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Stoffel Vandoorne tops single Free Practice session in Ad Diriyah

Formula E rookie Stoffel Vandoorne topped a single shortened free practice session in Ad Diriyah ahead of qualifying later this morning.

After rain and standing water on track forced the cancellation of first free practice, a single practice session took place from 10:15 to 10:50 local time on Saturday morning.

After five minutes of running behind the safety car, proper running got underway at 10:20 with the drivers only having 30 minutes to learn the tricky Ad Diriyah circuit at full speed, on a track that was still damp in some places.

Nine minutes into the session, Edoardo Mortara's Venturi machine hit the wall at turn 1, bringing out red flags. Replays also showed him running deep at turn 18 at the end of the previous lap, with brake issues potentially being the cause.

The clock kept running at this point, giving the drivers even less time to learn the circuit at racing speed.

Green flag running resumed with just over six minutes left in the session, with all drivers apart from Mortara returning to the track in order to get in as many laps as they could ahead of qualifying.

The likes of Sam Bird, Mitch Evans, Jose Maria Lopez and Jean-Eric Vergne all topped the times in a flurry of on-track action before Stoffel Vandoorne finished the session on top for HWA Racelab - although it is debatable how representative the times are, given the brevity of the session.

In second place behind Vandoorne was Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing), 0.177 seconds off the Belgian's lap time, with Nissan e.dams duo Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland next up, and Jaguar's Mitch Evans rounding out the top five.

Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne was next up for DS Techeetah, with Alexander Sims beating his BMW i Andretti Motorsport team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa into seventh place and the German duo of Maximilian Guenther (Dragon Racing) and Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) completing the top ten.

Qualifying will take place at 11:25am local time, with just two groups hitting the track rather than the usual four.

8Antonio FelixDA COSTA120.634
12LucasDI GRASSI141.286
17José MariaLOPEZ132.113



Laurence Thorn

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