Jean-Eric Vergne kept his head on the bumpy and slippery streets of Santiago to take pole position for today’s Santiago ePrix.
Drivers who used their practice wisely would know that the traditional racing line wasn’t necessarily the quickest in Santiago as the bumps would force an alternate route around much of the circuit.
Sebastien Buemi, Mitch Evans, Nick Heidfeld, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Daniel Abt were up first in Group 1 on the still relatively dirty track. Evans was the first out and trying to find a gap whilst still on his low power setting. His first flying lap was ruined however when the Jaguar driver locked up into turn three. Buemi would fare better to go provisionally quickest with a 1.19:182 ahead of Abt and Heidfeld.
Group 2 consisted of Felix Rosenqvist, Sam Bird, Jean-Eric Vergne, Nelson Piquet and Edoardo Mortara. A 1.19:9 from Rosenqvist was a few tenths off where he needed to be and just managed to keep his Mahindra off the walls while Sam Bird went one tenth up on Buemi to go quickest. Nelson Piquet slotted into fourth for Jaguar while Vergne relegated Buemi to third to take the second spot.
Maro Engel, Jose Maria Lopez, Nico Prost, Oliver Turvey and Alex Lynn mase up Group 3, with Prost hoping to make amends after putting his Renault e.Dams into the barriers in second practice. The Frenchman would go provisional fifth, only to be relegated down the order by Lynn and Turvey. A 1.19:662 from Lopez was only good enough for P8.
The final Group to go out was Lucas di Grassi, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Andre Lotterer, Tom Blomqvist and Luca Filippi. A clean first two sectors from di Grassi was enough to put the Brazilian to the top of the timesheets, however an incredible lap from Andre Lotter quickly put the Techeetah driver in P1. Poor laps from Blomqvist and Filippi put them 18th and 19th respectively.
Sebastien Buemi was out first in Superpole shootout but an early lock-up may have lost the Swiss driver crucial time but a 1.199:355 was a solid effort. Vergne was next up and a 1.19:161 was marginally quicker than Buemi despite a big lock-up at turn 8 hairpin.
Sam Bird looked comfortable before going out but it all came unstuck for the Brit after carrying too much speed into turn 5 and throwing his DS Virgin into the barriers on the exit. Luckily for Bird, he was able to limp back to the pits to give his mechanics the maximum time to repair the car.
When the track was reopened, Di Grassi was next but still faced a 10 place penalty wherever he was to finish. A tidy lap from the reigning champ was half a second behind Vergne put him into P3 and 13th for today’s race. Lotterer’s lap ended almost before it began as the former WEC driver put his Techeetah into the barriers at turn out and heavily damaging the front end.
Lotterer was able to drag the car home to at least put him one spot on Bird for fourth, but it was team mate Jean-Eric Vergne who would take top spot for today’s Santiago race.
Images: Techeetah and Audi Sport
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