Recovering, Lotterer continued to power around the constantly drying circuit, going on to cut to the timing beam with a 1m 32.123s lap, beating Evans to pole position by 0.360s. 

With Evans starting from second on the grid following a recent run of poor qualifying performances for Jaguar this season, Lopez and Vandoorne formed the second row in third and fourth while Gunther and Buemi formed row three. 

Missing out on a spot in Super Pole, Hong Kong E-Prix race winner Edoardo Mortara was the best of the rest, qualifying in seventh for Venturi while Robin Frijns was the fastest Envision Virgin Racing driver, securing eighth. 

On his return to Formula E after losing his drive at Virgin to Frijns at the end of Season Four, Alex Lynn impressed in his first qualifying session for Jaguar after replacing Nelson Piquet Jr, taking ninth for the British marque while Pascal Wehrlein completed the top 10 for Mahindra. 

After missing out on track time in FP2 as a result of a driveshaft failure, Felipe Massa qualified in 11th while Oliver Rowland failed to emulate his past qualifying performances for Nissan e.dams, with the Briton only managing 12th.

Championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa was the highest placing driver from Group One qualifying, with the Portuguese racer claiming 13th on the grid, followed by Sam Bird and Lucas di Grassi who completed the top 15. 

Reigning DTM champion Gary Paffett secured 16th in the second HWA while Formula E's most recent winner Jean-Eric Vergne qualified in 17th in the second DS Techeetah car. 

Daniel Abt followed Vergne in 18th in the second Audi while Oliver Turvey, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Tom Dillmann and Alexander Sims completed the field, the last-placed Briton failing to complete a lap in qualifying due to a technical problem on his BMW-powered Andretti entry. 

Rome - Qualifying

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Flag   Andre Lotterer DS Techeetah Formula E Team 1:32.123
2 Flag   Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:32.483 0.360
3 Flag   Jose Maria Lopez GEOX Dragon 1:32.906 0.783
4 Flag   Stoffel Vandoorne HWA Racelab 1:33.233 1.110
5 Flag   Max Gunther GEOX Dragon 1:35.640 3.517
6 Flag   Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams 1:36.331 4.208
7 Flag   Edorado Mortara Venturi Formula E Team 1:30.397
8 Flag   Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing 1:30.422
9 Flag   Alex Lynn Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:30.500
10 Flag   Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing 1:30.609
11 Flag   Felipe Massa Venturi Formula E Team 1:30.623
12 Flag   Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 1:30.723
13 Flag   Antonio Felix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:30.804
14 Flag   Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing 1:30.880
15 Flag   Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 1:30.977
16 Flag   Gary Paffett HWA Racelab 1:30.980
17 Flag   Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah Formula E Team 1:31.016
18 Flag   Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 1:31.043
19 Flag   Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 1:31.043
20 Flag   Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra Racing 1:31.192
21 Flag   Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team 1:31.220
22 Flag   Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:46.182