Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein claimed his first Formula E pole position at the Mexico City E-Prix as championship leader Sam Bird hit trouble.
The former Formula 1 driver set a time of 59.347s and was three tenths faster than Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi who qualified second.
Venturi’s Felipe Massa, making his first super pole appearance, was third and only 0.042s behind Season 3 champion di Grassi.
Wehrlein (two), Massa (three) and Oliver Rowland (four) only have nine Formula E starts between them with Rowland starting fourth ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa and Nissan e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi.
D’Ambrosio, second in the championship, will start towards the back of the grid after his qualifying time of 1m00.455s was only good enough for 19th place.
It means the two championship leaders start 19th and 22nd after a mechanical issue for Sam Bird meant he was unable to set a time.
Bird was on an out lap when the issue began and he pulled his Audi-powered car off the track at Turn 7.
It was this that led to an investigation for his Envision Virgin Racing team-mate Robin Frijns and Mahindra’s d’Ambrosio.
As the pair exited the 90-degree right hander of Turn 6, and with d’Ambrosio on a 250kW lap, the Mahindra driver had to avoid Frijns.
BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alexander Sims will start in seventh after missing out on Super Pole by four thousandths of a second after he posted a 59.782s.
He starts ahead of reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne who qualified in eighth with Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara and NIO’s Oliver Turvey rounding out the top 10.
Jaguar’s Nelson Piquet, DS Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer and NIO’s Tom Dillmann filled the next three positions with Dragon Racing’s Formula E debutant Felipe Nasr beating team-mate Jose Maria Lopez by one place.
Paffett qualified 16th, ahead of Frijns, Mitch Evans, d’Ambrosio, Stoffel Vandoorne and Daniel Abt.
The race will start at 4pm local time.