GP3

Arden International’s Kevin Ceccon takes victory in GP3 Race 2

 The smile could not be bigger for Kevin Ceccon: The Italian started today’s race from the front row in second place and made a strong start to sneak into the lead. The Arden International driver held off ART Grand Prix’s Esteban Ocon to collect his first win in the GP3 Series and pocketed two bonus points for posting the fastest lap. Jenzer Motorsport rookie Ralph Boschung achieved his debut rostrum in the category with third position.
Race 2 at Silverstone of the third round of the 2015 season was run in much cooler and overcast conditions compared to yesterday’s heatwave. Boschung started from reverse pole but had too much wheel-spin which dropped the Swiss debutant to third, with Ceccon and Ocon making good starts to pass him. Yesterday’s race winner Marvin Kirchhöfer started from eighth on the grid and was up to P5 after an excellent start but as always the opening lap is frenetic with positions changing and after the first lap he had dropped to P8. Koiranen GP’s Jimmy Eriksson was up to fourth ahead of Emil Bernstorff, Matthew Parry and Series leader Luca Ghiotto (Trident).
Ocon was all over the rear of Ceccon’s car on the opening lap, desperate to find a way through into the lead but the Italian covered off his advances and built up a small advantage of 1.2s early on. His Arden International teammate Bernstorff was also on the attack, the Brit was aiming for P4 and attempted a brave move on the outside of Eriksson but unfortunately he carried too much speed into the corner and ran wide. In the process he lost a place to Parry.
All eyes were on the battle of the Koiranen GP teammates: Eriksson and Parry. The Brit was fresh from his first podium yesterday was seeking another and glued himself to the Swede’s machine. This was a titanic tussle that raged throughout the 15 lap race.
Meanwhile at the front Ceccon had control of the race and was busy posting fastest laps and building his lead to 2.3s, but with four laps to go, his French rival Ocon began to light up the timing screens, reducing the deficit to just over a second. The Italian responded however and pulled a small advantage with a mature and confident drive to achieve his debut win in the GP3 Series.
On the penultimate lap, Parry went for the move on his teammate Eriksson and the duo raced side-by-side towards Maggots but the Brit got huge over-steer coming out of Becketts, costing him crucial time in the battle.
At the chequered flag, Ceccon’s joy was clear to see, finishing 1.5s ahead of Ocon, with Boschung seven seconds adrift. Eriksson withstood the gigantic pressure from Parry to clinch fourth, with Bernstorff, Ghiotto and Kirchhöfer completing the top eight.
Ghiotto retains the lead in the Drivers’ Standings: The Italian now has a five point lead over Kirchhöfer (the duo on 82 and 77 respectively). Ocon has moved up to third place on 64, one point ahead of Bernstorff.
ART Grand Prix remain on top inthe Teams’ Standings on 142 points, with Trident next up on 101 and Arden International on 96.
Round 4 will take place at the Hungaroring in Budapest on July 24-26.

F1Weekly podcast # 684

Clark and Nasir share their British Grand Prix preview with all the listeners. This weeks Motorsports Mondial has a special bonus…Peter Brazier’s Formula E report from London. And our extra bonus… some thoughts from Nico Hulkenberg on this weekends Grand Prix.

Nico: “I’m really looking forward to Silverstone – the team’s home race. We go there with a lot of momentum following the strong performance in Austria where we really maximised everything. The circuit suited us, of course, but the field was really close and it was up to us to get a good result, which we did. Finishing sixth was probably the maximum we could get from the race and to come away with a good bunch of points was very satisfying. I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the upgraded VJM08 at Silverstone, which will give us the first impression of what we can expect in the second half of the season.
 
“Silverstone is one of the best races on the calendar. The fans are great and it’s hard to find an empty seat anywhere. The atmosphere is buzzing and that always gives me an extra boost. I usually go to the campsites to see the fans and it’s great to see everybody having such a good time. Because it’s our home race, I also get to spend more time at the factory with the team members who don’t usually go to races.
 
“As a circuit, Silverstone gives you a great feeling when you’re driving, especially in the fast corners: to get a good lap together on such a difficult track is an amazing feeling.”

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GP2

Haryanto leads the way in Silverstone

Rio Haryanto’s good form has carried over to Silverstone where the Indonesian topped the timesheets in this morning’s free practice session, leading the way ahead of Williams test driver Alex Lynn and McLaren tester (and points leader) Stoffel Vandoorne by less than a tenth.
The Indonesian driver stopped the clock with a time of 1:40.659, half a second quicker that Raffaele Marciello’s best time in this session last year, a third of the way through the session on a clear track when most of his rivals had returned to the pits for fresh tyres and, despite having plenty of time left, they were unable to match his time.
The session got underway under glorious sunny conditions, with Pierre Gasly, Johnny Cecotto, Marciello, Alexander Rossi and Vandoorne all setting the early pace. The Belgian looked to have the session under control when he returned to the pits for new tyres and a debrief, but Haryanto stayed out to take advantage of the clear track, stealing the top spot in the process.
Alex Lynn had been close to the quick times all session long, and threw everything he had at the top spot with 8 minutes remaining: the Englishman ran a great lap by missed out by just 3 thousandths in a period where few of his rivals improved, a good sign for qualifying this afternoon, but just behind him countryman Nick Yelloly, Rossi, Arthur Pic, Gasly, Marciello, Sergey Sirotkin and Jordan King, who will all be looking to break into the top 3 in just a few hours’ time.

FORMULA 1

Williams Martini Racing British Grand Prix Preview

‘The Home of British Motorsport’ is naturally a treasured place in Williams’ heart and not only because the team won both its first and 100th Grand Prix at the circuit. The track consists of long sweeping corners and fast straights, making it one of the quickest laps on the calendar. The race at Silverstone is the joint-oldest  consecutively staged Grand Prix along with Monza and a race Williams has won the British Grand Prix no less than 10 times (eight times at Silverstone and twice at Brands Hatch) including four consecutive years from 1991 to 1994. Williams were once again on the podium with Valtteri Bottas in 2014.
ROB SMEDLEY
Silverstone should be another circuit, like the last two, that suits the characteristics of our car. We have a car that is very strong in a straight line, aided by the Mercedes power unit and the low drag configuration that we tend to run. In addition the car is strong through the high-speed corners. Last year it was an exceptional circuit for us with Valtteri coming from near the back of the grid to second position. Our target is to replicate the result from last year and get our third consecutive podium of the season. One thing we must consider is the weather, as it can be changeable throughout the weekend and will be key in our operations. It’s always great to have a home grand prix and the team get a great reception from the passionate crowd which resonates well with all the guys. We hope we can put on a good performance for them.
VALTTERI BOTTAS
I always enjoy the race at Silverstone. This is normally the only chance some of the team from the factory get to see the car on track which is important. We do expect to be strong here, as the overall downforce has improved with the updates we took to Austria. After a podium for me last year and two podiums for the team in the last two races, I think we should be looking, once again, to take the fight to the cars around us in the Championship.
FELIPE MASSA
Silverstone is a great circuit, with long high-speed corners which will suit the car’s characteristics. Heading to the team’s home race, we are looking to make it a hat trick of podiums, and spirits within the team are high right now. I hope we can give the home fans another positive result and we can continue the positive momentum from the last few weeks.

FORMULA 1

PASTOR MALDONADO’S BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW.

Two Seventh-place finishes in the last two races have buoyed Pastor Maldonado who is excited for what he views as a home race in Silverstone.

Points again; tell us about your Austrian Grand Prix:

It was a good weekend. In the race we made a poor start due to a small issue, but after that I was able to drive a good race. I stayed on the pace of the cars ahead for my first stint, even though I was on the harder tyres, then when I changed to the super softs I was able to push, even though we did a very long stint on those tyres. It was a satisfying race and I was very happy to take seventh position near the end.

How much of a boost does it give you to get two good finishes in from the past two races?

It’s good for me and it’s good for all of the team. It was frustrating for everyone to be pushing so hard with no reward until Canada, so to score in Canada and Austria has been great. Scoring is what we’re all here for so we’ll keep pushing for points at every race.

Where do your tyre management skills come from?

I think there are two factors. Firstly, you soon learn as a racing driver that you have to manage your tyres and if you use up all the performance early on you’ll suffer later. The other thing I think that helps me is listening to my engineers and doing what they tell me. They have far more data than me so are in a better position to make any decisions either before or during a race.

What did you think of that shimmy in the race?

I’ve seen it on TV now and it looked pretty good! It was a great battle but I’m glad I was able to finish ahead of Max Verstappen and take seventh place. We were both pushing hard, though it’s sometimes a little funny when you read the headlines afterwards and then compare it to what you said. I had no real issue with Max’s driving; he was maybe a little over the limit in his defence of position at times but we all do that as racing drivers. If the Stewards watching think the driving was fine then that’s fine by me.

What are your thoughts of the British Grand Prix?

I’ve won at Silverstone in the GP2 Series and I’ve always really liked the circuit. I’ve spent so much time in England that it’s like a second home to me, especially as I have family who live very close to the circuit in Oxfordshire. It’s a great event coming mid-season and it always provides an interesting race. It’s always a very special event for the teams based nearby and the support all drivers get there is amazing with some of the most knowledgeable fans in the world. I’m looking forward to racing just down the road from the Lotus F1 Team factory and seeing many familiar faces over the weekend.

What do you think of Silverstone as a circuit?

I think that Silverstone is an amazing track. It has a great history, it’s fast and the change to the most recent layout hasn’t really changed the nature of the track too much. It’s always a special place to visit and you know that you’re always there for the racing as it’s not on the doorstep of a big city. I have always enjoyed racing at Silverstone since my first visit back in 2007. I also have good memories of it as I have had some great races there, including winning in both 2009 and 2010 in the GP2 Series.

Which parts of the circuit do you like in particular?

My favourite corner is Becketts as it is really quick through there. I think the track will suit our car because it’s similar to Barcelona and it’s also very fun to drive with sections like Maggots and Becketts which really test you as a driver.

What about the feeling of racing somewhere which so many teams call home?

Certainly, it’s home for many, many people who work in the paddock and you do get a special feeling there. The support you get from the fans is amazing; let’s hope the weather is too!

F1Weekly podcast # 683

Clark and Nasir suffer through another Mercedes win in Austria we have Motorsports Mondial with the King of K-town and 50 words from the F1W familia and…Our friends at Citroen continue to dominate the WTCC

CITROËN TRIUMPHS ON HOME TURF

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 - CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD - RACE OF FRANCE - WTCC-26/06/2015 A 28/06/2015 - PHOTO : @World<p style=

– As well as proving a great success with the public, the French round of the FIA WTCC at the Paul Ricard Circuit has ended in glory for Citroën!

– In Race 1, Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller, José María López and Ma Qing Hua claimed the top four places for the Citroën Total team.

– In Race 2, Pechito López produced a spectacular performance to work his way up the field and return to winning ways. He was joined on the podium by Ma Qing Hua, who finished third.

– The results mean José María López once again has a little breathing space at the top of the World Championship, with Citroën also extending its advantage in the Manufacturer standings.

Summer has well and truly arrived in Provence, and the sun was shining for the crowds who came along to witness the FIA WTCC races at the Paul Ricard Circuit. The Race 1 starting grid augured well for the Citroën clan, with Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller, José María López and Ma Qing Hua occupying the first two rows.

Starting from pole, Sébastien Loeb kept his advantage when the lights went out. José María López tried to get into his slipstream, but Yvan Muller closed the door. So Loeb came out of the first bend in front, with Muller, López and Ma in pursuit.

Keen to put himself out of his teammates’ reach, Sébastien Loeb quickly opened up a lead of a few lengths. Behind him, there was a fierce battle raging between Muller and López. Ma was monitoring the situation closely, on the lookout for the slightest opportunity. Despite a few valiant efforts from Pechito, the four-time World Champion held on to second spot until the chequered flag, and the official Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs thus picked up the first four places in exactly the same order as in qualifying.

As always, Race 2 promised to be a much livelier affair! Starting from pole position after clocking the tenth-fastest time in qualifying, Mehdi Bennani pulled off a fraction too early, giving the Moroccan driver a handsome but illusory lead over Michelisz, Monteiro, López, Ma and Loeb! The three Citroën drivers had succeeded in working their way through the pack, but Yvan Muller was not able to emulate them, finishing lap 1 in tenth position.

