With 60 Formula E starts to his name, Maximilian Guenther can finally add polesitter to his championship resume after five second place starts but never reaching pole. It’s also an amazing moment for his Maserati team, with their last world championship single-seater pole as a team coming at the hands of the legendary Juan-Manuel Fangio at the 1958 Argentine GP.
Guenther took on Dennis in the last duel of the day, but despite Dennis having been on pole three times before and Guenther still waiting for his moment, it was the Maserati driver that finally got to start from the first place grid slot for the race in a few hours.
The polesitter hasn’t won any of the last 12 races, and only has a single podium finish in that time. However, the second-place starter statistically has a bit more luck, having won four of the above races.
With none of the final four having been on pole in Season 9, it was always going to be an interesting result and meant that Formula E would have an eighth different polesitter in 10 races this year.
First up was Vergne versus Dennis. The Avalanche Andretti driver currency sits third in the Drivers’ World Championship, and managed to comfortably beat two-time champion Jean-Eric Vergne by 0.359s. It’s a great result for Dennis who hasn't had a qualifying result this good since Mexico at Round 1 when he went on to win from second on the grid. As for Vergne, he might have achieved his most recent pole position here in Jakarta last year, but it wasn’t to be today as he starts fourth.
The second fight between the two semi-finalists was Guenther against TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein. Although Wehrlein had led the championship for most of this season so far until he was dethroned after Monaco, Guenther has been on a roll this weekend. Clearly loving his Jakarta circuit, the Maserati driver went over three tenths quicker to seal himself a spot in the Final of the Duels leaving Wehrlein third.
Both DS PENSKE cars went head-to-head in the first battle of Jakarta qualifying as they headed into their centenary race weekend. Although they looked fairly evenly matched throughout their respective laps, it was Vergne who came out on top against his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne. It was the first time they’ve faced each other as teammates, and made a big difference to the last time out in Monaco when they both started on the last row of the grid. Vandoorne lines up fifth.
Next up was Robin Frijns versus Dennis, and despite the best efforts from the ABT CUPRA driver it was the Andretti who progressed into the Semi-Finals. Dennis hadn’t won a duel since he took victory at the opening round in Mexico City from the front row and Frijns starts a strong seventh.
NEOM McLaren's Rene Rast took on championship contender Wehrlein, and despite not having won any duels in Season 9 so far, the Porsche driver made it through. These two had gone up against each other this year, when Rast came out on top in the Diriyah Quarters, but now Wehrlein makes it even meaning Rast starts Round 10 from eighth on the grid.
Finally, it was the battle of the Maserati MSG Racing duo. Just like the DS PENSKE cars earlier, Mortara and Guenther had never faced each other as teammates in the Duels. Both Maserati MSG Racing cars made it into the Duels stages for the second consecutive race and having dominated the sessions so far it came as no surprise that Guenther went quickest - meaning he had topped every session he’s been a part of this weekend. Mortara will start sixth.
As the dust settled and the track continued its evolution from a dusty start at a rapid rate, it would all be down to the last laps in qualifying. Having looked quick in FP2, Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis finished his group quickest. The DS PENSKEs of Vergne and reigning champion Vandoorne also got through into the Quarters of the Duels, making for a very satisfied team garage. However, the shock of Group A came courtesy of ABT CUPRA and Frijns.
The Dutchman, who was on pole in Berlin only a few races ago, managed to slot into fourth in the session’s final moments to progress into the next stage. ABT CUPRA’s car seems to thrive in these slippery conditions where the track surface is much less grippy than normal. After missing out on four E-Prix this season after sustaining a wrist injury, this achievement also means it's the second time Frijns has made it through to the Duels this season.
Championship leader Nick Cassidy just missed out on the Duels by 0.002s, and finished Group A in fifth and all to do from 10th on the starting grid.
He had topped both Free Practice sessions so far this weekend, and Guenther made sure to keep that consistency going as he finished Group B fastest. His Maserati MSG Racing teammate, Mortara also made it through despite a costly mistake earlier in the day that meant he failed to set a time in FP2.
With both Maseratis into the Quarters, TAG Heuer Porsche’s Wehrlein had a great Group session finish in second. NEOM McLaren also got a car through to the next stage as Rast managed to find himself in third when the chequered flag was waved at the end of the Group stage.
Neither of the Envision Racing cars made it through to the Duels as Sebastien Buemi found himself in 7th - a big moment for the squad that currently lead the Teams' Standings.