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Close up photo of Sam Bird in his Jaguar Formula E car. He is in the pits, waiting to head out. His head - in the helmet - is visible in the car.

Bird flies under the lights in Diriyah

Sam Bird flew to the top of the time sheets for Jaguar at the end of a frantic opening practice session in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

The Brit set a 1m10.402s to go 0.084s seconds faster than Jean-Eric Vergne in the DS Penske on what was a relatively chilly evening at the circuit.

Mitch Evans was third fastest in the other Jaguar, just ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in the other DS Penske. Vandoorne’s practice was disrupted when he was hit from behind by Rene Rast after a misunderstanding on track between them.

Nick Cassidy was fifth quickest for Envision ahead of Dan Ticktum in the NIO and Jake Hughes in the McLaren.

The top ten was rounded out by Sebastien Buemi in the other Envision, Lucas di Grassi in the Mahindra, and Jake Dennis in the Andretti.

Kelvin Van Der Linde, making his race weekend debut in an open-wheeler of any kind, was at the foot of the time sheets after spending over half the session in the pits with a battery issue. The South African driver replaces Robin Frijns who had surgery on his hand after an accident in the Mexico City E-Prix.

Rob Lomas

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