Formula E

Bird and Frijns make Virgin the team to beat after topping Practice in Ad Diriyah

1 Mins read
Robin Frijns - Envision Virgin Racing in the 2019 Diriyah e-Prix - Race 1 - Practice 1
Credit: Formula E

Sam Bird and Robin Frijns were quickest in the two practice sessions for Envision Virgin Racing going into the first qualifying session of the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

Although none of the drivers set their best times on full power in the opening session, Frijns was fastest ahead of Nico Müller in the GEOX Dragon.

A couple of red flags halted the session. The first was due to Ma Qing Hua damaging the front end of his NIO 333, which saw him stopping out on track. A ten-minute stoppage was required before the cars were able to return to the circuit.

A number of drivers had spells of being at the top of the timing pages including Oliver Rowland, Mitch Evans and Sam Bird.

The second red flag came when Brendon Hartley, who is one of four debutants in the field, hit the outside barrier of Turn Six and breaking his left-rear suspension.

There was seven minutes left in the session before the drivers had another go of improving their times. Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne demonstrated some decent pace in the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E cars, which could be two drivers in particular to look out for later in qualifying.

However, in the end, it was Frijns who was quickest in Practice One but by no means were the times representative at this stage, as traffic was a huge issue at the Ad Diriyah track.

[table id=4188 /]

The second session saw a five-minute delay due to track works being done. When the session did get underway, the first four minutes were under Full Course Yellow conditions.

Afterwards, DS Techeetah were beginning to show their true pace, as Jean-Éric Vergne and António Félix da Costa were one and two with fifteen minutes of the session remaining.

An incident occurred though involving James Calado, who was trying to pass the slowing Daniel Abt on a flying lap. The rookie clouted the barrier at the penultimate corner and damaging his left-rear but was able to crawl back to the pits for a replacement.

After Rowland, Buemi and Edoardo Mortara inherited first position, Sam Bird topped the table on a 1:14.353 on full power ahead of da Costa going into qualifying that begins at 08:00 GMT.

[table id=4189 /]

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