Nissan e.Dams driver Sébastien Buemi has claimed pole position for the opening race of the New York City ePrix, while key championship contenders Jean-Éric Vergne and Lucas di Grassi will start buried in the pack.

Fastest in both the group stages of qualifying and Super Pole, Buemi set a 1:10.188 lap to jump to the top of the one driver at-a-time session, beating Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlien, who will join the Swiss driver on the front row of the grid.

The second row will be filled by Jaguar’s Alex Lynn and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Daniel Abt. Having been the eighth and final driver mathematically still in championship contention, Abt required a perfect weekend – pole position, fastest lap and victory on both days of racing – to have any hope of taking the title. Fourth place on the grid for the German means he is now out of contention and the list of potential champions is down to seven.

Alexander Sims (BMW i Andretti) and Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing) rounded out the six drivers from as many different teams in Super Pole and will start fifth and sixth respectively, with Bird slipping from second place after the group stages.

Just outside the Super Pole runners, José María López will start seventh for GEOX Dragon Racing, ahead of the second BMW of António Félix da Costa and the second Virgin Racing entry of Robin Frijns.

Championship leader Vergne and his closest rival di Grassi were in the first qualifying group on circuit; the pair struggling with a dusty circuit during their full-power laps. Unable to match the pace of those running later, Vergne will start from tenth while di Grassi could only manage the fourteenth fastest time. Both drivers will be eager to move forward in the race – di Grassi in particular will need to advance, as Vergne would seal the title during Saturday’s race should they finish in their starting positions.

Vergne’s teammate André Lotterer will start down in 16th position, meaning the battle between DS Techeetah (Vergne / Lotterer) and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler (di Grassi / Abt) for the Teams’ Championship is also well and truly alive as the Saturday race start looms.

The twelfth race of the Formula E season is set for a start at 16:03 New York time (UTC -04:00).

2019 Formula E New York City ePrix – Race 1 ‘Super Pole’ Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Sébastien Buemi Nissan e.dams 1:10.188
2. Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing 1:10.600 + 0.412
3. Alex Lynn Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:10.696 + 0.508
4. Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 1:10.894 + 0.706
5. Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:10.899 + 0.711
6. Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing 1:11.094 + 0.906
2019 Formula E New York City ePrix – Race 1 Preliminary Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
7. José María López Geox Dragon Racing 1:10.836 + 0.280
8. António Félix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:10.845 + 0.289
9. Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing 1:10.854 + 0.298
10. Jean-Éric Vergne DS Techeetah 1:10.933 + 0.377
11. Maximilian Günther Geox Dragon Racing 1:11.005 + 0.449
12. Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team 1:11.006 + 0.450
13. Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:11.065 + 0.509
14. Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 1:11.080 + 0.524
15. Gary Paffett HWA Racelab 1:11.095 + 0.539
16. André Lotterer DS Techeetah 1:11.222 + 0.666
17. Edoardo Mortara Venturi Formula E Team 1:11.326 + 0.770
18. Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 1:11.413 + 0.857
19. Stoffel Vandoorne HWA Racelab 1:11.449 + 0.893
20. Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 1:11.605 + 1.049
21. Felipe Massa Venturi Formula E Team 1:14.862 + 4.306
DNQ. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Mahindra Racing 1:18.262 + 7.706

*Denotes gap to fastest preliminary qualifying time of 1:10.556 posted by Sébastien Buemi

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • None

Earlier, Alexander Sims led the field in the opening practice session of the event, the BMW i Andretti driver clocking a 1:09.959 lap time around an incredibly dusty circuit. Nissan e.Dams driver Sébastien Buemi ended the session in second place, just 0.018 seconds slower than Sims, with Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns a further 0.116 seconds further back in third.

The dusty conditions saw numerous drivers struggle to avoid exceeding the limit of grip available, particularly at Turn 6. Frijns, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler of Daniel Abt and both DS Techeetah of André Lotterer and championship leader Jean-Éric Vergne were among those to lock up and slide towards the barrier at the corner, twice in the case of Vergne.

The Frenchman clearly struggled for grip throughout the session, even brushing the wall on a corner exit at one stage, though not sustaining any notable damage in doing so. Despite his dramas, the reigning champion still ended the session fourth-fastest, 0.267 seconds off Sims’ time. Conversely, Vergne’s closest title rival Lucas di Grassi could only manage twelfth in the session, 0.645 seconds off the leading pace.

Nissan’s Oliver Rowland moved to the front of the order in Practice 2, the Brit lowering the benchmark time to 1:09.695. António Félix da Costa was 0.083 seconds behind in second place, while Buemi ended the session third, 0.141 seconds slower than his teammate. Vergne’s battle for grip continued, locking up and sliding off circuit at Turn 11 but avoiding contact with the barriers. The points leader could only manage to end the session 17th in the order, one position behind di Grassi and over 1.5 seconds slower than Rowland’s time.

Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

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