BERLIN, Germany – Lucas di Grassi swept to his second pole position of the 2016/17 FIA Formula E season on Saturday in Berlin, edging out Jose Maria Lopez by one-thousandth of a second at the front of the pack.
Fighting back from a disastrous Paris ePrix that saw his deficit at the top of the drivers’ championship swell to 43 points, di Grassi was able to squeeze through to final stage of qualifying before turning in a best lap of 1:08.312 to score his second pole of the season for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport.
Lopez was left to settle for an agonizing second place, while Felix Rosenqvist – the original leader from the first heats – was third-fastest, less than a tenth off pole. Mahindra Racing teammate Nick Heidfeld was fourth, while Sam Bird rounded out the top five after a scruffy lap in Super Pole.
While di Grassi was able to secure pole, title rival Sebastien Buemi endured his worst qualifying in almost 18 months after a sloppy lap that left him 14th for the start in Berlin.
Jean-Eric Vergne was left disappointed after narrowly missing out on a place in the Super Pole shootout, finishing sixth ahead of Oliver Turvey and Daniel Abt. Following Buemi’s slow lap, Nicolas Prost was left to lead Renault e.dams’ charge in ninth, while Jerome d’Ambrosio rounded out the top 10 for Dragon.
Well-known sports car team owner and automobile dealership owner Dave Maraj was killed Saturday night in a boating accident in Florida, according to SportsCar365.com.
Maraj’s Champion Racing teams won five consecutive American Le Mans Series championships from 2004 through 2008, and also captured the overall win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005, the last American team to do so in the iconic sports car race.
IMSA President Scott Atherton released the following statement mourning Maraj’s passing:
“All of us at IMSA are shocked and saddened by the news of Dave Maraj’s passing. As a team owner in the American Le Mans Series, Dave and his Champion Racing organization were the epitome of professionalism and excellence, as their five series championships and 24 Hours of Le Mans victory will attest.
“Dave was a tremendous competitor and a great friend to all in the paddock throughout his time in our sport. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dave’s family and friends and to all of his associates at Champion Motors.”
Maraj was a very successful automobile dealership owner, most notably Champion Motors and Champion Porsche in Pompano Beach, Florida, the latter considered the No. 1 Porsche dealer in the U.S.
Details of how Maraj died have not been released.
Maraj sold his racing operation after the 2008 season and devoted himself to his Porsche and Audi auto dealerships, as well as competitive sailing.