Rookie Sacha Fenestraz claimed pole position for the Monaco E-Prix, following a sublime qualifying performance in the ninth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. It will be an all-rookie front row for Saturday’s race, as Jake Hughes was defeated by Fenestraz in the Final. It was a session to remember for Nissan, with their powetrains having secured a 1-2-3. Elsewhere, it was a messy qualifying for several championship contenders.
Kicking-off qualifying at the iconic Circuit de Monaco was all the drivers currently occupying an odd position in the Drivers’ Championship, meaning championship leader Pascal Wehrlein was joined by two-time Formula E Champion Jean-Éric Vergne, São Paulo and Berlin winner Mitch Evans, Sam Bird, René Rast, reigning World Champion and last season’s Monaco winner Stoffel Vandoorne, André Lotterer, Norman Nato, Dan Ticktum, Fenestraz and Berlin Race Two polesitter Robin Frijns.
As the opening group got underway, Evans, Vergne, and Vandoorne were arguably three of the favourites to make it into the top four places necessary to progress to the duels, having shown good pace in the two Free Practice sessions. As the twelve drivers completed their out-laps, there was an ominous rain cloud looming over the circuit, something which threatened to throw up some challenging conditions.
Following the the first real push laps, Evans topped the group from Vergne, Vandoorne and Bird; however, both DS Penske drivers were under investigation for a technical infringement. With three minutes remaining, Lotterer and Wehrlein demoted Vandoorne and Bird out of the top four, leaving the duo with work to do. It quickly became clear, though, that faster times were possible, as Nato, Fenestraz and Ticktum moved into the top four, demoting Vergne, Lotterer and Wehrlein.
It meant the final push laps would determine the top four of what was a frantic session, with several drivers having posted strong sector times. As the chequered flag was flown it was a shock Nissan Formula E team 1-2, as Nato topped the group from Fenestraz, Ticktum and Evans, who claimed the top four spots. It meant Wehrlein was once again eliminated in the group stage of qualifying, with the German set to start from eleventh. It was announced after the group that all of Vergne’s and Vandoorne’s lap times had been deleted for the technical infringement, to the disappointment of DS Penske.