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Bird Snatches Marrakesh Pole After Pit Lane Drama

Sam Bird recovers from pit lane incident to claim Marrakesh E-Prix pole…

Photo: Formula E

Sam Bird took a dramatic pole for this afternoon’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship Marrakesh E-Prix despite incurring damage to his Envision Virgin car in a bizarre pit lane accident.

NIO driver Tom Dillmann reportedly lost his brakes heading into the parc ferme queue following the third group stage run and struck the back of Robin Frijns, who subsequently nosed into the rear of his Virgin teammate.

This meant Bird entered Super Pole with an off-kilter rear diffuser, but the Brit responded emphatically on the final lap of the top-six shootout, turning in a time of 1:17.489 to claim his fifth career pole.

Bird ousted reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne by 0.046 seconds while points leader Antonio Felix da Costa set the third-best time of the shootout.

UPDATE: Da Costa Handed Three-Place Grid Penalty

Sebastien Buemi qualified fourth for Nissan e.dams, while Alexander Sims ran fifth to put himself on the row behind BMW i Andretti Motorsport teammate da Costa.

Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans was left to settle for sixth after locking up and running wide at turn seven.

Pascal Wehrlein just missed out on the Super Pole session and will start seventh on his Formula E debut with Mahindra.

The ex-Formula 1 driver, running in the fourth and final group, jumped to sixth on his final tour but was later relegated by Sims right at the end of the preliminary session.

Robin Frijns qualified eighth for Envision Virgin Racing before getting caught up in the pit lane drama, while Nelson Piquet Jr ran ninth-quickest in the second Jaguar car.

Stoffel Vandoorne will start this afternoon’s race from the back of the grid after being forced to shut his car down before he could set a competitive time.

The Gen 2 Formula E cars were considerably quicker than their Gen 1 predecessors in the first direct pace comparison between the two models, with Bird’s flying lap almost three seconds quicker than Buemi’s Marrakesh pole effort last year.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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