Forrmula E championship leader Jean-Éric Vergne has claimed pole position for the Paris ePrix, the home town favourite clocking a 1:01.144 lap to beat out title rival Sam Bird.

Having set the fastest time of the preliminary group stages – a surprising outcome given both he and Bird were in the (typically slowest) opening qualifying group – Vergne was last on circuit during ‘Super Pole’ and used the position to his advantage by shaving 0.277 seconds off Bird’s provisional pole time. With the three bonus points for pole, Vergne now leads the Drivers’ Championship standings by 21 points.

Vergne’s Techeetah teammate André Lotterer will start third, having progressed from the second qualifying group despite seemingly clipping the wall during his run. Maro Engel will start in fourth place for Venturi ahead of the Andretti of António Félix da Costa, who had been second-fastest fastest following group qualifying. During his Super Pole lap, Félix da Costa made a mistake and ran wide at Turn 3, ultimately finishing his lap 1.661 seconds down on Vergne.

Outside the top five, reigning champion Lucas di Grassi missed out on progressing to Super Pole by the smallest of margins – just 0.005 seconds slower than Engel’s time set in the final group to run. Jérôme d’Ambrosio will start from seventh, the Belgian’s lap being only 0.001 seconds faster than Sébastien Buemi in eighth. Oliver Turvey and José María López round out the top ten starters.

Vergne and López were both punished for speeding in the pit lane during qualifying, receiving €1,000 and €800 fines respectively for their infractions.

Two grid penalties will also be applied following the session. Having been forced to the gearbox in one of his cars yesterday, Mitch Evans was handed a 10-place grid demotion. The Kiwi had only managed 14th on the grid in his Jaguar, and as he cannot take the full 10 placed imposed, he will instead start from the back of the grid and also serve a five second penalty during his mandatory pit stop.

Also joining Evans at the rear of the field for the race start is Edoardo Mortara. The Venturi driver (who qualified in 18th) will start from 19th place after being penalised for speeding under a red flag period during practice.

In a double blow for Jaguar, Nelson Piquet Jr will start from 18th place. Having crashed both of his cars in practice – one in each practice session – the team could not get a car repaired and on circuit in time for qualifying. Only the two drivers with grid penalties will start behind the Brazilian.

2018 ABB Formula E Qatar Airways Paris ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Qualifying Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah Renault 1:01.144
2. Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing Citroën 1:01.421 + 0.277
3. André Lotterer Techeetah Renault 1:01.487 + 0.343
4. Maro Engel Venturi Formula E Team 1:01.541 + 0.397
5. António Félix da Costa MS&AD Andretti Formula E 1:02.805 + 1.661
2018 ABB Formula E Qatar Airways Paris ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
6. Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:01.823 + 0.315
7. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing Penske 1:01.836 + 0.328
8. Sébastien Buemi Renault e.Dams 1:01.837 + 0.329
9. Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 1:01.888 + 0.380
10. José María López Dragon Racing Penske 1:01.902 + 0.394
11. Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing 1:02.012 + 0.504
12. Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing 1:02.058 + 0.550
13. Nicolas Prost Renault e.Dams 1:02.092 + 0.584
14. Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:02.122 + 0.614
15. Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:02.125 + 0.617
16. Alex Lynn DS Virgin Racing Citroën 1:02.139 + 0.631
17. Tom Blomqvist MS&AD Andretti Formula E 1:02.823 + 1.315
18. Edoardo Mortara Venturi Formula E Team 1:02.834 + 1.326
19. Ma Qing Hua NIO Formula E Team 1:02.998 + 1.490
Outside 107% Team / Entry Time Gap*
DNF. Nelson Piquet Jr Panasonic Jaguar Racing no time

* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 qualifying lap time of 1:01.508 posted by Jean-Éric Vergne.

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Mitch Evans – who provisionally qualified 14th-fastest – was issued a 10-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change. As he is unable to serve his penalty in full, he will start the race from the pit lane and serve an additional 5-second stationary penalty during his mandatory pit stop.
  • Edoardo Mortara – who provisionally qualified 18th-fastest – will start the race from the back of the grid after being found speeding during red flag conditions in practice.

Earlier, Bird was fastest in the opening practice session, held in cool conditions. The Briton set a 1:01.698 lap to edge out the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler cars of di Grassi and Daniel Abt.

The session was twice disrupted by red flagged, initially after 15 minutes when Piquet Jr hit the wall. The Brazilian’s Jaguar sustained so much damage in the crash that the team are racing to rebuild around a new chassis tub ahead of the race. The second red flag in the session was called late when Felix Rosenqvist also found the wall, the nose-first hit damaging the Mahindra beyond being able to drive the car back to pit lane.

Practice two saw di Grassi move to the top of the time sheets with a 1:00.891 lap ahead of Vergne (1:01.072) and Evans (1:01.091). Piquet found further drama, damaging the front of his second car on the wall at Turn 13. While certainly not as bad as his crash in first practice, the incident left the Jaguar team – already scrambling to fix the first car – with a steep hill to climb during the race.

The 2018 Paris ePrix Race is scheduled to go green at 16:03 local time (UTC +2:00).

Image via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

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