Santiago ePrix – DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird lead a shortened opening practice session ahead of Felix Rosenqvist and Jean-Eric Vergne.
The top three drivers in the Formula E drivers’ championship were at the forefront of the opening free practice session, with Sam Bird topping the session ahead of championship leader Felix Rosenqvist.
The opening practice session for the race in the Chilean capital allowed drivers to explore the various racing lines in a bid to avoid the harsh bumps of the circuit, with many drivers falling foul of the undulating surface.
A clean session for Bird resulted in the Briton setting the fastest lap of the session – a 1:19.439 – ahead of Mahindra’s Rosenqvist, who was one of several drivers to make mistakes at the tricky turn one.
Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne was the third-fastest driver, ahead of Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and team-mate Andre Lotterer.
Both Alex Lynn (DS Virgin Racing) and Jose-Maria Lopez were well inside the top ten, whilst eighth-placed Edoardo Mortara crashed out in the closing stages of the session.
The Venturi driver locked up into turn three and understeered into the barrier, damaging the front-end of his car and bringing the session to an early conclusion.
Oliver Turvey (NIO) and Nelson Piquet (Jaguar) completed the top ten, ahead of the Audi Sport Abt pairing of Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt.
Season three champion di Grassi enjoyed a trouble-free session following the technical problems suffered in the opening races of the season, but the Brazilian carries a ten-place grid penalty for this weekend’s race after an inverter change.
There was a crash for season two champion Sebastien Buemi part-way through the session. The Renault e.dams driver lost the rear of the car mid-way through turn ten, hitting the right-rear of the car against the barrier and prematurely ending his session.
No other incidents occurred, although there were scares for Piquet, Luca Filippi (Andretti) and Jerome D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) who were forced to take to the escape road after lock-ups into turn one.
To view the full results of the session, click here.