Formula E in Saudi Arabia: Dan Ticktum & Nio 333 win 2nd Free Practice, accident for Nico Müller
Nio 333 driver Dan Ticktum has won the 2nd free practice session of Formula E in Saudi Arabia. The Briton prevailed with an impressive pace against Sebastien Buemi in the Envision, and screwed the Gen3 best time of the previous day down by a good four tenths of a second. Rounding out the top 5 were Mitch Evans, Stoffel Vandoorne and Sam Bird. Nico Müller had to park his ABT vehicle after an impact prematurely..
In contrast to the 1st Free Practice on Thursday, the second session of the Diriyya E-Prix began at 11:30 am German time in bright sunshine. Max Günther reported early on that the track had very little grip - presumably due to sand that had blown onto the asphalt overnight. In the first five minutes, the four Jaguar cars set the pace. Then other drivers mixed in the top 5, including Jake Dennis with best time, Dan Ticktum and Jake Hughes..
Lucas di Grassi slid into the run-off zone of turn 18 with the wheels stationary and radioed his Mahindra team, "The wheels completely locked up, that was really strange!" Meanwhile, the best times tumbled. Nio 333 again impressed with good laps, and Edo Mortara in the Maserati, Porsche driver Pascal Wehrlein and Oliver Rowland (Mahindra) were also at the front. Fastest after the first ten minutes was Mortara with a lap time of 1:11.409 minutes..
Then it crashed for the first time: Nico Müller came off the racing line and hit the wall with the left rear wheel. His ABT Cupra suffered major damage, so that the session ended prematurely for the Swiss. Müller still managed to steer his car into an emergency exit, so that the practice session did not have to be interrupted. This was followed by further best times from Ticktum, Rene Rast and Dennis - all apparently still with 300 kW race power..
Ticktum shows potential of the new Nio 333
Sebastien Buemi was also always in the mix at the front and underlined his good form with a new best time in the Envision Jaguar. With ten minutes to go, however, it was Ticktum in the Nio 333 who undercut Buemi to become the first to beat the best time of the 1st Free Practice session. He went one better and distanced Mitch Evans in second place by almost half a second! Buemi improved to second position a little later, with Stoffel Vandoorne in 3rd.
In the final minutes, several drivers still tried to improve, which many succeeded on a personal level. However, no one came close to the powerful lap of Dan Ticktum. The Briton thus gave Nio 333 the session win - the first for the small team since Oliver Turvey's super pole success at the 2017 Mexico City E-Prix! Max Günther was still going fast, but bumped into the wall with the left front end and had to abort his attempt, although the front wing of the Maserati held. Nick Cassidy also braked in turn 18 and had to turn his Envision around in the emergency exit.
The balance of power after the 2nd Free Practice was a similar as on Thursday: Jaguar and DS seem to set the standards in Saudi Arabia - and at least on one lap also Nio 333. The eagerly awaited qualifying for the Diriyya E-Prix begins at 13:40 (CET) - to follow in the Hankook Formula E Liveticker on 'e-Formel.de' as well as in the livestream at the Kolleg:innen of 'ran.de'..