Formula E in Jakarta: Max Günther secures first career pole position for Saturday race
Max Günther has secured first place on the grid for Saturday's Formula E race in Jakarta. In a thrilling final qualifying duel against Jake Dennis, the German Maserati driver claimed his first ever pole position as well as three world championship points. Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein made it to third place on the grid, while the Jaguar drivers lost ground.
Group A: Dennis sets the pace, Frijns surprises
In front of scattered spectators in the grandstands, Group A took to the track at 5:40 a.m. (CEST), including world championship leader Nick Cassidy and other "heavyweights" such as Jake Dennis, Sam Bird, Sacha Fenestraz and both DS drivers. After the first few laps, it was precisely these drivers who occupied the top four positions: Stoffel Vandoorne led ahead of Dennis, Cassidy and Fenestraz. Bird lightly hit the wall with his left rear wheel in the final corner, but apparently took no damage.
After changing tires, most of the drivers didn't get back on track until the last minute, and traffic backed up in the final corners accordingly. Dennis led the way with a strong Sector 1 and eventually set the best time for his group. Behind him were the two DS drivers Vandoorne and Vergne. Fourth place went to Robin Frijns in the ABT Cupra. He managed to push Cassidy of all people out of the top 4, preventing the Kiwi from taking part in any qualifying duels. Finishing behind were Fenestraz, Dan Ticktum, Bird, Sergio Sette Camara, Jake Hughes and Roberto Merhi.
Group B: Günther continues to dominate, Evans fails to make the cut
Group B included the two Porsche drivers and last year's winner Mitch Evans (Jaguar) and, Max Günther, who had finished both previous practices in P1. In the first half of the twelve-minute session, Pascal Wehrlein and compatriot Günther in particular dueled for the lead - initially with the better end for the Maserati driver. Behind them: Evans and Antonio Felix da Costa. Then it was time for everyone to change tires.
No one was to come close to the lap times of Günther and Wehrlein on their second runs, however. Rene Rast was able to improve to third place and thus moved into the quarter-finals - as did Edo Mortara, who moved up to fourth place in the final moments. The second ABT driver, Nico Müller, also put in a good performance but narrowly missed out in fifth place. At least he beat Evans, one of the co-favorites for pole position. Finishing behind the disappointed Kiwi were Sebastien Buemi, Felix da Costa, Norman Nato, David Beckmann and Lucas di Grassi.
How it happened: Formula E qualifying in Jakarta (1/2)
QF1: Jean-Eric Vergne vs. Stoffel Vandoorne
The first quarter-final saw the two DS drivers duel each other for the first time. Vergne managed a terrific first sector, which gave him the early upper hand. He took another tenth off reigning champion Vandoorne in the second sector. Ultimately, the Frenchman prevailed by a narrow but commanding margin of 78 thousandths of a second.
QF2: Robin Frijns vs. Jake Dennis
In the second duel, Dennis made his intentions clear early. The Briton was significantly faster than Frijns in all three sectors and took almost half a second from him. Dennis thus advanced effortlessly to the semif-inals. For Frijns and ABT, 7th place on the grid can nevertheless be seen as a success - especially in comparison with their own powertrain supplier Mahindra, who experienced yet another desolate qualifying.
QF3: Rene Rast vs. Pascal Wehrlein
The third quarter-final was also very clear - again in favor of a Porsche-powered driver. Wehrlein clearly went faster than Rast in all three sectors and in the end established a lead of 6.56 tenths of a second over his compatriot in the McLaren. Wehrlein had not won a qualifying duel so far this season - this time he advanced to the semi-finals!
QF4: Edo Mortara vs. Max Günther
In the second team-internal duel, Günther got the minimally better start. In sector 2, Mortara made a mistake and lost half a second. And so, the fourth duel also ended relatively clearly again: Günther beat his Maserati teammate by just over three tenths of a second. He thus went up against co-favorite Wehrlein in the semi-finals.
SF1: Jean-Eric Vergne vs. Jake Dennis
In the first semi, Vergne went ahead but was already almost three tenths of a second slower than Dennis in sector one. The second sector also went to the Andretti driver. Although Vergne was able to hold his own in Sector 3, he had to settle for the second row on the grid, almost four tenths of a second behind Dennis. The Briton, on the other hand, advanced to the final with confidence.
SF2: Pascal Wehrlein vs. Max Günther
In the German duel between Wehrlein and Günther, the latter set the pace with a great first sector. He was also clearly faster in the second part of the lap and even increased his lead in sector 3. Günther beat his compatriot Wehrlein by 3.75 tenths of a second, who can nevertheless be pleased with 3rd place on the grid and a good starting position for the race. Günther, on the other hand, impressed once again and could look forward to an exciting final against Dennis.
Final: Jake Dennis vs. Max Günther
Dennis opened the Jakarta qualifying final with a strong first sector, but Günther was even faster! Dennis dropped some time in the second sector, allowing Günther to extend his lead. The Briton was able to make up a bit of time in the third sector, but remained 3.41 tenths of a second behind his rival. Max Günther thus secured the historic first pole position of his Formula E career. To date, he had been the driver with the most races who never stood on pole.
The first of two races in Indonesia starts on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. (CEST). ProSieben will broadcast the Jakarta E-Prix live in Germany. We will accompany the tenth round of the season as usual in with extensive reports before and after the session.