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Stoffel Vandoorne takes Rome E-Prix round 1 pole position

Stoffel Vandoorne at the Rome E-Prix. Courtesy of Formula E.

Mercedes-EQ’s driver Stoffel Vandoorne will start Saturday’s Formula E race in Rome from pole position.

After quite dramatic practices with a big shunt at the end of FP1 and the majority of the FP2 being under the red flag, the time finally came for the qualifying of the Rome E-Prix round 1. The drivers were ready to go and determine track position for the race later on Saturday.

It all started with the first group, which consisted of the championship leaders. Trouble started early for Edoardo Mortara as the rear end of his car had to be revised. The Swiss driver did not set a lap time as a result. The main challenge was the fact that the track was damp. Robin Frijns showed a good lap and was the quickest in group 1 with the lap of 1:39.081, just ahead of Nyck de Vries.

Group 2 was up next. Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland was the quickest and best Frijns’ lap time by 0.59s. Oliver Turvey did not take part in qualifying after being involved in the FP1 crash.

Andre Lotterer was that best driver in the third group in his Porsche. However, this was not enough to beat Rowland’s result – 0.136s short.

The fourth group closed the first part of qualifying and determined both participants and running order of the Super Pole. Maximilian Guenther was the fastest and that secured him 6th and final spot in the Super Pole event. It all went wrong for Nick Cassidy as he stopped at turn 14. Oliver Rowland stayed ahead and won group qualifying.

The top 6 drivers of group qualifying:

1Oliver RowlandNissan e.dams1:38.491
2Andre LottererPorsche+0.136
3Stoffel VandoorneMercedes-EQ+0.472
4Lucas di GrassiAudi +0.559
5Jean-Eric VergneDS Techeetah+0.575
6Maximilian GuentherBMW i Andretti+0.577

It all came down to the Super Pole, where the 6 best drivers of the group qualifying battled for the pole position for Saturday’s race. Weather kept being a factor as the rain intensified around the track in Italy’s capital. Guenther was the first to set the lap time, which was 1:39.751. However, Vergne was quicker by 0.8s.

The 2-time Formula E champion, was narrowly beaten by di Grassi. The lap times kept improving as Vandoorne took the provisional pole. His lap was enough to stay on top and take the pole position as both Andre Lotterer and Oliver Rowland did not manage to improve. They qualified 2nd and 3rd respectively. In fact, the group qualifying winner hit the wall quite hard and stopped at the track after his flying lap.

The results of Super Pole:

1Stoffel VandoorneMercedes-EQ1:38.484
2Andre LottererPorsche+0.167
3Oliver RowlandNissan e.dams+0.405
4Lucas di GrassiAudi+0.419
5Jean-Eric VergneDS Techeetah+0.463
6Maximilian GuentherBMW i Andretti+1.267
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