Mahindra’s dominance and news of Sébastien Buemi’s disqualification in round seven set up a fascinating qualifying session for the second Berlin ePrix of the weekend.
Stephane Sarrazin was the first to take to the track, but despite improving times from the Saturday sessions, he could only take provisional third. Both Mahindra drivers were drawn in the first group, but had mixed fortunes. Rosenqvist set a time in the low 1:08 range, but Nick Heidfeld suffered a problem with his throttle that put him last. Nelson Piquet Jr. took the fourth slot, Maro Engel in provisional P-2.
In contrast to many drivers’ strategies, Daniel Abt took to the track as soon as the pit lane opened, hoping to time it right and set a fast lap with an empty track ahead of him. It paid off, although his time wasn’t enough to beat Rosenqvist. But with both Renaults in the same group, both men were relegated a place when Buemi set a quicker time. Team-mate Nicolas Prost also reached the top five, with ten drivers still to go out.
The third qualifying group provided more changes to the Super Pole contenders. Lucas di Grassi’s lap gave him P-3 temporarily, but Jose Maria Lopez stole provisional pole, and Oliver Turvey pushing him into the last qualifying spot with a time good enough for fourth place ahead of the final session. Mitch Evans looked to be putting together an excellent lap, but a slightly slower final sector meant he could only reach the fourth row.
Sam Bird put together a very tidy lap, with the exception of a little slide in the final turns to take provisional pole with a 1:07.8 — a result that sees both DS Virgin cars through to the Super Pole session. Jean-Éric Vergne also claimed his place for Techeetah, but Faraday Furure Dragon Racing will be disappointed with having Jerome D’Ambrosio and Loic Duval down in 11th and 12th.
Saturday’s race winner Rosenqvist was first to take to the track in the Super Pole shoot-out, setting 1:08.208 as the time to beat. Beumi wasn’t able to, and neither was Vergne, who struggled to get his car back on the racing line after an early error. This opened the door for DS Virgin, with the increasingly-confident Lopez taking the first attempt. His attempt was only good enough to tuck in behind Buemi, and Bird’s for fourth place.
- Rosenqvist (Mahindra)
- Buemi (Renault)
- Lopez (DS Virgin)
- Bird (DS Virgin)
- Vergne (Techeetah)
Image: Jose Maria Lopez © Formula E