Lotterer beats Evans to Mexico City pole after nailbiting finish

by Nathan Hine
Andre Lotterer on Mexico City pole

Andre Lotterer has secured TAG Heuer Porsche Racing’s first Formula E pole position in Mexico City, beating Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Mitch Evans by six hundreths of a second.

It was a nailbiting finish with both Lotterer and Evans so evenly-matched throughout the lap, with the German slightly faster through the mighty Peradalta corner to claim his first pole position for Porsche in their fourth race in the series.

Qualifying began with the first group which saw the first six in the championship head out onto the circuit as race two winner Alexander Sims took to the racetrack first. But both of the BMW i-Andretti Motorsport drivers failed to deliver and ended up the best part of a second off group leader Sam Bird. Maxmillian Gunther is set to start eighteenth with Sims in twentieth respectively.

Next across the line was Stoffel Vandoorne as the championship leader set a 1 min 08.636 which was good enough for eleventh on the grid, beating Oliver Rowland who will start thirteenth and Lucas Di Grassi who will line up seventeenth on the grid. Envision Virgin Racing driver Bird set an unbelievable lap to be the best part of three tenths quicker than Vandoorne which was enough to get him into Super Pole.

Session two of qualifying in Mexico City saw Mitch Evans, Nyck De Vries, Andre Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein all set times good enough to get into Super Pole as the drivers made the most of the track conditions around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, with the New Zealander just over a tenth of a second clear of the Dutchman.

DS Techeetah driver Antonio Felix Da Costa struggled with the balance of his car and will start one a disappointing tenth on the grid. But while Wehrlein was happy to make Super Pole, the German will join his team-mate Jerome D’ Ambrosio at the rear of the field after both Mahindra Racing cars were awarded grid penalties owing to a change of gearbox since the last race in Santiago.

Things are set to be even worse for this team-mate D’ Ambrosio after the Belgian set a time only good enough for fourteenth on the grid which means he will have to serve a 10-second stop-go penalty on top of his grid penalty in the race itself. Also, Daniel Abt did not take part in qualifying after the German suffered a mighty crash during first practice coming into the stadium section which saw him go to hospital. It is hoped that he will be fit enough to take part in this afternoon’s ePrix.

There was further disappointment as Felipe Massa was unable to repeat his good qualifying efforts from Santiago and qualified twenty-first, with Jaguar’s James Calado just two places further up the road in nineteenth.

Even the top two qualifiers in the session, Jean-Eric Vergne and Robin Frijns, it was hardly all smiles as neither of them made it into Super Pole, qualifying seventh and ninth for this afternoon’s Mexico City ePrix.

The final qualifying session saw Nissan e. dams star Sebastien Buemi make it into Super Pole as the former Formula E champion made the most of his poor start to the season. Also, there was reason to celebrate at GEOX Dragon Racing as Nico Mueller put together a great lap and went eighth quickest which will be seventh on the grid for this afternoon’s ePrix.

However, there were poor performances from Brendon Hartley and Porsche’s second driver Neel Jani in fifteenth and sixteenth respectively. Ma Quinghua was a long way off the rest of the pack in twenty-second following the distractions he had to deal with this weekend following the Coronavirus outbreak. But there was disappointment for the other NIO 333 car as Oliver Turvey stopped out on track which meant he was unable to complete a full-power run in qualifying.

The Super Pole session got underway with Sam Bird heading out first and the Envision Virgin Racing driver put together a solid lap of a 1 min 08.444 which looked good despite his negative reaction on team radio. But it was soon eclipsed as Sebastien Buemi went half a tenth quicker to displace the Briton. Next up was Pascal Wehrlein and the German put on a good show despite a poor first sector to beat Buemi by a tenth and a half.

Next up was his fellow countryman Andre Lotterer in Porsche Racing’s first Super Pole appearance and he aced the lap to set a 1.07.922 to set a huge benchmark for the others to match. Nyck De Vries entered his first Super Pole session and despite a poor first sector, losing over three tenths to Lotterer, he slotted into third place which would be a net second.

So the question was whether Lotterer would claim his first pole for Porsche or Evans would claim his second successive pole for Jaguar? Heading into the final sector, Mitch was four thousandths ahead, but after a mighty final sector from Lotterer, the Jaguar driver was unable to hold on. He will start from second on the grid, falling short of pole by just six hundreths of a second ahead of this afternoon’s ePrix.

After triumphing in qualifying, can Porsche score their first victory in this afternoon’s ePrix on the streets of Mexico City?

Position#DriverTeamTimeGap
136 André LottererPorsche Formula E Team1.07.922
220Mitch EvansPanasonic Jaguar Racing
394Pascal WehrleinMahindra Racing*Penalty
417Nyck de VriesMercedes EQ Formula E Team
523Sébastien BuemiNissan e.dams
62 Sam BirdEnvision Virgin Racing
74 Robin FrijnsEnvision Virgin Racing1.08.435
87Nico MüllerGEOX Dragon
925Jean-Éric VergneDS Techeetah
1013António Félix da CostaDS Techeetah
115Stoffel VandoorneMercedes EQ Formula E Team
1248Edoardo MortaraVenturi Formula E Team
1322Oliver RowlandNissan e.dams
1464Jérôme d'AmbrosioMahindra Racing*Penalty
156Brendon HartleyGEOX Dragon
1691 Neel JaniPorsche Formula E Team
1711Lucas di GrassiAudi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team
1828Maximilian GüntherBMW i Andretti Motorsport
1951James CaladoPanasonic Jaguar Racing
2027Alexander SimsBMW i Andretti Motorsport
2119 Felipe MassaVenturi Formula E Team
2233Ma QinghuaNIO 333 FE Team
233Oliver TurveyNIO 333 FE Team
2466Daniel AbtAudi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team

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