Diriyah E-Prix: Frijns leads in-form de Vries in practice

Envision Virgin driver Robin Frijns set the pace in practice for the second leg of the Diriyah E-Prix, beating race one winner Nyck de Vries with a last-gasp effort on Saturday afternoon.

Diriyah E-Prix: Frijns leads in-form de Vries in practice

Having dominated the first Riyadh race on Friday, Mercedes de Vries looked set to continue his unbeaten run in the 45-minute practice session, having broken his own lap record from qualifying and then set a blistering lap of 1m07.440s on his full power run.

But Frijns, who failed to take part in qualifying on Friday after requiring a change of battery, managed to lap the circuit in 1m07.294s in the dying minutes of the session, outpacing his Mercedes rival by 0.146s.

Frijns’ rookie teammate Nick Cassidy also made a late lunge up the order, his effort of 1m07.449s putting him third ahead of Oliver Rowland, who was the first driver to break into the 1m07s in practice using last season's Nissan powertrain. 

Reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa (DS Techeetah) ended up just over two tenths off the pace in fifth, recovering from a horrific performance in the first of the Diriyah races that left him well outside the points.

Edoardo Mortara was a promising sixth after scoring a podium for Mercedes’ customer Venturi on Friday, ahead of the works car of Stoffel Vandoorne.

But the 34-year-old was involved in a massive crash after the chequered flag was dropped, his Venturi car mysteriously heading straight into the wall at Turn 18 after his practice start on the back straight.

Mortara has been taken away in an ambulance as a precautionary measure but is conscious and talking, and can move both his fingers and toes.

Sebastien Buemi was eighth in the second of the two Nissans, ahead of the Jaguar of Sam Bird and the factory Audi of Lucas di Grassi.

The BMWs of Jake Dennis and Maximilian Gunther finished 12th and 17th respectively, the latter ending up more than a second off the pace, while two-time champion Jean-Eric Vergne could only finish 14th in the second DS Techeetah.

The only red flag of the session was caused by Andre Lotterer, who hit the wall at Turn 11 before coming to a rest at the following corner with visible damage to his Porsche.

Lotterer’s teammate Pascal Wehrlein, who qualified on the front row on Friday, was 18th quickest.

Practice results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns
United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1'07.294
2 17 Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team 1'07.440 0.146
3 37 New Zealand Nick Cassidy
United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1'07.449 0.155
4 22 United Kingdom Oliver Rowland
France DAMS 1'07.452 0.158
5 13 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
China Techeetah 1'07.512 0.218
6 48 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara
Monaco Venturi 1'07.548 0.254
7 5 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne
Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team 1'07.562 0.268
8 23 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
France DAMS 1'07.749 0.455
9 10 United Kingdom Sam Bird
Jaguar Racing 1'07.778 0.484
10 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi
Germany Team Abt 1'07.884 0.590
11 8 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey
United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1'08.017 0.723
12 27 United Kingdom Jake Dennis
United States Andretti Autosport 1'08.027 0.733
13 33 Germany René Rast
Germany Team Abt 1'08.190 0.896
14 25 France Jean-Eric Vergne
China Techeetah 1'08.191 0.897
15 88 United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
United Kingdom NIO Formula E Team 1'08.250 0.956
16 71 France Norman Nato
Monaco Venturi 1'08.256 0.962
17 28 Germany Maximilian Gunther
United States Andretti Autosport 1'08.318 1.024
18 99 Germany Pascal Wehrlein
Germany Porsche Team 1'08.398 1.104
19 94 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
India Mahindra Racing 1'08.530 1.236
20 6 Switzerland Nico Müller
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT 1'08.603 1.309
21 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans
Jaguar Racing 1'08.653 1.359
22 29 United Kingdom Alexander Sims
India Mahindra Racing 1'08.843 1.549
23 7 Brazil Sergio Sette Camara
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT 1'08.846 1.552
24 36 Germany Andre Lotterer
Germany Porsche Team 1'09.801 2.507
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