The new SMP F4 series will be awarding one driver the best performer trophy at the end of every race weekend. It will be judged on their performance through the whole weekend from qualifying to the Race’s. It will also see how these youngsters are making improvements over each round.

After the first round in Ahvenisto, British driver Enaam Ahmed was giving the award by Tiina Lehmonen (Neste Oil Rally Organizer) for his outstanding results over the weekend.

Following his unlucky qualifying where he crashed at turn 2, the Brit had a fantastic Race 1 getting himself up to P5 from last on the grid. This is turn allowed him to get onto the podium in Race 2 after having another great drive and having dramatic wheel-to-wheel battles with his rivals that showed his incredible driving skills. Not only that but Race 3 was also a good result as he started from last on the grid again but was able to finish P9.

Overall Ahmed’s techniques and great driving over this track on the weekend didn’t go unnoticed giving him the award for the first SMP F4 best performer.



wtcc20150516018– The FIA WTCC’s visit to the Nürburgring was expected to be one of the highlights of the season, and it certainly didn ’t disappoint!

– In Race 1, José María López, Sébastien Loeb and Yvan Muller scored a 1-2-3 in their Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs.

– And despite the reverse grid, Yvan Muller and José María López also claimed the top two spots in Race 2 to cap a highly successful outing for Citroën Total.

The temperature was close to zero when the cars took to the track for their short early-morning warm-up session. This final practice allowed the drivers to test out their race setup, designed to give them a sharp turn of speed and thus maximise their chances of overtaking.

Race 1 began without incident for José María López, who was the first man to the first corner. His teammates Sébastien Loeb and Yvan Muller also got perfect starts from third and sixth on the grid. From the very early stages of the race, Pechito attacked hard to put himself out of reach of the chasing pack. In control throughout the three laps, the Argentine driver was not to be put off his stride by a few drops of rain falling on his windscreen. The reigning World Champion was once again the first man across the finishing line, notching up his fourth win in as many meetings! Ma Qing Hua started from fifth, and finished fifth, unable to find a way past Norbert Michelisz.

With light rain falling on various parts of the circuit, the track was deemed to be wet for Race 2. Nevertheless, all the drivers opted to stick with their slicks. When the lights went out, Yvan Muller once again made an inspired start. The man from Alsace soon found himself in second place between Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini. Behind Tom Coronel, Mehdi Bennani led a chasing pack of Citroëns comprising Ma Qing Hua, José María López and Sébastien Loeb.

At the end of lap 1, Yvan Muller used Tiago Monteiro’s slipstream to propel himself into the lead. Tom Coronel also succumbed to the pressure from the men on his tail and was passed by Bennani, Ma, López and finally Loeb. The same pack reassembled over the course of lap 2. Locked in a fierce battle, Ma and López both overtook Bennani. One more lap remained to determine which of these talented drivers would emerge on top!

Ma Qing Hua felt the pressure and found himself crashing hard into the safety barrier. López and the others managed to find their way through the debris without losing touch with the leading trio. Around the Karussel, the pack re-formed once more, and there was still everything to play for going into the final straight!

Yvan Muller put himself out of reach, while José María López overcame first Gabriele Tarquini and then Tiago Monteiro to snatch second spot. The Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs thus achieved a terrific one-two, with Sébastien Loeb claiming fifth place.


Linda Jackson, CEO, Citroën: “I’m delighted with my first weekend on the ground with Citroën Racing. First of all, of course, I must pay tribute to the team’s excellent results on the track. A treble and a double are just reward for the hard work of a team of passionate professionals. I was also impressed by the sheer talent of the group of drivers assembled by Yves Matton, particularly on this circuit! The Nürburgring and the Nordschleife are renowned in the motorsport world, so Citroën can be proud that its C-Elysées have come out on top here.”

José María López: “All the drivers wanted to win here, and me more than anyone! It’s an incredible feeling to have won on a track like this. In Race 1, Hugo Valente got a bad start, which made my life easier. I was able to pull away on the first lap as I wanted to and Seb wasn’t in a position to get into my slipstream on the long straight. In Race 2, I was following Ma, who was pushing hard all the time. I couldn’t get past and I must say I had resigned myself to remaining stuck behind him! When he crashed, I was able to come back at the Hondas. I thought I would be able to overtake Tarquini, but I also managed to get the better of Monteiro, who had fallen out of Yvan’s slipstream. It was a really fantastic weekend. Congratulations to the whole team, who were at their best once again…”

Yvan Muller: “I think we put on a good show for the TV viewers! I made a little mistake on the GP circuit on the last lap. So from then on I tried to keep a bit of a safety margin. We chose an aggressive setup, with very little downforce so as to maximise our top speed. So handling the car on the bends was trickier than normal. This meeting at the Nürburgring has been very positive for the FIA WTCC as a whole, because it has attracted unprecedented media interest.”

Sébastien Loeb: “Driving here was a completely different experience from what we are used to! When I was behind Pechito, I saw him take off with all four wheels, which is a pretty rare sight in track racing! In Race 1, I tried to attack at the start, but never managed to close the gap on José María. So from the end of lap 1 I decided to play it safe and make sure I finished second. Race 2 was more frustrating for me. I really did try everything to work my way up the field, but I couldn’t do any better than fifth. I’ve held on to second spot in the overall standings… just. I’ll have to do even better next time because Yvan is only a point behind me now!”

Ma Qing Hua: “It’s been another mixed weekend for me. Race 1 was trouble-free and I managed to score some points. I started behind Michelisz and couldn’t find an opportunity to overtake him. In the second race, I tried my best to defend my position, but that’s no easy task when you’ve got José María López on your tail!”



Jake Dennis scores his maiden Formula 3 race win

Season race: 7 of 33
Track: Pau
Winner: Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam)
Pole position: Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: dry, partly sunny

In the seventh FIA Formula 3 European Championship season race, nobody was faster than Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam), who scored his maiden race win in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in the streets of Pau. The 19-year-old Brit took the chequered flag 0.68 seconds ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin). With his seventh podium finish of the season, the 21-year-old Italian extended his points’ lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings. Third place at the 2.76 kilometres long street circuit went to Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing), who was also the best-placed rookie driver.

Starting from pole position, Jake Dennis led all the way from the start. Throughout the race, he never managed to really pull clear from his nearest rivals Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc, but his lead never was in jeopardy. For Dennis, who has been a long-time protégé of the British Racing Steps Foundation, this victory was his biggest success in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship to date.

Behind the three fastest drivers, the rest of the field was already a few seconds off. Maximilian Günther (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) came out on top in the battle for fourth place with Alexander Albon (Signature) and also collected the trophy for the second-best rookie driver. Behind Albon, Alessio Lorandi (Van Amersfoort Racing) scored his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship points for finishing sixth. The 16-year-old Italian crossed the finish line ahead of Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), George Russell (Carlin), Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) and Brandon Maïsano (Prema Powerteam).

The race, held on a dry track, was neutralised by the safety car on two occasions. The first intervention came after Dorian Boccolacci (Signature) had parked his car on track. When Michele Beretta (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) hit the tyre stacks shortly after the restart, the race director sent the safety car out once again.

Prior to the start, Pietro Fittipaldi (Fortec Motorsports) was already sidelined. During his accident in yesterday’s qualifying, the Brazilian injured his hand and the doctor gave him the advice to stay out of the race.

Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam): “So far, the weekend has been very good for me and the race went very well, too. Moreover, scoring my first FIA Formula 3 European Championship win at such a special track like Pau is great! Nevertheless, the race was anything but easy, because with Antonio and Charles right behind me, I wasn’t allowed to make a single mistake.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “First of all, I am happy with my seventh podium finish from seven races so far. My start was very good, but things got pretty close in the first corner. Fortunately, Charles left me enough room. After that, I tried to put Jake under some pressure, but I didn’t want to take too many risks, because I had Charles right behind me.”

Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing): “My start simply wasn’t good enough. After that, at least I managed to score valuable points by finishing third. To be honest, I had expected more from this race, because our speed was very good. The fact that I also drove the fastest race lap reflects this.”

F1Weekly podcast # 677

Clark and Nasir serve up another round of discussions on the Spanish Grand Prix the upcoming Grand Prix de Monaco, we have a special interview with Colton Herta from Donington and here are some thoughts from our favorite F1 driver Pasto Maldonado…


What makes Monaco so special for you Pastor?

First of all it’s such an historic Grand Prix and an iconic race for Formula 1. I really love it. I’ve been very quick in the past and I think it is one of the most special weekends of the year. The atmosphere is unique. The track is really challenging and changes a lot over the sessions, which you need to anticipate. It’s difficult to be quick close to the walls and overall it’s a very tough race, demanding in terms of concentration and stressful physically and mentally. The only negative thing is that it is quite difficult to overtake, but it is not impossible.

