Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne claimed pole position for the first Santiago ePrix as Andre Lotterer and Sam Bird both crashed in the Superpole shoot out.
After finishing fourth in the group stages, Vergne went head to head with Sebastien Buemi, Bird, Lotterer, and Lucas Di Grassi in the Superpole stage. The second man out in the session, he put in a solid lap to take provisional pole by nearly two tenths of a second to Buemi, the only other man who had set a lap time at that point.
Bird was next to challenge his former team-mate for pole, but lost the rear of his car late in his flying lap and was sent spinning backwards into the barrier. The Virgin driver was able to get the car moving again and limped back to the pits without setting a lap time.
That left Vergne’s team-mate Andre Lotterer as the only man who could challenge his pole position, as a component change meant Di Grassi would be taking a 10 place grid penalty.
Lotterer’s challenge was up at the first corner, though, when he hit the wall and damaged the front wing of his Techeetah. The team instructed him to continue, so long as he didn’t do too much damage to the car. Even limping back to the pits half a minute off the pace was good enough to put him fourth in the timings and third on the grid.
Lucas Di Grassi finished third, half a second behind Vergne, but will start the race 13th.
Despite limited running at the Santiago circuit, the group stages of qualifying were relatively clean, with the only serious incident coming from Jaguar’s Mitch Evans. Evans locked up and ran into the wall on his 200kW lap. It wasn’t enough to bring the session to a stop, but it did end his qualifying lap, putting him at the bottom of the order while team-mate Nelson Piquet starts sixth.
Mahindra duo Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld appeared to struggle on the South American track. Out in the two opening sessions, the pair finished 14th and 15th overall and were more than half a second off the time they needed to make it to the Super pole.
Alex Lynn and Oliver Turvey took seventh and eighth fastest, with Nico Prost and Jose Maria Lopez rounding out the top 10.
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