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Buemi quickest again in second Mexico City ePrix practice

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Sebastien Buemi set the pace once again in the second free practice session at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez ahead of Saturday’s Mexico City ePrix.

Formula E championship leader Buemi left his 200kW lap until late in the 30-minute session, but made full use of it by producing a lap of 1:03.341 to finish four-tenths of a second clear at the head of the field.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Sam Bird had both led early on for DS Virgin Racing, but the session was interrupted after 13 minutes when home favorite Salvador Duran suffered a possible software issue on his Aguri car, leaving him stranded on the track.

Once the Mexican had been recovered under a red flag, the session resumed with most of the drivers heading out to complete their 200kW laps, using all of the power permitted in practice.

ABT Schaeffler teammates Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi rose to first and second place respectively with their qualifying simulations, while ex-IndyCar driver Mike Conway slotted into third place for Venturi.

However, their times were not enough to keep Buemi at bay as he re-claimed P1 with three minutes remaining, doubling up after topping first practice earlier in the morning.

Renault e.dams teammate Nicolas Prost ended the session fourth behind di Grassi, while Conway held on to P5 ahead of NEXTEV TCR’s Oliver Turvey.

Jerome d’Ambrosio finished up in seventh place ahead of Stephane Sarrazin, while Vergne and defending champion Nelson Piquet Jr. completed the top ten.

Qualifying for the Mexico City ePrix takes place in less than one hour’s time ahead of the race at 5pm ET.

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994