Formula E: Di Grassi disqualified, handing win to Jerome d’Ambrosio

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Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi appeared to have extended his lead at the top of the FIA Formula E championship standings with a crushing victory in Saturday’s Berlin ePrix, only for the stewards to disqualify him in the aftermath of the race and hand the race win to Jerome d’Ambrosio.

On a circuit constructed in the grounds of the disused Berlin Tempelhof airport, the site of the Berlin Airlift that saw the western allies keep the city supplied despite being under Soviet occupation at the beginning of the Cold War, di Grassi went unchallenged during the race.

Starting second on the grid, di Grassi managed to pass pole-sitter Jarno Trulli at turn two on the opening lap of the race before opening up a sizeable lead over the rest of the field.

The Brazilian led for all but one lap, falling into second place when he took his mandatory pit stop on lap 16 of the race before regaining P1 when championship rival Nelson Piquet Jr pitted.

Piquet was focused on damage limitation after qualifying down in 13th place, and although he had fresher tires and more power by going one lap longer than the rest of the field on his first stint, he could only move up into fifth position by the end of the race.

Di Grassi eventually stormed to victory by 7.5 seconds, and it proved to be just enough as his car came to a halt on his inlap following the end of the race.

However, worse news would follow. The stewards confirmed in the hours following the race that Audi Sport ABT had been deemed to have modified the front wing of his car, thus breaching the regulations and prompting di Grassi’s exclusion from the final results.

As a result, d’Ambrosio took his first race win in Formula E with Sebastien Buemi and Loic Duval completing the podium. Piquet finished the race in fourth after di Grassi’s exclusion, giving him a two point lead at the top of the championship standings ahead of Buemi.

Despite being excluded, di Grassi remains very much in the title hunt as he trails Piquet by just ten points with three races remaining. However, he made his feelings perfectly clear on Twitter after the race.

American team Andretti Formula E struggled in Berlin as Jean-Eric Vergne finished as its only points-scoring driver in seventh place. Scott Speed finished down in 13th place in the sister car.

After starting on pole position, Trulli dropped through the field across the course of the race before eventually retiring with two laps remaining.

To see the full results for the Berlin ePrix, click here.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.