What are your favourite parts of the circuit?

I really like the Casino and Swimming Pool sections. Every corner in Monaco has its own challenge, and own individual approach needed – that is probably the beauty of the circuit there. It’s where I live now so I might be biased, but it’s a very special place.

What are your early memories of Monaco?

Monaco was always my favourite track when I was watching Formula 1 on TV as a kid. Then the first time I went to a Grand Prix was also Monaco, in 2003, which was my first year in Formula Renault. Juan Pablo Montoya won and it was amazing to see how close they were to the wall and how quick the cars were, because they had V10 engines then. Another good Monaco memory for me is winning in GP2 in 2007 and 2009.

It was something of an interesting Spanish Grand Prix for you – how was it from your perspective?

Our luck hasn’t been great but this is racing. With the damaged rear wing endplate I suffered early in the race, we lost some downforce for sure. However, the pace was still there and I was pushing to try and recover. Unfortunately we had to retire the car on Lap 45. I didn’t get a chance to speak to Romain because we both left immediately after the race.  It was a very little touch. It happened but we move on, it’s all a part of racing. We have a car that has a lot of potential and we are fighting ever higher in the field. We have a good engine and the tyres are lasting longer and that makes us confident that we can get some good results in the near future. We need to stay strong and as soon as the bad luck passes it will be very fun!

How much progress was made at the test?

We had a list of plenty of parts to test. Even in the 60 laps we did on the day, we didn’t have enough time to test everything but it was satisfying. A lot of the work we did was also in preparation of the next race and as always we learnt a lot during the test. Monaco is a very different approach for the team and the drivers. I have been working at 100% so that we are fully prepared. The car is in good shape, we have discovered some things during the test which have made us confident going into Monaco so I am looking forward to doing my best.  We are expecting a Monaco-specific aero package. I think we can make some big jumps still, we have good potential and we can do much better throughout the European season!

What have you been working on back at Enstone in the simulator?

I’ve been experimenting with different setups and aero combinations which contributes not only to Monaco next weekend but also to the other upcoming races. Also, we’ve recorded some more data for the engineers to analyse and build on. It is positive to be here at the factory in between races. I will have some time off this weekend with my family but then it is back to work ready for the Monaco Grand Prix!

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Esteban Ocon: “I was very happy to get the opportunity to drive today and I’m pleased with how things went. It’s always good to get more experience in a Formula One car and I’ve learned a huge amount about this car and this team. We worked on a lot of things – mainly on the aero side and we completed most of the things we had planned. The team has given me some good feedback and I improved during the day – step by step with each run. I hope I get another chance to drive a Formula One car soon.”

Alex Lynn: I didn’t really sleep that well last night as I was so excited about today. It has been an amazing day and great to get behind the wheel of the FW37. We managed to get through a really important schedule and I completed a number of runs in the car. The team were happy with how we got on and with my performance, so all-in-all it has been a really positive day.

Jolyon Palmer: “It was great to be in the car for a full day of productive testing especially here in Barcelona where I tested in the pre-season and then drove in FP1. I think we’ve made real progress as a team with the set-up of the car and I know I’m improving every time I get in the car. We ran through a lot of different programmes and assessments and it was a great day at the office for me.”




MA QING Hua (chn) Citroen C Elysee team Citroen racing portrait ambiance during the 2015 FIA WTCC World Touring Car Nurburgring race presentation to the press at Nurburg, from April 27th to 28th 2015. Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI.


  • The fourth meeting of the FIA WTCC 2015 will be a very special one, providing the curtain-raiser for the Nürburgring 24-hour race.
  • On Saturday morning, the competitors will battle it out on a 25.947 km circuit comprising both the Grand-Prix track and the legendary Nordschleife.
  • After clocking the fastest times of the collective testing day held two weeks ago, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs have every intention of claiming the spoils from this prestigious meeting!


In terms of legendary venues revered by motorsport fans, the Nürburgring is right up there with Monaco, Indianapolis and Le Mans. The circuit, which lies in the Ahrweiler district, has undergone a number of redevelopments since it was built in the late twenties, but, thanks to the famous Nordschleife, it has kept its soul. The “North Loop” – also nicknamed “The Green Hell” – remains an iconic course. Together with the modern circuit used for the F1 Grand Prix, it forms a 25.947 km track known as the Gesamtstrecke (“the whole course”).

