Motorsports Mondial

Photo: bestofrallylive

Sebastien Loeb got off to a strong start in his bid for a record ninth world title by winning the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally on Sunday.

The eight-time world champion completed the 18-stage race in 4 hours, 32 minutes, 39.9 seconds. Daniel Sordo of Spain took second place, 28.6 seconds ahead of Petter Solberg of Norway.

Loeb went into the final day with a lead of 2 minutes, 41.6 seconds over Sordo and looked to secure the maximum number of points by winning the last stage.

The Citroen driver finished the power stage 1.2 seconds ahead of teammate Mikko Hirvonen of Finland to earn three bonus points and lead Mini driver Sordo by ten points in the standings.

“It’s always a great moment to start the season like this, especially in front of so many fans,” Loeb said. “Full points in the first race is incredible and for sure it’s the perfect start to my title defense. Monte-Carlo is my rally and for the others we will have to see.”

Loeb won the Monte Carlo Rally for the sixth time to clinch his 68th career victory.

The drivers next compete at the Swedish Rally in Karlstad from February 9-12.

Motorsports Mondial

The FIA has ruled …reactive ride height systems will be banned for the 2012 F1 season.

(REUTERS) Formula One’s governing body has moved to ban, before the start of pre-season testing, controversial new reactive suspension systems that several teams were working on.

Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan said the International Automobile Federation (FIA) had declared the systems to be illegal for the 2012 season starting in Australia in March.

Matteo Bonciani, the FIA’s head of F1 communications, confirmed that technical head Charlie Whiting had written to all the teams on Friday clarifying the situation.

He said the FIA had received a number of technical enquiries from teams about the legality of systems that could alter the configuration of a car’s suspension in response to changes in brake torque.

Lotus, previously Renault, first tried out their system at a young driver test in Abu Dhabi last November but have not commented on its significance for the new car to be unveiled next month when testing starts in Spain.

Several others, including former champions Williams and the sport’s most successful team Ferrari, were also believed to be looking into similar devices while awaiting an FIA ruling on their legality.

The issue had threatened to become the first big technical controversy of a year that will have an unprecedented six world champions, including Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen returning with Lotus, on the starting grid.

Article 3.15 of the 2012 technical regulations, published this month, states that “any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited”.

The Lotus system which first put the issue in the public eye was reportedly reactive to brake torque and formed part of the suspension.

“We have been investigating that type of system for a while,” Gillan said. “It is obviously an impact on the aerodynamic platform of the car.

“Anything that gets the ride-height lower, particularly the front ride-height lower, is beneficial from an aerodynamic perspective.”

Bonciani said systems shown to the FIA for approval relied on changes to the length of a suspension member and appeared to have a primary, if not sole, purpose of affecting the aerodynamic performance of the car.

F1Weekly podcast # 546

Talking with Tinks

We now invite you to enjoy our conversation with British Formula 3 race winning driver Harry Tincknell. Harry is a young man in a hurry after discovering karting in Sardinia while on a family vacation.

Harry and I first met in the desert of central California in 2007 when he came out to test a Formula BMW car at beautiful Button Willow. It is a very nice facility for testing but not a place for champagne and caviars.

His first full season in single seaters was in 2009, he was fifth in the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship, and won the Winter Cup, winning two of the four races.

He repeated the Formula Renault Championship, again finishing fifth, scoring two wins and 7 podium finishes.

Last season he moved up to British Formula 3 with Fortec Motorsports, taking one win and four podium finishes to finish 11th in the final standings.

Tincknell is also on Twitter and we invite you to visit his website:

Hope you enjoy the conversation, thank you.

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Motorsports Mondial

Photo: bestofrallylive

Monte Carlo Rally,  SS7, Lamastre-Gilhoc-Alboussiere

Sebastien Loeb has extended his lead of Rallye Monte-Carlo after winning Thursday’s third stage, which was held in increasingly mild ambient temperatures following overnight frost.

The eight-time world champion’s advantage out front now stands at 1m23.2s heading to the midday service halt in Valence.

“The tyre choice was a compromise for this stage because it was mainly dry,” the Citroen ace, who has been fastest on all three stages this morning, told World Rally Radio. “I lost a little bit the grip in the middle part with the [supersoft] tyres but I am satisfied with this loop. My times were good in the first two stages and this one was okay.”

In the thrilling battle for second place, Ford’s Petter Solberg is back in front of Dani Sordo after edging out his MINI-driving rival through the stage by a 4.0s margin.

“I’m very happy about that,” said Solberg who now heads Sordo by 3.7s. “It was very tricky, very slippery in some places. I had one very sideways moment but we are driving sensible, that’s the only thing I can say. It’s so important to keep the position now.”

Sordo, who had moved up to second on stage six, said: “I pushed really, really hard and did not make any mistakes. The time looks bad but I don’t know how.”

Sebastien Ogier was thrilled with his fourth-fastest time in his Super 2000-specification Skoda Fabia, which is being run by the factory Volkswagen Motorsport team. “On this one it was a fantastic time,” said the seven-time WRC event winner. “We pushed like hell but some places it was still tricky.”

Francois Delecour said swapping crash helmets with co-driver Dominique Savignoni has helped to solve the intercom problem he has been experiencing.

Matthew Wilson is planning to alter to the set-up of his Go Fast Fiesta at service after suggesting the handling wasn’t entirely to his liking. Meanwhile, team-mate Henning Solberg said his car’s engine had dropped onto three cylinders in the stage.

Crews are now heading to Valence for a 30-minute service halt. They will then tackle this morning’s trio of stages for a second time this afternoon.


Motorsports Mondial

Photo: HRTF1

Ermestel, new official supplier to HRT F1 Team

Ermestel, a Spanish company specialized in datacenter infrastructure transformation based on technologies such as Virtualization and Cloud Computing, has reached an agreement with HRT Formula 1 Team by which it will become an IT Official Supplier to the team for the next three years. The team has decided to trust in the sound experience and guarantee of the integrator’s IT projects to face the new racing season.

For the 2012 season, together with Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa, HRT is working towards being as competitive as possible in such a demanding world as is the pinnacle of motorsport and, along with national companies such as Ermestel, continuing to grow the “Spain” brand and helping to increase its international recognition.

Ermestel, through this agreement, will manage the entire IT infrastructure of the Spanish team whilst also supplying the team with a disaster recovery system.

Pedro Tortosa, Ermestel CEO: “Formula 1 represents excellence in technological innovation and style and I believe that those are values that perfectly suit Ermestel. HRT Formula 1 Team transmitted to us the importance of counting with a great technological partner, since without this base, the most visible aspects such as the car and the driver wouldn’t function properly. We are delighted that they have decided to trust in us for the management of the IT platform, which in such an innovative and standout world as is Formula 1, represents a great responsibility and a thrilling challenge that gives us the opportunity to prove our national leadership in innovative technologies”.

Luis Pérez-Sala, HRT F1 Team Team Principal: “In a sport that is extremely competitive and demanding as is Formula 1, everything has to work quickly and to perfection. Ermestel’s contribution will be fundamental for our systems to operate with the required performance and reliability. HRT is a young team with a long road yet ahead, but thanks to this alliance with another innovative Spanish company we will continue to grow as a team”.


The Premiere Motorsport Podcast