AS IT HAPPENED: ROKiT Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara wins second Diriyah E-Prix race

Update AS IT HAPPENED: ROKiT Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara wins second Diriyah E-Prix race
1 / 2
Update Rokit Venturi driver Lucas Di Grassi kicked out Andretti’s Dennis, the man who finished third in the race on Friday. (Supplied)
2 / 2
Rokit Venturi driver Lucas Di Grassi kicked out Andretti’s Dennis, the man who finished third in the race on Friday. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 29 January 2022

AS IT HAPPENED: ROKiT Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara wins second Diriyah E-Prix race

AS IT HAPPENED: ROKiT Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara wins second Diriyah E-Prix race
  • Drivers take to the circuit for qualifying under the new knockout format for the second day

DIRIYAH: It was a successful second day of the Diriyah E-Prix weekend for ROKiT Venturi as Edoardo Mortara won Saturday's race and Lucas di Grassi got himself on the podium.

Dutchman Robin Frijns sealed second for the Envision team.

Saturday's race followed an action-packed first day on Friday as the drivers got to grips with the new format, and Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries took the first win of the season.

Follow all the coverage of day two below... (All times GMT)

17:55 - CHEQUERED FLAG! Edoardo Mortara crosses the line ahead of the pack! A third Formula E win for the Venturri driver, followed by Frijns in second and Edo’s teammate Lucas di Grassi in third.

A superb performance for the Swiss driver, but unfortunately for his team, Frijns took away Rokit Venturi’s hope of a 1-2 win in the second round of the Diriyah E-Prix.

After it seemed like the race was going to end with the safety car leading the drivers under the yellow lights. There was one final lap of ‘racing’, which unfortunately meant many of the drivers who wanted to fight more, did not get a chance to.

17:50 - The new Porsche Taycan Turbo S safety car now leads the drivers with 6 minutes left... 

17:45 - Now 10th, the Flying Dutchman Nyck de Vries loses hope of seeing double victory in Diriyah, but his countryman Robin Frijns takes second place Lucas as di Grassi fails to defend on the straight, will this be the end a Venturi’s 1-2 win tonight?

Meanwhile, Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne’s fan boost has gone to waste! As the safety car is deployed after Alexander Sims crashed into the wall, finding himself out of the race after he broke his drive shaft with 8 minutes left.

17:40 - Mortara breaks early forcing Lucas di Grassi to go wide on the straight with 15 minutes left, Robin Frijns and de Vries follow.

Vergne tries to go for it on the straight, contact made between him and de Vries!

It’s clear that de Vries took some sort of damage to his steering as he falls down the grid to 9th place below his counterpart Vandoorne who found his way to 6h place with 12 minutes left on the clock...

17:35 - Edoardo Mortara leads the E-Prix with 24 minutes on the clock, the race sees a current 1-2 for Venturi for the first time.

Lotterer moves up to fourth place with 23 minutes to go, making slight contact with Frijns to do it, he then cut the apex beautifully surpassing the Envision Racing driver.

The battle is at the front with de Vries yet to activate his attack mode.

17:30 - DRAMA! Di Grassi leads the race after he makes contact with de Vries before forcibly bumping him out of his position. Mortara in second, followed by de Vries and Frijns.

17:25 - Mortara drops to fourth for the first time in the race after he goes through an activation zone to go on attack mode, with 27 minutes on the clock.

17:25 - Two places lost for Oliver Askew, as former Formula One driver Pascal Wehrlein takes advantage of the rookie sliding past him with Askew unable to defend. Frijns still chasing down ‘Edo’ with 29 minutes left.

17:20 - With 34 minutes left, Vandoorne who started in 12th has found his way to 9th place. An attack mode would bring him up to 250kW but the Belgian driver waits for an opportune moment.

De Vries leads, followed by Mortara, Frijns, di Grassi, Lotterer and Vergne so far maintaining the qualifying grid positions except Dennis has fought his way to 7th place from 9th.

WHAT IS ATTACK MODE?

Attack Mode is a temporary power boost used in all Formula E races by all drivers. The power boost is equivalent to an increase of 35 kW, which the drivers must manually initiate by pressing a button on their steering wheel and driving off the racing line at certain specified points of the track.

17:15 - Rowland and Dennis go through an activation zone with left as both British drivers expend some of their energy to go on attack mode. The old friends of 15 years battle out in the middle of the grid in 7th and 8th position.

