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Formula E: Vergne clinches title, di Grassi leads Audi 1-2 in New York Race 1

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Season 4 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship has its champion, as Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne came from 18th on the grid – his qualifying time was disallowed after it was deemed he used excessive power during the session – to finish fifth in Race 1 of the New York City E-Prix to clinch the 2017-18 title. DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, Vergne’s closest rival, finished ninth, coming up just short of moving the title decider to Sunday’s Race 2.

Up front, Lucas Di Grassi finished off a strong second half of the season for him and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler by leading an Audi 1-2, with teammate Daniel Abt finishing second. It’s the second Audi 1-2 of the season – Abt led di Grassi home in Germany back in May – and the second win in a row for di Grassi, who won in Switzerland in June.

BERLIN, GERMANY – MAY 19: In this handout provided by FIA Formula E, Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE04. during the Berlin E-Prix in the Paris ePrix, Round 9 of the 2017/18 FIA ABB Formula E Series at at Tempelhof Airport on May 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Formula E via Getty Images)

Abt moved around pole sitter Sebastien Buemi on Lap 5 to assume the race lead, but teammate di Grassi was on hot pursuit and began closing in after the mid-race car swaps.

Di Grassi then made an aggressive outside pass on Abt, even squeezing his teammate in the process, to seize control of the lead.

Behind them, Vergne was on the charge after languishing in last off the initial start. He eventually worked his way all the way up to a remarkable sixth, ahead of title rival Bird in ninth, following the car swaps. Teammate Andre Lotterer, directly ahead in fifth at the time, then allowed Vergne by to take fifth.

Bird, meanwhile was stuck back in ninth, unable to gain ground. A late Safety Car for a crashed Alex Lynn bunched the field up for a shootout in the final laps, but Bird was still unable to move forward. In the end, Bird’s P9 was not enough, with Vergne’s P5 giving him enough points to clinch the championship ahead of Sunday’s season finale.

Renault e.dams Sebastien Buemi rounded out the podium in third. Race 1 results can be found here, with updated standings found here.

Race 2 of the New York City rolls off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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INDYCAR: Patricio O’Ward turns heads in Carlin debut

Chris Jones / IndyCar
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While the top story coming out of Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas is undoubtedly 18-year-old Colton Herta’s victory in only his third IndyCar start, another teenager made quite some noise during the first IndyCar race at the facility.

19-year-old Patricio O’Ward made an impressive start to his 2019 IndyCar campaign by starting and finishing in eighth position. It was the first of his 13 races this season for Carlin Racing.

“I think it was a pretty good race for us. We ended exactly where we started and didn’t go backwards, so I’d say that was a successful day” O’Ward said. “I know the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet had a top-five finish in it today and even though we couldn’t make it happen, it’s nice to know that we have the pace and can be fighting up front with the veteran drivers.”

O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champ, made his series debut for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he made it to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and finished ninth. O’Ward was scheduled to race for the team full-time in 2019, but left in early February to pursue other options due to a lack of sponsorship.

Pato found a new home with Carlin, and despite missing preseason testing, he proved to be competitive from the get go and pressured some of IndyCar’s more tenured drivers, including Graham Rahal.

In what was undoubtedly the most daring move of the race, O’Ward ended a great battle with Rahal by hitting a superb outside pass on Lap 15.

O’Ward may have likely earned a better result on Sunday, if he didn’t have to save fuel in order to make the finish.

But with only two IndyCar starts to his credit, he is already racing like a seasoned veteran. Sunday’s IndyCar Classic may be the first of many successful outings for him this year.

After the race, he tweeted to his team: “Well done gentlemen … This is only the beginning.”

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