WRC

KRIS MEEKE TAKES CONTROL OF RALLY MEXICO

Despite being shorn of half of the planned stages, day two of Rally Mexico nonetheless served up plenty of twists and turns. Keeping out of trouble, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle ended the rally’s first full leg in the overall lead. In the second Citroën C3 WRC, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau moved up to sixth place.

– Held up by a road traffic accident unrelated to the rally, the convoy of trucks transporting the race cars from Mexico City to León remained stuck on the road for several hours overnight. The organisers were therefore forced to cancel SS2 and SS3.

– In the middle of the afternoon, the competitors were finally able to attack the gravel stages. The leg began with the famous El Chocolate speed test, the rally’s longest stage at 54.9km. Making the most of his tyre choice – which consisted of a mix of soft and hard compound Michelin LTX Force tyres – and his road position, Kris Meeke produced a flawless performance to record his first stage win in the Citroën C3 WRC.

– Despite losing a few seconds when he stalled on Las Minas (SS5), the Briton held onto top spot in the overall standings, leading Sébastien Ogier by around fifteen seconds.

– Applying the instructions of the team, Stéphane Lefebvre adopted a pace that would enable him to build up his experience gradually. Eighth on SS4 and SS5, he moved up to the same position in the overall standings.

– The day concluded with three super special stages. After wowing the crowds gathered in the former mining city of Guanajuato, the crews then competed in head-to-head heats over two runs on the León Autodrome.

– At the end of this second leg, Kris Meeke remained first overall, having taken his lead past the twenty second mark. Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre gained another two places to end the day in sixth overall.

Kris Meeke
“Everything went very well today. We clearly had a good road position, but we had to make the most of it. I didn’t push too hard, because winning isn’t my main target for the weekend. My only regret was the minor mistake I made on SS5, which cost us about eight or nine seconds. But it’s good to be running well after a pretty tough start to the season! I’ll be looking keep up the same pace tomorrow.”

F1Weekly podcast # 720

NASIR IS JUST AS DISAPPOINTED AS THE HOST ON THE FACT THAT ANOTHER FORMULA 1 SEASON WILL LEAVE FERNANDO WITHOUT A WIN OR EVEN A PODIUM. THE SHARK FINS HAVE TO GO! AND WILL BOTAS BEAT LCH.

HERE ARE SOME WORDS FROM DANIEL RICCIARDO ON BARCELONA TEST 2…

Formula One’s second and final test of pre-season got underway in Barcelona, with Daniel Ricciardo returning to the cockpit of the RB13. And it was a productive day for the team, with the Australian putting 89 laps on the board and recording the day’s second quickest time. Daniel’s lap of 1:19.900 was set just before the lunch break on ultrasoft tyres as the team spent the morning focusing on shorter runs before longer stints in the afternoon.

“I felt we performed well on the softs this morning and we did quite a few good runs on that. We were also able to start doing some performance runs today. We tried the softer compounds and while my best time was on the ultrasoft it was actually not much quicker than the soft. I think we learned something from that. Generally I’m happy with what we got out of this morning and in terms of where we were last week I feel like the car is starting to come alive more. This afternoon we focused more on longer runs. We only got a few in, but it was enough to know how the tyres work after a few laps. We definitely feel we can still get more out of the car – I think everyone can – but it’s looking alright. It’s now my third day in the car and from day one to day two and now day three, I’m more and more happy with it.”

Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin said: “I’d call that a very productive day’s work. In fact, it was pretty much working through the kind of programme we’d normally run on a Friday of a race weekend – so, shorter runs in the morning to focus on working with tyre compounds and then longer runs in the afternoon. Without the benefit of a shakedown before putting the car on track last week we were slightly at the mercy of whatever niggles presented themselves, and a couple did, but over the weekend we put some permanent fixes in place and that enabled us to have a really solid day today. Daniel went wide a couple of times – I think he was enjoying himself – so we had a few bits and pieces that needed repairing before the afternoon runs but they were purely cosmetic, so not a major issue. In terms of the times, they’re still not of great importance, but I’d say we may have slightly underperformed on the softer compounds, so there’s more to come I think.”

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FORMULA 1

SAHARA FOR INDIA ON TEST 2 DAY 1

Esteban Ocon: “I am very happy with our work today. To complete more than 140 laps without issues is a good effort and allowed us to cover a lot of ground. We did some long stints and also some performance runs, which were very interesting: we kept working on both the chassis and the tyres, but we managed to include aero and engine work too. I can see we are making progress compared to last week: every time we go out we get to try new solutions and I feel we are moving in the right direction.”

