Formula E

Rowland on pole as front-runners fail to set qualifying lap

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Credit: Nissan

Oliver Rowland secured pole for the tenth round of the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship after four front-runners failed to set a time in qualifying.

With a new layout being used in Berlin for the last two rounds the teams were predicting significant track evolution, leading to all six drivers in the first qualifying group leaving it as late as possible to leave their garages to set a time.

But it descended into farce with the drivers tripping over each other as they realised how little time they had to get to the line to start their lap – with Lucas di Grassi hitting Antonio Felix da Costa as he squeezed by him at the hairpin.

In the end only Maximilian Gunther and Mitch Evans made it to the line in time, leaving Di Grassi, Da Costa, Sebastien Buemi and Jean-Eric Vergne crossing after the checkered flag had waved.

It meant that all four current and former champions on the grid failed to set a time and will start at the back of the grid, leaving those in the later groups to take advantage.

As predicted the track did improve markedly as the session wore on with Neel Jani, Rene Rast and Tom Blomqvist in his first race for Panasonic Jaguar Racing making the top six having gone out in the final group.

They were joined in Super Pole by Rowland, Robin Frijns and Alex Lynn who put in yet another impressive performance since his switch to Mahindra Racing.

In the shootout it was Rowland who went fastest however, closely followed by Frijns who was just under half a tenth behind.

Jani lines up in third in one in what was a much improved performance, with Rast also impressing for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in fourth.

That left Lynn and Blomqvist starting on the third row, just ahead of the TAG Heuer Porsche of Andre Lotterer.

Felipe Massa again showed signs of his improvement in the ROKiT Venturi Racing as he qualified eighth, and he has fellow Brazilian Sergio Sette Camara behind him.

The other Venturi of Edorado Mortara lines up in tenth.

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