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