Sebastien Buemi beat his fellow Formula E title contenders to take pole position for Saturday’s first race at Battersea Park by a margin of almost half a second.
The Swiss driver was in the final qualifying group, along with points leader Nelson Piquet Jr, and beat the long-standing benchmark of Lucas di Grassi by 0.457s with a time of 1m24.648s, the quickest of the weekend so far.
Jerome D’Ambrosio, also in the fourth and final group, recovered from his broken suspension in practice to beat di Grassi’s time by just one thousandth of a second and secure a front row slot alongside Buemi, who earns three valuable championship points for his pole.
Di Grassi, the quickest man in the opening group ahead of Buemi’s e.DAMS teammate Nicolas Prost, was therefore forced to be content with third, just ahead of arch-rival Piquet, whose final lap was just shy of half a second adrift of Buemi.
Completing the top five is Jean-Eric Vergne, who believed he was denied a shot at pole because of a miscommunication with his Andretti Autosport team.
The former Toro Rosso driver still did enough to beat Oliver Turvey to honours in the second quartet of qualifiers after a trip down the escape road at Turn 8, with Prost sharing the third row with his fellow countryman.
McLaren F1 tester Turvey meanwhile will start his first Formula E race from seventh, with Bruno Senna, Sam Bird, whose Virgin-run machine suffered battery problems, and Salvador Duran rounding off the top 10.
Nick Heidfeld was the pacesetter in the third group, but set a time only good enough for 12th.
Karun Chandhok, who qualified in 16th, suffered the most spectacular mishap of the session as he clattered into the barriers at the final corner, while Fabio Leimer also hit the wall for the second time today after overshooting Turn 8.
Additional reporting by Sam Smith