JEV lights up HK in FP2

Spacesuit-Media-Shivraj-Gohil-FIA-Formula-E-Hong-Kong-ePrix-October-2016-Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah

Jean-Eric Vergne proved that his preseason testing pace was not a simply a show for Donington Park by setting the fastest time of the Hong Kong weekend so far in the second free practice session.

Vergne took his new Techeetah team to the top of the timesheets as a handful of yellow and red flags interrupted running and left many scrambling to squeeze in track time towards the end of the 30 minute session.

FP2 was first interrupted with around 15 minutes remaining after Loic Duval clattered into the wall at the exit of T10, crumpling his right-side wheels in the process and leaving the Frenchman in need of recovery. Maro Engel also had an off, limping back to the pits with broken rear suspension, the cause of which was a mystery to the driver himself.

Once the green flag returned, a number of drivers headed out to work up their 200kW laps ahead of qualifying. After topping FP1 this morning, Lucas di Grassi had hoped to continue his good form, only to run wide at T2. The Brazilian tried flicking his car around in the escape road but misjudged the manoeuvre, hitting the wall and ripping off his rear wing. Jose Maria Lopez also nudged the wall at the same place just moments later, narrowly avoiding the ABT car.

Yellow flags at T8 for debris scuppered a number of late runs for drivers but Vergne was able to get in a rapid 200kW lap of 1:02.350 that was good enough for P1 come the chequered flag. The time was also quicker than that set by di Grassi earlier in the morning, once again hinting that Techeetah could be a genuine threat to the traditional front-runners through season three.

Nico Prost finished the session second-fastest for Renault e.dams, his 200kW lap more than two tenths of a second slower than Vergne’s, with Sam Bird finishing a further tenth behind. Felix Rosenqvist was fourth-fastest for Mahindra, while Antonio Felix da Costa rounded out the top five for Andretti.

With few drivers getting a chance to really stretch their legs and track acclimatization ongoing, the stage is set for a tight qualifying session later today.

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Luke Smith

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