THIRD POLE FOR ALBON AT YAS MARINA
WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
DA COSTA CLAIMS SECOND MACAU VICTORY AHEAD OF ROSENQVIST
Antonio Felix da Costa fought through to his second Macau Grand Prix victory on Sunday following a race-long battle with Red Bull youngster Sergio Sette Camara.
Andretti Formula E driver Da Costa won the Macau Formula 3 event back in 2012, but was afforded the opportunity to return to the streets of the principality by Carlin for this weekend’s event.
Da Costa stamped his authority on proceedings by winning Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of British youngster Callum Ilott, securing pole position for the main event on Sunday.
Ilott made the best getaway off the grid to initially take the lead, only for da Costa and Camara to make use of the slipstream to sweep past on the opening lap.
Camara was able to slingshot his way from third into the lead of the race, with da Costa closing to within a second before the safety car was called after a crash for Force India junior Nikita Mazepin.
Da Costa eventually battled past on the restart on Lap 7, leaving Camara struggling to keep on his tail until being handed a reprieve by a second safety car period following a shunt for Nick Cassidy.
Da Costa fended off Camara on the restart before pulling out a healthy lead that would remain to the checkered flag, handing the Portuguese driver an emotional second victory around Macau’s streets.
Camara was unable to keep da Costa’s Formula E colleague Felix Rosenqvist back in the dying stages of the race, with the Swede taking second. However, it did mark the end of his stint as Macau champion after winning for the past two years.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER FOR THE CITROËN C-ELYSÉE WTCC
Citroën Racing’s foray into global track racing, which began in 2014, will end on Friday 25 November 2016 after sixty-nine races for the official C-Elysée WTCCs. In three years, the car, the most sophisticated ever built for the discipline, has dominated its competitors, winning 88% of available pole positions (30 out of 34) and 73% of its races (49 out of 67).
After five Cross-Country Rally World Cups and eight World Rally Championships, Citroën has added three more titles in the WTCC, bringing its total world trophy haul to sixteen!
The Citroën Total team will feel that their mission is already accomplished, but will nonetheless be seeking to round off their WTCC adventure in style. Two months after the Shanghai meeting, everybody involved will be eager to get back to work at Losail International Circuit.
In the FIA WTCC’s second visit to Qatar, the drivers will once again experience the rare sensation of driving at night, albeit with the 5.38km track bathed in the glow of powerful spotlights. Designed for MotoGP, this circuit is perfectly suited to touring car racing, too, with plenty of overtaking opportunities.
Last year, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs appeared at ease here, with José María López claiming pole position before winning Race 1. Yvan Muller then completed the set by emerging victorious in Race 2.
As he says goodbye to a discipline that has brought him international recognition at last, Pechito López makes no secret of his ambition to make it onto the top step of the podium one last time. That would be a great reward for the team, but also for his Argentine fans, who have closely followed the fortunes of their country’s first world motorsport champion since Juan Manuel Fangio!
Emotion will be running at least as high on the other side of the garage. Yvan Muller’s retirement marks the end of an era in the FIA WTCC. Once again, the stats are astounding: in eleven seasons and 248 starts, the man from Alsace has set the records for number of pole positions (29), number of race wins (48), number of laps in the lead (571), number of fastest laps (38), points scored (2901) and, of course, world titles, with four championship crowns.
Yvan is a legendary driver who has decided to call it a day while he is still at the top. His aim for this weekend will be to hold on to second spot in the World Championship and thus secure a one-two for Citroën. With Yvan the Terrible currently lying 31 points ahead of Tiago Monteiro, that target should be well within his reach!
Citroën’s cars will once again be carrying the maximum ballast of 80kg at the last meeting of the season. It is worth noting that, since they debuted in the discipline in 2014, the C-Elysées have systematically been burdened with the maximum handicap. Over three years, those compensation weights add up to 2340kg, almost twice as much as the second most penalized team! That figure shows just how brilliantly the team and its drivers have performed.
MAX “BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO” VERSTAPPEN ON THE BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX
“I think the word for today is ‘Exciting’. I overtook Nico around the outside of turn 3 which was really fun to do, I just seemed to find a bit more grip out there. I then started chasing Lewis which resulted in me having a massive moment in the final sector, I was really lucky to keep it out of the guard rail. After that scare my pace was still good and I held onto P2. The rears then started to lose grip and I was told Daniel had pitted for Intermediates and was going fast so I followed that plan. For a lap or so it was really good but then more rain came which resulted in no grip in the last sector. There was no way we could carry on so had to pit again for wets. From there on the race was really good fun, plenty of overtakes around the outside because if you stay behind them there’s too much spray, I had to find another line. I just kept my head down and managed to get past quite a few cars in the remaining laps. I could hear the crowd going crazy when my engineer was on the radio, so I’m very thankful for the Brazilian fans for getting behind me. At the end when I crossed the line it felt like a victory, it was almost as beautiful as my race in Barcelona.”