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Di Grassi dominates in Long Beach to reclaim Formula E championship lead

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Lucas di Grassi bounced back from his disqualification from the Mexico City ePrix three weeks ago in perfect fashion by claiming his second Formula E victory of the season around the famous streets of Long Beach.

The only American round on the season two Formula E calendar offered an intriguing race full of drama that saw di Grassi dominate proceedings to reclaim the lead of the championship.

Di Grassi started the race from second place behind DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, with both benefitting from the exclusion of provisional pole-man Antonio Felix da Costa.

A good start saw di Grassi tail Bird for much of the opening stint of the race before passing for the lead on lap 12, before consolidating the lead through the pit stops.

Bird continued to tail the Brazilian after swapping cars, but he dropped back after locking up with cold brakes at Turn 5 to give di Grassi some breathing room.

A late safety car sparked by a crash for Nelson Piquet Jr. put di Grassi under pressure from Stephane Sarrazin in the final three laps, but he kept cool to cross the line first.

Di Grassi’s victory combined with a disastrous race for Sebastien Buemi that saw him finish three laps down in 16th place after clashing with Robin Frijns in the first half of the race.

Both drivers sustained damage and were forced to pit for repairs by the stewards, leaving Buemi to score just two points for the fastest lap and lose the lead of the championship to di Grassi.

Sarrazin followed in second place ahead of Daniel Abt, who scored his first podium finish of the season for his family team.

Mahindra Racing made a long first stint work well in the closing stages as Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Bird recovered to cross the line in sixth place ahead of Dragon Racing drivers Jerome d’Ambrosio and Loic Duval.

Simona de Silvestro finally ended her Formula E points drought by finishing ninth for Andretti, while fellow IndyCar alumni Mike Conway also put his prior knowledge of Long Beach to good use to score his first top 10 finish in Formula E.

A penalty for leaving the pit lane too early caused Nicolas Prost to drop down to 11th at the end of the race, while Oliver Turvey was the sole NEXTEV TCR driver to finish in 12th.

Jean-Eric Vergne had another difficult race en route to 13th, while Salvador Duran was hit with a penalty for using too much energy in the first half of the race to leave him 14th at the flag ahead of Frijns and Buemi.

Having lost pole earlier in the day, da Costa’s afternoon failed to get much better as he retired from the race with seven laps remaining after battling his way back up into the points.

Formula E now heads to Europe for the remainder of the season, with the Paris ePrix scheduled for April 23.

NBC Sports presents IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama Sunday live at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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From NBC Sports Group PR:

* Sunday’s Pre-Race Coverage Begins with IndyCar Live Presented by Verizon at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

* Pre-Race Coverage Includes Robin Miller Feature on Rookie Zach Veach, Following Career-Best Fourth-Place Finish at Long Beach

* CNBC Presents Live Qualifying Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, Airs on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 19, 2018 – NBC Sports continues its coverage of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend from Barber Motorsports Park with live coverage of the Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Pre-race coverage begins with IndyCar Live presented by Verizon at 3 p.m. ET.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) delivered a dominant performance at the Grand Prix of Long Beach last weekend, winning the pole and leading wire-to-wire for his third career victory, and third consecutive podium finish to start the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series campaign. Rossi currently leads Josef Newgarden (Penske) in the driver standings by 24 points. Newgarden won last year’s Grand Prix of Alabama, his second career win at Barber, while Rossi finished fifth.

This weekend’s live coverage from Barber Motorsports Park begins Saturday at 4 p.m. ET with qualifying on CNBC. NBCSN will air qualifying on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET. Sunday’s pre-race coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET with IndyCar Live presented by Verizon and will take place from the grid in the lead up to the command, bringing viewers even closer to the action prior to the race.

Pre-race coverage will include a feature by IndyCar on NBC pit reporter Robin Miller on rookie driver Zach Veach, who’s coming off a career-best fourth place finish at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Lead IndyCar play-by-play commentator Leigh Diffey will call this weekend’s Grand Prix of Alabama, analysts Paul Tracy and Townsend BellMarty Snider, Robin Miller, Kevin Lee, and Katie Hargitt will report from the pits.

NBCSN will also present coverage of the Indy Lights race from Alabama late night on Monday, April 23, at 1:30 a.m. ET. Current IndyCar driver Conor Daly will join the NBCSN booth for the race broadcast, alongside Kevin Lee and Anders Krohn, with Katie Hargitt reporting from the pits.

Following is this weekend’s IndyCar schedule on NBCSN and CNBC:

Date Coverage Network Time (ET)
Sat., April 21 Grand Prix of Alabama – Qualifying LIVE CNBC 4 p.m.
Grand Prix of Alabama – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 6:30 p.m.
Sun., April 22 IndyCar Live presented by Verizon NBCSN 3 p.m.
Grand Prix of Alabama NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
IndyCar Post-Race NBCSN 5:30 p.m.
Mon., April 23 Grand Prix of Alabama (Encore) NBCSN 12 p.m.
Indy Lights – Alabama NBCSN 1:30 a.m.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND INDYCAR PARTNER ON COMPREHENSIVE, MULTI-YEAR MEDIA RIGHTS AGREEMENT

On March 21, NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR announced a new, multi-year media rights agreement in which NBC Sports acquired the rights to present all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices, and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019.

The Indianapolis 500 and seven additional Verizon IndyCar Series races will be broadcast annually on NBC, with all remaining races televised on NBCSN. All races will be live streamed to authenticated subscribers on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Details of NBC Sports’ 2019 INDYCAR schedule will be announced at a later date.

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product – will offer a package to INDYCAR fans that features all qualifying and practices not televised live, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. Additional details, including the cost of the Gold offering, will be announced at a later date. Click here for more information.


VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES ON NBCSPORTS.COM AND THE NBC SPORTS APP

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app are powered by Playmaker Media and available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.