Formula E lit up the streets of Les Invalides for the first time this afternoon, with all eyes on the Audi ABT team and whether their software developments were enough to steal a march on Renault e.Dams.
Opening practice came to a halt early for Sam Bird, with his DS Virgin coming to a halt at turn one and giving the Brit a long run back to the pits. A complete shutdown, including power cycles forcing the team to revert to the second car, but if DS Virgin were hoping to salvage data from Jose Maria Lopez, they would have their hearts in their mouth after the Argentine clouted the barriers. Lopez was able to continue but it was a shaky start to the 3rd home team.
Daniel Abt was first to hit the top of the timesheets with Sebastien Buemi and returning driver Mike Conway close in tow. While the circuit was still in the early stages of rubbering in (the circuit having a temporary asphalt circuit), drivers were going hard – Esteban Gutierrez the first to choose the escape road as a trio of cars attempted to squeeze into a space never designed for three.
Bird was quick to bounce back in his second car, slotting in the quickest lap with 25 minutes remaining., however the Brit was still complaining of bumps effecting the stability of his car. Nelson Piquet Jnr soon jumped to second position after setting the quickest first sector of anyone, with Robin Frijns now into the top three.
Jean-Eric Vergne was next to quietly sneak into the top three as sub-Venturi driver Tom Dillmann was exploring all the limits of the track – just managing to shave a barrier and live to tell the tale.
Renault e.Dams were slow to come out of the blocks, with both drivers filling 18th and 19th positions respectively until Buemi extracted the relevant digit and jumped to P1 with ten minutes remaining – old foe Lucas di Grassi following his rival into P2 albeit a quarter of a second in arrears. Nelson Piquet however would soon usurp his countryman for second spot, continuing his strong one lap pace this season.
Lopez would provisionally seize P1 and breaking the 63 second barrier in the process with a 1.07:27, until Buemi – albiet the only one on a 200kW lap – would again continue his run of perfect opening practice sessions to take top spot.
Images: FIA Formula E
300-101 400-101 300-320 300-070 300-206 200-310 300-135 300-208 810-403 400-050 640-916 642-997 300-209 400-201 200-355 352-001 642-999 350-080 MB2-712 400-051 C2150-606 1Z0-434 1Z0-146 C2090-919 C9560-655 642-64 100-101 CQE CSSLP 200-125 210-060 210-065 210-260 220-801 220-802 220-901 220-902 2V0-620 2V0-621 2V0-621D 300-075 300-115 AWS-SYSOPS 640-692 640-911 1Z0-144 1z0-434 1Z0-803 1Z0-804 000-089 000-105 70-246 70-270 70-346 70-347 70-410