Dragon Racing teammates Oriol Servià and Jerome D’Ambrosio looked set to start from the front row of the Putrajaya ePrix in Malaysia this afternoon, thanks to a tewn-place grid penalty for fastest qualifier Nicolas Prost, who serves punishment for contact with Nick Heidfeld during the previous Formula E race in Beijing.
But the team’s joy was tempered when d’Ambrosio was kicked to the back of the grid for exceeding his maximum power allocation in qualifying.
The first of the four qualifying groups saw Daniel Abt touch the wall but still claim provisional pole with a 1:22.432 lap time ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr, who brought out a red flag when his car was left stranded on track, out of power.
In qualifying group two, Jarno Trulli came within 0.005 seconds of beating Abt’s time, before the red flag was shown to retrieve Ho-Pin Tung, who had hit the wall at the hairpin. The Chinese driver would not be the only driver to come to grief against the barriers.
Group three saw Prost initially take the lead, before Servià jumped to the top of the timesheets. A high-risk lap, which ultimately was the fastest of qualifying, saw Prost regain provisional pole. Whilst his grid penalty will see the Frenchman start from 11th place, he will still receive the 3 championship points given to the fastest qualifier of the day.
Whilst no driver in Group 4 challenged the times set by the previous group, Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird managed to set the fourth fastest lap of qualifying, which ultimately proved good enough for a front-row start. The session was marred by an incident for Bird’s team mate Jaime Alguersuari and Audi Sport Abt’s Lucas di Grassi. Alguersuari initially slapped the wall, before a seemingly unsighted di Grassi collected the stricken Virgin Racing car. Neither driver had set a competitive lap time at that point, and will start from the back of the grid as a result.
Series debutants Matthew Brabham (Andretti Autosport) and António Félix da Costa (Amlin Aguri) finished in 11th and 12th respectively, but will start the race split by Prost’s e.dams Renault.
Earlier in practice, Sam Bird was fastest in a session that left the teams lamenting a lack of clean laps due to several red flag periods for cars making contact with the close Putrajaya walls. The final such incident, involving Nick Heidfeld, effectively brought an end to the session with three and a half minutes remaining.
With the high number of cars sustaining damage throughout qualifying, several teams are now in a race to ensure all 20 competitors will be on the grid for this afternoon’s 31-lap race, scheduled to start at 2pm local time (UTC +08:00).
2014-15 Formula E Putrajaya e-Prix – Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nicolas Prost*||Team e.dams Renault||1:21.779||6|
|2.||Oriol Servià||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||1:22.010||+ 0.231||4|
|3.||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:22.235||+ 0.456||7|
|4.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||1:22.342||+ 0.563||4|
|5.||Jarno Trulli||Trulli Formula E Team||1:22.347||+ 0.568||4|
|6.||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:22.612||+ 0.833||3|
|7.||Nelson Piquet Jr||China Racing Formula E Team||1:22.620||+ 0.841||4|
|8.||Nick Heidfeld||VENTURI Formula E Team||1:22.720||+ 0.941||5|
|9.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:22.816||+ 1.037||4|
|10.||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||1:22.941||+ 1.162||4|
|11.||António Félix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||1:23.194||+ 1.415||4|
|12.||Stéphane Sarrazin||VENTURI Formula E Team||1:23.240||+ 1.461||4|
|13.||Franck Montagny||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||1:23.697||+ 1.918||5|
|14.||Michela Cerruti||Trulli Formula E Team||1:23.857||+ 2.078||4|
|15.||Ho-Pin Tung||China Racing Formula E Team||1:23.894||+ 2.205||4|
|16.||Katherine Legge||Amlin Aguri||1:25.823||+ 4.044||5|
|17.||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||no time||1|
|18.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||no time||1|
|19.||Sébastien Buemi*||Team e.dams Renault||disqualified|
|20.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio*||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||disqualified|
* Prost penalised 10 grid places for causing an avoidable collision at the Beijing ePrix. Buemi stripped of his times due to his car being underweight. D’Ambrosio stripped of his qualifying times for exceeding his maximum allowable power usage.
Image via FIA Formula E Championship Media