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WTCC



CITROËN WINS THE FIA WTCC MANUFACTURERS’ TITLE

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 - SHANGAI - CHINA

- The Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs recorded a magnificent one-two-three-four in Shanghai, as José María López won race one ahead of Ma Qing Hua, Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb. This unprecedented clean sweep ensured Citroën became Manufacturers’ World Champion.

- This is the first international championship that Citroën has won on the track, after five Cross Country Rally World Cups and eight WRC titles.

- In the Drivers’ World Championship, José María López moved another step closer to the title, which he will have the chance of winning at the next round in Suzuka (24-26 October).

After taking four of the front five positions in qualifying, Citroën Total had already made a very strong impression at the Shanghai International Circuit. Race one got underway in front of packed stands, the fans all cheering on local hero Ma Qing Hua, who started on the front row.

When the lights went out, José María López leapt into the lead ahead of his Chinese team-mate and Yvan Muller. Fifth on the grid, Sébastien Loeb mistimed his started and ended the first lap down in seventh place. Ma Qing Hua, who has looked sharp, badgered Pechito López on his home track, putting him under pressure. Despite locking up his brakes a few times, the leader remained in front but was unable to open up any sort of lead.

Meanwhile, Sébastien Loeb began to make a spectacular comeback. First Tiago Monteiro, then Gabriele Tarquini and finally Norbert Michelisz were all unable to withstand the pressure applied by the former rally driver. Just before the halfway stage, Citroën were therefore on course to record a one-two-three-four!

The four Citroën C-Elysées regrouped just before the chequered flag, capturing a historic moment for the Brand. José María López, Ma Qing Hua, Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb thus secured the title of Manufacturers’ World Champion for their team.

The time for celebrations was limited, however, as the race two started just a few minutes later. Thanks to the inverted grid, Sébastien Loeb was the best placed Citroën driver, starting from the third row. In the first few corners, Yvan Muller closed on his team-mate. Loeb then tried to overtake Hugo Valente, but Muller took advantage to get past!

As he attempted to regain the place lost, Sébastien Loeb accidentally hit Yvan, who was forced to retire with a broken rear wheel. As usual, José María López moved quickly and smoothly through the field, managing to climb up to P3! He crossed the finishing line in third place, scoring precious points for the Drivers’ World Championship. Sébastien Loeb finished fourth but was handed a 30-second penalty after he was adjudged to have caused the collision with Muller, meaning he dropped out the top 10. Ma Qing Hua finished fifth, after a good fight with Norbert Michelisz and Tom Coronel.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Julien Montarnal, Marketing, Communications and Motorsport Director at Citroën: “Citroën is extremely proud of these victories and this world title. The professionalism, energy and passion of Citroën Racing have enabled us to obtain results that have gone way beyond our wildest dreams. We gave ourselves a year to learn about the category and, in the end, it has taken us a year to win! I would like to thank the entire team, all those who have helped put the Citroën brand in the place it deserves: first. Winning the title in Shanghai in front of all these fans, at such an extremely popular event, has been the perfect scenario. China is our biggest market, as one in every four Citroën cars is sold here. All our guests, dealers and customers alike, have been able to appreciate Citroën’s technological expertise.”

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal: “The season isn’t quite over yet, but I think we can safely say it has been a great year. A year that began, in fact, eighteen months ago, when we started working on this project. Whether it was in the technical centre in Versailles or on the ground, the entire team spent a lot energy making sure we were ready for the start of the championship. With a well-deigned car and a set of fantastic drivers, we have obtained some truly exceptional results. I would especially like to thank Yvan Muller, for his involvement with us. It was very emotional to record a 1-2-3-4 in China, and to see Ma Qing Hua finish on the podium.”

José María López: “This was a very important weekend for me and I must say I was more nervous than usual. It’s fantastic to secure the Manufacturers’ title with Citroën Racing. I want to congratulate and thank them all. I believe more than ever that motor racing is a team sport, even if the drivers tend to get most of the glory. It wasn’t easy to win this seventh race, because Ma Qing Hua was always behind me, pushing. That just goes to show that his win in Moscow wasn‘t down to luck!”

Ma Qing Hua: “First of all, I’d like to say thank you and well done to Citroën Total. Like this weekend, the team has had a very successful season. The guys have done everything they could to make up for my lack of track time and it’s motivating to feel so supported. Finishing second in race 1, so close to the winner, was a good result. I think that it’s worth even more than my win in Moscow.”

Yvan Muller: “Personally speaking, it hasn’t been my best weekend. Nor has it been my best season! But I’m pleased with the team result. We began working together fifteen months ago and it’s a great achievement to win the title. I’m pleased for the mechanics, the engineers and everybody involved.”

