Di Grassi leads Vergne in Long Beach ePrix practice

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Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas di Grassi has set the early pace at Long Beach on Saturday by topping practice for this weekend’s Formula E event in California.

The Brazilian driver topped two of the three practice sessions at the modified Long Beach circuit, posting a fastest lap of 57.293 seconds to finish three-tenths clear of Andretti FE’s Jean-Eric Vergne and championship leader Nicolas Prost.

Drivers were given an extra chance to test ahead of this weekend’s race, with the Formula E officials adding a third practice session to the schedule, giving the paddock an early start on Saturday.

However, it was Nelson Piquet Jr. who set the early pace in FP1. The Brazilian was one of just two drivers to break the one-minute barrier in the first session, which was curtailed when Daniel Abt binned his car at the chicane.

In contrast to his teammate, di Grassi managed to lay down the pace in FP2, finding two seconds on the fastest time from FP1 to finish ahead of the e.dams duo of Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost.

However, the big talking point from FP2 was Jean-Eric Vergne’s hefty crash. The Andretti driver lost the back end of his car, leaving his mechanics with a sizeable repair job. He was thankfully okay, and managed to get back out on track with his second car to finish second in FP3.

Qualifying for the Long Beach ePrix kicks off at midday local time, with the race starting at 4pm.