For the second year in succession, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver Nico Muller has topped the combined time sheets of the in-season ABB FIA Formula E Championship rookie test held in Marrakesh following yesterday’s thrilling E-Prix. The German posted an impressive time of 1m17.074s late in the afternoon.
Muller said, “It was good fun, I really enjoyed being back in the Gen2 car after Riyadh, where we didn’t have a smooth day, but today was a good one. We had a big test program to complete, lots of stuff to be tested for the next Formula E event.
“I’m happy to have ticked most boxes, learned a lot, and I think we’re now better prepared for what’s to come and to finish the day top of the times is obviously nice.”
Muller narrowly edged out DS Techeetah’s James Rossiter by just over one tenth of a second, while GEOX Dragon’s Antonio Fuoco ended the day third fastest on a 1m17.338s.
It was an eclectic mix of young talents and seasoned campaigners taking to the 1.85-mile Marrakesh circuit, with the criteria for entry being that the drivers must never have held an eLicense. The day was split into two sessions, with times improving throughout the afternoon as the winter sun warmed the track.
Promising young dutchman Nyck De Vries was fifth fastest overall despite slight damage to his Envision Virgin Racing car curtailing his track time. He was a tenth ahead of 3 Jann Mardenborough for Nissan e.dams in sixth.
Tatiana Calderon, who tested for DS Techeetah in the Ad Diriyah test in December, posted an impressive time of 1m17.674s in the morning, which would have been good for fourth place in yesterday’s Super Pole shootout. The Columbian ultimately posted the seventh-overall time, but did not run in the warmer afternoon conditions.
“It’s a completely different track here — you need to be a little bit more confident on the brakes,” said the FIA’s European Young Women Program ambassador after her morning run. “It’s good for me to have experience on both tracks and I hope that I can help the team to develop the car even more. Every day, Formula E becomes more of an interest for me.”
BMW driver Bruno Spengler spent much of the day near the top of the times, with the third-fastest time in the morning; however he didn’t improve greatly in the afternoon and finally posted the eighth-quickest tour of the day.
Following a tough Marrakesh E-Prix for the HWA Racelab squad, its 24-year old rookie Raffaele Marciello achieved a top-10 time, sixth tenths off the ultimate pace. Monegasque youngster Arthur Leclerc rounded out the top 10 for Venturi just ahead of his teammate Norman Nato, with both drivers improving dramatically on their morning session lap times.
The day’s running went relatively uninterrupted, with the only lengthy stoppage a result of crash for Audi’s Jamie Green at Turn 7 late in the day.