Jarno Trulli has claimed a surprise pole position for the Berlin ePrix, ahead of championship combatants Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi for Saturday’s Berlin Formula E ePrix at the city’s Tempelhof Airport.
Trulli set his fastest lap of 1:21.547 the first qualifying group, with the time standing firm against the challengers of the final three groups. The result provides a bright moment for the Italian owner/driver, for whom the inaugural Formula E season has been challenging to say the least for his eponymous team.
Known for his one-lap speed during his Formula One career (where his last pole position came for Toyota at the 2009 Bahrain Grand Prix), it remains to be seen if the famous ‘Trulli Train’ – where the Italian would lead a queue of faster cars in the opening laps of a Grand Prix – will re-appear in Formula E.
Di Grassi’s best lap – set in the third group – fell just 0.076 seconds short of Trulli’s time, but the results were not certain until Buemi’s run in the final qualifying group. The Swiss racer came within 0.138 seconds on his first fast lap before losing time in the opening sector of his second, in turn not improving his time.
Behind the top three, German drivers Nick Heidfeld and Daniel Abt scored top-five starting positions for their home event, with Jérôme d’Ambrosio, Nicolas Prost, Loïc Duval, Stéphane Sarrazin and Jean-Éric Vergne filling out the top ten.
A notable absentee from the top half of the grid is Nelson Piquet Jr, who by his own admission struggled with car set-up on his way to 13th place. In a boost for the Brazilian, he has been announced as a recipient of the FanBoost ahead of this afternoon’s 33 lap race, along with his team mate Charles Pic and Buemi.
Earlier, both championship challengers each topped a practice session, with Buemi fastest in Practice One, and di Grassi fastest in Practice Two. The single biggest talking point from the practice sessions was tyre degradation, with the Berlin Tempelhof Airport’s concrete apron surface being far more abrasive than the asphalts seen at each street circuit so far. With Formula E rules requiring each car to use the same set of all-weather tyres for the entire race meeting, tyre management – particularly of the fronts – likely to have an effect on the race’s outcome.
The Berlin ePrix race is scheduled to start at 16:00 local time (UTC +02:00).
Image via FIA Formula E Championship