Jake Hughes claimed his first Formula E pole for the second race of the Diriyah E-Prix, after an intense battle with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans.

The British driver had found a tenth in the final corner over Evans to secure pole position after the two drivers were neck and neck throughout the lap.

In a repeat of Friday’s final draw, Sebastien Buemi had faced up to Hughes in the semis, but was this time was roundly beaten despite the Swiss driver’s best efforts to close up in the second half of the lap.

Jake Dennis was dispatched by namesake Hughes in their duel, the McLaren driver finding a comprehensive 0.45s advantage over the lap to progress.

However, Dennis was unable to set a 350kW lap during practice, therefore, his duel run was the first time today he lapped at full power.

Rene Rast could not make it an all-McLaren shootout for pole, as Evans stole a march on the ex-Audi driver to book his first final appearance of the season.

Buemi and Stoffel Vandoorne had been neck and neck in their quarterfinal bout’s opening sector, but the Envision driver found a break in the second sector and creaked open the gap to cross the line with just over 0.2s in hand to claim a semifinals place.

His team-mate Rast then shaded Friday winner Pascal Wehrlein to put two McLarens into the semis, with the two Germans neck-and-neck through the opening pair of sectors before Rast found a tenth to progress.

Wehrlein also had a similar issue to Dennis that he couldn’t set a 350kW lap in practice. However, the Porsche driver was upbeat ahead of the race knowing how efficient their car is.

Evans then cleared Edoardo Mortara as the Maserati MSG squad claimed its first duels appearance of the year, as the Jaguar driver was a handy 0.37s clear by the end of their quarterfinal tours.

Ordered by their times in the quarterfinals, Wehrlein begins the race from fifth ahead of Dennis, Mortara and Vandoorne.

Sam Bird was arguably the most high-profile departure from Group A, having set a lap good enough to go fastest by the chequered flag, but was undone by a flurry of improvements in the session.

Hughes delivered the killer blow to Bird’s chances of making the duels, as Buemi, Vandoorne and Dennis had put the Jaguar driver teetering on the cusp of elimination.

Dan Ticktum also failed to advance to the duels despite his impressive pace in the earlier practice session, his progress was baulked by a cat running across the circuit, to join his NIO 333 team-mate Sergio Sette Camara on the bench for the knockout phase.

In Group B, Jean-Eric Vergne was unable to join DS Penske team-mate Vandoorne in the duels having struggled to find the same level of pace as his team-mate.

Maximilian Guenther – whose Maserati MSG team had rescued his car from Friday’s practice crash with an all-night rebuild session – was pushed out of the top four by Mortara.

Bird begins the race from ninth place as groupmate Hughes collected pole, as Guenther completes the top 10 on the grid.