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Evans takes Jaguar to Portland E-Prix pole ahead of Andretti’s Nato

Mitch Evans will start the first race of the Portland E-Prix from pole position after defeating Andretti’s Norman Nato in the Qualifying Duels final.

The Jaguar TCS Racing driver’s time in the final head-to-head was 1m08.820s, 0.196s quicker than Nato who finished both practice sessions in the top two as well. He won’t start on the front row, though, with a 10 place grid penalty for accumulated driving infringement reprimands this season dropping him down the order.

Ahead of the final, Evans defeated Abt Cupra driver Lucas di Grassi and Jake Hughes, Evans having been beaten by the NEOM McLaren to the top of the first group session too.

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Nato, meanwhile, saw off ERT driver Dan Ticktum – making his first Duels appearance of the year – and Envision’s Robin Frijns who lost time after a scrappy first couple of corners.

Pole, and the subsequent three points, for Evans is a massive shot in the arm for his championship ambitions, with Oliver Rowland sidelined for the weekend and both teammate Nick Cassidy and TAG Heuer Porsche driver Pascal Weherlein (currently second in the points) both missing out on the head-to-head Duels.

Cassidy could only muster eighth in the opening session, as Hughes, Evans, Sergio Sette Camara (who later lost his spot in the head-to-heads to Edoardo Mortara after being penalized for impeding) and di Grassi all advanced.

It seemingly opened the door for Wehrlein to pounce in the second group, but he too fell, finishing fifth behind the advancing Ticktum, Antonio Felix da Costa, Frijns, and Nato.

Hughes will line up alongside Evans on the front row of the grid as a result of Nato’s penalty, with Frijns and da Costa occupying the second row. Ticktum will start fifth, ahead of Mortara, Nico Mueller, Wehrlein, Sebastien Buemi, and Jake Dennis, who completes the top 10, two spots ahead of his teammate Nato. Cassidy splits the Andretti pair in 11th, with di Grassi behind Nato in 13th.

Caio Collet continued his impressive debut weekend filling in for Rowland by outqualifying his more experienced Nissan teammate Sacha Fenetraz. He will line up 14th, with Fenestraz 16th, Jean-Eric Vergne splitting the two as the highest-placed Stellantis driver. DS Penske teammate Stoffell Vandoorne will start 17th, ahead of both Maseratis — Maximilian Guenther and Jehan Daruvala — while Sam Bird, Nyck de Vries, and the penalized Sette Camara complete the grid.

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Story originally appeared on Racer