Da Costa takes, then loses, maiden Formula E pole in Long Beach

© Team Aguri
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Antonio Felix da Costa stormed to his first Formula E pole position in qualifying for the Long Beach ePrix on Saturday afternoon, edging out Sam Bird in the final Super Pole shootout.

But there was a slight problem found during post-qualifying technical inspection: da Costa’s tire pressures were too low, and the Portuguese driver will lose his pole.

The news means Bird will inherit the pole position for today’s Faraday Future-sponsored event, Round 6 of the season.

Racing for Team Aguri, da Costa is still using the season one technology against a grid of teams that have produced their own powertrains.

However, this did nothing to daunt him in qualifying as he finished second in the first set of heats behind Bird before beating the Briton with his final lap of the session, recording a time of 57.198 seconds.

“Yeah, I’m pleased with that,” da Costa said. “We had a lot of bad luck in the last few races and we lost two podiums already due to technical problems, but the team has been strong together.

“Today’s the proof of that. Very happy with that pole position, but it means nothing at the moment. We need to do it in the race. We have a very good race pace, better than qualy. Very happy.”

Championship contender Lucas di Grassi qualified third for ABT Schaeffler, and stands a good chance of cutting series leader Sebastien Buemi’s lead after the Swiss racer could only qualify eighth after struggling once again over one lap.

Stephane Sarrazin qualified fourth ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Robin Frijns, while Daniel Abt will start the race just ahead of Buemi in seventh place. Nicolas Prost and Jerome d’Ambrosio rounded out the top 10.

Bruno Senna was unable to emulate teammate Heidfeld in the second Mahindra car, finishing 11th ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne.

Ex-IndyCar racers Simona de Silvestro and Mike Conway were unable to put their knowledge of Long Beach to good use, qualifying 13th and 16th respectively with the two NEXTEV TCR drivers – Oliver Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr. – splitting them.

Salvador Duran and Loic Duval both made errors on their flying laps, leaving them 17th and 18th for the start of the race on Saturday.

The Long Beach ePrix takes place at 4pm local time (7pm ET) on Saturday.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.