The fifth round of the season, the Tour de Corse is the next challenge for the FIA Junior WRC crews. Simone Tempestini, winner of three of the first four rounds, is already in a position to win the title and the prize on offer: a six-race programme in the 2017 WRC2 behind the wheel of a DS 3 R5. The Italian will find a large contingent of French drivers attempting to block his path, all determined to do well at their home event!

The Tour de Corse is one of the icons of the World Rally Championship, having featured on the calendar when it began in 1973. The event will be a genuine physical challenge for the crews, who must in particular complete 160 kilometres of timed stages on Friday with no service period, and tackle a massive 53.78 kilometre stage on Sunday. The cars will also be sorely tested, with the brakes and tyres needing to be managed on the demanding mountain roads.

Simone Tempestini, winner of the opening two rounds of the season (Portugal and Poland), added a third victory in Germany at the first round to be contested on tarmac. The young Italian driver can secure the title here at the fifth round of the FIA Junior WRC before the final event of the season in Wales. He “just” has to finish first or second, regardless of where his rivals finish. “I took part in the Tour de Corse last year and I enjoyed it. I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of my favourite rallies,” revealed Tempestini ahead of the event. “I don’t feel particularly under pressure and I’m very keen to put in a good performance. The target is to win.”

Ole-Christian Veiby is currently best placed to challenge for the title. His victory in Finland was the ideal way to get back into contention. However, finishing seventh in Germany after going off the road twice has left his title hopes hanging by a thread. If he is to have any chance, then he really must win in Corsica… and hope that Tempestini doesn’t finish just behind him!

Mathematically speaking, Terry Folb and Vincent Dubert are also still in the title hunt. But realistically, they will above all be looking to put in a good performance at home. Last year, Folb finished second in the FIA Junior WRC in Corsica. The progress he has made, confirmed in Germany with a fine series of stage wins, means he can aim for victory. Vincent Dubert, who has seemed more comfortable on gravel, will be looking to grab a podium finish for the first time this season. This will also be the goal for Romain Martel, who competed at the Tour de Corse last year, but in four-wheel drive car.

This fifth round will also provide some of the rising stars of French rallying with a chance to shine. Competing on behalf of the FFSA French team, Yohan Rossel and Laurent Pellier will be looking to measure themselves against the leading lights of the category. Rossel – the former Junior French Rally Champion in a DS 3 R1 – and Pellier, his successor, currently hold the top two places in the French Citroën Racing Trophy, contested in DS 3 R3s. Yohan Rossel has already finished third at the French round of the FIA Junior WRC.

The French contingent will be completed by William Wagner, who took part in the Corsican event last year in the R2 category. This will also be his second appearance in a round of the FIA Junior WRC: Wagner drove his DS 3 R3-MAX at the final round of the 2015 season, finishing fifth at Wales Rally GB.

Mohamed Al Mutawaa, who started out in single-seater racing, will be hoping to use his track experience to do well at this second tarmac rally of the season. The Abu Dhabi Racing driver will also be starting a new working relationship, with co-driver Stuart Loudon. Martin Koci, twice runner-up this year in the FIA Junior WRC, will be hoping to make his turn of speed and his experience tell in this, his third season in the category. This will nonetheless be his first appearance at the Tour de Corse.




“It was close today. We did everything we could and I thought it was pretty much a perfect race. The only thing that would have been better was to get Nico at the start. Then throughout the race I wasn’t really thinking about what happens when I catch him, I was just focusing on trying to catch him and put some pressure on. I knew his engineer had been on his radio saying: “Ricciardo is catching you, two seconds a lap.” It’s not a nice feeling to hear that, so I was just trying to keep on pushing and keep the crowd entertained. I pushed so much at the end on the supersoft and really tried to do something but it wasn’t close enough. I don’t really leave here with any regrets. Obviously we came here to win and we didn’t but I felt we left it all on the track.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A really exciting finish to a long and hard grand prix. Tyres and strategy were always going to be key to today and in the end opting to go to a three stop strategy with the tyres that we saved from earlier in the weekend brought Daniel tantalisingly close to Nico. Lewis triggered the final round of pit stops with Kimi covering him and then us in turn covering Kimi. That gave Daniel roughly 27 seconds to hunt down Nico who did a good job to manage his pace to the end but Daniel drove an outstanding race to finish 0.5 seconds behind him, splitting the two Mercedes. Unfortunately for Max we had some clutch issues overnight which we thought we’d cured in time for the race, combined with an awful lot of wheel spin at the start, it cost him some time as did avoiding the (Hulkenberg) accident. He was then stuck in traffic and burnt his tyres out fairly quickly in the first two stints. Once he was able to get in clean air he made some great passing moves and was able to make progress back up to P6. Overall a positive weekend, we’ve extended our lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, we’ve scored another second place finish and produced an enthralling end to the grand prix.”




The Alpine A460s were in sparkling form in qualifying, with home hero Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre annexing the first pole position of the season for the N°36 Signatech-Alpine by almost a full second! In the hands of David Cheng and Nelson Panciatici, the sister N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine entry similarly achieved its best grid position to-date for a six-hour race as the pair lapped fifth-quickest in LMP2.

The green flag dropped at 5:00pm on Saturday under the stifling Texas sun, with an air temperature of more than 35°C. On the opening lap, the N°44 Manor snatched the initiative at the head of the LMP2 field, with the two Alpine A460s in hot pursuit. Roberto Merhi, Nicolas Lapierre and Nelson Panciatici proceeded to put on a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle worthy of a grand prix around the spectacular Circuit of the Americas until ten laps in, when the N°36 Signatech-Alpine reclaimed a lead that it would not subsequently relinquish.

After 45 minutes, Lapierre passed the reins to team-mate Stéphane Richelmi, who produced a double stint as day turned into night. Although it never dipped below 30°C, the temperature did cool off slightly as humidity levels reached almost 70 per cent.

These conditions unsurprisingly took a physical toll on the drivers, with Panciatici being forced to abandon a planned double stint early on in the race. Suffering from dehydration, the Frenchman found himself having to hand over to Cheng before being taken to the circuit’s medical centre to recover.

The Baxi DC Racing Alpine was then struck by further misfortune at the beginning of Ho-Pin Tung’s second stint behind the wheel. A heavy impact with a kerb prompted a return to the garage to change the front end of the car and its front suspension, but following a swift 17-minute repair job, Ho-Pin and David brought the N°35 car safely home in eighth place in-class.

At the same time, the N°36 Signatech-Alpine was continuing to lap the Circuit of the Americas with metronomic consistency. Following Richelmi’s double stint, Menezes and Lapierre maintained an equally strong rhythm to establish an advantage of a full lap over their closest pursuers.

Menezes was afforded the honour of finishing the race on home turf, and as he completed his final stint, the Californian could scarcely contain his emotions as he crossed the finish line to win in front of family and friends.

The result enabled the N°36 Signatech-Alpine trio to stretch its lead in the championship table to 38 points, with the N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine remaining in ninth position.

The next race on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) calendar will take place at Fuji in Japan on October 14-16.

Bernard Ollivier, Deputy Managing Director of Alpine: “What a race! It is easy to forget with the success we are enjoying that this is still only our first season running the Alpine A460s, but it is obvious that we are continuing to make progress every time out. We set the tone in qualifying in Texas by claiming our first pole position of the season. In the race, the entire team produced a flawless performance, and it is a source of immense pride to see Alpine win in the United States. With a perfect display of panache, the Signatech-Alpine drivers have increased their overall championship lead once again, meaning the pressure is most definitely on the shoulders of those trying to catch up. As for the Baxi DC Racing Alpine, we are convinced that its consistent improvement will soon yield the kind of result its crew is so clearly capable of.”



