WTCC

FROM THE NÜRBURGRING TO THE HUNGARORING

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 - MOROCCO - MARRAKECH WTCC-17/04/2015 TO 19/04/2015 - PHOTO : @tWorld <pJust a few days after their triumphant weekend in Marrakech, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs are returning to action in an entirely different setting!
– On Tuesday, the drivers will be hard at work on the Nürburgring Nordschleife track, in a test day to prepare them for the German round of the FIA WTCC on 14-16 May.
– The Citroën Total team will then head to the Hungaroring to contest the third meeting of the season.
– The four official Citroën drivers are currently sitting atop the World Drivers’ Championship, with José María López leading the way, ahead of Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua.

After a long interlude to give them time to transport all their gear across the Atlantic from Argentina to Morocco, the FIA World Touring Car Championship teams are about to embark upon a three-month tour of Europe, with trips to Hungary, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, France and Portugal following in quick succession, offering the competitors little respite until mid-July.

On their way from Versailles to Budapest, the Citroën Racing team will make a quick detour to the Eifel mountains to take part in a day of collective testing at the Nürburgring. Next Tuesday, all the WTCC drivers will be doing their best to get to grips with the ‘Gesamstrecke’, a circuit that includes all but a few chicanes of F1’s legendary Nordschleife. They will negotiate 170 ‘official’ turns on a 25.947 km track… all in a little under 9 minutes.

For Citroën Racing’s engineers, it will be a particularly important day. “More than anything, it’s a meeting that has required a lot of preparation from the drivers,” explains Xavier Mestelan, Citroën Racing’s Technical Director. “A few months ago, they went and did a few laps of the Nordschleife in mass-produced cars. They then carried on the process of memorising the track on our simulator. Now, we’re going to be able to put all that into practice. It’s hard to sum up a circuit like that in just a few words, but we already know that we’ll have to have our cars sitting rather higher than usual because of the bumpy surface. It’s not a rally, but we’ll have to complet ely review our setup in terms of suspension and aerodynamics. The circuit also poses a major challenge for the engine, with one long straight which requires the cars to maintain top speed for almost 40 seconds.”

Unlike at traditional test sessions, where each day a new driver takes his turn in a car dedicated to development, Sébastien Loeb, José María López, Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller will be using the same Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs they race in. The technical team will therefore be able to compare the data acquired to work towards the best possible setup. “The length of the circuit will force us to change our approach,” Xavier Mestelan continues. “On a 26 km track, we obviously won’t be able to work bend-by-bend as we normally do. We’ll have to divide the circuit into sections and find the best compromises we can. The cars will have to be easy to drive, but also precise in their hand ling due to the various hidden turns.

GP3

Varhaug fastest on day two in Barcelona

Jenzer Motorsport’s Pal Varhaug tops both sessions in Spain

Norwegian Pal Varhaug clocked the fastest time in both the morning and afternoon session at the Circuit De Catalunya, Barcelona. His best time of 1:34.867 was set in the morning.

Sunshine greeted the GP3 Series paddock for the second and final day of pre-season testing. It was a busy start to the morning with all 24 drivers eager to make the most of the conditions. Varhaug led the way early on just 0.011’s faster than Campos Racing’s Alex Palou with Jenzer Motorsport’s Matheo Tuscher and Esteban Ocon (ART Grand Prix) rounding out the top four.
After one hour, the Norwegian driver improved on his personal best to dip into the 1m34’s with Ocon moving up to P2. There was a short break in proceedings when Ashkanani stopped between turns 6-7 and unfortunately again later in the session at Turn 14.
Whilst some teams concentrated on pit-stop practice, Ghiotto shot to P2, two tenths off the Jenzer Motorsport driver’s fastest lap.  The positions at the top remain unchanged and at the chequered flag Varhaug remained in control of the timesheet. Ghiotto, Ocon, Tuscher, Jann Mardenborough, Ralph Boschung, Palou, Marvin Kirchhöfer, Emil Bernstorff and Seb Morris completed the top ten.
Boschung led the start of the afternoon session until Varhaug bettered his time. At the midway point, the Arden International duo of Kevin Ceccon and Emil Bernstorff jumped up to second and third displacing the Swiss rookie. The focus for most teams was long runs with the opening round fast approaching.
As the clock ticked down, nobody was able to improve so for Varhaug ended the day with P1 for both sessions. Behind the Jenzer Motorsport driver at the chequered flag were Ceccon, Bernstorff, Kirchhöfer, Boschung, Adderly Fong, Palou, Ocon, Matthew Parry and Aleksander Bosak.
This marks the end of testing and the GP3 Series will be back at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona in two weeks’ time for the opening round of the 2015 season on 08-10 May.

