Puebla E-Prix: Rowland leads incident-filled practice sessions

Oliver Rowland topped the times in both the wet and dry incident-packed Formula E practice sessions for Nissan e.dams ahead of an inaugural Puebla E-Prix in Mexico.

Puebla E-Prix: Rowland leads incident-filled practice sessions
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The Brit bolted to the top of the leaderboard in the dying moments of the 30-minute second stint with a fine 1m22.861s effort to move a full 0.268s clear of Antonio Felix da Costa.

This came despite the top two both crashing earlier on in the session, with da Costa having posted his flying lap before running straight on at the tight first left-hand corner.

Rowland had been in the wars also at Turn 1, having initially locked up his fronts before losing the rear and clouting the concrete wall on the exit but emerging unscathed. In an uncharacteristic result for Formula E, a sizeable sixth tenth gap split the top four with the second DS Techeetah machine of Jean-Eric Vergne running third ahead of Alex Lynn.

Rowland had also come out on top in the protracted and rain-soaked opening practice, having headed Porsche racer Pascal Wehrlein by 0.086s in a crash-strewn session.

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With a wall added at the Turn 5-6 left-hander compared to the simulator preparation, drivers were left unsighted for the blind and off-camber Turn 7 right-hander. This caught out several of the big names in the slippery conditions, with Rene Rast and champions da Costa and Sebastien Buemi coming off worse as they glanced the wall.

The tap forced Rast to stop and pull of the circuit at the next corner with suspension damage although the three-time DTM title winner rejoined later on.

Mahindra Racing driver Alexander Sims brought out an early red flag when he locked the rears on the exit of Turn 11 and stopped with a suspected battery-related issue. This led to a lengthy delay while his car was recovered, with the session eventually extended by 15 minutes.

That and a practice full-course yellow lap mitigated the time loss for Vergne, whose DS Techeetah mechanics completed a swift 15-minute swap of the powertrain after identifying a fault while making set-up changes following a Friday evening shakedown session.

Dragon Penske Autosport driver Sergio Sette Camara came a cropper throughout the Saturday morning runs. The Brazilian already carries a 20-place grid drop for Puebla after his team broke the seal on his homologated inverter, although not changing any parts, to check a fault.

He then lost the rear and smacked the wall at Turn 7 in the first practice run, which forced him to head immediately for the pits. He then rejoined the track only to suffer a sizeable lock-up into Turn 1 and career straight on.

Following the second session, he remains under investigation for suspected speeding in the pitlane.

Cassidy pulled off the save of the day when he lost the rear of his Envision Virgin Racing machine on the approach to Turn 7 but caught the massive slide as he ran over the grass and doused the patchy asphalt in mud.

While rain is forecast to interrupt qualifying, in the more representative drier session, points leader Robin Frijns ran to ninth behind title rivals Stoffel Vandoorne and Jaguar Racing driver Mitch Evans in seventh.

Puebla E-Prix FP1 results

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 United Kingdom Oliver Rowland France DAMS 20 1'24.314    
2 Germany Pascal Wehrlein Germany Porsche Team 19 1'24.400 0.086 0.086
3 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa China Techeetah 18 1'24.734 0.420 0.334
4 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Monaco Venturi 16 1'24.859 0.545 0.125
5 United Kingdom Jake Dennis United States Andretti Autosport 17 1'24.920 0.606 0.061
6 New Zealand Mitch Evans United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 16 1'24.944 0.630 0.024
7 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne Germany Mercedes 19 1'24.995 0.681 0.051
8 Germany Andre Lotterer Germany Porsche Team 19 1'25.061 0.747 0.066
9 France Norman Nato Monaco Venturi 17 1'25.199 0.885 0.138
10 Netherlands Robin Frijns United Kingdom Virgin Racing 17 1'25.254 0.940 0.055
11 Brazil Sergio Sette Camara United States Dragon Racing 15 1'25.269 0.955 0.015
12 United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 18 1'25.708 1.394 0.439
13 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Team Abt 19 1'25.844 1.530 0.136
14 United Kingdom Alex Lynn India Mahindra Racing 19 1'25.880 1.566 0.036
15 Netherlands Nyck de Vries Germany Mercedes 19 1'25.947 1.633 0.067
16 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France DAMS 18 1'26.031 1.717 0.084
17 France Jean-Eric Vergne China Techeetah 12 1'26.268 1.954 0.237
18 Germany Maximilian Gunther United States Andretti Autosport 17 1'26.520 2.206 0.252
19 Germany René Rast Germany Team Abt 13 1'26.555 2.241 0.035
20 Sweden Joel Eriksson United States Dragon Racing 17 1'26.605 2.291 0.050
21 United Kingdom Sam Bird United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 18 1'27.058 2.744 0.453
22 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 18 1'27.597 3.283 0.539
23 New Zealand Nick Cassidy United Kingdom Virgin Racing 17 1'27.975 3.661 0.378
24 United Kingdom Alexander Sims India Mahindra Racing 3 1'38.838 14.524 10.863

Puebla E-Prix FP2 results

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 United Kingdom Oliver Rowland France DAMS 15 1'22.861    
2 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa China Techeetah 15 1'23.129 0.268 0.268
3 France Jean-Eric Vergne China Techeetah 15 1'23.299 0.438 0.170
4 United Kingdom Alex Lynn India Mahindra Racing 13 1'23.465 0.604 0.166
5 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Monaco Venturi 14 1'23.513 0.652 0.048
6 Netherlands Nyck de Vries Germany Mercedes 16 1'23.523 0.662 0.010
7 United Kingdom Jake Dennis United States Andretti Autosport 14 1'23.544 0.683 0.021
8 New Zealand Mitch Evans United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 13 1'23.570 0.709 0.026
9 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne Germany Mercedes 16 1'23.586 0.725 0.016
10 Netherlands Robin Frijns United Kingdom Virgin Racing 15 1'23.791 0.930 0.205
11 Brazil Sergio Sette Camara United States Dragon Racing 13 1'23.837 0.976 0.046
12 France Norman Nato Monaco Venturi 15 1'23.838 0.977 0.001
13 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Germany Team Abt 13 1'23.943 1.082 0.105
14 New Zealand Nick Cassidy United Kingdom Virgin Racing 13 1'23.958 1.097 0.015
15 United Kingdom Sam Bird United Kingdom Jaguar Racing 14 1'23.963 1.102 0.005
16 Germany René Rast Germany Team Abt 13 1'24.223 1.362 0.260
17 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 14 1'24.252 1.391 0.029
18 Germany Maximilian Gunther United States Andretti Autosport 11 1'24.591 1.730 0.339
19 United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 15 1'24.921 2.060 0.330
20 Germany Pascal Wehrlein Germany Porsche Team 18 1'25.046 2.185 0.125
21 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi France DAMS 15 1'25.362 2.501 0.316
22 United Kingdom Alexander Sims India Mahindra Racing 4 1'25.557 2.696 0.195
23 Sweden Joel Eriksson United States Dragon Racing 14 1'25.822 2.961 0.265
24 Germany Andre Lotterer Germany Porsche Team 18 1'26.188 3.327 0.366
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