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Antonio Felix da Costa has been excluded from qualifying for Long Beach ePrix after running below legal tyre pressure, handing Sam Bird pole.

The Team Aguri driver, who finished eighth overall in the inaugural Formula E championship, had notched up his maiden pole in the all-electric series ahead of DS Virgin's Bird on the front row.

But in post-qualifying scrutineering it was discovered da Costa's left rear tyre was narrowly under the legal pressure limit and as a result was excluded from the qualifying results, promoting Bird into pole position and the rest of the field up a place.

Formula E championship leader Sebastien Buemi had yet another qualifying to forget after only reaching a promoted seventh place in the group sessions and missed the shootout entirely.

The Renault e.dams driver's nearest title rival Lucas di Grassi, who was disqualified for an underweight car after winning in Mexico last time out, will line-up alongside Bird in second with Stephane Sarrazin and Nick Heidfeld completing row two.

In group one Bird set the pace with a 56.821s while championship leader Buemi could only manage the third-fastest time in his qualifying group which heavily stacked the odds against him on making the pole shootout.

In the second group Stephane Sarrazin produced a surprise lap to jump to second overall while in the penultimate group FP2 timesheet-topper Daniel Abt claimed fourth to push Buemi to the cusp.

With the writing on the wall Buemi was duly dumped out of the shootout as da Costa, di Grassi and Heidfeld all made it into the top five meaning the Formula E championship leader will start on the back of the fourth row.

 

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