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Buemi takes fifth Formula E pole in Putrajaya

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Sebastien Buemi’s sensational start to the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E season continued on Saturday as he secured pole position for the Putrajaya ePrix.

Buemi dominated both the heats and the final Superpole stage of qualifying, producing a final lap of 1:20.196 to take his fifth pole in Formula E by almost half a second.

The Renault e.dams driver kicked off the second Formula E campaign in Beijing with a perfect weekend, claiming pole, the fastest lap and the race win to rack up the maximum total of 30 points.

Now, he has given himself a golden opportunity to do the same again after storming to pole with a peerless lap around the Putrajaya street circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Stephane Sarrazin emerged as Buemi’s most serious challenger, leading Venturi’s charge en route to second in both the first stage and Superpole leg of qualifying. Loic Duval also impressed, finishing third for Dragon Racing.

Despite using the season one powertrain, Team Aguri enjoyed a successful qualifying session as Antonio Felix da Costa finished fourth ahead of Nicolas Prost, who will start fifth after an error-strewn final lap.

An error for season one title contender Lucas di Grassi cost him a place in the final shoot-out for pole, leaving him sixth on the grid for the start.

There was worse news for defending champion Nelson Piquet Jr. though as he toiled to 16th place on the grid, only ahead of NEXTEV TCR teammate Oliver Turvey and Andretti driver Simona de Silvestro.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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