For the third time this season, championship hopeful and Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne clinched the pole position for a Formula E Championship E-Prix at Uruguay’s Punta del Este street circuit, but this time it was a little different.
After putting it on pole in Hong Kong (albeit backwards) and in Santiago, Vergne – who is currently leading the championship with 81 points – is in a good position to pull away from Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist in second.
But it was Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler driver and reigning champ Lucas di Grassi who caught the attention of the crowd after a solid performance in the qualifying and Super Pole sessions put him in second for the race here on Playa Brava. Speaking ahead of the race, di Grassi said he’ll stop at nothing to make up for the disastrous season he’s had so far. “We have nothing to lose, so we can be as aggressive as we want,” said the Brazilian.
Di Grassi finished Super Pole on top but he – along with Alex Lynn (DS Virgin Racing) and Oliver Turvey (NIO Formula E Team) – were later found to have strayed over the track limits, dropping them a position on the grid after a final decision from the FIA. For Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans, discrepancies with weight distribution will see Evans start at the back of the grid.
Starting in third is DS Virgin Racing’s Alex Lynn. After he collided with the wall in Mexico City during qualifying, Lynn will be keen to make up for lost ground. With the team currently third in the standings, the British driver is in a good place to boost the team’s position as we approach the second half of the season.
With NIO Formula E Team’s Oliver Turvey starting in fourth, he’ll be keen to keep momentum after he clinched the NIO’s first podium in Mexico City.
“Formula E is so competitive now, the level of the teams and drivers is really high but I think we’ve definitely got the pace to be fighting at the front and we showed that in Mexico. I hope we’ll be able to carry that forward and get our first victory,” said Turvey.
Renault e.dams Nico Prost started the drama in qualifying after he cut the chicane on Turn 15, breaking the front axle on his car when he collided with the wall after damaging his steering. Limping back to the pits, Prost will start at the back of the grid.
Shortly after Prost’s mishap, Mahindra Racing’s Nick Heidfeld failed to make Turn 17, plowing into the barrier in front of him. Bringing out the red flag, play commenced once Heidfeld’s car had been retrieved.
But the chicanes also claimed Nelson Piquet Jr.’s lap, after he shot across the curbs and collided with the wall on Turn 15. The former champ will start the race in 14th.
Delayed coverage of this afternoon’s Punta del Este E-Prix airs tomorrow on FOX Sports 1 beginnng with qualifying at 12:30 p.m. ET