MONTREAL, Canada – The momentum in the Formula E championship battle took a huge swing in Lucas di Grassi’s favor on Saturday in Montreal as the Brazilian swept to his second pole position in the all-electric series.
Di Grassi arrived in Montreal trailing long-running rival Sebastien Buemi by 10 points in the drivers’ championship, but was able to reduce the gap by three with pole and the resultant bonus score.
The sweetest success for di Grassi was not of his own design, though. Trying to find the limit of a hot lap during practice, Buemi pushed too hard, crashing hard into the wall at the chicane and causing a significant amount of damage to his car.
A new battery had to be fitted by the Renault e.dams crew, triggering a 10-place grid drop that means Buemi will start the race 12th, having originally trailed di Grassi by just two-tenths of a second.
Stephane Sarrazin will join di Grassi on the front row after an impressive run for Techeetah, while Buemi’s teammate, Nicolas Prost, is set to start in third place – directly behind di Grassi.
Di Grassi may get some assistance from his ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport teammate Daniel Abt, though, given the German will start ahead of Buemi in 11th.
Felix Rosenqvist will start P4 for Mahindra ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, while Jaguar racers Mitch Evans and Adam Carroll picked up the team’s best qualifying result of the year to secure P6 and P7 on the grid.
Oliver Turvey will start eighth for NextEV, while Tom Dillmann and Loic Duval will complete the top 10 for the start in Montreal.
The magic of dirt racing wins for Kyle Larson continued Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway, where he scored his third consecutive World of Outlaws victory at the famed half-mile track to open “The One and Only.”
After starting 10th, Larson sliced through the field and passed pole-sitter Logan Schuchart to lead the final eight laps in the No. 57 of car owner Paul Silva.
“Just an awesome race,” Larson said after earning $10,000 for his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory (after winning at Pevely, Missouri, last Saturday), his sixth Outlaws victory this season and 14th of his career.
“I was able to track Logan down and hit the bottom really well in (turns) 1 and 2 and got a run on him. It felt like I needed to take advantage of that before we got to heavier traffic and slid him and felt some contact. So, glad to see him not in the wall or anything like that. Just, hard work there. Heartbeat is up again.”
The One and Only continues Friday night with another $10,000 feature race that will set the starting lineup for Saturday’s Brownells Capitani Classic, which pays $50,000 to win.
The event is the Outlaws’ richest purse of 2020 and subs in for the annual Knoxville Nationals, which was canceled for COVID-19 concerns. Larson, a two-time Knoxville Nationals runner-up, has said winning The One and Only would be on the same as Knoxville’s signature event because of its tough three-day format.
Through the first of three nights, Schuchart and Larson are tied for second in The One and Only points standings, which factor in qualifying, heats, dash and feature races. Aaron Reutzel, an All Star Circuit of Champions stalwart who finished third Thursday, leads with 430 points.
A crash in Thursday’s 25-lap feature eliminated past Outlaws champions Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz after Cory Eliason spun in front of Sweet in Turn 1 to start the wreck, which also collected Sweet’s teammate, James McFadden. Sweet and Schatz finished outside the top 20, which moved Schuchart into the points lead for the 2020 season.
Schuchart still seemed slightly miffed after finishing second to Larson.
“As the race went on, I felt like I wasn’t hitting my marks as good,” he said. “I would have liked to of had a little bit better of a race with Kyle there. I wish his slide job was a little better there, but he’s got a reputation to live up to. That’s where you let other people make the rules and maybe we’ll get him next time.”