Hong Kong ePrix: Di Grassi heads first session of Season 3

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Hong Kong ePrix: Di Grassi heads first session of Season 3
Sam Smith
By: Sam Smith
Oct 9, 2016, 1:04 AM

Lucas Di Grassi topped the times in the first official non-qualifying practice session at the inaugural Hong Kong ePrix on Sunday morning.

Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Hong Kong atmosphere
Track atmosphere, Hong Kong flag
Robin Frijns, Amlin Andretti Formula E Team
Robin Frijns, Amlin Andretti Formula E Team
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing
Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing

The Brazilian set a best lap of 1m02.381s in his ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport car to be 0.145s ahead of his season two nemesis Sebastien Buemi after setting a full blown 200kW lap. Reigning champion Buemi set his best of 1m02.526s on his very final lap.

Di Grassi’s Teammate Daniel Abt was in third position on a 1m02.960s. Venturi’s Maro Engel was the leading rookie driver after he annexed a promising fourth position in his Venturi VM200 FE2 entry.

Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne underlined the promise he and the Renault-powered car showed in testing by placing fifth.

Vergne along with Robin Frijns, Sebastien Buemi, Felix Rosenqvist  all headed the times at stages during the session. DS Virgin’s Sam Bird was sixth despite a late session spin.

The session saw plenty of action as drivers explored the limits of the 1.860kms circuit including the tricky chicane which had been the topic of conversation among the drivers on Saturday.

The session was halted twice with the first red flag came after just four minutes when Oliver Turvey stopped his NextEV TCR Formula 002 car on track with a technical problem. Turvey re-joined the fray but stopped once again before returning to the pits.

Other incidents saw quick spins for Andretti’s Robin Frijns and Audi Abt’s Daniel Abt at turn two. The former then suffered another excursion at turn nine and created a momentary backlog as he executed a three point turn to re-join.

The session was red flagged for a second time due to the incident. The Dutchman completed an eventful session by having another incident, again at turn two.

Mahindra's Felix Rosenqvist, who placed 10th in the times, ended the session by tagging the wall at turn one and getting stuck in the escape road.

The new Panasonic Jaguar team ended the session at the rear of the field in 19th and 20th positions with Adam Carroll leading teammate Mitch Evans.

Qualifying Groups

Group 1

Nico Prost, Renault e.DAMS
Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Adam Carroll, Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Loic Duval, Faraday Future Dragon Racing

Group 2

Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Antonio Felix da Costa, Andretti
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
Ma Qing Hua, TECHEETAH  
Oliver Turvey, NextEV NIO

Group 3

Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing
Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Robin Frijns, Andretti
Nelson Piquet Jr, NextEV NIO
Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH  

Group 4

Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.DAMS
Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Jerome D’Ambrosio, Faraday Future Dragon Racing
Maro Engel, Venturi
Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing

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