Formula E

Formula E in Shanghai: Jean-Eric Vergne beats Oliver Rowland in qualifying & sets pole position record

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske) starts from first place in Saturday's Formula E race in Shanghai. In a thrilling final duel against Oliver Rowland (Nissan), the Frenchman officially took his 17th pole position - no-one has won more in the electric series. Mitch Evans (Jaguar) and Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche) lined up on the second row of the grid.

Group A: Vandoorne confident, Cassidy fails

In the first qualifying group, the two Jaguar drivers took to the track, as did Norman Nato, who had already shown his best form in practice. After the first six minutes, however, it was Stoffel Vandoorne who set the fastest lap. He was followed by Mitch Evans, Nick Cassidy and Oliver Rowland. They all pitted for a tyre change, after which the decisive attempts were made.

Sebastien Buemi set the fastest time in sector 1, but remained outside the top four, while Jehan Daruvala narrowly avoided an accident with Evans, who was on the racing line, on his fast lap. There were still improvements worth mentioning: Rowland moved up to second behind Vandoorne, with Nato in third. Evans also qualified for the quarter-finals in fourth place - knocking out his team-mate Cassidy in the process. Behind the New Zealander, Buemi, Max Günther, Lucas di Grassi, Dan Ticktum, Daruvala and Sacha Fenestraz also failed to make it through.

Group B: Hughes works his magic, Porsche pulls through

In Group B, the focus was on the two Porsche drivers and the other favourites: Jean-Eric Vergne and Jake Dennis. Vergne set two fastest sector times on his first attempt and took the lead. Behind him, Pascal Wehrlein and Antonio Felix da Costa lined up, followed by Nyck de Vries in the Mahindra. So it was off to the tyre change.

Wehrlein put in a good attempt and set the fastest time in sector 3 - the German initially in the lead. However, Jake Hughes pulled a top lap out of his hat and stole the lead from Wehrlein. The McLaren driver was to remain fastest. But others were also in good form: Vergne finished second and Felix da Costa third. Wehrlein also just made it into the duel phase. Behind them were Robin Frijns, Dennis, de Vries, Nico Müller, Sergio Sette Camara, Sam Bird and Edo Mortara.


VF1: Norman Nato v Oliver Rowland

Although Nato has been in good form so far this weekend, he suffered a resounding defeat in the first quarter-final: Rowland won all three sectors and progressed to the semi-finals in commanding fashion.

VF2: Mitch Evans vs Stoffel Vandoorne

The second duel began at eye level - the lap times in Shanghai were usually extremely close anyway. In sector 2, however, Evans was a good two tenths of a second faster than Vandoorne. In the final section of the track, he extended his lead to almost three tenths of a second and clearly came out on top.

VF3: Antonio Felix da Costa vs Jean-Eric Vergne

In the duel between the former team-mates - the first of its kind in the Gen3 era - Vergne clearly got off to the better start. The Frenchman was also faster in the second section, but then Felix da Costa countered. In the end, the Portuguese was still six thousandths of a second off the pace - Vergne in the semi-finals!

VF4: Pascal Wehrlein vs Jake Hughes

Wehrlein and Hughes were almost equally fast in sector 1. The Porsche driver then took a narrow lead. It now came down to the third sector - and Hughes was again faster there. It was still enough for Wehrlein, who secured his last semi-final ticket with a lead of 34 thousandths of a second.


HF1: Oliver Rowland vs Mitch Evans

Rowland was clearly faster than Evans in the first section, but sector 2 went to the Jaguar driver again. Then it got really tight: thanks to a slightly better time in the final section, Rowland crossed the finish line with a marginal lead of one thousandth of a second. A place in the final for the Brit in the Nissan!

HF2: Jean-Eric Vergne vs. Pascal Wehrlein

Wehrlein and Vergne had already met twice this year in the duel phase - both in Berlin and Misano, with the Frenchman coming out on top. This time, the two started on an equal footing. Wehrlein was able to carve out a slight advantage in sector 2, but then made a small mistake. Vergne thus dominated the final section of the track and turned his deficit into an advantage of 1.53 tenths of a second - the third duel victory for the DS driver.

Final: Jean-Eric Vergne vs Oliver Rowland

Vergne versus Rowland - that's never happened before in the duel phase! Vergne clearly got off to the better start in the decisive final round. However, Rowland made up some of his deficit in sector 2. Now it came down to the final section. Although Rowland was faster here too, it wasn't quite enough for him. Vergne took his 17th pole position in Formula E with a lead of 38 thousandths of a second - a record!

The eleventh race of the 2024 Formula E season will take place on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. (CEST). The new German TV channel DF1 will broadcast the Shanghai E-Prix live on free-to-air TV and as a live stream on

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