Nick Cassidy will start on pole position for the opening race of the London E-Prix, despite having been beaten by Mitch Evans in the final.

Evans defeated Cassidy in the final to snatch the three points for pole position; however, the Jaguar driver will start the race from sixth following a grid penalty.

Championship leader Jake Dennis was defeated by Evans in the semi-finals but will start alongside Cassidy on the front row for the 15th round of the 2022/23 Formula E World Championship.

Kicking-off qualifying in Group A were Dennis and third-place in the standings Evans, with the latter knowing that he had a five-place grid penalty following his incident with Cassidy in Rome.

With overtaking being near impossible at the ExCeL Centre, it was crucial that Dennis and Evans claimed a top four spot to progress to the duels. Following the initial hot laps, Dennis topped the group ahead of Edoardo Mortara, Sérgio Sette Câmara and, crucially, Evans.

As the opening group reached its climax, the track was clearly continuing to evolve, as Evans hit the top with two minutes remaining. He was displaced by Dennis right at the death though, with the British driver having topped the group ahead of the Kiwi by three-hundredths of a second. Stoffel Vandoorne and René Rast completed the top four.

With Dennis and Evans having safely progressed to the duels, the pressure was on Cassidy to deliver in Group B. The Kiwi concerningly found himself outside the top four after his first push lap, which was only good enough for eighth.

Cassidy’s team-mate Sébastian Buemi topped the group prior to the final hot laps, ahead of free practice 1 pacesetter Norman Nato, Nico Müller and Sacha Fenestraz. As proven in Group A though, it was all set to change in the closing seconds.

The pressure was very much on Cassidy, who was forced to abort his penultimate push lap after almost going into the barrier at Turn 16. He had just one lap left to progress to the duels.

However, Cassidy not only safely progressed to the duels on his final lap, he topped the group. The New Zealander dealt with the high pressure moment perfectly, to top the group ahead of team-mate Buemi, Dan Ticktum and Pascal Wehrlein.

Onto the quarter-finals and the first duel saw Vandoorne against Evans, who had looked consistently quick all weekend. Evans was five-tenths of a second quicker than the DS Penske driver through the first half of the lap, a gap he superbly increased to just over six-tenths in the final sector. Evans safely progressed to the semi-finals following his 1m 10.463s.

It was Dennis’ turn in the second quarter-final, against Rast. The Andretti driver was two-tenths quicker than Rast through the first two sectors, leaving the McLaren driver with work to do. Dennis ended up being four-tenths quicker than Rast, with his duel time having been almost identical to Evans’. Dennis set a 1m 10.497s.

The third quarter-final put Ticktum against Buemi, with the NIO 333 driver having been keen to deliver in front of his home fans. It was Buemi who had the edge halfway round by two-tenths of a second, a gap he successfully maintained in the final sector. Buemi’s quarter-final time of 1m 10.404s was the quickest in that stage of the duels.

With Evans and Dennis both safely through to the semi-finals, the pressure was again on Cassidy to deliver. The Kiwi did just that against Wehrlein, who he went over four-tenths quicker than across the lap. Somewhat concerningly though, Cassidy’s lap time was a 1m 10.613s, almost two-tenths slower than what Evans, Dennis and Buemi set.

The quarter-final results meant that the top three in the Drivers’ Championship all featured in the final four; however, Cassidy had a significant advantage.

Semi-final number one was an absolutely huge one, as Evans went up against Dennis. It wasn’t just a duel for a place in the final, it was a chance to gain a psychological edge. Dennis set a woeful opening sector which opened the door for Evans, who was setting his lap behind the Andretti driver.

Dennis’ time was nowhere near what was expected, with the championship leader having been defeated by four-tenths of a second, after Evans set a 1m 10.430s.

The second semi-final was essentially decided before it even happened, as Cassidy went up against his team-mate. Buemi offered the place in the final to Cassidy on a platter, after he lost several seconds following an error.

Cassidy safely progressed to the final on a 1m 10.662s, to set up a final duel against Evans. Due to Buemi’s time being several seconds off the pace, he’ll start behind Dennis.

So the final was an all-Jaguar powertrain affair, not for the first time this season, with Cassidy against Evans. Interestingly, Cassidy was guaranteed pole due to Evans’ five-place grid penalty.

Despite being guaranteed P1, Cassidy and Evans still absolutely went for it on their final lap. Less than a tenth separated the duo through the opening two sectors; however, it was Evans with the narrow advantage. His advantage remained minimal, as he beat Cassidy to the duel win by 0.026s, after setting a 1m 10.578s.

Crucially, whilst he won’t start from pole, Evans still received the three vital points for P1, putting him 41 points behind Dennis now. Evans’ grid penalty means that Cassidy will start from first with Dennis alongside him on the front row, with the second row set to be made up of Buemi and Ticktum.

Rast will start fifth with Evans in sixth, ahead of Wehrlein and Vandoorne.

The potentially title-deciding race gets underway at 17:03 GMT.

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