Dragon Racing provided the biggest surprise during Putrajaya ePrix practice this Saturday morning, with Loic Duval upsetting title favourites Renault e.Dams by taking top spot on the timesheets.
An array of red flags disrupted this morning’s practice for the Putrajaya ePrix. A loose hoarding, then an errant bolt protruding from a kerb brought out the first two red flags, while a battery issue for Jacques Villeneuve and a moment for Nelson Piquet brought out the third.
With a few puddles still drying up form overnight, it was the Renault e.Dams drivers who had the advantage of being first out [courtesy of their pit-lane position] to view track conditions. Off-camber corners, varying surfaces and blind crowns providing a massive challenge for all teams.
With just two tracks into the series, it was becoming increasingly apparent that a twin-motor set up was proving problematic in managing weight-distribution and set-up. Torque-efficiency may come into play later in the season, but at the moment, a single-motor package looks the way to go.
Nextev TCR in particular looking very oversteery on throttle, representing a big disadvantage given keeping the speed up by drifting on throttle is so important in qualifying. The car did however look slightly more compliant later in the session, suggestion some mapping solutions had been made.
The hairpin will be a section to watch today, with Renault e.Dams down-changing into a corner [with their 2-gear transmission] for the first time. Should ABT get within earshot of the French team, this corner could represent a good passing opportunity.
Sam Bird knew exactly where he stood in P3, but was losing effectively one tenth of a second to Buemi in each sector. Not bad considering the team were still struggling with weight and battery issues from Beijing.
With five minutes remaining the pace began to hot up with most of the field on full-power laps. Antonio Felix Da Costa was putting in a good showing for Team Aguri just half a second off the ultimate pace [and certainly a wake-up call for Andretti who are also using last season’s powertrain]. Loic Duval however provided the biggest surprise, launching his Dragon into the top spot with a 1.20:1