Jean-Éric Vergne will start the Berlin ePrix from pole position, the DS Virgin Racing driver setting a 57.811-second lap to beat Sébastien Buemi by just 0.016 seconds.
After several poor qualifying sessions over recent events, Buemi turned the tables on championship rival Lucas di Grassi, who could only manage tenth place on the grid. Conversely, di Grassi’s ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team mate Daniel Abt has enjoyed a competitive start to his home ePrix, ending the Super Pole session in third place, 0.041 seconds behind Buemi.
The final two cars in Super Pole were the Mahindra pair of Bruno Senna and Nick Heidfeld in fourth and fifth respectively. It was a history making session for the team; being both the first time they have achieved this feat, as well as Senna’s best-ever Formula E starting position.
Speaking after the session, Vergne was proud to have taken his first pole since joining DS Virgin Racing: “I’m really happy with pole position. Everything is going well at the moment. I hope we can get a better result than in Paris. Here there are a lot of opportunities to overtake, so it’s going to be difficult, but I’m going to give it my best and I have nothing to lose.”
In regular qualifying, the first group was lead by NEXTEV TCR’s Oliver Turvey with a 58.118s lap, ahead of di Grassi, Stéphane Sarrazin and Robin Frijns.
All but one of second group of drivers immediately pushed Turvey to provisional fifth place, and with it di Grassi was eliminated from Super Pole. Vergne was fastest at this point with a 57.608s ahead of Abt (57.792s), the second DS Virgin of Sam Bird (57.836s) and Nicolas Prost (58.090s). The only driver from the group to not have provisionally qualified for Super Pole was series debutante René Rast, who ended 0.014s behind Frijns.
Group three contained Heidfeld, Abt and Nelson Piquet Jr, who continued the stronger form shown by NEXTEV TCR during this meeting. Also in the group was Simona de Silvestro who provisionally qualified tenth, and Venturi’s Mike Conway in eleventh – who brushed the wall at Turn 4 on his full-power lap.
The fourth and final group – along with all of regular qualifying – was topped by Buemi with a 57.322s lap. Senna moved to P2, while the second Venturi of Loïc Duval will start from P11.
Ma Qing Hua was the slowest of all drivers by some margin, 0.5 seconds behind Rast, meaning both Team Aguri cars will start from the final row of the grid.
|2015-16 Formula E Berlin ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||57.811|
|2.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.DAMS||57.827||+ 0.016|
|3.||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||57.852||+ 0.041|
|4.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||58.303||+ 0.492|
|5.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||59.085||+ 1.274|
|2015-16 Formula E Berlin ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|6.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||57.838||+ 0.516|
|7.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||58.026||+ 0.704|
|8.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.DAMS||58.028||+ 0.706|
|9.||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||58.118||+ 0.796|
|10.||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||58.183||+ 0.861|
|11.||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||58.298||+ 0.976|
|12.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||58.501||+ 1.179|
|13.||Simona de Silvestro||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||58.654||+ 1.332|
|14.||Mike Conway||Venturi Formula E Team||58.687||+ 1.365|
|15.||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||58.740||+ 1.418|
|16.||Robin Frijns||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||58.742||+ 1.420|
|17.||Réne Rast||Team Aguri||58.756||+ 1.434|
|18.||Ma Qing Hua||Team Aguri||59.301||+ 1.979|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 qualifying lap time of 57.322 posted by Sébastien Buemi.
Earlier, Buemi topped the opening practice session of the weekend, with his 57.648s lap over a second ahead of NEXTEV’s Turvey. Positions three to thirteen in the session were covers by less than a second.
For the first time this season, practice two saw reigning champion Piquet Jr was able move NEXTEV TCR to the top of the time sheets, ahead of the DS Virgin pair of Bird and Vergne.
The result was somewhat skewed by several drivers being forced to abort their qualifying simulation lap when Rast’s Aguri stopped on circuit. The biggest incident of the session came from Stéphane Sarrazin, who clipped an inside wall in his Venturi, which then ricocheted across the track and made heavy contact with the outside wall. The session was red flagged as a result of the crash.
Image via FIA Formula E Championship