Championship leader Jean-Éric Vergne will start the Punta del Este ePrix from pole position after fastest qualifier Lucas di Grassi was penalised for not respecting track limits during his Super Pole lap.

Di Grassi’s penalty was just one of several that determined the final starting order for the race. Like the reigning champion, Alex Lynn and Oliver Turvey were also found to have gained an advantage, having clipped the bollard through the Turn 14/15 chicane during Super Pole and were demoted in the order as a result. Consequently Vergne claims his third pole position of the year, with di Grassi to start second, ahead of Lynn, Turvey and Daniel Abt.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans qualified for the Super Pole session, but the New Zealander’s car was found to have a weight distribution outside the permitted regulations following a battery change between sessions. The resulting penalty moves the Kiwi back to 16th on the grid.

The winner of both Punta del Este Formula E races to-date, Sébastien Buemi, will start from sixth place; his early pace in practice not translating to qualifying. André Lotterer and Maro Engel occupy seventh and eighth positions, while Vergne’s closest championship challengers start well behind the Frenchman – Sam Bird qualifying in ninth position, while Felix Rosenqvist will start from twelfth place.

Three major incidents also punctuated qualifying. Nicolas Prost was the first, jumping Turn 15 and damaging the steering in this Renault e.Dams, his car then clipping the wall and causing further damage – and a 19th place starting position.

Nick Heidfeld also came to grief and will start 17th in his Mahindra after collecting the barriers at Turn 17. The Turn 14/15 chicane then claimed another victim, as former champion Nelson Piquet Jr also found the wall. Despite causing a red flag, the Brazilian will start from 14th place.

Luca Filippi is set to start from 15th position after a three-place penalty was applied for speeding under red flags during practice.

Earlier, Buemi set the early pace and topped opening practice, setting a 1:14.535 lap time to beat his previous lap record from season two. Di Grassi was second fastest with a 1:14.941 lap, while Rosenqvist in third.

Di Grassi then smashed this new record in Practice 2, going almost a second faster to lower the benchmark to 1:13.672. Bird followed with a 1:14.080 lap, while Evans (1:14.135) ended the session in third. Andretti’s Tom Blomqvist broke the left-rear suspension on his car following a side impact with the wall part way through the session.

Image via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

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