Formula E

Vandoorne Grabs Pole in First Ever Formula E Knockout Qualifying Final

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Credit: FIA Formula E

Stoffel Vandoorne took the first pole position of the 2021/22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season as he beat Jake Dennis in the first knockout Qualifying final for race one of the Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia.

For the first time, Formula E adopted a new qualifying format, with the top four of each of the two opening segments going through to the knockout stages.  Those eight drivers will then go head-to-head, with four quarter finals, two semi finals and then one final.

Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team’s Vandoorne ultimately came through the tough session, overcoming the challenge of Avalanche Andretti Formula E Team’s Dennis in the final having beaten his team-mate and the defending Formula E champion Nyck de Vries in the semi-final.

Dennis had overcome the challenge of Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team’s André Lotterer in the first of the semi-finals, but a couple of small errors prevented him from taking pole position.

The quarter finals had seen Lotterer knock out Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns, while the second Envision of Nick Cassidy was eliminated by Vandoorne.  Dennis was able to beat countryman and Jaguar TCS Racing driver Sam Bird in his quarter final, while de Vries eliminated Oliver Rowland after the British racer locked up heading into the first turn.

To make matters worse for Rowland, he was subsequently hit with a three-place grid penalty for impeding another driver in the pit lane during the session, relegating him to eleventh on the grid.

With Vandoorne grabbing pole position, this means everyone within his initial group will line-up on the odd numbered places on the grid, although ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Lucas di Grassi will move up to eighth as a result of Rowland’s penalty.  Also profiting on the Mahindra Racing drivers penalty are Nissan e.damsMaximilian Günther and Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara.

It was a poor session for DS Techeetah, with Jean-Éric Vergne only thirteenth and António Félix da Costa down in sixteenth, with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Dragon/Penske Autosport’s Sérgio Sette Câmara between the two former series champions.

Oliver Askew was the best of the rookies for Andretti in seventeenth, just ahead of Mahindra’s Alexander Sims, with Oliver Turvey nineteenth just ahead of NIO 333 FE Team team-mate and second rookie Dan Ticktum

Two more former Formula 1 drivers round out the grid, with Nissan’s Sébastien Buemi twenty-first just ahead of Dragon/Penske’s Formula E debutant Antonio Giovinazzi.

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