Lucas di Grassi has placed his Audi Sport ABT on pole for the Buenos Aires ePrix.

As the third car out in SuperPole, di Grassi’s lap of 1:09.404 was enough to move him to the front of the grid, with neither long-term rival Sébastien Buemi nor the fastest driver in regular qualifying, Jean-Éric Vergne, able to beat the Brazilian’s lap time.

Instead, Vergne and Buemi will start in second and third respectively. The two NextEV NIO cars of Oliver Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr both made SuperPole and will start in fourth and fifth on the grid, although both notably lost time during their SuperPole laps with sizable lock ups.

In regular qualifying, Group 1 comprised Sam Bird, Maro Engel, Mitch Evans, Robin Frijns and Adam Carroll. Evans was the group’s fastest qualifier and will start seventh in the first of the Jaguars – the marque’s first top-ten qualifying position in Formula E – while teammate Carroll found himself in fifteenth at the end of the session.

The biggest talking point of the group was 2016 Buenos Aires pole-sitter and race winner Bird, who struggled for tyre temperature and could only muster tenth on the grid after a self-described “really scrappy lap”. Frijns set a 1:10.172 lap time for thirteenth on the grid, while Engel stopped on track briefly, the lost time eventually leaving the German in 20th and last.

Group 2 proved to be the fastest of the field, as four of the five drivers would move through to SuperPole. Vergne’s 1:08.751 lap would be the fastest of regular qualifying, with Buemi slotting into second with a 1:09.018 effort and di Grassi a further 0.066s behind in third. Piquet Jr moved into provisional fourth position, while only Jérôme d’Ambrosio would not progress beyond the group, his 1:09.697 lap ultimately placing him ninth on the grid.

None of the third group challenged the front of the field, Felix Rosenqvist setting the group’s fastest time with a lap good enough for eighth on the grid. Behind the Swede, Stéphane Sarrazin and Loïc Duval qualified in eleventh and fourteenth respectively.

António Félix da Costa and José María López both hit the wall during their flying laps – frustratingly for López he was on track to set the provisionally fastest time when he made the error. The Argentinian will start his home ePrix from eighteenth place; da Costa will line up one position ahead.

Fastest in the final group was the second NextEV NIO of Turvey, who slipped ahead of his teammate into fourth position. Nicolas Prost missed SuperPole by less than 0.06 seconds and will start sixth, while Nick Heidfeld, Daniel Abt and Ma Qing Hua will fill positions twelve, sixteen and nineteen for the race start.

2016-17 Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport 1:09.404
2. Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah 1:09.598 + 0.194
3. Sébastien Buemi Renault e.Dams 1:09.825 + 0.421
4. Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO Formula E Team 1:10.075 + 0.671
5. Nelson Piquet Jr NextEV NIO Formula E Team 1:11.274 + 1.870
2016-17 Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
6. Nicolas Prost Renault e.Dams 1:09.442 + 0.691
7. Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:09.505 + 0.754
8. Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing 1:09.681 + 0.930
9. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Faraday Future Dragon Racing 1:09.697 + 0.946
10. Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing 1:09.839 + 1.088
11. Stéphane Sarrazin Venturi Formula E Team 1:10.100 + 1.349
12. Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing 1:10.152 + 1.401
13. Robin Frijns MS Amlin Andretti Formula E Team 1:10.172 + 1.421
14. Loïc Duval Faraday Future Dragon Racing 1:10.257 + 1.506
15. Adam Carroll Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:10.946 + 2.195
16. Daniel Abt ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport 1:13.284 + 4.533
17. António Félix da Costa MS Amlin Andretti Formula E Team 1:13.326 + 4.575
DNQ. José María López DS Virgin Racing 1:16.760 + 8.009
DNQ. Ma Qing Hua Techeetah 1:22.405 + 13.654
DNQ. Maro Engel Venturi Formula E Team 1:44.239 + 35.488

* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 qualifying lap time of 1:08.571 posted by Jean-Éric Vergne.

Earlier, DS Virgin Racing made the most of practice to finish on top in both sessions.

Local hero López was fastest in Practice 1, setting a 1:09.431 lap during a full 200kw qualifying simulation run, ahead of Vergne’s Techeetah and the Jaguar of Evans. The session was stopped twice, in both cases by Felix da Costa – initially the Portuguese driver crashed heavily, backing his car into the wall at the chicane.

The session was restarted and following a routing visit to the medical centre, da Costa ventured out in his second car, only to have it grind to ground to a halt on track. With the recovery set to take longer than the remaining time available, the session was ended at this point.

It was the other DS Virgin belonging to Bird that topped Practice 2, setting a 1:08.792 lap during his full-power qualifying simulation run. This lap time was over half a second faster than Bird’s pole position time last season, showing how far the cars have developed over twelve months.

Rosenqvist placed his Mahindra in second ahead of di Grassi, as the Brazilian proceeded to oversteer into the barrier with the right-rear of his car after setting his fastest lap. Championship leader Buemi ended the session in fourth place, with Frijns rounding out the top five.

A single red flag period caused the session to be extended by seven minutes, the stoppage occurring mid-way through the session when Duval lost a wheel from his Faraday Future Dragon racer.

The Buenos Aires ePrix race is scheduled to commence at 16:00 local time (GMT -03:00).

Image via ABT Sportsline

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Mitch Timms

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