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Frijns fastest as Formula E testing begins in Valencia

Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns topped the times in the first day of testing ahead of Formula E’s Season 8.

Frijns managed a 1m26.968s lap to go 0.173s quicker than Jean-Eric Vergne in the DS Techeetah in times taken from the morning and afternoon sessions in a combined classification.

Testing once again took place in Valencia, which has hosted the series’ pre-season testing since 2017. However, the series this year used a circuit layout 240 meters longer than last year, making it harder to compare lap-times between the two seasons.

As well as two sessions of free running, the series also ran a trial of the new head-to-head qualifying format, in which Venturi’s Eduardo Mortara came out on trop.

It was a relatively trouble free day in Valencia. A red flag in the morning was brought out due to a cone coming out of position, but it was the only unscheduled stoppage of the day. A few cars, including both Mahindra’s, briefly had on-track stoppages, but all incidents were covered under yellow flags.

Sam Bird ended the morning session fastest, setting his fastest lap of the day just before lunch with a 1m27.169s lap. It was a time he wouldn’t match in the afternoon, though four drivers were able to go quicker.

Frijns set the pace early in the afternoon session and gradually lowered the benchmark to become the only driver to go sub 1m27s. Vergne was consistently at the sharp end of the field, ending the day narrowly ahead of team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa and Virgin’s Nick Cassidy.

Bird ended the day fifth quickest ahead of Andre Lotterer and Mitch Evans.

While there were no more on track red flags, a number of drivers fell foul of track limits. Some would simply have lap times deleted but Lucas Di Grassi, Oliver Turvey, and Antonio Giovinazzi were all given five minute penalties.

Di Grassi would end the day eighth, while Eduardo Mortara and Jake Dennis rounded out the top 10.

The new tournament style qualifying system was also trialled in the final 90 minutes of running. After a short group stage, the field were split into head to head battles for the knock-out stage. The day ended with Lucas Di Grassi and Eduardo Mortara going head to head, with Mortara narrowly beating his new team-mate.

 

Bethonie Waring

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