Jérôme d’Ambrosio will start from pole in today’s Punta del Este ePrix, his first Formula E pole position. The Belgian and his teammate Loïc Duval took advantage of errors by both Sébastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi during Super Pole to score a Dragon Racing front row lockout.

Qualifying Group 1 was topped by Oliver Turvey (1:16.154), who just edged his NEXTEV TCR team mate Nelson Piquet Jr with a time that would ultimately place 10th on the grid. Behind the NEXTEV car in this group was Aguri’s Nathanaël Berthon and DS Virgin’s Jean-Éric Vergne. A mistake early in Vergne’s lap, before almost hitting a slow-moving Berthon put paid to his chances of progressing.

Four of the five drivers in Group 2 jumped ahead of Turvey’s provisional pole time, with di Grassi (1:15.115), d’Ambrosio (1:15.481) and Sam Bird (1:15.790) all completing laps that would ultimately promote them into the ‘Super Pole’ session. Nicolas Prost set the fourth lap in the group but in doing so damaged his front wing on a bollard placed on the inside of one of the kerbs, slowing his progress.

Di Grassi’s time withstood the attacks of Qualifying Group 3 as only Duval set a time good enough to reach ‘Super Pole’; his 1:15.748 lap slotting into the leader board in provisional third between d’Ambrosio and Bird.

Buemi was on track in the final group and set his fast lap early, a 1:15.011 to place himself at the top of the order and ensure he would be the final car on track in Super Pole. Setting his time as early as possible was a masterstroke for the Swiss driver, as a heavy crash for Jacques Villeneuve in the penultimate corner soon ended the session. The damage to Villeneuve’s chassis has been deemed too significant to repair in time for this afternoon’s race, leaving only 17 cars to take the start.

In Super Pole, Bird was first on track and completed a clean, if unspectacular, 1:16.109 lap. Duval followed with a similarly uneventful 1:15.875 lap and jumped into first place. D’Ambrosio could be seen to be pushing slightly harder, and despite a lock up into one of the chicanes moved into provisional pole.

Di Grassi heavily clouted the kerbs and then brushed the wall through the first chicane, completing his 1:16.635 lap to start in fourth place. Buemi was looking to take his third pole of the year locked up and slid down the escape road at the Turn 8 hairpin, the result after recovering being a 1:19.811 lap and a fifth place start.

Earlier, Practice 1 was topped by Buemi, setting a 1:15.1 second lap time. The session was red flagged early when Vergne stopped on track after completing 5 laps, although the Frenchman switched to his second car for the balance of the session and ultimately ended in fourth, 2.8 seconds down on Buemi’s time.

Buemi had led the majority of the session before Vergne’s DS Virgin team mate Sam Bird jumped to the top with a 1:16.3 lap, before he too brought out the red flags by clouting the wall at the exit of the second chicane. After restarting the final five minutes of the session saw Buemi set his ultimately fastest lap, while Bird’s lap held on to second ahead of di Grassi in third – a further 0.9 behind.

Nicolas Prost was fastest with a 1:15.4 time in Practice two, 0.1 seconds ahead of di Grassi, with another 0.1 seconds to Buemi in third. Buemi’s lap was not completely indicative of his car speed, as he dealt with traffic on circuit. The session was not without drama, early issues for Buemi forced the Swiss into his second car from the opening minutes, while Daniel Abt brought out the red flags by hitting the barriers. The session resumed with seven minutes remaining, and it was during this time when all the fastest laps were set, as teams used the full 200kW power allowance in their cars for qualifying simulation runs.

The Punta del Este ePrix race starts at 16:00 local time (UTC – 03:00).

2015-16 Formula E Punta del Este ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing 1:15.498
2. Loïc Duval Dragon Racing 1:15.875 + 0.377
3. Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team 1:16.109 + 0.611
4. Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport 1:16.635 + 1.137
5. Sébastien Buemi Renault e.DAMS 1:19.811 + 4.313
2015-16 Formula E Punta del Este – Preliminary Qualifying Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
6. Nicolas Prost Renault e.DAMS 1:15.913 + 0.902
7. Daniel Abt ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport 1:15.993 + 0.982
8. António Félix da Costa Team Aguri 1:16.014 + 0.993
9. Bruno Senna Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 1:16.048 + 1.037
10. Oliver Turvey NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team 1:16.154 + 1.143
11. Robin Frijns Amlin Andretti Formula E Team 1:16.255 + 1.244
12. Nelson Piquet Jr NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team 1:16.300 + 1.289
13. Stéphane Sarrazin Venturi Formula E Team 1:16.353 + 1.342
14. Nathanaël Berthon Team Aguri 1:17.573 + 2.562
15. Simona de Silvestro Amlin Andretti Formula E Team 1:18.281 + 3.270
16. Oliver Rowland Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 1:19.414 + 4.403
17. Jean-Éric Vergne DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team 1:19.946 + 4.935
NQ. Jacques Villeneuve Venturi Formula E Team 1:28.451 + 13.440

* Denotes gap to fastest provisional qualifying time of 1:15.011 posted by Lucas di Grassi

Image via ASN Media

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Mitch Timms

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Professional motorsport engineer and all-round tech head.