BMW i Andretti’s Alexander Sims has secured pole position for the Sunday race of the New York City ePrix, the finale of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.
Having set the fastest lap time in the group stages of Qualifying, Sims was the final driver on circuit in Super Pole and jumped to the top with a 1:09.617 lap, beating Robin Frijns’ benchmark by 0.095 seconds.
Saturday’s pole man and race winner Sébastien Buemi will start third, the Nissan e.Dams driver just scraping into Super Pole as the sixth fastest driver. Unfortunately for the Swiss former champion, by not claiming pole position and the bonus points that come with it he is no longer mathematically able to claim his second Formula E Drivers’ title.
Alongside Buemi on row two will be Sam Bird. With Frijns second and Bird fourth, Envision Virgin Racing will be pushing to reclaim third in the Teams’ Championship from the Nissan squad in today’s race. The third row is occupied by HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Daniel Abt, the pair unable to make an impact in Super Pole an falling down from second and third fastest after group qualifying.
Ensuring the Nissan e.Dams versus Envision Virgin Racing battle includes all its protagonists is Oliver Rowland, Buemi’s teammate just missing Super Pole by 0.049 seconds and will start seventh. The first of the three remaining title contenders will start from eighth, although Mitch Evans also has the largest points deficit to recover to claim a maiden Formula E crown for himself and Jaguar. The second HWA car of Gary Paffett and the leading Venturi of Edoardo Mortara round out the top ten positions.
Most eyes, however, will be on the sixth row of the grid, as the leading pair in the championship will start side by side. Second in the standings and 24 points off the lead, Lucas di Grassi will line up in eleventh position, alongside points leader Jean-Eric Vergne. While di Grassi will require a number of positions between himself and Vergne to claim a Drivers’ title, with both drivers starting mid-pack anything can happen.
Vergne himself can attest to this very fact, having come out of Saturday’s race with no points and a reduced championship lead as the Techeetah driver became involved in two separate mid-pack skirmishes. Conversely, should Vergne score eight points or more in Sunday’s race he will become the first two-time and back-to-back Formula E champion regardless of di Grassi’s or Evans’ results.
In addition to the Drivers’ Championship battle, the Teams’ Championship is also far from over, as Techeetah and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler fight to the death for the second year in a row. While Techeetah have a 24 point lead over their German rivals, the grid positions are very much in Audi’s favour. Abt and di Grassi will start sixth and eleventh respectively, while Vergne’s twelfth place is paired with André Lotterer’s 20th on the grid. Only Alex Lynn’s Jaguar and Felipe Massa’s Venturi will start behind the second Techeetah.
|2019 Formula E New York City ePrix – Race 2 ‘Super Pole’ Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:09.617|
|2.||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||1:09.715||+ 0.098|
|3.||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams||1:09.729||+ 0.112|
|4.||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||1:09.895||+ 0.278|
|5.||Stoffel Vandoorne||HWA Racelab||1:09.994||+ 0.377|
|6.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||1:10.096||+ 0.479|
|2019 Formula E New York City ePrix – Race 2 Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|7.||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams||1:10.052||+ 0.362|
|8.||Mitch Evans||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||1:10.063||+ 0.373|
|9.||Gary Paffett||HWA Racelab||1:10.155||+ 0.465|
|10.||Edoardo Mortara||Venturi Formula E Team||1:10.217||+ 0.527|
|11.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||1:10.255||+ 0.565|
|12.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:10.278||+ 0.588|
|13.||José María López||Geox Dragon Racing||1:10.352||+ 0.662|
|14.||António Félix da Costa||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:10.369||+ 0.679|
|15.||Oliver Turvey||NIO Formula E Team||1:10.439||+ 0.749|
|16.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||1:10.504||+ 0.814|
|17.||Tom Dillmann||NIO Formula E Team||1:10.573||+ 0.883|
|18.||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||1:10.574||+ 0.884|
|19.||Maximilian Günther||Geox Dragon Racing||1:10.653||+ 0.963|
|20.||André Lotterer||DS Techeetah||1:10.699||+ 1.009|
|21.||Alex Lynn||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||1:12.537||+ 2.847|
|DNQ.||Felipe Massa||Venturi Formula E Team||1:19.831||+ 10.141|
*Denotes gap to fastest preliminary qualifying time of 1:09.690 posted by Alexander Sims
The day began with Jérôme d’Ambrosio topping the morning’s sole practice session, the Mahindra driver banking a 1:09.712 lap to beat out Frijns (+0.077) and Sims (+0.182) as 16 cars lapped within one second of the leading pace.
Of the then-four championship contenders, Vergne was the fastest in sixth position (+0.277), ahead of di Grassi in eighth (+0.417), Buemi in tenth (+0.547) and Evans in 14th (+0.746).
The session was briefly paused with 16 minutes to run as track repairs were required at turn 14, while Paffett brought a premature end to running as the HWA Racelab driver found the wall at turn eleven with three minutes remaining on the clock.
The thirteenth and final race of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E season will go green in New York City at 16:03 local time (UTC -04:00), a race which will crown both the Drivers’ and Teams’ Champions.
Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship