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British driver Jake Dennis of Avalanche Andretti delivered a commanding lights-to-flag performance to win the first race in the 2022 SABIC London E-Prix doubleheader on Saturday, repeating his exploits of last season on the outdoor/indoor street circuit at ExCeL London.

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returned to ExCeL London following last season’s debut but was open to full capacity after last year’s COVID-19 restrictions limited access. Thousands of fans at the east London venue gave victorious Dennis a standing ovation after he repelled the early advances of Drivers’ World Championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne to win the race and delight the cheering home crowd.

Mercedes-EQ’s Vandoorne was content to play it cool to come home second for a 17th Formula E podium, with his closest championship rivals marooned down the pack.

In fact, by the end of the first lap, both drivers trailing Vandoorne in the drivers’ standings — Edoardo Mortara of ROKiT Venturi Racing in second and Mitch Evans of Jaguar TCS Racing in third — had been in the wars, with Mortara forced to retreat into the pit, which put him entirely out of the fight.

Reigning champion Nyck de Vries played rear gunner for teammate Vandoorne to occupy Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) who was chasing hard toward the end of the race.

It was mission accomplished for Dutchman de Vries who held on to claim third place. Cassidy would settle for fourth after clambering through the pack with relative ease, heading home ahead of Oliver Askew who made it two Avalanche Andrettis in the top five.

Mitch Evans was able to pick up valuable championship points in sixth, which was the best of the other top-four title contenders heading into the weekend, with Vergne unable to free himself from the midfield mire in 13th and Mortara squarely last after Lap 1 contact.

That left the advantage firmly with Vandoorne in the Drivers’ World Championship as an 11-point margin became a 26-point lead with Evans moving to second ahead of Mortara.

In the teams race, Mercedes-EQ stretched to a 37-point lead on DS TECHEETAH.

It is back to ExCeL London on Sunday for round 14 in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and the last stop before Season 8 concludes with rounds 15 and 16 in Seoul, the first time the all-electric series has visited South Korea.

“Honestly it was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done, just physically. As the rubber gets down on the surface, it’s an indoor surface, it’s so hard to turn the steering wheel. But we managed 45 minutes, and honestly the car was amazing,” Dennis said.

“So it was a technical race trying to manage Stoffel and Nyck, obviously two teammates working together. So I had to manage that and the team did a great job, the car was incredible, and the strategy was strong. And then it was just a case of bringing it home in the last 15 laps and being careful of Stoffel’s Fanboost,” he said.

“But yeah, insane race, and honestly when I crossed the checkered flag hearing the fans was one of the best experiences of my life — so, so cool. So big thank you to all the fans out here and the British support.”

“I’ve never experienced anything like it. And obviously being in the indoor and the lights and seeing everyone stand up — it was just a lifetime memory. We’ve got to do a job tomorrow and obviously we’ve got to try to repeat this.”

Vandoorne said: “It was a good day today finishing second. Well done to Jake — I think he had an incredible day. Already in the practice sessions he was very fast and managed to get pole position, and then he drove a very intelligent race. For us, there was really no answer to him. I tried to stay as close as possible for as long as I could, but on this circuit it wasn’t enough to get him. But great team results, second and third. So yeah, let’s keep pushing — three to go, and tomorrow is another opportunity.”

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At least 174 dead after crowd crush at Indonesian football match

At least 174 people died and hundreds were injured in violence and a crowd crush after an Indonesian league football match, the deputy east Java governor has said.

Supporters of the Javanese clubs and longtime rivals Arema and Persebaya Surabaya clashed after Arema were defeated 3-2 at the match in Malang Regency, East Java.

Supporters from the losing side invaded the pitch and authorities fired teargas, leading to a crush and cases of suffocation, said East Java’s police chief, Nico Afinta.

Thirty-four people died in the Kanjuruhan stadium and the rest while in hospital, and hundreds were injured, he said. Two police officers were among the dead.

Many people were crushed and suffocated when they ran to one exit, Afinta said.

“They went out to one point at the exit, then there was a buildup – in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen.”

A police spokesperson later put the death toll at 129 in one of the world’s deadliest sporting stadium disasters. A hospital director told local TV that one victim was aged five.

Indonesia’s chief security minister, Mahfud MD, said the number of spectators exceeded the capacity of the Kanjuruhan stadium.

He said in an Instagram post on Sunday that 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium that had a capacity to hold 38,000 people.

The head of the Malang Regency health office, Wiyanto Wijoyo, said earlier that officials were still collating the numbers of injured.

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Entertainment

‘French Spiderman’ climbs first skyscraper with son in Barcelona

Alain Robert, the free climber dubbed the “French Spiderman”, scaled one of Barcelona’s highest skyscrapers on Saturday without a harness. And for the first time ever, the famous daredevil was joined by his son.

“This time is different. My son is not a climber so I feel responsible somehow,” Robert said while preparing for the climb.

“I know he’s a big boy, 34. It’s his own decision, but at the end of the day I am his dad.”

Bystanders and Spanish police watched as the 60-year-old and his son, Julien, climbed the 144m Torre Glories, formerly the Torre Agbar, a glass-covered office building designed by architect Jean Nouvel and famed for its night-time illuminations.

“I feel very stressed. I’ve never been so scared in my life,” Julien said just before they started.

“I’ve done scary things in life, but this is… I’ve never been so afraid for my life. Fortunately, I have my father who will talk to me, will guide me.”

The pair completed the climb in less than an hour and were met at the top by police, who escorted them down the more traditional way, inside the building, and did not arrest them.

Julien, who spent eight years in the army and is a keen sportsman, prepared for his first climb by watching videos of his father’s previous ascents.

Alain Robert began climbing in 1975, training on the cliffs near his hometown of Valence in southern France.

He took up solo climbing in 1977, since when he has climbed more than 150 buildings, including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, the Eiffel Tower, and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Robert rarely gets permission and climbs without a harness, using only his bare hands, a pair of climbing shoes, and a bag of powdered chalk.

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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Sports

Contract will not stop England sacking me, admits Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate has admitted that having two years left on his contract will not protect him from the sack if England flop at the World Cup this winter.

Southgate, whose deal runs until December 2024 and takes in that year’s European Championship, is under growing pressure before England close their disastrous Nations League campaign by hosting Germany at Wembley on Monday evening. The manager was booed by his own supporters after his side’s 1-0 defeat against Italy in Milan last Friday, a result that relegated the Euro 2020 finalists to the second tier of the Nations League, and the 52-year-old knows his future could depend on what happens in Qatar this winter.

“I am not foolish,” Southgate said. “My sole focus at the moment is to get the team right for tomorrow and then we are focusing on a good performance and a good result. I know ultimately I will be judged on what happens at that World Cup.

“Contracts are irrelevant in football because managers can have three-, four-, five‑year contracts and you accept that, if results are not good enough it is time to go your separate ways. Why would I be any different? I am not arrogant enough to think that my contract is going to protect me in any way.”

England has gone five games without a competitive win for the first time since 1992 and have not scored a goal from open play for 450 minutes. The lack of creativity has become a huge issue and Southgate, who is expected to stick with a 3-4-3 system against Germany, was realistic when it was pointed out that he continues to enjoy firm backing from the Football Association.

“I am absolutely appreciative of that,” he said. “But we understand how the mood changes with the results and has changed. I am realistic about that and I will be judged on what we do in Qatar and I am perfectly happy to be judged in that way. History is history and you are judged on the next match and the next tournament.”

Southgate, who could start Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier in the wing‑back positions and recall John Stones in central defence, could do without the Wembley crowd turning on him against Germany. He has united supporters behind him since becoming manager six years ago but the public mood is starting to turn.

“Part of the reason we’ve been successful in tournaments has been the feeling of togetherness,” Southgate said. “We can’t succeed with fans against us, or you guys not feeling warm towards us. It’s harder if we’re having to battle with the opposition and then battle with things on our own island. Only we can rectify that by performances and results.”

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