© FIA Formula E

Di Grassi wins frantic, attritional Putrajaya ePrix

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Lucas di Grassi has taken the lead of the FIA Formula E championship after winning an eventful Putrajaya ePrix in Malaysia on Saturday afternoon.

Di Grassi started the race from sixth position, but brought himself into contention for the win after a solid first stint and a quick pit stop that allowed him to vault many of his rivals.

Pole sitter Sebastien Buemi had controlled proceedings throughout the first half of the race, only for an issue on his car to cause him to slow and hand the lead to Loic Duval.

Duval’s hopes of claiming his first Formula E victory were dashed after a slow pit stop that saw the Frenchman emerge behind Antonio Felix da Costa and di Grassi.

Nicolas Prost did lead the field after being forced into an early pit stop due to a software issue, but the need to save power throughout the second half of the race saw him drop down the order.

A frantic final period of the race saw da Costa’s car stop and start again, Andretti’s Robin Frijns make contact with the wall, Duval retire and Jerome d’Ambrosio crash out on the final lap while running in third place.

Di Grassi kept himself out of trouble in the final stages to claim his first win of the season and move into the lead of the championship as Buemi could only finish 12th.

Sam Bird came through to finish second for DS Virgin Racing, marking a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for the Briton. After qualifying all the way down in 14th and with doubts over whether his second battery would work, Bird managed to make a longer first stint work before charging through the field late on.

The podium was completed by Frijns, who despite hitting the wall managed to continue and cash in from d’Ambrosio’s error to finish third for Andretti. Stephane Sarrazin bounced back from an issue on the grid to finish fourth ahead of Bruno Senna and da Costa.

Daniel Abt ended the race in seventh ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr, who also made a longer first stint work to charge through for his first points of the year. Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost rounded out the points in Putrajaya.

Ryan Norman returns to Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport in 2019

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Ryan Norman will return to Andretti Autosport for their third season together in 2019 after scoring his first win and first pole with that organization in 2018.

I’m really excited to finally make it official that I’ll be returning to Andretti Autosport for my third season competing in Indy Lights,” said Norman in a press release. “We’ve built a solid foundation over the past two years and I’m ready to fight for wins, podiums and ultimately the championship, with such a great group of people who have become like a family to me.”

Norman finished 2018 fourth in the championship, earning his first career win in race 15 of the 17-race schedule at Gateway Motorsports Park in August.

Norman’s first pole came in the finale at Portland International Raceway in September, but he crashed on the first lap and finished last (8th).

“We’re very happy that Ryan is rejoining us for his third season of Indy Lights,” said Andretti Autosport President, JF Thormann. “We were pleased with his performance this past season, and his potential as a driver began to really shine after his win at Gateway. He’s right on track with his progression plan put together by his engineering team, and we feel strongly that he has what it takes to be a contender for the 2019 championship.”

Norman will essentially replace teammates Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta, who will race for Rookie of the Year honors in IndyCar next season.  O’Ward finished first in the Indy Lights standings last year; Herta finished second.

Norman’s 2019 campaign will begin on the streets of St. Petersburgh, Florida March 9, 2019. That will be the first of a double-header with Race 2 running the following day.