Former McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne braved near-torrential rain to take his first pole position in Formula E in Hong Kong. Qualifying groups were decided in accordance with championship position so, points-leaders Jerome D’Ambrosio was in the first group.
The heavens opened just before and in between both free practice sessions. The track also got another soaking a few minutes before qualifying. Conditions were so terrible the cars were nearly 10 seconds slower than last year’s pole lap.
Sam Bird and Lucas Di Grassi were the only ones in the first group with an outside shot at Super Pole. Meanwhile, the Mahindra pair of D’Ambrosio and Wehrlein struggled and were dead last.
Kiwi driver, Mitch Evans managed to slot into P3, albeit a second and a half slower than Di Grassi. Edoardo Mortara and Andre Lotterer easily toppled Evans to take the top two times of the session so far.
Jean-Eric Vergne, who was last year’s pole man could not repeat the same feat. That year, he spun and crossed the line backwards. His lap time this year was much scrappier and he hit both the front and back of his car.
However, once everything was done, HWA Mercedes driver Vandoorne prevailed to start on pole for the first time. Sadly, the former McLaren driver was unable to convert it and slumped to yet another non-points finish. According to the team, it was a driveshaft issue, but his teammate Gary Paffett held on to score the team’s first points.