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Da Costa holds off defending champ Vergne to win Formula E season opener

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Polesitter Antonio Felix da Costa held off defending series champion Jean-Eric Vergne to kick off the 2018-19 Formula E Championship season with a win Saturday in the Ad Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia.

Vergne had a chance for the win, but his chances were significantly hurt by a drive-through penalty mid-way through the race for technical infringement.

Jerome D’Ambrosio finished third to round out the podium.

The race marked the debut of Formula E’s new Gen-2 car.

Da Costa, who drives for BMW/Andretti Motorsport, led most of the way through the first 18 laps of the 33-lap event before Vergne took the lead and began to pull away.

Shortly afterward, however, Vergne was penalized for exceeding the maximum amount of power permitted during his first attack mode activation.

Vergne dropped back in the pack, while Da Costa regained the lead on Lap 24, as a result, and held on the rest of the way.

Da Costa won by 0.4 seconds and earned his first Formula E win since the 2014/2015 season.

D’Ambrosio finished third, followed by Mitch Evans in fourth and Andre Lotterer in fifth.

Other notable finishers included Nelson Piquet Jr. (10th) and former Formula One driver Felipe Massa finished 14th in his first-ever Formula E race.

Felix Rosenqvist, who will drive in IndyCar this coming season for Chip Ganassi Racing, was last in the 20-driver field, failing to finish after having mechanical problems early in the race.

Here are the results from today’s race:

More Pos Driver Team Started Best Time Points
1

#28
António Félix
DA COSTA

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarBMW I ANDRETTI MOTORSPORT

1

P

1:13:265

0:46:29:377

28
2

#25
Jean-Éric
VERGNE

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarDS TECHEETAH FORMULA E TEAM

5

1:12:750

+ 462

18
3

#64
Jérôme
D’AMBROSIO

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarMAHINDRA RACING

6

1:13:830

+ 4:033

15
4

#20
Mitch
EVANS

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarPANASONIC JAGUAR RACING

8

1:13:427

+ 5:383

12
5

#36
André
LOTTERER

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarDS TECHEETAH FORMULA E TEAM

7

1:12:591

FL

+ 5:579

11
6

#23
Sébastien
BUEMI

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarNISSAN E.DAMS

3

1:13:397

+ 6:625

8
7

#22
Oliver
ROWLAND

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarNISSAN E.DAMS

14

1:14:026

+ 9:105

6
8

#66
Daniel
ABT

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarAUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER

11

1:14:301

+ 9:819

4
9

#11
Lucas
DI GRASSI

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarAUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER

18

1:13:914

+ 10:936

2
10

#3
Nelson
PIQUET JR.

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarPANASONIC JAGUAR RACING

15

1:14:803

+ 11:564

1
11

#2
Sam
BIRD

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarENVISION VIRGIN RACING

19

1:14:307

+ 11:747

0
12

#4
Robin
FRIJNS

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarENVISION VIRGIN RACING

20

1:13:735

+ 12:189

0
13

#16
Oliver
TURVEY

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarNIO FORMULA E TEAM

21

1:14:343

+ 13:104

0
14

#19
Felipe
MASSA

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarVENTURI FORMULA E TEAM

12

1:13:950

+ 13:610

0
15

#8
Tom
DILLMANN

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarNIO FORMULA E TEAM

22

1:13:205

+ 14:273

0
16

#6
Maximilian
GÜNTHER

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarGEOX DRAGON

16

1:14:018

+ 16:161

0
17

#5
Stoffel
VANDOORNE

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarHWA RACELAB

4

1:14:850

+ 20:013

0
18

#27
Alexander
SIMS

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarBMW I ANDRETTI MOTORSPORT

10

1:13:604

+ 47:712

0
19

#48
Edoardo
MORTARA

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarVENTURI FORMULA E TEAM

13

1:14:547

1 lap

0
0

#7
José María
LÓPEZ

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarGEOX DRAGON

2

1:14:306

DNF
0
0

#17
Gary
PAFFETT

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarHWA RACELAB

9

1:16:654

DNF
0
0

#94
Felix
ROSENQVIST

Driver Nationality Flag

Team CarMAHINDRA RACING

17

1:16:113

DNF
0

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Will Power, Roger Penske collect Indy 500 trophies

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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DETROIT (AP) Last year, Will Power finally broke through and won the Indianapolis 500, so he can cross that accomplishment off the list.

Now 37, Power is reaching an age when it’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll keep at it.

“I’m really enjoying my racing. I’ve never been so motivated. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, mentally on the game,” Power said. “I think once you get to this part of your career, you realize that you’re not going to be doing this forever. So you’ve got to enjoy it and you’ve got to go for it when you’ve got it, because, you know, probably only another five years at maximum, and you’re retired.”

Whenever Power’s career does wind down, his 2018 Indy 500 win will remain a moment to remember. He was in Detroit on Wednesday night with team owner Roger Penske for a ceremony in which they received their “Baby Borg” trophies for winning last year’s race. The Baby Borgs are replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy that honors the Indy 500 winner.

Power finished second at Indy in 2015, and his victory last year made him the race’s first Australian winner. It was Penske’s 17th Indy 500 win as an owner, part of a banner year for him. Penske also won a NASCAR Cup title with driver Joey Logano.

“When you think about 2018, we had 32 race wins, 35 poles. I think we led almost 5,400 laps, with all the series,” Penske said.

On Wednesday, Penske collected another significant trophy, and he’ll be celebrated again in a couple weeks. He’s being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Feb. 1.

“It’s amazing that a guy from the north can get into the Hall of Fame in the south,” Penske joked. “No, it’s special. … NASCAR has helped us build our brand over the years, certainly, with the reputation it has, and the notoriety we get, being a NASCAR team owner.”

Penske’s most recent Indy 500 title came courtesy of Power, who long preferred road courses to ovals but certainly looked comfortable at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.

“The 500 was one record that he didn’t have, and I think you saw the excitement he and his wife, and the whole team, when he was able to win the race,” Penske said. “He’s probably the best qualifier we’ve ever had, as a road racer, and no question his expertise. He didn’t like ovals to start with, but I think today, he loves racing on ovals.”

Power seems content with all aspects of his racing life at the moment. The aftermath of an Indy 500 victory can be a whirlwind, and it would be understandable for a driver to be weary of it eight months later, but for Power, it’s a new experience.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event for a few months now, to actually get the Baby Borg. You have the face on it – I didn’t realize that, you actually get your own face on it,” Power said. “It makes you realize the significance of the event, when you think about all the things that come with winning the 500.”

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister