Formula E Hong Kong: Vergne takes pole despite final-corner spin

Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne claimed pole position for the first of the two 2017/18 season-opening Hong Kong Formula E races despite spinning on the exit of the final corner

Formula E Hong Kong: Vergne takes pole despite final-corner spin

Vergne lost control of his car in the superpole session and spun, but he managed to cross the finishing line in the process to post a time of 1m03.568s.

That got him ahead of Audi driver Daniel Abt by just under two tenths of a second, and despite attempts by group stage pacesetter Sam Bird and Mahindra's Nick Heidfeld, Vergne's benchmark remained unbeaten.

Vergne's spin meant an inlap that was more than 120% of his best lap in qualifying, which breaches the series' sporting regulations, but as he did not impede another driver he did not face sanction.

Bird looked set to overhaul Vergne's time but made a costly mistake at the second hairpin and had to settle for the second spot.

Heidfeld missed out on a front row slot by just 0.002s despite a relatively clean lap, while Abt ended up shuffled back to fourth despite setting a time just 0.156s slower than polesitter Vergne.

Felix Rosenqvist's effort was ruined immediately when he locked up at the first-corner hairpin and ran deep, with an overall-best sector two proving insufficient to make up the deficit.

Defending champion Lucas di Grassi was the highest placed driver not to progress to superpole, after being knocked out by Audi team-mate Abt at the end of the group phase.

Di Grassi's long-time title rival Sebastien Buemi also failed to make the five-driver shootout after running in the opening group, and he will start the race from ninth on the grid.

Between the two title winners are Oliver Turvey, for the rebranded NIO team, and Andretti's Antonio Felix da Costa, while Jaguar's new recruit Nelson Piquet Jr completed the top 10.

Piquet's team-mate Mitch Evans topped practice but propped up the timesheets in 20th in qualifying after failing to get to the line in time to start a 200kW lap.

He will start 19th because Neel Jani, who set the 17th-fastest time, has a 10-place grid drop applied for a battery change that comes as a result of his FP1 crash - his Dragon Racing team has opted not to use its one free change for the season.

Jani's Dragon team-mate Jerome D'Ambrosio qualified 10th after having to complete his group stage lap again due to being caught up in an incident that sparked a red flag.

Nico Prost clouted the barrier at Turn 5, picked up a trackside sponsorship banner on his car's nose and deposited it over the front of d'Ambrosio's car as the Belgian caught him.

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