Nick Cassidy sealed a second Julius Baer Pole Position in as many days for Envision Racing at the New York City E-Prix, with the New Zealander set to start from the front for Round 12.
The last two polesitters squared off against each other and after the first corner alone Cassidy had found almost two tenths of a second. As the pair wound their way around Red Hook's docklands, da Costa did reel the Envision driver in. Cassidy was able to keep it neat and tidy through the final few turns, though and da Costa found himself too much to do - falling short in the end by 0.167 seconds.
That was Cassidy's third pole in the Big Apple, and sees him best placed to make it a storming win-double at the Brooklyn Street Circuit. His 1m08.584s was by far the quickest lap of the session, too - right when it mattered most.
A brake-by-wire issue took standings leader Edo Mortara out of the Groups and sees him marooned right at the back in 21st. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) couldn't capitalise to the fullest, clipping the wall on the way to the 13th quickest time. Fellow contender Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) starts seventh with Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) sixth and best of the top four.
After that ultra-close Quarters, with every driver within about one and a half tenths of a second of one another, the Semis were set to be fraught.
CLASSIFICATION: The full Round 12 qualifying results
Lotterer was tasked with making it by Cassidy in the first Semi but the German made a big mistake – missing an apex at Turn 6 after a wild Sector 1 which cost the Porsche driver 0.3 seconds. From there, he was always chasing it and the Kiwi in the Envision was able to make it through by more than 1.6 seconds and he'd have to settle for fourth.
Sims smoked the tyres through Turn 1’s braking zone but was up on da Costa through the early part of the lap. At the halfway stage they were split by just 0.003 seconds with Sims then da Costa taking that tiny margin. In the end, through the final corner da Costa was able to pull out a tenth and fire into the final with Sims securing third on the grid.
Lotterer faced Sette Camara and experience and guile told – narrowly. There was absolutely nothing left on the table by either driver, and no mistakes were made and the gap was just four hundredths of a second at the line. The Brazilian has a chance to make moves from fifth.
Next up, a key lap for Vandoorne against yesterday’s race winner and polesitter Cassidy – albeit in new cars after that Round 11 shunt involving both drivers. The Kiwi was a tenth up after the first sector, with Vandoorne running wide out of Turn 7, but still closing. Over the line, though, and it was Cassidy by a tenth with Vandoorne running slower than Sette Camara’s effort, leaving the Belgian sixth.
Da Costa managed to outdo the sister Mercedes-EQ of reigning champion Nyck de Vries in the third Quarter, with the Dutchman winding up eighth.
There was never more than a tenth of a second between Sims and Evans, with the Brit holding a slender advantage all the way around the lap. Evans gave it absolutely everything – hitting the wall on the penultimate turn and crossing the line only 0.006 seconds shy of the Mahindra Racing driver. The Jaguar driver starts seventh.
Mortara suffered technical trouble – a brake-by-wire issue – early in the Group A running and felt something wasn’t right in the car. He boxed but was unable to get out in time to set a lap within the specified time limit. The championship leader will start the race from the back of the grid – another huge twist in the title race.
More drama followed on the final push laps with Vergne also failing to made it to the Duels after hitting the wall – losing the rear and damaging the right-rear corner of his car which leaves him 13th.
Sette Camara punted the barriers in qualifying yesterday at the final corner and repairs couldn’t be made in time for him to make the race. This time around, the rapid Brazilian fired top of Group A to make the Quarters.
Round 11 winner Cassidy also made it through alongside de Vries and Sims.
Group B saw the other two championship challengers progress with di Grassi setting the pace and Evans, da Costa and Vandoorne all following – key given both Mortara and Vergne failing to progress.
After the fact, though di Grassi’s time was removed – meaning Lotterer squeezed into the knockout stages while the Venturi driver will join his teammate at the back of the grid.
Jake Dennis in the Avalanche Andretti will be relatively happy with the fifth fastest time - a net 10th - as will DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT’s Antonio Giovinazzi with sixth spot - a net 12th.