Sébastien Loeb: “The first race was exciting. I mistimed my start, but I managed to fight with the others and get past them to climb back up to fourth place. I think we’ll all remember this one-two-three-four finish as a great moment! In the second race, I was little bit too optimistic on braking and I accidentally ran into Yvan. I’m really sorry for him and it’s fair enough that I was given a penalty for that. But the big story of the day is the title for the team!”

 

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 10, race 2, Imola (ITA)

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP



Blomqvist wins from Verstappen – battle for title remains open

20-year-old British driver Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) claimed victory in the 29th season race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. He dominated the race at the 4.909 kilometres long Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola and scored a lights-to-flag victory. In bright sunshine, the three years younger Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) crossed the finish line in second place, having overtaken Italian Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) on the final metres. Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) finished fourth and is now 84 points ahead of Blomqvist in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings with four races remaining. Verstappen, who already signed a contract to race in Formula 1 with the Toro Rosso team for 2015, is 96 points down on Lotus Formula 1 junior driver Ocon.

At the start, Tom Blomqvist made the best use of his pole position and took the lead. Antonio Giovinazzi overtook Esteban Ocon for second in the first corner already. On lap three, Antonio Fuoco also managed to find a way past Ocon and thus blew the young championship leader’s hopes of a possible podium finish. At that time, Max Verstappen had already worked his way up to sixth position after having had to start from eleventh place in accordance with the regulations following an engine change. His progress was briefly interrupted on lap seven as a spin by Alexander Toril (ThreeBond with T-Sport) prompted the race director to send the safety car out.

After the restart, Blomqvist remained in front from Giovinazzi and Fuoco. Soon after the field was released again, Verstappen overtook Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam) and then was right behind Esteban Ocon. Two laps later, the Dutchman also overtook the Frenchman. As Fuoco had to pit from third place due to a technical issue, Verstappen even moved up into the top three. However, third place was not enough for the Dutchman: he was so quick that he managed to close up to second-placed Giovinazzi just before the finish. Coming onto the main straight on the final lap, he managed to work his way past the Italian to finish second. Unfazed by the action behind him, Tom Blomqvist drove victory home.

Behind the three drivers on the podium, Esteban Ocon took the flag in fourth place. After 20 laps, Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) finished fifth from Nicholas Latifi, Jake Dennis (Carlin), Félix Serrallés (Team West-Tec F3), Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing)

Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “I am very happy with this victory. I reckon that I showed a pretty strong race. My start was good and I succeeded in pulling a gap straight away. After the safety car intervention, I made a good restart and I managed to pull a gap once again. However, my car was also running perfectly throughout the race.”

Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing): “After having made a stupid mistake in yesterday’s race because of not being patient enough, I was determined to do better today and I think I managed to do so. The speed of my car was great and I am very happy to have made it all the way from eleventh on the grid to second at the flag.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “All in all, it was a good race for me. After the start, I managed to overtake Esteban Ocon and I was up in second place. I never was close enough behind Tom to mount an attack. Unfortunately, Max Verstappen still caught me on the final metres, but I am also happy with third place in my home race.

