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Berlin to host Formula E double-header in place of Brussels

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Formula E has confirmed that the Berlin ePrix will be a double-header race weekend following the cancellation of the Brussels event.

The race in Brussels was set to take place on July 1, only for the regional government to vote against it being held in the city center, putting the event at risk of falling off the calendar. The race was officially canceled for 2017 on Thursday.

To ensure the calendar for season three stays at 12 races, Formula E has confirmed that the Berlin weekend will now feature two races: one on Saturday June 10, the second on Sunday June 11.

Berlin’s format will mirror the double-header weekends run in London through Formula E’s first two seasons, and means that the final three events will feature two races. Both New York (July 15-16) and Montreal (July 29-30) were already planned to be double-headers.

The Berlin event will return to its season one location of Tempelhof Airport after city officials voted against it returning to Karl-Marx-Allee, where it was staged last year.

The addition of a race on the Sunday places greater pressure on a number of drivers and personnel who will be traveling to Le Mans in France ahead of the 24-hour race the following weekend.

Most had planned to use the Sunday as a travel day before the start of Le Mans festivities on the Monday, but will now face a tighter schedule to make the trip from Berlin.

Updated 2016/2017 Formula E Calendar

1. Hong Kong – October 9
2. Marrakesh – November 12
3. Buenos Aires – February 18
4. Mexico City – April 1
5. Monaco – May 13
6. Paris – May 20
7. Berlin – June 10
8. Berlin – June 11
9. New York – July 15
10. New York – July 16
11. Montreal – July 29
12. Montreal – July 30

NHRA Las Vegas: Tanner Gray becomes youngest Pro Stock winner; Antron Brown, Tommy Johnson Jr. also win

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Third-generation drag racer Tanner Gray proved Sunday that winning is a family tradition.

Gray became the youngest driver in NHRA history to win a national Pro Stock event final, capturing the Denso Spark Plus Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Gray (6.681 seconds at 206.61 mph) defeated Bo Butner (6.678 seconds at 206.76 mph) in the final round of eliminations to earn the win. Other winners included Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car).

The 17-year-old Gray, who turns 18 on April 15, joins father Shane and grandfather Johnny as NHRA national event winners.

Gray was rather humble in his reaction to the win.

“I can’t thank everybody enough,” Gray said in a media release. “My crew is definitely the reason I’m here. I do a small part. It feels really cool.

“I was pretty nervous. This was something I wanted to do since I was real young and I finally got the opportunity to do it. When I started this deal I told my dad I wanted to be the youngest Pro Stock winner. To be able to do that feels really cool.”

In Top Fuel, two-time defending (and three times in the last five seasons) NHRA champ Antron Brown (3.747 seconds at 321.04 mph) grabbed his first win of the season, defeating teammate Tony Schumacher (3.809 seconds at 325.14 mph).

It was the second straight win at Las Vegas for Brown – who handed Don Schumacher his 300th NHRA win as a team owner – and his 46th career Top Fuel win.

“Today was tough battles,” Brown said. “When you race two of your teammates (Schumacher and Leah Pritchett), you know you got a battle on your hands because you all have the same quality parts.

“And when you go up there you have to throw everything up there. Especially with Tony he hasn’t been an eight-time champion for nothing. Buddy, he knows how to race. We had to push hard.”

With the win, Brown became the first driver in NHRA history to earn at least one victory in 10 consecutive seasons.

In Funny Car, another DSR driver came home with the winning trophy, as Tommy Johnson Jr. (3.933 seconds at 323.66 mph) defeated Jonnie Lindberg (4.016/302.14).

It was Johnson’s first win of the season as well as his first win at Las Vegas since 2001. Meanwhile, Swedish native Lindberg notched his second consecutive runner-up this season.

“Today was a pretty trying today,” Johnson Jr. said. “It was pretty hot. Probably the hottest track we’ve seen this season yet. The guys did a great job. When we came out first round and were low ET by at least three hundredths I thought, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a good day.’ This is just a great facility. When I come in the gate I have a good feeling because I’ve had some success here, a win prior to this, and a couple runner-up finishes.”

The Denso Nationals was the fourth event on the 24-race national event schedule. The series now takes the next two weeks off, returning for the NHRA SpringNationals, April 21-23, at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston, Texas.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Doug Kalitta; 4.  Leah Pritchett; 5.  Terry McMillen; 6.  Steve Torrence; 7.  Brittany Force; 8.  Clay Millican; 9.  Steven Chrisman; 10.  Troy Coughlin Jr.; 11.  Steve Faria; 12.  Troy Buff; 13.  Scott Palmer; 14.  Tripp Tatum; 15.  Terry Haddock.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 2.  Jonnie Lindberg; 3.  John Force; 4.  Gary Densham; 5.  Matt Hagan; 6.  Alexis DeJoria; 7.  Jack Beckman; 8.  Robert Hight; 9.  Jim Campbell; 10.  Tim Wilkerson; 11.  Courtney Force; 12.  Ron Capps; 13.  Phil Burkart; 14.  Del Worsham; 15.  Cruz Pedregon; 16.  J.R. Todd.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Tanner Gray; 2.  Bo Butner; 3.  Jason Line; 4.  Jeg Coughlin; 5.  Erica Enders; 6.  Greg Anderson; 7.  Shane Gray; 8.  Chris McGaha; 9.  Allen Johnson; 10.  Deric Kramer; 11.  Vincent Nobile; 12.  Alan Prusiensky; 13.  Tom Huggins; 14.  Matt Hartford; 15.  Drew Skillman.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL RESULTS:

 Top Fuel: Antron Brown, 3.747 seconds, 321.04 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 3.809 seconds, 325.14 mph.

Funny Car: Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.933, 323.66 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry, 4.016, 302.14.

Pro Stock: Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.681, 206.61 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.678, 206.76.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Clay Millican, 4.057, 230.84 def. Tripp Tatum, 10.253, 77.26; Leah Pritchett, 3.756, 328.30 def. Troy Buff, 5.415, 128.19; Brittany Force, 3.762, 329.26 def. Steve Faria, 4.505, 180.96; Tony Schumacher, 3.767, 327.98 def. Terry Haddock, Broke – No Show; Steve Torrence, 3.765, 324.51 was unopposed; Doug Kalitta, 3.743, 326.40 def. Steven Chrisman, 4.104, 248.48; Terry McMillen, 4.227, 269.03 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 4.230, 194.32; Antron Brown, 3.752, 325.53 def. Scott Palmer, 5.501, 125.27;

QUARTERFINALS — Schumacher, 3.865, 316.45 def. McMillen, 3.916, 311.70; Pritchett, 3.770, 328.06 def. Force, 4.872, 153.39; Brown, 3.822, 318.24 def. Torrence, 4.035, 276.41; Kalitta, 3.778, no speed def. Millican, 4.913, 153.51;

SEMIFINALS — Schumacher, 3.775, 320.97 def. Kalitta, 3.782, 326.87; Brown, 3.797, 320.89 def. Pritchett, 3.919, 311.20;

FINAL — Brown, 3.747, 321.04 def. Schumacher, 3.809, 325.14.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.036, 312.86 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.801, 173.01; Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.079, 287.29 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 5.118, 153.39; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.970, 328.54 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 6.251, 118.97; Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 4.332, 250.37 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 5.607, 125.26; Jack Beckman, Charger, 7.322, 90.06 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, Foul – Red Light; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.943, 320.97 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.714, 181.28; John Force, Camaro, 4.454, 213.64 def. Phil Burkart, Charger, 5.853, 124.97; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.054, 320.97 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 9.752, 77.54;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.068, 268.71 def. Hight, Broke; J. Force, 3.987, 321.81 def. Hagan, 4.043, 318.24; Lindberg, 4.017, 325.37 def. Beckman, 4.096, 312.42; Densham, 4.551, 190.73 def. DeJoria, Foul – Red Light;

SEMIFINALS — Lindberg, 3.991, 318.92 def. Densham, 5.916, 126.78; Johnson Jr., 3.997, 319.45 def. J. Force, 4.128, 282.13;

FINAL — Johnson Jr., 3.933, 323.66 def. Lindberg, 4.016, 302.14.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.703, 207.21 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.734, 206.07 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.683, 207.11 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.785, 205.94; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.665, 206.51 def. Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart, Foul – Red Light; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.676, 203.31 def. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.721, 205.41; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.659, 206.64 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.827, 177.00; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.673, 205.79 was unopposed; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.747, 206.48 def. Tom Huggins, Dart, 6.842, 202.67;

QUARTERFINALS — Coughlin, 6.751, 206.10 def. McGaha, 20.745, 32.12; Line, 6.695, 206.10 def. S. Gray, 6.732, 205.91; T. Gray, 6.702, 206.57 def. Anderson, 6.717, 206.42; Butner, 6.695, 206.45 def. Enders, 6.713, 206.80;

SEMIFINALS — T. Gray, 6.691, 206.67 def. Line, 6.703, 206.26; Butner, 6.714, 206.42 def. Coughlin, 6.739, 205.10;

FINAL — T. Gray, 6.681, 206.61 def. Butner, 6.678, 206.76.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Tony Schumacher, 382; 2.  Leah Pritchett, 376; 3.  Antron Brown, 357; 4.  Doug Kalitta, 301; 5.  Brittany Force, 258; 6.  Steve Torrence, 251; 7.  Clay Millican, 187; 8.  Troy Coughlin Jr., 176; 9.  Terry McMillen, 164; 10.  Scott Palmer, 148.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 368; 2.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 324; 3.  John Force, 314; 4.  Ron Capps, 275; 5.  Courtney Force, 218; 6.  Jack Beckman, 205; 7.  Robert Hight, 201; 8.  Jonnie Lindberg, 183; 9.  Jim Campbell, 180; 10.  J.R. Todd, 170.

Pro Stock: 1.  Greg Anderson, 380; 2.  Jason Line, 367; 3.  Bo Butner, 299; 4.  Tanner Gray, 296; 5.  Shane Gray, 278; 6.  Jeg Coughlin, 266; 7.  Erica Enders, 219; 8.  Chris McGaha, 193; 9.  Drew Skillman, 190; 10.  Vincent Nobile, 183.

