Jake Dennis claims pole at the inaugural Portland E-Prix

Jake Dennis claims pole at the inaugural Portland E-Prix

Jake Dennis secured the pole position in Portland and held the early lead in the championship after collecting points for coming in first in qualifying.

Dennis will have a fantastic opportunity to distance himself from his title rivals as Mitch Evans and Pascal Wehrlein will start 18th and 20th, respectively, putting them in a precarious position.

The Andretti driver set a time of 1m08.931s in the pole shootout on the home track of his team, just edging Nissan rival Fenestraz by 0.079s. In the standings going into Saturday’s race, he is two points ahead of former leader Pascal Wehrlein after earning three bonus points.

Due to a bad final sector, Dennis was able to regain lost distance and win pole for the first time since the London E-Prix of last year. Fenestraz had the stronger start of the two finalists’ laps, having led by half a tenth after sector two.

Norman Nato, a teammate of Rene Rast’s at McLaren alongside Fenestraz will be on the second row of the starting grid.

Fenestraz won the first of the two semi-final rounds against Nato after overcoming Maximilian Guenther in the quarter-finals. However, with the first time under 1m09s of the weekend—a 1m08.920s—Fenestraz easily advanced to the final event.

Dennis beat Rast by a comfortable margin of 0.455 seconds in the second semifinal, breaking Fenestraz’s record by a thousandth of a second, and securing a spot in the final for the third time in a row.

Earlier, Dennis advanced to the last four as the only non-Nissan powertrain user after overcoming Jake Hughes’ sister McLaren in the quarterfinals.

Guenther who drives under Maserati MSG, will start fifth, ahead of Hughes and Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa, who was beaten by Rast in his quarterfinal.

Jean-Eric Vergne, the only other driver to go past the group stages, and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne will also start Saturday’s race from the pit lane.

That came about after stewards noted DS Penske using illegal equipment in the pit lane during practice to scan the barcodes on the tyres of every vehicle in the field, which they believed may have given the team a significant advantage.

Porsche driver Wehrlein unexpectedly finished only 10th-fastest of the 11 drivers in the preliminary group, making Dennis the only driver in the top four of the standings to advance to the duels.

Nick Cassidy, who finished third in the points, ended up being the only Envision’s sixth-fastest driver despite the fact that he was the fastest of the four Jaguar-powered cars in the field.

Both of the works Jaguars failed to advance past the second group, with Sam Bird finishing tenth and Mitch Evans who is an outside contender for the championship, not even setting a lap after the team decided to swap out his battery and powertrain due to a problem in second practice.

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