Frijns gets first Formula E pole, Mercedes barred from running - The Race
Formula E

Frijns gets first Formula E pole, Mercedes barred from running

Feb 27 2021
By Matt Beer

Robin Frijns surged to his first ABB FIA Formula E World Championship pole in Diriyah, as the Mercedes team that has dominated the event so far was barred from running.

Just before the session began it was announced that both the works Mercedes team and its customer Venturi would not be allowed to take to the track as investigations continued into Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara’s massive practice crash.

Mortara had ploughed straight on at the first corner immediately after his practice start at the end of the earlier session, violently hitting the wall at the end of the runoff area head-on.

He was taken to hospital for precautionary checks, with the Venturi team saying he was conscious and communicating.

The FIA ruled that the four cars with Mercedes powertrains could not take to the track until the cause of the accident was fully identified and measures taken to prevent a repeat.

That meant Friday race winner Nyck de Vries, his works Mercedes team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne and Mortara’s new Venturi team-mate Norman Nato all had to remain in the garage.

Mercedes Formula E garage

They joined Andre Lotterer, whose Porsche was still being rebuilt after his practice crash.

Then two more frontrunners joined the back-of-the-grid crowd in the first qualifying group – already depleted by de Vries and Mortara’s absences – when timing miscues meant both Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Audi driver Rene Rast narrowly failed to cross the line in time to start their proper flying laps.

That coupled with a surprisingly poor performance from reigning champion team DS Techeetah and superb efforts from underdog squads NIO333 and Dragon Penske Autosport led to a superpole session packed with unusual names.

Sergio Sette Camara looked like he might have pulled off a first Formula E pole as he put in a gloriously wild lap to depose Jaguar’s new signing Sam Bird.

Sergio Sette Camara

But Envision Virgin driver Frijns – who had hinted at his pace by topping practice after a miserable Friday in which a practice crash forced him to miss qualifying for a battery change – repeated his group qualifying form to beat Sette Camara by 0.289s with a 1m07.889s.

Behind Frijns, Sette Camara and Bird, Oliver Turvey and Tom Blomqvist put NIO333 – which didn’t even score a point last season – a remarkable fourth and fifth on the grid.

Sette Camara’s team-mate Nico Mueller added to Dragon’s delight with sixth, though he might’ve been a pole threat without an error late in his lap.

Jean-Eric Vergne starts highest of the Techeetah drivers in seventh, three places ahead of 2019/20 title-winning team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa – who will gain a spot when ninth-place qualifier Alex Lynn’s three-place grid penalty for colliding with Bird in yesterday’s race is applied. Sebastien Buemi’s Nissan joins Vergne on row four.

Oliver Rowland and Pascal Wehrlein were the only two cars that actually set a proper time in the first group – containing yesterday’s top six finishers – and will start 13th and 16th.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Car Group 1 Group 2
1 Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing Audi e-tron FE07 1m07.81s 1m07.889s
2 Sérgio Sette Câmara Dragon / Penske Autosport Penske EV-4 1m08.333s 1m08.178s
3 Sam Bird Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type 5 1m08.384s 1m08.405s
4 Oliver Turvey NIO 333 Formula E Team NIO 333 001 1m08.424s 1m08.439s
5 Tom Blomqvist NIO 333 Formula E Team NIO 333 001 1m08.367s 1m08.732s
6 Nico Müller Dragon / Penske Autosport Penske EV-4 1m08.432s 1m09.06s
7 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah DS E-Tense FE20 1m08.471s
8 Sébastien Buemi Nissan e.DAMS Nissan IM02 1m08.544s
9 Alex Lynn Mahinda Racing Mahindra M7Electro 1m08.632s
10 António Félix da Costa DS Techeetah DS E-Tense FE20 1m08.649s
11 Nick Cassidy Envision Virgin Racing Audi e-tron FE07 1m08.733s
12 Maximilian Günther BMW i Andretti Motorsport BMW iFE.21 1m08.797s
13 Oliver Rowland Nissan e.DAMS Nissan IM02 1m08.798s
14 Alexander Sims Mahinda Racing Mahindra M7Electro 1m08.876s
15 Lucas Di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Audi e-tron FE07 1m08.97s
16 Pascal Wehrlein TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Porsche 99X Electric 1m09.601s
17 Jake Dennis BMW i Andretti Motorsport BMW iFE.21 1m11.194s
18 Mitch Evans Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type 5 1m13.868s
19 René Rast Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Audi e-tron FE07 1m13.954s
20 Nyck de Vries Mercedes-Benz EQ Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02
21 Edoardo Mortara RokIT Venturi Racing Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02
22 Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes-Benz EQ Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02
23 Norman Nato RokIT Venturi Racing Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02
24 André Lotterer TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Porsche 99X Electric

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