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Qualifying report
Formula E Mexico City ePrix

Mexico City E-Prix: Wehrlein beats sliding Mortara to pole

Pascal Wehrlein claimed a closely-fought Formula E pole position at the Mexico City E-Prix, beating Edoardo Mortara as the Venturi driver crossed the line sideways.

Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche, with the Julius Baer pole position award

Mortara began the final duel with a slight advantage over Wehrlein, and managed to stay ahead in the sectors despite getting a little loose in the Foro Sol stadium section.

But as he powered through the Peraltada to cross the line, Mortara lost control of his car and drifted across the line, losing a quarter of a second to Wehrlein - who kept it clean to secure his third Formula E pole.

Mortara had cemented his place in the qualifying final despite a late onslaught from Andre Lotterer, who was down by two tenths following the first two timing points - but the Porsche driver was able to fight back and nose just ahead - but couldn't keep the momentum across the line to beat Mortara.

Wehrlein was then embroiled in a close battle with Jean-Eric Vergne but, having been almost level at the close of the Foro Sol with the session in the French driver's favour, Wehrlein posted a mighty final sector to put three tenths over Vergne.

Mortara had earlier beaten Robin Frijns into the semis, although the Envision driver began the lap faster despite a slight touch with the grass at Turn 2 and a lock-up at Turn 3. But Mortara maintained a cleaner lap, charging into the semi-finals as Frijns continued to get loose throughout the Foro Sol section.

Porsche secured a two-nil over Mercedes in the quarter-finals, as Stoffel Vandoorne went perilously close to the wall at Turn 1 and ran onto the grass, ensuring Wehrlein had little resistance in reaching the semis. Vandoorne managed to recover slightly, bringing a six-tenth deficit down after the first sector to sit 0.420s behind Wehrlein.

Lotterer had earlier dispatched Nyck de Vries despite falling behind by a tenth in the opening corner, rallying to catch de Vries and bringing the two to level pegging ahead of the Foro Sol - split by just 0.002s. Lotterer then found 0.25s in the final part of the lap, booking a semi-final spot.

There was barely a cigarette paper separating Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa in their all-DS Techeetah quarter-final; although da Costa held a small margin in the first part of the lap, Vergne did just enough to beat his teammate to the semi-finals by 0.011s.

Both Porsche drivers topped their groups, with Lotterer having nosed ahead of Mortara in Group A as Wehrlein headed da Costa in Group B.

Vandoorne was the first to jump onto the final flurry of Group A qualifying laps, moving up to third after opting not to perform a build lap ahead - but his position looked precarious as the rest of the group set their final times.

Vergne shuffled Vandoorne down to third, but the Belgian managed to withstand a late siege to claim his place in the duels - Mercedes principal Ian James admitting Vandoorne made the cut "by the skin of his teeth" as Maximilian Gunther, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Askew failed to displace him.

Arguably, Mercedes had to contend with a greater nail-biting end to the second group, as de Vries plonked his car in fourth place - looking good before losing time in the final sector.

But nobody was able to chisel the Dutch driver out of the top four, with both Jaguars struggling to find pace and Andretti's Jake Dennis unable to progress - while Nick Cassidy called time on his final lap early.

Based on their times in the semi-finals, Lotterer will start the race in Mexico third ahead of Vergne, while da Costa was the quickest of those eliminated in the quarter-finals and start fifth ahead of de Vries.

Frijns will line up from seventh ahead of Vandoorne, while Cassidy starts ninth from Gunther - ahead of Mitch Evans and Oliver Askew.

Despite looking strong in practice, Sebastien Buemi only lines up in 18th, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi.

Qualifying results:

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