Jarno Trulli rolled back the years in qualifying for the Formula E race on the Berlin Tempelhof airfield track with a surprise pole position.
Driving his eponymous Trulli Formula E Team Spark-Renault, the Italian scored his first pole position of the season, setting a best lap of 1m21.547s early in the first group of five drivers.
Trulli’s lap was a revelation, harking back to his halcyon days in Formula 1 a decade ago. An acknowledged qualifying specialist in his Grand Prix days, the 40-year old will start a race from pole for the first time since the 2009 Bahrain Grand Prix.
“We have made some good steps with the car and actually we were surprised not to be more competitive at Monaco,” said Trulli. “Finally we have found the right pace. We still have a lot to do in the race though.”
Di Grassi on front row
Lining up alongside the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix winner on the front row will be Lucas Di Grassi in the Audi Sport Abt entered car.
The points leader was just 0.076s shy of the pole while bitter championship rival Nelson Piquet Jr could only manage 13th place on the grid.
The second row is filled out by Monaco winner Sebastien Buemi and Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld.
“I am happy with the lap,” said Heidfeld. “It was not perfect but I am happy with the progress. We are moving forward and in the right direction.”
Fellow German Daniel Abt starts in fifth position for his home race this afternoon, while Dragon Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio joins him on the third row.
It is an all-French fourth row of the grid with Nicolas Prost and Loic Duval lining up together in their e.dams Renault and Dragon Racing cars.
Stephane Sarrazin was unlucky to register only ninth fastest time this morning. The Frenchman, who partners Heidfeld at Venturi, seemed set to challenge Trulli’s time but was baulked by Jaime Alguersuari’s Virgin car.
Sarrazin was unamused as he was forced to back off in the final sector. Alguersuari was placed under investigation and interviewed by the stewards, but no further action was taken against the Spaniard.
Completing the top 10 is Jean-Eric Vergne’s Andretti Spark-Renault, while the former Toro Rosso F1 drivers’ teammate Scott Speed is two places further back in 12th.
The only other significant incident occurred in the final group, when Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird spun harmlessly at turn one. The British racer, who won in Malaysia, will start a lowly 15th in the race this afternoon.