Renault e.Dams driver Sébastien Buemi has continued his early season form by setting the fastest time during Formula E’s only in-season test day of the year in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Just one day after winning the Punta del Este ePrix from fifth on the grid, the championship leader set a 1:13.281 lap, 0.535 seconds ahead of DS Virgin’s Jean-Éric Vergne, with Buemi’s team mate Nicolas Prost a further 0.135 seconds back in third.
This was somewhat of a turnaround for Vergne and Prost from Saturday’s event, where Prost was unable to match the pace of the leaders during a lonely race to fifth, while Vergne battled to seventh after qualifying at the back of the field.
Buemi’s test day lap was nearly two seconds better than the fastest lap during the race meeting – also set by the Swiss driver in the fourth group of regular qualifying – and underscores how fast he has been across the first three events of the season in Beijing, Putrajaya and Punta del Este.
With the exception of a driving error during the Punta del Este Super Pole, in almost every session so far Buemi has featured at or near the top of the time sheets when not affected by external issues such as traffic (Punta del Este Practice 2) or technical dramas (Putrajaya Race).
Venturi’s Stéphane Sarrazin ended the test in fourth, ahead of Team Aguri’s António Félix da Costa, who was again the fastest of the four cars still using the 2014 specification McLaren-developed powertrain.
The NEXTEV TCR team filled positions sixth and seventh, with reigning champion Nelson Piquet Jr ahead of Oliver Turvey. The team also briefly ran Porsche Supercup & Carrera Cup Italy competitor Da Sheng Zhang during the test; the Chinese driver ended up nineteenth and slowest on the day (1:23.331), just under five seconds behind Aguri’s Nathanaël Berthon.
Dragon Racing driver Loïc Duval was eighth, the second DS Virgin of Sam Bird ended ninth, while Oliver Rowland continued to fill in for the injured Nick Heidfeld at Mahindra by rounding out the top ten.
Having missed Saturday’s race due to a heavy crash in qualifying, 1997 Formula 1 Drivers’ Champion Jacques Villeneuve was back in action, setting the sixteenth fastest time of the day, while Buemi’s closest championship challenger Lucas di Grassi ended the day in a lowly seventeenth place.
The next round of the FIA Formula E Championship continues with in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday February 6, 2016.
|2015-16 Formula E Punta del Este Test Session|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.DAMS||1:13.218|
|2.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:13.753||+ 0.535|
|3.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.DAMS||1:13.888||+ 0.670|
|4.||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||1:14.886||+ 1.668|
|5.||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||1:14.949||+ 1.731|
|6.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:14.990||+ 1.772|
|7.||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:15.058||+ 1.840|
|8.||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:15.184||+ 1.966|
|9.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:15.285||+ 2.067|
|10.||Oliver Rowland||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:15.402||+ 2.184|
|11.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:15.570||+ 2.352|
|12.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:15.575||+ 2.357|
|13.||Robin Frijns||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:15.581||+ 2.363|
|14.||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:15.742||+ 2.524|
|15.||Simona de Silvestro||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:15.765||+ 2.547|
|16.||Jacques Villeneuve||Venturi Formula E Team||1:16.366||+ 3.148|
|17.||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:16.598||+ 3.380|
|18.||Nathanaël Berthon||Team Aguri||1:18.633||+ 5.415|
|19.||Zhang Da Sheng||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:23.311||+ 10.093|
Image via FIA Formula E Championship