Category Archives: Grand Prixview

DAKAR

Renault Duster Team already in the top 5 at Dakar Rally

The Renault Duster Team made a sensational start to the 2015 Dakar Rally. The Emiliano Spataro/Benjamín Lozada crew ended the first leg in fifth place, alongside some of the top specialists of the legendary off-road Rally, held in South America.

Emiliano Spataro and Benjamín Lozada produced a fantastic performance on Sunday’s opening leg of the 2015 Dakar Rally. Driving the Renault Duster entered by Renault Argentina, with the support of Renault Sport Technologies, the South American crew reached Villa Carlos Paz in sixth position, before gaining an extra place after a penalty was handed to Nasser Al-Attiyah. They therefore hold fifth place overall, less than minute behind the leader, Orlando Terranova, and only fourteen seconds adrift of second place, whilst also ending the leg ahead of some very accomplished drivers, such as former winners Carlos Sainz and Stéphane Peterhansel.

This is the best result recorded by the Renault Duster Team at this stage since its debut in 2013. Last year, José García and Mauricio Malano were ninth overall after the first leg.

García and Malano, in the second Renault Duster, also made a good start on Sunday in Argentina. However, held up by poor visibility and difficulties in overtaking the cars ahead of them on the road, they ended the first leg in 37th position, less than 14 minutes off the lead.

 

Overall standings after the first leg, Buenos Aires – Villa Carlos Paz – Dakar 2015

1. Terranova – Graue (Mini) 1:13:12

2. Gordon – Campbell (Hummer) +0:42

3. De Villiers – Von Zitzewitz +0:50

4. Holowicz – Panseri +0:54

5. Spataro – Lozada +0:56

37. García – Malano + 13:55

The two Renault Duster crews will resume their journey on Monday, heading from Villa Carlos Paz to San Juan, covering a total of 625 kilometres, with 518 kilometres of timed stages.

DAKAR 2015

Team Peugeot-Total shift into race mode

The new year is off to a flying start with the engineered acoustics of the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR ready to echo through South America. A successful shakedown exercise was completed following transportation of the cars to Argentina and all pre-race technical scrutineering checks have been passed. Now Team Peugeot-Total sit on the start-line of the 2015 Dakar Rally ready to race the 9,000km of perilous terrain that comprises the world’s toughest rally.

After months of hard work including December’s rigorous testing in Morocco the three race cars were placed on a boat and shipped to Argentina. As the team were reunited with the vehicles in Buenos Aires the tireless efforts recommenced as they set about configuring the cars into race mode.

The objective of the latest test was to finalise the settings on the cars belonging to Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz and Cyril Despres/Gilles Picard ahead of the first special stage of the Dakar on Sunday, January 4.

As an early introduction to the unpredictable nature of this two-week rally the team’s initial plans for a final test were hampered by torrential rainfall in the Argentinian capital. The original site for the shakedown had been an offroad track 30km outside Buenos Aires, but when the team arrived to find the location flooded an alternative was quickly sourced.

“This has been the first time at the Dakar that I have done a shakedown on tarmac, but that was the only option we had because of recent rainfall,” admitted former champion Carlos Sainz. “We were able to come up with a solution that allowed us to test the car and I’m happy that everything was working fine.”

Stéphane Peterhansel has successfully risen to the occasion to win the Dakar 11 times and he once again demonstrated coolness under pressure to put his car through its paces before passing it over to the race authorities for pre-race scrutineering checks. “We have such great team dedicated to looking after our race car,” said Stéphane. “And it’s awesome to see the excitement everyone is feeling for this new challenge.”

 The enthusiasm of car race newcomer Cyril Despres has been infectious since the team’s arrival in South America as he continues he take onboard advice about getting the maximum out of his machine. “The next time I will be in the car will be in Buenos Aires for the podium presentation,” said Cyril. “And then we race the first special stage.

Team principal Bruno Famin was encouraged to see his entire crew of drivers, co-drivers, mechanics and engineers step up to the challenge and complete all assignments scheduled for the days before the first stage. “That’s it, here we are. The entire team has made huge efforts in these last weeks to be ready for this day. I’m proud of what the team has accomplished till now,” said Bruno. “We now face the first stage. And we will consider the others stage after stage.”

With all three PEUGEOT 2008 DKRs tuned up to race the first special stage between Buenos Aires and Villa Carlos Paz on Sunday the team’s preparations are complete.

