Sebastien Buemi fastest in first Formula E test at Donington Park

Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi set the pace on the first day of the opening 2016/17 pre-season test at Donington Park

Sebastien Buemi fastest in first Formula E test at Donington Park

The Renault e.dams driver clocked a 1m30.143s, just two tenths shy of the record lap around the 2.4-mile Grand Prix circuit, in the final 20 minutes of the five-hour afternoon session.

His late effort knocked his 2015/16 title rival Lucas di Grassi off top spot, the Abt Audi Sport man having only deposed Sam Bird seconds earlier.

A late red flag, caused by Stephane Sarrazin's stopped Venturi, gave several drivers one last chance at a 200kW lap after the restart, which Nick Heidfeld took to jump to second in his Mahindra.

The German was 0.7s slower than Buemi, a tenth clear of di Grassi with Bird half a tenth further back in fourth.

Morning pacesetter Jerome d'Ambrosio ended a difficult afternoon of limited running for the Faraday Future Dragon Racing team, running its own powertrain (the Penske 701-EV) for the first time after a year as a Venturi customer, by following Heidfeld's lead with a late rise up the order to fifth.

Alex Lynn gave Jaguar a positive start to its official testing programme with the sixth-best time, though was over a second slower than Buemi.

The Williams Formula 1 development driver is one of four candidates being evaluated by the British manufacturer at the Donington test.

He was three tenths faster in the I-Type 1 than Adam Carroll, who is widely tipped to take one of the two seats having conducted most of Jaguar's private testing.

Carroll wound up ninth quickest, and the two Britons racked up 57 laps between them on an encouraging first public outing for Jaguar as it gears up for its return to major international motorsport after a 12-year absence.

Mahindra's rookie Felix Rosenqvist and di Grassi's team-mate Daniel Abt were sandwiched by the Jaguar drivers in seventh and eighth.

Double World Touring Car champion Jose Maria Lopez, another newcomer to FE, completed the top 10 for DS Virgin, 0.8s slower than new team-mate Bird.

The new Techeetah entry, which has taken over from Team Aguri, racked up its first mileage on the opening day of the test.

Ma Qing Hua was the team's sole runner and wound up 14th fastest, but looked set to challenge Buemi's benchmark before posting a slow final sector.

The Chinese driver notched up 31 laps in the afternoon despite suffering a few minor mechanical issues.

TESTING TIMES

1 Sebastien Buemi (Renault e.dams), 1m30.143s

2 Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra), 1m30.894s

3 Lucas di Grassi (Abt Audi Sport), 1m30.947s

4 Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing), 1m30.992s

5 Jerome d'Ambrosio (Dragon Racing), 1m31.203s

6 Alex Lynn (Jaguar), 1m31.409s

7 Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra), 1m31.563s

8 Daniel Abt (Abt Audi Sport), 1m31.712s

9 Adam Carroll (Jaguar), 1m31.717s

10 Jose Maria Lopez (DS Virgin Racing), 1m31.733s

11 Nicolas Prost (Renault e.dams), 1m32.309s

12 Loic Duval (Dragon Racing), 1m33.060s

13 Robin Frijns (Andretti), 1m33.062s

14 Ma Qing Hua (Techeetah), 1m33.147s

15 Antonio Felix da Costa (Andretti), 1m33.252s

16 Nelson Piquet Jr (NextEV), 1m33.284s

17 Stephane Sarrazin (Venturi), 1m33.287s

18 Maro Engel (Venturi), 1m34.120s

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