Alexander Sims led BMW to pole position for the 2019-20 Formula E season opener in Diriyah on Friday morning as Mercedes drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries qualified second and third on the team's debut.

After only finishing fifth in the combined qualifying heats, Sims was able to jump up the order in the final Super Pole shootout and take pole with a lap of 1m14.563s.

It marked Sims's second straight Formula E pole following his success in New York at the end of last season, and marks pole for the second year running at the Diriyah circuit for BMW.

"Everything's started nicely here in qualifying," Sims said. "I couldn't have asked for much more, the car was really nice, clear lap in Super Pole. Nice way to start the season."

Vandoorne and de Vries both topped their respective qualifying groups to make it through to Super Pole, where they qualified second and third respectively for Mercedes' debut as a factory team in Formula E.

Edoardo Mortara qualified fourth for Venturi ahead of Bird, who could only manage fifth after making a mistake on his final Super Pole lap. Bird had topped the combined qualifying heats for Envision Virgin.

Jerome d'Ambrosio qualified sixth for Mahindra ahead of Andre Lotterer, who was the lead driver for Porsche's maiden Formula E qualifying in seventh. Teammate Neel Jani will start from P20 on the grid.

Defending champion Jean-Eric Vergne was quickest in his qualifying group for Techeetah, but could only qualify 11th after all the runners in the first group struggled with a sandy and dusty circuit that left them lacking grip.

Sebastien Buemi will start P14 for Nissan, while fellow one-time champion Lucas di Grassi qualified down in 19th for Audi.