The circuit is unusual not only for its length, but also for its component features. It comprises some 170 turns of all kinds. The Nordschleife’s opening section, the Flugplatz, provides an early test of drivers’ mettle, with a hill masking a double right-hand-turn to be negotiated at top speed… In comparison, the Karussell hairpin, with its ever-so-slippery banking, seems almost easy to deal with. To complete a lap, drivers then still have to complete a long straight lasting several kilometres, which requires them to go at full tilt for forty seconds, reaching speeds in excess of 250 kph.

Frightening and fascinating in equal measure, the great Nürburgring will be the setting for the 7th and 8th races of the FIA World Touring Car Championship 2015. To prepare for this special meeting, the competitors took part in a day of collective testing on 28 April. For the Citroën Total team, this dress rehearsal served two purposes, enabling them to find the best setup for the C-Elysée WTCCs while providing the drivers with an opportunity to get as many kilometres under their belts as possible.

José María López, Sébastien Loeb and Ma Qing Hua clocked the day’s three fastest times, ahead of Gabriele Tarquini and their teammate Yvan Muller. But this weekend, they will all be starting from scratch. Every step of the way, the drivers will have to avoid the circuit’s many pitfalls, contend with the ever-unpredictable local weather conditions and time their attacks to perfection.

José María López, who already has three race wins to his name this year, is considered the favourite after his time of 8:38.027 on the test day. “This circuit is just amazing! I understand now why it’s so famous! But to fully appreciate it, you have to have confidence in your driving and in your car,” explains Pechito. “That was the case two weeks ago, when I felt that I was totally in sync with my Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. I hope to feel the same way this weekend. I’ve worked really hard to prepare for this meeting, putting in lots of laps on the Citroën Racing simulator. I feel as ready as I’ll ever be!”

The Nordschleife is a natural hunting ground for a former rally driver. Sébastien Loeb showed as much by coming very close to López’s times on the test day. Lying second in the overall standings after six races, the nine-time World Rally Champion will be looking to close the gap on his teammate at this meeting: “The Hungaroring was frustrating for me. I want to get back to winning ways, or at least make it onto the podium! We’re going to be taking on a hell of a circuit. It’s a real thrill to drive on. If you want to be quick, you need to use the whole track, but the grass and the safety barrier are so close that there is very little margin for error. The times in testing were quite close. We’ll see how much progress the different drivers have made using their saved data.”

Yvan Muller, whose performances in Hungary put him within 10 points of Loeb, is not the German circuit’s biggest fan, but that won’t stop him giving his all: “The tests were tough. I did close the gap on my teammates as the day went on, but that gap is still too wide for my liking. I’ll have to judge when to attack and when to take risks and come up with the best strategy to score as many points as possible over the two races.”

Ma Qing Hua is also among the leading contenders, having clocked the third-fastest time in testing. The Chinese driver has fallen in love with the Nordschleife, and is determined to find his way back onto the podium: “Every driver should come and drive here one day! I think the WTCC cars will put on a great show and I’m happy to be part of it. At the end of April, I felt great in my C-Elysée. It was a really comfortable drive. If everything comes together during my runs, I think I can compete for a top place.”


The FIA WTCC drivers will take to the track on Thursday for an hour of free practice at 11.30 a.m. Two further free practice sessions, also lasting an hour, will be held on Friday, at 8.15 and 11.55 a.m., but the drivers will not be able to refuel. Qualifying will take a different format than usual, with a single one-hour session for all competitors at 6.20 p.m. The top five will receive the bonus points normally awarded to the drivers who make it through to Q3, and the grid for race 2 will see the first ten from qualifying start in reverse order. A warm-up will be held at 8.05 a.m. on Saturday to allow the drivers to acclimatise to the conditions. The two races, which will last 3 laps (77 km), are scheduled for 11.15 a.m. and 12.15 p.m. The 24 Hours Nürburgring will then get under way at 4 p.m.


Want to know what it feels like to be Sébastien Loeb driving a Citroën C-Elysée WTCC around the Nürburgring? This video, shot on the test day on 28 April, should give you an idea… Click the link to experience the thrills of a full 25.947-km lap!

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast