Puebla E-Prix: Wehrlein grabs pole in dramatic qualifying

Pascal Wehrlein bagged his and Porsche’s second Formula E pole for the maiden Puebla E-Prix as the top six in the points dashed their chances in Mexico by tripping over another.

Puebla E-Prix: Wehrlein grabs pole in dramatic qualifying

The ex-Sauber Formula 1 driver led the way through the group stages and then delivered a last-ditch flier in a close superpole contest to net himself and the team a second career pole position, both of which have been scored in Mexico at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Wehrlein used his group two running order and the windfall of track evolution to top the early pace with his stellar 1m23.505s effort that moved him 0.3s ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne.

Then the last to run in the top-six dogfight, Wehrlein dropped a tiny 0.005s off the pace through the opening sector before posting the best second sector of the day to recover.

A slightly messy run through the high-speed Turn 15 banked corner meant he lost the fastest overall final sector but an eventual 1m23.78s put him on pole by 0.058s.

Oliver Rowland, the practice pacesetter, missed out on top spot courtesy of a douse of oversteer through Turn 12, having briefly held provisional pole ahead of Jake Dennis.

Dennis, leading a revived BMW Andretti team, again found an affinity with a permanent track after his Valencia E-Prix victory, storming to the second row of the grid with third.

Vergne, meanwhile, battled to fourth ahead of a controlled but unremarkable lap from Maximilian Guenther as a major sector two mistake dashed Edoardo Mortara’s hopes when the Venturi Racing driver ran comfortably slowest by 2.1s in the superpole bout.

Alexander Sims was the first driver to miss out on a shot at pole with a seventh-place effort, but he still bucked the general trend of the group three runners who struggled for pace.

Alexander Sims, Mahindra Racing, M7Electro

Alexander Sims, Mahindra Racing, M7Electro

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

After a massive 0.5s gain in the first sector alone between the opening group and those in group two, it looked like track evolution would hugely benefit those last on to the track.

But that theory fell apart in group three, with Lucas di Grassi the only other driver to join Sims inside the top 10 as rival Porsche racer Andre Lotterer landed a subdued 11th place.

The sportscar veteran was pipped by a final group run from Sergio Sette Camara for Dragon Penske Autosport, despite the Brazilian nearly spinning with a mistake at Turn 12.

But he and debutant team-mate Joel Eriksson will drop to the back of the grid courtesy of their 20-place grid drops following an inspection of their invertors and a seal break.

Rene Rast had completed the top 10 for Audi courtesy of his group two effort.

A shambolic group one entry from the top six in the points put reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa down to a lowly 12th and a full 1.376s off the best group time of Wehrlein.

DS Techeetah driver da Costa had been joined in the session by Robin Frijns, Nyck de Vries, Mitch Evans and Stoffel Vandoorne but the big hitters will line up down the order after tripping over each other.

Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21

Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

In view of the anticipated track evolution, all six cars toured together on their out-lap and squabbled three-wide in places and side-by-side through the final Turn 15 banked corner.

Across the line, Frijns suffered a massive locked up on the approach to Turn 1 as Sam Bird tried to throw his Jaguar Racing car up the inside of Vandoorne, who also locked up.

That massively delayed the trio and also eliminated the clean air de Vries had created for himself by dropping back on the preparation lap.

This paved the way for da Costa and Evans to break away, with da Costa beating 13th-quickester Evans by 0.053s before the whole cohort slipped down the order.

Eriksson’s first attempt at Formula E qualifying netted him 14th ahead of Nick Cassidy and Mercedes racer de Vries.

Behind Bird in 20th, a group four start for Nissan e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi looked like the platform on which to rebuild his disappointing season. But he only clocked 21st.

The 2015-16 champion only eclipsed points leader Frijns, Vandoorne and spinner Tom Blomqvist.

Puebla E-Prix qualifying superpole results

Group qualifying results:

shares
comments

Related video

Puebla E-Prix: Rowland leads incident-filled practice sessions
Previous article

Puebla E-Prix: Rowland leads incident-filled practice sessions

Next article

Buemi set for grid penalty to solve “fundamental” Nissan e.dams car woes

Buemi set for grid penalty to solve “fundamental” Nissan e.dams car woes
How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon Plus

How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon

It might not look like the most glittering of Formula E campaigns, but Dragon Penske’s youngster has caught the eye of those who count despite his future remaining unclear. Regardless of the distortion, Sergio Sette Camara has a clear vision of what he’s focused on and how to get there

Formula E
Aug 4, 2022
How Formula E's title fight gave way to Dennis and Di Grassi in the dockyards Plus

How Formula E's title fight gave way to Dennis and Di Grassi in the dockyards

The penultimate stop on Formula E's world tour took in London's ExCeL, where the championship contenders were upstaged by two first-time winners in 2022. Andretti’s Jake Dennis kept the home fires burning in the first race as Venturi’s Lucas di Grassi claimed the second, but two consistent finishes mean its advantage Stoffel Vandoorne heading to the Seoul finale

Formula E
Aug 1, 2022
The ex-F1 racer turned Venturi team boss adapting to a Formula E title fight Plus

The ex-F1 racer turned Venturi team boss adapting to a Formula E title fight

For the second year in a row, the Venturi team is in the thick of the fight for Formula E title glory with Edoardo Mortara. That's despite a change to a more meritocratic qualifying system, which was expected to give the works Mercedes team an edge, and ex-Formula 1 racer Jerome d'Ambrosio being new in the team principal hot seat. As he tells Autosport, it's a challenge he's revelling in

Formula E
Jul 26, 2022
Why Sims is quitting Formula E to become the master of his own destiny Plus

Why Sims is quitting Formula E to become the master of his own destiny

Alexander Sims’ call to give up a pukka Formula E spot after four seasons in the series may have surprised some, but after laying out his reasoning and what he hopes comes next, very few onlookers can argue against his plan

Formula E
Jul 20, 2022
How Formula E's Big Apple crunch led to Cassidy joy and heartache Plus

How Formula E's Big Apple crunch led to Cassidy joy and heartache

Nick Cassidy hadn't enjoyed too many joyful moments in the 2021-22 Formula E campaign, but the Envision Virgin driver was the class of the field in New York - even after a sudden downpour had caused him and several others to shunt heavily out of the first race. Red flags saved his bacon on that occasion, but a 30-place penalty that cost him pole for race two due to a new battery opened the door for Antonio Felix da Costa

Formula E
Jul 18, 2022
Mortara turns up the heat on Formula E title rivals in Marrakech scorcher Plus

Mortara turns up the heat on Formula E title rivals in Marrakech scorcher

Formula E’s unplanned return to Marrakech provided teams with a fresh challenge in old but familiar surroundings, as Edoardo Mortara kept his cool in melting conditions to triumph and retake the championship lead

Formula E
Jul 4, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How Evans kept cool in Jakarta heat to renew his Formula E title push Plus

How Evans kept cool in Jakarta heat to renew his Formula E title push

Jean-Eric Vergne had comfortably taken a landmark pole for Formula E's first visit to Indonesia and looked set to win his first race of a highly consistent campaign. But the DS Techeetah driver couldn't answer a late attack from Jaguar's Mitch Evans, who profited from the Frenchman's change in battery management tactics to seize a third win of the campaign

Formula E
Jun 6, 2022