17:10 - Lucas Di Grassi locks up on turn one but manages to get back on the circuit just as it seemed he was out of the race.

De Vries manages to hold his pole position and leads the race, followed by Mortara and Frijns with Mortara currently under pressure as Frijns keeps closing the gap. Sam Bird finds himself at the back of the grid

17:05 - Andretti driver Jake Dennis, who came in third yesterday, didn’t manage to get a good grid position for this evening’s race as he starts in 9th, Dennis told reporters his focus tonight will simply be “drive fast, don’t crash.”

Going into his second race after his debut yesterday, former Alfa Romeo Formula One driver Antonio Giovanazzi said racing in Formula E has actually been “really hard.” Unfortunate for the Italian driver as he starts at the back of the grid for the second round of the Diriyah E-Prix.

Formula E fans are anticipating Rokit Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara to give it a go tonight after qualifying second earlier today in the new dual format, bested only by none other than red hot Mercedes-EQ driver Nick de Vries.

17:00 - We're up and racing under the lights in Diriyah!

15:45 - While we wait for the racing action, make sure to catch our interview with footballing legend Didier Drogba, who was in attendance on day one of the Diriyah E-Prix. Full interview here.

 

15:10 - So amid all the confusion over the missed green lights and racing incidents, we now have a finalized grid for the second race of the weekend. Check it out below...

 

14:30 - Diriyah is playing host to the first two rounds of the FIA Formula E World Championship, and if it has whet the appetite for electric racing, below is a look at the rest of the calendar for 2022...

14:00 - POLE POSITION! A flying lap sees sees Edoardo Mortara set a brilliant time for the benchmark but a stunning lap by Nyck de Vries sees him beat the Venturi driver by five thousandths of a second! Which means the pole-sitter will take another 3 points on top of his 25-point haul on Firday, racking up a total of 28 points in the championship so far, with Saturday's race still to come.

13:55 - Envision driver Robin Frijns falls to Mortara in the other semifinal, leading to a challenging final showdown for the Swiss driver against the red hot Nyck de Vries for the chance to be on pole position for the second Diriyah E-Prix race of the weekend.

13:50 - Footage reveals Portuguese DS Techeetah driver Antonio Felix da Costa actually missed his cue and went on the green light of his opponent Lucas di Grassi’s. The driver says he is “still at a loss” as to how it happened.

13:45 - DRAMA! According to officials, Antonio Felix da Costa impeded Lucas di Grassi. Whether a penalty will be given to the Portuguese driver is unclear, however da Costa says he went on the green light but was later told he went on di Grassi’s green light.

Back to the qualifying action, Di Grassi goes first with De Vries following 10 seconds later.

And what a weekend the Flying Dutchman is having, as he takes out the Venturi driver in the semifinal. De Vries proceeds to the final.





13:40 - Edoardo Mortara, the man who didn’t get to duel in Friday's session, has managed to beat his opponent Andre Lotterer in the quarterfinals to face Frijns in the next knockout stage.

13:35 - Oliver Rowland goes out first with Robin Frijns chasing him. One of these two drivers will make it to the semis for the first time.

Frijns breaks away from the Mahindra Racing driver, and crosses the line almost six tenths ahead of Rowland and advancing to the semis. Lotterer versus Mortara now.

13:30 - Friday's winner Nyck de Vries beats Jean-Eric Vergne almost effortlessly to proceed to the semifinals. 

A strange scene sees Lucas di Grassi immobile and shaking his head while Antonio Felix da Costa proceeds to duel on his own. Through the comms, Venturi felt that da Costa went before the green light.

Di Grassi takes his lap after da Costa at a disadvantage as he starts a second late, but manages to beat da Costa as the the Portuguese driver slowed down toward the end of his run, and is now under investigation for impeding.

So, as it stands, Di Grassi faces yesterday’s champion De Vries in the semifinals. Watch this space...

13:15 - Sam Bird is out of qualifying after a crash in turn two. Friday’s pole position winner Vandoorne ran a slow qualifying time on day two which led to him getting kicked out of the top four by Mahindra Racing’s Alexander Sims, and effectively throwing the Belgian driver to the back of the grid.

