Jérôme d’Ambrosio will start Saturday’s Mexico City Formula E ePrix from pole position thanks to another qualifying error by runaway championship leader Sébastien Buemi.
The five Super Pole contenders all progressed from one of two qualifying groups, with d’Ambrosio, Lucas di Grassi and Buemi in Group 2, while Nicolas Prost and Daniel Abt moved through from Group 3.
Turn 1 proved to be the source of several incidents during regular qualifying, with Bruno Senna spinning and lightly damaging the rear of his Mahindra during group two, before an extended red flag period in group four, caused by Nelson Piquet Jr. The reigning champion endured a massive lock up into the corner and made heavy front-on contact with the barriers, leaving the NEXTEV TCR team pushing to have the car repaired in time for race start this afternoon.
Abt was first on track in Super Pole, and banked a 1:04.335s lap. D’Ambrosio followed with a 1:03.705s time to move to the top, with the lap withstanding the attacks of di Grassi (+0.318) and Prost (+0.308).
Having been fastest in regular qualifying, Buemi was the last man on circuit only to run wide at Turn 4, the time lost ultimately leaving him in fifth on the grid, 1.478 seconds off D’Ambrosio’s pole lap.
After the session, d’Ambrosio spoke of the level of commitment he needed to take pole: “It’s unexpected, we knew we could try to be top five. I told the team I was going to go full on and take the risks and take the fight to these guys and I just went for it and it worked out. It’s another couple of points and I feel great for the team.”
The 43-lap Mexico City ePrix gets underway at 4:00pm local time (GMT -6).
|2015-16 Formula E Mexico City ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:03.705|
|2.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.DAMS||1:04.013||+ 0.308|
|3.||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:04.023||+ 0.318|
|4.||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:04.335||+ 0.630|
|5.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.DAMS||1:05.183||+ 1.478|
|2015-16 Formula E Mexico City ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|6.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:04.268||+ 0.601|
|7.||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||1:04.371||+ 0.704|
|8.||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:04.492||+ 0.825|
|9.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:04.523||+ 0.856|
|10.||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||1:04.583||+ 0.916|
|11.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:04.594||+ 0.927|
|12.||Simona de Silvestro||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:04.606||+ 0.939|
|13.||Robin Frijns||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:04.959||+ 1.292|
|14.||Mike Conway||Venturi Formula E Team||1:05.108||+ 1.441|
|15.||Salvador Durán||Team Aguri||1:05.452||+ 1.785|
|16.||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:06.166||+ 2.499|
|17.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:07.724||+ 4.057|
|18.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||no time|
* Denotes gap to fastest provisional qualifying time of 1:03.667 posted by Sébestien Buemi
Earlier, Buemi started the event on top by ending fastest in the 45 minute Practice 1. The championship leader set a 1:03.995s lap that was untouchable for the rest of the field, with Dragon Racing’s Loïc Duval in second, 0.367s behind. Third place was held by NEXTEV TCR driver Oliver Turvey (+1.072), ahead of Nicolas Prost (+1.154) and Daniel Abt (+1.193).
Practice 2 was split by a red flag period half way through the 30-minute session, brought about when Salvador Durán’s Team Aguri car stopped on track. The local hero attempted to cycle the power and reboot his machine, but ultimately was unable to get restarted. With the Aguri team electing to save Durán’s second car for use in qualifying, the issue effectively ended the Mexican’s session. Not long after the session restarted, Buemi made a mistake at Turn 1, followed closely by Sam Bird who spun and hit the barrier, causing some minor cosmetic damage to the rear of his DS Virgin Racer.
Ultimately it was Buemi who again ended the session on top, the Swiss driver setting a 1:03.341s lap, followed by the two ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport cars of Abt (+0.258s) and Lucas di Grassi (+0.407s). Prost in the second Renault e.Dams was fourth (+0.477s), with the top five rounded out by Mike Conway (+0.569s). Oliver Turvey’s 1:03.964s lap meant that the top six drivers in Practice 2 were faster than Buemi’s time from the opening session.
Image via FIA Formula E Championship