Mehdi Bennani was then duly handed a drive-through for his false start, which resulted in all the other drivers moving up one place. There were a number of tussles going on, with Monteiro and López fighting over second spot, Ma and Loeb locking horns for fourth, and Valente and Muller battling it out for ninth!

On lap 4, Sébastien Loeb ran into one of the tyre stacks on the outside of a corner, causing serious damage to the front of his Citroën C-Elysée WTCC which forced him to withdraw from the race.

Three laps later, López tried to sneak past Tiago Monteiro at the end of the straight. Taking an outside line on the first bend, Pechito was hit by his rival, who was sent into a spin! Ma Qing Hua took advantage to slip into second place.

The incident only made José María López more determined. He snatched second place back from Ma Qing Hua on lap 11, before taking the lead with three laps to go. Pechito thus scored his fifth race win of the season, while Ma Qing Hua made his first podium appearance since Marrakech. Yvan Muller ended up fourth after an impressive recovery which saw him get the better of Valente and Van Lagen.

José María López now has a 39-point lead over Yvan Muller in the World Championship, while Sébastien Loeb is now 74 points in arrears. The battle for fourth place couldn’t be tighter, with Monteiro on 114 points, Ma on 113, Michelisz on 112 and Tarquini on 110! Citroën is now 193 points clear at the top of the Manufacturers World Championship.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Racing: “After picking up the top four places in qualifying, our drivers finished the job by repeating the feat in Race 1. It’s very satisfying to see Seb win in front of his home crowd, particularly as this was his first win in a race that, more than anything, rewards pure performance. In Race 2, Pechito went out there like a man possessed in search of a win. After two meetings without a victory, he was determined to get back on the top step of the podium! I must also pay tribute to the consistency of Ma Qing Hua, who produced one of his most solid weekends since he joined our team. Yvan would have done better had it not been for two average starts. Our drivers are at such a similar standard that the slightest error can have a huge influence on the outcome. It has been a great weekend for Citroën Racing, for the FIA WTCC and for French motorsport!”

Sébastien Loeb: “First of all, I was really pleased to be starting from pole position for the first time in the FIA WTCC. I didn’t get a great start. I didn’t handle the clutch well and I found myself battling to hold on to my position in the first lap. After pulling a few lengths clear thanks to the scrap between Yvan and Pechito, I was able to drive with greater peace of mind, keeping to my racing line. “I got a good start in Race 2 and found myself on the tail of Ma Qing Ha. I made a stupid mistake on Turn 4 and hit the tyre stack on the outside. There was just too much damage and I had to give up. Despite notching up my third win of the season, it’s not been a positive meeting for me overall, as I’ve fallen further behind in the Championship.”

José María López: “I didn’t think I would be able to win on a circuit where it is so difficult to overtake! I took the wrong option at the start of Race 2, and the gap I wanted to move into closed up. But I reacted well and I didn’t lose any places. After passing Ma Qing Hua, I went after Tiago. He ran into me and I don’t feel any responsibility for him spinning off. Qing Hua took advantage to move past us, but I managed to come back at him, despite the car pulling to the left slightly. I moved back into second, got into a good rhythm, and went after Norbert Michelisz. He was very sporting and didn’t try and resist for the sake of it. It’s incredible to have won here. I’m delighted.”

Yvan Muller: “Race 1 was decided on the first lap. As I couldn’t find a way past Seb, I concentrated on holding on to my second place until the finish. I didn’t get off to the best start in Race 2. I managed to come back, but it was too late to do any better than fourth. This weekend hasn’t been quite so good as the previous two, but that’s racing!”

Ma Qing Hua: “It’s really satisfying to be back on the podium. I want to thank the team, who gave 100% to make it happen! Finishing fourth in the first race behind three World Champions was a gratifying result. I couldn’t have hoped for better, as it’s almost impossible to overtake someone in the same car as you here. I took a risk at the start of Race 2 by trying to sneak past on the outside on the first bend, but it paid off. After that, Pechito was just terrific. I didn’t think he would overtake me so quickly! It’s been a good weekend for me. I hope I can maintain this standard over the next few meetings.”

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The Premiere Motorsport Podcast