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Gutierrez takes home point on Formula E debut in Mexico City

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Esteban Gutierrez made a solid start to life in Formula E by taking a point on debut in Mexico City on Saturday for Techeetah.

Gutierrez announced in January that he would be moving into Formula E after losing his Formula 1 seat with Haas at the end of 2016.

The Mexican driver joined Techeetah and qualified 13th for his debut race, but struggled to get to grips with the energy management on his car in the opening stint, causing him to outside of the points.

A late flurry of drama allowed Gutierrez to rise up the pack, eventually crossing the line in 10th place to cap off a double-points finish for Techeetah after Vergne wound up second behind race winner Lucas di Grassi.

The result means that Gutierrez has as many top-10 finishes in Formula E as in F1, having only scored points once in 59 grand prix starts. That came in a charge to seventh at Suzuka in 2013 while racing for Sauber.

Gutierrez will see out the remainder of the Formula E season in the No. 33 Techeetah, having replaced Ma Qinghua, who stepped back into the role of reserve driver.

Gutierrez’s next Formula E appearance will be on familiar F1 territory as the all-electric series hits the streets of Monaco on May 13.

Lapierre quickest for Toyota on second day of WEC Prologue

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Nicolas Lapierre made the most of his first appearance in Toyota colors since 2014 by topping the timesheets on the second day of the FIA World Endurance Championship pre-season Prologue at Monza on Sunday.

Lapierre was confirmed as returning to Toyota’s line-up for 2017, two-and-a-half years after being dropped for a lack of performance, and will race in its third car this year.

The Frenchman turned in a fastest lap time of 1:30.547 on Sunday afternoon to finish as the fastest driver overall at the Prologue, edging out Toyota LMP1 teammate Anthony Davidson by 0.262 seconds in the final timesheets.

Toyota locked out the top four positions in the overall timings, with Porsche failing to beat the laps it set on Saturday night prior to the rain that scuppered much of the running.

TDS Racing led the way in LMP2 courtesy of Mathieu Vaxiviere, who narrowly beat Bruno Senna’s benchmark from Saturday by 0.016 seconds to finish fastest overall in the No. 28 ORECA-Gibson. Ho-Pin Tung ended third-fastest in class in the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry.

Michael Christensen’s fastest time for Porsche on Saturday went unbeaten in GTE Pro as the test came to a close, with teammate Kevin Estre lapping a tenth off in the No. 92 911 RSR. Harry Tincknell was the fastest non-Porsche driver, ending up fourth in class for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as less than a second separated the top 10 in GTE Pro.

Miguel Molina took Spirit of Race to the helm of the timesheets in GTE Am, putting in a best time of 1:49.843 in the No. 54 Ferrari 488 GTE. While Saturday leader Ben Barker was able to improve on his previous best, he still fell 0.167 seconds short of P1 in the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

The WEC paddock will next convene at Silverstone for the opening round of the season on April 16.

Jaguar collects maiden Formula E points with Mexico double-score

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Jaguar ended its wait for points in Formula E in style as drivers Mitch Evans and Adam Carroll both finished Saturday’s Mexico City ePrix in the top 10.

Jaguar entered Formula E at the start of its third season in Hong Kong last October, but failed to score any points in the opening three rounds of the campaign.

Carroll and Evans started 10th and 11th respectively at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, and both conserved energy well through the first stint to remain in contention for points.

Evans ran seventh heading into the closing stages of a manic race, but rose to fourth late on following a smash between Mahindra drivers Nick Heidfeld and Felix Rosenqvist, with Jerome d’Ambrosio also falling down the order due to a loss of energy.

Evans brought his Jaguar I-Type home in P4 to score both his own and Jaguar’s first Formula E points, narrowly missing out on a maiden podium in the process.

“Today was a crazy race from lap one. I managed to overtake Esteban Gutierrez on the straight and lined up behind Adam,” Evans explained.

“After the first safety car we got into a nice rhythm and I ran on really good energy levels and a strong pace. Adam and I were on slightly different strategies, which opened up the opportunity for me to overtake him.

“The race got quite juicy towards the end with both Mahindra cars and Nico Prost crashing into each other, I don’t know how my I-Type didn’t sustain any damage. I was very lucky.

“To finish with double points today is huge for the team. We came so close in Buenos Aires and everyone has worked incredibly hard since then, so it’s a massive reward for everyone at Panasonic Jaguar Racing.”

Carroll also benefited from the late drama to cross the line eighth, giving Jaguar a haul of 16 points from Mexico City.

“For our fourth race ever, it’s a really positive day and reward for some long days. It’s a complete team effort and a fantastic day for Panasonic Jaguar Racing,” Carroll said.

“Hopefully, this is the start of more to come but we are also keeping our feet on the ground and we still have a lot to learn in this championship.

“The reality is this championship is very competitive, so to just score points, especially for a new team is a big achievement. So for both of us to score points today is absolutely brilliant.”

The result lifts Jaguar off the foot of the teams’ championship, and is now just two behind MS Amlin Andretti in eighth place.