Frijns tops eventful opening FE practice in Tokyo

Robin Frijns topped an eventful opening practice as Formula E made its debut on the streets of Tokyo.

The Envision Racing driver’s best time of 1m20.865 came late in the session after a red flag and five-minute extension following an incident between Sacha Fenestraz and Sam Bird.

A heavy downpour occurred earlier in the day, and while most of the track had dried before the session, there were still wet patches – most notably Turn 1 which caught out a number of drivers.

Lucas di Grassi, Dan Ticktum, Oliver Rowland, and Pascal Wehrlein were among the drivers that went off in the wet T1, but it was the incident between Fenestraz and Bird which was the most notable. With five minutes of the session remaining, Nissan driver Fenestraz was exiting the pitlane while NEOM McLaren’s Bird was approaching T1. He subsequently locked up on the wet patch and collected Fenestraz as he headed towards the run-off.


That wasn’t the only red flag of the session, with Stoffel Vandoorne bringing one out in the first seven minutes after he stopped at Turn 4 with a battery fault.

Finishing behind Frijns on the timesheets was Mahindra’s Edoardo Mortara, who was 0.217s off the top spot, with Maserati MSG’s Maximillian Guenther a further 0.058s back.

Wehrlein was fourth quickest, ahead of TAG Heuer Porsche teammate Antonio Felix da Costa as the German team finished the session as the only team, and manufacturer, with two cars in the top-five. Both factory Jaguars finished just outside, with Nick Cassidy – a veteran of racing in Japan – and Mitch Evans sixth and seventh respectively.

Mahindra’s Nyck de Vries, Rowland of Nissan, and Abt Cupra’s di Grassi rounded out the top-10, ahead of Andretti’s Norman Nato, Buemi in the other Envision, Bird, Nico Mueller in the second Abt Cupra, and Jean-Eric Vergne, the highest placed DS Penske driver.

Jehan Daruvala (Maserati), Sergio Sette Camara (ERT), Fenestraz, Jake Hughes (McLaren), Ticktum (ERT), and Andretti driver Jake Dennis, who made contact with the wall at Turn 15 with around 10 minutes of the session to go, completed the runners, with Vandoorne classified 22nd and last after his early stoppage.


Story originally appeared on Racer