Formula E: Sebastien Buemi survives late to win in Uruguay

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Sebastien Buemi emerged victorious following a two-lap dash to the checkered flag in this afternoon’s FIA Formula E race at Punta del Este, Uruguay.

A crash with four laps to go involving Andretti’s Matthew Brabham brought out the safety car and bunched up the field for a final run to the finish, with Buemi in first and the other Andretti driver, former F1 pilot Jean-Eric Vergne, in second place.

When racing resumed, Buemi was forced to cut a chicane after locking up going in while trying to hold off Vergne. But later in the same lap, Vergne’s machine suddenly slowed down and came to a halt on course.

The snake-bitten Andretti team indicated on Twitter that a suspension issue was the culprit:

That effectively gave the win to Buemi, the F1 test driver for Red Bull Racing and one-half of the World Endurance Championship driver’s champions with Toyota Hybrid partner Anthony Davidson.

Buemi led home runner-up Nelson Piquet Jr., championship leader Lucas di Grassi in third, Jarno Trulli in fourth, and Jaime Alguersuari in fifth.

“It’s been a very difficult journey so far, because the first two races went worse than expected,” said Buemi, who drives for the e.dams-Renault team in F-E. “But today, we did everything right, so I’m more than happy. I’m delighted for the team. It’s been very difficult and now, we’ve won our first race.”

Vergne made a great first impression in F-E by qualifying on the pole earlier today, but off the start for the 31-lap event, Piquet beat him on the inside into Turn 1 to take the lead for China Racing.

The first safety car of the day came out not too long after that on Lap 4 after Sam Bird, the most recent F-E winner in Malaysia, got crossed up going into the Turn 1 chicane and then jumped over the curbing before hitting the wall. This marked the end of a rough day for the Brit, who had also crashed in qualifying.

Racing resumed at Lap 7 with Vergne continuing to push hard for the lead. But the Frenchman radioed in that he was having problems utilizing his Fan Boost to get past Piquet.

A second safety car period then started at Lap 10 for recovery of the stricken Amlin Aguri machine of Antonio Felix da Costa. Shortly after the green came back out at Lap 12, Vergne got a draft on Piquet and went to the inside for a out-braking move at the hairpin to take the lead at Lap 13.

Vergne’s reign at the front was short-lived, however, as he chose to swap cars in the pits at Lap 16. He ducked in before the safety car emerged for a third time following a crash involving Stephane Sarrazin, who damaged his Venturi car after aggressively going over a curb and then spun out directly in front of Brabham right into the inside wall.

That brought almost everybody else into the pits for car swaps, and when the order shook out, Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld and Buemi had beat out Vergne for first and second.

But after the race restarted at Lap 19, Heidfeld and Top-5 runner Nicolas Prost were both hit with drive-through penalties for using too much power (Prost and Heidfeld would recover to finish seventh and 10th respectively).

Those calls made Buemi the new leader ahead of Vergne in second, Piquet in third, and di Grassi in fourth. Vergne closed down on Buemi and was within a second of him before Brabham’s late incident with four to go.

di Grassi’s third consecutive podium finish enabled him to stretch his driver’s points lead to 18 points over both Buemi and Bird. Meanwhile, Buemi and Prost’s e.dams-Renault have seized the team championship lead by two points over Audi Sport Abt, which runs both di Grassi and Daniel Abt.

The latter driver was stymied by early mechanical problems but still ran the fastest lap in the race and secured two bonus points for himself with that distinction.

The next F-E race comes Jan. 10, 2015 in Buenos Aires.

Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.