It all came down to the final lap but Andre Lotterer manages to place Tag Heuer Porsche FE car on Pole Position in Mexico City. This is the first pole for the new team and a second career pole for the German driver.
We are back racing again after a 4 week break and you could see how every single driver was pushing their Formula E cars to the absolute limit. Once again, we take to the Qualifying format that sees four groups of six drivers each to fight it out for Super Pole. Unfortunately, Daniel Abt of Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler had a big shunt during Practice and had to be taken to the hospital to get checked out. Luckily, Abt was released with no injuries but, despite the car being fixed, he was unable to take part in Qualifying. We will see Abt for the E-Prix at the back of the grid.
Starting with Group 1, we saw Championship Leader, Stoffel Vandoorne, along with Sam Bird, Lucas DiGrassi, Oliver Rowland, Alexander Sims and Maximilian Gunther take to the circuit. Sims was the first to take to the track with 3 minutes and 13 seconds remaining. The rest of the group followed closely behind to see what they could do. Sims came out in clean air but got caught up behind Vandoorne and decided to pass him. Sims has had a good start to Season 6 but, unfortunately, qualifying did not go to plan and he finished 6th within his group, 20th overall. All drivers in Group 1 started topping each other by the slightest of margins but it was Bird who took the top spot with a 1.08:394.
In Group 2, we had Antonio Felix Da Costa, Nyck De Vries, Mitch Evans, Andre Lotterer, Eduardo Mortara and Pascal Wehrelin. During this session, it was revealed that both Mahindra Racing drivers would take a penalty after both cars had to have a gearbox change. This means that despite Wehrlein’s and later, D’Ambrosio’s efforts, they would start near the back. Lotterer took to the track first with 3 minutes 30 seconds remaining with the other cars following shortly after. Lotterer had a good sector 1 and even with a back end slide which he managed to rectify, Lotterer went ahead of Bird. Much like Group 1, cars starting pipping each other one by one with Evans topping the group entirely.
Group 3 only saw five drivers compete for Super Pole as Abt was being checked at the hospital. Robin Frijns, Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne, James Colado and Jerome D’Ambrosio. Frijns and D’Ambrosio were the first cars out with 3 minutes remaining. All cars were putting in good first sectors but had different difficulties later on in the lap. Frijns managed to place in Super Pole by the skin of his teeth in 6th position. Reigning Formula E Champion, Vergne could only slot in 7th. The rest of the group placed 10th or lower with Massa being affected the most with slow speed and a nasty lock-up putting him in 14th position.
Rounding up with Group 4, we saw Bredon Hartley, Qinghua Ma, Sebastian Buemi, Nico Muller, Neel Jani and Oliver Turvey. Jani and Hartley left the pits with 3 minutes and 30 seconds remaining, Buemi left 30 seconds later and then rest followed suit. Jani had a big twitch and locked his wheels around turn 1 and placed 14th at the end of the session. Turvey came to a stop on his lap and it was doubtable whether we would have a Red Flag. Turvey managed to get going again but came last overall due to losing so much time. Hartley slotted in 13th and Muller faired even better by moving ahead of both DSTcheetah cars in 8th. However, Buemi began matching Evans in timings and managed 5th.
For the first time in a long time, we saw a driver from Group 1 in Super Pole with Bird, who put in a phenomenal performance which left the other drivers struggling to match his pace. Joining him was Evans, De Vries, Lotterer, Wehrlein, and Buemi. Bird was out first in Super Pole and his lap was very tidy. Bird kept it tucked in well round the different turns and despite a little slide in the stadium section, Bird put in an impressive 1.08:444. Buemi then took his turn and had a great start at turn 1 and an even better second sector. This proved integral for Buemi who put in a 1.08:364 and took the top spot. Wehrlein was up next and as always, he would give it his all but it did not matter too much as he would have the penalty for his gearbox applied for the race. Wehrlein had a very neat lap and topped sector 1. He took a wide line on to the dust and slight oversteer but went to the top of the board with a 1.08:200. Lotterer had a great lap and his car was looking super quick. Lotterer drove his car to the absolute edge and crossed the line with a 1.07:922. De Vries was up next and had a lock-up at the start. He improved in the second sector but could only manage third position. Last up, we saw Evans try to steal provisional pole from Lotterer who was dancing on his brakes. Evans was very neat through the stadium section but lost it at the end and put himself in second place, giving Lotterer his first pole with Porsche.
Speaking to Lotterer after Super Pole, Formula E reporter Nicki Sheilds asked the Porsche driver how he was feeling, “Things are going well” the German driver began. “It was tricky out there”, he mentioned about the session but “hopefully we do a good race…let’s make it count today”.
The Mexico City E-Prix takes place later on today and it is sure to be an exciting one. Will we see Lotterer gain his first ever win for Formula E? Will Vandoorne still be at the top of the Championship? Can BMW I Andretti stay ahead in the Constructors? All will be revealed! Check back later with Overtake Motorsport to find out.
Feature Image Credit: Tag Heuer Porsche FE Twitter Page