Formula E rookie Jake Dennis gave BMW its first pole since the 2019/20 opener as drying track conditions at Valencia left those at the foot of the championship battling over the top spot.
With the track still damp from morning rain but sun emerging as qualifying began, it was inevitable that the championship leaders running in the first qualifying group would be disadvantaged.
Pascal Wehrlein fared best among them and starts 13th for Porsche.
The Mercedes of Stoffel Vandoorne and championship-leading Nyck de Vries were only 18th and 19th, but like fellow title contender Robin Frijns they’ll gain a place from Mitch Evans being demoted from 16th to 19th with a penalty for his collision with Sergio Sette Camara yesterday. Erstwhile points leader Sam Bird starts just behind Jaguar team-mate Evans in 20th.
Dennis running last in superpole because he had been quickest in group qualifying helped his cause as the track got better with every moment.
He duly beat Andre Lotterer’s Porsche by a massive 0.863s to take pole with a 1m28.548s.
Lotterer – who has had a miserable, crash-filled, season so far and is the only driver in the field yet to score a single point – won’t get to take up that front row start as a penalty for yesterday’s collision with Edoardo Mortara drops him to fifth.
That means Alex Lynn’s Mahindra and NIO333 duo Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Turvey move up to second, third and fourth respectively.
Venturi’s Norman Nato completes an unlikely top six.
Given the improving conditions, group two pacesetter Jean-Eric Vergne can be very proud that his lap held up for seventh on the grid. His DS Techeetah team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa was half a second slower in the same group and starts 12th.
Some drivers will be kicking themselves for not making better use of running in later groups.
Despite being in group three, Lucas di Grassi’s poor lap left him 22nd on the grid.
But Rome race two polesitter Nick Cassidy will be the most frustrated driver of all. His group three lap was looking hugely faster than the opposition before he slid his Envision Virgin Audi wide off track at the final corner before the chicane. That consigned him to 19th initially and then he had the lap deleted for having exceeded track limits in his excursion, dropping him to 23rd.
BMWs will bookend the grid as Dennis’s group three runner team-mate Maximilian Guenther was dropped from an already disappointing 12th to 24th by a lap deletion for track limits.
|Pos||Name||Team||Car||Group 1||Group 2|
|1||Jake Dennis||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||BMW iFE.21||1m31.855s||1m28.548s|
|2||André Lotterer||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E||Porsche 99X Electric||1m31.958s||1m29.411s|
|3||Alex Lynn||Mahinda Racing||Mahindra M7Electro||1m32.585s||1m29.737s|
|4||Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333 Formula E Team||NIO 333 001||1m32.727s||1m30.202s|
|5||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 Formula E Team||NIO 333 001||1m32.95s||1m30.403s|
|6||Norman Nato||RokIT Venturi Racing||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||1m33.155s||1m30.489s|
|7||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah||DS E-Tense FE21||1m33.198s|
|8||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.DAMS||Nissan IM02||1m33.336s|
|9||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.DAMS||Nissan IM02||1m33.39s|
|10||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Dragon / Penske Autosport||Penske EV-4||1m33.452s|
|11||Alexander Sims||Mahinda Racing||Mahindra M7Electro||1m33.479s|
|12||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||DS E-Tense FE21||1m33.604s|
|13||Pascal Wehrlein||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E||Porsche 99X Electric||1m33.745s|
|14||René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||Audi e-tron FE07||1m33.879s|
|15||Edoardo Mortara||RokIT Venturi Racing||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||1m33.898s|
|16||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||Jaguar I-Type 5||1m34.115s|
|17||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||Audi e-tron FE07||1m34.166s|
|18||Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing||Audi e-tron FE07||1m34.378s|
|19||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-Benz EQ||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||1m34.416s|
|20||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-Benz EQ||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||1m34.419s|
|21||Sam Bird||Jaguar Racing||Jaguar I-Type 5||1m34.48s|
|22||Nico Müller||Dragon / Penske Autosport||Penske EV-4||1m34.588s|
|23||Lucas Di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||Audi e-tron FE07||1m34.61s|
|24||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||BMW iFE.21||1m41.98s|