Valencia E-Prix: Dennis puts BMW on pole on drying track

Jake Dennis snared his rookie Formula E pole position by a massive nine tenths ahead of the second Valencia E-Prix as the BMW Andretti racer dominated a drying qualifying session. 

Valencia E-Prix: Dennis puts BMW on pole on drying track

The championship newcomer scored his first single-seater pole since an October 2015 run to the front row of the European Formula 3 grid at Hockenheim thanks to his 1m28.548s effort. 

Fastest in all three sectors at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, having also topped the group stages, Dennis claimed top spot by 0.863s ahead of Porsche driver Andre Lotterer in the superpole contest. 

The drying line contributed to a 4.2s lap time swing between group one provisional polesitter Pascal Wehrlein’s early benchmark and the eventual effort from Dennis. 

Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn will start second thanks to a five-place grid penalty for Lotterer, despite having snatched provisional pole by close to 0.5s at the time of his final run but fell to an eventual 1.2s off the pace as conditions favoured those last to take to the Tarmac.

The recovering NIO 333 team, which failed to score a point last season, will line up third and fourth as new signing Tom Blomqvist nabbed his best-ever series grid spot and led team mainstay Oliver Turvey. 

Norman Nato, the first driver to run in superpole, felt the effects of the big gain in lap time for his rivals and so ended up 1.941s off the top spot for Venturi Racing in sixth, and will start fifth.

Such was the incredible track evolution between the third and fourth qualifying groups as the track dried, the last six drivers to run on circuit all then locked out the superpole shootout. 

That meant long-time provisional polesitter Jean-Eric Vergne was the first driver to miss out on the top-six battle to finish seventh-fastest in qualifying, the group three DS Techeetah runner having managed to overcome a slight mistake at Turn 8 to initially smash his rivals by close to 0.3s. 

The Nissan e.dams duo of Oliver Rowland and Sebastien Buemi delivered smooth sessions to land the eighth and ninth-fastest times of the drying session as Dragon Penske Autosport driver Sergio Sette Camara converted his lap set in group three into a top-10 start. 

Alexander Sims, Vergne’s nearest group three rival, edged defending champion Antonio Felix da Costa – the long-time Saturday race leader throwing away the better part of three tenths following a mistake in the final sector. 

Porsche racer Pascal Wehrlein had come fastest out of the blocks, setting the benchmark time in group one and holding onto top spot for some time thanks to a flying run through the middle sector that found him almost half a second. But a drying line relegated him to 13th

Envision Virgin Racing driver Nick Cassidy looked like a dead cert for a second pole in as many weeks when he found a mammoth 1.5s seconds from the opening half of the lap. 

But he threw away his group three effort when he ran his car’s outside-front tyre over the painted kerb on the approach to Turn 12, which dragged him off the asphalt at a cost of 2s. 

The championship-leading Mercedes duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries managed only 19th and 20th as Nico Muller fell victim to a bizarre error to line up 22nd

The Dragon Penske Autosport racer caught his glove on the steering wheel through the final sector, which knocked a switch and took his car out of the full-power mode.

Qualifying results:

shares
comments

Related video

How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem

Previous article

How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem

Next article

Valencia E-Prix: Rookie Dennis scores lights-to-flag win for BMW

Valencia E-Prix: Rookie Dennis scores lights-to-flag win for BMW
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Event Valencia E-Prix II
Sub-event Qualifying
Drivers Andre Lotterer
Teams Porsche Team
Author Matt Kew
How Formula E stood up to F1 comparisons in Monaco Prime

How Formula E stood up to F1 comparisons in Monaco

OPINION: It was no surprise to anybody that the laptimes achieved by Formula E cars on the full Monaco circuit were much slower than Formula 1. But perhaps the more relevant comparison was in the racing spectacle, where FE delivered in spades.

Formula E
May 12, 2021
How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover Prime

How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover

Formula E faced much criticism in the wake of its maligned Valencia event. In need of a turnaround, the series' first use of Monaco's iconic Formula 1 layout provided it with the injection of thrills required to clear the fog that had enveloped the paddock.

Formula E
May 11, 2021
Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent Prime

Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent

FIA president Jean Todt wanted more Formula E coverage in the media, and got his wish when the opening Valencia E-Prix proved farcical. Despite attempts to spin the race as teams failing to get their sums right, Formula E and its governing body cannot escape blame - especially when trying to get teams to commit long-term.

Formula E
Apr 27, 2021
How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem Prime

How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem

Formula E was under the microscope at Valencia, on its first visit to a permanent circuit. But after a mere nine drivers were left classified following Saturday's Valencia E-Prix, the electric championship once more faced criticism after rising energy deductions and miscalculations produced a farcical affair.

Formula E
Apr 25, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Prime

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Prime

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits.

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Prime

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons.

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Prime

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021