Through track evolution and weather changes, qualifying groups struggled to hit the mark but Jean Eric Vergne came on top in the group stages and Super Pole.
The sunshine in Monaco was nowhere to be seen as Qualifying began for Round 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. As clouds loomed overhead, the track would stay cold meaning grip would be hard to find for the teams during this session. As we move onto the group stages of Qualifying, we would have to see who could beat the conditions and place their car in the top spot.
Group 1 consisted of Robin Frijns, Lucas Di Grassi, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Andre Lotterer and Jerome D’Ambrosio. As suspected, all 5 of the cars waited as long as possible until they headed out onto the track, With only 2 minutes and 30 seconds remaining, we saw the championship leaders heading out to show us what they could accomplish. A few complaints of a cold track and we saw some of the drivers struggling for grip but it was Da Costa who managed to place his car in provisional pole as the session came to a close. Championship leader, Frijns, put his car 2nd whereas Lotterer, who is currently second in the overall standings, could only manage 5th.
We then moved on to Group 2 which saw Sam Bird, Mitch Evans, Jean Eric Vergne, Eduaordo Mortara and Daniel Abt fight for their spot in Super Pole. Once again, all 5 of the cars waited until just under 2 minutes and 30 seconds before heading out onto the track. Mortara put in a good couple of sectors but lost time during his lap to put himself 9th out of the first two groups. Vergne and Evans were seen flying round the circuit with both of them putting in very impressive laps, but Vergne came out on top overall with a 50.048. Bird placed 6th and Abt came 8th.
Group 3 gave us Stoffel Vandoorne, Felipe Massa, Oliver Rowland, Sebastian Buemi, Alexander Sims and Pascal Wehrlein. Like the previous two Qualifying sessions in Rome and Paris, Sims was the first driver out in his group to try and put in the best time, with 4 minutes and 30 seconds to go. It looked as if this tactic was going to mess things up for him again but he put in a good lap, finishing his group in 7th place. Vandoorne lost a lot of time throughout sectors on the circuit and could only manage 9th in the group. Group 3 seemed to be giving everything they had as Wehrelin, Massa, Buemi and Rowland came 2nd to 5th in the hopes of all making it into Super Pole.
Finally, we saw Group 4 with Alexander Lynn, Maximilian Gunther, Jose Maria Lopez, Tom Dillmann, Oliver Turvey and Gary Paffett. Much like groups 1 and 2, all cars made their way onto the track with 2 minutes and 20 seconds remaining. Group 4 seemed to struggle the most as cars began to slide around and lock up at different areas of the circuit. The best finisher of the group was Lynn, putting his Jaguar into 8th position. Lopez managed to hold onto a top 10 place by claiming 10th place where the other four drivers placed towards the bottom of the grid.
For Super Pole, we found Vergne, Wehrlein, Massa, Buemi, Rowland and Evans who would fight it out to see who could take the Julius Bar pole position and 3 extra championship points. Evans was out on track first and we saw him lock up on his out lap but that did not seem to cause him any issues as he turned up the power. For the rest of his track time, Evans kept it neat and tidy and placed his car tight against the wall. He set the pace with a 50.112. Next up was Rowland who seemed to be giving it lots of momentum around the track. Rowland also kept his car super close to the wall without touching and put in a phenomenal 50.021. Nissan teammate Buemi was up next and as he was pushing, he ran wide and had some tyre spin which lost him time and ended the session in the final spot of 6th place. It was Massa’s turn to try and take the top spot but he also had a lock up but he did seem to recover well and put in a great lap, landing him 5th overall. Penultimate driver Wehrlein was losing the rear of his car a lot round the corners and had to snap the car back into shape which landed him 3rd place overall. Last but not least, we saw Vergne give it everything he had and kept it extremely tidy putting him in pole position due to Rowland having a 3 place grid penalty. Vergne will start first with a 50.048 and due to his penalty, Rowland starts 4th but had the fastest qualifying time.
Vergne won round 6 in Sanya and will be looking to break the streak of a new winner every race but he will have some tough competition from Wehrlein, Rowland, Massa and Buemi who will be looking to take their first win of the season. Check back with Overtake Motorsport to find out what happens during the Monaco E-Prix later on today.
Feature Image Credit: DS Techeetah Twitter Page