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Qualifying report
Formula E Diriyah ePrix II

Diriyah E-Prix: Hughes sees off Evans for maiden Formula E pole

Jake Hughes claimed his first Formula E pole for the second race of the Diriyah E-Prix, finding a tenth in the final corner to eclipse Mitch Evans.

Jake Hughes, McLaren, with his Julius Baer pole position award

The British driver had found a tenth over Evans in the opening sector and tacked on a smidgen more to his advantage in the next part of the lap, but a lairy moment through the final part of the downhill sweepers gave Evans a glimmer of hope.

With almost nothing between them at this stage, Hughes had to collect himself and focus on the final part of the lap, which he duly did so - but typically, drew an unwavering figure with his radio message of "let's enjoy it for 10 minutes and then we'll focus".

In a repeat of Friday's final draw, Sebastien Buemi had faced up to Hughes in the semis, but this time was roundly beaten despite the Swiss driver's best efforts to close up in the second half of the lap.

Jake Dennis was dispatched by namesake Hughes in their duel, the McLaren driver finding a comprehensive 0.45s advantage over the lap to progress.

Rene Rast could not make it an all-McLaren shootout for pole, as Evans stole a march on the ex-Audi driver to book his first final appearance of the season.

Regardless, both McLarens were guaranteed to have both cars in the top three on the grid as Rast's semifinal time was a mere 0.004s quicker than Buemi's last run of the session.

Buemi and Stoffel Vandoorne had been neck-and-neck in their quarterfinal bout's opening sector, but the Envision driver found a break in the second sector and creaked open the gap to cross the line with just over 0.2s in hand to claim a semifinals place.

Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing , Jaguar I-TYPE 6

Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing , Jaguar I-TYPE 6

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

His team-mate Rast then shaded Friday winner Pascal Wehrlein to put two McLarens into the semis, with the two Germans neck-and-neck through the opening pair of sectors before Rast found a tenth to progress.

Evans then cleared Edoardo Mortara as the Maserati MSG squad claimed its first duels appearance of the year, as the Jaguar driver was a handy 0.37s clear by the end of their quarterfinal tours.

Ordered by their times in the quarterfinals, Wehrlein begins the race from fifth ahead of Dennis, Mortara and Vandoorne.

Sam Bird was arguably the most high-profile departure from Group A, having set a lap good enough to go fastest by the chequered flag, but was undone by a flurry of improvements in the session.

Hughes delivered the killer blow to Bird's chances of making the duels, as Buemi, Vandoorne and Dennis had put the Jaguar driver teetering on the cusp of elimination.

Dan Ticktum also failed to advance to the duels despite his impressive pace in the earlier practice session, his progress baulked by a cat running across the circuit, to join his NIO 333 team-mate Sergio Sette Camara on the bench for the knockout phase.

In Group B, Jean-Eric Vergne was unable to join DS Penske team-mate Vandoorne in the duels having struggled to find the same level of pace as his team-mate.

Maximilian Gunther - whose Maserati MSG team had rescued his car from Friday's practice crash with an all-night rebuild session - was pushed out of the top four by Mortara. Bird begins the race from ninth place as groupmate Hughes collected pole, as Gunther completes the top 10 on the grid.

Full qualifying results:

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