Formula E

Cape Town E-Prix: Nick Cassidy Tops Rapid Free Practice Two

3 Mins read
Credit: Sam Bloxham courtesy of FIA Formula E

Nick Cassidy started race day at the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix in sublime fashion, after topping Free Practice Two by three-tenths of a second from Edoardo Mortara, perhaps making the Envision Racing driver the favourite to claim pole at the fifth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

As the second session got underway in Cape Town, early morning clouds were present over the fastest street circuit on the calendar, as all twenty-two drivers ventured on to the circuit to gather as much data as possible before qualifying. Given that it was the 9am local time at the track, the air and surface temperatures were significantly lower than they will be come the race this afternoon.

The drivers certainly got about their business very quickly during free practice two, with the times having been just over a second slower than Mortara’s leading time from Friday afternoon within the opening five minutes. Mortara’s fastest time from Friday was a 1:09.700, a time that was more likely than not going to be beaten before the end of the session.

Mortara’s Friday time was blitzed much earlier than expected, as his team-mate Maximilian Günther hit the top as the session moved into its final twenty minutes, after posting a very impressive 1:09.305. Behind the German after the first ten minutes of the session were reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne, and fellow compatriot André Lotterer, whilst local driver Kelvin van der Linde sat in fourth.

It was clear that the teams were keen to make up from the disrupted session that occurred yesterday, with very fast times having been set much earlier than usual for free practice two. Times continued to tumble though, as René Rast moved to first as the session hit its halfway point, thanks to setting a 1:09.092, two-tenths faster than Günther’s time. Rast was soon joined at the top by team-mate Jake Hughes, who moved to second after going just under two-tenths slower than the German.

Second quickly became third for Hughes, as fellow rookie Sacha Fenestraz jumped to the top and almost entered the 1:08s, but missed out by +0.022s. It meant that as the session entered its final ten minutes it was a Nissan powertrain one-two-three, suggesting that the circuit suits the Japanese manufacturer’s design very nicely. The leading trio were suddenly dropped a place each, though, as Sam Bird set the first 1:08 of the weekend, after setting an astonishing 1:08.550, almost half a second faster than Fenestraz.

As the clock ticked into the final five minutes, Bird was joined at the top by team-mate Mitch Evans, who went just over a tenth slower than the British driver. Dan Ticktum, though, suddenly jumped to the top after posting a 1:08.425, before his time was narrowly beaten by Friday’s fastest driver Mortara, as the session entered its final minute.

Mortara certainly has pace this weekend, but he could do nothing to stop Cassidy from setting the fastest time of the session right at the end, with the New Zealander having come within touching distance of a 1:07. Cassidy set a 1:08.118 to top the second session of the weekend by three-tenths from Mortara, with Ticktum in third and the Jaguar TCS Racing duo in fourth and fifth. Elsewhere, championship leader Pascal Wehrlein ended the session in ninth, whilst his closest rival Jake Dennis was a worrying twentieth.

The cars will be seen on-track next for qualifying in just under two hours, with it getting underway at 11:40am local time (+2 GMT).

Cape Town E-Prix Round 5: Free Practice Two Results

137Nick CassidyNZLEnvision Racing1:08.118
248Edoardo MortaraCHEMaserati MSG Racing+0.307
333Dan TicktumGBRNIO 333 Racing+0.328
49Mitch EvansNZLJaguar TCS Racing+0.354
510Sam BirdGBRJaguar TCS Racing+0.432
61Stoffel VandoorneBELDS Penske+0.550
713António Félix da CostaPORTAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team+0.603
87Maximilian GüntherGERMaserati MSG Racing+0.793
994Pascal WehrleinGERTAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team+0.805
1023Sacha FenestrazFRANissan Formula E Team+0.904
1125Jean-Éric VergneFRADS Penske+0.933
1258René RastGERNEOM McLaren Formula E Team+0.974
1336André LottererGERAvalanche Andretti Formula E+1.101
145Jake HughesGBRNEOM McLaren Formula E Team+1.144
153Sérgio Sette CâmaraBRZNIO 333 Racing+1.328
1616Sébastian BuemiCHEEnvision Racing+1.424
1717Norman NatoFRANissan Formula E Team+1.460
188Oliver RowlandGBRMahindra Racing+1.477
194Kelvin van der LindeZAFABT CUPRA Formula E Team+1.681
2027Jake DennisGBRAvalanche Andretti Formula E+1.736
2151Nico MuellerCHEABT CUPRA Formula E Team+1.937
2211Lucas di GrassiBRZMahindra Racing+2.302
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