Bird fastest on day one of Formula E pre-season testing at Valencia

by Nathan Hine
Sam Bird at Circuit Ricardo Tormo for Formula E preseason testing

Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird topped the times at the end of day one of pre-season testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia for the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

Behind Bird, the top ten were covered by half a second which featured entries from BMW i-Andretti , DS Techeetah, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, Nissan e. dams, Mahindra Racing and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler in the top ten positions.

After setting the session-topping time in the morning session, BMW’s Maxmillian Gunther focused on race runs in the afternoon which allowed Bird to usurp the German for top spot in a highly-competitive opening day of pre-season testing under the Spanish sun.

Close behind the top two was the DS Techeetah pair of Antonio Felix Da Costa and reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne, with Mitch Evans in the Jaguar splitting the competitive duo. The two Nissan e. dams drivers of Sebastian Buemi and Oliver Rowland followed, with the top ten completed by Pascal Wehrlein, Robin Frijns and Audi’s Daniel Abt at the end of opening day.

It was the first time that Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team and Porsche Formula E team took to the track. There was technical trouble for both outfits as Neel Jani stopped his Porsche early in the morning, but there was major drama for reigning Formula 2 champion Nyck De Vries throughout the day.

He stopped on track in the morning between turns nine and ten before rejoining before lunchtime. But the afternoon saw the Dutchman spend the majority of the session in the pitlane before going out with minutes to spare and posted a 1 min 17.654 to narrowly avoid being the slowest man on the opening day of testing.

Porsche was faster on the first day courtsey of Andre Lotterer’s fourteenth fastest time in what was an education to both of the German giants. Mercedes’ fastest time was set by former Stoffel Vandoorne, but they know they have a lot of work to do as they found themselves over two seconds off the pace at the end of the opening day.

There was another red flag as Jaguar driver James Calado stopped at the pit exit and returned to the garage for the second time today and partners Evans at Jaguar for the season ahead.

The results after day one of pre-season testing can be seen if you click here.

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