Audi Sport ABT driver Daniel Abt will start the Long Beach ePrix from pole position, however it was eDAMS.Renault driver Sébastien Buemi who set the fastest time of 56.853 seconds in the dying seconds of the final qualifying group.
Post-session, it was found that Buemi had exceeded the maximum energy usage permitted for the session, and as such his final qualifying lap was excluded from the final result and will now start from tenth position.
Amlin Aguri driver António Félix da Costa was also handed the same penalty for energy over-use, and will start from seventh place.
In what became the tightest qualifying session in Formula E history, only 1.097 seconds separated the nineteen drivers to set a competitive lap time during qualifying.
Championship leader Nicolas Prost will start from second, having been in provisional pole following a strong lap in qualifying group 2. China Racing’s Nelson Piquet Jr, who was the fastest driver in the third qualifying group, will start from third place, ahead of practice pace-setter Lucas di Grassi.
For Abt, his practice running had been limited as a result of contact with the wall during free practice 1, which in turn made qualifying a challenge: “That was a very tough qualifying session for us, especially after what happened in FP1. We didn’t have a lot of running in FP2 or FP3. I was happy just to be in the top-10, so just incredible with this result. I’m very happy.”
Starting second, Prost will be looking to build on his championship lead as he aims to become the first two-time Formula E race winner: “We’ll have to see what we can do in the race. It’s not a bad result and I did my best so I’m happy overall. It looked like the track was improving but I’m pleased with what we’ve achieved and how consistent we’ve been.”
Earlier, Nelson Piquet Jr topped the first practice session with a 59.723 second lap, ahead of Bruno Senna and Scott Speed, despite the American briefly stopping on circuit mid-session. With six minutes to run, the session was red flagged due to Abt’s contact with the Turn 1 barriers.
Lucas di Grassi jumped to the top and dominated Practice 2, his 57.305 lap a full 0.773 seconds faster than Buemi in second, with Prost third. The session was punctuated by a red flag for Jean-Éric Vergne, as the Andretti driver made heavy contact with the fence at turn five.
Several other drivers experienced dramas during the session, including leaking fluid for China Racing’s Charles Pic and suspension dramas for Tonio Liuzzi.
Di Grassi remained at the top of the timing screens in Practice 3, this time setting a 57.293 lap to be 0.304 seconds ahead of Vergne and Prost in what was a much cleaner 25 minute session for the field.
The FIA Formula E Long Beach ePrix race will start at 16:00 local time (UTC-07:00), with the three drivers to receive FanBoost to be announced ten minutes before race start.
|2015 Formula E Long Beach ePrix – Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sébastien Buemi^||Team e.dams Renault||56.853||8|
|2.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||56.937||+ 0.084||8|
|3.||Nicolas Prost||Team e.dams Renault||56.944||+ 0.091||6|
|4.||Nelson Piquet Jr||China Racing Formula E Team||56.974||+ 0.121||6|
|5.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||57.083||+ 0.230||5|
|6.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||57.106||+ 0.253||7|
|7.||António Félix da Costa^||Amlin Aguri||57.149||+ 0.296||6|
|8.||Scott Speed||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||57.156||+ 0.303||7|
|9.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||57.184||+ 0.331||8|
|10.||Stéphane Sarrazin||VENTURI Formula E Team||57.261||+ 0.408||7|
|11.||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||57.304||+ 0.451||6|
|12.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||57.347||+ 0.494||6|
|13.||Jarno Trulli||Trulli Formula E Team||57.417||+ 0.564||6|
|14.||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||57.449||+ 0.596||5|
|15.||Nick Heidfeld||VENTURI Formula E Team||57.508||+ 0.655||6|
|16.||Charles Pic||China Racing Formula E Team||57.818||+ 0.965||6|
|17.||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||57.905||+ 1.052||5|
|18.||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||57.921||+ 1.068||8|
|19.||Salvador Durán||Amlin Aguri||57.950||+ 1.097||5|
|20.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Trulli Formula E Team||1:12.813||+ 15.960||2|
^ Buemi and da Costa exceeded power usage – final qualifying lap deleted from classification.
Image via Formula E Championship