Sam Bird ended the first practice session from the Diriyah E-Prix as the fastest driver, setting a 1:10.402.
The Briton had a difficult time in Mexico with a myriad of technical issues but redemption came in FP1 for Bird who topped the times with his team-mate Mitch Evans in third.
Rene Rast had an issue early into the session, making contact with DS Pesnke’s Stoffel Vandoorne causing significant damage to his front wing and forcing him to pit for a replacement.
It was a difficult debut session for ABT’s Kelvin Van Der Linde who also had to pit early on with a battery issue. The South African will be looking to keep it clean this weekend to gain as much learning about the Gen3 car as possible.
Times tumbled throughout the session as the track developed due to the rainy conditions over the past few days.
With the Hankook tires able to put together more than one push lap in a run, the order was changing constantly as drivers found the limit between the walls in Diriyah.
DS Penske had another good free practice session with Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne coming in second and fourth respectively. The French outfit will be hoping they can convert this early pace after not being able to do so in Mexico.
After spending much of the session in the top spots, NIO 333’s Dan Ticktum ended the session sixth. After achieving his highest qualifying position in the season opener, Ticktum will hope he redeems a difficult race in Mexico.
Both of Jaguar’s customer team Envision cars also made it into the top ten with Nick Cassidy ending the session fifth and Sebastian Buemi coming back in eighth.
After impressing on his rookie debut, McLaren’s Jake Hughes continued his fine form ending the session in seventh while his teammate Rene Rast came home 15th.
The drivers who locked out the front row in Mexico came in ninth and tenth with Lucas Di Grassi and Jake Dennis crossing the line just seven hundredths apart.
Formula E action continues tomorrow with the first of two races over the weekend.