A slippery qualifying session for the Buenos Aires, beset with accidents and delays, saw Lucas di Grassi claim his first-ever Formula E pole.
Sam Bird was first out of the blocks, but it was a frustrating lap for the DS Virgin driver. He struggled to keep the rear of the car in check, and clipping the wall took it’s toll on his lap time. Robin Frijns took a typically aggressive approach to the session, but could only set the third-fastest time. Provisional pole went to Mitch Evans, who set the fastest time thanks to a competent lap from the New Zealander.
Evans was unlikely to hold on to pole for long, especially with a highly competitive second qualifying group featuring Buemi, di Grassi and Vergne. Buemi also complained that there was very little grip in the car, but briefly set the fastest time. Jean-Eric Vergne, who we know has a fast car underneath him, quickly replaced him at the top of the timing screens.
Local boy Lopez was first to try and set a time in the third group, but a slide and a shunt put paid to his quick lap. The Argentinian will therefore start the race from near the back of the field. Abandoning his car on track meant the session had to be red-flagged, although only Felix da Costa had yet to set a time at the time. Unfortunately, when he was allowed out on track a few minutes later, he broke the suspension on his front-right by hitting the wall before the chicane.
From the final group, only Oliver Turvey could make it into the Super Pole group, joining team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr. Both Daniel Abt and Ma Qing Hua suffered crashes and were unable to challenge the leading group.
In the super-pole shoot out, the lack of grip around the track became apparent, particularly on turns 1 and 7. Piquet Jr was first out and first to lock-up, giving the remaining drivers a helpful warning. They each approached the lap with greater caution, but only di Grassi managed an entirely incident-free run. Last man on track, Vergne, was just 0.2 seconds off the Brazilian’s time.
Elsewhere, Mitch Evans will start from 7th – his best-ever qualifying position. Sam Bird could only hold on for 10th place, Adam Carroll will be 15th and Lopez will be starting his home race from 17th.
|1.||Lucas di Grassi ??||Abt Schaeffler Audi|
|2.||Jean-Éric Vergne ??||Techeetah|
|3.||Sébastien Buemi ??||Renault e-Dams|
|4.||Oliver Turvey ??||NextEV NIO|
|5.||Nelson Piquet Jr ??||NextEV NIO|