Lotterer takes pole in messy, rain-hit Rome qualifying

Formula E

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Scruffy group qualifying sessions in changeable conditions saw Andre Lotterer snatch pole from Mitch Evans, even as the Jaguar team had begun their celebrations.

One of the controversial aspects of group qualifying among the drivers has been that group one is considered to unfairly disadvantage anyone in it. As of last season that’s been the championship leaders – whose concern about a poor qualifying is clear but has rarely genuinely played out.

That was different in Rome, however, where the track offered up much more grip with each passing session. Dust sent most of the drivers in groups one and two skidding or caused them to take extreme caution. As a result, three drivers in group four made it through to the Super Pole shoot-out.

Consistently strong qualifier Stoffel Vandoorne put in an excellent lap to make it to the later session, followed by both Dragon cars – despite a significant performance deficit on the Penske powertrain this year.

A spattering of rain meant conditions in Super Pole were greasy, sending first-out Sebastien Buemi into an uncharacteristic half-spin and a time so easily beaten by Maximilian Guenther it became clear the track was developing by seconds as each lap took place.

Evans put in a time well beyond any previously set on what looked like a strong lap, sending the Jaguar team into celebrations of their first pole of Formula E’s second generation era. However it wasn’t to be – Lotterer went out next on an even faster track and despite what looked like an at-times-ponderous lap, pipped Evans to his own first pole of the season, becoming the seventh different pole sitters in seven races.

Behind Lotterer and Evans, Jose Maria Lopez and Vandoorne share row two, followed by Guenther and Buemi. Edoardo Mortara is seventh for Venturi ahead of Robin Frijns, Alexander Lynn and Pascal Wehrlein.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 8 comments on “Lotterer takes pole in messy, rain-hit Rome qualifying”

    1. I kinda feel that with the track condition changes between the different groups, the superpole should be not the fastest 5 from all sessions combined, but should be guaranteed the fastest drier from each group, plus the two next fastest from all groups combined to make a more balanced top 6.
      However I guess that on the flip side, that would mean one of the drivers from group one has a massive advantage on the other championship leaders.

      Right now, I’m looking forward to the BBC making it a chore to watch today’s FE again. Watching on my laptop via their website as they again choose not to show it live on TV, and not even to show it live on the Red Button (“race replay” at 5.30pm).
      Come back Channel 5, all is forgotten!

      1. @eurobrun The problem Formula E has is that it doesn’t really draw that big an audience in the UK so whatever broadcaster has the rights isn’t going to prioritize it over other programming which they believe will draw a larger audience.
        If it would start drawing a bigger audience then it would stand a better chance of getting the TV slot instead of been relegated to the Red Button/Online.

        ITV & Channel 5 both lost interest in showing Formula E for the same reason & the only reason it’s on the BBC is because it was offered to them basically for free due to there been zero interest in the coverage from any other FTA broadcaster.

        It’s struggling to gain traction in the UK & has struggled to maintain a steady audience let alone build a bigger one & until it starts to show that it can do both of those things longer term then FTA broadcasters are going to be unwilling to push it above other programming.

        1. @eurobrun It’s live on quest/freeview 37 now. No idea why…

          1. @glynh Quest is part of Discovery inc. which Liberty Global are investors of, Liberty Global are also shareholders in Formula E.

            Eurosport is also owned by Discovery Inc. & they often simulcast or shift Eurosport programming onto Quest. Eurosport are also airing Formula E as is BT Sport (It’s on BT Sport Extra 2) which is also owned by Liberty Global.

            There basically trying to get it everywhere they can to try & help it gain some traction.

            1. Thanks @gt-racer I assumed BBC had exclusive rights but I suppose they’re not showing it live on normal TV this week.

      2. Thanks @gt-racer @glynh
        I only saw these comments after the race. I wish all this information was publicised up front, rather than just the BBC info!
        Surely even been given it free, they should have some commitment to actually show it live on a TV platform.
        Surely Ch4 / Ch5 would at least show it if it were free, evidently not?

        I guess we’re stuck in a loop. How do you get more people to watch if they can’t easily find it?

    2. @hazelsouthwell this really needs a results table.

      Other than that. Great stuff the FE coverage that you guys have been making

    3. there is something deeply flawed with this type of qualifying, especially Super Pole. Lotterer made a huge mistake and went very wide in the hairpin, losing probably half a second or more, and still comfortably beat the time of previous pole sitter Evans (who had an error-free lap). This is not about skill or car performance anymore, just luck and unfair rules. They should be sent all at once in SP, so all drivers can benefit from the same track conditions.

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