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Wehrlein beats Rowland to pole in Paris

Pascal Wehrlein has taken pole position for the Paris E-Prix after a storming Super Pole lap, beating out competition from the Nissan e.dams pair of Oliver Rowland and Sebastien Buemi, while Jerome d’Ambrosio’s efforts put him highest of the championship contenders.

The first group was made up of the top five in the championship: d’Ambrosio, Antonio Felix da Costa, Andre Lotterer, Mitch Evans and Lucas di Grassi.

As the green flag flew no one went out straight away, opting to wait for the final couple of minutes before going out and completing their laps.

Evans finally broke the silence and was the first to set a benchmark with a 1:01.243s, but was immediately beaten by Lotterer who set a 1:00.738s.

di Grassi and da Costa lapped slower than Evans, but d’Ambrosio went to the top of the timesheet with a 1:00.699s, taking command of group one with the top three separated by less than a tenth of a second.

After group one

1) d’Ambrosio 1:00.699s
2) Lotterer +0.039s
3) di Grassi +0.062s
4) da Costa +0.253s
5) Evans +0.544s

Group two consisted of Robin Frijns, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sam Bird, Edoardo Mortara and Daniel Abt.

Once again the drivers were in no rush to take to the track, preferring to wait for others to lay down more rubber, thus giving more grip.

With two and a half minutes left on the clock Mortara headed out onto the circuit aiming for his maiden series pole position. The Swiss-Italian set a purple second sector but wasn’t able to make up much time around the rest of the lap and went provisionally fourth.

Abt set a purple first sector but couldn’t maintain the speed through the rest of the lap and usurped Mortara of fourth, while Vergne could only go seventh fastest.

After the disappointment of practice for Envision Virgin Racing, where both cars ended in the barrier, Frijns put in a stellar lap to go fastest by over a tenth of a second. There wasn’t much to write home about for Bird, however, as Bird could only provisionally go eighth fastest after missing FP2.

After group two

1) Frijns 1:00.583s
2) d’Ambrosio +0.116s
3) Lotterer +0.155s
4) Abt +0.156s
5) di Grassi +0.178s
6) Mortara +0.218s

In group three was the drivers from positions 11 to 16 in the championship, formed of Wehrlein, Rowland, Buemi, Stoffel Vandoorne, Alexander Sims and Felipe Massa.

Sims left the garage straight away, followed not long after by Vandoorne before the rest of the group followed suit.

After completing his banker lap, Sims put together a somewhat scruffy lap to go provisionally tenth, while Rowland turned it up to full and went for his second career pole position.

After going purple in sectors one and three, the Englishman shot to the top of the times while Massa provisionally booked a place in Super Pole.

Wehrlein then went second fastest to put both Mahindras into the top six, while Buemi ensured both Nissan e.dams’ were provisionally into the pole position shootout.

Vandoorne was the last across the line, but an unspectacular lap meant the Belgian took the 16th fastest time.

After group three

1) Rowland 1:00.450s
2) Wehrlein +0.099s
3) Buemi +0.124s
4) Frijns +0.133s
5) d’Ambrosio +0.249s
6) Massa +0.259s

The fourth and final group saw Oliver Turvey, Gary Paffett, Jose Maria Lopez, Tom Dillmann, Maximilian Günther and Alex Lynn in action.

Paffett led the group away with the intention of booking a second Super Pole appearance, but was three tenths down in the first sector and ended his lap 15th fastest.

Dillmann put in a good lap to provisionally go tenth, while Lopez went purple in the first sector.

The Argentine then made a hash of his middle sector after missing his braking point into turn three and going down the escape road, while teammate Günther missed out on a second consecutive Super Pole appearance by a mere 0.010s.

Turvey qualified two positions behind teammate Dillmann, while Lynn lapped half a second slower than pace setter Rowland to go P17.

After group four

1) Rowland 1:00.450s
2) Wehrlein +0.099s
3) Buemi +0.124s
4) Frijns +0.133s
5) d’Ambrosio +0.249s
6) Massa +0.259s

Unchanged from group three, the top six prepared for Super Pole with Frijns and Massa aiming for a career-first pole position.

The wind had picked up between the group stages and Super Pole, blowing a load of pollen and twigs onto the circuit, making conditions tricky for the remaining six drivers.

Massa was the first to take to the track, producing a rather disappointing benchmark lap to set a 1:01.217s. The Brazilian reported a dirty track while on his lap, accounting for this dip in time.

d’Ambrosio was the next out to tackle the shrubbery-littered track, almost taking the fastest time but missing out by 0.090s to Massa.

Aiming for a maiden series pole, Frijns locked up into turn three but went purple in all three sectors as he wrestled his Envision Virgin Racing through the narrow streets, setting a 1:00.793s to go almost half a second ahead of Massa.

Buemi was up next with the goal of taking his second pole of the season, setting a purple middle sector before losing time in the middle sector. However, a stellar final sector was enough for Buemi to provisionally take pole position, beating Frijns by a slender 0.025s.

Only two drivers remained, with both Wehrlein and Rowland looking for a second career pole in their respective rookie seasons.

Wehrlein, pole sitter in Mexico City, went purple by less than a tenth in the first sector before building up to a mammoth half second gap in the middle sector. The German completed a lap of 1:00.383s to go 0.385s clear of Buemi and provisionally take pole with only Rowland left to run.

Fastest in the group stages, Rowland immediately got on the pace and went purple in sector one, but missed the apex of turn three which affected his middle sector, dropping his time.

Despite a purple final sector, the damage of the middle sector was done and the Englishman missed out on pole by 0.152s, giving Wehrlein a second career pole position.

Pascal Wehrlein, driving for Mahindra Racing in Rome, Saturday 13th AprilAfter Super Pole

1) Wehrlein 1:00.383s
2) Rowland +0.152s
3) Buemi +0.385s
4) Frijns +0.410s
5) Massa +0.834s
6) d’Ambrosio +0.924s

The result means that we finally have our first repeat pole sitter in season five after Wehrlein’s efforts in Mexico City, while Rowland in second completed an all-rookie front row.

Only two of the top six have won a race in Formula E, so there’s every chance that we could have an eighth different race winner this season, with the possibility of an eighth different team should Rowland or Buemi triumph later today.

Championship leader d’Ambrosio is in a good position to maintain his title advantage, while contenders da Costa, Lotterer and Evans will start 16th, eighth and 20th respectively.

About Topher Smith
Topher is an experienced and passionate Motorsport journalist with Formula E, Formula 1, GP2/F2, GP3 and IndyCar all on his resume. When he isn't at the trackside you can find him furthering his own capabilities and knowledge through his endless search for original ideas and material. Also plays league pool.