Diriyah FE: Second pole for BMW's Sims after nervous Superpole wait

Jake Boxall-Legge
Second pole for Sims after nervous shootout wait
Second pole for Sims after nervous shootout wait

Alexander Sims completed a clean sweep of Formula E pole positions in Diriyah, withstanding a late onslaught as Antonio Felix da Costa made errors on his Saturday superpole lap.

Sims logged an 1m11.476s lap, beating his pacesetting time of 1m14.563s from Friday by more than three seconds.

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The BMW driver held an advantage of four tenths over Lucas di Grassi in the opening two sectors, before a slide on the exit of Turn 17 burdened Sims with a slight disadvantage in the final sector - though he rocketed to the top of the timesheets regardless.

Sims's time then absorbed a siege from the remaining runners, as Sebastien Buemi could not quite overcome the British driver's time, while DS Techeetah's da Costa suffered two hefty slides during the second sector, tapping the wall on the exit of Turn 17 to all but end his chances of pole.

This is Sims's third consecutive Formula E pole position, a current championship record.

Da Costa had set the fastest lap in the first part of qualifying, progressing from the third group and claiming his first point of the 2019-20 season.

Making an appearance in group two, Sims was narrowly beaten in the first part of qualifying by Jerome d'Ambrosio, but both drivers - along with Mitch Evans - made it through to superpole.

Audi driver Di Grassi also progressed from the third group, while Buemi was the sole representative from the final group.

Second pole for Sims after nervous shootout wait
Second pole for Sims after nervous shootout wait

Nissan e.dams driver Buemi's time in superpole was good enough for second, beating di Grassi and Evans to a front-row start in the race, while da Costa qualified behind d'Ambrosio after the slides on his final lap.

Race one winner Sam Bird converted a group one qualifying session effort into seventh for Envision Virgin Racing, suggesting a subdued rate of track evolution compared to the session on the previous day.

Venturi's Edoardo Mortara was the highest-placed Mercedes powertrain runner after qualifying ninth, unable to reprise his Friday role in the superpole shootout.

Sims's BMW team-mate Maximilian Guenther claimed ninth, while race one runner-up Andre Lotterer completed the top 10 for Porsche having appeared in the first group alongside Bird.

After hitting the wall in practice, 2018-19 Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne qualified 11th, having been offered a consolation berth in the fourth group following his steering rack-enforced retirement from the first race.

Nissan e.dams driver Oliver Rowland struggled in the first qualifying group, clocking in a lap over a second slower than his best effort in practice.

James Calado managed to make it out to qualifying after his Jaguar team repaired a driveshaft at the rear of his car following a practice error, and he just managed to stay off of the final row of the grid.

Nyck de Vries qualified last after losing more than two seconds in the final two sectors, ending his session 21 positions below his top-three qualifying position on Friday.

Starting grid

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Time

Gap

1

Alexander Sims

BMW

BMW

1m11.476s

-

2

Sebastien Buemi

e.dams

Nissan

1m11.696s

0.220s

3

Lucas di Grassi

Audi

Audi

1m11.784s

0.308s

4

Jerome d'Ambrosio

Mahindra

Mahindra

1m12.093s

0.617s

5

Antonio Felix da Costa

DS Techeetah

DS

1m14.134s

2.658s

6

Mitch Evans

Jaguar

Jaguar

-

-

7

Sam Bird

Virgin

Audi

1m12.007s

0.531s

8

Edoardo Mortara

Venturi

Mercedes

1m12.008s

0.532s

9

Max Guenther

BMW

BMW

1m12.051s

0.575s

10

Andre Lotterer

Porsche

Porsche

1m12.153s

0.677s

11

Stoffel Vandoorne

Mercedes

Mercedes

1m12.422s

0.946s

12

Robin Frijns

Virgin

Audi

1m12.454s

0.978s

13

Pascal Wehrlein

Mahindra

Mahindra

1m12.635s

1.159s

14

Daniel Abt

Audi

Audi

1m12.642s

1.166s

15

Felipe Massa

Venturi

Mercedes

1m12.656s

1.180s

16

Oliver Rowland

e.dams

Nissan

1m12.660s

1.184s

17

Oliver Turvey

NIO

NIO

1m12.671s

1.195s

18

Neel Jani

Porsche

Porsche

1m12.732s

1.256s

19

Brendon Hartley

Dragon

Penske

1m13.182s

1.706s

20

Ma Qing Hua

NIO

NIO

1m13.205s

1.729s

21

James Calado

Jaguar

Jaguar

1m13.430s

1.954s

22

Nico Muller

Dragon

Penske

1m13.703s

2.227s

23

Nyck de Vries

Mercedes

Mercedes

1m14.082s

2.606s

24

Jean-Eric Vergne

DS Techeetah

DS

1m12.327s

0.851s

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