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Formula E still the priority for Nelson Piquet Jr.

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SPA – Defending FIA Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr. says that the series is still his priority despite recently dovetailing his commitments with a drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Piquet won the inaugural Formula E title at the London finale last June, but has been unable to defend his crown thanks to issues with the powertrain supplied by his NextEV TCR team.

The Brazilian confirmed ahead of the WEC season opener at Silverstone that he would be joining Rebellion Racing in the LMP1 Privateer class, racing alongside Formula E colleagues Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld.

Despite his struggles in Formula E, Piquet remains adamant that the series is his priority, with his WEC commitments simply being a good complement to it.

“It’s very easy going over here, you’re sharing a car with these other drivers. There’s no really big competition,” Piquet told NBC Sports.

“To be honest it’s much more of a relaxed weekend than anything else. You try to work together, try to get the car good. There’s a lot of teamwork. So it’s not stressful.

“Obviously you want to win out of the three cars, but it’s different to Formula E. You need to do well to keep your job. Over here, I’m doing this as a fill-in to help them out. They called me last minute, it’s not something I was aiming for.

“Formula E is my priority. I have a long-term contract over there, so that’s where you get really stressed and get pissed off when the car’s not good.”

Piquet is hopeful that NextEV will be able to resolve the issues with its powertrain for season three, which is due to be tested on-track for the first time before the Berlin ePrix in two weeks.

“Hopefully it’ll be better, I don’t think it can get any worse,” Piquet said.

“The team is working really hard to get their act together for next year. I’m positive that they’ll do a good job.

“Maybe because we fell back so much, I need to be a bit realistic too. Maybe from one year to another you’re not going to go from last to first, but at least you can have a competitive car to be running top five.

“It’s a different thing than getting to the grid every weekend and knowing you’re going to be running from 18th to 15th.”

Even in light of NextEV’s struggles, Piquet is set to remain with the team for next season, saying there is no consideration of moving away.

“No. I have a long-term contract with them, so at the moment, I’ll be with them,” Piquet said.

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.