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Vergne Claims Monaco Pole After Rowland Grid Drop

Three-place grid penalty denies Oliver Rowland of a third career pole position…

Photo: DS Techeetah

Jean-Eric Vergne claimed pole position for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship round in Monaco despite setting the second-quickest time in qualifying.

The DS Techeetah driver was promoted to the front of the 22-car grid after Oliver Rowland, who topped the deciding shootout, had a three-place grid penalty applied for contact during the Paris E-Prix.

The Englishman will now start this afternoon’s race from fourth position, and will be replaced on the front row by Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans.

Despite the grid drop, Rowland will still be awarded the Pole Award and three championship points for setting the fastest lap in qualifying.

Vergne’s time of 50.042 was just 0.021 seconds slower than the Nissan e.dams driver’s table-topping effort, while Evans posted a 50.112 in a tight Superpole session reserved for the six quickest drivers from the preliminary group stages.

Pascal Wehrlein secured a second-row grid start for Mahindra with the fourth-best time, and will start from third as a result of Rowland’s penalty.

Felipe Massa made the Superpole shootout for Venturi and will start fifth, ahead of defending Monaco E-Prix winner Sebastien Buemi.

Group 3 proved the most successful in the initial round of qualifying, with Rowland, Wehrlein, Massa and Buemi all emerging from the penultimate bracket.

Vergne and Evans, meanwhile, came out of Group 2, while the first and last groups failed to produce a Superpole contender.

Outside the top six, Alexander Sims qualified seventh for BMW i Andretti Motorsport ahead of fellow Briton Alex Lynn in the second Jaguar I-TYPE 3.

Sims’ teammate Antonio Felix da Costa and GEOX Dragon Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez rounded out the top 10 for the ninth race of the 2018-19 season.

Points leader Robin Frijns finished second to da Costa in the opening group but was pushed down to 12th as the other preliminary sessions played out.

Frijns’ nearest championship rival, Andre Lotterer, will start from the back of the grid in 22nd place after being the only driver to set a time above 51 seconds.

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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