Loic Duval set the pace for Dragon Racing in the first practice session for the second leg of the London ePrix, the final round of the Formula E season.
The Audi factory driver leapt to the top of the timesheets with eight minutes remaining with a 1m23.880s, comfortably the quickest lap time of the weekend so far – the increased pace largely a consequence of overnight track modifications.
Resurfacing work has taken place at the troublesome Turn 1, where Jerome D’Ambrosio broke his suspension on a bump during Saturday’s first practice session, allowing the removal of a temporary tec-pro barrier designed to alter the racing line through the corner.
The result was laptimes two to three seconds faster than the pace shown on Saturday, with Sam Bird becoming the first man to beat Sebastien Buemi’s pole position time with a 1m24.314s.
That stood as the quickest lap until Duval’s late surge to the head of the order, which he immediately followed up with a brush with the barriers, with Buemi slotting into second, 0.366s behind the Frenchman, and Bird remaining third.
Nicolas Prost made a late climb to fourth, 1.4s off the pace, with Formula E debutant Alex Fontana making a surprise appearance in the top five in the dying stages, 2.3s slower than Duval.
Lucas di Grassi was sixth quickest, ahead of Stephane Sarrazin, Daniel Abt, championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr and Karun Chandhok.
There were numerous interruptions to proceedings, red flags being brought out by Oliver Turvey grinding to a halt out on track and then by Simona de Silvestro piling into the barriers.
In a session to forget for the Andretti Autosport team, Jean-Eric Vergne also failed to leave the pits at all during the 45 minutes after suffering illness overnight.
The Frenchman is nonetheless expected to compete in the second practice session having had the all-clear from the medical centre to race.