FREE PRACTICE 2: Ticktum heads the way ahead of qualifying in Diriyah

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FREE PRACTICE 2: Ticktum heads the way ahead of qualifying in Diriyah

It's race day in Diriyah, and all 22 drivers were quick to get the mileage in around the dusty Diriyah Street Sircuit. Although the conditions in Free Practice 2 are different from what we can expect for the E-Prix later today, NIO 333's Dan Ticktum topped the timesheets for the first time early on Friday.

Ticktum tops FP2 in Diriyah for NIO 333 Formula E

This performance from NIO is one of a string of promising results so far in Season 9. After struggling in recent years, the NIO team have pulled out some great results, including Ticktum getting into the Duels and sealing fifth on the grid in Mexico City earlier this month.

RESULTS: The full FP2 classification

Ticktum led the pack, with a time of 1m10.099s - the first time he's topped a Formula E session. The Briton also made an impressive 0.202s gap to Envision Racing's Sebastien Buemi in second place behind. The Swiss driver, and Season 2 Formula E Champion, is celebrating his 100th race in Diriyah and will hope this pace is a sign of things to come.

Despite the race being held at night and under floodlights, the conditions in FP2 are similar to those we'll see in qualifying, which could cause a shake-up of the grid.

Jaguar TCS Racing powertrains looked strong, with Buemi's Envision in second, Mitch Evans crossed the chequered flag third, and teammate Sam Bird followed in fifth. Bird headed a more representative FP1 on Thursday and has two wins at this iconic venue - the most of any driver on the current grid.

Reigning champion, DS PENSKE's Stoffel Vandoorne, slotted into fourth, four-tenths off Ticktum's time. Despite showing competitiveness in pre-season testing, the DS PENSKE team have so far failed to translate that fully into potential on-event. Vandoorne's teammate, two-time champ Jean-Eric Vergne finished the session down in 14th.

Unfortunately for the ABT CUPRA of Nico Mueller, his session was brought to a halt after whacking his Gen3 machine into a barrier. The heavy damage, which was sustained to the rear left of the car, saw him immediately forced to pull over and come to a stop.

Not the start to race day that ABT CUPRA would have wanted, especially with Mueller's new teammate, Kelvin van der Linde, participating in his first-ever Formula E race weekend. The South African racing driver, van der Linde, is making his debut in the championship after Robin Frijns recovers from surgery on his hand.

At the end of the session, Maserati MSG Racing's Maximilian Guenther clipped the wall and brought back some advertising banner to the garage. It didn't look like there was too much damage to the car, but the drivers will have to be careful of these tight and twisty walls with this new generation of car, with even the likes of Mahindra Racing's Lucas di Grassi almost getting caught out himself in the 30-minute practice run.

Qualifying comes next at 15:40 local. The 2023 CORE Diriyah City E-Prix, Round 2 of Season 9, gets underway from 20:00 local.