Monday, June 24, 2024

Jakarta E-Prix: Maximilian Günther Claims Free Practice 2 Honours

Maximilian Günther was once again the driver to beat Saturday morning at the Jakarta E-Prix, with the Maserati MSG Racing driver having topped Free Practice Two after setting the fastest time of the weekend.

As the sun rose over the Indonesian capital, it was Free Practice 1 pacesetter Günther who led the field out onto what was still an incredibly dusty circuit. There was very early drama though, for Günther’s team-mate Edoardo Mortara, who brushed the wheel at Turn Sixteen. Having been second fastest on Friday, it was a far from ideal start to the first race day for the Swiss driver, who returned to the pits and jumped out of the car.

Circuit evolution was clearly going to play a role in the session, as the times tumbled drastically in the opening minutes of the session. It was Günther who once again sat as the fastest driver at the close of the opening ten minutes, with the German having proven once again that he had excellent one lap pace. With seventeen minutes remaining on the clock, several drivers moved ahead of Günther, with Mitch Evans having jumped to the front thanks to a 1:09.070.

It was fellow title contender Jake Dennis who led at the halfway stage of the session though, with Günther having also moved back into the leading places after setting the second quickest time. As the morning session entered its final ten minutes, it was António Félix da Costa who moved to the top of the timesheets, whilst reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne slotted into second ahead of Dennis.

Dennis has clearly got bags of pace this weekend though, as the Avalanche Andretti Formula E driver went back to the top with just over seven minutes remaining; however, Sam Bird quickly replaced him. Bird set a strong 1:08.478 to move to the top, with his time having been the quickest of the weekend so far by half a second. Bird was soon demoted to second by Günther, who came close to breaking into the high 1:07s.

With two minutes remaining, Günther’s 1:08.329 was clearly a tough time to beat, as all the drivers prepared for a final push lap before switching their attention to qualifying. Championship contender Pascal Wehrlein was the biggest mover as the chequered flag was flown, with him having jumped into fourth. Championship leader Nick Cassidy though, could only manage thirteenth, with the Kiwi having spun on his final lap.

Nobody could stop Günther from topping a second consecutive session though, with his 1:08.329 having remained unbeaten. The German topped the session from Dennis, Bird, Wehrlein and Vandoorne, with all the drivers now having just under two hours before qualifying gets underway ahead of the tenth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.