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Da Costa takes, then loses, maiden Formula E pole in Long Beach


Antonio Felix da Costa stormed to his first Formula E pole position in qualifying for the Long Beach ePrix on Saturday afternoon, edging out Sam Bird in the final Super Pole shootout.

But there was a slight problem found during post-qualifying technical inspection: da Costa’s tire pressures were too low, and the Portuguese driver will lose his pole.

The news means Bird will inherit the pole position for today’s Faraday Future-sponsored event, Round 6 of the season.

Racing for Team Aguri, da Costa is still using the season one technology against a grid of teams that have produced their own powertrains.

However, this did nothing to daunt him in qualifying as he finished second in the first set of heats behind Bird before beating the Briton with his final lap of the session, recording a time of 57.198 seconds.

“Yeah, I’m pleased with that,” da Costa said. “We had a lot of bad luck in the last few races and we lost two podiums already due to technical problems, but the team has been strong together.

“Today’s the proof of that. Very happy with that pole position, but it means nothing at the moment. We need to do it in the race. We have a very good race pace, better than qualy. Very happy.”

Championship contender Lucas di Grassi qualified third for ABT Schaeffler, and stands a good chance of cutting series leader Sebastien Buemi’s lead after the Swiss racer could only qualify eighth after struggling once again over one lap.

Stephane Sarrazin qualified fourth ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Robin Frijns, while Daniel Abt will start the race just ahead of Buemi in seventh place. Nicolas Prost and Jerome d’Ambrosio rounded out the top 10.

Bruno Senna was unable to emulate teammate Heidfeld in the second Mahindra car, finishing 11th ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne.

Ex-IndyCar racers Simona de Silvestro and Mike Conway were unable to put their knowledge of Long Beach to good use, qualifying 13th and 16th respectively with the two NEXTEV TCR drivers - Oliver Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr. - splitting them.

Salvador Duran and Loic Duval both made errors on their flying laps, leaving them 17th and 18th for the start of the race on Saturday.

The Long Beach ePrix takes place at 4pm local time (7pm ET) on Saturday.

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