Felix Rosenqvist will start the inaugural Rome-E-Prix from pole position, having set a blistering qualifying lap to beat Sam Bird by 0.678s. 

The Mahindra driver survived a hit with the barriers during his SuperPole lap to post a 1m36.311s and claim his sixth Formula E pole position in 19 starts, as Rosenqvist narrowed championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne’s points advantage down to 27. 

Rosenqvist will have the chance to further reduce his deficit to Vergne in the points standings, with the Techeetah driver only managing the eighth-quickest time. 

Virgin’s Bird, who led the way early on in the SuperPole shoot-out, will start alongside Rosenqvist on the front-row in Rome, but the Briton ended up a whopping 0.6s down on the Swede’s effort. 

Mitch Evans continued Jaguar’s promising practice pace by matching his best-ever qualifying result from Uruguay last time out with third place. Andre Lotterer, who topped the qualifying heats, was the quickest Techeetah driver in fourth as he failed to replicate his brilliant last-gasp effort from group 4. 

Renault e.dams’s Sebastien Buemi was the other driver to make it into SuperPole, but the season two champion made a mistake at the hairpin and finished 1.5s off Rosenqvist’s time. 

Defending champion Lucas Di Grassi missed out on a spot in SuperPole by less than 0.1s and will start from sixth for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport squad as he looks to regain ground in the championship following his tough start to 2017/18. 

Oliver Turvey - a tenth further back - out-paced Vergne for seventh, with Mexico winner Daniel Abt ninth and 0.2s clear of Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld, who rounded out the top 10. 

In the second Virgin car, Alex Lynn recovered from crashes in both practice sessions to finish 11th, ahead of Andretti’s Tom Blomqvist.

Season one champion Nelson Piquet Jr set the pace in FP1 but could only manage 13th after a mistake in the final sector cost the Jaguar driver 1.2s, while Maro Engel was the highest-placed Venturi driver as he beat Renault e.dams’ Nicolas Prost to 14th. 

Despite hitting the wall and suffering damage to the right-rear of his Venturi, Edoardo Mortara managed to drift his car across the line to record the 17th fastest time. 

It was a disastrous qualifying session for Dragon’s Jerome d’Ambrosio (16th) and home-favourite Luca Filippi (18th), as both drivers failed to set a representative lap in the first qualifying group after a timing miscalculation meant they did not cross the line with sufficient time to begin a flying lap.

In a bizarre incident in the third qualifying heat, Andretti’s Antonio Da Costa was released into the path of Jose Maria Lopez’s Virgin car in the pit lane. The pair collided and were unable to continue, meaning they will share the back row of the grid in Rome. 


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