Formula 1

LOTUS F1 DRIVERS BELGIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Romain Grosjean looks forward to the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Did you have ‘des bonnes vacances’?

Yes, very nice. I spent time with my wife and baby son (Sacha), who celebrated his first birthday just after the Hungarian Grand Prix. We had a great time with our families and holidayed. It is nice to switch off even just for a short time. I come back to the paddock refreshed and with energy restored for the next phase of the season.

What is your mind-set as we go into the second part of the season?

Despite the difficulties so far, I feel positive for the rest of the season to come. We have seen that there have been many issues since the start of the year and even before, but as with everything in life you have to look forward and this is exactly what I am doing. This is now my third full season in F1 and although the disappointments always hurt, I am also mature enough to know that when things get tough you are able to learn more and to try and work toward being successful again. I really hope we can do that together as a team for the remainder of the year. That is the aim.

Spa is a great place to start afresh for the second part of the 2014 season isn’t it?

Yes it is. Spa as we all know is one of the best tracks we go to, if not the best of them all. As a driver it is like a dream circuit with elevation change, quick corners, medium speed technical corners and some good straights for overtaking. It’s a circuit with a soul. I always enjoy racing here, as do most of the drivers. What I find memorable about Spa is not only the track but also the beautiful surroundings in the Ardennes forest. From the cockpit you get a very real sense of being at a living, breathing track at Spa and the fans are really close to the action. You can almost smell the frites!

There is no hiding from the fact 2014 has been tough so far. Going forward what can be achieved in the remaining races?

Well, at the end of the day, all we as drivers can do is to do our best every time we get in the car. It has been a very hard year so far but you have to keep looking ahead and hoping that all of the bad luck, issues and tough times get paid back through our determination to make things better. Ever since I have been at Enstone I have seen this determination to succeed and it will help us. When you match these qualities to the skill of the technical team then we should get some rewards in the remaining races. We need to build some momentum and I will be going all out to make sure we get more points and exploit the best of the E22 for the rest of the season.

Is the target to add more points at Spa?

As always, yes. Since Monaco we have had a succession of really hard races where for many reasons we have not been in the position to claim any points. For Spa I am hoping that there will be some improvements so we can show the potential which has been seen on a few occasions, like at Barcelona. We have to reverse the problems that have held us back and I believe that if we get that then we can post more points on the board.

Pastor Maldonado

RACE DRIVER #13

Pastor Maldonado looks forward to the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix

What have you been doing in the summer break?

Relaxing as much as possible by spending time with my family and friends. The F1 season is intense with travelling, and time seems to go so fast. It is a much needed break but at the same time my brain is always thinking about the team and the car, so part of me is always focusing on the second half of the season, starting at Spa.

It is important to have this break and to refresh ourselves as a team. I think that being away from the track for a short time is healthy and actually helps get some perspective of where we are and hope things can improve for us going forwards.

Is there a sense of re-focusing now on a strong end to 2014 after a tough first half?

Yes there is. It has been a very hard season and one in which there have been lots of issues. But now that is behind us and we have to believe that we can get some points on the board and complete the season strongly. That way it will give some good momentum to start afresh in 2015 with a whole new exciting package.

What are you targeting now for the rest of the season?

It would be difficult to give a clear aim other than improvement and fighting for points every race. We have seen flashes of big promise from the E22. If everything is running right and the team continues to push then we can get more points for sure. As a team we will stay together with a clear mission to achieve the maximum. That way we will come back stronger and become a force in 2015. But first we are hungrier than ever to get back in to the mix for points again in 2014.

Spa is a legendary place. What makes it so special for you the driver?

Where do you start with Spa? It is an amazing circuit and for sure one of the best on the planet. The sensations a driver experiences at corners like Eau Rouge/Raidillion, Pouhon and Blanchimont are not like you feel anywhere else in the world. It is unique in every way and to think you are competing on parts of the track that were used back in the first Grand Prix season in 1950 makes it very special indeed.

What are your favourite memories of Spa?

Spa is the type of track where you get great memories whenever or whatever you are racing. But of course the ones that really stick in the memory are the victories and I am lucky that I have won here a few times.

