Antonio Felix da Costa and Maximillian Guenther each topped the timing sheets in practice this morning, as Round 5 of the ABB Formula E World Championship gets underway in Valencia.
Reigning champion da Costa led the way in FP1 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo with a 1:27.238, 0.187s ahead of BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Maximillian Guenther.
Guenther then went on to set the best time in FP2 with a 1:26.958. Mahindra’s Alexander Lynn put in the second quickest time of the session, 0.012s slower than the BMW driver.
It looks set to be a tight battle for pole position, as less than a second separated almost the whole field in FP1, from da Costa to Audi’s Rene Rast in 18th.
Da Costa’s DS Techeetah team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne set the fourth fastest time in the first session, whilst Mercedes EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne managed to slot into fifth despite struggling with his brakes.
In FP2, only the Envision Virgin Racing duo of Robin Frijns and Nick Cassidy and ROKiT Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara were over a second down on the quickest time at the bottom of the timing sheets.
Mercedes EQ’s Nyck de Vries was third in FP2, whilst da Costa was within a tenth of the leading time in fourth. Oliver Rowland had two strong sessions, the Nissan e.dams clocked in the third fastest time in FP1 and the fifth in FP2.
Rast was sixth in the second session, ahead of NIO 333 driver Tom Blomqvist and the second Nissan e.dams of Sebastien Buemi.
Porsche’s Andre Lotterer and ROKiT Venturi’s Norman Nato rounded out the FP2 timing sheets in ninth and 10th.
However, Jaguar’s Sam Bird and Mitch Evans appear to be struggling this weekend. Championship leader Bird was 15th in FP1 and 13th in FP2, whilst his Kiwi team-mate was down in 21st and 19th place.
A challenging weekend is on the cards for the drivers at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, as the double-header in Spain marks the first time the series has raced on a permanent track.
The Valencia circuit has been used for pre-season testing for the past four years and several drivers believe there could be overtakes at every corner, as they will be forced to recover an additional 10% of energy compared to other races.