Photo: Sam Bloxham/LAT/Formula E

Sebastien Buemi Soars to Marrakesh E-Prix Pole

By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler might have owned the morning’s practice sessions, but when the time came to qualify it was Sebastien Buemi and Renault e.dams that stole the show.

Buemi laid down a time of 1:20.355 to win the Super Pole round and claim the Julius Baer Pole Position, securing the right to lead the ABB FIA Formula E Championship field to the green in the Marrakesh E-Prix.

The result was Buemi’s his first pole of Season Four, and the ninth of his four-year Formula E career.

Following Buemi in Super Pole was points leader Sam Bird, whose respectable time of 1:20.615 stood as those around him made mistakes.

An error in Turn Four relegated Felix Rosenqvist (1:21.196) to third. Dragon Racing newcomer Jose Maria Lopez surprised the paddock to make it into the final round of qualifications, but finished fourth with a time of 1:21.369. Defending champion Lucas di Grassi appeared poised to challenge Buemi early in his run, but a software error relegated the Brazilian to fifth after a slow 1:21.444 circuit around the 12-turn course.

Rounding out the back half of the top 10 after missing Super Pole were Alex Lynn, Nelson Piquet Jr., Daniel Abt, Mitch Evans and Oliver Turvey.

While the majority of the field escaped their qualifying sessions unharmed, two drivers in the paddock were set back by shunts during their sessions.

The first crash came from Nick Heidfeld, who careened into the Turn 8 wall during his session, forcing his No. 23 Mahindra Racing car to a stop and requiring a short red flag for the machine’s retrieval.

The latter driver eliminated by a shunt was Antonio Felix da Costa, whom smacked the barrier at an awkward angle in the midst of the final qualifying group. Da Costa was unhurt, but the incident forced a lengthy red flag and required the stewards to allow two minutes for drivers to complete their final attempts.

The timing of the shunt proved brutal for Abt, who was forced to abandoned a lap after going purple in Sector 1 and couldn’t replicate the speed in a one-lap effort after the crash.

The Formula E paddock will return at 2 p.m. ET for the 33-lap Marrakesh E-Prix. Coverage for American race fans can be found on FOX Sports 1.

Marrakesh E-Prix Qualifying Results

Position Car No. Driver Team Time
1 9 Sebastien Buemi Renault e.Dams 1:20.355
2 2 Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing 1:20.615
3 19 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing 1:21.196
4 6 Jose Maria Lopez Dragon Racing 1:21.369
5 1 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:21.444
Super Pole Cutoff
6 36 Alex Lynn DS Virgin Racing 1:20.567
7 3 Nelson Piquet Jr. Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:20.585
8 66 Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:20.605
9 20 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:20.690
10 16 Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 1:20.748
11 68 Luca Filippi NIO Formula E Team 1:20.804
12 27 Tom Blomqvist MS&AD Andretti Formula E 1:20.870
13 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah 1:20.906
14 5 Maro Engel Venturi Formula E Team 1:20.920
15 8 Nicolas Prost Renault e.Dams 1:20.937
16 7 Jerome d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing 1:21.176
17 18 Andre Lotterer Techeetah 1:21.222
18 23 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing 1:28.671
19 28 Antonio Felix da Costa MS&AD Andretti Formula E 1:36.167
20 4 Edoardo Mortara Venturi Formula E Team 1:36.733

 

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A contributing writer for Motorsports Tribune, Aaron Bearden emerged onto the racing journalism scene in 2014 after growing up with the sport. A native Hoosier, Bearden’s attended races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he was three years old. He can be found at race tracks across the U.S., and on social media at @AaronBearden93.