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
|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|
|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|
|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|