Paris ePrix: Bird beats di Grassi to pole, Buemi just eighth

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Paris ePrix: Bird beats di Grassi to pole, Buemi just eighth
Sam Smith
By: Sam Smith
Apr 23, 2016, 11:11 AM

DS Virgin’s Sam Bird claimed pole position for Saturday’s Paris ePrix after a thrilling Super Pole session.

Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams
Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Nelson Piquet Jr., NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team
Nelson Piquet Jr., NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team and Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Nelson Piquet Jr., NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team

The British driver left the best for last to set a 1m01.616s lap, outpacing championship leader Lucas di Grassi by 0.316s to scoop his third pole position of the season

Bird's teammate Jean-Eric Vergne will start in third at his home event, alongside Stephane Sarrazin, who recovered from a practice accident to place fourth in his Venturi.

Nicolas Prost made it three Frenchman in the top five with his best lap of 1m02.709s in his Renault e.dams car.

Bird had earlier set the fastest time of the group sessions with a 1m01.514 to just eclipse teammate Vergne’s earlier effort of 1m01.770s.

Just outside of the top five, Robin Frijns continued his impressive recent form with sixth place for Andretti, while Oliver Turvey was equally impressive in the hitherto difficult NEXTEV TCR car to start seventh.

Sebastien Buemi, who sits just a point behind current championship points leader di Grassi, will line up only eighth on the starting grid after failing to make it through to the Super Pole stage in his Renault Z.E15.

Reigning champion Nelson Piquet starts ninth to equal his best grid position of the season, while Antonio Felix da Costa’s Team Aguri Speak-Renault completes the top ten.

Dragon Racing’s erratic season continued as Jerome d’Ambrosio claimed 11th position and teammate Loic Duval suffered braking issues which contributed to a lowly 16th on the grid.

Simona de Silvestro will start 12th ahead of Bruno Senna’s Mahindra in 13th and a disappointed Daniel Abt in 14th.

Heidfeld and Conway collide in opening exchanges

The first group session saw drama after Nick Heidfeld spun and backed his Mahindra machine into the wall at the final corner.

The German extricated his car from the tyre wall and tried to rejoin the track but was instantly t-boned by Mike Conway’s Venturi.

The incident brought out the red flag despite both cars making it back to the pits, albeit neither managed to rejoin - with Conway starting 17th and Heidfeld 18th and last.

It was a particularly bitter blow for the innocent Conway who was on schedule to set the quickest time of his group.

All of the drivers struggled with generating sufficient heat in to their tyres and brakes during the session with the temperature just 12-degrees ambient. Several drivers suffered significant moments on their fast laps with Duval and Abt taking trips down escape roads.

Formula E rookie Ma Qing Hua starts from 15th place on the grid after a spirited final lap which saw him slide his Team Aguri car around the final two corners, somehow managing to keep out of the wall.

The first-ever Paris ePrix will take place at 16.00 local time this afternoon.

Qualifying results:

PosDriverTeamTime
1 United KingdomSam Bird  United KingdomVirgin Racing 1:01.514
2 FranceJean-Eric Vergne  United KingdomVirgin Racing 1:01.770
3 FranceStéphane Sarrazin  MonacoVenturi 1:02.148
4 BrazilLucas di Grassi  GermanyTeam Abt 1:02.249
5 FranceNicolas Prost  FranceDAMS 1:02.339
6 NetherlandsRobin Frijns  United StatesAndretti Autosport 1:02.405
7 United KingdomOliver Turvey  ChinaChina Racing 1:02.492
8 SwitzerlandSébastien Buemi  FranceDAMS 1:02.661
9 BrazilNelson Piquet Jr.  ChinaChina Racing 1:02.685
10 PortugalAntonio Felix da Costa  JapanTeam Aguri 1:02.747
11 BelgiumJérôme d'Ambrosio  United StatesDragon Racing 1:02.797
12 SwitzerlandSimona de Silvestro  United StatesAndretti Autosport 1:02.888
13 BrazilBruno Senna  IndiaMahindra Racing 1:02.915
14 GermanyDaniel Abt  GermanyTeam Abt 1:03.081
15 ChinaMa Qing Hua  JapanTeam Aguri 1:03.655
16 FranceLoic Duval  United StatesDragon Racing 1:03.787
17 United KingdomMike Conway  MonacoVenturi 1:04.798
  Nick Heidfeld  Mahindra Racing  
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About this article

Series Formula E
Event Paris ePrix
Location Streets of Paris
Author Sam Smith
Article type Qualifying report