I first raced at Spa in 2004 in Formula Renault. In 2006 I won in World Series by Renault at Spa, taking pole, fastest lap and the victory. Then in 2008 I won in the GP2 Series for the first time. Then I took another win in my championship year in 2010 which was a sweet moment. In Formula 1 I qualified sixth in 2012. So all in all I have great memories of the track and feel that I have a special relationship with it going back many years.

With a vast variety of corners at Spa how do you think the E22 will perform there. 

We hope it’s good there. If we can have a clean weekend technically, without any power unit or other issues, then we will be in a good position to challenge for points. Spa always throws up some variables with the weather being the obvious one. It would be nice to be higher up than the last few races. If we can achieve this and we have a good package then I believe we can come away with something very positive from Belgium.

WTCC

wtcc Paul Ricard 2014

POLE POSITION FOR YVAN MULLER

AUTO - WTCC LE CASTELLET 2014– The French round of the FIA WTCC, a real festival of motorsport, had got off to the best possible start for Citroën Racing, with its three C-Elysée WTCCs claiming the top three spots in qualifying.

– However, Sébastien Loeb and José-María López saw their times cancelled after scrutineering, due to faulty fuel shut-off valves.

– Third-fastest qualifier Yvan Muller will therefore start the first race in pole position.

As in Marrakech, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs put in a superb team performance from the start. On Friday, during the first session of free practice, José-María López clocked the fastest time, ahead of Sébastien Loeb.

On Saturday, however, the tables were turned, with Loeb picking up the fastest time in the late-morning practice session. Despite recording the fourth-fastest time of the first practice session, Yvan Muller was frustrated to have damaged the front end of his car by hitting a tyre stack. Everything was back in order for the second half-hour practice session, however, which the Citroën drivers spent working on their worn-tyre setup.

When the time came for qualifying, the sun was shining brightly and the stands were packed full of spectators eager to witness the return of FIA World Championship action to the Paul Ricard Circuit. Yvan, Seb and Pechito had little trouble securing their place in Q2. Picking up the pace in the second qualifying session to fend off attacks from their increasingly speedy competitors, Yvan Muller, Sébastien Loeb and José-María López were the only three drivers to dip under the 1 minute 30 barrier.

In Q3, with a single flying lap to clock the fastest time he could, José-María López shaved a few hundredths of a second off his Q2 time. Sébastien Loeb then produced a perfect performance to record a lap time 92 thousandths of a second quicker than his Argentine teammate! Yvan Muller, the last to go, also drove impressively, but ultimately fell 0.33 seconds short of the nine-time World Rally Champion.

During the technical inspections, the scrutineers noticed that the fuel shut-off values on Sébastien Loeb and Pechito Lopez’s cars were not working. This component was, however, functioning properly on the C-Elysée WTCC driven by Yvan Muller. The race stewards decided to cancel the times clocked by Seb and Pechito, who will now start from the back of the grid in both races. Yvan Muller, meanwhile, will start from pole position in race 1.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Racing: “We couldn’t wait to get out and race on a ‘real’ circuit to assess our cars’ true potential in relation to the competition. It was fantastic to claim the top three spots in qualifying, but we were disappointed when we heard about the punishment handed out to Seb and Pechito. It was a failure in a standard component sold by one of our suppliers. The valve doesn’t do anything to improve performance: it’s there to ensure safety, an area in which Citroën Racing has always tried to be ahead of its time. Our drivers will have their work cut out to recover tomorrow, but they have the talent to go out and get a positive result.”

Yvan Muller: “The day didn’t get off to the best start, with a minor collision in the first free practice session. But the mechanics did a great job again and I was the fastest driver in Q1 and Q2. I thought I put in a good lap in Q3, but it wasn’t enough to beat Seb and Pechito. Like all the drivers who were used to the old cars, I think we’re not getting the most out of our tyres yet. I’ve been handed pole position by default, but I don’t take any pleasure in it. Now I’m going to go out and try to win to make up some of the ground I lost in Marrakech.”

Sébastien Loeb: “It was really close between the three of us! We did some good work in free practice and my car was perfect, which meant I was able to push it close to its limits. I didn’t make a mistake. It was a faultless lap.”

José-María López: “We went out for qualifying without really knowing who would come out on top. I wasn’t that confident with my braking today, particularly at the Bendor corner. I’m not complaining, because the car was perfect, but I think that’s where Seb had the edge.”

