Punta ePrix: D'Ambrosio leads Dragon front-row lockout

Jerome D'Ambrosio took a surprise maiden Formula E pole in qualifying for the Punta del Este ePrix, leading Dragon Racing teammate Loic Duval as Sebastien Buemi ran wide on his hot lap.

Ex-Virgin Formula 1 driver D'Ambrosio was the third driver to set a lap in the final Super Pole session, beating Duval by 0.377s to take provisional pole on a 1m15.498s.

Lucas di Grassi (Abt Audi Sport) was next up, but backed off at the end of an untidy lap to go fourth behind DS Virgin's Sam Bird, before Buemi forfeited any chance of making it three poles in a row when he ran wide at Turn 8 on his flying lap.

The Swiss driver will start fifth, one place ahead of Renault e.dams teammate Nicolas Prost, who missed out on a Super Pole berth by just over a tenth.

Daniel Abt will start seventh, ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa, Bruno Senna and Oliver Turvey.

Story of the session

Turvey was the man to beat in the opening group, setting an early benchmark of 1m16.154s, but the NEXTEV TCR driver was quickly shuffled down the order when the second group took to the track.

In Group 2, di Grassi went fastest on a 1m15.115s, beating D’Ambrosio by three tenths as Bird moved into third ahead of Prost and Turvey.

Group 3 was topped by Duval, the Audi WEC driver slotting in third, six tenths off the pace, as Abt and da Costa narrowly missed out on top five slots.    

It was then Prost’s turn to be demoted from the Super Pole positions in the final group, as Buemi went fastest of all on a 1m15.011s.

That was over a second clear of nearest challenger Senna, while Jacques Villeneuve put his Venturi machine in the barriers – compromising Simona de Silvestro’s lap in the process.

Also hitting trouble was Jean-Eric Vergne, who blew any chance of a strong grid position at the track where he took pole on his Formula E debut a year ago by cutting a chicane during his hot lap in Group 1 - and was then badly baulked by Nathanael Berthon.

Formula E debutant Oliver Rowland very nearly put his Mahindra in the wall on his flying lap in Group 3, and will line up 16th ahead of Vergne and Villeneuve.

Qualifying results:

1 BelgiumJérôme d'Ambrosio  United StatesDragon Racing 1:15.498
2 FranceLoic Duval  United StatesDragon Racing 1:15.875
3 United KingdomSam Bird  United KingdomVirgin Racing 1:16.109
4 BrazilLucas di Grassi  Germany Audi Sport Team Abt 1:16.635
5 SwitzerlandSébastien Buemi  France DAMS 1:19.811
6 FranceNicolas Prost  FranceDAMS 1:15.913
7 GermanyDaniel Abt  GermanyAudi Sport Team Abt 1:15.993
8 PortugalAntonio Felix da Costa  JapanTeam Aguri 1:16.014
9 BrazilBruno Senna  IndiaMahindra Racing 1:16.048
10 United KingdomOliver Turvey  ChinaChina Racing 1:16.154
11 NetherlandsRobin Frijns  United StatesAndretti Autosport 1:16.255
12 BrazilNelson Piquet Jr.  ChinaChina Racing 1:16.300
13 FranceStéphane Sarrazin  MonacoVenturi 1:16.353
14 FranceNathanael Berthon  JapanTeam Aguri 1:17.573
15 SwitzerlandSimona de Silvestro  United StatesAndretti Autosport 1:18.281
16  Oliver Rowland IndiaMahindra Racing 1:19.414
17 FranceJean-Eric Vergne  United KingdomVirgin Racing 1:19.946
18 Jacques Villeneuve  Venturi No time
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About this article
Series Formula E
Event Punta del Este ePrix
Track Streets of Punta del Este
Drivers Loic Duval , Jérôme d'Ambrosio
Teams Dragon Racing
Article type Qualifying report