António Félix da Costa has been stripped of pole position for the Long Beach ePrix, having been found with tyre pressures set below the permitted minimum. As a result, the Team Aguri driver’s qualifying results were excluded and he will start from the rear of the grid.

Sam Bird, who had finished second-fastest in the ‘Super Pole’ session, will inherit the top starting spot.

As the second-last car on track during Super Pole, da Costa driver set a 57.198-second lap to move to the top of the time sheets; a time which could not be beaten by DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, who was 0.063s behind.

The rest of the tight Super Pole session was filled by championship contender Lucas di Grassi (57.270s) – rebounding from his exclusion from the Mexican race – followed by the Venturi of Stéphane Sarrazin. Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld rounded out the five-car field, having set a solid first sector time before messing up the final part of the lap.

The first qualifying group contained championship leader Sébastien Buemi, whose one-lap yips continued with a tentative full-power lap that was ultimately not enough to progress to Super Pole; after da Costa’s exclusion is applied, the Renault e.Dams driver will start seventh on the grid.

The biggest moment of qualifying was caused by Loïc Duval, who hit the wall during his run and will start from the last row of the grid alongside da Costa as a result. His Dragon Racing team mate Jérôme d’Ambrosio will have a challenging fight to replicate his victory in the last round, starting from 9th on the grid.

2015-16 Formula E Long Beach ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team 57.261
2. Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport 57.270 + 0.009
3. Stéphane Sarrazin Venturi Formula E Team 57.412 + 0.151
4. Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 57.825 + 0.564
EXC. António Félix da Costa^ Team Aguri excluded
2015-16 Formula E Long Beach ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
6. Robin Frijns Amlin Andretti Formula E Team 57.145 + 0.324
7. Daniel Abt ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport 57.151 + 0.330
8. Sébastien Buemi Renault e.DAMS 57.189 + 0.368
9. Nicolas Prost Renault e.DAMS 57.284 + 0.463
10. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing 57.288 + 0.467
11. Bruno Senna Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 57.383 + 0.562
12. Jean-Éric Vergne DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team 57.496 + 0.675
13. Simona de Silvestro Amlin Andretti Formula E Team 57.696 + 0.875
14. Oliver Turvey NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team 57.952 + 1.131
15. Nelson Piquet Jr NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team 58.015 + 1.194
16. Mike Conway Venturi Formula E Team 58.144 + 1.323
17. Salvador Durán Team Aguri 58.417 + 1.596
18. Loïc Duval Dragon Racing 58.049 + 2.228

* Denotes gap to fastest provisional qualifying time of 56.821 posted by Sam Bird
^ António Félix da Costa’s qualifying time were excluded for a tyre pressure regulation violation. He will start the race from the back of the grid.

Earlier, Buemi was fastest in Practice 1 (57.383s), ahead of Sam Bird and a Season 1-spec cars – the Andretti Autosport pair of Simona de Silvestro and Robin Frijns, along with the Team Aguri car if Salvador Durán – suggesting that the Long Beach circuit could be well suited to the original specification of Formula E cars.

Daniel Abt broke Buemi’s 2015 lap record on his way to topping Practice Two with a 56.778s lap. Buemi, who had been at the print of the field for most of the session ended second (56.952s), ahead of Abt’s team mate Lucas di Grassi, da Costa and Frijns.

The 41-lap Long Beach ePrix gets underway at 4:00pm local time (GMT -7).

Image via FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

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