Sebastien Buemi set the pace during first practice for the Formula E Moscow ePrix, closely followed by team-mate Nicolas Prost as the e.dams-Renault pairing once again used the full 200kw to their advantage late in the session.
The Swiss racer – the only driver to have won two races – posted a 1:10.402s to go top, beating Prost by more than half a second before a sizeable gap to third-place man Bruno Senna.
With no Friday shakedown, it was a cautious start for the Formula E field as they explored the spectacular 2.29km street circuit, especially for Andretti’s Justin Wilson marking his first ever time in the SRT_01E.
It was Amlin Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa who set the early benchmark lapping in the low 1:14s before a stoppage after Sam Bird’s right-rear wheel came loose as he exited T13, with the Brit only completing six laps. The session resumed with just over 20 minutes left on the clock with both Mahindra cars trying a little too hard and going wide at the T11 hairpin. Virgin’s Jaime Alguersuari was also pushing hard followed by Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin before Lucas di Grassi had a brief spell at the top and was the first driver to break into the 1:12s.
The final stages saw a flurry of activity including moments for Jean-Eric Vergne at Turn 2 and Loic Duval at the next corner, with the Dragon racer also hitting the barrier on the exit of the T9 chicane in the closing stages.
Venturi’s Sarrazin also briefly went top before ending P4 – three places ahead of his team-mate Nick Heidfeld – with the ABT duo of Daniel Abt and di Grassi in fifth and sixth. Vergne finished eighth ahead of championship leader Nelson Piquet (NEXTEV TCR) and Da Costa.
Despite making his Formula E debut, Wilson put his street circuit experience to good use to finish P14.
The next session gets underway at 10:30 (local time).
To view the results in full click here.