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Di Grassi Tops First Practice in Zurich

Lucas di Grassi sets the pace in the opening session ahead of the Zurich E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

Lucas di Grassi set the fastest time during the first on-track action in Free Practice 1 for the inaugural Zurich E-Prix this morning.

The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver lapped the 1.53-mile circuit on the shores of Lake Zurich in 1:11.995 to lead the second placed Panasonic Jaguar Racing car of Mitch Evans by 1.143 seconds.

Reigning ABB FIA Formula E Champion di Grassi was the only driver to set a full 200 kW qualifying simulation lap as he aims to score his first victory since last July’s first Montreal race.

History was made in the Swiss city as international motorsport returned to the country after an absence of 64 years.

The third fastest time was achieved by Berlin victor Daniel Abt in his Audi e-tron FE04. The newly re-signed driver peaked on a 1:13.392.

The second Jaguar of Nelson Piquet achieved the fourth best time ahead of Oliver Turvey’s NIO which survived a brush with the wall.

Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne finished the session with seventh fastest time. The Techeetah driver had a brief trip down the Turn 1 escape road after missing his braking point.

Vergne’s nearest title rival Sam Bird damaged his DS Virgin car after spinning at high speed and tagging a wall after an altercation with former team mate Jose Maria Lopez.

Bird was following the Dragon Racing driver closely on a quick lap having set the fastest sector one time when he spun across the circuit and damaged the right rear of his DS Virgin DSV-03.

Bird returned to the track in his other car and ended up with sixth fastest time.

Any meaningful improvements in the final minutes of the session were lost when both Luca Filippi (NIO) and Stephane Sarrazin (Andretti) stopped on the circuit.

The second practice session is due to get underway at 11:30 a.m. local time.

RESULTS: Free 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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