Sebastien Buemi has claimed his second pole position of the inaugural FIA Formula E season after finishing fastest in qualifying for the Monaco ePrix on Saturday afternoon.
The electric-powered series ventures to Monaco this weekend for its first race on European shores, acting as something of a home event for the French e.dams team that Buemi drives for.
The Swiss driver posted a fastest lap time of 53.478 seconds during qualifying, using his experience of racing at Monaco in Formula 1 wisely to finish two-tenths of a second clear of the field and clinch the team’s fourth pole position of the season.
Championship leader Lucas di Grassi will start alongside Buemi on the front row of the grid for Audi Sport ABT at his home event, and is joined in the top three by another former Virgin F1 driver in the form of Jerome d’Ambrosio, who will start from his highest position later today. Long Beach winner Nelson Piquet Jr. qualified fourth for Team China Racing.
Many of the big hitters failed to get to grips with the modified Monaco circuit, which uses only half of the layout used in F1. Andretti’s good form in qualifying came to an end as both Jean-Eric Vergne and Scott Speed ended up 14th and 16th respectively, whilst Nicolas Prost could only qualify seventh in the second e.dams car.
Antonio Felix da Costa’s hopes of spoiling the party in the final qualifying group were dashed after he lost the backend of his car when heading through Tabac, crashing into the wall and bringing out a red flag. Despite qualifying in 20th place, he will move up the grid due to Karun Chandhok’s grid penalty.
Loic Duval and Jaime Alguersuari have also been penalized for component changes, dropping to 15th and 18th respectively.
The Monaco ePrix kicks off at 4pm local time.
Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.
Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.
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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.
“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.
“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”
The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.
Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.