Ex-Red Bull Formula 1 junior Antonio Felix da Costa stormed to Formula E pole position in Marrakesh for DS Techeetah, the top three separated by less than a tenth.
Da Costa had looked strong all day, and after securing a superpole spot he delivered his lap as the third car out of six on track.
Max Gunther marched to second for Andretti BMW, rebounding from his Mexico E-Prix qualifying nightmare in perfect fashion as a Turn 11 error just halted his pole bid, 0.069s off da Costa.
Lotterer was the penultimate driver to set a lap – one before Gunther – and took third for Porsche just 0.095s off pole. The top 22 cars were separated by less than 0.9s in the session.
Reigning Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries took fourth to rebound from a crash in Mexico for Mercedes, while Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara and Nissan edams Sebastian Buemi completed the superpole top six.
It was a nightmare session for championship leader Mitch Evans. After choosing not to do a warm-up lap, he failed to reach the line before the group one chequered flag.
Evans said “I was told we had margin” and that he was “furious” at the situation. Both he and Jaguar said they needed to assess the data, with Evans adding: “We shouldn’t be making these kind of mistakes.”
After winning the last round, Evans will start from the back of the grid. His time would have been the quickest pre-superpole lap.
With Evans out of the way there was chance for optimism in superpole.
Outside of the top six superpole contenders, last year’s Marrakesh winner Jerome D’Ambrosio was best of the rest, hailing from group three.
Just behind, Alexander Sims’ group one effort – second in that matchup to da Costa – took eighth for Andretti BMW.
Oliver Rowland was only fifth in group two but managed to take ninth overall.
Rounding out the top 10, James Calado saved face for Jaguar with his best qualifying of his rookie year in 10th.
Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne managed 11th, after missing practice one through illness. He was replaced by James Rossiter for that session.
While Lotterer and Mortara made the points, their team-mates Neel Jani (Porsche) and Massa (Venturi) could only manage 21st and 22nd respectively despite qualifying in the last group where conditions should be at their best.
De Vries’s Mercedes team-mate and championship contender Stoffel Vandoorne could only manage 18th.