Niederhauser, Stoneman & Kirchhofer

GP3



Niederhauser victorious in Sochi

 Arden Motorsport’s Niederhauser wins last lap thriller in Russia
What a race and what a last lap! Swiss star Patric Niederhauser was triumphant in Race 2 at the Sochi Autodrom at Round 8 of the 2014 GP3 Series, holding off Koiranen GP’s Dean Stoneman and ART Grand Prix’s Marvin Kirchhöfer in a stunning three-way fight. Series leader Alex Lynn was fifth with the battle for the GP3 title going to the final round in Abu Dhabi.
Niederhauser started from reverse pole and it was his Arden teammate Jann Mardenborough who got the better of Carlin and Red Bull Junior Team driver Alex Lynn – moving into second after the start. The safety car was deployed after contact was made between Jimmy Eriksson and Alex Fontana – the pack bunched up and Riccardo Agostini tagged the back of Fontana. Pal Varhaug and Richie Stanaway were also involved as all four made contact with the barrier and their race was over. All drivers were ok but due to the debris on track, the cars returned to the pitlane and the race was resumed under the safety car.
Eriksson was issued with a ten second stop/go penalty for causing a collision with Fontana which he duly served as the action got underway after the safety came in. Sochi Race 1 winner Dean Stoneman was on the move and he picked off Kevin Ceccon in P5 and then fellow compatriot Lynn in a decisive move for the title. Kirchhöfer had got the move done on Series leader Lynn a few corners earlier as he set his sights on Mardenborough in second.
The German rookie made a successful pass on Mardenborough as the laps ticked down whilst Nick Yelloly got the better of Ceccon for P6. A second safety car was deployed after Russian debutant Nikolay Martsenko stopped at the side of the track.
Once the safety car returned to the pitlane, it allowed the drivers a two lap sprint to fight for the elusive victory. Niederhauser had controlled the race early on with a two second advantage and again had to manage the pack after the safety cars had seen his deficit cut to nothing. Kirchhöfer and Stoneman saw their opportunity to pounce and provided everyone with an epic, entertaining battle until the chequered flag. A three-way battle for the lead emerged with Kirchhöfer briefly leading and Stoneman running side-by-side with Niederhauser.
The Swiss remained calm and fought off the intense pressure from behind to take the chequered flag first by just 0.368s and mark his second victory of the season. Stoneman topped off a superb weekend with second place and Kirchhöfer achieved another rostrum this weekend. Behind them: Mardenborough, Lynn, Yelloly, Celis. Jr and Bernstorff completed the scoring positions.
Lynn remains in a commanding position in the Drivers’ Standings with a 47 point lead (with a maximum of 48 points available in Abu Dhabi.) Therefore Lynn has one hand on the crown but Stoneman’s momentum has seen him jump up into second in the standings on 138, with Kirchhöfer one point adrift on 137.
Carlin remains on top in the Teams’ Standings with 303 points. ART Grand Prix and Status Grand Prix are second and third on 273 and 233 respectively.
The drivers’ and teams’ champion will both be crowned at the spectacular setting of Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi for the season finale on 21-23 November 2014 –it promises to be a memorable encounter.
Jolyon Palmer (DAMS)

GP2



Jolyon Palmer crowned 2014 GP2 Champion

He did it! Following a stellar 2014 season, Jolyon Palmer has been crowned the tenth GP2 Series Champion after he won today’s dramatic feature race at Sochi Autodrom sustaining pressure from Mitch Evans in the final stages. Raffaele Marciello completed the podium.
When the lights went out, Takuya Izawa made a blazing start from third to steal the lead from poleman and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, but the Belgian re-claimed it going around the outside of Turn 2. Behind the pair, front row starter Arthur Pic was busy fending off Palmer and Evans with the Brit finding a way past the Frenchman and then Izawa to take P2. Evans also overtook Pic for fourth.
Vandoorne built a comfortable enough gap to Palmer – both men on the same tyre strategy having started on the softer compound. On lap 7, Stefano Coletti stopped on track and the safety car was deployed. ART told the race leader to box that lap, but the call came a bit too late and Vandoorne missed the pit entry. Palmer and Evans had more time to prepare and came back to the pits for prime tyres along with most of the drivers who were on the same strategy. Vandoorne knew from the moment that the win had most likely slipped away. He chose to stay out on soft tyres for as long as possible to try and build an advantage before boxing.
That’s also when the battle for the crown took a turn for the worse for Nasr: the Brazilian who had started from P12 had managed to move up to seventh, but he was handed a drive through for exceeding track limits when overtaking a car at turn 2 on lap 1. Furious, he served his penalty during the safety car period and thus had to do it all over again once the action resumed. With Nasr out of contention, Palmer had one hand on the crown.
At the re-start, Palmer in seventh stayed out of trouble before slicing his way up to third behind Vandoorne and Artem Markelov, both of which still had to pit. Further down, Evans was in fighting spirits: the Kiwi caught up with Palmer, passing Tio Ellinas and Stéphane Richelmi on the way and being helped by a slower Markelov ahead of Palmer. When the race leaders pitted, Palmer was handed the win, but Evans would not let him have it easy, both men swapping fastest laptimes, but true to his season’s form the Briton drove flawlessly to the chequered flag becoming the tenth GP2 Champion.
Behind the leading pair, Marciello battled with Pic for third place. Vandoorne salvaged his race result by taking fifth place ahead of André Negrao, Sergio Canamasas and Julian Leal who will start from reverse pole tomorrow. Marco Sorense and Nathanaël Berthon completed the top ten.
2014 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING

FORMULA 1


2014 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished first and second in qualifying this afternoon for the 2014 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi and Williams driver Valtteri Botas in third.

• The team scored a fifth consecutive front-row lockout – and its ninth in all in 2014 – this afternoon in Sochi
• Lewis’ 38th career pole position marks the team’s 15th pole from 16 races during the 2014 season
• Both drivers completed just three runs in qualifying, using one set of option tyres in each part of the session
• This marks the fifth time in 2014 that Mercedes-powered cars have secured the top four qualifying positions

Lewis Hamilton
It’s an amazing feeling to come to this beautiful place and to race on this track. It’s fun to drive. Today, the laps in practice felt more special. In qualifying it seemed a bit harder to get that special lap but I’m grateful that I was able to improve. I crossed the line and I was just hoping I got it; when they tell you, it’s the biggest relief – a great feeling. The corners are mostly medium and high speed where you need a lot of downforce, so tomorrow should be a challenge. It’s a long run down to Turn One and we need to be mindful there are opportunities to overtake here‎. It was great to see such a strong turnout for the first Saturday of running at this new track. Hopefully we can give them a good show tomorrow.

Nico Rosberg
That was a very difficult qualifying today; we had to adapt a lot of things. The track is new and so unique: the tyres last very long as the surface is very smooth. Lewis was just quicker today so I need to have a good start tomorrow. Starting from the front-row is still a good position to begin the race. I guess this will be an exciting Grand Prix; there will be some opportunities to overtake on the straights and I am sure we will see plenty of action on track.

Valtteri Bottas
I took a bit too much out of the tyres in the first two sectors and they started to fall away in the final corners and this maybe cost us a chance of finishing on the front row. Mercedes have looked very strong in the final sector all weekend so I don’t think pole was possible but it would have been good to see where that lap would have put me. The benefit is that we will be starting on the cleaner side of the grid and this could be very beneficial on a new track with a lot of dirt off line. Third is a good result and we have strong race pace so hopefully we can battle with the Mercedes cars and secure another podium finish tomorrow.

Toto Wolff
It was another big battle between our drivers with Lewis coming out just on top in the end. It was hard fought on every run, with Nico starting out stronger, then Lewis each time able to find a little bit extra on the second and third timed laps. The performance was ramping up as the runs went on and it looked like Valtteri (Bottas) in the Williams was going to spoil our party at the end – he had two purple sectors then made a mistake in the final corners and didn’t improve. But we have every reason to be happy with a Silver Arrows front row at the end of an unusual qualifying session. We expect the competition from Williams and McLaren to be tough tomorrow, like it should be in Formula 1, so we will need to be on the top of our game in terms of performance and strategy. A special word, too, for Daniil Kvyat: he did a great job to qualify fifth at his home race.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 10, race 1, Imola (ITA)

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP



Esteban Ocon takes lights-to-flag win, Max Verstappen retires

Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) made his comeback on the top step of the podium at the 4.909 kilometres long Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. The 18-year-old Frenchman won the 28th race of the season and thus also wrapped up the title in the rookie classification of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In the 20 lap race, British drivers Jordan King (Carlin) and Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) finished second and third. Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing), who came to Italy as the runner-up in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings, retired from a turbulent race. As a result, the 17-year-old Dutchman, who participated in his first free practice session in Formula 1 last week, lost his second place in the championship to Tom Blomqvist. Ocon, who is now 97 points ahead of Blomqvist, remains on top of the standings.

The safety-car was deployed on the opening lap following a collision between Santino Ferrucci (Fortec Motorsports) and Hongwei Cao (Fortec Motorsports). At that time, Esteban Ocon was in the lead after a successful start from pole position. Jordan King followed in second place from Tom Blomqvist and Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport).

After the restart, Ocon was in front again and was soon able to pull a slight gap from his main rival Jordan King. While Lotus F1 junior driver Ocon controlled the race in first place, his rival in the battle for the title, Max Verstappen, had to work his way up through the ranks. Following an engine change in the previous round at the Nürburgring, after which he was dropped ten places on the grid for the first and second race at Imola in compliance with the regulations, the Dutchman had only started from 15th place on the grid. After one lap, he was already ninth and continued to push. A mistake while attacking Jake Dennis (Carlin) cost Verstappen two positions. Soon after that, Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) pushed him into the gravel trap and the Van Amersfoort driver fell out of the top ten as a result. Following another collision with Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), he eventually had to retire in the pits with three laps remaining.

Out in front, Esteban Ocon drove his ninth victory of the season home, followed by Jordan King and Tom Blomqvist. Felix Rosenqvist finished fourth from Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Jake Dennis, Félix Serrallés (Team West-Tec F3), Tatiana Calderón (Jo Zeller Racing) and Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin).

Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam): “Pole position certainly helped me to take the lead after the start. After that, I immediately managed to pull a gap from Jordan. After the restart, the situation was similar. When Jordan increased his speed during the race, I had to take a little bit more risk to keep the gap constant.”

Jordan King (Carlin): “My start wasn’t the best and throughout the race, I never managed to close up to Esteban in such a way that I would have been able to mount an attack. But second place is a good result, too.”

Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “After the restart, I had to defend my position from Felix Rosenqvist, which I managed to do. Thus, I was third and I brought this position home. Before the race, we had made some changes to the set-up of my car and I needed some time to get used to it.”

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