Sebastien Buemi secured pole position for Renault e.Dams as the first qualifying session of the NYC ePrix took a dramatic turn, with dust and penalties marring the hopes of championship contenders Jean-Eric Vergne and Sam Bird.
Vergne managed to secure first position after going last in Group 1 qualifying, passing the timing line just seconds before the chequered flag came out for the session.
However, his lap times were deleted as stewards found Vergne had exceed the maximum power usage limit during the qualifying lap. Vergne’s teammate Andre Lotterer also had his times removed from qualifying for the same infraction.
Techeetah FE team principal Mark Preston explained after the session that it was software update in the power management system that caused the infraction and led to both drivers’ disqualifications.
“It was disappointing for both drivers,” said Preston. “We had a small update for reliability reasons and that caught us out in qualifying. We’ll see how we go in the race.”
Meanwhile, DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird’s qualifying effort was hampered by the unusual amount of dust on the circuit. Bird managed to lap a 1:14.484, enough for a start from 14th position.
After the session, Bird lamented that he and Lucas di Grassi, who was first in the Group 1 qualifying queue, were essentially “sweeping the track” for everyone else that came behind.
The one lap performance continued to shine for Jaguar Racing, with Mitch Evans putting in a robust effort to secure second place in super pole for the team.
Polesitter Sebastien Buemi credited the team’s ongoing development work on the car’s resurgent pace.
“I’m really happy, more for the team than myself,” said Buemi after Super Pole qualifying. “Clearly they work hard. I hope we can convert this good start into a good result in the end.
“It’s a long race. Everything is possible. We’ve worked hard since Zurich and I would really like to finish on a good [race].”
Buemi’s teammate Nico Prost was pleasantly surprised to see the pace that the Renault powertrain had found from Zurich translated well onto the streets of Brooklyn.
“We found back a lot of performance in Zurich – Quite surprising!” exclaimed Prost. “To be third in Super Pole is great. Let’s hope we can have a good race.”
“I want to finish on the podium! It’s going to be hot. I think we are prepared.”
Images: Michelin Motorsport
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