“The last two races have been disappointing”, said Rowland.
“It’s disappointing not to have Seb up there but I’ll take the three points for pole. I feel in a very good rhythm at the moment”.
Sam Bird, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Jerome D’Ambrosio, Lucas di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara were out in Group One, with Jerome D’Ambrosio hitting out early before Da Costa smashed the group by some four-tenths of a second. The big loser was championship leader Sam Bird, who could only manage a provisional fifth.
In the second group, Andre Lotterer would vault to provisional second until being usurped by Daniel Abt. Pascal Wehrlein would slot into fifth with Lucas di Grassi in sixth. Robin Frijns would slot into eighth for Virgin while a mistake from Mitch Evans saw the jaguar driver clip the wall and drop to tenth.
Alexander Simms would throw everything at his lap in group three to get within six-one thousandth of teammate Da Costa. Felipe Massa would fight the rear of his Venturi to finish eleventh while Jean-Eric Vergne would improve on his qualifying pace to go provisional third. It would be short-lived however with Oliver Rowland quickly displacing Vergne and Nissan teammate Sebastien Buemi putting in a blinder to take provisional pole.
Garry Paffett was out first in group four and was looking more confident than usual despite being sixth tenths down in the first sector to eventually be 1.4 seconds adrift and dead last. HWA teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne would miss his apex at turn three and hit traffic to be eight-tenths adrift to finish thirteenth.
Jaguar’s Nelson Piquet would fare worse to take twenty-second whilst Tom Dillman would finish seventeenth ahead of Felipe Nasr and NIO’s Oliver Turvey. Meanwhile, Jose Maria Lopez would salvage fourteenth for Dragon.
A neat lap from Daniel Abt was a second away from the best group time to go two tenths down on Jean-Eric Vergne, with the French driver seemingly more at home with the balance of his Techeetah. The pair would however quickly be disposed by Oliver Rowland by a tenth of a second.
Alexander Simms would miss his opportunity after a gear-selection problem was found on his BMW seconds before he was due to complete his lap. Teammate Antonio Felix Da Costa survived a big slide into turn one and eleventh to take third.
With just Sebastien Buemi left to run meant a Nissan would be on pole either way. In the end, the same fate that befell Buemi in practice two would repeat itself as the Swiss driver locked up at turn three and brush the barriers to finish sixth.
Too much brake pressure for Buemi on his in-lap meant he would flat-spot his tyres even before fighting for superpole and was on the back-foot from the outset.
Images: Nissan e.Dams and Michelin