Formula E

The Rookies Reign with Cassidy and Nato topping Formula E Qualifying

Featured Image Credit: @EnvisionVirgin on Twitter

In a damp Formula E qualifying session, Nick Cassidy and Norman Nato defeated experienced challengers to make it an all rookie front row for the Rome E-Prix.

Damp conditions on track made qualifying conditions particularly challenging for round four of Formula E in Rome. With water build up on the track, driver talent could make all the difference.

Yesterday’s winner Jean Eric Vergne moved into group one after securing twenty-five points for his victory, with the Frenchman the first driver to brave the conditions. Vergne and DS Techeetah struggled with the wet track with Vergne finding himself over six seconds off the pace by the end of the session.

Image Credit: @DSTecheetah

Meanwhile, Bird went fastest with a benchmark time of 1:59.7 whilst De Vries and Evans pushed their cars to the ragged edge. However, none of the group one drivers would prove competitive enough to enter superpole contention.

In group two, Da Costa went out first and like his teammate before him, struggled to be competitive with those around him. There was heartbreak also for Sette Camara whose car broke down on track, leaving the Dragon Penske racer unable to set a time. Wehrlein, Mortara Rowland and Buemi all managed to do ahead of Bird as the track appeared to evolve. Wehrlein completed the most impressive lap of the group setting a time over eight tenths clear of his nearest rival.

THE FINAL GROUPS OF QUALIFYING

Oliver Turvey returned today to compete in group three after a DNS yesterday following extensive damage to his car from Saturday morning practice. As all eyes turned to Vandoorne in the pacy Mercedes EQ, Mahindra driver Alex Sims set a storming second sector, around eight tenths faster than anyone else. Sims managed to retain this performance to the end of his lap, going fastest of all with a gap two tenths ahead of Wehrlein. Vandoorne and Muller were also able to enter contention for Superpole setting competitive lap times.

Image Credit: @MahindraRacing

The final group provided a fascinating mix of experience and youth with Andre Lotterer joining the season’s three rookies. Lotterer’s Japanese racing experience came in handy, as the German driver soared half a second ahead of the provisional pole time after sector two. By the end of his lap, Lotterer found himself 2.2 seconds clear of the competition.

However, in the closing stages of the session, two unexpected challengers emerged in the form of the rookies Nick Cassidy and Norman Nato. After a stunning lap, pushing his car to the limit of its capabilities, Nato secured his first Formula E point by setting the fastest time in group qualifying.

Image Credit: @VenturiFE

Lotterer was later removed from superpole after Stewards found him guilty for excessive power usage during the session and deleted his best lap time. This penalty sent the Porsche driver to the back of the grid and promoted Stoffel Vandoorne to superpole.

BATTLE FOR SUPERPOLE

As the first driver out, Vandoorne lost time in sector three with the rear of the car out of shape. At the end of his lap, Vandoorne set a benchmark time of a 1:54.3 with Wehrlein the next driver out, going 1.7 seconds clear of the Belgian to take provisional pole.

However, there was no time to celebrate for the Porsche team with four drivers yet to go in the session and the track evolving lap by lap.

Image Credit: @PorscheFormulaE

A man with experience of putting his car on pole, Alex Sims, was the third runner of the session. Despite being able to match Vandoorne in sector two, Sims lost time in both sector one and sector three putting the British driver behind both Wehrlein and Vandoorne.

Gunther’s lap time was enough to move him ahead of Sims but couldn’t enable him to challenge the competitive times set by Vandoorne and Wehrlein.

Rookie Nick Cassidy was the penultimate runner, making his first superpole appearance for the Envision Virgin Racing team. With purple in all three sectors, Cassidy moved half a second ahead of Wehrlein. As the final runner, only Norman Nato could challenge the Envision racer.

Image Credit: @EnvisionVirgin

Nato brushed the wall in the early stages of the lap, effecting his steering for the remainder of the lap. This didn’t stop Nato from securing a position on the front row behind fellow rookie Nick Cassidy.

With a rookie front row and championship titans starting further down the order, Formula E round four is set up to be a real classic.

 

Stay tuned to Overtake Motorsport for more Formula E news and race reports

CLASSIFICATION

N. Cassidy Envision Virgin Racing
N. Nato ROKIT Venturi Racing
P. Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
S. Vandoorne Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team
M. Guenther BMW I Andretti Motorsport
S. Sims Mahindra Racing
E. Mortara ROKIT Venturi Racing
O. Rowland Nissan E.Dams
N. Mueller Dragon / Penske Autosport
S. Buemi Nissan E.Dams

 

Featured Image Credit: @EnvisionVirgin on Twitter

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