Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns set the fastest time during the first on-track action ahead of the Marrakesh E-Prix on Saturday morning.
The Dutchman lapped the 1.83-mile Moulay El Hassan circuit in 1:17.808 to lead the second placed BMW i Andretti Motorsport car of Antonio Felix da Costa by 0.094 seconds.
The session began at sunrise in Marrakesh with track temperatures just above freezing and drivers struggling to get any heat into their Michelin tires.
Despite the difficult conditions, Frijns’ fastest time was just over two seconds quicker than the previous fastest time at the circuit, which was claimed by Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler tester Nico Muller in last year’s rookie test.
Ad Diriyah Prix winner Da Costa survived a brief contact with Lucas di Grassi on his way to the second best time.
The third fastest time was achieved by Frijns’ Envision Virgin teammate Sam Bird, with the British driver peaking on a 1:17.918.
Oliver Rowland placed fourth for Nissan e.dams ahead of Oliver Turvey in fifth for NIO.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing was sixth and seventh with Mitch Evans heading Nelson Piquet Jr.
Both drivers suffered incidents with Evans clipping a wall and Piquet almost hitting Felipe Massa who made a late call for the pit entrance.
The session saw several drivers experience trips down the escape road at Turn 7 after out-braking episodes.
Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne, Lucas di Grassi and Bird all had to extricate themselves from the run-off area at the corner.
Vergne switched to using his second set of Michelin tires shortly after his excursion but the DS Techeetah driver could only manage the tenth best time in the 45-minute session.
The only on-track stoppage saw Pascal Wehrlein’s Mahindra parked briefly at Turn 10. The Formula E rookie was able to reset his car and continue shortly after.
Edoardo Mortara also briefly stopped his Venturi in the final stages but, like Wehrlein, was able to recover and make it back to the pits.
RESULTS: Free Practice 1