MORTARA ENDS PRE-SEASON TESTING ON TOP AFTER ULTRA-CLOSE FINAL DAY IN VALENCIA | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

MORTARA ENDS PRE-SEASON TESTING ON TOP AFTER ULTRA-CLOSE FINAL DAY IN VALENCIA

02.12.21

Swiss star soars to the top of the timing screens as Formula E teams wrap up their on-track preparations in Spain.

ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara will embark upon the forthcoming ABB FIA Formula E World Championship campaign with a spring in his step, after posting the fastest lap time of this week’s pre-season test in Valencia today (2 December) – as the leading 14 drivers were blanketed by less than half-a-second.

Following two days of running separated into morning and afternoon blocks and incorporating both a qualifying simulation and mock ‘race’, competitors returned to the track today to conclude proceedings with a single six-hour session at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

DS TECHEETAH’s António Félix da Costa laid down the early marker, until Tuesday pace-setter Stoffel Vandoorne leapt back to the head of the order for Mercedes-EQ. Not to be outdone, Jean-Éric Vergne in the second DS TECHEETAH entry subsequently supplanted the Belgian at the summit of the standings with a new unofficial Formula E lap record around the Spanish track.

Last season’s runner-up Mortara, however, was already on the move, and he had climbed to second place before hour two was out. He went on to snatch the top spot away from two-time title-holder Vergne midway through, by the slender margin of just 0.041s – a status quo that would remain unchallenged right to the end of the day.

Mortara’s effort was almost three tenths-of-a-second quicker than Vandoorne’s Tuesday best, although the ex-Formula 1 star also dipped beneath his own previous yardstick to place third in the pecking order. For some time, indeed, it looked to be an exclusive duel between Mercedes and DS powertrains at the front of the field, but a couple of late improvements shuffled the positions.

TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein vaulted up the timing screens with only minutes remaining, before Mitch Evans went a scant hundredth-of-a-second faster for Jaguar TCS Racing, leaving the pair fourth (Evans) and fifth (Wehrlein) in the final reckoning.

Defending champion Nyck de Vries featured up towards the sharp end throughout and ultimately wound up sixth for Mercedes – a mere 0.138s shy of the overall benchmark. That put the Dutchman just ahead of evenly-matched Envision Racing duo Nick Cassidy and Robin Frijns, both of whom flirted with the top five for a while.

Former title-winner da Costa slipped to ninth in the end – albeit still less than three tenths adrift of Mortara – with Alexander Sims completing the top ten for Mahindra Racing. Behind the Briton, countrymen Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing), Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) and Oliver Rowland (Mahindra Racing) as well as 2016/17 champion Lucas Di Grassi (ROKiT Venturi Racing) were all similarly within half-a-second of the outright pace, as Adam Carroll marked his Formula E return with NIO 333.

Following an eight-week break to enable drivers and teams to refine their pre-season preparations, the 2021/22 Formula E campaign – the eighth in the history of the pioneering all-electric single-seater series – will officially get underway with Saudi Arabia’s double-header Diriyah ePrix on 28/29 January.