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Maximilian Günther will enter the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E World Championship campaign with the honour of having posted the fastest lap time during pre-season testing on the final day in Valencia today (1 December), but arguably an even bigger story was the intensely close nature of the competition in the all-electric single-seater series that makes picking a favourite all-but impossible.

The 24 drivers returned to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo after a day of off-track activities for one final six-hour session, and it took almost three hours for anybody to dip beneath the 1:11.941 benchmark established by Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn on Sunday.

Defending champion António Félix da Costa (DS Techeetah) was the first to break the barrier with a time of 1:11.815. That was good enough to keep the Portuguese ace at the head of the order until Nico Müller (Dragon / Penske Autosport) pipped him by a scant five thousandths-of-a-second with little over half an hour remaining – but Günther was not to be denied.

After flirting with the top of the timing screens on several occasions, the BMW i Andretti Motorsport star produced a 1:11.760 to cement pre-season bragging rights, with Sérgio Sette Câmara in the other Dragon / Penske Autosport car splitting Günther and Müller in the final reckoning with a 1:11.796, narrowly ahead of team-mate Müller on 1:11.810.

Da Costa ultimately had to settle for fourth – just 55 thousandths shy of the top spot courtesy of his earlier effort – ahead of Mitch Evans in fifth, the New Zealander enjoying comfortably his most competitive showing of the test for Panasonic Jaguar Racing with a time of 1:11.880.

Formula E returnee Pascal Wehrlein led the Porsche charge in sixth (1:11.908), with Oliver Rowland upholding Nissan e.dams honours in seventh (1:11.943) today and two-time title-holder Jean-Éric Vergne putting the second DS Techeetah entry eighth on the timesheets (1:11.978) of this final day.

The top ten was completed by NIO’s Oliver Turvey (1:11.996) and ROKiT Venturi Racing rookie Norman Nato (1:12.002), with all ten cars all blanketed by less than a quarter-of-a-second.

Former champions Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) and Lucas Di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) wound up down in 14th (1:12.134) and 24th (1:12.521) positions respectively, with weekend pace-setters Lynn and André Lotterer (Porsche) able to fare no better than 16th (1:12.180) and 17th (1:12.205) as the entire field was covered by less than eight tenths-of-a-second.

The next stop for the Formula E competitors will be Chile’s leafy Parque O’Higgins for the Santiago ePrix on 16-17 January, with a double-header curtain-raiser to kick-start the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship 2020/21 season. On the evidence of the past few days in Valencia, the action on-track looks set to be every bit as hot as the South American summer.