Robin Frijns claimed a brilliant first Formula E pole position for the second race of the 2021 season during a dramatic qualifying session at the Diriyah E-Prix.

With the four Mercedes and Venturi cars barred from qualifying as a result of an FIA investigation into Edoardo Mortara’s massive practice crash, the door was open for some surprise results.

Envision Virgin Racing driver Frijns took full advantage by storming to his maiden FE pole, beating Dragon’s Sergio Sette Camara by nearly three-tenths of a second.

New Jaguar signing Sam Bird initially sat on provisional pole before Camara and then Frijns set faster efforts, with the latter securing pole in his 47th attempt as the only driver to dip into the 1m07s.

Oliver Turvey was an excellent fourth for NIO, with teammate Tom Blomqvist joining the Briton in Superpole on his way to securing fifth place, with the second Dragon-Penske of Nico Muller sixth.

Double FE champion Jean-Eric Vergne just missed out on Superpole and will line-up from seventh in his DS Techeetah, ahead of Nissan’s Sebastien Buemi, Mahindra driver Alex Lynn and reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa, who was 10th-quickest.

It was a nightmare qualifying session for Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Audi racer Rene Rast, both of whom failed to complete a full power lap after missing the cut-off time in the opening group, meaning they will line-up 18th and 19th respectively.

After claiming his maiden victory in Saturday’s opening race of the season, early championship leader Nyck de Vries finds himself towards the back of the grid with Mercedes and Venturi prevented from taking part in qualifying due to the ongoing investigation into Mortara’s crash.

Mortara suffered a heavy accident after conducting a practice start following the conclusion of Sunday’s free practice session, hitting the wall after being unable to slow for Turn 18. The Swiss racer is conscious but has been taken to hospital by ambulance for precautions checks.

Just minutes before qualifying got underway in Saudi Arabia, the FIA announced that the Mercedes and Venturi teams would not be allowed to participate due to safety concerns regarding the powertrain following the accident.

As a result, Vries, Mortara, Stoffel Vandoorne and Norman Nato will all line-up for the second race of the weekend at the back of the grid, joining Porsche’s Andre Lotterer, who was unable to contest qualifying after damage picked up in a heavy practice shunt.

Full qualifying results for round two of the Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia.

 

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