Gunther quickest on final day of Valencia Formula E test

Maximilian Gunther set the fastest time of Formula E pre-season testing on a final day in Valencia in which the entire 24-car field was separated by less 0.8 seconds.

The BMW Andretti driver clocked a late 1m11.760s flying lap at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo to keep Sergio Sette Camara at bay by just 0.036s on an impressive day for Dragon Penske Autosport.

In the warmest conditions of the three-day test, the top nine drivers all broke under the 1m12s barrier as teams switched to faster qualifying lap simulation runs.

However, this led to no fewer than seven drivers having to serve a 15-minute penalty in the pits as the new track limits imposed as Turns 1, 6 and 10 were repeatedly broken.

Behind Sette Camara, one such driver to be cautioned, his teammate Nico Muller ran third fastest for Dragon, although he is yet to be confirmed at the team for the 2020-21 season.

Muller was just 0.050 off the pace in the 2019-20 car, with the American squad set to follow the lead of DS Techeetah and Nissan e.dams by introducing a new package for the Rome E-Prix in April.

For much of the single six-hour session reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa had led the field with his 1m11.815s benchmark, but no late improvements meant he dropped back to fourth.

In fifth place was Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans, the Kiwi having been da Costa’s nearest title rival throughout the early part of last season before the campaigned resumed for six races in Berlin.

Behind Evans, another casualty of the 15-minute reprimand, Porsche racer Pascal Wehrlein headed Oliver Rowland and the second DS Techeetah of Jean-Eric Vergne.

A strong effort from NIO 333 pilot Oliver Turvey guided the experienced Briton to ninth ahead of an impressive run from Venturi Racing recruit Norman Nato, set for his rookie FE season.

Fellow rookie Jake Dennis was 11th for BMW Andretti, still only 0.287s adrift of the top.

Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne, widely expected to replace Lewis Hamilton for this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix following the seven-time champion’s positive COVID-19 test, ranked 18th.

His teammate Nyck de Vries ranked 21st as Audi driver Lucas di Grassi brought up the rear in 24th and last, but was only 0.761s away from Gunther.


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