A good start and a perfect strategy were the keys to success for Edoardo Mortara’s third race win of the current season. The Audi driver won the 14th DTM race of the season at the Nürburgring in a dominant way and thus moved up to second in the drivers’ standings. Lucas Auer, who had started from pole position with his Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM, finished second from BMW driver Marco Wittmann. With his third place, the latter defended his lead in the drivers’ standings. The race weekend at the Nürburgring attracted 72,500 spectators.

“That was a great Sunday race,” Mortara summed up the day at the finish. “Our car is running in a great way, even though we weren’t able to show that yesterday. Of course, I am very happy with today’s result.” At the start, Mortara was already able to make up two positions and move up into fourth place. With a long first stint and after a quick pit stop on lap 28, he rejoined the race immediately behind Auer. Seven laps later, he took the lead and then drove an undisputed victory home. It was the 50th DTM race win for the Audi Team Abt Sportsline from Kempten in the Allgäu.

Auer, who crossed the finish line 3.726 seconds behind the winner, finished 3.800 seconds clear of third-placed Marco Wittmann. The latter still saw his podium finish under threat as Mattias Ekström came very close on the final lap. However, Wittmann managed to bring his position home with a margin of 0.323 seconds. The BMW driver was accordingly delighted: “At the end, it was really close, but I am happy with the race. The early pit stop certainly was a slight disadvantage. All in all, however, it was a nearly perfect weekend for me and for my team RMG.”

In the DTM drivers’ standings after 14 of 18 races, Marco Wittmann remains in the lead with 170 points. Edoardo Mortara is now second with 137 points, followed by Robert Wickens (120 points), who dropped to third. Finishing 14th in the race on Sunday, the Canadian failed to score any points, just like Jamie Green (119 points). Following a collision with Gary Paffett, Green had to come in for a drive-through penalty and only finished 17th.

The 15th and 16th race of the DTM season will be held at the Hungaroring near Budapest, September 23-25.



First Practice Session: 1:45.823, Position: 1, Laps: 25
Second Practice Session: 1:44.532, Position: 3, Laps: 29
“It was a positive day for us and we can be happy with the balance of the car. For FP2 we weren’t fully there but we know what areas we need to work on and improve. But the car felt good, we are more or less there and we had a good start to the weekend. The tyres worked really well as well, I was happy with the ultrasofts, there was quite a difference between them and the supersofts. I think it will be an interesting battle between us, Mercedes and Ferrari, and I’m looking forward to it.”
First Practice Session: 1:45.872, Position: 2, Laps: 27
Second Practice Session: 1:44.557, Position: 4, Laps: 26
“This circuit is always difficult. You’re pushing the limit on a street circuit and you want to be comfortable in qualifying so today is the day to experiment. I had a bit of a spin and touched the barrier but the car was more or less okay. It’s hot, it’s tricky and everything is a little bit on the edge here for sure, but to find a few tenths on this circuit can be quite easy, because there are so many corners and with the tyres overheating in the last sector you can lose or gain a lot. We still feel that we can get a little bit more speed out of the car so that’s what tonight is for. Even if we find a few small things, then they will hopefully add up to quite a bit of lap time here tomorrow.”


A new page in the history between Robert Kubica and Renault will be written at Spa-Francorchamps. The Polish driver will get behind the wheel of a Renault Sport R.S. 01 at round five of the 2016 Renault Sport Trophy. He will team alongside Christophe Hamon in the Renault Sport Racing car with the Duqueine Engineering team.

Robert Kubica: “I quickly felt at ease at the wheel of the R.S. 01, and even on a twisty track like Ales its qualities were immediately evident, especially the stopping power granted by the carbon discs. I was impressed by how late into the corner you can brake and by the absence of body roll, even when you push to make the most of the available grip. I look forward to driving it at Spa, where all the downforce the car can generate will also come into play.”

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