Lucas di Grassi made an impressive start to the Formula E’s first visit to Marrakesh by blitzing first practice, finishing almost two tenths of a second clear of the pack this morning.
Drivers got their first unfettered chance to sample the Moroccan street course in FP1, running in relatively cool conditions and with low sun, dawn having broken around an hour before the session started.
The session saw the usual contenders feature at the sharp end of the field with Sebastien Buemi, Nico Prost and Jean-Eric Vergne all enjoying stints at the helm of the timesheets.
Renault e.dams tried to stamp its authority on the session with around 15 minutes remaining, sending both Prost and Buemi out on 170kW laps. The pair duly locked out the top two positions, leaving the rest of the pack searching for a response.
Season two vice-champion di Grassi worked up a quick lap in the dying embers of the session, which appeared to be compromised when yellow flags were shown during his effort. However, the Brazilian was able to recover with ease, shooting up to P1 by 0.182 seconds just as the chequered flag came out.
Prost was left to settle for P2, while Buemi was a further half a second back in third place. Vergne slotted into fourth, suggesting that the same names who ran high up the order in Hong Kong will do so once again this weekend.
Antonio Felix da Costa ended the session fifth for Andretti ahead of Jerome d’Ambrosio and Felix Rosenqvist, the trio being followed by Jaguar’s Mitch Evans. Evans was one of the few drivers to put in a 200kW lap, although a spin did hinder his rhythm during the session. Nelson Piquet and Stephane Sarrazin rounded out the top 10.
The session went by largely without incident, the main exception being Jose Maria Lopez, who scraped the wall twice and caused damage to both his cars, leaving the DS Virgin Racing crew with some repairs to complete ahead of second practice.