Sébastien Buemi will start the Santiago ePrix from pole position, after provisional pole-winner Lucas di Grassi was disqualified for a driving infringement.

Following the last event in Marrakesh where Tom Dillmann collided with both Envision Virgin Racing cars in pit lane at the conclusion of their qualifying session, Santiago saw a new rule introduced prohibiting drivers from using brakes more on their in-lap to pit lane (without any reason) at the end of their run than during their flying lap.

As a result of a post-qualifying investigation, di Grassi was found to be in breach of this rule at the end of his group and was excluded from qualifying, as a result will falling to the back of the grid for this afternoon’s race.

Following di Grassi’s disqualification, Buemi’s 1:08.816 ‘Super Pole’ time secured the prime starting position for Nissan e.Dams, the Japanese manufacturer’s first pole position since joining the series this season, and continuing e.Dams’ streak of at least one pole position in each season of Formula E.

Mahindra rookie Pascal Wehrlein was fastest in the group stages but starts second, having been 0.109 seconds slower than Buemi in Super Pole.

Di Grassi’s Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler teammate Daniel Abt now lined up third on the grid, with Sam Bird promoted from sixth to fourth following di Grassi’s penalty and a penalty for HWA Racelab driver Stoffel Vandoorne. Vandoorne lost his Super Pole time for failing to leave pit lane “in the mandatory time window of 30 seconds when the pit light was red”, with the penalty pushing the Belgian back to fifth on the grid.

Outside of the Super Pole runners, Edoardo Mortara was the best of the rest and will start sixth for Venturi, ahead of the Dragon of Maximilian Günther and Alexander Sims in the first of the BMWs. Felipe Massa moves to ninth, with José María López tenth for Dragon Racing ahead of the leading Jaguar of Mitch Evans in eleventh.

In a big change from the speed seen across the opening two events, both Techeetahs struggled in qualifying. Jean-Éric Vergne was the faster of the pair and will start twelfth with team mate André Lotterer fourteenth; the pair split by Oliver Rowland in the second Nissan e.Dams car.

Also experiencing a tough qualifying session are the two race-winners from so far this season: Saudi Arabia victor António Félix da Costa was only able to qualify his BMW i Andretti in 17th, while Marrakesh winner and championship leader Jérôme d’Ambrosio will start in just 20th position – a stark contrast to his Mahindra teammate Wehrlein.

2019 ABB Formula E Santiago ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Sébastien Buemi Nissan e.dams 1:08.816
2. Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing 1:08.925 + 0.109
3. Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 1:08.958 + 0.142
4. Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing 1:09.253 + 0.437
EXC. Stoffel Vandoorne HWA Racelab excluded
2019 ABB Formula E Santiago ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
6. Edoardo Mortara Venturi Formula E Team 1:09.042 + 0.579
7. Maximilian Günther Geox Dragon Racing 1:09.143 + 0.680
8. Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:09.147 + 0.684
9. Felipe Massa Venturi Formula E Team 1:09.168 + 0.705
10. José María López Geox Dragon Racing 1:09.201 + 0.738
11. Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:09.235 + 0.772
12. Jean-Éric Vergne DS Techeetah 1:09.307 + 0.844
13. Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 1:09.365 + 0.902
14. André Lotterer DS Techeetah 1:09.485 + 1.022
15. Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing 1:09.505 + 1.042
16. Gary Paffett HWA Racelab 1:09.505 + 1.042
17. António Félix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:09.551 + 1.088
18. Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 1:09.645 + 1.182
19. Nelson Piquet Jr. Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:09.705 + 1.242
20. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Mahindra Racing 1:10.083 + 1.620
21. Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team 1:10.248 + 1.795
EXC. Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler excluded

*Denotes gap to fastest preliminary qualifying time of 1:08.463 posted by Pascal Wehrlein

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Stoffel Vandoorne was excluded from the ‘Super Pole’ qualifying session for failing to exit the pit lane in the mandatory time window of 30 seconds.
  • Lucas di Grassi was excluded from qualifying for unnecessary use of his brakes on his in-lap which exceeded his brake use on his flying lap.

Earlier in the day, Frijns was fastest the opening practice session, setting a 1:17.808 lap time. As expected, the first session with the second generation car easily beat the existing outright lap record, which stood at 1:19.651 by Nico Mueller for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler during last year’s Marrakesh test. Behind the Dutchman was da Costa (1:17.902) ended the session in second place, with Bird a further 0.016 seconds back in third.

Evans further lowered the lap record in Practice 2, clocking a 1:17.272 lap top to the timesheets. With no drivers beating this mark in qualifying, the time stands as the lap record heading into the race. Lotterer was second fastest, 0.249 seconds behind the Jaguar, while Buemi claimed third in the session.

The 2019 Marrakesh ePrix race is scheduled for a start at 16:00 local time (UTC +01:00).

Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

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