Antonio Felix da Costa resumed his title challenge in the best possible way as he dominated qualifying for round six of the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
As the series returned to the Berlin Tempelhof Airport for the first of six races in just nine days, da Costa took no time at all to get back up to speed as he set a blistering lap in the first qualifying group.
It would be good enough to be the fastest lap overall in the first section of qualifying, and was in marked contrast to his championship rivals who struggled with the dirty track and will start much further down the order with Mitch Evans in ninth, Alexander Sims in seventeenth and Maximilian Gunther in thirteenth.
The Portuguese driver then dominated the Super Pole shootout, setting a time over three-tenths faster than team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, and making it a front row lockout for the DS Techeetah team.
Behind them Andre Lotterer impressed for TAG Heuer Porsche as he grabbed third spot on the grid, ahead of Sebastien Buemi, Nyck de Vries and Jerome D’Ambrosio.
Sam Bird, sporting a Star Wars Kylo Ren inspired helmet for this race, just missed out on the top six shootout and will start in seventh, with Envision Virgin Racing team-mate Robin Frijns in eleventh.
Elsewhere Alex Lynn marked his first race for the Mahindra Racing team by qualifying down in twelfth, and Rene Rast outqualified his Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team-mate Lucas di Grassi in his first race for the team, as he finished up in fourteenth.
It was a less auspicious debut for Daniel Abt and Sergio Sette Camara however as they raced for the first time in their new teams.
Abt is substituting for Ma Qing Hua who didn’t travel from China, but he failed to get to grip with the NIO 333 car and was nearly half a second slower than Oliver Turvey in the sister car.
Sette Camara meanwhile drove a scrappy lap in his first ever Formula E qualifying session – locking up into the first corner and then losing the back end more than once during the remainder of the lap.
It means he starts down in twenty-third, ahead of only James Calado who didn’t set a full-pace time due to being given a 60-place grid penalty for the race for replacing mechanical parts.