Nick Cassidy’s debut run in Formula E may not look like much on paper. The Kiwi lined up under the lights at Diriyah in 20th, slipped back to 22nd at one stage and eventually crossed the line in 19th.
However, the former Super Formula champion’s maiden voyage into the all-electric series didn’t pay the dividends it deserved.
Entering the new season with the lowest number of mileage than anyone else, Cassidy spent the opening two practice sessions getting to grips with the unfamiliar car and circuit. He finished both sessions 23rd and 24th respectively, failing to make any impact.
The Envision Virgin team were desperate to bounce back after a testing final half of 2020. Though practice times early in the weekend suggested it would once again be another challenging three days.
A hefty crash for experienced teammate Robin Frijns with two-minutes remaining in FP2 didn’t lift any spirits, with the Dutch driver forced to miss qualifying and the team left with a significant repair job.
Tasked single-handedly with leading Virgin’s qualifying efforts, Cassidy delivered his best career lap to date in what was essentially a one-lap shootout.
His time, a 1.09.015s, would have comfortably cemented his place in SuperPole and guaranteed a top-six start in his first race.
Unfortunately, Cassidy was found to have made up time during a yellow flag caused by a crash for Sergio Sette Camara. Had the incident not occured, Casidy’s time would have stuck and the 26-year-old would have been up at the pointy end of the grid.
Ultimately, Cassidy’s infringement gifted fellow New Zealander Mitch Evans a spot in SuperPole. While the Jaguar driver was unable to make an impression in the top-six shootout, being near the front of the field saw him able to secure a podium result come to the race.
“Not starting from the ideal position makes it hard around here ” Cassidy said after the race.
“Trying to learn what I could, obviously with an eye forward for tomorrow. I got a few laps under my belt.
“We will debrief with the team now, but we will keep the gloves up and come out fighting tomorrow.”
Cassidy will have the fortune of taking part in the final group of tomorrow’s qualifying session, which usually offers the most ideal track conditions. He also comes into tomorrow with a whole race completed under his belt.
That race will start at 6 am NZT tomorrow morning, with live coverage on both YouTube and Sky Sport 5.