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D’Ambrosio inherits Mexico City Formula E win after di Grassi DQ

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Lucas di Grassi won today’s Mexico City ePrix on the road for the Abt Schaeffler team, but has been disqualified from the race in a late-breaking development for the first of two FIA Formula E Championship races on North American soil.

The series released a post just before 10 p.m. ET that di Grassi’s car was found to be underweight, and thus the Brazilian has been excluded from the race.

A fuller report from FIA Formula E concludes di Grassi’s car just missed the target with his first of two cars, but also confirms that Abt has decided not to appeal – as they had the option to.

“Di Grassi’s Abt Schaeffler car that he used for the first part of the race, was found to weigh 886.2kg, 1.8kg under the 888kg minimum. Abt has decided not to appeal the decision.”

The disqualification promotes Dragon Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio to the win.

Incidentally, this doesn’t mark di Grassi’s first disqualification in the series. He sustained a controversial DQ from the Berlin ePrix in season one, in an astute point raised by veteran reporter Sam Smith (see below tweet).

Sebastien Buemi and Nico Prost now complete the podium.

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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