Buemi, Rosenqvist and Abt were the first Group to chance their hand on the Parisian street circuit, each driver waiting in the garage and not wanting to be the one to clean the track for the other. The irony being, the longer you wait, the higher chance every driver would be on track at the same time.
Bird was the first to break the silence, with Abt and Buemi quickly following suit. A 1.03:573 from Bird was scrappy but Buemi was flying, going quickest ahead of Rosenqvist and Di Grassi, with Abt in fourth.
Piquet, Conway, Prost, Evans and Lopez headed out for group two, adjusting their brake balance to full attack and not having to worry about regenerating any energy for the two lap dash. Prost was hustling his Renault e.Dams but in the process washing off margins of speed. Jose Maria Lopez would vault to third behind Buemi and one spot ahead of Rosenqvist and a superb fourth from Jaguar’s Mitch Evans.
A fifth from Prost proved a disaster for Di Grassi – pushing him out of the Super Pole shootout and already regulated to 8th outright. On a tight track with little chance to regen on the short straights, coming from the back would be a big ask.
Vergne, Turvey, Gutierrez and D’Ambrosio saddled up for the third round. A lacklustre lap from D’Ambrosio was only good enough for 8th. Turvey would tale provisional 2nd only to be usurped by home hero Jean-Eric Vergne, whilst a superb lap from relative newcomer Esteban Gutierrez put both Techeetah’s in the top 5.
Da Costa, Carroll, Frijns, Dillmann and Heidfeld were the final group to throw the dice. Most of the group could not progress anywhere but the stump of the tree, but Robin Frijns was on a flyer – his 7th scant reward for his fastest sector two of anyone on track. Heidfeld put a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders by waiting until the last minute, but wrestled time back to take sixth outright.
That left Buemi, Vergne, Turvey, Lopez and Gutierrez in the Super Pole shootout. Gutierrez was first out and looking neat and tidy until a massive lock-up at turn 8 sent the Mexican up the escape road and forcing a grmace from team principal Mark Preston.
A slower first sector for Lopez proved irrelevant given the circumstances but again wrestled with turn 8 to hit the timing beam with a 1.02:640. That gave Turvey a template to work off but a slightly understeery NEXTEV could only managed second fastest.
That left Vergne with everything to do. A lock-up at turn one gave the Techeetah crew a scare but strung a lap together good enough for provisional pole just before favourite Sebastien Buemi emerged on track.
With extra points on offer for pole, Buemi was already a tenth up in sector one but that was halved midway through sector two. In the end the Swiss driver was able to snatch pole by a mere six thousandths of a second and crucially three extra points – points Buemi will need to gather when he misses the double points round in New York duty to a clash with WEC duties.
A gearbox change for Turvey would push Gutierrez to 4th.
Images: Techeetah Formula E Team, Renault e.Dams and FIA Formula E
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