WSR 3.5


Spaniard Carlos Sainz (DAMS) came up big this Saturday at Circuit Paul Ricard. Starting from pole position, the Red Bull Junior Team driver took his sixth victory of the season in commanding style ahead of the two French rookies Pierre Gasly (Arden Motorsport) and Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus). The Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship leader extended his lead to 31 points from Roberti Merhi (Zeta Corse), fifth today. Outside the points, Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) is now eliminated from the race for the title.

In the morning, Carlos Sainz claimed his seventh pole of the season with a lap of 1:47.436, which allowed him to start ahead of fellow Red Bull Junior Team member, Pierre Gasly. Matthieu Vaxiviere and Roberto Merhi shared row two while Sergey Sirotkin (Fortec Motorsports) completed the top five.

At the start, the championship leader conserved the lead from Pierre Gasly. After an excellent get away, Oliver Rowland suffered a puncture on the opnening lap that also saw the races of Jazeman Jaafar (ISR) and Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) come to an early end. Matthieu Vaxiviere moved back to third place ahead of Sergey Sirotkin and Roberto Merhi.

Following the intervention of the safety car, Carlos Sainz built a small lead from Pierre Gasly, who swapped fastest lap times with the Spaniard. Back in the field, Luca Ghiotto (International Draco Racing) overtook Marco Sørensen (Tech 1 Racing) for seventh place, while Oliver Rowland put on a great show in his duel with Esteban Ocon (Comtec Racing).

Solidly in the lead, Carlos Sainz took the chequered flag with a four second margin from Pierre Gasly, who took his seventh podium result of the season. Matthieu Vaxiviere finished third ahead of Sergey Sirotkin, Roberto Merhi and Marlon Stockinger (Lotus). Luca Ghiotto, Marco Sørensen, Matias Laine (Strakka Racing) and Norman Nato (DAMS) completed the list of point scorers.


Carlos Sainz: “It is an incredible day. We needed this victory at this time of the season. Friday was a difficult day, but we did what we needed to do in qualifying, then kept the lead at the start and restart which wasn’t easy as I had opened a gap before the safety car. Then, we won the race! Pierre and I had similar pace, which meant I wasn’t allowed a mistake and I had to keep the lead above two seconds to keep him out of my tow!”

Pierre Gasly: “I wanted to win this home race. Alas, I started second and I finished second, but it was still a really good race, which concluded with my third consecutive podium result. It is very positive, in as much as we had a difficult Friday. I tried to stay close to Carlos using the DRS, but we swapped best time lap after lap.”

Matthieu Vaxiviere: “To get another podium, It’s a great feeling. Qualifying was good but my start could have been better. Oliver Rowland made contact with me at the first corner, but that’s racing. I tried to use the DRS to catch up to Carlos and Pierre, but tyre degradation is very important here.”

British Truck Racing Championship makes second visit of 2014 to Pembrey


Pembrey to Echo to Thunder in the Valleys

  • British Truck Racing Championship makes second visit of 2014 to Pembrey
  • All to play for in closely-contested title battles around leading Welsh circuit
  • 1,200bhp racing trucks set to thrill spectators, who get in for just £12

The power and thunder of the British Truck Racing Championship will roar back into Pembrey next weekend (4/5 October), as one of the country’s most spectacular motor sport series speeds towards a thrilling conclusion to its 2014 campaign.

The field of phenomenal 5.5-tonne, 1,200bhp six-wheeled racing trucks visited the Carmarthenshire circuit earlier this year, delivering a monster display of high-octane thrills n’ spills. As the championship returns to South Wales next weekend, it does so with the title battles poised finely on a knife-edge.

Mat Summerfield and Chris Levett have waged a season-long duel for Division 1 honours. Whilst Levett in his MKR Renault has been the most prolific winner – tallying no fewer than 11 victories to-date, including one at Pembrey back in May – MAN TGX adversary Summerfield’s greater consistency sees him seven points ahead, although with seven successes to his credit, he has hardly been a stranger to the top step of the podium himself.