GP3

Mardenborough quickest on day one

Carlin’s Jann Mardenborough fastest at Barcelona pre-season test

Brit Jann Mardenborough was in excellent form on the opening day of testing clocking the fastest time of the day and finishing P2 in the afternoon session. His best laptime of 1:34.910 remained unbeaten. Seb Morris (Status Grand Prix) topped the afternoon session.

The final pre-season test of the season got underway under grey skies with the 24 drivers setting their installation laps around the Circuit de Catalunya. It was a very quiet morning with no competitive times set until over half of the session had run.
Mardenborough was the early pace setter and first to dip into the 1m34’s, three tenths faster than teammate Antonio Fuoco. Jenzer Motorsport’s Pal Varhaug and Ralph Boschung shot to second and third before a red flag halted proceedings when Samin Gomez testing for Campos Racing stopped at the exit of Turn 5.
Once the action resumed, ART Grand Prix’s Marvin Kirchhöfer and Koiranen GP’s Jimmy Eriksson jumped up the order to P3 and P4 respectively but nobody was able to improve on the best time set by Mardenborough at the chequered flag. Varhaug, Kirchhöfer, Boschung, Eriksson, Esteban Ocon, Fuoco, Alfonso Celis. Jr, Oscar Tunjo, Adderly Fong completed the top ten.
Following the two hour break, Morris was first to top the timings with Campos Racing’s Alex Palou in second. Early on in the session light rain fell, bringing all the drivers back into their garages as they waited for the rain to stop. As the sunshine fought to appear through the thick clouds, drivers returned to track action with times around four seconds off the pace.
In the final forty-five minutes, Mardenborough moved up to P2, one tenth off Morris as the circuit began to dry enough for times to marginally improve. Matthew Parry also found some extra pace to rise to third as the clock ticked down.
Fuoco stopped at turn three in the final minutes which brought out the red flag leaving just one minute remaining. At the chequered flag, Morris remained head of the pack as he had done for the whole afternoon session ahead of Mardenborough, Parry, Palou, Alex Fontana, Sandy Stuvik, Emil Bernstorff, Fuoco, Celis. Jr and Matheo Tuscher.

FORMULA 1

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX DRIVER QUOTES

Kimi Raikkonen:“We had decent speed today, I think we just have to keep working and improving the whole package,” said the 2007 world champion.

“I’m sure we will get there and we can fight every weekend after that.

“I’m very happy with the team and I think many people didn’t expect after last year that we would be in this position this early.

“We will start winning [more] races. We have to be patient and do the same work as we have done so far and we will get there.”

Raikkonen added that Ferrari deserves credit for making gains in all areas following a disappointing 2014 season.

“The whole package has gone forward,” he said. “A big chunk of it is the engine but you cannot give all the credit to them.

“The car has improved a lot, there’s a lot more downforce, it’s handling a lot better.

“All areas have improved, that is the key. People are working more closely, which has helped us get to where we have now.”

Romain Grosjean:“It had been a tough weekend until now for me, so it was really great to get another strong seventh position. Today’s race was great, especially as there was lots of overtaking. I was really hoping to catch Daniel Ricciardo but he was too quick for us today. It was quite difficult to manage tyres, especially with the rears so I think we did a good job to make the two-stop strategy work. We only had new medium compound tyres for the race, the rest were scrubbed, so it really was a great job by the team. It was a good recovery from Friday and Saturday’s session and I’ll happily take seventh place as my birthday gift for myself and the team.”

Pastor Maldonado:“That was a frustrating race for me. I pushed as hard as possible at the start on the medium tyres whilst everyone around me was on the grippier soft compound rubber. Once I moved to the soft tyres I was able to set the race’s then fastest lap so things looked good with our strategy. Unfortunately the engine anti-kill triggered when I came in to make my final pit stop which cost me a lot of time. It’s frustrating as we should have finished strongly. My focus is now Barcelona where I’ve delivered very strongly in the past.”

Valtteri Bottas: I am pleased with the race and happy with fourth position. It was a real shame for the team that Felipe had an issue at the start. It was a lonely race but the final 20 laps were very tough. Sebastian was quicker than me, and closed up behind very fast, but the fight was really good fun. I know a few tricks that can really help to defend and they all worked today, and I am delighted to come out on top today.
Felipe Massa: It was a frustrating day for me to have to start from the pitlane. The car struggled to fire-up and once under way I had a lot of positions to make up. A few laps in at Turn Four, Maldonado ran into the back of me and damaged something. From then on I really struggled with the rear and the car was very hard to drive. It was a difficult day but one point is better than nothing.
DANIEL RICCIARDO:“I think the race went as well as it could and I drove well to finish sixth. The chassis is working better and through the corners we are more or less there; we’ll move onto Europe and see if we can get further up the grid and keep improving. The weekend went pretty smooth for me until the end of the race, I don’t know what happened, but the team will have a look at it.”
DANIIL KVYAT:“I enjoyed the race today, it put a smile on my face. We had a good recovery to finish in the points. We gathered a lot of data to analyse and see what improvements can be made so we can move forward. As a team we want to improve and we’re all working hard to get there – I can feel good vibes are coming.”

