Nissan looked back on track in China with to finish in the top three in both free practice sessions, only to be split by the BMW of ANtonio Felix Da Costa.

 

Oliver Rowland topping the first Sanya ePrix practice session for ahead of BMW’s Antonio Felix Da Costa and teammate Alexander Simms. In session two, Sebastien Buemi was able to reverse the order.

 

With just two points covering the top four drivers in the ABB Championship, drivers and teams would be analysing every inch of the new Sanya track to obtain an edge over the opposition.

 

 

Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Rowland set some quick times early, with Sebastien Buemi slotting into third – eager to get his season back on track after some unfortunate incidents over the first few rounds. Rowland however would test the inter-team friendship at Nissan by blocking Buemi numerous times in the session.

 

Sam Bird wasted no time gathering data by jumping into the attack mode activation zone early, whilst others were content to survey the varying surface area, which is someone akin to that of Long Beach.

 

The circuit is generally quite dusty. Similar to Bahrain (Desert) or Surfers Paradise (Beach), the circuit’s proximity to the beach means winds will blow the fine sand over the track surface throughout the day.

 

The two-kilometre Sanya circuit encompasses around nine different surface types; with sand-abrasion allowing for extremely high grip only to jump to an immediate drop-off through turn nine.

 

 

The turn eight apex is uncharacteristically long compared to its Hong Kong counterpart, allowing the attacking driver to obtain a better exit and potentially an opportunity to execute a pass through the following section. Drivers were also testing the track limits, with Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein getting right up against the barriers on the exit of the hairpin.

 

Jean-Eric Vergne struggled in the first session, locking-up frequently into the braking zones in a matter similar to his first year in the series and unable to find the sweet spot that saw him take last season’s championship.

 

The big news towards the end of the session however, was that both Audi’s of Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi were under investigation for speeding during the full course yellow period.

 

Buemi bounces back in FP2

 

Sebastien Buemi hit back in practice two for the Sanya ePrix despite an excursion at turn three to head Antonio Felix Da Costa andNissan team-mate Oliver Rowland.

 

 

The first part of free practice two was reserved for testing out attack mode rather than completing full power laps. Jean-Eric Vergne’s drama would continue however, with traffic being the major source of his frustration.

 

Buemi’s session had a brief hiccup with ten minutes remaining after burying his Nissan in the barriers after running off at turn three. The Swiss driver was on his full power lap when the incident occurred – the extra speed appearing to catch out Buemi.

 

Pascal Wehrlein would also smack the barriers at turn six and damaging his left rear on the concrete and was later joined by Gary Paffett in a facsimile of Wehrlein’s effort albeit a lighter impact.

 

Nelson Piquet would miss a chunk of the session whilst the battery on his halo was changed over and was keen to get going having scored only two points-scoring positions in his last twelve outings amid seven DNF’s; a direct contract to Jaguar teammate Mitch Evans, who had only missed out on points twice in the same amount of races.

 

Image: Michelin

 

Free Practice One

 

Free Practice 2