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Hong Kong E-Prix: Vandoorne scores maiden pole in wet qualifying

Hong Kong E-Prix: Vandoorne scores maiden pole in wet qualifying
By Motorsport.com

10/03/2019 at 05:00Updated 10/03/2019 at 05:28

Stoffel Vandoorne sealed his and HWA's first ABB FIA Formula E pole position in a wet qualifying session for the Hong Kong E-Prix. The former McLaren Formula 1 driver was the last runner in superpole as both he and HWA teammate Gary Paffett made the top six cut-off. Oliver Rowland had placed his Nissan e.dams car on provisional pole with a 1m11.903s lap and had looked set to hold onto the positio

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Stoffel Vandoorne sealed his and HWA's first ABB FIA Formula E pole position in a wet qualifying session for the Hong Kong E-Prix.

The former McLaren Formula 1 driver was the last runner in superpole as both he and HWA teammate Gary Paffett made the top six cut-off.

Oliver Rowland had placed his Nissan e.dams car on provisional pole with a 1m11.903s lap and had looked set to hold onto the position when Vandoorne went slightly deep into the Turn 1 hairpin.

But Vandoorne recovered with a stunning final sector to seal pole by 0.323s.

That meant Rowland held onto second place ahead of Edoardo Mortara.

But Mortara will not keep his third place start after he was hit with a three-place grid drop for speeding under a red flag.

That red flag was caused by Jean-Eric Vergne in a torrid qualifying session for the reigning champion.

Vergne lost control of the rear of his DS Techeetah car at the end of his fast lap in group two and collided with the wall just after he set a time good enough for fourth.

He was subsequently penalised for causing the red flag and his best times were deleted, demoting him into 18th place.

Vergne's teammate Andre Lotterer will now start the race in third ahead of HWA's Gary Paffett.

Both Lucas di Grassi and Sam Bird impressed to qualify fifth and seventh despite having the first-on-the-road disadvantage from running in group one.

Sebastien Buemi was just over three tenths slower than his Nissan teammate, but could only qualify eighth behind Bird.

Venturi's Felipe Massa was ninth after running wide at Turn 1 but it proved enough to hold off practice pacesetter Robin Frijns in 10th.

NIO's Tom Dillmann and Dragon Racing duo Felipe Nasr and Jose Maria Lopez had the advantage of being in group four, but failed to make an impression on the leading times.

Dillmann qualified in 11th, with Lopez's 14th place proving to be two places higher than Felipe Nasr.

At the other end of the scale, the group one disadvantage caught out BMW Andretti's Antonio Felix da Costa and the Mahindra Racing pairing of Pascal Wehrlein and Jerome D'Ambrosio.

The trio qualified in the last three spots on the grid, with da Costa heading Wehrlein and championship leader D'Ambrosio.

Provisional grid:

1 5  Stoffel Vandoorne   HWA AG 1'11.580
2 22  Oliver Rowland   DAMS 1'11.903 0.323
3 36  Andre Lotterer   Techeetah 1'12.868 1.288
4 17  Gary Paffett   HWA AG 1'13.033 1.453
5 11  Lucas di Grassi   Team Abt 1'14.177 2.597
6 48  Edoardo Mortara   Venturi 1'12.310 0.730
7 2  Sam Bird   Virgin Racing 1'12.529 0.949
8 23  Sébastien Buemi   DAMS 1'12.529 0.949
9 19  Felipe Massa   Venturi 1'12.570 0.990
10 4  Robin Frijns   Virgin Racing 1'12.600 1.020
11 8  Tom Dillmann   NIO Formula E Team 1'12.839 1.259
12 66  Daniel Abt   Team Abt 1'12.850 1.270
13 27  Alexander Sims   Andretti Autosport 1'12.861 1.281
14 7  Jose Maria Lopez   Dragon Racing 1'13.073 1.493
15 3  Nelson Piquet Jr.   Jaguar Racing 1'13.421 1.841
16 6  Felipe Nasr   Dragon Racing 1'13.885 2.305
17 20  Mitch Evans   Jaguar Racing 1'13.920 2.340
18 25  Jean-Eric Vergne   Techeetah 1'13.927 2.347
19 16  Oliver Turvey   NIO Formula E Team 1'14.133 2.553
20 28  Antonio Felix da Costa   Andretti Autosport 1'14.384 2.804
21 94  Pascal Wehrlein   Mahindra Racing 1'14.830 3.250
22 64  Jérôme d'Ambrosio   Mahindra Racing 1'15.347 3.767
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