FORMULA 1

Robert Kubica gets the Formula 1 feeling in Valencia

Robert Kubica has returned to a Formula 1 cockpit for the first time in over six years to conduct a private test with Renault Sport Formula One Team at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo.

Robert completed 115 laps on Tuesday June 6, using the team’s 2012 specification, Renault V8 powered E20. Robert conducted several evaluations with various fuel-loads.

This was Robert’s first time in a Formula 1 car since pre-season testing for the 2011 season, his previous outing being in the Renault R31 at the same circuit in February 2011. Robert was seriously injured in a rally accident prior to the start of the 2011 Formula 1 season, but has subsequently tested several racing cars, including single-seaters.
Robert Kubica:
“I would like to thank everybody for making this possible, I hope it was a good day for everyone and maybe they saw something of my old, 2010 self. For me, it has been an important day from an emotional point of view. It has been a long time away from the paddock and I have been through difficult periods, I kept working hard and a few years ago I felt it was impossible. I have mixed feelings, I am proud with what I achieved today, but also it shows what I have lost. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I know one thing, after working for more than one year to prepare for this, I ran with good pace and consistent in difficult conditions. It is not easy after six years, but I knew I could do the job and I can be satisfied. I appreciate the opportunity. Renault gave me my first F1 test in 2005, so I appreciate another test this time around.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director:
“It was good to see Robert back in a Formula 1 car. It was a smooth day. We tried to condense a Grand Prix weekend into one day, which was interesting for him. Robert has changed a little, he is more mellow and he wasn’t pushing quite as hard or asking for every detail about the set-up or the car! His comments and feedback, however, were like turning the clock back for all of us. It is a tricky thing to jump into an F1 car after six years and it was a great performance from him. This was a one-off event for Robert. His time with Renault was cut short so abruptly and we perceived such a nice future with him. The team was in Valencia testing with Sergey Sirotkin, so it was the perfect opportunity to offer Robert a day in the car and contribute in our way to his recovery.”

FORMULA 1

SAHARA FORCE INDIA CANADA PREVIEW

Vijay Mallya: “I was naturally disappointed to see us leave Monaco empty-handed. Operationally we were strong and the car showed good pace, but sometimes the luck doesn’t go your way and there’s nothing you can do. 

“The positives we take from Monaco leave us feeling optimistic for Canada. The car is working well and we’ve made progress over the last few races. The confidence throughout the team continues to grow and we approach every race knowing we can fight for points. It’s important we get back into our rhythm in Montreal and build on our strong start to the year.”

Sergio: “I said after Monaco that I was proud of the team and the way we raced in Monaco. We gave it everything, but it wasn’t our day. It’s frustrating because the car felt good all weekend. It was a shame not to make the most of this opportunity and continue our run of races in the points.

“I feel confident about Montreal. It’s a track where I’ve had some good races and I like the challenge of the circuit. It’s all about being late on the brakes and aggressive through the chicanes. You have to be precise too with the walls so close to the track.

“I think the sport needs more tracks similar to Montreal where mistakes are punished. These old-school tracks excite the drivers and fans, and usually produce entertaining races.”

Esteban: “Montreal is another new track for me so I’m going to be on the learning curve on Friday. I know the lap from playing video games and being on the simulator, and I’ve always liked the circuit characteristics.

“Although I haven’t driven in Montreal, I know the place already from my visit last year. It’s definitely a cool event because everybody in the city supports the race and Canada really loves Formula One. It feels like a big party in the streets, especially on the Saturday night.

“After the bad luck in Monaco I want to get back to scoring points in Montreal. The car is getting better with each race and I think I’m fully up-to-speed now. I’m really happy with the team and the way we work together – we’ve already built up a good understanding and they know what I need from the car.”

INDYCAR SERIES

RAHAL DOMINATES TO WIN FIRST RACE OF BELLE ISLE DOUBLEHEADER

DETROIT – Graham Rahal said at the beginning of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear weekend that his team had uncovered a solid street-course car setup earlier this season. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver proved it today with a dominant victory in the first race of the Verizon IndyCar Series weekend doubleheader.

Rahal led 55 of the 70 laps on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park’s 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit. The 28-year-old Ohioan crossed the finish line 6.1474 seconds ahead of Scott Dixon to become the seventh different driver to win in as many series races this season. The second race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix is scheduled for Sunday.

