FORMULA 1

FERNANDO ALONSO’S HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

“On paper, the Hungaroring presents one of the best opportunities for us this year. The short, twisty circuit means we are less reliant on outright power, and the drivers have to really depend on the capabilities of the chassis to get the best out of the lap.

“I always like returning to Budapest – we get to stay in the centre with great views of the river, and you feel like you’re really part of the city all weekend. The temperatures are high and it’s a testing weekend for the teams and drivers – especially since the summer break is so close, but a good result can be a great boost for everyone going into the shutdown period.

“The important thing for us, as always, is reliability. Even if our car could perform better in Hungary, we need to have a trouble-free weekend to take advantage of every opportunity for points. We made some big decisions in Silverstone in terms of taking grid penalties in preparation for this race, and hope that’s paid off so we can put ourselves in the best possible position for points this weekend.”

FORMULA 1

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING Confirms Luca Ghiotto for Hungary Young Driver Test

 WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING is pleased to announce that Luca Ghiotto will make his Formula One debut with the team at next month’s young driver test in Hungary on 1-2 August.

The 22-year-old will split driving duties with Felipe Massa at the two-day test, which immediately follows the Hungarian Grand Prix.

2015 GP3 runner-up, Luca, has been a regular front-runner in this year’s FIA Formula 2 Championship, finishing all but one race inside the top 10. He became a GP2 race-winner in his rookie season last year before the series was rebranded for 2017. He is currently fifth in the Drivers’ Championship with three podium finishes.

The young Italian achieved five wins in the 2015 GP3 Series, breaking the record for the number of pole positions and fastest laps in a season, but narrowly missed out on the title to Esteban Ocon, after losing out to the Frenchman at the final race of the season.

Speaking about next month’s test, Luca said, “A big thanks to Williams for this opportunity. I think the first F1 test for any driver is a special moment, and to do it with such an historic team is even better so I’m really excited. Of course, I also need to focus on the F2 weekend beforehand, but I’m really looking forward to the test and I really hope it goes well.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, commented, “This will be Luca’s first opportunity of a Formula One outing. Our team has a strong track record for developing young talent, and we always enjoy seeing young drivers getting opportunities to demonstrate their ability. I look forward to seeing how he performs in the car next month.”

FORMULA RENAULT

MAIDEN WIN FOR MAX FEWTRELL

England’s Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing) scored his first win in the Formula Renault Eurocup. Starting from row one, the Renault Sport Academy rookie took the lead at turn one to go on for the victory ahead of Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and pole winner Max Defourny. The three were covered by less than one second at the finish. Thanks to his second place, Sacha Fenestraz now leads in the general classification.

Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing): “It is fantastic to take my first win, but a 25-minute race seems a lot longer when your leading than when you in the pack! Despite some difficult weekends like in Hungary and Monaco, we’ve never given up and this win is a very nice reward. I knew I had to get a good start and I managed to do so before controlling the race and defending my position when I saw (Max and Sacha) get bigger in my rear view mirrors in the final laps. It is a result that makes my new coach Jake Dennis (4th in the 2013 Formula Renault Eurocup, editor’s note) look good! His aid has been a big help to me up until now, but there is another race tomorrow!”

SILK WAY RALLY

PEUGEOT AND KAMAZ TAKE THE SILK WAY TROPHY HOME

The finish line of the 10,000km Trans-Eurasian odyssey has finally reached and the celebrations have begun for Team Peugeot Total and Team Kamaz Master. Both teams have risen to the challenges set by their rivals and the harsh terrains of Russia, Kazakhstan and China to emerge victorious at the 2017 Silk Way Rally.

There were numerous twists in the road as race leaders came and went in the car and truck categories. Sébastien Loeb thrilled with a string of stage wins in the first week of the contest before his title charge was derailed on Stage 9. By that time the chances of success for his Peugeot team-mate Stephane Peterhansel had also been curtailed by a crash.

These incidents left Team Peugeot Total’s title hopes resting on the shoulders of Cyril Despres.The Frenchman summoned all of his rally-raid experience to bring home the victory despite some nervous moments in the dunes of the Gobi Desert.

Since exiting a two-wheeled career that saw Despres score five Dakar wins his rapid development behind the wheel of a car has been extraordinary. It’s now back-to-back Silk Way wins for Despres and co-driver David Castera as they continue to underline their credentials for Dakar success on four wheels.

American offroader Bryce Menzies is still a rally-raid rookie but can take away plenty of hard earned lessons from his participation in the Silk Way. A stage win and a place on the overall podium for the majority of the race is a fine achievement even if trouble in the dunes saw him tumble down the standings on the final two days of racing.

The never-say-die attitude of Team Kamaz Master helped the Russians stand up to the tricky start to the rally. Slippery tracks in their homeland saw Kamaz struggling to get a grip on the race. However, as the convoy proceeded through Kazakhstan and China these serial Dakar winners began to make their presence felt at the business end of the general classification.

Once Dmitry Sotnikov took over the lead of the truck race he never gave it up. He was then joined on the overall podium by team-mates Anton Shibalov and Ayrat Mardeev as Kamaz’s blue wave crashed over the Gobi Desert.

With so much action served up on the perilous route between Moscow and Xi’An all crews crossing tonight’s podium in China can look back with immense pride at having conquered the Silk Way.

The powerhouses of Peugeot and Kamaz have scored victory once again and it’s up to the chasing pack to find a way to hunt them down. The opportunity will come when rally-raid’s elite convoy head to South America early next year for the 40th Dakar Rally.

