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Jean-Eric Vergne surges to Formula E pole in Berlin

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BERLIN, Germany – Jean-Eric Vergne will start Saturday’s Berlin ePrix from pole position after edging out championship contender Sebastien Buemi in the final stage of qualifying.

Vergne finished second to Buemi in the first leg of qualifying around the streets of Berlin, and despite going slower in the Super Pole shootout, the Frenchman’s lap of 57.811s proved to be enough for his first pole position since the Moscow ePrix almost one year ago.

Buemi posted the fastest time in practice and the first stage of qualifying, and when championship rival Lucas di Grassi was made to pay for a minor error on his 200kW lap and ended up 10th overall, the Renault e.dams driver appeared to have a golden opportunity to cut the points gap by taking pole.

However, his final qualifying effort was one-hundredth of a second slower than Vergne’s lap, meaning he was forced to settle for P2 on the grid.

“It’s good. I didn’t think the lap was going to be good enough, but in the end everyone went slower,” Vergne said.

“Everything is going well at the moment, hopefully we can put on a good show. The e.dams are really strong in the race, they were stronger than us in Paris.

“It’s going to be really difficult, but I’m going to give it my best. I’ve got nothing to lose.”

Behind Vergne and Buemi, Daniel Abt qualified as the top German on home soil in third place, with the Mahindra Racing duo of Bruno Senna and Nick Heidfeld following in P4 and P5.

In the sister DS Virgin Racing car, Sam Bird qualified sixth ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr., who impressed for NextEV TCR. Teammate Oliver Tuvey also reached the top 10, finishing ninth behind Nicolas Prost and ahead of di Grassi.

Dragon Racing’s recent struggles continued as Loic Duval and Jerome d’Ambrosio finished 11th and 12th respectively ahead of Simona de Silvestro. Venturi also had a qualifying to forget with Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin finishing 14th and 15th, while Robin Frijns struggled to 16th for Andretti.

Team Aguri will occupy the final row of the grid as Rene Rast outqualified Ma Qinghua on his Formula E debut and with his first full power lap in the car.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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