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Formula E - Rookie displays impressive pace as Drugovich tops ABB FIA Formula E World championship timesheets in Berlin


Reigning FIA Formula 2 Champion laps close to race weekend pace as talented newcomers sample groundbreaking Gen3 single-seater in Berlin

Today’s official ABB FIA Formula E World Championship Rookie Test in Berlin (24 April) saw 23 drivers representing 15 different nations complete just shy of 2,000 laps around the Tempelhof Airport street circuit – posting some extremely impressive times in the process.

The day was composed of a brace of three-hour sessions. Jordan King was the first to lay down a marker for Mahindra Racing, before Robert Shwartzman leapt to the head of the order in his DS Penske single-seater.

Just over 40 minutes in, Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sheldon van der Linde grabbed the top spot, and while his time would subsequently be beaten by a number of other drivers, last year’s DTM Champion was not to be denied.

With only half-a-minute left on the clock, van der Linde – brother of early-season ABT CUPRA Formula E Team stand-in Kelvin van der Linde – broke the beam with a 1m05.814s to displace long-time pace-setter Luca Ghiotto (Nissan Formula E Team) on his final flyer.

It took over two hours of running in the afternoon for van der Linde’s time to be bettered, and it was Zane Maloney – on-track for Avalanche Andretti – who finally became the first to dip underneath the morning benchmark.

Victor Martins then shaved off a further few thousandths-of-a-second for Nissan, before Brazil’s Felipe Drugovich stamped his authority on proceedings with less than 20 minutes left to run as he stopped the clocks at 1m05.509s for Maserati MSG Racing – more than a second swifter than he had gone in the morning session.

The 2022 FIA Formula 2 Champion wound up a scant 0.208s adrift of the fastest lap set during the Berlin E-Prix weekend, posted by Maximilian Günther on Saturday in the same car.

Reigning FIA Formula 3 Champion Martins placed second, 0.101s back, with FIA Rookie of the Year Maloney – runner-up to Martins last season – in close company in third. Multiple Formula 2 race-winner Ghiotto featured up at the sharp end again in the afternoon to seal fourth spot, with the leading quartet all improving upon van der Linde’s morning time.

The latter’s day came to a premature conclusion when he hit the wall and brought out a red flag just over an hour into the second session, but his earlier effort remained good enough for fifth overall. Jehan Daruvala (Mahindra) finished up sixth, ahead of Shwartzman, Luke Browning (NEOM McLaren Formula E Team), David Beckmann (TAG Heuer Porsche) and Daniil Kvyat (NIO 333 Racing).

The top ten were ultimately blanketed by barely half-a-second, with only 1.663s covering the entire field.

Next up in the FIA and Formula E’s push to promote rookie participation in the championship will be a 30-minute ‘FP0’ practice session in Rome in July for drivers aged 18 and over who have never previously raced in the series. All teams are obliged to run at least one driver in this session.