Clark and Nasir Hameed delve into Lewis Hamilton’s win in singapore, we predict Fernando Alonso’s departure at the Suderia and here is a Japanese Grand Prix preview from Felipe Massa and Valtteri Botas.
Japan is one of the best circuits on the calendar. The first sector is amazing and the elevation changes really add to the excitement of the track. We have good momentum at the moment and our car will hopefully be better than in Singapore. The Japanese fans are some of the most passionate fans. On a Thursday in the rain the stands are still full. I also love Japan and look forward to seeing more of the country.
Suzuka is my favourite circuit on the calendar. The high speed corners make it a very special track to drive and a lot of fun. For a driver it’s quite a challenge with no room for a mistake, but it’s fast which just makes it even better to drive. You need good downforce and stability which could bring the field closer together. One thing all drivers say about Japan is just how amazing the fans are, and I am looking forward to seeing them again and hope they enjoy the race.
Mattias Ekström flies to victory in the dunes
Zandvoort – Swede Mattias Ekström was victorious in the ninth season round of the DTM at Zandvoort in The Netherlands and thus secured the first victory for Audi this season. In a thrilling closing stage of the race, the 36-year-old worked his way up through the field in an impressive way and claimed the lead. The two times’ champion finished ahead of the newly-crowned champion Marco Wittmann and Martin Tomczyk (both BMW), who were second and third respectively. “In the DTM, racing is always extremely hard and today was no exception. After all the bad luck of the past months, now, things were running perfectly for us at last. I enjoyed every lap of this race,” said a delighted Ekström after scoring his fourth DTM career win at Zandvoort.
Marco Wittmann, who claimed the championship title in the Lausitzring round, was in contention for victory for a long time. Having started from second place, the German already took the lead in the first corner. Eventually, however, he didn’t have a chance against Ekström, who got maximum benefit from his soft option tyres in the closing stages of the race. “This wasn’t an easy race for us as there were plenty of incidents. Initially, I had a perfect start, but our option tyres degraded more quickly than we had expected. In spite of the chaos on the track, my team always made the right decisions and called me into the pits at the right time,” Wittmann said after the race. Martin Tomczyk was also delighted after his first podium finish since August, 2012.
Mercedes-Benz driver Christian Vietoris was involved in a battle for fourth with Edoardo Mortara until the end of the race, but didn’t find a way past the Audi driver. The 25-year-old was the only driver in the field to race the updated version of the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. “Fifth place is a very good result. At the end, I even had the chance to challenge for a podium finish. Many thanks to my team for preparing my new car in the past week,” the German commented.
With his BMW M4 DTM, Maxime Martin finished sixth and thus contributed to the early title win for the BMW Team RMG in the teams’ standings. After winning the drivers’ title with Marco Wittmann, this is already the second title for Stefan Reinhold’s team. The battle for runner-up spot in the drivers’ standings remains thrilling. Thanks to his first win of the season, Mattias Ekström has moved up to second place in the points’ standings. Prior to the final round, the Swede has 81 points. Christian Vietoris and Edoardo Mortara (Audi RS 5 DTM) are only a few points behind. In the battle for the manufacturers’ title, everything is also still open between BMW and Audi.
Several accidents and crashes made their mark on the ninth season round of the DTM at Circuit Park Zandvoort. Augusto Farfus had a big moment after a collision with Daniel Juncadella on lap 19 and landed in the gravel trap. “That was a big crash, but I am fine,” the BMW driver from Brazil said. In total, the safety car was deployed four times during the race.
Traditionally, the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg will be the venue for the season finale, October 19.
Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Of course, we are happy that we have finally scored our first victory of the season. This year, we had the possibility so often, but we always had something getting in the way. Today, we had to fear for a long time as well. But Mattias (Ekström) had the right strategy for this crazy race and eventually was extremely strong with the option tyres. Edo Mortara’s progress from last on the grid to finish fourth was also fantastic.”
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “We can be very happy with second and third place. Congratulations to Stefan Reinhold and the entire BMW Team RMG crew for winning the teams’ title – they really have deserved this success. Now, the manufacturers’ title is still at stake. At Hockenheim, we will be doing our utmost once again to win this one as well. Today, we have done everything right in the decisive stages of the race. I am also very happy with Martin Tomczyk’s third place.”
Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM Management, Mercedes-Benz: “We knew from the very beginning that this weekend wouldn’t be an easy one for us. In the race, Christian Vietoris has shown a great performance and finished a strong fifth. Having four cars in the top ten is good, but doesn’t satisfy us.”
NYCK DE VRIES MAKES IT POLE NUMBER SIX AT LE CASTELLET
A podium finish could well give Nyck de Vries (Koiranen GP) the 2014 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title at Circuit Paul Ricard this afternoon, and the McLaren Young Driver Development Programme member started the day well by scoring another pole to continue his domination of the season. Joining the Dutchman on the front row is Aurélien Panis (ART Junior Team), with Egor Orudzhev (Tech 1 Racing) Ignazio D’Agosto (Koiranen GP) and Kevin Jörg (Josef Kaufmann Racing) lining up next on the grid.
First on to the track were the drivers in Group B, with Dennis Olsen (Prema Powerteam) making an early move before Ignazio D’Agosto and Aurélien Panis battled it out for the fastest time. The Frenchman ultimately prevailed with a lap of 2:03.419 and was followed in by the Italian and Alexander Albon (KTR).
Bruno Bonifacio (Prema Powerteam) set the early pace in Group A before Kevin Jörg, Nyck de Vries and Egor Orudzhev all went faster. It was Nyck de Vries who came out on top with a time of 2:03.040, with Egor Orudzhev and Kevin Jörg behind him on the timesheets.
SAINZ WINS AHEAD OF TWO FRENCHMEN AT CASTELLET
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.”
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: www.pembreycircuit.co.uk
For season or individual race meeting accreditation, please e-mail:email@example.com
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