Sam Bird went almost eight-tenths clear at the top of the leaderboard in Free Practice 2 for today’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship season-opener in Diriyah.
The Envision Virgin Racing driver produced a time of 1:14.353 right at the end of the 30-minute session to go quickest, while Antonio Felix da Costa slotted into second.
It meant both Virgin drivers took a turn to lead each of the Practice runs on Friday after Robin Frijns paced the day’s opening bout of on-track activity.
Bird was the only competitor to lap under the 1m 15s mark in FP2 as da Costa came through on a 1:15.147 in his DS Techeetah machine.
ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara lapped third-quickest on a 1:15.302, ahead of both Nissan e.dams machines driven by Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland respectively.
All drivers were held for under Full Course Yellow conditions for two laps at the start of FP2 to allow track staff to solve an issue with the track breaking up at Turn 4.
Once the cars were released, the session was marked by heavy traffic and a handful of awkward moments.
The most significant of these concerned James Calado, whose Panasonic Jaguar Racing car clipped the wall after being forced out wide and into a dirty line by a slow Daniel Abt.
The Jaguar suffered a left-rear puncture but returned later in the session.
Traffic also played a factor in denying Calado’s teammate Mitch Evans a chance to set a Top 10 time after a bunch-up into the final chicane compromised what was set to be the New Zealander’s fastest lap.
Qualifying is set to take place at 11 a.m. local time (8 a.m. UK; 3 a.m. ET).
RESULTS: Free Practice 2