Santiago ePrix: Vergne Tops Chaotic Qualifying
The qualifying session of the Santiago ePrix has just wrapped up and Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne has emerged as the pole-sitter. It was a chaotic session as a number of cars on their flying laps, hit the unforgiving walls. Season 2 champion Sebastien Buemi qualified 2nd with defending champion Lucas Di Grassi 3rd. However, Di Grassi has a 10-place grid penalty for an unscheduled component change. As a result, he will start 13th on the grid. Vergne’s rookie teammate Andre Lotterer qualified in 4th but will inherit 3rd due to Di Grassi’s penalty.
As each qualifying group got underway, a few drivers succumbed to the pressure and hit the wall. Jaguar’s Mitch Evans was the first victim of the session but no major damage was done. The next driver in the wall was Tom Blomqvist and he ended the session in 18th place. Meanwhile, it was a disappointing day for Mahindra as both drivers struggled with qualifying pace. Championship leader Felix Rosenqvist will start 14th and teammate Nick Heidfeld will start 15th.
In Super Pole, Buemi was the first man out and set a benchmark time of 1:19.355. Next up was Vergne and he went 2 tenths faster for provisional pole. Sam Bird was up next but lost the rear end and his challenge was over. Bird’s accident brought out the red flags as the DS Virgin was cleared away. When the track was clear and the green flags were waving, Di Grassi went for his timed lap. He was only able to get 3rd behind Vergne and Buemi though, but he still had the penalty looming over his head. Lotterer was the last man out on track, the first time he was in the top 5. However, the pressure seemed to get to him and he had an encounter with the wall. However, he still managed to set a lap time of 1:46.429, which was enough for 4th as Bird failed to set a lap time.
The Santiago ePrix race is set to get underway at 4:00 local time.