Steve Thomas remains firmly in touch in third place in the standings in his MAN TGA – and will be one of the favourites to spray the winner’s champagne and close the gap in the classification next weekend, having triumphed three times at Pembrey in the spring. Stuart Oliver (Scania P1150), Dave Jenkins (MAN TGX) and Richard Collett (MAN TGX), meanwhile, have all similarly emerged victorious over the course of the campaign thus far.

Former European Truck Racing Champion and ten-time British Truck Racing Champion Oliver was a Welsh winner in May. He also taught Wales international and Scarlets rugby centre player Scott Williams some of the tricks of the truck racing trade behind the wheel of his 16-gear behemoth – whose six-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine is capable of accelerating from 30-to-100mph in an eye-watering six seconds.

In Division 2, Iveco Stralis driver Simon Reid leads Ryan Smith by a single point arriving at Pembrey. Reid came out-of-the-blocks flying at the beginning of the campaign with four straight victories but has not reached the top of the rostrum since, as Sisu rival Smith has notched up ten successes and returns to Wales riding the crest of a wave off the back of a five-race winning streak.

Steve Powell (Foden Alfa) holds a watching brief in third, whilst brother and fellow former champion Graham Powell (Renault MACK) is the category’s ‘winningest’ competitor of 2014. Not only has the latter prevailed in-class on 12 occasions, but he went undefeated at Pembrey in May and even dominated four of the five encounters outright as he sped to ten consecutive early-season Division 2 triumphs.

That form guide suggests the battle between Division 1 and Division 2 contenders will be fairly evenly-matched as they prepare to return to the racetrack – adding further spice to the already intriguing title scenarios. Circuit manager Phil Davies clearly anticipates a firecracker of a weekend in-store.

“The British Truck Racing Championship is one of the indisputable highlights on Pembrey’s annual calendar, and the flame-spitting grid of monster trucks never fail to entertain and enthral,” he remarked. “There is plenty at stake in both divisions with so little to choose between the leading protagonists, and that is sure to generate some nail-biting wheel-to-wheel action throughout the field. You’d be mad to miss it!”

Tickets cost just £12 per adult per day and can be purchased on the gate, with accompanied children aged 14 and under admitted free. The track action begins at 09.00 on both Saturday and Sunday, with gates opening at 08.00 and camping available on Friday and Saturday night.

For further information, visit:

For season or individual race meeting accreditation, please

Image Captions:
Division 1 front-runners Chris Levett (above), Dave Jenkins and Mat Summerfield (below top right and second down on left), Steve Thomas (below second down on right) and Richard Collett and Stuart Oliver (below third and fourth down on left) are all sure to be in the mix at Pembrey next weekend. In Division 2, meanwhile, the usual suspects Ryan Smith and Graham Powell (below top left and third down on right) and Simon Reid (below bottom right) will doubtless be amongst those to keep an eye on in Carmarthenshire.
Credit: Jonathan Reeves




image As the countdown to the 2015 Dakar Rally begins to accelerate, the Peugeot-Total squad is continuing to develop the fearsome 2008 DKR at a frenetic pace with its three star drivers, including Cyril Despres, who is getting to grips with competing on four wheels for the first time.


From 7am, Team Peugeot-Total is in action. Like a commando unit on a mission, the mechanics invade the test centre at Château Laostours, where the 2008 DKR is about to begin a new phase of its development – generating impatience and anticipation in equal measure. Every single minute counts. For the first time, the three crews that constitute Peugeot’s dream team will all take turns behind the wheel. Following shakedown tests at Freneuse, Montlhéry and Creusot elsewhere in France, the beast now has the opportunity to demonstrate its mettle across rocky terrain that offers a foretaste of the kind of adventure that awaits it in South America. Now that Carlos Sainz has drawn upon his experience to identify the inevitable initial teething troubles, his two new team-mates have also come along to help out. On the programme is validation of the modifications made to the chassis and cooling system. image