PEBBLE BEACH

ISOTTA FRASCHINIS TO DECORATE PEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS

First and last chassis made, along with extravagant Tipo 8 Models,
to be featured at the Concours d’Elegance

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.  — From an unlikely partnership between lawyer Cesare Isotta and car enthusiasts Vincenzo, Antonio and Oreste Fraschini, came Italy’s most opulent automobile brand: Isotta Fraschini (Ee-So-ta fra-Skee-nee). A wide range of Isottas, from the very first to the last cars built, will be showcased in three full classes at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 20.

Corrado Lopresto, who considers himself an “Isotta romantic,” recalls making childhood memories playing in the back of his uncle’s Isotta Fraschini. So began his lifelong relationship with the marque. His own Garage Corrado southwest of Milan, Italy, is now home to the marque’s complete factory archives and several Isotta Fraschini cars imperative to the marque’s history.

“I like the charm and grandeur that has always accompanied every Isotta Fraschini car,” Lopresto said. “Each one is so unique.”

A while back, Corrado’s good friend Donald Osborne told him of a car that needed to find its way back to Italy. Corrado remembers his response: “Donald, I cannot buy all the Italian cars from around the world!”

But it was not just any car—rather, it was the first Isotta Fraschini ever made. Isotta Fraschini had given Henry Ford the first Isotta when he was in discussions to purchase the company; however, the deal fell through. The 1901 prototype, complete with chassis tag #1, remained in The Henry Ford museum for decades before Corrado purchased it in 2013. Never restored, Corrado drove the chassis in the London to Brighton Run in 2015 after adding in a removable floor and a seat to make it drivable.

Corrado traveled to Rome in 1998 to visit the last two Isotta Fraschinis—a Monterosa coupé built by Touring in 1947 and a cabriolet built by Boneschi in 1948. After years of negotiation, to no one’s surprise, he bought them both.

Cesare and brothers Vincenzo, Antonio and Oreste formed Isotta Fraschini in 1899 in Milan, Italy. At the forefront of technological innovation, the company pioneered the use of 4-wheel brakes. Its golden years were characterized by the famed Tipo 8—which featured the world’s first production straight 8 engine and offered coachbuilders a long and strong chassis to showcase their creations.

The all-encompassing elegance of Isotta Fraschini helped to extend the brand beyond the borders of Italy. Prince Luigi Grimaldi of Monte Carlo and the Empress of Ethiopia are just a couple of the many royal owners. Famous celebrity owners in the United States included newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst and “It Girl” Clara Bow.

The 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance will feature the 1901 Isotta bare chassis in one of the Isotta Fraschini classes, the 1947 and 1948 Isotta Fraschini 8C Monterosas in the Postwar Grand Touring class, along with a wide variety of Tipo 8As in the Isotta Fraschini Castagna Coachwork Open and Closed Classes.

FORMULA E

SECOND VICTORY FOR SAM BIRD AND DS VIRGIN RACING AFTER A FAULTLESS WEEKEND IN NEW YORK
  • British racer amasses impressive 53-point tally to head into season final as a championship contender
  • Double win and double podium for DS Virgin Racing to round off weekend and team’s largest ever points haul
  • Inaugural New York Formula E race hailed huge success with sell-out crowds

Sam Bird secured an outstanding second win from pole position during today’s Formula E New York ePrix to round off an incredible weekend for the DS Virgin Racing team, amassing the team’s largest ever points haul and keeping the Brit in title contention heading into the final two rounds.

In front of another sell-out Brooklyn crowd, the team began the day by making it a double pole position, this time through Bird after team-mate Alex Lynn’s stunning P1 debut yesterday.

As the race got underway, Bird lost out to Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist into the first corner, holding onto P2 while Lynn was pushed down the order from his P7 grid slot. Lap nine then saw a brief stoppage via a full course yellow, bunching up the pack and gifting Bird a great opportunity to get on the back of the leader. Full of confidence, he did just that, making an identical move at the same hairpin as he did yesterday to take the lead.

Meanwhile, Lynn’s race was sadly cut short when he was forced to retire due to an electric issue, once again bringing out full course yellows and presenting a tricky pitstop period as Mahindra – running either side of Bird – looked to get the undercut. The DS Virgin Racing team were quick to react though and a neat pitstop a lap later saw him return out in front as racing resumed.

From then on it was a case of managing the gap and energy – in the extended 49-lap race – which he did faultless to cross the line with a sizeable 11-second margin and pick up a combined 56 points for the team for the double-header weekend.

“I’m still in shock!” said Bird who now has five wins to his name. “What a weekend it’s been and what a car the DS Virgin Racing guys have given me. Being a longer race today I thought it would be hard on energy but we managed it so well. The pitstop was a key point but we timed it well to just get out in front. I’m just delighted for everyone in the team, especially by engineers and mechanics, who have worked so hard for this.”

Lynn said: “I’d like to thank the DS Virgin Racing team for giving me the opportunity to race this weekend. I’m very proud of what I achieved, especially with the pole position, and very happy for the team with the results they got.”

Team Principal Alex Tai said: “It’s been an absolutely fantastic weekend for the team and all our partners. To be the first team to win in New York is incredible but to do it again is unthinkable! Sam and Alex both did an incredible job, as did all the mechanics and engineers, and showed the true potential of the car. Now it’s on to Canada and to end the season on a high.”

Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director, added: “This is a fantastic achievement for DS Virgin Racing team and confirms the improvements we’ve made over the last few months. This weekend we showed our car is fast in qualifying and also very efficient in terms of energy consumption. This is the result of a hard R&D during testings and on the simulator. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the DS Performance team and to the PSA Motorsport Division for their hardwork.”

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast