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Timing mix up costs Vergne in Marrakesh FE qualifying

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Jean-Eric Vergne was left frustrated after a timing mix-up by his Techeetah Formula E team cost him a shot at pole position in qualifying for the Marrakesh ePrix on Saturday.

Vergne carried an impressive pace through practice before topping the group stage of qualifying, securing himself the final run slot in Super Pole.

However, the Techeetah team released the Frenchman from his pit box too late, meaning he was not allowed to exit the pit lane and take to the track to compelte a qualifying lap.

As a result, Vergne will start fifth in Marrakesh, with Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist securing pole.

Techeetah informed NBC Sports that a “procedural error” caused the mix-up, with Vergne making his frustration clear after the session.

“I said: ‘Are you sure I don’t need to go?’ with one minute to go, and they said ‘No, no, you have to wait’,” Vergne explained.

“I thought they know what they are doing. There are a lot of engineers and people who know the rules behind the garage. And apparently it was wrong.

“Unless they changed the rule overnight, which I don’t think they did, there’s been a huge mistake.”

Vergne and Techeetah impressed throughout pre-season testing, with their package showing pace comparable to that of the pace-setting Renault e.dams squad, giving the ex-Toro Rosso Formula 1 racer lots of hope heading into the race.

“We have an amazing car this weekend,” Vergne said.

“I think it’s a shame I just lost three points, but I can definitely win the race starting fifth.

“It’s not the end of the world.”

Vergne will gain a place on the grid following a technical infringement for Sebastien Buemi, causing the Swiss racer to fall from second to seventh.

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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