Photo: Audi Sport

Audi withdraws appeal of Abt Hong Kong disqualification

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Daniel Abt drove to his first FIA Formula E Championship victory on the road in Hong Kong’s second race of the weekend, but was disqualified after a mismatch between part numbers (barcodes) in the technical inspection of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler car.

While Audi had initially planned to appeal the disqualification, the manufacturer has confirmed Monday it won’t do so. This leaves Felix Rosenqvist the race winner, having been promoted to the top spot after recovering back to second following a first lap spin from pole.

Abt turned 25 on Sunday and would have had a fantastic birthday present, only to lose it after the race for something out of his control.

“We took the time to carefully review all documents and processes,” said team principal Allan McNish. “We gained no advantage as a result of the administrative error and all parts fully complied to homologation and the technical regulations at all times.

“Still, we accept the decision of the FIA and fully back the technical passport regulations. Our team made a small mistake with big consequences that we own up to, unfortunately that deprived Daniel of his very deserved victory of which we can only apologize for. I am sure we will see him on the podium again soon.”

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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