Formula E’s remaining 2022 championship contenders Mitch Evans, Edoardo Mortara and Stoffel Vandoorne will start third, sixth and seventh respectively after a fraught wet qualifying for the first leg of the Seoul finale.
Jean-Eric Vergne’s very faint title hopes are over – he needed to get a maximum score from the weekend including pole bonuses but was knocked out in the group qualifying stage and starts ninth for DS Techeetah.
None of the title rivals made it to the final duel over pole – which was a battle between 2023 Mahindra team-mates Oliver Rowland and Lucas di Grassi.
Rowland was in extraordinary form in the very wet last stages of qualifying, displaying amazing car control as he dismissed Pascal Wehrlein by 1.6s in the semis and current Venturi driver di Grassi by half a second in the final – joking on the radio that it was the “first arse-kicking” for his 2023 team-mate!
It’s Rowland’s first pole since Puebla last June, when he was with Nissan, and Mahindra’s first since last July’s London event.
The rain started just after the first qualifying group’s initial flying laps were complete. Venturi driver Mortara was outside the cut-off for the duels stage at that point, but pushed on and produced a great lap on the increasingly slippery track to jump to first place.
That pushed Vandoorne’s Mercedes down to fourth and at risk of elimination if anyone else improved. He was sent back out of the pits to try to protect his position but found the track too wet to gain any time. But with everyone else finding the same, Vandoorne stayed fourth and went through.
Evans’s progress out of the group stage was even more nerve-wracking. The Jaguar driver had been unhappy with his car in practice, had an early spin in group B qualifying and was outside the duels places going into the final moments.
He scraped into the crucial fourth place with his last effort, only to then see it immediately deleted on the grounds that he hadn’t respected the 100-second minimum pit time. That put Vergne back into fourth and kept his title hopes alive.
But Evans’s engineer Josep Roca ordered him to stay in the car, saying Jaguar was objecting because the pit visit had come during a mid-session red flag for an Alexander Sims crash, meaning the usual time rule was effectively not applicable.
.@AlexanderSims makes contact with the barriers, bringing out the red flag.
🇰🇷 2022 Hana Bank #SeoulEPrix pic.twitter.com/p154RWytVe
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) August 13, 2022
The officials duly agreed, Evans went through and Vergne was out.
Evans then beat Mortara by a commanding 1.1s in their quarter-final on an increasingly wet track, but was beaten by di Grassi in the semis, leaving him third on the grid.
Vandoorne didn’t get past the quarter-finals, outpaced by Wehrlein and ruing the fact group B qualifying runners like his Porsche opponent had more wet track time.
Evans therefore goes into the race with Wehrlein and Jake Dennis between himself and Mortara and Vandoorne.
To take the title in race one, Vandoorne needs to ensure Evans doesn’t outscore him by seven points and Mortara doesn’t outscore him by 12.
|1||Oliver Rowland||Mahindra Racing||Mahindra M8Electro||1m30.345s||1m32.59s||1m34.88s||1m35.406s|
|2||Lucas Di Grassi||ROKiT Venturi Racing||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||1m30.726s||1m31.735s||1m35.692s||1m36.029s|
|3||Mitch Evans||Jaguar TCS Racing||Jaguar I-Type 5||1m31.244s||1m31.293s||1m35.884s|
|4||Pascal Wehrlein||TAG Heuer Porsche||Porsche 99X Electric||1m30.321s||1m35.117s||1m36.517s|
|5||Jake Dennis||Avalanche Andretti||BMW i FE.21||1m22.441s||1m32.424s|
|6||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||1m22.397s||1m32.442s|
|7||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-Benz EQ||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||1m22.542s||1m35.401s|
|8||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Dragon / Penske Autosport||Penske EV-5||1m22.477s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah||DS E-Tense FE21||1m30.811s|
|10||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||Nissan IM03||1m22.732s|
|11||Norman Nato||Jaguar TCS Racing||Jaguar I-Type 5||1m30.943s|
|12||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||DS E-Tense FE21||1m22.793s|
|13||Daniel Ticktum||NIO 333 Racing||NIO 333 001||1m31.577s|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Dragon / Penske Autosport||Penske EV-5||1m22.837s|
|15||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-Benz EQ||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||1m31.704s|
|16||Robin Frijns||Envision Racing||Audi e-tron FE07||1m23.057s|
|17||Maximilian Günther||Nissan e.Dams||Nissan IM03||1m31.84s|
|18||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 Racing||NIO 333 001||1m23.214s|
|19||Nick Cassidy||Envision Racing||Audi e-tron FE07||1m32.387s|
|20||André Lotterer||TAG Heuer Porsche||Porsche 99X Electric||1m23.331s|
|21||Alexander Sims||Mahindra Racing||Mahindra M8Electro||1m33.592s|
|22||Oliver Askew||Avalanche Andretti||BMW i FE.21||1m22.749s|