Jean-Eric Vergne fought back from a trying opening doubleheader in Berlin to take a decisive pole position for the Berlin E-Prix Round 8, half a second clear of BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Max Guenther.
Vergne’s searing lap around the Tempelhof Airport circuit — run in the traditional direction rather than reverse, like the first two races — looked incredibly aggressive, with the Frenchman taking 0.15s out of Guenther’s early benchmark in every sector before sealing pole with a 1m06.277s.
That made it 11 career pole positions in Formula E for Vergne, and a timely one after a demoralizing mid-week at Tempelhof, while his teammate Antonio Felix da Costa swept to back-toback wins from pole. It was also the fourth for DS Techeetah in a row.
“The first two races here were a complete nightmare,” he said. “When one thing goes wrong, another does and then everything seems like it’s going wrong — like in a nightmare.
“It’s funny in this championship how you can go from zero to hero. It was very important on my side of the garage to do the simple things and what we know works today. Now we need to transform this into a good race result.
“It’s always important not to feel too down when your teammate is doing such a good job. I know what I can do but the last two race days were awful. It can happen, so we needed to reset.”
Guenther’s 1m06.772s was the quickest time he’d managed on the day which was good enough for second, and while Mahindra Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio compiled a tidy trio of sectors, he ultimately fell half-a-tenth short of the BMW man in third.
Guenther followed through on two promising practice sessions after a disappointing time of it in Berlin so far with the second fastest time in his group.
“It’s good for all of us to finally have a positive qualifying after struggling in the first two rounds,” he said. “We did a good job and everything worked well together. We managed to deliver after doing well in practice. We just need to focus on extracting our all on each day and see where we end up.”
Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-Benz EQ) was right on the limit, ruing a little too much oversteer, and could only produce the fourth-fastest time.
Robin Frijns’ Super Pole effort was also scrappy. The Dutchman lost the rear early at the hairpin and locked up his tires on more than one occasion. “What a rubbish lap that was,” he said over the radio as he rounded an eventual sixth.
The last man to make it through from group four was Alex Lynn, making it a Mahindra Racing double in the Super Pole –shootout — the only team to do so. That’s now two Super Pole sessions in three for the Briton in Berlin.
He apologized for a disappointing lap to his engineer, but Mahindra will be happy with his fifth-placed effort and both cars sitting pretty inside the top six.
And what of da Costa? The Portuguese driver was aiming to become the first driver to take four pole positions in a row in Formula E, prior to seeking a record fourth straight victory, on top of extending — perhaps beyond reach — his championship lead. This time though, he failed to make it through to Super Pole and will line up ninth for this evening’s race.
Saturday’s race airs live on the FOX broadcast network beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Sunday’s race airs live on FS1 at 1:00 p.m. ET.