Following a disappointing Hong Kong E-Prix where he left with zero points, reigning champion Lucas di Grassi returned to form in the opening practice session in Marrakesh, while Jerome d’Ambrosio put in an improved showing for Dragon Racing.
It wasn’t the most free flowing practice session with as many as four yellow flag periods occurring within the first ten minutes, including a Full Course Yellow simulation.
The majority of the yellow flag stints were as a result of technical issues for the Venturi duo of Edoardo Mortara and Maro Engel, who stopped on track a combined total of seven times between them.
The dusty track also created problems for a number of other drivers, with Daniel Abt going straight on at turn seven while Luca Filippi went for a spin at turn one.
As the track warmed up and drivers turned in ever-improving lap times, Antonio Felix da Costa, Abt, Sam Bird, Sebastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet Jr all took turns heading the timesheets before di Grassi put in a 200kW lap to take P1 and a new lap record of 1:20.310s.
d’Ambrosio was second with a 200kW lap, the only other driver to do so, and gave Dragon Racing reason to smile following the below-par results in Hong Kong, while new team-mate Jose Maria Lopez ran in the top ten for the majority of the session before ending in P13.
Despite an earlier excursion Abt ensured both Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s finished in the top three, while Mitch Evans conitnued Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s strong form with P4.
Buemi ended the session fifth ahead of Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne, while the top ten was rounded out by Piquet, Felix Rosenqvist and Oliver Turvey.