Alex Lynn has rocketed to pole in his debut Formula E qualifying session. Beaten only by Sam Bird in group qualifying, he has topped super pole by almost two tenths, ahead of Daniel Abt.
Group one consisted of Robin Frijns, Jean-Eric Vergne, Loic Duval, Antonio Felix da Costa and Renault e.dams rookie Pierre Gasly. The Amlin Andrettis and Vergne’s Techeetah struggled with the steering issues that have dogged their last few races.
Vergne not quite so much kissed as brushed lips with a wall but topped the group overall. Meanwhile da Costa made full contact with a wall at the exit of turn nine and although he managed to save it into turn ten, ruined his hot lap.
No one had as grim a session as Gasly, however, who registered the slowest time of the drivers who finished a lap.
In group two Jerome d’Ambrosio set an astonishingly fast lap, after falling dead last in FP1 earlier. Nick Heidfeld’s fortunes also reversed, seeing him go from an extremely strong FP2 to a time optimistic (and ultimately unsuccessful) for Super Pole, three tenths down from Vergne, while Stephane Sarrazin, Nico Prost and Mitch Evans failed to scratch Jerome d’Ambrosio’s time.
In group three a shock again occurred as FP2 pace setter Felix Rosenqvist made an uncharacteristic error that ruined his lap, while Abt set an extremely strong time – only two tenths down from the best time.
Lynn showed an immediately strong contention for pole, slotting into the times ahead of Vergne – the last Formula E rookie to take a pole position, at 2014’s Punta del Este race.
A strong group, including championship contender Lucas di Grassi and with a drying track it was a surprise to see no one other than Bird progressed to Super Pole, di Grassi languishing seven places behind his teammate in tenth.
Before qualifying Rosenqvist said it might be better for Mahindra to end up third or fourth on the grid, not risk the car and trust the team’s racecraft but with Bird’s hot lap beating Heidfeld’s time, neither Mahindra made it to Super Pole.
Super Pole played out surprisingly, with Lynn’s second qualifying outing ever putting him five tenths faster than Vergne on a blistering lap that tested the absolute closest he could get to the walls. Abt also delivered a strong lap, less than two tenths off Lynn’s time.
Fortunes switched again on d’Ambrosio as he ruined his lap with a major error, securing no better than fifth. Bird endured a slightly scruffy lap and was unable to find the same pace as his team-mate, ending fourth in the timings.
This means that DS Virgin stand-in Lynn will start his first ever ePrix from pole position and puts himself in the best possible position for an onslaught at a debut victory, a feat which has not yet been achieved in Formula E.
Hazel Southwell | e-racing.net