Rokit Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara, who crashed out on Friday, is first in Group B and advances to the quarterfinals along with Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns and both DS Tcheetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa, and Jean-Eric Vergne. No jaguars will head-to-head in the duels.

13:00 - Both Andrettis out in the first run, with third on the grid yesterday Lucas di Grassi joining in on the first qualifying. Nick Cassidy won’t be taking part in qualifying, while second on the grid yesterday Jake Dennis gets a front row start.

Oliver Askew was quickest in the first sector over all other drivers, but the chance to be in top four didn’t last for the rookie as he got pushed out by TAG Heuer Porsche driver Pascal Wehrlein.

Rokit Venturi driver Lucas Di Grassi kicked out Andretti’s Dennis, the man who finished third in the race on Friday, who is not going to go forward to the duel stage, while first place podium winner Nyck de Vries, Di Grassi, Mahindra Racing’s Oliver Rowland and TAG Heuer Porsche’s Andre Lotterer advance. 


Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener
Updated 57 min 17 sec ago

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener
  • The troubled Spanish club were only able to ensure that their star signing will be available against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday
  • They sold 24.5% of their Barça Studios production hub to Orpheus Media in a deal worth $103 million

BARCELONA, Spain: Working against the clock, Barcelona sold off even more of their club assets on Friday so they could meet the Spanish league’s financial rules and clear Robert Lewandowski and other summer signings to play in their season opener.
The troubled Spanish club were only able to ensure that their star signing will be available against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday after they sold 24.5 percent of their Barça Studios production hub to Orpheus Media in a deal worth 100 million euros ($103 million).
That improved their financial balance enough to satisfy the Spanish league, which added Lewandowski and fellow newcomers Raphinha, Franck Kessié and Andreas Christensen as well as the recently renewed Ousmane Dembélé and Sergi Roberto to their list of eligible players.
But, by late Friday, the league had yet to declare eligible France defender Jules Koundé, who arrived to Barcelona from Sevilla last month. The club will still need to reduce their current salary load by selling one or more current players to register Koundé.
Last month Barcelona sold an initial 25 percent stake in their production hub to Socios.com, a blockchain provider, for another 100 million euros as well as 25 percent of their Spanish league television rights for the next 25 years for nearly 670 million euros ($689 million).
All told, the heavily indebted Catalan club has mortgaged their future for 870 million euros ($895 million) to sign Lewandowski, Raphinha and Koundé for a combined 160 million euros ($165 million). Kessié and Christensen arrived as free agents.
But the Spanish league has strict financial requirements that limit the amount clubs can spend on players’ salaries and transfers based on the clubs’ financial health. Despite efforts to reduce costs and pay down their debt, Barcelona still hold 1 billion euros ($1 billion) in debt and has seen their salary cap slashed by the league in recent seasons.
Earlier on Friday, coach Xavi Hernández said he was “optimistic” that he can have his new players available for the first game of the season.
“Everyone at the club is very optimistic,” Xavi said. “We have until two hours before the match.”
The club are also pushing to sell players with big salaries like Frenkie de Jong or players unwanted by Xavi such as Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite.
Orpheus Media is run by Catalan businessman Jaume Roures, the owner of Mediapro, a major television company involved in Spanish soccer but whose 2020 broadcast rights deal for the French league collapsed. Roures was a major financial backer of Barcelona club president Joan Laporta when he returned to run the financially troubled club in 2021.
Roures said on Friday that he was not sure if the money he paid Barcelona would be sufficient.
“The league won’t have any problems with this operation,” Roures told Cadena SER radio. “If the 100 million euros are enough, I don’t know. If it isn’t, the (necessary) amount must be close to that.”
Xavi also said that Barcelona may not be done signing new players, but that any arrivals would have to come after current players were sold. Barcelona are linked to interest in Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, who would provide competition for Jordi Alba at left back.
Laporta at least was able to avoid the embarrassment of having Lewandowski watching from the Camp Nou stands on Saturday.


Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees
Updated 13 August 2022

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees
  • New signing Antonio Rudiger is also on the list but there was no room for the German midfielder Kroos
  • "It surprises me a bit, because Kroos had a fantastic season," quipped Ancelotti in a press conference

MADRID: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Saturday said he was surprised that German midfielder Toni Kroos did not feature on the list of 30 finalists for the Ballon d’Or.
Five members of the Champions League winning side were nominated on Friday in the shape of Thibault Cortois, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior and favorite Karim Benzema.
New signing Antonio Rudiger is also on the list but there was no room for the German midfielder Kroos.
“It surprises me a bit, because Kroos had a fantastic season... But it’s true that it could be a problem if we named all the Real Madrid players, I can understand that,” quipped Ancelotti in a press conference ahead of Madrid’s Liga opener at Almeria on Sunday.
“But (Federico) Valverde, (Eder) Militao, (David) Alaba... all deserve to be there.
“All of them had a fantastic season. I’m not talking about winning the Ballon d’Or, but they deserve to be on the list.”
Ancelotti was particularly pleased with the inclusion of Brazilian forward Vinicius on the 30-strong list of nominees.
“He scored the winning goal in our 14th Champions League, he had an incredible season,” said the Italian.
“He doesn’t care if he finishes fourth or second. For the players, only victory matters. He will do better in the future. But unfortunately for Vini, this season, we already have the winner with us.”
Ancelotti was in little doubt, it seems, that French striker Benzema, who is hotly tipped to succeed would walk away with the award.
The Ballon d’Or will be awarded on October 17.
Real Madrid will kick off the defense of their La Liga title at newly-promoted Almería.
“We are feeling good, we have all the hope in the world as we start this season,” said Ancelotti, adding that “each game will be very difficult, starting tomorrow.”


Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem wins 3 silvers at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem wins 3 silvers at Islamic Solidarity Games
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem wins 3 silvers at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem wins 3 silvers at Islamic Solidarity Games
  • Kingdom’s handball team reaches semifinals after topping group

KONYA: Weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem on Friday claimed three more medals for Saudi Arabia at the fifth edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey.

Al-Saleem’s three silver medals came in the 61 kilogram division after he managed a lift of 123 kilograms in the Snatch category, 154 kilograms in the Clean and Jerk, and a points total of 277 to finish second overall.

Saudi’s medal tally on Friday night stood at 15, with one gold, 10 silvers and four bronzes.

Al-Saleem’s teammate Nawaf Al-Mazeedi finished seventh overall in the under-67 kilogram competition with a points total of 296 (136 in Snatch, 160 in Clean and Jerk).

In the women’s weightlifting competition, Saudi’s Al-Anoud Al-Shehri took sixth place in the 59 kilogram division with a total of 141 points, a new personal record.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia reached the semifinals of the handball competition after playing out a 27-27 draw with Qatar in their final group match.

With that result, the Kingdom qualified to the last four as group winners on goal difference, and will now face hosts Turkey on Saturday evening.

Qatar will meet Iran in the other semifinal.


Omar Al-Somah departs Al-Ahli as Saudi Pro League legend

Omar Al-Somah departs Al-Ahli as Saudi Pro League legend
Updated 13 August 2022

Omar Al-Somah departs Al-Ahli as Saudi Pro League legend

Omar Al-Somah departs Al-Ahli as Saudi Pro League legend
  • The highest-scoring foreign striker in the league’s history has joined Al-Arabi of Qatar on loan after the Jeddah club’s relegation

Meeting Omar Al-Somah at the 2019 Asian Cup, I asked him what ambitions he had remaining in his career with his 30th birthday fast approaching.

“I just want to score as many goals as possible and help my club and country win as many games as possible,” he replied. He may feel some regret about not appearing at the World Cup with Syria, but when it comes to his club career his achievements will one day be seen as legendary.

There are always headlines and attention given to the big-name foreign strikers who come to the Saudi Professional League, and understandably so. The likes of Odion Ighalo and Bafetimbi Gomis arrived in the country with resumes full of international appearances and spells with big clubs in big leagues. Yet, there are forwards from other Arab nations that come and score more and do so for longer. Abderrazak Hamdallah is one. The Moroccan marksman has played just 82 league games in Saudi Arabia for Al-Nassr and now Al-Ittihad and has found the target an incredible 87 times.

And then there is Al-Somah, the most consistent of all. No foreign striker has scored as many in the history of the SPL and, after joining Al-Ahli in 2014, he has finally departed and joined Al-Arabi on loan for one season, a deal that will cost the Qatari club what will surely be a bargain amount of $3.2 million.

It was only following Al-Ahli’s shock relegation last season that he left.

