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Bird Quickest in Santiago Opening Practice

Sam Bird fastest in Free Practice 1, in the first timed Formula E session in Santiago…

Photo: Formula E

Sam Bird topped the time charts in Free Practice 1, the first timed ABB FIA Formula E Championship session ahead of the Santiago E-Prix.

The DS Virgin Racing driver set a best time of 1:19.439 in his DS Virgin DSV-03, outpacing Felix Rosenqvist by 0.207 seconds in a session which was shortened after Maro Engel crashed his Venturi VM200-FE at Turn 1.

Bird set his time just before Engel’s incident as the British driver continued his strong form from earlier in the season.

None of the drivers set a full 200kW qualifying simulation lap as they explored the limits of the bumpy and multiple-surfaced 1.52-mile track.

Jean-Eric Vergne was third quickest for Techeetah, with Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans and Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer completing the top five.

Luca Filippi triggered the only Full Course Yellow period after just five minutes when his NextEV NIO Sport 003 stopped. The Italian was able to reset the car and return to the track.

Sebastien Buemi was the only driver to hit a tire barrier when he tagged the Turn 12 wall and damaged the right-rear suspension on one of his Renault Z.E 17s. This contributed to him finishing in a lowly 13th position.

Many drivers suffered multiple lock-ups and trips down escape roads during the session.

Points leader Rosenqvist, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Jerome d’Ambrosio were all forced to execute spin turns to get back on track.

Free Practice 2 will get underway at 10.30am local time.

RESULTS: Practice 1

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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