“Everything went according to plan today,” said Rahal, who started from the pole position after capturing the Verizon P1 Award with a track-record lap this morning. “We were pretty in control.

“We’ve shown some speed at times this year, but we haven’t had a lot of luck. Today, we had a combination of speed, the yellows didn’t come out at bad times for us and we certainly had the pace. Pretty pleased with that and hopefully tomorrow we can do the same.”

Driving the No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsforTroops.com Honda, Rahal collected the fifth win of his 11-year Indy car career. It is Rahal’s first triumph on a temporary street course since his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series victory at St. Petersburg in 2008, when he became the youngest winner in Indy car annals at 19 years, 3 months, 2 days.

It is also the first street-course victory by the Rahal team since co-owner Bobby Rahal won the inaugural Belle Isle race 25 years ago.

“It’s always wonderful to see your son win or your team win, frankly,” Bobby Rahal said. “To lead 55 out of 70 laps, that’s pretty special.

“If you give Graham the car, he’s going to be tough to beat. I think we saw that today. I don’t think he could have driven any better, I don’t think a statement could be made any stronger. This was our race.”

Dixon persevered to finish second despite a painful left ankle, the result of his spectacular crash during the May 28 running of the Indianapolis 500. It is the 93rd career podium for the four-time series champion, breaking a tie with retired teammate and friend Dario Franchitti for fifth all-time. It is also his 36th career second-place finish, moving Dixon within one of tying Bobby Rahal for third all-time.

“It was a tough race no matter what,” said Dixon, the driver of the No. 9 Camping World Honda who reclaimed the points lead by two over Helio Castroneves. “Physically for me it was tougher than normal. I think I was favoring a lot of things, but just so proud of the whole Camping World crew. They did an amazing job. The car was fast. I probably couldn’t get the most out of it but we were kind of there. But it’s great for points.”

WRC

MEEKE, BREEN AND MIKKELSEN TAKE ON SARDINIA TEST

RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA: THE HARDEST PART!

Following rounds in Argentina and Portugal, the WRC visits another country where rallying is practically a religion. Italy drivers and manufacturers have played a key role in the history of the World Championship since it was founded. On the WRC calendar, the legendary Rallye Sanremo was replaced by Rally Italia Sardegna in 2004. The competitors were introduced to road surfaces and conditions that were very different to those on the Italian Riviera.

On the Mediterranean island, the stages are incredibly demanding, for the drivers, cars and tyres alike. The narrow and twisty gravel roads are surrounded by thick vegetation, hiding the large rocks that the drivers are well advised to avoid hitting with their wheels. As the ground is invariably covered with a thick layer of sand and dust, the running order tends to be of critical importance on the first pass on the stages. The challenge is different again on the second run: the drivers have to cope with ruts that become deeper as more cars complete, as well as the bedrocks that can become exposed… almost anywhere! Bearing in mind that temperatures may approach 30°C during the weekend, it is easy to see why many crews are apprehensive about this seventh round.

The rally is due to kick off on Thursday evening, with the ceremonial start in Alghero and a 2km-long super special stage. The cars then cross the island, from the west to the east coast, stopping in Olbia for the night. Following this transfer, the crews will tackle the daunting stages of Terranova and Monte Olia on Friday. Saturday features the fullest programme, including the long Monti di Ala’ and Monte Lerno speed tests. This final stage includes the famous Micky’s Jump, a popular meeting point for the Italian rally fans and one of the event’s highlights! Contested without a service break, Sunday’s final leg is something of a sprint finish, with just four short stages.

INDYCAR SERIES

SATO EARNS $2.45 Million FOR WINNING 101st INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 29, 2017 – Takuma Sato earned $2,458,129 from an overall purse of $13,178,359 for his victory Sunday in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Verizon IndyCar Series veteran Sato, from Tokyo, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500, fending off three-time winner Helio Castroneves by .2011 of a second to the checkered flag in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda. This was the sixth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

Sato took the lead from Castroneves for good on Lap 195 of the 200-lap race. He led twice for 17 laps.

Castroneves, who dodged multiple on-track incidents and led nine laps even after receiving a drive-through penalty, earned $770,629 for finishing second in the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet. He became one of seven drivers with three Indianapolis 500 runner-up finishes.

Toward the end of the race, Castroneves had to worry about third-place finisher, rookie driver Ed Jones, in his rear-view mirror. Jones never led in the race but ended up as the top rookie finisher in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda, earning $535,629.

