pieced together what was one of his finest laps to take pole position for at the Santiago ePrix whilst championship contender Jean-Eric Vergne struggled in thirteenth.

 

 

The Brazilian was the only driver to run a perfect sector three, which proved key to taking pole, despite his position still being provisional due to a technical infringement hanging over the team.

 

With a surface temperature of 38 degrees, drivers were already complaining about the mixed track surface at Santiago, but with but once again settling in between practice and qualifying, nobody would be keen to be the first to venture out.

 

One driver grateful just to be out there was Sebastien Buemi, whose Nissan was repaired in time to complete the second session after damaging his front end after a mistake during the morning session.

 

Robin Frijns, Jean-Eric Vergne, Antonio Felix da Costa, Andre Lotterer and Jerome D’Ambrosio drew the short straw in Group One. Andre Lotterer put a clean lap together to go initially fastest, only to be usurped by team-mate Vergne, followed by Frijns, Da Costa and D’Ambrosio – who was able to recover from a wild oversteery moment at the chicane.

 

In Group Two, Alex Simms, Lucas di Grassi, Sam Bird and Mitch Evans were next to try their hands, still throwing out dust against the walls in the process. Di Grassi immediately went fastest ahead of Mitch Evans who slotted into provisional third behind Simms. However it would be Buemi who would recover from his morning incident to trump the group and take provisional pole – suggesting the track was evolving quickly given Vergne was the only driver to stay in Superpole contention.

 

Group Three consisted of Oliver Rowland, Jose Maria Lopez, Nelson Piquet, Oliver Turvey, Daniel Abt and Max Gunther. Piquet looked particularly ragged and unsurprisingly could only manage fifteenth. Likewise, Lopez was unable to back up his second practice to finish seventh, whilst Abt and Gunther put in solid laps to take provisional fourth and fifth respectively. Oliver Rowland snuck into the top ten whilst Oliver Turvey finished a disappointing fourteenth.

 

 

Eduardo Mortara, Pascal Wehrlein, Felipe Massa, Gary Paffett, Stoffel Vandoorne and Tom Dillman were last out, with Wehrlein immediately jumping to the top spot. Vandoorne impressed to jump to fifth and Mortara in seventh. Paffett looked good until an extremely lacklustre final sector saw the Brit drop to seventeenth. That meant Wehrlein would contest Superpole shoot out with Buemi, Di Grassi, Bird, Vandoorne and Abt.

 

Daniel Abt was out first with track temperatures still rising. A smooth lap from the German yielded a representative, if not spectacular time of 1.08:958 – a decent banker to remind the remaining five drivers that no mistakes could be afforded.

Stoffel Vandoorne was up next and was already up on Abt, but would lose a little time in the second sector to finish two-tenths off Abt. Sam Bird would suffer a similar fate in the final sector to finish third. The key appeared to be in rotating the car perfectly in the final bend.

 

Di Grassi was now out on track and on a flier to smash his team-mate by half a second and give notice that Audi were indeed back in the championship hunt. That put enormous pressure on Sebastien Buemi, who responded to take provisional second with Wehrlein left to run.

 

Wehrlein threw caution to the wind, or walls and was all elbows throughout his lap to take third, handing Di Grassi pole.

 

“It was one of my best laps in Formula E”, said Di Grassi. “The race is going to be extremely difficult as we’ve never raced the car in these temperatures”.

 

 Images Audi and Mahindra.