BERLIN, Germany – Nick Heidfeld led Mahindra Racing to a one-two finish in practice for the opening Berlin Formula E race on Saturday morning, edging out teammate Felix Rosenqvist at the top of the timesheets.
Heidfeld arrived in Berlin for his home race off the back of two straight podium finishes in Monaco and Paris, and sent out another warning shot to his rivals through Saturday’s practice.
Heidfeld turned in a fastest lap time of 1:08.070 around the Berlin Tempelhof circuit in FP2 on a 200kW lap, nosing clear of Rosenqvist, who was left 0.022 seconds down in second place.
Formula E championship leader Sebastien Buemi turned in the third-fastest time of the morning, but opted to complete an early full-power lap in FP1. The Swiss driver could only finish ninth-fastest in FP2, half a second down on Heidfeld at the top.
Maro Engel finished FP2 third for Venturi ahead of Buemi’s title rival, Lucas di Grassi, who was just two-tenths of a second down in fourth place despite carrying a minor ankle injury.
Stephane Sarrazin made a good start to life with Techeetah, finishing fifth ahead of the DS Virgin Racing duo of Jose Maria Lopez and Sam Bird. Jean-Eric Vergne was eighth-quick in the second Techeetah, with Buemi and Oliver Turvey rounding out the top 10.
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”