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer: “It’s been a productive day and we managed to complete our entire run plan. We covered 142 laps and Esteban didn’t put a foot wrong all day. We definitely learnt a lot and this is something that will help us for the rest of the week. Our programme was varied: we continued our correlation work for the mapping of the car and did further work on the 2017 tyres. Today was also a good occasion to work with Esteban on some of our race weekend procedures: Melbourne is only one day in the car away for him, effectively, so it was crucial to make the most of his time in the car. Every lap we do helps us progress on what is a very steep learning curve with the new cars. We feel the analysis of the data from last week has set us in the right direction and we are aiming to continue on this path for the remainder of the week.”

 

LAMBORGHINI STW SERIES

JEFFRIES AND BREUKERS WIN LAMBORGHINI SUPER TROFEO TITLE AT DUBAI AUTODROME

Dubai, UAE, 5 March 2017: Championship competition heated up on the 5.39 kilometre Grand Prix Circuit at Dubai Autodrome during the penultimate National Race Days (NRD) Power Weekend (3-4 March 2017), with the new Lamborghini series on showcase with UAE national racing.

Lamborghini Super Trofeo Winter Series Middle East

The Dubai Autodrome might be a relatively unfamiliar circuit for both Axcil Jeffries and Rik Breukers, but the GDL Racing drivers mastered the track in short time behind the wheel of the exotic Lamborghini Huracán GT3. For the second round in the row, the championship leaders were flawless on their way to winning the weekend and claiming the overall title in the first season of the series.

Dutchman Breukers put the team on pole position with a best lap time of 1:57.714 and in the next two races Breukers and Jeffries fought off early challengers to break free and take comfortable victories, winning by 41.57 seconds in Race One and 20.4 seconds in Race Two, wrapping up overall and Pro Class triumphs.

The wins also secured the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Winter Series Middle East Championship for Breukers and Jeffries, making them the first winners of the inaugural series.

After receiving their championship trophies Rik Breukers of GDL Racing said, “For us it was really a great season. We put in a lot of hard work, especially together with our engineers in the final, and of course the GDL Team, everyone was working very hard, so I’m really glad it paid off.”

Young German sensation Carrie Schreiner and Aussie ace Richard Goddard spent two races trying to chase down the GDL Racing outfit, but on both attempts they had to settle for second place silverware. The German duo of Paul Scheuschner and Hendrik Still of Konrad Motorsport claimed third place in Race One while Jack Bartholomew and Devon Modell of FFF Racing Team by ACM collected third in Race Two.

The third place finish in Race One gave Scheuschner and Still a first place trophy in Pro Am Class, while Nigel Farmer and Contstantino Bertuzzi of GDL Racing claimed the next one in Race Two. When the final points were tallied, it was Scheuschner and Still who claimed the Pro Am title.

Andrew Haryanto, of yet another GDL Racing car, racked up an AM Class win in Race One but failed to finish Race Two due to a puncture, leaving his rivals Marco Antonelli and Davide Roda of Antonelli Motorsport to earn a class victory in Race Two. Haryanto wasn’t too disappointed however, as he still did enough to take home the AM Class title.

FORMULA 1

RED BULL PRE-SEASON TEST #1, VERSTAPPEN ON DAY FOUR

The final day of the first test in Barcelona marked a departure from the past three days’ activity, with the track being made wet in order to conduct testing of Pirelli’s intermediate and full wet 2017 tyres. Max Verstappen took over driving duties from Daniel Ricciardo and after testing both wet weather compounds, the Dutchman also got in some dry running on the soft compound tyre to record the day’s second fastest time with a lap of 1:21.769.

Looking back on his day’s work, and his time in the RB13 over the course of this first test, Max said: “It’s always good to run a little bit in the wet in the first week of testing. Of course, the conditions are not ideal, as the sun is shining and the track is wet, but at least we got a first idea of what the wet tyres are like. In terms of the week as a whole, the most important thing for us was to make mileage and to know that all the parts were holding up. In general everything behaved pretty well. I think Mercedes might still have an advantage on us in terms of power at the beginning of the season but we’ll be catching up. For sure the car will change quite a bit before we get to Melbourne, as it will for everyone.”

Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “While I don’t imagine anyone would say the conditions today were perfect, as some parts of the track were dry and others wet, it was still a very interesting exercise. We’re discovering new things all the time about the tyres and how they interact with the car – warm-up, degradation levels etc – so we did find out some things we wouldn’t have unless we had been through this process. Like everybody, we did most of our wet running in the morning and then later on we had the chance to get in a bit more work on slicks, which was useful. We chose not to run when the track was damp as there wasn’t really much point and we thought we might also have a recurrence of yesterday’s exhaust problem, though that turned out not to be the case. In all, it was a good test. Yes, we had a few problems, which cost us some track time, but the fundamentals are good: car control is good, the balance is good, the feel is good. That’s a good platform for next week when we’ll get into race simulations and working on the best set-up for the car. For now, though, it’s back to the factory for a pretty intense weekend of homework.”

FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP

THIRTY DRIVERS AND NINE TEAMS ARE READY TO BATTLE IN THE FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP

Two weeks before the first collective tests, the Formula Renault Eurocup is assured of having 30 young and talented drivers for the 2017 season. Defending their chances on Europe’s finest circuits, they also represent nine of the most respected teams in motorsport.

Spread among nine teams, the 30 title contenders will come together on March 15 at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for the tests which will kick off a campaign that will take them to 10 European tracks, including Pau and Monaco. With the presence of two F1 driver development programmes, the Red Bull Junior Team and Renault Sport Academy as well as those of SMP Racing and Escudería Telmex, the season promises to be outstanding!

Josef Kaufmann Racing
Sacha Fenestraz (FRA) – Luis Leeds (AUS) – Ye Yifei (CHN)

Eurocup Driver Titles (2011, 2012, 2016) and Teams (2012, 2015, 2016)
NEC Driver Titles (2015, 2016) and Teams (2014, 2015, 2016)

Lars Kaufmann, Team Manager: “We are very much looking forward to the 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup with all the modifications Renault has made. As usual, we have been preparing our cars during the winter with all the needed precision. Our 2017 driver line-up is a good mix of experienced and rookie drivers and they have all shown good pace so far. We will continue to carry out the same work we’ve done for the past six years in the Formula Renault Eurocup and hope that this year will be another successful one!”

Tech 1 Racing
Gabriel Aubry (FRA) – Max Fewtrell (GBR) – Thomas Maxwell (AUS) – Thomas Neubauer (FRA)

Eurocup Driver Title (2013) and Teams (2010, 2013)
Alps Driver Title (2011) and Teams (2011, 2013)

Simon Abadie, Team Manager: “I am very happy with the team we will enter for our eighth season in the Formula Renault Eurocup. The team is a mix of talent, experience and performance fully invested in its work. Winter testing confirmed our choices. We have excellent chemistry and one objective: win back the two European Championships after the title we won in 2010 and our two crowns achieved in 2013. We look forward to returning to the track and see our drivers run up front in one of the most competitive categories in motorsport.”

R-ace GP
Max Defourny (BEL) – Raúl Guzmán (MEX) – Will Palmer (GBR) – Robert Shwartzman (RUS)

Eurocup Runner-up Teams (2013)
NEC Runner-up Drivers (2016) and Teams (2015, 2016)

Thibaut de Mérindol, Team Manager: “We are currently putting our organisation in place and preparing our cars. It is a crucial step that will ensure the season runs smoothly. We are now operational and we have to now painstakingly work on the details just until the start of the season. We are confident about the quality of the team that we have built over the past several seasons. I sense the team is stimulated by the level of the drivers that we will enter. R-ace GP will enter four extremely quick drivers, of which three enjoyed success in the Formula Renault Eurocup last season. Their objective is to capitalize on their experience in order to fight for the title. We only have one team order, may the best win! Raúl Guzmán, who finished third in F4 Italia in 2016, confirmed his potential during our winter test. He will have the chance to quickly learn the subtleties of the category from his team mates in order to position himself as the most threatening of the outsiders. Without a doubt the titles are, more than ever, our objectives!”

AVF by Adrián Vallés
Henrique Chaves (PRT) – Axel Matus (MEX) – Rodrigo Pflucker (PER) – Grégoire Saucy (CHE)

Eurocup Rookie of the year (2015)
Formula V8 3.5 Teams Champion (2016)

Adrián Vallés, Team Manager: “Each season brings its share of new things and we never know what to expect. Nevertheless, we are ready and confident to race for the victory even though the field consists of solid contenders among the returnees and newcomers. We will continue our collaboration with Henrique, who should take a step forward in his second complete season. We hope to see him consistently in the top five. His team mate Rodrigo could spring a surprise if he continues to improve as he did during winter testing. Axel won the NACAM F4 and Formula Panam titles and was also competitive in the French F4 Championship. Grégoire knows the car after starring in V de V. Both of them should quickly be on pace and we are happy to have them in the team.”

