Sam Bird has taken his third Formula E pole of the season at the Paris ePrix.
As the final car on track in Super Pole, the Briton set a 1:01.616 lap time to jump ahead of championship leader Lucas di Grassi and Bird’s DS Virgin Racing team mate Jean-Éric Vergne.
Stéphane Sarrazin underlined the practice pace shown earlier by Venturi to take fourth position on the grid, while Renault e.Dams’ Nicolas Prost will start fifth to give the French fans no less than three local drivers in the top-five.
Robin Frijns just missed the Super Pole session, setting the sixth fastest time for Andretti; his team mate Simona de Silvestro will line up in twelfth.
Yet again qualifying was a missed opportunity for the second Renault e.Dams of Sébastien Buemi. Struggling with tyre temperature issues throughout his qualifying group, the Swiss driver will start in eighth place – in between the NEXTEV TCR cars of Oliver Turvey and reigning champion Nelson Piquet Jr, who delivered by far the NEXTEV team’s best showing of the season.
The Super Pole session should have had both Venturis competing, however Mike Conway was eliminated while part way through what would have been the fastest lap during Qualifying Group 1. On track ahead of Conway, Nick Heidfeld spun his Mahindra, and clumsily re-joined the circuit directly into the path of the Englishman. With no time to react, both cars made heavy contact and were out of qualifying on the spot. Conway and Heidfeld will start from seventeenth and eighteenth place respectively, provided their teams can have their cars repaired in time for the race.
Loïc Duval ran down the Turn 8 escape road on his full-power lap and will start in sixteenth, while series debutant Ma Qing Hua was initially on target to start towards the back of the top ten only to make two mistakes in the later stages of his flying lap to end in fifteenth.
|2015-16 Formula E Paris ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:01.514|
|2.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:01.770||+ 0.256|
|3.||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||1:02.148||+ 0.634|
|4.||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:02.249||+ 0.735|
|5.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.DAMS||1:02.339||+ 0.825|
|2015-16 Formula E Paris ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|6.||Robin Frijns||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:02.448|
|7.||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:02.492|
|8.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.DAMS||1:02.661|
|9.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:02.685|
|10.||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||1:02.747|
|11.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:02.797|
|12.||Simona de Silvestro||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:02.888|
|13.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:02.915|
|14.||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:03.081|
|15.||Ma Qing Hua||Team Aguri||1:03.655|
|16.||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:03.787|
|17.||Mike Conway||Venturi Formula E Team||1:04.798|
|NQ.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||no time|
Buemi and Conway set the practice pace
Earlier, Buemi started the event by setting the fastest time in opening practice. The 1:02.841 lap set by the Swiss driver placed him 0.1 seconds ahead of title rival Lucas di Grassi, with Stéphane Sarrazin’s Venturi a further 0.1 seconds back. The British pair of Sam Bird and Mike Conway rounded out the top five.
The session was notable for several drivers brushing walls as they came to grips with the Paris circuit for the first time, however it was a battery management system for Jérôme d’Ambrosio on the run to turn one that saw the red flag issued to retrieve the stricken Dragon Racing car.
Ma Qing Hua, on his debut for Team Aguri, also stopped on circuit and was pushed down pit lane before ultimately ending the session in 17th position.
Conway moved Venturi to the top of the tree in Practice Two with a 1:01.386 lap, just 0.010 seconds ahead of the DS Virgin Racing team mates Jean-Éric Vergne and Sam Bird. Just under two-tenths separated the leading two cars and Bird, primarily due to the leading pair carrying significantly more speed through Turns 11 ans 12 to capitalise on the offset timing line position of the circuit. Fourth place was filled by di Grassi ahead of Sarrazin. Buemi failed to set a full power lap and consequently ended the session thirteenth-fastest.
While the session remained green throughout, two notable incidents occurred. Sarrazin spun and nosed into the barriers, while Bird was forced to switch to his second car mid-session having clipped the wall and damaged the rear end of his original vehicle.
The race start for the inaugural Paris ePrix is schedule for 16:00pm local time (GMT +2).
Image via Motorsport.com
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