Dennis scores pole at Avalanche Andretti home race
Jake Dennis has scored pole ahead of the Portland E-Prix with a time of 1:08.931s, beating Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz in the Final Duel.
The Avalanche Andretti driver collected three championship points for the Qualifying effort, meaning he will start the race today ahead of Pascal Wehrlein in the Championship Standings.
“Ecstatic, once I was into the Duels, I was pretty happy with that,” said Dennis.
“It was all just chipping away, got to the Final and I knew whether I started second or first will make no difference, but the three points were crucial.”
“We went all out … I went full risk and managed to pull a tenth and a half on Sacha [Fenestraz] cause I was behind.”
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Nick Cassidy jumped to the top of the timing board for Group A Qualifying with a 1:10.646s before Fenestraz improved with eight minutes to go with a 1:10.373s.
Maximillian Gunther went better with a 1:10.262s before the Nissan drivers slotted into 1-2 with Fenestraz again going quickest with a 1:09.860s.
Jean-Eric Vergne split the two Nissans, only 0.224s off the top time.
Championship contender Cassidy could only move into fifth, losing a place for the third consecutive time to progress into the Duels.
Unchallenged for top spot was Fenestraz and those progressing through to the Duels were Vergne, Nissan team-mate Nato and Gunther.
Before Group B Qualifying, it was announced that DS Penske had been fined and penalised for installing RFID scanning equipment in pit entry before FP2, leaving Stoffel Vandoorne and Vergne to start from pit lane for the Round 12 Portland E-Prix.
Group B Qualifying saw Edo Mortara quickest in the opening stages with a 1:10.376s, before Rene Rast, who was quickest in FP1, went quicker with a 1:10.135s.
Dennis then took top spot with a 1:09.856s and with eight minutes to go in the session, Robin Frijns and Andre Lotterer were in the last Duel positions.
Mortara took second spot with two minutes to go, only 0.245s behind.
As the chequered flag fell, both Neom McLaren drivers made their way into the Duels with Rast going fastest of the session with a 1:09.808s and Dennis splitting the two in second.
Antonio Felix Da Costa slot into the last Duel positions only 0.178s behind the quickest time.
Mitch Evans did not leave the pit lane during the session, his mechanics investigating a DC fault after he stopped in FP2 meant the battery and gearbox needed to be changed in his Jaguar TCS Racing car.
Evans will start the E-Prix from the bottom of the grid.
Although receiving the penalty, Vergne still took part of the first Duel against Nato but was not quick enough to beat the Nissan. Nato, who topped FP2 earlier in the day, posted a time of 1:09.118s to progress through to the Semi Finals.
His team-mate Fenestraz took the fastest time in the next Duel against previous Jakarta race winner Gunther with a time of 1:09.060s.
The two British drivers of Hughes and Dennis went up against each other next and it was evenly matched between the two before Dennis snatched the quicker time of 1:09.111s.
The last Quarter Final saw Rast merely take the win at the line with a 1:09.310s over Da Costa for the win.
The first Semi-Final was between the Nissan team-mates and Fenestraz came out quicker with a 1:08.920s. The second Semi-Final saw Dennis take on Rast and the Avalanche Andretti driver set the fastest lap of the weekend to date with a 1:08.919s to beat the Neom McLaren driver.
Fenestraz went up against Dennis for pole position but had to settle for second as his time of 1:09.010s was not enough to snatch pole.
Dennis has lost all three of his Final Duel appearances in 2023 but in Portland, his time of 1:08.931s gave him pole position on his team’s home soil and three extra points to lead the Championship into the E-Prix later today.
Today’s E-Prix will begin at 17:03 local time/10:03 AEST.