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Bird leads Gunther on opening day of Formula E test

Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird topped the first day of Formula E 2019/20 pre-season testing at Valencia as Mercedes’ woes on Nyck de Vries’s car continued.

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Bird leads Gunther on opening day of Formula E test

With most of the afternoon action dedicated to long runs, BMW Andretti driver Maximilian Gunther’s session-topping 1m15.926s effort from the morning continued as the day’s benchmark until Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) posted a 1m15.913s just past the halfway stage of the three-hour afternoon session.

Buemi improved his best time of the day to a 1m15.882s but was shuffled down the order due to a flurry of fast times being posted approaching the chequered flag.

Gunther looked to have secured the best time of the day after setting a 1m15.663s late on before Bird pipped him to the top spot by 0.093s.

Antonio Felix da Costa ended the afternoon session and the day overall in third place with a 1m15.681s for DS Techeetah, with Mitch Evans taking fourth for Jaguar ahead of da Costa’s new teammate, reigning FE champion Jean-Eric Vergne.

Buemi ended up sixth overall as the last driver to go quicker than Gunther’s fastest morning time in the afternoon session on a 1m15.882s.

Oliver Rowland finished the afternoon running in seventh place in the second Nissan e.dams-run car ahead of Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing) and Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns.

Daniel Abt rounded out the top 10 for the works Audi team ahead of BMW driver Alexander Sims and Lucas di Grassi (Audi).

The afternoon running was interrupted by a single brief red flag after an hour had passed by following Jaguar driver James Calado, who finished 19th in the second session, coming to a stop at the pitlane exit

Mercedes’ first day as an FE competitor ended with Stoffel Vandoorne down in 22nd place, 1.881 slower than Bird’s fastest time in the afternoon,

His teammate Nyck de Vries had stopped after an hour of the morning running had been completed after a technical issue that resulted in a blown battery fuse on his Silver Arrow 01 car.

Mercedes continued to investigate the issue during the afternoon running and was only able to get de Vries out for a handful of laps in the final minutes.

Session results

Pos.
Driver / Powertrain
AM PM
1 Sam Bird
Audi e-tron FE06 (Virgin Racing)
1'16.943
34
1'15.570
32
2 Maximilian Gunther
BMW iFE.20
1'15.926
35
1'15.663
54
3 Antonio Felix da Costa
DS E-Tense FE20
1'16.032
27
1'15.681
39
4 Mitch Evans
Jaguar I-TYPE 4
1'16.520
29
1'15.724
46
5 Jean-Eric Vergne
DS E-Tense FE20
1'16.162
37
1'15.798
43
6 Sebastien Buemi
Nissan IM02
1'16.297
31
1'15.882
29
7 Oliver Rowland
Nissan IM02
1'16.246
32
1'15.942
32
8 Pascal Wehrlein
Mahindra M6Electro
1'16.385
36
1'15.975
36
9 Robin Frijns
Audi e-tron FE06 (Virgin Racing)
1'16.640
31
1'16.081
33
10 Daniel Abt
Audi e-tron FE06
1'16.952
27
1'16.084
35
11 Alexander Sims
BMW iFE.20
1'16.828
40
1'16.097
53
12 Lucas di Grassi
Audi e-tron FE06
1'16.297
28
1'16.140
33
13 Nico Müller
Penske EV-4
1'16.387
36
1'16.398
44
14 Andre Lotterer
Porsche 99X Electric
1'16.622
31
1'16.482
44
15 Edoardo Mortara
Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow 01 (Venturi)
1'16.531
27
1'16.537
33
16 Jerome d'Ambrosio
Mahindra M6Electro
1'16.552
23
1'18.046
27
17 Felipe Massa
Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow 01 (Venturi)
1'17.189
16
1'16.580
42
18 Brendon Hartley
Penske EV-4
1'16.839
38
1'16.698
43
19 Oliver Turvey
NIO FE-005

4
1'16.867
33
20 James Calado
Jaguar I-TYPE 4
1'17.738
18
1'17.016
48
21 Neel Jani
Porsche 99X Electric
1'17.343
30
 
22 Stoffel Vandoorne
Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow 01
1'17.389
22
1'17.451
44
23 Nyck de Vries
Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow 01
1'22.500
13
1'17.654
3
24 Ma Qing Hua
NIO FE-005
1'20.571
19
1'20.220
29
 
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About this article

Series Formula E
Event Pre-Season Testing
Sub-event Tuesday
Drivers Sam Bird , Maximilian Gunther
Teams Virgin Racing
Author Alex Kalinauckas
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