FIA Formula E Championship leader Sébastien Buemi has romped to back-to-back pole positions after dominating today’s qualifying session for the Putrajaya ePrix.
Despite a rather wild ‘Super Pole’ lap, the Renault e.DAMS driver still finished almost half-a-second clear of former Toyota Racing endurance racing teammate Stéphane Sarrazin in the one-lap dash for the top spot on the starting grid.
The Swiss driver was fastest in the preliminary group stages of qualifying, posting a lap record 1:19.821 (a full 1.6 seconds faster than last year’s pole position), but was unable to lower the benchmark further in the session for the fastest five preliminary qualifiers.
Sarrazin was certainly something of a surprise performer in his Venturi – not considered by many to be a truly frontrunning car – finishing ahead of fellow Frenchman Loïc Duval (Dragon Racing).
António Félix da Costa performed impressively in his Team Aguri entry, with the fact that his car was running the one-year-old transmission package making his performance all the more credible.
Buemi’s teammate Nicolas Prost was the slowest of the ‘Super Pole’ runners, having a very untidy lap that barely equalled the time he achieved to claim pole position at last year’s race.
Lucas di Grassi should have been in the ‘Super Pole’ shootout session, but walloped the wall at the penultimate corner and had to crab his way across the finish line – nonetheless he still finished sixth-fastest, four spots ahead of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport teammate Daniel Abt.
The DS Virgin Racing duo of Jean-Éric Vergne and last year’s Putrajaya winner, Sam Bird, qualified well down the order and locked out the seventh row, despite showing impressive speed in the day’s earlier practice session. Bird compounded his woes by hitting the wall at Turn 3.
Reigning champion Nelson Piquet Jr showed little improvement in the qualifying speed he showed at Beijing, with he and NEXTEV TCR teammate Oliver Turvey only managing to outpace Andretti’s Simona de Silvestro in the final reckoning.
The 33-lap Putrajaya ePrix gets underway at 2:00pm local time (GMT +8).
|2015-16 Formula E Formula E Putrajaya ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.DAMS||1:20.196|
|2.||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||1:20.639||+ 0.443|
|3.||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:20.886||+ 0.690|
|4.||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||1:20.975||+ 0.779|
|5.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.DAMS||1:21.786||+ 1.590|
|2015-16 Formula E Formula E Putrajaya ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|6.||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:20.449||+ 0.628|
|7.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:20.496||+ 0.675|
|8.||Robin Frijns||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:20.546||+ 0.725|
|9.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:20.616||+ 0.795|
|10.||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:20.679||+ 0.858|
|11.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:20.727||+ 0.906|
|12.||Jacques Villeneuve||Venturi Formula E Team||1:20.754||+ 0.933|
|13.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:20.820||+ 0.999|
|14.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:20.905||+ 1.084|
|15.||Nathanaël Berthon||Team Aguri||1:21.270||+ 1.449|
|16.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:21.559||+ 1.738|
|17.||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:21.611||+ 1.790|
|18.||Simona de Silvestro||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:21.958||+ 2.137|
* Denotes gap to fastest provisional qualifying time of 1:19.821 posted by Sébastien Buemi
Image via FIA Formula E Championship