Long Beach ePrix: Da Costa aces Super Pole to snatch top spot

Antonio Felix da Costa will start the Long Beach ePrix from pole position after a superb performance in the Super Pole session for Team Aguri.

Da Costa rattled off a faultless lap to record a 57.198s, beating Sam Bird by 0.063s.

"I'm pleased with that, we had a lot of bad luck in the last few races and lost podiums," said da Costa. "Very happy with that pole position and now we have to do it in the race. I think we have better race pace than qualy."

Bird held a 0.25s advantage in the group stages of qualifying, but he couldn't repeat the feat when it mattered and his 57.261s meant he missed out on the three points for pole.

"It was rubbish, I ran out of talent going to Turn 1!" sighed Bird. "We clawed it back a little bit over the rest of the lap, but I really let that one go."

Lucas di Grassi will start third for the Abt Audi team after his Super Pole lap of 57.270s. "The lap wasn't perfect, it's about risk and return. I did a small mistake," he explained.

Venturi's Stephane Sarrazin, who was first to run in Super Pole, managed a 57.412s and reported "less grip everywhere, I slide". That was enough for fourth.

Mahindra's Nick Heidfeld clipped the wall at the hairpin at the start and end of his lap, restricting him to a 57.825s. "I just got more oversteer and rear locking," he said, and he will start fifth. 

Buemi out in group stages

Points leader Sebastien Buemi suffered a slow first sector that extended his run of poor qualifying performances recently.

"Not very good," admitted the Renault e.dams driver, who will start eighth. "I didn't attack the braking at the first corner as I should have done. The grip didn't feel as good as this morning."

Bird topped the Group 1 session with a time of 56.821s compared to Robin Frijns' 57.145s and Buemi's 57.189s.

Sarrazin led the way in Group 2 over Nico Prost – who was 0.095s slower than Renault teammate Buemi and ninth overall.

FP2 pacesetter Daniel Abt was fastest in Group 3, but it wasn't a quick enough time to progress to the Super Pole. "I don't know why I couldn't repeat my P2 time," he said.

Da Costa topped Group 4, with Heidfeld and di Grassi just behind him – this trio's late improvements knocking out the fancied Frijns, Abt and Buemi, who will start sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Mexico City winner Jerome d'Ambrosio admitted to "struggling" with his setup and will start 10th.

Loic Duval hit the wall at Turn 5 on his flying lap in Group 2, which consigned him to the back of the grid.

Formule E - ePrix de Long Beach - Grid
1  António Félix da Costa  Team Aguri 57.198
2  Sam Bird  DS Virgin Racing 57.261
3  Lucas di Grassi  ABT Audi Sport 57.270
4  Stéphane Sarrazin  Venturi 57.412
5  Nick Heidfeld  Mahindra Racing 57.825
6  Robin Frijns  Andretti 57.145
7  Daniel Abt  ABT Audi Sport 57.151
8  Sébastien Buemi  Renault e.dams 57.189
9  Nicolas Prost  Renault e.dams 57.284
10  Jérôme d'Ambrosio  Dragon Racing 57.288
11  Bruno Senna  Mahindra Racing 57.383
12  Jean-Éric Vergne  DS Virgin Racing 57.496
13  Simona de Silvestro  Andretti 57.696
14  Oliver Turvey  NEXTEV TCR 57.952
15  Nelson Piquet Jr.  NEXTEV TCR 58.015
16  Mike Conway  Venturi 58.144
17  Salvador Duran  Team Aguri 58.417
18  Loïc Duval  Dragon Racing 59.049
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About this article
Series Formula E
Event Long Beach ePrix
Track Streets of Long Beach
Drivers Stéphane Sarrazin , Lucas di Grassi , Sam Bird , Antonio Felix da Costa
Article type Qualifying report