Audi’s Lucas di Grassi took pole in 2018/19 FIA Formula E Championship’s Santiago ePrix ahead of Nissan e.Dams’ Sebastien Buemi and Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein, but the pole-sitter is under investigation.
The DS Techeetah drivers stamped their authority in the first part of qualifying in Santiago with Jean-Eric Vergne (1m09.307s) leading teammate Andre Lotterer (1m09.485s) with the German being chased closely by third and fourth placed drivers.
Envision Virgin’s Robin Frijns (1m09.505s) was just 0.020 and BMW Andretti’s Antonio Felix da Costa (1m09.551s) a further 0.046s ahead. It was disaster for points leader Mahindra Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio (1m10.083s) in sixth after mistake on his quick lap.
The qualifying complexion changed when the second lot of drivers had their chance. Interestingly, all the five drivers in the group made it inside the Top 6 with Nissan e.Dams’ Sebastien Buemi (1m08.664s) taking over the lead after his shunt in FP1.
Audi’s Lucas di Grassi (1m08.842s) slotted in second despite a scrappy run as he displaced Envision Virgin’s Sam Bird (1m08.868s) who cleared BMW Andretti’s Alexander Sims (1m09.147s) and Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans (1m09.235s) to set the Top 5 positions.
The third session had few changes in the order which saw the likes of Mitch Evans and Jean-Eric Vergne being knocked out of the Super Pole along with GEOX Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez. The Argentine slotted in fifth after his quick lap of 1m09.201s.
However, better laps from Audi’s Daniel Abt (1m09.030s) and GEOX Dragon’s Maximilian Gunther (1m09.143s) meant he was knocked out as well to be seventh. In the end, Abt ended up fourth with Gunther in fifth.
The other three drivers in the group had Nissan e.Dams’ Oliver Rowland (1m09.365s) in 10th with NIO’s Oliver Turvey (1m09.645s) in 14th and Jaguar’s Nelson Piquet Jr (1m09.705s) in 15th – all the three not making at all in Super Pole.
Buemi enjoyed the top spot until the final part of group qualifying with Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein displacing the Swiss driver with 1m08.403s lap time – although both made it through the Super Pole section.
Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara almost made it to the Top 6 as well with a 1m09.042s time but an improvement from HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne in fifth earned him his first Super Pole spot along with di Grassi, Bird and Abt.
Edoardo Mortara ended up seventh with teammate Felipe Massa (1m09.168s) doing well in 10th as HWA Racelab’s Gary Paffett (1m09.505s) in 17th – his time matching to that of Frijns – and NIO’s Tom Dillmann (1m10.258s) in 22nd.
Audi’s Abt was the first driver to set a lap time of 1m08.958s in Santiago ePrix’s Super Pole to lead the way from HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne (1m09.235s) and Envision Virgin’s Sam Bird (1m09.253s), who were the next to go in the order.
However, Audi’s Lucas di Grassi displaced teammate Abt after his quick lap of 1m08.290s to take provisional pole with Nissan e.Dams’ Sebastian Buemi (1m08.816s) then slotting in second with Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein (1m08.925s) then ending up third.
The results remain provisional as pole-sitter Audi’s Lucas di Grassi is under investigation for a brake related issue. The Brazilian though thwarted the field by half a second. Also under-investigation is Vandoorne for being late in leaving the pitlane for Super Pole.
Position 7-22: Mortara, Gunther, Sims, Massa, Lopez, Evans, Vergne, Rowland, Lotterer, Frijns, Paffett, Da Costa, Turvey, Piquet Jr, D’Ambrosio and Dillmann.
UPDATE: The stewards ruled against Lucas di Grassi in his investigation and sent him to the back of the grid alongside Dillmann. As a result, Sebastian Buemi will start on pole with Pascal Wehrlein beside him. Stoffel Vandoorne was found guilty and was handed one-place penalty but will still start fifth.
Position 1-22: Sebastian Buemi, Pascal Wehrlein, Abt, Sam Bird, Stoffel Vandoorne, Edoardo Mortara, Gunther, Sims, Felipe Massa, Lopez, Evans, Jean-Eric Vergne, Rowland, Lotterer, Frijns, Gary Paffett, Da Costa, Turvey, Piquet Jr, D’Ambrosio, Dillmann and Di Grassi.
— #MsportXtra (@MsportXtra) January 26, 2019