Jean-Eric Vergne to start on pole position in Punta del Este

Formula E debutant and Andretti driver Jean-Eric Vergne will start from pole position in Punta del Este ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr. and Nicolas Prost.

The French driver, who joined Andretti earlier this week, clocked a 1:15.408s a tenth clear of his nearest rival. Piquet will start alongside him on the front row ahead of the e.dams-Renault pairing of Prost and Sebastien Buemi.

Vergne said: “I wasn’t expecting that but I’m really happy. The other guys are really quick. I kissed the wall slightly so I was really lucky to get away with it. It could have been very different. With sand being blown onto the track it was hard to see how the session and track were going to go and it was a nervous wait at the end but really I’m happy with that result on my debut.”

“The team have made real progress and we’re really happy with that and looking forward to the race,” said Piquet. “The car has taken a little bit to get used to but we’re getting quicker and we could have had second place in Malaysia, so let’s see what we can do today.”

Prost said: “I can’t get pole all the time! That was the best I could do and I’m really happy. Jean-Eric [Vergne] is very quick. It’s a nice track and I was positively surprised. It’s very challenging and very different to Malaysia. The walls are very close so it’s hard to know how much to push.”  

Virgin Racing’s Jaime Alguersuari and championship leader Lucas di Grassi start fifth and sixth. Di Grassi’s Audi Sport ABT team-mate, Daniel Abt, set the initial pace with a 1:16.430s in the first group out on track with Vergne then lowering the benchmark by a further two-tenths at the end of the first run.

Jarno Trulli improved to move up to second place as Vergne continued to lead the way, setting his best time on his final lap to end up seven-tenths clear of the chasing pack.

Andretti driver Matthew Brabham hit the wall on the exit of Turn 15 and consequently limped back to the pits unable to set a time.

Putrajaya race winner Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) had a disappointing session as he crashed out at Turn 17. The Brit, who sits second in the championship, locked-up into the chicane and went straight into the tyre barrier.

FIA Formula E Championship – Punta del Este ePrix – Qualifying

  1. Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti, 1:15.408s
  2. Nelson Piquet, China Racing, 1:15.530s
  3. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, 1:15.722s
  4. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:15.842s
  5. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, 1:16.053s
  6. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, 1:16.108s
  7. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, 1:16.144s
  8. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, 1:16.211s
  9. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, 1:16.225s
  10. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, 1:16.374s
  11. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, 1:16.416s
  12. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, 1:16.811s
  13. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, 1:16.865s
  14. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, 1:17.025s
  15. Antonio Garcia, China Racing, 1:17.653s
  16. Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, 1:17.810s
  17. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, 1:20.206s
  18. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, no time set
  19. Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, no time set
  20. Matthew Brabham, Andretti, no time set

Group 1
Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing Formula E
Jarno Trulli, Trulli Formula E
Nick Heidfeld, Venturi Formula E
Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti Formula E
Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Formula E

Group 2
Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault Formula E
Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault Formula E
Matthew Brabham, Andretti Formula E
Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri Formula E
Antonio Garcia, China Racing Formula E

Group 3
Sam Bird, Virgin Racing Formula E
Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing Formula E
Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing Formula E
Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri Formula E
Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing Formula E

Group 4
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing Formula E
Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing Formula E
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Formula E
Michela Cerruti, Trulli Formula E
Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi Formula E