BMW's Alexander Sims storms to pole position in Diriyah, Mercedes shine

Alexander Sims stormed to pole position for the opening race of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E season.

The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver completed his initial qualifying lap in the third group of runners to secure a place in the Super Pole shootout, with Sam Bird fronting the session while Edoardo Mortara, Jerome d'Ambrosio and Mercedes EQ team-mates Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries joined the pair.

As the first runner in Super Pole, d'Ambrosio failed to make an impression, with Sims beating the Belgian's lap time by 0.976s.

Setting a 1:14.563, Sims remained unchallenged for the remainder of the session, with Vandoorne emerging as his nearest challenger, 0.276s adrift to front a Mercedes 2-3 result as Nyck de Vries cemented third.

Showing promising pace in FP2, Edoardo Mortara secured fourth for ROKiT Venturi Racing while Sam Bird was fifth, making a mistake on his final 250kW lap for Envision Virgin Racing. D'Ambrosio completed the top six.

Outside of Super Pole, Andre Lotterer emerged as the lead Porsche driver in seventh after narrowly missing out on a spot in the final qualifying session while Oliver Rowland was eighth as the lead Nissan e.dams driver.

Maximilian Gunther qualified in ninth place in the second BMW i Andretti Motorsport car and was followed by Oliver Turvey who impressively piloted his NIO 333 car to 10th from Group 3.

Struggling for pace on a dusty and dirty Riyadh Street Circuit, reigning Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne fronted Group 1 qualifying, however, only secured 11th on the grid for the Diriyah E-Prix.

Robin Frijns meanwhile was only 12th. Daniel Abt fronted what was a dismal qualifying for Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler, with the German racer taking 15th while Season 3 champion Lucas di Grassi was 19th.

Diriyah 1 - Qualifying

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Flag   Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport Car Icon 1:14.563
2 Flag   Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes-Benz EQ Car Icon 1:14.839 0.276
3 Flag   Nyck de Vries Mercedes-Benz EQ Car Icon 1:14.929 0.366
4 Flag   Edoardo Mortara Venturi Racing Car Icon 1:15.131 0.568
5 Flag   Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing Car Icon 1:15.350 0.787
6 Flag   Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra Racing Car Icon 1:15.539 0.976
7 Flag   Andre Lotterer Tag-Heuer Porsche Car Icon 1:15.518
8 Flag   Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams Car Icon 1:15.653
9 Flag   Maximilian Guenther BMW i Andretti Motorsport Car Icon 1:15.680
10 Flag   Oliver Turvey NIO 333 Car Icon 1:16.018
11 Flag   Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah Car Icon 1:16.129
12 Flag   Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing Car Icon 1:16.200
13 Flag   Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing Car Icon 1:16.200
14 Flag   Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams Car Icon 1:16.243
15 Flag   Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Car Icon 1:16.264
16 Flag   Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing Car Icon 1:16.532
17 Flag   Felipe Massa Venturi Racing Car Icon 1:16.583
18 Flag   Brendon Hartley GEOX Dragon Car Icon 1:17.074
19 Flag   Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Car Icon 1:17.213
20 Flag   Neel Jani Tag-Heuer Porsche Car Icon 1:17.745
21 Flag   Antonio Felix da Costa DS Techeetah Car Icon 1:18.613
22 Flag   Ma Qing Hua NIO 333 Car Icon 1:21.701
23 Flag   Nico Muller GEOX Dragon Car Icon 1:23.017
24 Flag   James Calado Panasonic Jaguar Racing Car Icon 1:23.792