Nick Cassidy was the highest-placed Kiwi on the first day of the official 2020/21 Formula E pre-season testing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, coming out trumps in a turbulent day for the trio of New Zealanders.
Rookie racer Cassidy headed the times for the majority of the afternoon after setting a 1m12.651s early on during the final session, eventually finishing fourth quickest overall.
Porsche’s Andre Lotterer got an early edge over reigning team’s champions DS Techeetah with a late lap twenty minutes out from the chequered flag to leave him aloft the top of the timesheets.
Jean-Eric Vergne was the leading DS Techeetah, 0.088s behind Lotterer but one-tenth up on teammate and defending champion Antonio Felix da Costa.
For Kiwi driver Cassidy, today wasn’t his first outing in a Formula E car. He previously competed for the team in a rookie’s test at Marrakesh where he set a new track record, catching the eye of the watching paddock.
However, today was the 26-year-old’s first day to compare himself in relation to the current crop of drivers. His fourth-placed finish means he also ends the day as the highest-ranked series debutant, a feat he says came from plenty of pre-test training.
“It’s been a cool year, and I’m really happy to get started to be honest,” he said. “It’s been a difficult last few months in terms of being in a different continent to where I needed to be to prepare wasn’t easy. We’ve made the most of things, though and I felt prepared for the test even given the challenges.
“It’s been mainly theory and making the most of video conferencing since I joined the team. I haven’t been able to be in Europe and I’ve been busy with Super Formula and Super GT and I’ve had to split my focus but I’m still in good shape today.”
Damp morning conditions initially hindered the six hours of running time. Three red flags punctuated the first three hours, the last of which was caused by fellow Kiwi Mitch Evans.
The most experienced New Zealander in the field had his morning cut short after a stuck throttle had him skate off the road at Turn 6 before coming to a rest at the tyre bundle.
He had yet to set a competitive time before the incident and Jaguar took the precautionary task of replacing the rear-end of his car. It meant Evans sat out the rest of the day and finished 22nd fastest with just five laps to his name.
Evans’ teammate Sam Bird ended the day 16th fastest, five-tenths adrift of the leading time.
The final Kiwi in the field was Tom Blomqvist. A starter of eight E-Prix, Blomqvist racked up an impressive 45 tours of the Valencia circuit.
Unfortunately, he was unable to lift himself off the bottom of the timesheets where he finished some 3.4s off the pace.
|3||Antonio Felix da Costa||0.132s|
|11||Lucas di Grassi||0.354s|
|19||Sergio Sette Camara||0.973s|
|20||Nyck de Vries||1.056s|