Ma tops Hong Kong Formula E shakedown

Ma Qing Hua

Ma Qing Hua unveils the new Techeetah livery

Ma Qing Hua topped the times in shakedown as the new FIA Formula E season kicked off on the streets of Hong Kong.

The Techeetah driver emerged as the surprise pacesetter posting a session best 1:08.66s at the newly constructed 1.8km circuit.

Ma ended the 30 minute session 0.4s clear of inaugural Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr. while Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was third.

“I am really happy to race here as a home race and as a great location to have the Formula E Championship here,” said Ma.

“I just did a track walk in the morning and the track is very exciting for the race and there are a couple of overtaking points. In the race there will be lots of changes and possibilities.”

The sister Techeetah, sporting a new livery, of Jean-Eric Vergne backed up Ma’s pace in fourth just 0.8s adrift of the pace.

Nico Prost was fifth fastest despite causing a red flag when his Renault e.dams entry came to a halt on the circuit.

World Touring Car champion Jose Maria Lopez completed his maiden competitive Formula E session in sixth.

Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra), Antonio Felix da Costa (Andretti), Stephane Sarrazin (Venturi) and Robin Frijns (Andretti) rounded out the top 10.

Meanwhile, reigning Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi ended up 11th ahead of top Jaguar runner Mitch Evans as the Kiwi made his Formula E debut.

The 20 car field will be split into four groups for qualifying ahead of Sunday’s race.

FIA Formula E Qualifying Groups

Group 1
Nico Prost, Renault e.DAMS
Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Adam Carroll, Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Loic Duval, Faraday Future Dragon Racing

Group 2

Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Antonio Felix da Costa, Andretti
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
Ma Qing Hua, TECHEETAH
Oliver Turvey, NextEV NIO

Group 3

Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing
Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Robin Frijns, Andretti
Nelson Piquet Jr, NextEV NIO
Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH

Group 4

Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.DAMS
Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Jerome D’Ambrosio, Faraday Future Dragon Racing
Maro Engel, Venturi
Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing

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