The penultimate qualifying session in the 2017/18 FIA Formula E Championship took an interesting twist with Renault’s Sebastien Buemi taking pole from Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Renault’s Nico Prost after Techeetah drivers’ penalties in New York.

Group 1

The first group in New York’s qualifying saw the Top 5 in the championship go out to set their best times. However, there was some tactics from Audi’s Lucas di Grassi who nearly didn’t allow anyone to make the cut for them to set a laptime on the 200kW energy.

Eventually, everyone did manage to cross the line before the time was over with championship leader Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne topping the group with a 1m13.890s laptime ahead of Renault’s Buemi (1m14.178s).

Di Grassi (1m14.325s) was third – and explained that he bunched up since nobody wanted to go first in Group 1 with the track being so dirty – ahead of title contender DS Virgin’s Sam Bird (1m14.484s) and Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist (1m14.825s).

While the other groups were on, Vergne was put under investigation for overusing the set 200kW energy for his quick lap. Later on, the stewards decided to remove his lap times to drop him to the back. This helped Buemi to make it into the Superpole from Group 1.

Group 2

The second group had NIO’s Oliver Turvey miss the session due to broken wrist in FP2. He was taken to the hospital and could miss the weekend as a result. On the track though, it was Vergne’s teammate Andre Lotterer on the charge.

The German led the group with a 1m13.927s laptime to go behind teammate Vergne, as Audi’s Daniel Abt (1m13.981s) was second from Jaguar’s Evans (1m14.050s) and Nelson Piquet Jr. (1m14.203s).

After his teammate’s misfortune, Lotterer had the same penalty for overusing the set energy level on his quick lap, meaning he also dropped to the back behind Vergne. Abt and Evans made it through in the pole fight.

Group 3

The third group saw midfield drivers in the frame with Dragon Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio taking the honours with his 1m14.121s laptime ahead of Venturi’s Maro Engel (1m14.292s) and Mahindra Racing’s Nick Heidfeld (1m14.322s).

It was a late lap from Andretti’s Antonio Felix da Costa (1m14.382s) but he still managed to finish ahead of DS Virgin’s Alex Lynn (1m14.473s) in his group. The misfortunes of Techeetah drivers allowed D’Ambrosio to make it for the pole fight.

Group 4

The final group saw Renault’s Prost top with a 1m14.198s laptime which was enough to put him into the fight for pole alongwith his teammate Buemi. The Swiss driver has had a difficult season so far but on his last weekend with the team, he did well for himself.

Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez was second with a 1m14.244s laptime with Venturi’s Tom Dillmann (1m14.304s) in third from NIO’s Luca Filippi (1m14.523s) and Andretti Stephane Sarrazin – the latter couldn’t set a quick time after a crash.


The fight for pole became a one-man show with Buemi thwarting the competition like his old self by beating his nearest competitor by over half a second. The Swiss driver was second to set his quick lap after his teammate.

He clocked a 1m13.911s laptime to take pole from Evans who was fourth driver in the pack to set his time. However, the Kiwi could only lap the circuit at 1m14.465s which was 0.554s slower than Buemi’s pole time.

Prost was third after the Frenchman was first in the fight to complete a lap. He did a 1m14.921s and was only beaten by Evans in the end. Starting alongside him will be D’Ambrosio (1m15.391s) with Abt (1m16.579s) in fifth after a lock-up ruined his lap.

Positions 6-17: Piquet, Lopez, Engel, Dillmann, Heidfeld, di Grassi, da Costa, Lynn, Bird, Filippi, Rosenqvist and Sarrazin. DNS: Turvey. DQ: Vergne and Lotterer.