Jean-Éric Vergne storms to decisive pole

Andretti’s Jean-Éric Vergne’s scintillating lap of 1min 15.408secs proved the class of the field in qualifying for this afternoon’s Punta del Este ePrix, as the Frenchman sealed pole on his debut in Formula E.

It proved to be beyond the reaches of the rest of the field, but e.dams-Renault came mightily close to knocking Vergne off his pedestal.

Sebastien Buemi was the first to take a shot at Vergne, with few minutes remaining in the second group he set blistering times in the first and second sector, but crucially lost time in the third to fall short with a 1min 15.842secs lap.

His team-mate Prost was just behind on a 1min 15.878secs, but in the dying embers of the session he found more time, moving up to 1min 15.722secs and just 0.314secs off Vergne.

The ex-Toro Rosso man held on after watching the second group, but was surely sweating in the third as Nelson Piquet Jr set a storming final lap of 1min 15.330secs, a small margin of 0.122secs off the pole man.

It meant the China Racing driver would start second on the grid, with Prost taking the slot of third ahead of team-mate Buemi.

Fifth saw Virgin Racing’s Jaime Alguersuari continue his fine form from this morning, with the driver setting a 1min 16.053secs in the third group.

Championship leader and Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi took sixth at the flag, with his time of 1min 16.108secs pushing him ahead of Trulli GP’s Jarno Trulli, his time of 1min 16.144secs giving him seventh.

Mahindra Racing’s Bruno Senna qualified eighth with a time of 1min 16.211secs, narrowly beating Venturi GP’s Nick Heidfeld with his lap of 1min 16.225secs just 0.014 off Senna.

Rounding off the top ten was Audi Sport ABT’s Daniel Abt with a time of 1min 16.374secs.

There was plenty of drama on the coast, with Putrajaya ePrix race winner Sam Bird colliding with a wall to end his chances of setting a time.

Similar fates befell Dragon Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio, who clipped the wall on a fast lap and prevented him setting a time too. Damage also prevented Andretti’s Matthew Brabham setting a time, as he was forced to return to the pits.