Nick Cassidy has topped the timesheets for Envision Virgin Racing at the 2020 Formula E Rookie Test in Marrakesh.

New Zealander Cassidy, the reigning Super Formula champion and a former Japanese Super GT and Formula 3 champion, set an unofficial lap record of 1:16.467 around the Circuit Moulay El Hassan, 0.691 seconds faster than António Félix da Costa’s pole lap for the previous day’s Marrakesh ePrix.

All up, the 25-year-old completed 74 laps across the day’s two sessions as the team worked through their test plan. Speaking at the conclusion of running, Cassidy was pleased with his efforts and enjoyed his time in the car after having spent a great deal of time in the team’s simulator ahead of the test.

“It’s been great to finally step into the car and I’ve learnt a huge amount from the test today in Marrakesh,” Cassidy said. “It’s a lot different to my previous experience but I felt we had a great test program and I hope that I’ve managed to help the team with what they were wanting to achieve. The car had great pace and to come away with the fastest time ever at Marrakesh is an awesome feeling too.”

Second fastest was Sérgio Sette Câmara for GEOX Dragon Racing, the former Red Bull junior driver 0.463 seconds off Cassidy’s pace.

Third and fourth positions were filled by the two DS Techeetahs, backing up their race-winning and double podium performance from Saturday’s event. In the rookie test, Filipe Albuquerque was the team’s fastest driver with a 1:17.092 lap, with Nicolas Lapierre 0.024 seconds slower in the sister car.

It was an impressive effort from Lapierre, the 35-year-old sports car racing veteran and one-time A1GP Champion being called into the test at the absolute last minute following James Rossiter – who was originally slated to drive – substituting for Jean-Éric Vergne in Practice 1 of the ePrix on Friday afternoon. In doing so, Rossiter was granted an E licence, making him no longer eligible for the rookie test.

BMW i Andretti backed up Maximilian Günther’s podium on Saturday by setting the fifth-fastest time of the test (1:17.272), in this case, the car being driven by Andretti Indy Lights driver Kyle Kirkwood.

The most laps of the day were completed by Norman Nato driving for Venturi, the Frenchman clocking 96 tours of the circuit, along with the day’s sixth-fastest time (1:17.302).

Jake Hughes set Mercedes’ quickest time of the test, just 0.001 seconds slower than Nato to end the day seventh on the timesheets. Lucas Auer in the second BMW placed eighth (1:17.327), with Kelvin van der Linde (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, 1:17.360) and Sacha Fenestraz (Jaguar, 1:17.490) rounding out the top ten.

Also of note was W Series champion Jamie Chadwick (1:17.721) who ended the day 13th in the second Jaguar, while Arthur Leclerc – younger brother of Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles – banked a best lap of 1:18.076 to end the day in 19th for Venturi. Overall, 21 of the 24 rookies finished the day within two seconds of Cassidy’s best lap time.

2020 FIA Formula E Championship – Rookie Driver Test Session
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Nick Cassidy Envision Virgin Racing 1:16.467
2. Sérgio Sette Câmara GEOX Dragon 1:16.930 + 0.463
3. Filipe Albuquerque DS Techeetah 1:17.092 + 0.625
4. Nicolas Lapierre DS Techeetah 1:17.116 + 0.649
5. Kyle Kirkwood BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:17.272 + 0.805
6. Norman Nato ROKiT Venturi Racing 1:17.302 + 0.835
7. Jake Hughes Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 1:17.303 + 0.836
8. Lucas Auer BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:17.327 + 0.860
9. Kelvin van der Linde Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:17.360 + 0.893
10. Sacha Fenestraz Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:17.490 + 1.023
11. Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 1:17.594 + 1.127
12. Mattia Drudi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:17.703 + 1.236
13. Jamie Chadwick Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:17.721 + 1.254
14. Mitsunori Takaboshi Nissan e.dams 1:17.799 + 1.332
15. Thomas Preining TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 1:17.904 + 1.437
16. Pipo Derani Mahindra Racing 1:17.941 + 1.474
17. Jann Mardenborough Nissan e.dams 1:17.942 + 1.475
18. Joel Eriksson GEOX Dragon 1:18.019 + 1.552
19. Arthur Leclerc ROKiT Venturi Racing 1:18.076 + 1.609
20. Alice Powell Envision Virgin Racing 1:18.141 + 1.674
21. Sam Dejonghe Mahindra Racing 1:18.301 + 1.834
22. Antonio Fuoco NIO 333 FE Team 1:18.825 + 2.358
23. Daniel Cao NIO 333 FE Team 1:19.234 + 2.767
24. Frédéric Makowiecki TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 1:19.374 + 2.907

Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Professional motorsport engineer and all-round tech head.