Formula E: Vandoorne bags Pole as new qualifying format debuts
Updated: Feb 1
MERCEDES EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne will start on Pole Position for the opening race in Diriyah as the sport's new qualifying system provides a hit amongst drivers.
Vandoorne, who finished tenth in the championship last season, kept his cool and produced solid fast laps in order to secure Pole Position.
CLEAR VIEW: After securing his sixth career Pole Position, Vandoorne will lead the drivers into the night with floodlights lighting up the track
The all-electric championship trialled it's new and dynamic qualifying format to determine the starting grid for the race.
The 22 drivers were split into two groups with one driver from each team in each group. With 12 minutes on the clock, drivers aimed to post laps that were fast enough to secure their place in the quarter-finals.
The eight drivers, four from each group, then battled each other with the four winning drivers moving onto the semi-finals. The two quickest drivers then battled it out in the final duel to claim Pole Position.
Group B's running was cut-short as ROKiT Venturi Racing driver Edoardo Mortara crashed with one minute to go. This session ended as yellow flags waved in the first sector of the lap.
Envision Racing (Nick Cassidy and Robin Frijns) and Mercedes EQ (Reigning Champion Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne) were the only two teams with both of their drivers progressing through to the quarter-finals.
In the semi-finals, the Mercedes EQ drivers were pinned again each other with Vandoorne getting the upper-hand and progressing through to the final to face-off with Avalanche Andretti's Jake Dennis.
As both drivers raced round the dusty Riyadh Street Circuit, Vandoorne's lap was more complete with Dennis making a slight mistake - a snap of oversteer saw the Brit's left-rear tyre graze the wall.
Vandoorne will start the race from Pole Position with Dennis accompanying the Belgian on the front-row. De Vries will line-up on the second row in third with Porsche's Andre Lotterer in fourth.
The DS Techeetah pairing of Two Time Formula E Champion and Jean-Eric Vergne and 2019/20 Champion Antonio Felix da Costa and the Jaguar of Mitch Evans will have a lot of work to do starting in 13th, 14th and 16th.