The second tier is no place for a player of such talents and there were plenty of offers from across the region but Al-Ahli preferred a loan move.

That is because his statistics are something special. Al-Somah played 240 games in all competitions for the Jeddah giants and scored an amazing 192 goals and contributed 30 assists. His 144 league goals are a record for a foreign player. The only other non-Saudi star in the top 10 all-time goalscorers is Hamdallah. 

From 2014 to 2017, the striker from the east of Syria won the Golden Boot in three consecutive seasons. His goals played a big part in Al-Ahli winning their fourth title in 2016 as well as bringing other trophies such as the Saudi Super Cup, the King’s Cup and the Saudi Crown Prince Cup to the Red Sea Port.

It is with a heavy heart that he leaves his home of almost a decade.

“I played eight years with Al-Ahli,” he said. “During that time I helped win the league championship and was the league’s top scorer three times, but the most important thing is the collective achievement. I leave Al-Ahly after such a long time and it comes as a shock but I will try my best to adapt to my new team.”

“I know Al-Arabi Club and I am honored to play in the Qatari league and I hope to leave an imprint with the team,” Al-Somah said. 

He should do just that. Before arriving in Saudi Arabia, he scored plenty of goals for his hometown club of Al-Fotuwa before moving to Kuwaiti giants Al-Qadsia in 2011, where he continued to score almost a goal a game over three seasons.

It is testament to the quality of Al-Somah’s marksmanship that a total of 22 goals over the past two seasons seems relatively small.

By that time, Al-Ahli were fading as a force and the warnings that came with the mid-table finish in the 2020-21 season were not heeded, or at least, not dealt with adequately. With Al-Ahli struggling, there was not as much possession and control in games and fewer chances were created. The striker has slowed a little as he passed his 33rd birthday and the power is not quite as explosive. 

He will still score for a while yet but whatever happens, the Syrian leaves Saudi Arabia as a legend. Had Al-Ahli maintained their standards, he could have become the record goalscorer in the Asian Champions League though as it stands, his 25 means that he is number seven on the all-time list. 

Al-Somah also leaves a reminder that it is not all about buying players from South American, English Premier League or Ligue 1 clubs.

He arrived from Kuwait back in 2014 when few would have predicted that he would last so many seasons and score so many goals for Al-Ahli. As deals go, it wasn’t seen as the biggest or the most exciting but it has been one of the most successful.

In fact, it has been legendary and whether he returns to terrorize Saudi Arabian defenses again or not, Omar Al-Somah will never be forgotten.


Gamers8 unveils dedicated space for Saudi’s Team Falcons

Gamers8 unveils dedicated space for Saudi’s Team Falcons
Updated 13 August 2022

Gamers8 unveils dedicated space for Saudi’s Team Falcons

Gamers8 unveils dedicated space for Saudi’s Team Falcons
  • Falcon Arena and Falcon District will feature activities for gaming enthusiasts

RIYADH: Gamers8 has announced that Team Falcons, Saudi Arabia’s biggest esports outfit, will have its own dedicated space at the Riyadh event until the end of the season.

Fresh from a second-place finish in “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege,” Team Falcons are now set for more acknowledgment by having two dedicated areas at the event, which runs daily at Boulevard Riyadh City until Sept. 8.

The first area is the Falcon Arena, which features gaming tournaments, meet-and-greet activities with influencers and content creators, as well as a live cooking show. The second area, the Falcon District, features merchandise, a gaming PC center, a museum that showcases the team’s accomplishments, an academy titled “Learn to be a PRO,” as well as a streaming area.

Mosaad Al-Dossary, FIFA eWorld Cup winner and CEO of Team Falcons, said: “Team Falcons are delighted to play such a distinguished role in the unprecedented success of Gamers8. It has been an incredible season at Boulevard Riyadh City so far, packed with outstanding esports play — and not least from Team Falcons.

“The addition of the Falcon Arena and Falcon District to the plethora of entertainment activities at Gamers8 is certain to encourage those who have yet to attend the event, as well as usher back those who want more. The Saudi Esports Federation is responsible for nurturing elite gaming athletes and developing the gaming community and industry in Saudi Arabia, and Team Falcons is both honored and thrilled to be part of this latest initiative in doing so. We look forward to seeing everyone.”

Both the Falcon Arena and Falcon District are open daily from 6 p.m. until midnight.