Stéphane Peterhansel settles into the high-perched cockpit of his new mount. The French multiple Dakar winner wastes little time in heading towards this trock, which represents a real challenge – even for a vehicle that aspires to the life of a trailblazer. As the kilometres poss by, Stéphane confesses to experiencing a genuine culture shock: “Switching over to two-wheel-drive changes everything!” he cheerfully reflects. image


Subsequent runs only serve to confirm this first impression: ” l’ve never previously driven a car with so much suspension travel. The first big surprise is the manner in which the 2008 DKR soaks up potholes and compressions. l’ve always been accustomed to getting thrown around like a rag doll inside the cockpit, but the behaviour of the 2008 DKR is infinitely more efficient and smooth. Whenever you fear an impending impact, the suspension and large-diameter wheels absorb it. That is a reassuring feeling, which allows you to pass over potholes at 120kph or 130kph rather thon just 80kph. l’ll need to adapt my driving style accordingly … ” All the more so, indeed, as this beast is truly alive! “Being two-wheel-drive, the 2008 DKR is a bit livelier and as such, demands a defter and more precise touch behind the wheel since it is not quite as easy to control. You really need to always be at the point of sliding. Apart from that, the engine and gearbox both feel good, and while we are still inevitably a long way From finding the ideal set-up, initial impressions are excellent – there is plenty of potential here”. image


So what awaits Cyril Despres? The former motorcyclist – a five-time Dakar winner on two wheels – is embarking upon a new career on four wheels. As the clock ticks down towards his leap into the unknown, he is oscillating between impatience and a hint of anxiety that he is doing his best to conceal. Following a sighting run in the passenger seat alongside Peterhansel to establish his bearings, the moment comes to take to the wheel himself for the first time: with his eyes full of wonder and grinning from cheek-to-cheek, he is like a kid at Christmas. Under the watchful gaze of team members – who are well aware that they are witnessing history being made – he fires up the engine and sets off in determined mood for his maiden test outing. After completing several dozen kilometres, he returns to base, with tears of emotion intermingling with beads of sweat. “That was crazy!” he exclaims, visibly awestruck by the experience. “ln every possible area, it’s far better than 1 had ever imagined it would be! And what’s more, l’m still a long way from pushing flat-out and exploring its full potential… “ image


He does admit to the engineers, however, to having made a small mistake: “At one stage, 1 briefly relaxed my concentration. I missed a down shift and must have overrevved the engine slightly… ” Gilles Picard, two times a Dakar winner alongside Luc Alphand and a former motorcyclist himself, is nonetheless very satisfied with the four-wheeled debut of his new driver: “He’s impressed me, this kid. He has a very neat driving style!” image


Not far away, Carlos Sainz is already in the process of settling himself into the 2008 DKR’s snug cockpit. He was on-site for Cyril’s debut and watched over him with the nurturing and encouraging manner of an older brother: “I am convinced that he will do a good job, and to that end, I am ready to help him where needed. Stéphane and others have demonstrated that motorcyclists possess the necessary mind-set to also perform well in cars, and I know that Cyril is a formidable competitor.” The programme drawn up by the team’s engineers filled the summer months and did not really allow the three crews to take any long holidays. The test sessions will continue to come thick and fast right up until the eagerly-anticipated expedition to South America.
2014 Singapore Grand Prix Sunday Lewis Hamilton Victory


MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS driver Lewis Hamilton took an impressive victory in the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix this evening, while Nico Rosberg was forced to retire in a tense race at the spectacular Marina Bay Street Circuit and a double podium for Red Bull.

– Lewis completed a clean sweep of pole position, fastest lap and victory for the fifth time in his Formula One career
– This marks Lewis’ 29th career Formula One win – his eighth for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS
– Nico was forced to retire on lap 13 after a steering column wiring loom failure
– The malfunction was first detected on the laps to the grid and eventually left him stuck in neutral at his first pit stop
– Lewis now leads the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship by three points from his team-mate

