Jake Dennis has taken pole position at the Portland E-Prix!
The British driver will start from first place for the first time this season, as the championship fight continues to heat up.
Last round’s winner Maximillian Günther was the first on track in Group A, hoping to set some quick times following a brilliant weekend in Jakarta. The fastest initial times came from Günther himself, the two Nissans of Sacha Fenestraz and Norman Nato, and Dan Ticktum. The Nissans showed off the pace that they demonstrated in practice. Reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne was also battling to reach the top four and the Duels, along with teammate Jean-Eric Vergne.
Ultimately, the top four to qualify from Group A were both Nissans who were first and third (Fenestraz at the top of the timings), Vergne second, and Günther in fourth. Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein was down and out in a surprising tenth place.
Group B was then underway with the two McLarens the first to hit the track. Jake Dennis was straight to the top of the timing screens, the Andretti driver sure to be keen to impress following the results of his championship rivals. Not long after, Dennis’ eyes must’ve lit up as Mitch Evans stepped away from his car and didn’t take part in qualifying.
The top four from Group B to complete the Duels places were René Rast, Dennis, Jake Hughes, and Antonio Felix da Costa. Both McLarens impressed whilst Dennis was the only one of the top five in the standings to make it through. His teammate André Lotterer almost made it through, but was fifth by nearly three-hundredths of a second.
The breaking news after the end of Group B though was that both DS Penske drivers will be starting from the back of the grid after breaking three rules. One of which was installing an illegal piece of machinery in the pitlane to detect opposition tyre details.
The first quarter-final of the duels was Nato vs Vergne, and the first man into the semi-finals was the former. The first of the two Frenchmen to set off on their laps, he set a time of a 1:09:111, a couple of tenths quicker than his counterpart.
The second duel consisted of Günther and Fenestraz. Like his Nissan teammate, Fenestraz made it into the semi-finals, a tenth quicker.
The next quarter-final was between the two Jakes. Hughes and Dennis battled it out but ultimately it was the latter who progressed. The Andretti driver set a time of a 1:09:111, the same as Nato in QF1.
The final QF was between Da Costa and Rast. The McLaren man won out this time around by just over a tenth of a second.
The semi-finals began with a Nissan vs… a Nissan. Fenestraz and Nato had a teammate’s duel but it was the former who would be the first name in the all-important final. He was the first driver into the 1:08s on the timing screen.
The next semi-final was Dennis and Rast. The Andretti man did a very strong lap, over four-tenths ahead of his opponent, to cement his place as the second finalist.
Finally, the final was a close call between Dennis and Fenestraz. However, the championship contender set the fastest time to take pole, many positions ahead of those he is fighting with in the standings.