New York ePrix: Buemi on pole, Vergne slung to back of grid

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New York ePrix: Buemi on pole, Vergne slung to back of grid
By: Alex Kalinauckas
Jul 14, 2018, 4:33 PM

Sebastien Buemi took pole position for the first race of the New York ePrix double header, as title contender Jean-Eric Vergne exceeded the power limit in qualifying and will start from the back of the grid.

Sam Bird, Vergne’s title rival, will start 14th for Virgin Racing.

Vergne had looked set to top the group qualifying segment despite running in the opening set of drivers to take to the dusty Brooklyn Circuit.

He set a best time of 1m13.890s – after only crossing the timing line to start that lap with one second to spare as Lucas di Grassi had appeared to back up the pack, which included Bird, approaching the final corner on their final warm-up tour.

Vergne’s effort stood as the time to beat for much of the group running but he and his Techeetah teammate Andre Lotterer were investigated during the session for “max power overuse”, according to a stewards’ message. 

The duo subsequently had all their times deleted as a result of the issue, which Motorsport.com understands is related to the software used in a control system that regulates power usage.

Vergne will therefore start the first race from last on the grid, behind Lotterer and Oliver Turvey (NIO), who did not take part in the qualifying as he sustained a suspected broken wrist when he made contact with the barriers on the exit of the final corner late in FP2.

The penalties for Vergne and Lotterer meant Daniel Abt, Mitch Evans and Jerome D’Ambrosio ended up as the top group qualifiers, with all three setting times slower than the Techeetah duo.

Buemi and his Renault e.dams teammate Nico Prost were elevated into Super Pole as a result of the penalties. 

Buemi produced a smooth and rapid lap to claim his second pole of the season with a 1m13.911s - 0.554s ahead of Evans, who suffered big slide exiting Turn 5.

Prost qualified third despite being 1.01s behind his teammate, as D’Ambrosio and Abt both made mistakes at the new-for-2018 Turn 6 left-hander.

Nelson Piquet Jr (Jaguar) will start sixth ahead of Dragon Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez and the Venturi pair of Maro Engel and Tom Dillmann.

Lopez is currently under investigation for breaching article 33.3 of the FE sporting regulations, which relates to activating the 200kW maximum power mode before the start of the final sector, which is not allowed in qualifying. 

Nick Heidfeld rounded out the top 10 for Mahindra ahead of di Grassi, the highest group one runner behind Buemi.

Qualifying results:

PosDriverTeamTimeGap
1 switzerland  Sébastien Buemi  france  DAMS 1'13.911  
2 new_zealand  Mitch Evans  united_kingdom  Jaguar Racing 1'14.465 0.554
3 france  Nicolas Prost  france  DAMS 1'14.921 1.010
4 belgium  Jérôme d'Ambrosio  united_states  Dragon Racing 1'15.391 1.480
5 germany  Daniel Abt  germany  Team Abt 1'16.579 2.668
6 brazil  Nelson Piquet Jr.  united_kingdom  Jaguar Racing 1'14.203 0.292
7 argentina  Jose Maria Lopez  united_states  Dragon Racing 1'14.244 0.333
8 germany  Maro Engel  monaco  Venturi 1'14.292 0.381
9 france  Tom Dillmann  monaco  Venturi 1'14.304 0.393
10 germany  Nick Heidfeld  india  Mahindra Racing 1'14.322 0.411
11 brazil  Lucas di Grassi  germany  Team Abt 1'14.325 0.414
12 portugal  Antonio Felix da Costa  united_states  Andretti Autosport 1'14.382 0.471
13 united_kingdom  Alex Lynn  united_kingdom  Virgin Racing 1'14.473 0.562
14 united_kingdom  Sam Bird  united_kingdom  Virgin Racing 1'14.484 0.573
15 italy  Luca Filippi  china  NIO Formula E Team 1'14.523 0.612
16 sweden  Felix Rosenqvist  india  Mahindra Racing 1'14.825 0.914
17 france  Stéphane Sarrazin  united_states  Andretti Autosport 1'26.036 12.125
18 united_kingdom  Oliver Turvey  china  NIO Formula E Team no time -
19 germany  Andre Lotterer  china  Techeetah no time 
20 france  Jean-Eric Vergne  china  Techeetah no time 
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