Lewis Hamilton
It was great to come here after winning in Monza and start the final leg of the season with such a competitive car. It would have been a really hardcore race if Nico had been at the front, as we clearly had the pace. It was all running pretty comfortably until the Safety Car came out, which gave me some problems. I was driving hard to build the gap but then the tyres started dropping off and I wasn’t sure what to do – keep pushing or back off to look after them. So we pitted straight away and I came out behind Seb. But I knew they were on a two-stop strategy and that his tyres were old. I went for it down the back straight – the gap was pretty small and maybe I could have chosen another point on the circuit. But I luckily squeezed through and made it stick. Of course, it’s not an ideal result with Nico retiring, so that shows we still have work to do to get on top of reliability. But it’s been a great job from the team at everyone at the factories to make this mega car. Now we need to keep pushing hard for Japan in two weeks’ time.

SEBASTIAN VETTEL, Finish Position: 2nd, Start Position: 4th
“It’s a circuit I like here, the atmosphere‘s great and it’s a tough event. I had a good start and got past Daniel and had a decent race. We played a bit with strategy after we got undercut by Alonso, the safety car came at the worst time for us but we made the tyres work at the end which was tough. There was no point fighting Lewis at the end, he was on fresh tyres and I had to manage mine to the end as they were pretty old by then; that was the focus. It was nice to get the cold champagne on the podium.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 3rd, Start Position: 3rd
“We were really close to the Mercedes in qualifying and we expected the race pace to be a bit faster today to be honest. We weren’t quick enough in the first stint and we had a few other issues going on, with brakes and some power issues that were coming and going, but in terms of points we still got a good handful to take away from here. It actually feels a bit like a home race here. Singapore to Perth is like Melbourne to Perth, so for West Australians it’s not too far. Suzuka is in two weeks and that’s another track we can be optimistic for, so I’m looking forward to that. All in all it was a solid weekend.”





MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS secured a dramatic front row lockout for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton took pole by just seven thousandths of a second from team-mate Nico Rosberg.

– Lewis took his 6th pole position of 2014 this evening in Singapore and the team’s 13th from 14 races this year
– This means that Mercedes-Benz power has so far taken pole at all 14 rounds of the world championship
– Nico finished second to make it the team’s 7th all-Mercedes front row in 2014 and the third in a row
– The gap between the two of 0.007s equates to just 33.5 cm around the 5.065 km lap!
– Both drivers used one set of prime tyres and three sets of option tyre during the qualifying session

Weather: Clear, dry, humid
Temperatures: Air 27 – 28°C, Track 31 – 37°C

Lewis Hamilton
That was one of the most exciting qualifying sessions I can remember. I lost a lot of time at the beginning of my last lap and at that point I thought pole was lost. But I just kept going and managed to pull some time back. As a driver, through the weekend you plan to have the last lap in qualifying as your best. By that time the track has improved and you should have the settings as close to their optimum as they’re going to get. But there was so much happening out there and I was just trying not to look at what was going on around me. I was surprised by how close everyone was – the Red Bulls and Ferraris looked quick all day – and it was really fun to be a part of that session. The team have done a fantastic job to bring the car here, to a circuit where downforce is so important, and be at the front once again, so a big thank you to them. It´s going to be a tough race tomorrow. Coming into the weekend we had an opinion about how the tyres would behave, but the long runs yesterday changed all that. Trying to manage them will be a big challenge but hopefully it will be an entertaining one for the fans. I’m on the clean side of the track so I’m hoping for a clean start and a strong race.

Nico Rosberg
In general that was the most difficult qualifying session of my career so far. It was really tough to find my rhythm. I had to change my brakes for qualifying and then had to find the right balance in the early runs which was a struggle. I just thought, “that’s it, you will be 6th or 7th”. Then, at the end, I was really happy with the balance and feeling good. When I heard that Lewis was that tiny margin quicker I thought “damn”! I directly reviewed my lap and thought there were so many places to gain seven thousandths of a second – especially in the last corner. But in the end he did seven thousandths of a better job today, so fair play to him. P2 is still good for tomorrow’s race and I’m focused on having a good start. Last year I overtook Sebastian at Turn One, so it’s definitely possible to win from here. It’s going to be all about managing the tyres and I learned some good lessons in my long runs yesterday, so I hope it will be an exciting race for the fans.

