New York ePrix: Buemi on pole, Vergne slung to back of grid
Sebastien Buemi took pole position for the first race of the New York ePrix double header, as title contender Jean-Eric Vergne exceeded the power limit in qualifying and will start from the back of the grid.
Sam Bird, Vergne’s title rival, will start 14th for Virgin Racing.
Vergne had looked set to top the group qualifying segment despite running in the opening set of drivers to take to the dusty Brooklyn Circuit.
He set a best time of 1m13.890s – after only crossing the timing line to start that lap with one second to spare as Lucas di Grassi had appeared to back up the pack, which included Bird, approaching the final corner on their final warm-up tour.
Vergne’s effort stood as the time to beat for much of the group running but he and his Techeetah teammate Andre Lotterer were investigated during the session for “max power overuse”, according to a stewards’ message.
The duo subsequently had all their times deleted as a result of the issue, which Motorsport.com understands is related to the software used in a control system that regulates power usage.
Vergne will therefore start the first race from last on the grid, behind Lotterer and Oliver Turvey (NIO), who did not take part in the qualifying as he sustained a suspected broken wrist when he made contact with the barriers on the exit of the final corner late in FP2.
The penalties for Vergne and Lotterer meant Daniel Abt, Mitch Evans and Jerome D’Ambrosio ended up as the top group qualifiers, with all three setting times slower than the Techeetah duo.
Buemi and his Renault e.dams teammate Nico Prost were elevated into Super Pole as a result of the penalties.
Buemi produced a smooth and rapid lap to claim his second pole of the season with a 1m13.911s - 0.554s ahead of Evans, who suffered big slide exiting Turn 5.
Prost qualified third despite being 1.01s behind his teammate, as D’Ambrosio and Abt both made mistakes at the new-for-2018 Turn 6 left-hander.
Nelson Piquet Jr (Jaguar) will start sixth ahead of Dragon Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez and the Venturi pair of Maro Engel and Tom Dillmann.
Lopez is currently under investigation for breaching article 33.3 of the FE sporting regulations, which relates to activating the 200kW maximum power mode before the start of the final sector, which is not allowed in qualifying.
Nick Heidfeld rounded out the top 10 for Mahindra ahead of di Grassi, the highest group one runner behind Buemi.
|2||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||1'14.465||0.554|
|4||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1'15.391||1.480|
|5||Daniel Abt||Team Abt||1'16.579||2.668|
|6||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Jaguar Racing||1'14.203||0.292|
|7||Jose Maria Lopez||Dragon Racing||1'14.244||0.333|
|10||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||1'14.322||0.411|
|11||Lucas di Grassi||Team Abt||1'14.325||0.414|
|12||Antonio Felix da Costa||Andretti Autosport||1'14.382||0.471|
|13||Alex Lynn||Virgin Racing||1'14.473||0.562|
|14||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||1'14.484||0.573|
|15||Luca Filippi||NIO Formula E Team||1'14.523||0.612|
|16||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||1'14.825||0.914|
|17||Stéphane Sarrazin||Andretti Autosport||1'26.036||12.125|
|18||Oliver Turvey||NIO Formula E Team||no time||-|
|19||Andre Lotterer||Techeetah||no time||-|
|20||Jean-Eric Vergne||Techeetah||no time||-|
New York ePrix: Evans leads FP2 for Jaguar
Techeetah explains Vergne qualifying exclusion