Daniel Abt has been stripped of pole position for Saturday’s Formula E race in Mexico City after his car was found to be running under the minimum required tire pressures in qualifying.
Abt stormed to his second pole in Formula E earlier today after topping the Super Pole shootout, edging out NextEV NIO’s Oliver Turvey.
The ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver had been due to lead the grid away, only for Formula E to confirm just before the race that Abt’s car was found to not comply with the technical regulations.
As a result, Abt has been sent towards the back of the grid, along with Faraday Future Dragon Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio, who also fell foul of the same infringement.
Turvey inherits pole as a result of Abt’s exclusion, with Jose Maria Lopez moving up to second place on the grid for DS Virgin Racing.
Jean-Eric Vergne will start third for Techeetah ahead of Nick Heidfeld, while Sam Bird lines up fifth.
2017 Mexico City ePrix – Starting Grid
1. Oliver Turvey, NextEV NIO
2. Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing
3. Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH
4. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra
5. Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
6. Antonio Felix da Costa, Andretti
7. Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams
8. Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra
9. Esteban Gutierrez, TECHEETAH
10. Adam Carroll, Panasonic Jaguar Racing
11. Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing
12. Maro Engel, Venturi
13. Nico Prost, Renault e.dams
14. Robin Frijns, Andretti
15. Lucas di Grassi, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport
16. Nelson Piquet, NextEV NIO
17. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi
18. Daniel Abt, Abt Scaheffler Audi Sport
19. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Faraday Future Dragon Racing
20. Loic Duval, Faraday Future Dragon Racing
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit. Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome in 1974. Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.