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Buemi captures first Formula E pole of season in Monaco

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MONACO – Defending Formula E drivers’ champion Sebastien Buemi swept to pole position for Saturday’s Monaco ePrix after edging out perennial rival Lucas di Grassi in qualifying.

Buemi made a perfect start to the year by winning the first three races, only to finish a lowly 14th last time out in Mexico City, allowing di Grassi to cut the gap in the drivers’ standings.

The Swiss driver finished third in the opening heats as Jean-Eric Vergne topped the timesheets, but Buemi dug deep and turn in a best lap of 53.313s in the Super Pole shootout to take pole position.

The result marked Buemi’s first pole since last year’s London ePrix, and is the first time that he has shared a front row with di Grassi since their infamous clash at Battersea Park.

Nelson Piquet Jr. put in an impressive display for NextEV NIO, taking third on the grid, while Vergne and Venturi’s Maro Engel ended the session fourth and fifth respectively.

Street circuit specialist Felix Rosenqvist narrowly missed out on a place in the Super Pole shootout, finishing sixth for Mahindra, with teammate Nick Heidfeld two places further back in P8. DS Virgin Racing drivers Jose Maria Lopez and Sam Bird were seventh and 10th respectively as Daniel Abt slotted into P9.

Recent Formula 1 driver Esteban Gutierrez’s second qualifying session saw him finish within a second of teammate Vergne, yet this was only good enough for P14 due to the close-knit nature of the field. Adam Carroll, Nicolas Prost and Jerome d’Ambrosio all encountered issues, leaving them to fill out the bottom three positions on the grid.

The Monaco ePrix takes place at 4pm local time in Monaco (10am ET) today.

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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