FORMULA 1

ANOTHER POLE FOR HAMILTON

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton maintained his 100 per cent pole record for the season by outpacing Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel during Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Kimi Räikkönen.

Hamilton produced a blistering time of 1:32.571 on his final run in the top 10 shootout, almost half a second faster than Vettel’s effort.

Rosberg had a below-par session on his way to third position, while Räikkönen completed the top four in the remaining Ferrari.

Valtteri Bottas placed his Williams fifth, a few tenths up on team-mate Felipe Massa and the lead Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

Force India driver Nico Hülkenberg and Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr. completed just one timed lap each in eighth and ninth, with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean completing the top 10.

Sergio Pérez narrowly missed out on joining team-mate Hülkenberg in Q3, edging out Sauber duo Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, who were this time unable to progress.

Fernando Alonso put McLaren-Honda in Q2 for the first time this season, and also managed to out-qualify Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, as the Dutch teenager lacked power.

It was not so positive for team-mate Jenson Button, however, as his car stopped on track for the third time this weekend and left him on the back of the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Pastor Maldonado and Daniil Kvyat were the other established names to drop out in Q1, with Maldonado encountering engine troubles and Kvyat struggling to get over his FP3 spin.

Manor Marussia pair Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were the last of the timed runners, both drivers getting within 107 per cent of the ultimate pace and making the race on merit.

GP2

Jordan King sets the pace at Bahrain International Circuit

Racing Engineering lead the way with a 1-2 in free practice
The eleventh season of the GP2 Series kicked off today at Bahrain International Circuit with rookie Jordan King setting the pace with a laptime of 1:42.441, a mere 0.01s seconds quicker than his teammate Alexander Rossi.
The trouble-free session opened in scorching temperatures of thirty-five degrees. The DAMS duo were the first to feed onto the track with the rest of the field in tow and on Medium Pirelli tyres. Rossi set the early pace clocking in a laptime time 0.058s better than reigning GP3 Champion Alex Lynn’s in P2. Twelve minutes into the session, King lapped the Bahraini track one hundredth quicker than the American and until the end of the session, no one would better it.
The clock continued to tick down and with seven minutes left, Stoffel Vandoorne stopped at Turn 3 with mechanical gremlins. The first sector was flagged with double yellows and when the track was clear again, no one improved.
At the chequered flag, King led Rossi and Lynn. Vandoorne finished the session in fourth place ahead of Arthur Pic, Rio Haryanto, Pierre Gasly, Mitch Evans, Raffaele Marciello and Nobuharu Matsushita.
The teams will now have time to collect the data and work on the perfect set-up for tonight’s qualifying session which will take place at 20.00 (local time) in cooler temperatures and with soft compounds at everyone’s disposal.
Sakhir – Free Practice
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:42.441
17
2.
Alexander Rossi
Racing Engineering
1:42.451
20
3.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:42.509
18
4.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:42.612
14
5.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:42.948
16
6.
Rio Haryanto
Campos Racing
1:43.043
16
7.
Pierre Gasly
DAMS
1:43.249
18
8.
Mitch Evans
RUSSIAN TIME
1:43.327
16
9.
Raffaele Marciello
Trident
1:43.400
16
10.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:43.422
18
11.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:43.457
18
12.
Julian Leal
Carlin
1:43.581
12
13.
Sergey Sirotkin
Rapax
1:43.581
12
14.
Norman Nato
Arden International
1:43.762
14
15.
Marco Sorensen
Carlin
1:43.774
16
16.
Robert Visoiu
Rapax
1:43.810
13
17.
Richie Stanaway
Status Grand Prix
1:43.814
16
18.
Sergio Canamasas
MP Motorsport
1:43.948
14
19
Nathanaël Berton
Lazarus
1:44.178
14
20.
Rene Binder
Trident
1:44.233
18
21.
Marlon Stockinger
Status Grand Prix
1:44.515
12
22.
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
1:44.517
15
23.
André Negrao
Arden International
1:44.529
14
24.
Zoel Amberg
Lazarus
1:51.825
5

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