Jaguar’s Mitch Evans claimed pole for the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship race in Switzerland after the Kiwi beat Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer and DS Virgin’s Sam Bird – also securing the team’s first pole in the all-electric series.
The pre-qualifying lottery was such that the first group itself had both the Formula E title contenders against each other vying for a place in Superpole. However, it was the contender Bird who topped the session to make it into the pole battle, while leader Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne was only fifth in the group.
The British driver clocked in a 1m12.981s to finish on top ahead of Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi (1m13.061s), who along with Audi’s Daniel Abt (1m13.107s), Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist (1m13.214s) and the aforementioned Vergne (1m13.524s) didn’t make the cut for Superpole.
All was not lost for Techeetah as Andre Lotterer’s 1m12.906s was enough to land him a Superpole position after he was second to Evans (1m12.594s) in Group 2 – the Kiwi also making it through.
Third placed Audi’s Lucas di Grassi (1m13.042s) just missed on the Top 5 position later on, while Evans’ teammate Nelson Piquet (1m13.380s) and NIO’s Oliver Turvey (1m14.139s) also couldn’t make it into the Superpole positions.
The third group saw none making into the Superpole with DS Virgin’s Alex Lynn leading the pack with a time of 1m13.393s, finishing ahead of Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld (1m13.405s), Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara (1m13.413s), Andretti’s Antonio Felix da Costa (1m13.422s) and Venturi’s Maro Engel (1m13.541s).
The big change came in the fourth group which was headed by the Dragon pair of Jerome D’Ambrosio (1m12.857s) and Jose Maria Lopez (1m12.877s) – both making it into the Superpole pipping di Grassi and Buemi respectively.
Renault e.dams’ Nico Prost (1m13.084s), Andretti’s Stephane Sarrazin (1m13.500s) and NIO’s Luca Filippi (1m14/067s) were among the drivers not making into the Top 5 shootout.
Techeetah’s Lotterer had provisional pole for the Zurich ePrix only to be denied by Evans, who was last to run in the final session. The Kiwi had showed good pace in the two practice sessions to finish inside the Top 3 on both the occasions.
However, the Jaguar driver was down on both Lotterer and Bird in the first segment, but picked up pace in the remainder especially the second sector to take his and the team’s first pole with a time of 1m12.811s.
With his teammate not in the pole reckoning, Lotterer (1m12.948s) did his job by finishing ahead of Bird (1m13.022s) for the race, as D’Ambrosio (1m13.096s) won the in-team battle keeping Lopez (1m13.927s) behind in the Superpole shootout.
The Argentine lost time after nearly crashing at Turn 1 on his quick lap. He will drop three places for the race after a yellow flag infringement in the practice session. This moves di Grassi to fifth followed by Buemi and Prost, with Lopez dropping to eighth.
Germany’s winner Abt finished ninth ahead of Rosenqvist with Piquet and Lynn in a Mahindra sandwich as Heidfeld finished 13th. The lead Venturi of Mortara was 14th from the Andretti pair of da Costa and Sarrazin.
Championship leader Vergne, who is also facing an investigation for activating his 200kW lap in the final sector was only 17th as Engel, Filippi and Turvey completed the Top 20 finishers in a disaster run for the NIO duo.