Porsche has added another chapter to its illustrious Motorsport history, as André Lotterer scored pole for the Mexico City ePrix – the German marque’s first Formula E pole position.

Having earlier been third-fastest through the group stages of qualifying, Lotterer set a 1:07.922 Super Pole lap around the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez and will lead the field away in this afternoon’s 45-minute feature race.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans’ lap was just 0.063 seconds slower than Lotterer and will start alongside the German in second place, having topped the group stages. Third-fastest in Super Pole was Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein, however, he will start from the rear of the field as a penalty for a gearbox change in his car.

As such, Mercedes’ Nyck De Vries moves up to third on the grid, alongside the Nissan e.Dams of Sébastien Buemi and Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird in fifth, who rounded out six different teams represented by the six cars in Super Pole.

Just missing out on Super Pole – but now starting sixth due to Wehrlein’s penalty – was the second Envision Virgin racer of Robin Frijns, ahead of Nico Müller for Geox Dragon Racing, and the two DS Techeetahs of reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne and António Félix da Costa. Current championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne rounds out the top ten on the grid for Mercedes.

Eleventh on the grid is taken by the lead Venturi of Edoardo Mortara, alongside Oliver Rowland in the second Nissan. Jérôme d’Ambrosio was due to be next in the order but like his Mahindra teammate Wehrlein, d’Ambrosio has taken a gearbox change and has been relegated to the rear of the grid as a result.

Brendon Hartley will start 13th for Dragon as a result, ahead of Neel Jani – the Swiss Porsche driver unable to match the performance of his teammate, despite being just 0.706 seconds off the leading pace during the group stages.

Next is a group of drivers who were not expected to be buried so deep in the pack. As a two-time victor in Mexico City – including last season – Lucas di Grassi was predicted to challenge again in 2020, but will start from just 15th place. Alongside di Grassi is the winner of the last race in Santiago, Maximillian Günther, ahead of the James Calado in the second Jaguar and Günther’s BMW teammate – and also a winner this season – Alexander Sims.

Felipe Massa will line up in 19th position of Venturi, ahead Ma Quing Hua and the Chinese driver’s NIO 333 teammate Oliver Turvey, who suffered a technical issue during his qualifying run. Wehrlein and d’Ambrosio will then take positions 22 and 23 once their penalties are applied, ahead of 2018 Mexico winner Daniel Abt – should he make the race start.

Abt missed qualifying – and the second practice session – following a significant crash during opening practice. With twelve and a half minutes remaining in practice one, Abt’s Audi failed to slow as normal at Turn 9, the right-hand turn into the stadium section. The German’s car continued at speed head-on into the barriers on the outside of the circuit, registering a 20G impact. Abt was extracted from the car and taken to hospital, and after a period of observation was released and returned to the circuit.

A software issue in the car was confirmed by the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team to be the cause of the incident in a statement.

“After a first analysis of what happened in FP1, it appears that Daniel Abt crashed due to a software communication problem. Though he was braking hard, the car didn’t decelerate like it should. The problem has been fixed on the three other [teammate di Grassi and the two Envision Virgin Racing] Audi e-tron FE06 cars.”

Abt posted an update on his own status via social media once released from the hospital: “Checked and released from hospital. Thankfully nothing is broken. That was the hardest crash of my career. the car didn’t decelerate due to a software issue and I had a 20G impact straight into the barrier. I want to thank the medical team at the track, from Hospital Angeles Acoxpa & our Audi Doctor Vincenzo for the amazing work they did. You are heroes. Muchas Gracias! Now on my way back to the track.”

With Abt cleared of any physical injury, the team now have a race to repair the car in time to take the race start from 24th on the grid.

2020 FIA Formula E Championship Mexico City ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. André Lotterer TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 1:07.922
2. Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:07.985 + 0.063
3. Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing 1:08.200 + 0.278
4. Nyck de Vries Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 1:08.214 + 0.292
5. Sébastien Buemi Nissan e.dams 1:08.364 + 0.442
6. Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing 1:08.444 + 0.522
2020 FIA Formula E Championship Mexico City ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
7. Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing 1:08.435 + 0.261
8. Nico Müller GEOX Dragon 1:08.479 + 0.305
9. Jean-Éric Vergne DS Techeetah 1:08.496 + 0.322
10. António Félix da Costa DS Techeetah 1:08.540 + 0.366
11. Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 1:08.636 + 0.462
12. Edoardo Mortara ROKiT Venturi Racing 1:08.661 + 0.487
13. Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 1:08.726 + 0.552
14. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Mahindra Racing 1:08.788 + 0.614
15. Brendon Hartley GEOX Dragon 1:08.878 + 0.704
16. Neel Jani TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 1:08.880 + 0.706
17. Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:08.998 + 0.824
18. Maximilian Günther BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:09.098 + 0.924
19. James Calado Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:09.331 + 1.157
20. Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:09.376 + 1.202
21. Felipe Massa ROKiT Venturi Racing 1:09.450 + 1.276
22. Ma Qing Hua NIO 333 FE Team 1:10.176 + 2.002
23. Oliver Turvey NIO 333 FE Team 2:10.061 + 61.887
DNQ. Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler no time

*Denotes gap to fastest preliminary qualifying time of 1:08.174 set by Mitch Evans

Championship Points:

  • Three bonus points are awarded to the driver (André Lotterer) and their corresponding team (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) who claims pole position.
  • A bonus point is awarded to the driver (Mitch Evans) and their corresponding team (Panasonic Jaguar Racing) who is the fastest driver in the group stages of qualifying.

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Pascal Wehrlein and Jérôme d’Ambrosio will start the race from the back of the grid due to unscheduled gearbox changes.
  • Daniel Abt failed to post a time in qualifying and will start the race at the discretion of the FIA Stewards.

Beyond Abt’s crash, which prematurely ended the session, practice one was headlined by Mortara setting the fastest time with a 1:09.273 lap. Second and third were the Mahindra duo of Wehrlein (+0.347s) and d’Ambrosio (+0.814s). Several drivers made mistakes under brakes into the revised turn one, as they came to grips with the significantly higher approach speed as a result of the flat out run which now begins from the exit of the stadium on the previous lap.

Practice 2 was topped by Bird, who lowered the lap record on the new, extended Mexico City circuit layout to 1:07.672. da Costa was hot on the Brit’s heels in second position, just 0.119 seconds behind, while Evans placed third as the top 12 drivers ended within a second of Bird’s best lap.

The 2020 Mexico City ePrix race is set to go green at 16:00 local time (GMT-06:00).

Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

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