Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa’s chances of securing back-to-back championship titles for DS Techeetah got off to a perfect start, securing a front-row lockout for the opening race in Berlin.
Topping both Group Qualifying and Super Pole has seen Vergne secure all four bonus points available and put the Frenchman firmly in the hunt for glory from 10th in the standings, only 23 points adrift of Nyck de Vries.
Meanwhile, a torrid session for Mercedes EQ’s de Vries and Envision Virgin’s Robin Frijns has thrown the title fight into an unpredictable final two races.
Unlike many previous circuits on the calendar this season, the disadvantage Group 1 qualifiers usually face is less prevalent at the Tempelhof. Last year saw da Costa take two consecutive pole positions on his way to the title.
This would have been a welcome relief for the Portuguese driver who clocked in a 1:06.486 to go fastest. However, his time would not remain top of the timing sheets for long, as his teammate Vergne laid down an unbeatable benchmark with a 1:06.239.
The Super Pole shootout featured some surprises from across the groups, as the DS Techeetah duo were joined by ROKiT Venturi’s Norman Nato and Edoardo Mortara, as Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi secured the final two spots in the top six.
All eyes would be on the DS Techeetahs in the fight for pole as da Costa initially went quickest with 1:06.300.
The reigning champion looked set to take pole and recreate his success from last season in Berlin. Yet Vergne managed to rain on his parade by 0.073 seconds, his lap of 1:06.227 saw him achieve his first Julius Baer Pole Position of the season and launch himself once more into the title fight.
Ending Audi’s seven years journey on a high will be di Grassi’s aim as he lines up from third on the grid and Mortara and Nato have put ROKiT Venturi in the hunt for a solid haul of points from fourth and fifth.
It was not the Super Pole session Buemi would have wanted, as the Swiss driver finished seven tenths adrift of Vergne’s leading time and will start sixth for Nissan e.dams.
Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Practice pace-setter Jake Dennis were unfortunate to be knocked out of Super Pole in dying seconds of Group Qualifying and will line up in seventh and eighth, respectively. The BMW i Andretti driver lost a tenth and a half in the final corner after getting caught in traffic behind championship leader Nyck de Vries.
TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein starts ahead of compatriot Maximilian Guenther in ninth, as the second BMW i Andretti closes out the top 10 for their home weekend.
Sam Bird qualified in 12th but will line up in 15th place, following his three-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Norman Nato on the penultimate lap of the London E-Prix.
It was worrying session for Teams’ Championship leaders Envision Virgin. Rookie Nick Cassidy starts from 14th, meanwhile his teammate Frijns lost half a second in the final sector and languishes down on the back row of the grid.
Mercedes EQ would have been hoping for a more promising Qualifying session on home soil. De Vries could only manage the 19th fastest time and had been investigated for impeding Dennis during Group 1.
Despite his Group 3 allocation, Stoffel Vandoorne appeared to struggle for pace, as times across the group dropped off considerably. As a result, the Belgian driver will start just behind Mahindra’s Alex Lynn in 22nd.