NextEV take surprise 1-2 in Hong Kong qualifying

Former champion Nelson Piquet Jnr grabbed pole position for the opening round of the 2016-17 Formula E championship in Hong Kong.

In a session interrupted by two red flags, the Brazilian put in the fastest lap by over a tenth over his team-mate Oliver Turvey in the group sessions.

This ended up being good enough for pole as the superpole shootout was cancelled following Robin Frijns’ crash, which caused damage to the barrier at the exit of turn 4.

It meant a remarkable turnaround for NextEV TCR, who return to the front end of the grid having finished bottom of last year’s championship.

Keeping their position at the front will be tough though, with the DS Virgin Racing cars of Jose Maria Lopez and Sam Bird close behind them, and the Renault e.dams of Sebastien Buemi in fifth.

Buemi looked fast in practice, but a mistake at the tough turn 3/4 chicane meant he had to settle for fifth.

Jean-Eric Vergne will also be disappointed with ninth on the grid, as his time in free practice would have comfortably been quick enough for pole.

However his qualifying was hampered by Frijns’ crash brining out a red flag during his second run.

Lucas di Grassi also brought out the red flag after hitting the wall at the same place as Frijns, both caught out by a kerb that was moved between practice and qualifying. It means they will line-up at the back of the grid.

Elsewhere it was a disappointing start for Panasonic Jaguar Racing, who after talking down their chances of challenging for wins earlier in the week, could only manage fourteenth for Adam Carroll and sixteenth on the grid for Mitch Evans.

1Nelson Piquet JnrBRANextEV TCR1m03.099
2Oliver TurveyGBRNextEV TCR1m03.231
3Jose Maria LopezARGDS Virgin Racing1m03.251
4Sam BirdGBRDS Virgin Racing1m03.258
5Sebastien BuemiSUIRenault e.dams1m03.317
6Felix RosenqvistSWEMahindra Racing1m03.332
7Daniel AbtGERAbt Schaeffler Audi1m03.615
8Loic DuvalFRAFF Dragon Racing1m03.637
9Jean-Eric VergneFRATecheetah1m03.750
10Nico ProstFRARenault e.dams1m03.759
11Nick HeidfeldGERMahindra Racing1m03.848
12Maro EngelGERVenturi1m03.915
13Antonio Felix da CostaPORAndretti1m04.057
14Adam CarrollGBRPanasonic Jaguar Racing1m04.428
15Stephane SarrazinFRAVenturi1m04.520
16Mitch EvansNZLPanasonic Jaguar Racing1m04.588
17Ma Qing HuaCHNTecheetah1m04.740
18Jerome d'AmbrosioBELFF Dragon Racing1m05.166
19Lucas di GrassiBRAAbt Schaeffler Audi1m08.094
20Robin FrijnsNEDAndretti1m10.407