FIA Formula E

Di Grassi takes Berlin Formula E pole, Buemi 14th for Saturday race

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BERLIN, Germany – Lucas di Grassi swept to his second pole position of the 2016/17 FIA Formula E season on Saturday in Berlin, edging out Jose Maria Lopez by one-thousandth of a second at the front of the pack.

Fighting back from a disastrous Paris ePrix that saw his deficit at the top of the drivers’ championship swell to 43 points, di Grassi was able to squeeze through to final stage of qualifying before turning in a best lap of 1:08.312 to score his second pole of the season for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport.

Lopez was left to settle for an agonizing second place, while Felix Rosenqvist – the original leader from the first heats – was third-fastest, less than a tenth off pole. Mahindra Racing teammate Nick Heidfeld was fourth, while Sam Bird rounded out the top five after a scruffy lap in Super Pole.

While di Grassi was able to secure pole, title rival Sebastien Buemi endured his worst qualifying in almost 18 months after a sloppy lap that left him 14th for the start in Berlin.

Jean-Eric Vergne was left disappointed after narrowly missing out on a place in the Super Pole shootout, finishing sixth ahead of Oliver Turvey and Daniel Abt. Following Buemi’s slow lap, Nicolas Prost was left to lead Renault e.dams’ charge in ninth, while Jerome d’Ambrosio rounded out the top 10 for Dragon.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.