Formula E

Abt takes second FE pole in Mexico as Buemi, di Grassi struggle

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Daniel Abt swept to his second pole position in Formula E after edging out Oliver Turvey in the final Super Pole shootout ahead of the Mexico City ePrix on Saturday.

After spending much of his time in Formula E in the shadow of title-fighting teammate Lucas di Grassi, Abt led the ABT Scheaffler Audi Sport team to its second straight pole at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as a number of title favorites struggled.

Following his red-eye flight from the WEC Prologue at Monza, Sebastien Buemi struggled in qualifying thanks to a dirty track that caused the early runners to lose grip. Buemi qualified 10th, leaving him with a fight on his hands to battle through to his fourth straight win.

Di Grassi was another to lose out in Q1, falling to a lowly 18th, leaving teammate Abt to take the limelight as he made the most of a cleaner track in Q2 to get through to Super Pole.

After seeing NextEV NIO’s Turvey go faster in the initial heats, Abt managed to put together a rapid lap of 1:02.711 to take provisional pole. Turvey did all he could, but was powerless to stop Abt from taking pole, falling 0.156 seconds short to finish second.

Jose Maria Lopez put in an impressive display for DS Virgin Racing to qualify third, matching his best effort from Hong Kong, while Venturi’s Maro Engel finished fourth. He will drop 10 places on the grid due to a penalty. Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the top five for Techeetah.

The Mexico City ePrix kicks off at 5pm ET on Saturday.

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