Jean-Eric Vergne grabbed the first pole position of the new Formula E season in Hong Kong on Saturday after edging out Sam Bird despite spinning his car across the finishing line.

Vergne finished third in the opening qualifying heats for Techeetah before turning in a fastest lap of 1:03.568 in the Super Pole shootout, kicking the rear-end of his car out while breaking the timing beam through the final corner.

"I really wanted to do something stylish, and I'm pretty proud of it!" Vergne joked. "I was lucky it was the last corner. I didn't expect to hit the wall. First pole of the year is great, very happy for the team. I'm hoping for a good race now.

"I guess I'm enjoying the car more as you can see. We tried to understand more the tyres and the brakes. I guess it paid off."

The spin appeared to open the door for Bird and Nick Heidfeld to take pole, only for both to fall agonisingly short. Bird was 0.027 seconds behind in second, with Heidfeld a further 0.002s back in third.

Audi's first qualifying session in Formula E as a factory team saw Daniel Abt finish fourth overall - 0.156s off P1 - ahead of Mahindra's Felix Rosenqvist, who missed his chance for pole after a mistake at the first corner.

Abt's late lap in Q4 edged out Audi teammate Lucas di Grassi out of contention for pole position, leaving the defending champion sixth on the grid ahead of NIO's Oliver Turvey and Andretti's Antonio Felix da Costa.

Season two champion Sebastien Buemi had a quiet qualifying, finishing ninth overall ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr., who was left to lead Jaguar's charge after teammate Mitch Evans was unable to complete a full power lap after a miscalculation on the pit wall, leaving him last on the grid.

The session was red-flagged midway through Q3 when Nicolas Prost hit the wall exiting Turn 5, dragging an advertising banner along with his rear wheel in the process.

With marshals not showing any yellow flags despite the debris on-track, Jerome d'Ambrosio came steaming past, causing his Dragon car to get tangled in the flapping banner as well, prompting the session to then be stopped.

D'Ambrosio was able to recover from the incident to qualify 11th, with Prost's 180kW lap still being enough to put him 18th ahead of debutant Edoardo Mortara and Evans. Fellow rookies Andre Lotterer, Luca Filippi and Neel Jani qualified 12th, 15th and 17th respectively for their maiden Formula E races.