Santiago E-Prix: Di Grassi stripped of pole, starts last

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Santiago E-Prix: Di Grassi stripped of pole, starts last
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Jan 26, 2019, 6:17 PM

Audi’s Lucas di Grassi has been stripped of pole position for ABB FIA Formula E’s Santiago E-Prix due to a technical infringement, so Nissan’s Sebastien Buemi will start from the top spot.

Audi confirmed di Grassi was excluded from qualifying due to an infraction of the slow in-lap procedure after his group qualifying run. Later, he went on to top the Super Pole session.

 
 

Di Grassi was placed under investigation for a suspected technical infringement following his run in the second group in the first phase of qualifying.

The rule in question relates to Article 27.9 of FE’s sporting regulations relating to brake usage and has only been implemented ahead of this weekend’s race following a request from FE supplier Spark. 

All drivers are now required to brake at the same level on their in-laps as they would during a hot lap in group qualifying. 

Motorsport.com understands that heavy braking on the in-lap could be related to keeping tyre pressures up ahead of Super Pole – but there is no suggestion that is what di Grassi was doing at this stage.  

The rule has been brought in on safety grounds and all teams were informed of the change ahead of the race.  

An FIA bulletin explaining the decision read: “The driver used more brakes in the "inlap" during qualifying then in the flying lap without any reason. 

“The Super Pole time has to be cancelled in the consequence of the cancellation of the qualifying times.

“The driver is permitted to start the race from the back of the grid.”

Di Grassi’s fellow Super Pole runner Stoffel Vandoorne has lost his Super Pole time for not the leaving “the pitlane for his Super Pole lap not in the mandatory time window of 30 seconds when the pit light was red”, according to another FIA bulletin.

As a result of the penalties, Sebasien Buemi will now start from pole for Nissan e.dams ahead of Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing), Daniel Abt, Sam Bird and Vandoorne.

The FIA has also announced that the attack mode activation arrangement for the race in Santiago will be same as at the first two rounds of the season in Riyadh and Marrakech. 

The drivers are permitted to arm their systems a maximum of five times and must activate the system twice during the race – although only once the second lap has been completed – for two periods of four minutes. 

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