Showing the true power of German engineering, Audi Sport Abt’s Lucas di Grassi set the pace during the second official test for the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship at Donington Park with his best time in the afternoon session topping yesterday’s pace-setter Sebastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault).
Belgian racer Jerome d’Ambrosio, testing for China Racing, topped the morning timesheets with a 1:34.554s and already up on Buemi’s best time from day one. Times then began to tumble partway through the afternoon stint when the temporary chicane on the exit to the Old hairpin was removed after a number of drivers made contact with it.
That paved the way for di Grassi, testing with two cars due to an absent Daniel Abt on GP2 duties, to lay down a benchmark in the 1:31s which was never bettered.
“It was my first time driving the car with full power and I’m really pleased with the performance,” said di Grassi. “With Daniel [Abt] at Silverstone for GP2, I had the use of two cars so was able to do a lot of work in race mode. We had very little problems and I was very pleased with the way the Abt team worked, and I’m looking forward to getting in the car next week.”
Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld came away with the third best time whilst team-mate Stephane Sarrazin could only manage 13th spot. Scott Speed, testing for Andretti, looked sharp to finish fourth in front of Mahindra’s Bruno Senna and Spain’s Antonio Garcia - testing with China Racing. Nicolas Prost finished ahead of Virgin’s Sam Bird – completing the most laps of any driver with 56 – with d’Ambrosio and Jarno Trulli rounding out the top 10 before rain brought an early end to proceedings with 10 minutes left on the clock. Oriol Servia made his test debut for Dragon Racing alongside newly signed driver Mike Conway.
Reigning GP2 champion Fabio Leimer, taking over the duties for Antonio Felix da Costa at Amlin Aguri, ended the day 12th commenting: “It’s been interesting getting used to the car. It’s something quite different from what I’m used to. But we have been moving forward in a good way and everything is fine. I used race power and qualifying power – there’s a big, big difference between them and I think that will be something quite interesting for the driver.”
FIA Formula E Championship – Day 2, Donington Park – Test results (Combined times):
1. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport Abt, 1:31.973s
2. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:32.089s
3. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, 1:32.373s
4. Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, 1:32.632s
5. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, 1:32.960s
6. Antonio Garcia, China Racing, 1:32.966s
7. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, 1:33.040s
8. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, 1:33.072s
9. Jerome d’Ambrosio, China Racing, 1:33.178s
10. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, 1:33.299s
11. Franck Montagny, Andretti Autosport, 1:33.754s
12. Fabio Leimer, Amlin Aguri, 1:33.792s
13. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, 1:34.006s
14. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, 1:34.071s
15. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, 1:36.064s
16. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, 1:36.962s
17. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, 1:37.415s
18. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, 1:43.239s
19. Mike Conway, Dragon Racing, 1:44.698s
The test day also saw the announcement that pioneering electric car company Rimac Automobili is to supply the series with one of its exclusive fully-electric Concept_One supercars which will be used by the Race Director. The one-of-a-kind car, which can accelerate from 0-60mph in the same time as a Formula E single-seater, also took to the Donington track for a number of demonstration laps.
The next test days take place on July 9 and 10 at Donington Park with free access to fans, including a pitlane walk. For more information visit www.fiaformulae.com