Fortec Motorsports
Frank Bird (GBR) – Alexey Korneev (RUS) – Alex Peroni (AUS) – Najiy Ayyad Bin Abd Razak (MYS)

NEC Driver Titles (2012, 2013, 2014) and Teams (2012)
Alps Junior Titles (2014) and Runner-up Teams (2014)
UK Driver Titles (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007) and Teams (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011)

Martin Young, Team Manager: ”Everything is ready! The cars are built, we have done a lot of preparation and simulator work. We are looking forward to being back on the track! Alexey returns for his second season in the Formula Renault Eurocup and we want to build on that. After his impressive winter testing and outing in Estoril, we have exciting expectations of Alex and the team rates him highly. The same goes for Najiy. He knows the car, he finished 3rd in Asian Formula Renault, but the European tracks will be new to him. Finally, Frank comes from F4 and we’re looking forward to contributing to his development and see him run in the top 10. This season should be challenging but we really want to return to the top!”

JD Motorsport
Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (FRA) – Alexander Vartanyan (RUS) – Sun Yue Yang (CHN)

Eurocup Driver Titles (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999) and Teams (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2006)
Germany/NEC Driver Titles (2002) and Teams (2001, 2003, 2006)
Alps Runner-up Teams (2015)

Roberto Cavallari, Team Manager: “The 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup will be one of the most competitive seasons in these past few years with 30 cars in the hands of first-rate drivers and teams. With all three of our drivers being rookies, the title may be hard to add to our 11 drivers and teams titles, but of course we will fight flat-out and hope our drivers can be the ‘surprise’ of this extremely competitive championship.”

Mark Burdett Motorsport
Presley Martono (IDN) – Julia Pankiewicz (POL)

BARC Runner-up Drivers (2008)
Third in Formula Renault UK Winter Series (2010)

Mark Burdett, Team Manager: “Mark Burdett Motorsport has been racing in Formula Renault since its introduction in the UK series and the NEC. The team is now ready to step up to the Formula Renault Eurocup. We are delighted that Julia and Presley will be racing for the team this season. Julia tested with us over the winter and made great progress working with the engineer and driver coach. Presley has a good background in karting and was the first winner of the FIA South East Asia Formula 4 Championship. We are looking forward to working with both drivers to achieve our goals.”

MP Motorsport
Jarno Opmeer (NLD) – Neil Verhagen (USA) – Richard Verschoor (NLD)

Eurocup Runner-up Drivers (2013)
NEC Runner-up Drivers (2012) and Teams (2012)

Sander Dorsman, Team Manager: “With a majority of F1-grade circuits, two classic street tracks and ample driving time, the Formula Renault Eurocup’s new format is appealing to teams as well as sponsors, and that’s why we’re back. It’s the ideal training ground for ambitious drivers. With Richard and Neil supported by Red Bull, we hold two strong cards for Formula Renault Eurocup honours. Last year, we all saw Jarno’s huge talent and it is well deserved that he appeared on the Renault F1 team’s radar. The Formula Renault Eurocup will be an amazing education for them, as it’s one of the strongest championships in Europe. At the same time I expect them to be up there right from the start. Their level of talent is that high.”

Arden Motorsport
Ghislain Cordeel (BEL) – Zane Goddard (AUS) – Dan Ticktum (GBR)

Newcomers in Formula Renault
International F3000 Titles (2002, 2003, 2004), Italian F3000 (2000), GP3 Series (2012, 2013) and Formula V8 3.5 (2016)

Ben Salter, Team Manager: “The team is really looking forward to what will be our inaugural season in the Formula Renault Eurocup. I believe that with the line-up we have put together it will enable us to hit the ground running and challenge for race wins from the off. With Arden now competing in the Formula Renault Eurocup it completes the ladder all the way through the junior categories for both drivers and personnel, where drivers can enter Arden on the YRDA (Young Racing Driver Academy) programme and advance all the way through the junior programmes right up to GP2. I’m looking forward for official testing to get under way.”

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