Porsche are on pole with Pascal Wehrlein for the first of two Formula E races in Mexico this weekend, following a competitive battle for Superpole.
As the 2021 Formula E season enters its halfway point, all eyes turn to Mexico for another double-header weekend. And With seven drivers within eleven points of the title, capitalising on qualifying could prove pivotal for the championship fight.
The Championship frontrunners went out in group one, with tense scenes on the outlap as drivers jostled fiercely for position. All six drivers made it over the line to set a competitive lap with De Vries at the back of the pack.
Current championship leader Robin Frijns immediately found himself in difficulty locking up and going wide into turn one. Out of the six on track, Da Costa and Evans appeared in the best shape with Da Costa setting the fastest lap time of the group and a benchmark time of 1:24.8.
Group two proved a lot more sensible with drivers leaving plenty of room to each other. Dennis, Rowland and Wehrlein immediately made an impact in sector one, showing the importance of track evolution.
Wehrlein managed to retain this pace into the latter stages of the lap, going three tenths clear of Rowland and Dennis. However, all six drivers in group two managed to beat the time set by group one leader Da Costa.
With two groups remaining, track evolution looked set to make all the difference.
HOW CRUCIAL IS TRACK EVOLUTION?
However, Group three threw a spanner in the works with the first sectors of all six group three drivers more comparable to those set by group one. Alex Lynn struggled on his lap as his tires struggled to remain within their operating window.
Max Gunther could only manage P5 whilst none of the other five drivers could manage to enter superpole contention. With one more qualifying group remaining, could Gunther retain his place in superpole?
In the final qualifying group, Norman Nato set out early, avoiding the traffic difficulties of earlier groups. However, the Frenchman found himself eight tenths down after sector two and only just managed to maintain control of his car following a difficult last sector.
Meanwhile, Formula E newbie Erikson set a respectable fourteenth place qualifying spot ahead of all of the championship title contenders. However, none of those in the final qualifying group made it into the top six.
BATTLE FOR SUPERPOLE
As the first driver out in superpole, it was up to Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara to establish the benchmark time. The Swiss driver had a clean sector one before struggling for pace in sector two. However, it was ultimately the Venturi’s third sector which destroyed his lap.
Mortara went off in the third sector after losing control of the rear of his car and sliding across the circuit, losing 2.3 seconds and ultimately any chance of pole position.
With the most superpole appearances this year, Max Gunther was the second driver out. The German completed a tidy and drama free lap which established a benchmark time of 1:25.0.
He was followed out by two time Formula E champion, Jean Eric Vergne. The Frenchman, commonly known as JEV, set an overall best time in sector one and sector two but suffered a bit of a slide in sector three, nevertheless Vergne set a superpole lap time eight tenths clear of Gunther.
Formula E rookie Jake Dennis continued his recent run of form, nearly a tenth up on Vergne in the first sector and a quarter of a second up in the second sector. By the end of his lap, the Brit secured provisional pole four tenths ahead of Vergne.
Track evolution continued to make a difference for penultimate driver Rowland who was also up on the previous times despite pushing to the limits in the final sector.
As the final driver out in superpole, all eyes turned to Pascal Wehrlein. Competition was tight following the first sector, with 0.005 between Wehrlein and Dennis in sector one. However, after an incredible middle sector and a strong sector three, it was pole for Porsche by six hundreds.
Can Wehrlein translate his second Formula E pole into victory? Follow Overtake Motorsport for coverage of the race later this evening.
P. Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
O. Rowland Nissan E Dams
J. Dennis BMW I Andretti Motorsport
J. E. Vergne DS Techeetah
M. Gunther BMW I Andretti Motorsport
E. Mortara ROKIT Venturi Racing
Featured Image Credit: @PorscheFormulaE