Monday, June 24, 2024

Portland E-Prix: Norman Nato Fastest in Second Practice

Norman Nato topped the timesheets in Free Practice 2 at the inaugural Portland E-Prix, just a couple of hours ahead of an all-important qualifying session.

The opening session of the twelfth race day of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship was greeted by beautiful blue skies, as all the drivers once again ventured out onto the Portland International Raceway quickly. Friday’s Free Practice 1 session was already proof that it’s going to be a very fast weekend, as a new top-speed record and average speed across a lap record were broken.

FP1 pacesetter René Rast was once again demonstrating excellent pace in the opening five minutes, as he once again sat at the top of the timesheets. The German remained at the top as the opening ten minutes were completed, thanks to a 1:09.255. His quickest time after the first ten minutes of FP2 was around two tenths slower than his best time Friday evening, highlighting that there was still time to be found. Jake Hughes sat in second behind Rast, forming a NEOM McLaren Formula E Team 1-2.

The Woking-based team maintained their 1-2 as the session moved into its second half, with Sébastian Buemi having sat in third just over three tenths behind Rast. The vast majority of the drivers were clearly focusing on their race pace, as the leaderboard saw very little change. There was finally a change at the top though with just over ten minutes remaining, as Maximilian Günther went quicker than Rast. Günther’s time was still slower than Rast’s from Friday interestingly.

Elsewhere, Jean-Éric Vergne slotted into third with nine minutes remaining, demoting Hughes to fourth. Günther, Rast and Vergne remained as the top three as the second session of the weekend moved into its final five minutes, as several drivers began full power laps. As the chequered flag was flown, Norman Nato shot to the top on a 1:09.101. The Frenchman remained at the top as all the drivers completed their final laps, with Günther and Sam Bird having claimed second and third.

Nato’s time was still almost a tenth slower than Rast’s time from Friday evening. Regardless, a second separated the top-nineteen drivers, suggesting that qualifying in a couple of hours will be incredibly close.

More to Follow…