Lucas di Grassi takes maiden Formula E pole in Buenos Aires

© Audi Sport

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Lucas di Grassi raced to his maiden Formula E pole position in Buenos Aires on Saturday, edging out rivals Jean-Eric Vergne and Sebastien Buemi in the final shootout at Puerto Madero.

Di Grassi has been a regular race winner and title contender throughout Formula E’s short history, but had never started a race from pole prior to Saturday’s success in Buenos Aires.

The ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver was third-fastest in the initial group stage of qualifying, with Vergne and Buemi filling out the top two positions.

Di Grassi was the only driver to put in an error-free lap in Super Pole, though, giving him a buffer of 0.194 seconds over Vergne come the end of the session to take his first pole in Formula E.

Vergne will start second for Techeetah in Buenos Aires ahead of Buemi, who made an error through the first sector. NextEV NIO teammates Oliver Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr. also had scrappy laps, leaving them P4 and P5.

Jaguar enjoyed its strongest Formula E qualifying performance to date as Mitch Evans ended the session seventh, having sat inside the Super Pole positions until the final moments of Q4.

Renault e.dams’ Nico Prost was another to narrowly miss out, finishing up sixth. Marrakesh pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist was eighth for Mahindra, while Jerome d’Ambrosio and 2016 Buenos Aires winner Sam Bird rounded out the top 10.

Andretti had a qualifying to forget as Robin Frijns languished in 13th place, while teammate Antonio Felix da Costa suffered a stoppage and then damaged his car on a curb, leaving him 17th overall.

Home favorite Jose Maria Lopez came close to delighting the local fans in Buenos Aires, setting the fastest first sector in qualifying, only to hit the wall later in his lap, resigning the Argentine to P18 on the grid.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III