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Buemi excluded from Berlin race one for illegal tire pressures

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Two years ago, the course of the FIA Formula E Championship campaign took a major turn at the Tempelhof airport circuit in Berlin, as Lucas di Grassi was disqualified for an illegal front wing modification. It eventually brought the championship to Nelson Piquet Jr. in the electric open-wheel series’ first season.

Two years later, the course of the FIA Formula E Championship may be set to take a major turn again at the Tempelhof airport circuit in Berlin, and di Grassi looks to be the beneficiary of it.

Renault e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi has been excluded from the race one results in Berlin owing to illegal tire pressures, FIA Formula E posted only a few hours after the checkered flag.

Buemi finished sixth on the road after starting 14th, and was promoted to fifth place following Jean-Eric Vergne being assessed a five-second time penalty for an unsafe pit release.

With di Grassi finishing second to first-time winner Felix Rosenqvist of Mahindra Racing, it brought the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver to within 32 points of Buemi (142 to 110) unofficially, with Buemi having scored 10 points and di Grassi banking 21 – 18 for second and three for pole.

Now though, with Buemi excluded, that is now a 21 to 0 points gap, and it has halved the margin from 43 points entering race one to 22 points going into Sunday’s race two.

And with Buemi set to miss the New York City ePrix next month, a doubleheader race, owing to his FIA World Endurance Championship commitments with Toyota Gazoo Racing, suddenly what looks like a foregone conclusion that Buemi would waltz to the Formula E season three title has been turned on its head.

More to follow…

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”