Max Chilton, who led a race-high 50 laps, finished in fourth place in the No. 8 Gallagher Honda. He earned $484,129.

Rounding out the top five was 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan in the No. 10 NTT Data Honda. Kanaan, who led 22 laps, earned $438,129.

Pole sitter Scott Dixon earned $446,629 despite placing 32nd in the No. 9 Camping World Honda. Dixon was unhurt after a frightening crash with Jay Howard on Lap 53 in which Dixon’s car went airborne and hit the inside SAFER Barrier between Turns 1 and 2.

Fernando Alonso earned $305,805, including $50,000 for being named Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Two-time Formula One World Champion Alonso was the top-qualifying rookie, in fifth, and led 27 laps – more than any other rookie – before ending up 24th after a mechanical problem on Lap 180 halted his race while running seventh in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda.

INDYCAR SERIES

TAKUMA SATO WINS THE INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, May 28, 2017) – Many wondered if an experienced Formula One driver competing for Andretti Autosport could win the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. It happened, just not by the one some expected.

Takuma Sato capped off another thrilling Indianapolis 500 that featured a record number of drivers leading the race. The driver of the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda edged three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves to the finish line by 0.2011 of a second to become the first Japanese winner of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

101st INDIANAPOLIS 500: Box score

Sato passed Castroneves for the lead on Lap 195 – the last of 35 lead changes in the 200-lap race on the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and the seventh straight year that the decisive pass for the Indy 500 lead occurred in the last six laps. Sato held off aggressive charges from Castroneves, the driver of the No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet, in the sixth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

After spending seven years in Formula One, Sato came to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2010. His only previous Indy car victory was in 2013 with AJ Foyt Racing on the streets of Long Beach, California. Sato joined Andretti Autosport this season, and his first oval win today is the fifth for Andretti Autosport in the Indianapolis 500 – including three in the last four years.

“It’s such a privilege to win here,” said Sato, who crashed while battling eventual winner Dario Franchitti for the lead on the final lap of the 2012 Indy 500. “So whether it was the first attempt or eighth attempt or you had a drama in the past, it doesn’t really matter. Winning today, it’s just superb.

“But, yes, I do feel after 2012 I really needed to correct something I left over. Today, I was so happy that I made it and won in a good move.”

Sato is the 71st driver to win an Indianapolis 500 in its 101 runnings. The best previous finish by a Japanese driver was fifth by Tora Takagi in 2003.

Castroneves overcame a black-flag penalty for jumping a restart and dodged mayhem in two race incidents to finish second at Indy for the third time – making him one of seven drivers with three Indianapolis 500 runner-up finishes. It is the 41st second-place finish of the Brazilian’s 20-year Indy car career, which ranks second all time.

“The Shell Fuel Rewards Chevy team almost got it done today,” said Castroneves, attempting for the eighth straight year to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time Indy 500 winners. “It was so close.

“I say, ‘great job’ to my guys,” added Castroneves, who recovered from his worst Indy 500 start (19th) and the pit drive-through penalty to finish runner-up. “They worked their tails off, we saw it all today. We were in the back and we led some laps. We avoided disaster and we almost got (win) No. 4.”

Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones finished a career-best third. Like Castroneves, Jones had to climb from the rear of the field after having the rear wing assembly on his No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda replaced during a pit stop.

“We kept pushing on, kept making up positions,” the 23-year-old from Dubai said. “I had a great Dale Coyne Racing car underneath me the whole way that got me to make those passes. … Congrats to Sato. I didn’t really have the pace for him and Helio at the end, but we did the best we could.”

Fernando Alonso was the most heralded rookie coming into the race. The two-time Formula One champion, who bypassed today’s F1 Monaco Grand Prix to fulfill a dream to drive in the Indy 500, started fifth, ran up front most of the day and led 27 laps in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda. Alonso’s race came to a premature conclusion 24th place with a mechanical issue after 179 laps.

“Obviously disappointed not to finish the race because every race you compete, you want to be at the checkered flag,” Alonso said. “Today, (it) was not possible. Anyway, (it) was a great experience, the last two weeks. I came here basically to prove myself, to challenge myself. I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 car. I didn’t know if I can be as quick as anyone in an Indy car.

“Thanks to INDYCAR, an amazing experience,” the 35-year-old Spaniard added. “Thanks to Indianapolis, thanks to the fans. I felt at home. I’m not American, but I felt really proud to race here.”

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