Toto Wolff
That qualifying session was great to watch and a strong advert for Formula One. From our point of view, it’s clear that we don’t enjoy the advantage here that we have had on previous weekends. But this is a unique circuit and to produce a car which can be fast at every venue on the calendar is a big task, so we must be very pleased with a 1-2 front-row lockout. Our performance this weekend so far hasn’t been totally consistent and that is what we will need tomorrow evening. But the demands of racing are different to those of a single lap. I’m optimistic that we are capable of performing well when it comes to managing the energy levels, the fuel and the brakes in the race. So, a good job today but still a lot to do tomorrow.

Paddy Lowe
We came to Singapore expecting drama and that’s exactly what we got – and it’s not even Sunday yet! It’s great to have locked out the front row after a very tense session. It was all about putting a lap together with the tyres in the right condition and we weren’t managing to do that consistently during the session. It all came down to the final laps – with Lewis and Nico in P6 and P7 respectively – and they each delivered phenomenal performances. Well done to both of them. Looking to tomorrow, we know there are still many challenges to overcome. We need to get through the first corner cleanly, make the right calls in the race and history has shown that a Safety Car period is almost inevitable at some point. There is still a very long way to go – but we’re starting from the best possible positions.

2012 Italian Grand Prix - Saturday

F1Weekly podcast # 663

Clark & Nasir share a pasta dish whilst discussing the Italian Grand Prix.

DRS to be introduced on GP2 cars in 2015
GP2 Series organisers have announced today that a DRS device will be introduced in the Series next season. CEO Bruno Michel talks about the decision.
Why has GP2 Series decided to introduce DRS next season?
We’ve always said that GP2 was able to produce some amazing races without the addition of DRS or any other devices, and once again the 2014 season has proved that with some close racing and exciting on-track battles. However, we also have to make sure that we keep in line with our mission statement: preparing the drivers for the next step, Formula One. Since the inception of the Series, we designed a car for a three-year cycle, but for the first time this year, we decided instead to keep the third generation car for six seasons, in order to cut the costs and support our teams. Therefore, the next generation car will be introduced in 2017 and our current chassis is already four years old. But, it is important to keep adding modifications – at a reasonable cost – that will slightly tweak the technical features of our car. Formula One is constantly evolving. It is impossible for GP2 to remain with the same car over a long period of time when its philosophy is to prepare the drivers for F1. Bearing this in mind, we thought that DRS was the best technical development to introduce and we discussed it with the teams over a year ago. They were all in favour of it as they felt it would make GP2 even more attractive to the drivers, but only if it was an identical system to the one used in F1. Finally, it is well known that some of the circuits on the calendar are renowned to be difficult in terms of overtaking opportunities – even for GP2. DRS will be an added value on those tracks.
What will the DRS device be like on the GP2 car?
It is imperative that the device we introduce is exactly the same DRS as the one used in Formula One. As I said before, we decided to add it to our cars in order to prepare the drivers for the next step. As such, it will not be a push-to-pass button or a way to be quicker on a lap. Our DRS will be the exact copy of the one used in F1, with the same DRS zones since we’re racing on the same tracks. The drivers will be able to activate it within one second of the car in front at the DRS detection point, with the same level of safety, and with the same suppliers. It will have a hydraulic activation to ensure there’s a very fast movement of the flap with a capacity to open at high speed.
How is that going to affect the budget for the teams?
When we discussed this with the teams over a year ago, they told us that the drivers who they are in contact with were eager to see DRS on the GP2 cars. So we evaluated the feasibility of it, and we could have introduced it last year, but we decided not to for economic reasons. We took the time to investigate ways to introduce it for a minimal cost, as our goal remains to keep on supporting our teams. The cost-cutting plan put in place this year will continue for next season in order to make sure that the introduction of DRS will not affect the teams.
The DRS will be tested on GP2 Series development car for the first time in late October in Europe and then again in December in the Middle East. The teams will receive the kit in January.

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The Premiere Motorsport Podcast