Paris ePrix: Bird beats di Grassi to pole, Buemi just eighth
DS Virgin’s Sam Bird claimed pole position for Saturday’s Paris ePrix after a thrilling Super Pole session.
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.
|1||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||1:01.514|
|2||Jean-Eric Vergne||Virgin Racing||1:01.770|
|4||Lucas di Grassi||Team Abt||1:02.249|
|6||Robin Frijns||Andretti Autosport||1:02.405|
|7||Oliver Turvey||China Racing||1:02.492|
|9||Nelson Piquet Jr.||China Racing||1:02.685|
|10||Antonio Felix da Costa||Team Aguri||1:02.747|
|11||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:02.797|
|12||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti Autosport||1:02.888|
|13||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||1:02.915|
|14||Daniel Abt||Team Abt||1:03.081|
|15||Ma Qing Hua||Team Aguri||1:03.655|
|16||Loic Duval||Dragon Racing||1:03.787|
|Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing|
Di Grassi could change teams for season three of Formula E
Paris ePrix: Di Grassi dominates for third win of campaign