Formula E

Formula E in Tokyo: Oliver Rowland secures pole position for Nissan at home race in Japan

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

Oliver Rowland secured pole position at his Nissan team's home race in Tokyo! In a close final duel, the Briton prevailed against Max Günther in the Maserati and caused jubilation among the Japanese Formula E fans. Edo Mortara (Maserati) and Sergio Sette Camara (ERT) finished on the second row of the grid.

Group A: Mortara shines, Evans takes over from Cassidy

Several Formula E heavyweights took to the track in the first group. Among them were the two Jaguar works drivers, champion Jake Dennis and secret favourite Oliver Rowland. As expected, it was Mitch Evans who set the fastest lap in the first half of the session. Behind him, Edo Mortara, Nick Cassidy and Lucas di Grassi lined up. Then it was time to change tyres.

Most of the drivers were able to go one better during the decisive attempts. First Dennis set the new fastest time, then Rowland. The Briton in the Nissan was to remain fastest - cheers from the Japanese fans. Mortara improved to second place, Cassidy was third ahead of Dennis. This meant that Evans supposedly retired early in fifth place. However, Cassidy's lap time was cancelled a short time later, meaning that Evans moved up to the quarter-finals.

After him, Antonio Felix da Costa, Norman Nato, Jake Hughes, Lucas di Grassi, Jehan Daruvala and a disappointing Sebastien Buemi (wall contact) lined up.

Group B: Günther terrific, more surprises

The other Envision driver was initially in a much better position: Robin Frijns set the fastest time in the first few minutes of Group B. He was followed by Pascal Wehrlein, Nyck de Vries and Nico Müller. As in Group A and in practice, the Mahindra cars were amazingly fast! Sergio Sette Camara hit the side of the wall, but was able to continue. The riders then came into the pits to prepare for their decisive attempts.

Max Günther returned to the track a little earlier than the competition and set a very fast lap that put him in the lead by over four tenths of a second. Meanwhile, Sacha Fenestraz hit the wall of turn 3 with his left rear wheel. Nobody was to come close to Günther's time, but Sette Camara almost managed it and sensationally finished second. Nico Müller was equally strong in third place going into the knockout phase. Wehrlein qualified in fourth place.

Frijns narrowly missed out on fifth place ahead of de Vries and Jean-Eric Vergne. Dan Ticktum, Stoffel Vandoorne and Fenestraz - after his contact with the wall with a slightly skewed rear wheel - finished 8th to 10th, while Sao Paulo winner Sam Bird spun spectacularly into the run-off zone and finished last in the group! His race engineer, Steven Lane, radioed after the botched lap: "I don't want to make a big deal out of it. I'm sorry, that was my mistake. I'll explain everything later."

Quarter-final

VF1: Jake Dennis vs Edo Mortara

Mortara opened the first quarter-final with a very strong first sector - the fastest of the weekend so far! The Mahindra driver was also surprisingly faster than world champion Jake Dennis in the other two sections of the track and thus advanced to the semi-finals! Nevertheless, Dennis' time was still good enough for 5th place on the grid.

VF2: Oliver Rowland vs Mitch Evans

On paper, the second duel was already on the level of an early final. Rowland was already better in the first section of the course and gained even more ground in sector 2 - also because Evans hit the wall! In the end, Nissan driver Rowland confidently moved on to the next round. But now Evans is really out!

VF3: Nico Müller vs Sergio Sette Camara

In the duel of the underdogs, Sette Camara came off much better. The Brazilian was faster than Müller in all three sectors and took almost six tenths of a second off the Swiss driver in the ABT Cupra! Clear-cut - ERT in the semi-finals. Müller had to settle for eighth place on the grid - nevertheless a promising position for the race.

VF4: Pascal Wehrlein vs Max Günther

In the all-German final quarter-final, Günther was already half a second faster than Wehrlein in sector 1! After both were on an equal footing in the second section, the final sector went to the Porsche driver. Ultimately, however, Wehrlein was more than three tenths of a second too slow for his compatriot - Günther in the semi-finals again!

Semi-finals

HF1: Oliver Rowland vs Edo Mortara

In the first sector, Rowland and Mortara were almost equally fast. However, the Briton in the Nissan was then able to pull out a small lead of a good two tenths of a second. Although Mortara caught up slightly in the final section of the track, he had to admit defeat. Rowland qualified impressively for the final with the fastest lap of the weekend so far.

HF2: Max Günther vs Sergio Sette Camara

Günther flexed his muscles once again in sector 1 and was already around six tenths of a second ahead of Sette Camara! In the other two sections of the track, the Maserati driver was once again one second and eight tenths of a second faster respectively, extending his lead to an impressive 2.2 seconds. One of the clearest qualifying duels ever produced Günther as the second finalist.

Final: Max Günther vs Oliver Rowland

In the duel for pole position in Tokyo, Rowland got off to the slightly better start. However, Günther was slightly faster in the second section of the track. Now it came down to the final sector. Günther was indeed able to close the gap, but in the end he was 21 thousandths of a second off the pace! Oliver Rowland thus sensationally took pole position for the seventh time in his Formula E career - at his Nissan team's first home race, of all places!

The fifth race of the 2024 Formula E season will take place early Saturday morning at 7 a.m. (CET).

Results, times & starting grid

Overall standings (drivers & teams)

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