Nicolas Prost claimed his second consecutive pole position in Putrajaya but will start from 11th on the grid following a 10-place grid penalty.
The e.dams-Renault driver clocked a 1:21.779s ahead of Dragon Racing’s Oriol Servia but the Frenchman will move back on the grid after picking up a grid penalty for the last-lap crash with Nick Heidfeld in Beijing.
Prost said: “My goal was just to stick it on pole so I could start 11th and that’s what we did. The Beijing pole was a bit of a surprise but here felt really good. We’ll have to see how the race goes, fastest lap would be great too but overall I’m really happy with the result and my performance.”
Both Dragon Racing drivers put in a strong performance to lockout the front row of the grid but following a post-qualifying investigation Jerome d’Ambrosio was sent to the back of the grid for exceeding the maximum power usage.
Speaking straight after qualfying the Belgian said: “This is a great result on a difficult track which is very bumpy. I thought I only had an ok lap and clipped the wall slightly which damaged my suspension – almost finished on three wheels. It’s a great result for the team, especially with Oriol on pole.”
Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird will line-up second with Daniel Abt in third. The Audi Sport ABT driver set the initial pace in the opening qualifying group with a 1:22.342s and remained fastest for a long period until Prost and Servia lowered the benchmark.
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Audi Sport ABTâ€™s Lucas di Grassi stole victory in the inaugural Formula E Evergrande Spring Beijing ePrix after Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld crashed in a last corner battle for the lead.
Heidfeld walked away unscathed from a nasty looking incident after contact with Prost left him unable to control the car and flipped into the tyre barrier.
As the pair approached the final corner the Venturi driver dived up the inside in an attempt to the take the lead. The Frenchman moved left to defend and inevitably lead to their wheels colliding.
Heidfeld said: â€œI thought it was going to be a very big crash as well. Once I hit the kerb it felt like I was in the air forever. I closed my eyes and waited for the impact and then I thought â€˜Oh that was lucky!â€™ I have a small pain in my calf but apart from that Iâ€™m perfectly fine.â€
After clambering out from underneath the car Heidfeld, clearly aggravated, confronted Prost. However, Di Grassi wonâ€™t complain as he picks up the full 25 points and with it takes the lead of the championship.
He said: â€œFirstly, Iâ€™m happy Nick [Heidfeld] is ok and it shows how safe these cars are. To win the race is like a dream come true. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The team did a great job all through practice and qualifying, yes we made a few mistakes but overall Iâ€™m extremely happy to be the first ever winner of a Formula E race.â€
Andretti driver Franck Montagny finished runner-up nearly three seconds adrift of Di Grassi as the Brazilianâ€™s team-mate Daniel Abt crossed the line in third place. On return to the pitlane Abt was handed a time penalty for exceeding the battery consumption. The German driver used 28.2kW of the allocated 28kW available.
Katherine Legge and Jaime Alguersuari were also penalised for being over the limit.
Virgin Racingâ€™s Sam Bird was eventually promoted to claim the final place on the podium. Andrettiâ€™s new signing Charles Pic put on a strong display to finish fourth ahead of Karun Chandhok.
Mahindra team-mate Bruno Senna retired on the opening lap after being squeezed between the two Amlin Aguri cars. The Brazilian broke his left-front suspension and consequently brought out the Qualcomm Safety Car.
Despite topping four of the five pre-season tests, e.dams-Renaultâ€™s Sebastien Buemi failed to finished after retiring on lap 19.
Takuma Sato picked up two points for Amlin Aguri posting the fastest lap of a 1.45.101 in the final moments of the race.
After a dream start in the first ever Formula E race in Beijing, Lucas di Grassi begins his title assault on the Barcelona World Cup.
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