Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist will start the final race of the Montréal ePrix – also the final race of the 2016-17 Formula E Championship season – from pole position after setting the fastest time in this afternoon’s Super Pole session.
Rosenqvist’s 1:22.344 lap could not be beaten by DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, who was fastest in the group stages of qualifying.
Having been been caught with a technical issue in yesterday’s qualifying session which prevented he and teammate Jose Maria Lopez from activating the full 200kW qualifying power mode, Bird showed his true pace to set up what should be a fascinating battle for third in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Backing up from his second place result in Saturday’s race, Jean-Éric Vergne qualified his Techeetah in third place, ahead of the second Mahindra of Nick Heidfeld and championship leader Lucas di Grassi. The Brazilian ran wide at Turn 1 during his Super Pole lap, the mistake relegating him to slowest of the five runners.
The mistake would be of little consequence to di Grassi, as the only driver who can challenge for the title had a difficult qualifying.
After dropping from 10 points ahead of di Grassi to 18 points behind as a result of being excluded from Saturday’s race, Buemi was drawn in the first qualifying group – generally considered a disadvantage – and then locked up into Turn 1 on his flying lap and ultimately ending in 14th position.
This will become 13th place on the grid once teammate Nicolas Prost (who qualified seventh) takes penalties for having a number of electrical power system components replaced over night after a battery fire in parc fermé after Saturday’s race.
With neither di Grassi or Buemi taking the bonus points for pole position, Buemi has a monumental challenge ahead to win the crown.
The Swiss driver must finish on the podium to stand any chance of taking the title, and even then the result will depend on di Grassi’s finishing position. Conversely, a top five finish for di Grassi will capture the championship for the Brazilian, regardless of Buemi’s result.
Di Grassi’s teammate Daniel Abt qualified in sixth place, and will no doubt make a handy tail-gunner for his team if required.
With Prost’s penalties applied, Tom Dillmann will start eighth for Venturi, while Nelson Piquet Jr, Stéphane Sarrazin and Jérôme d’Ambrosio rounded out the top ten on the grid.
|2016-17 Formula E Montréal ePrix – Race 2 ‘Super Pole’ Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|1.||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||1:22.344|
|2.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||1:22.559||+ 0.215|
|3.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Techeetah||1:22.769||+ 0.425|
|4.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||1:23.041||+ 0.697|
|5.||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:23.557||+ 1.213|
|2016-17 Formula E Montréal ePrix – Race 2 Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|6.||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:22.694||+ 0.682|
|7.||Nicolas Prost^||Renault e.Dams||1:22.721||+ 0.709|
|8.||Tom Dillmann||Venturi Formula E Team||1:22.822||+ 0.810|
|9.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NextEV NIO Formula E Team||1:22.972||+ 0.960|
|10.||Stéphane Sarrazin||Techeetah||1:23.057||+ 1.045|
|11.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Faraday Future Dragon Racing||1:23.058||+ 1.046|
|12.||José María López||DS Virgin Racing||1:23.313||+ 1.301|
|13.||Loïc Duval||Faraday Future Dragon Racing||1:23.337||+ 1.325|
|14.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:23.372||+ 1.360|
|15.||António Félix da Costa||MS Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:23.635||+ 1.623|
|16.||Robin Frijns||MS Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:23.655||+ 1.643|
|17.||Oliver Turvey||NextEV NIO Formula E Team||1:23.709||+ 1.697|
|18.||Mitch Evans||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||1:23.755||+ 1.743|
|19.||Maro Engel||Venturi Formula E Team||1:23.811||+ 1.799|
|20.||Adam Carroll||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||1:24.024||+ 2.012|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 qualifying lap time of 1:22.012 posted by Sam Bird.
^ Post-Qualifying Penalties:
Nicolas Prost – who provisionally qualified seventh-fastest – will serve a 10-place grid penalty for unscheduled electrical component changes.
Image via FIA Formula E Championship
Earlier, di Grassi began by setting a new unofficial lap record in the day’s opening practice session, his 1:21.4442 lap being faster than any time seen on Saturday. Prost was second fastest with a 1:21.840 lap, while Buemi was third, 0.7 seconds down on his title rival. Andretti’s Antonio Felix da Costa ended the session in fourth, with Lopez putting his DS Virgin in fifth place.
Rosenqvist climbed to the top in the second practice session, lowering the unofficial lap record further to 1:21.183. Buemi was second, just 0.1 seconds behind, while Lopez and Bird locked out third and fourth. di Grassi, seemingly focused more on race setup rather than qualifying pace, ended the session in ninth position.
Images via FIA Formula E Championship