F3 European Championship

fiaf3-2013-03-24-0046

60 YEARS OF THE MACAU GRAND PRIX—

The prestigious Macau GP is going to celebrate its 60th anniversary, this year. The former Portuguese colony’s 6.12-kilometre street circuit is the venue of the ’FIA Intercontinental Cup’, representing the unofficial world finale of the Formula 3 season. Consequently, it goes without saying that the grid of the tradition-rich race also will feature a big number of FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers: altogether, eight teams and 18 drivers will fly the FIA Formula 3 European Championship flag, in Macau. With reigning European Champion Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) and vice-champion Felix Rosenqvist (GR Asia with Mücke), the planet’s most competitive young-gun series will be represented – inter alia – by two of the hottest favourites. Motors TV will cover the anniversary edition re-live: Saturdays’ qualifying race will be broadcasted on Sunday, 17 November from 15.30hrs CET before the race itself (16.10hrs CET).

Felix Rosenqvist travels to China’s gamblers’ paradise with big ambitions. The Swede who turned 22 a week before the Macau GP finished second behind Portugal’s António Félix da Costa in last year’s edition and wants revenge. Alex Lynn (Theodore Racing by Prema), who finished third in 2012, also looks forward to returning to Macau. The Briton who also came third in the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship, and Lucas Auer (Theodore Racing by Prema) who secured fourth position in the championship, will be the drivers behind the two single-seaters that mark the comeback of the name Theodore onto the Formula 3 stage. 

Apart from Rosenqvist and Lynn, another three 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers made it to the top 10, in the 2012 Macau GP: Luis Felipe Derani (Fortec Motorsport, sixth) Raffaele Marciello (eighth) and Harry Tincknell (Carlin, ninth). And all the three drivers are going to once again meet the challenge represented by the narrow streets of Macau.

More than 50 percent of the 29-driver Macau grid contested the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. 18 drivers racing for eight different teams will honour the event with their presence. In addition to the one for Tincknell, British Team Carlin will enter another two single-seaters for Jordan King und Nicholas Latifi. One of the two kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport vehicles will be raced by Dennis van de Laar. Fortec Motorsports will be represented – inter alia – by John Bryant-Meisner, William Buller and Tom Blomqvist. Alexander Sims is going to contest the event for ThreeBond with T Sport and the Double R Racing squad will make a two-car appearance with Sean Gelael and Antonio Giovinazzi. One of the two Galaxy – Double R Racing cars will be driven by Estonia’s Kevin Korjus who contested the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season finale at Hockenheim for ThreeBond with T-Sport. Eurointernational signed Monaco’s Stefano Coletti – who also raced at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg – for the Macau GP and Lucas Wolf will be the only German young gun on the Macau grid. He contests the 15-lap race for his squad URD Rennsport.

Felix Rosenqvist (GR Asia with Mücke): “I think that Macau’s circuit is the most difficult one of the world. Here, a lot of courage and perfect precision are a must if you want to be fast. A lot of really good drivers are going to race and nonetheless, I’m travelling to Macau with just one goal: to win the race!” 

Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix*

Thursday, 14 November 2013
10.55-11.40hrs Practice
14.40-15.10hrs Qualifying

Friday, 15 November 2013
11.00-11.45hrs Practice
14.45-15.15hrs Qualifying

Saturday, 16 November 2013
14.00-14.50hrs Qualification Race – 10 laps

Sunday, 17 November 2013
15.30-16.30hrs Race – 15 laps

* All times are local times (UTC+8).

Formula 1

Nasir Hameed and younger Magnussen
Nasir Hameed and younger Magnussen

MAGNUSSEN REPLACES PEREZ FOR 2014—

Magnussen will replace Sergio Perez at McLaren in 2014.

The initial report was done by Autosport’s Jonathan Noble on Sunday, suggesting the 21-year-old Dane had emerged as favorite after team meetings post-the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. McLaren team boss called Perez’s efforts in Abu Dhabi, “disappointing.”

Then on Monday, BBC reporter Andrew Bensoncited sources who said a contract isn’t signed, but the team has chosen Magnussen as the replacement. Veteran journalist Joe Saward also said in his blog McLaren has opted not to take its option up on Perez.

Magnussen has won this year’s World Series by Renault championship and impressed in two F1 tests.

Statistically speaking Perez hasn’t performed as well as teammate Jenson Button, but neither has been able to make much out of this year’s difficult chassis. Less than a week ago, though, reports were beginning to emerge that Perez’s seat was in doubt.