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Vandoorne First in Trial Race; Frijns Sets Fastest Lap

Stoffel Vandoorne finished first in a trial race at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo this afternoon…

Photo: Marc Calvo

The experimental race to test Formula E’s 2019-20 sporting regulation changes centered on the energy deduction procedure during race neutralization periods took please on Wednesday afternoon at Valencia.

Set over the normal regulation 45-minute plus one lap format, the trial event featured two mocked-up Safety Car periods and one Full Course Yellow.

The second Safety Car period was terminated with just under two minutes and a lap left of the race to set up a dash for the line.

The ‘race’ saw Mercedes-Benz EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne cross the finish line first, followed by DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa and Audi’s Lucas di Grassi.

Pascal Wehrlein had led the early stages but was overtaken first by Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara and then Vandoorne. The Mahindra driver eventually came home in sixth behind Jean-Eric Vergne, who was fifth, and Sebastien Buemi in fourth.

Alexander Sims was placed second on the penultimate lap but pitted just ahead of the final ‘plus one’ lap in his BMW iFE.20 as a precaution when his tire pressures dropped off.

Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans completed the event seventh after running for some of the early stages behind new teammate James Calado.

Last weekend’s Petit Le Mans GTLM class winner Calado was classified 17th after pitting on the penultimate lap.

Two cars failed to take the start of the trial race with Andre Lotterer and Sam Bird remaining in the pits, although Bird did join in after 30 minutes, having received work to the on-board cameras of his Audi-powered Envision Virgin car.

Lotterer was unable to take part after suffering some damage to his car in the morning session when he hit the first chicane tire wall.

The subsequent repairs, which included some complications with the installation of a new battery, ensured Lotterer could only run for the final hour of testing in the afternoon.

Frijns Beats Fever to Set Quickest Lap

Robin Frijns headed the morning and Wednesday overall leaderboard with the Envision Virgin Racing driver setting the day’s best time of 1:15.377.

The Dutchman completed his morning program despite being suffering from a significant fever.

At this stage of the running, Frijns’ time was 0.193s quicker team-mate Sam Bird’s best from the Tuesday track action.

BMW drivers Maximilian Guenther and Alexander Sims placed second and third, with just 0.060s covering the top three.

Nissan e.dams driver Oliver Rowland took fourth, while GEOX Dragon’s Nico Muller and DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa rounded out the top six. Da Costa went on to set the fastest time in the afternoon session with a 1:15.586s lap which was just 0.01s off his morning best.

The morning session saw five red flags, two of which were triggered by accidents suffered by Mercedes EQ’s Nyck de Vries and Porsche’s Andre Lotterer.

De Vries hit the tire wall at the exit of the chicane, while Lotterer became the second Porsche driver to find the same wall in as many days.

The other three stoppages were called for after Mahindra driver Jerome d’Ambrosio nudged the wall and both Daniel Abt of Audi and Felipe Massa of Venturi stopped on track.

Abt’s stop was precautionary, while Massa suffered damage to his gearbox after tagging a wall.

In the afternoon session, Sam Bird also damaged his car on the chicane wall bringing out the final red flag of the day.

RESULTS: Session 3

RESULTS: Session 4

Photo: Marc Calvo

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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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