Jarno Trulli sprung a surprise on Saturday afternoon to claim his first FIA Formula E pole position in qualifying for the Berlin ePrix at the disused Berlin Tempelhof airport.
Despite qualifying in the first group of cars and having the disadvantage of a green track, Trulli posted a fastest lap time of 1:21.547 to edge out championship leader Lucas di Grassi and Monaco race winner Sebastien Buemi at the front of the field.
Racing for his eponymous team, Trull has endured a difficult start to life in Formula E with just one top ten finish in the opening seven races of the championship’s inaugural season.
However, the Italian driver rallied in Berlin to clinch his team’s first pole position with a fine display.
“Yeah I’m really pleased,” Trulli said. “I have to thank my team and supporters. We’ve been struggling quite a lot recently to find the right pace and the right setup on the car. It’s been a very hard weekend for the team.
“We have made some steps and some progress, but we were a little bit surprised not to be competitive in Monaco. Finally here we’ve found the right pace. The right adjustment on the car made the difference. We still have some work to do but we are getting there step by step.”
Di Grassi did appear to be in the running for pole position during his group three run, but fell less than one-tenth of a second short and will start the race from second place on the grid. Buemi managed to set the pace in group four, but did not improve on his final lap, leaving him third overall ahead of Nick Heidfeld.
Championship contender Nelson Piquet Jr struggled in qualifying, falling down to P13 by the end of the session behind American driver Scott Speed in 12th place.
This result marks Trulli’s first pole position in motor racing since the 2009 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, when he started from first place for Toyota.
However, the pressure will be on his shoulders to bring the car home and convert it into a first podium finish – or better still, a race win – for the team in Formula E.