Tag Archives: GP2

F1weekly podcast # 475

Image from the 2011 Calendar “Americana


Motown. Racing in the street. The never ending search for a home for the US Grand Prix descended upon Detroit but failed to deliver Hitsville. The record shows city hosted Formula 1 races from 1982-’88. The inaugural Detroit Grand Prix in 1983 was won by Michele Alboreto for Tyrrell, final victory for English lumber merchant Ken. Top performers here included Keke Rosberg, the ’85 winner for Williams; Ayrton Senna won three in a row from 1986-’88.

The record shows city hosted Formula 1 races from 1982-’88.

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F1weekly podcast number 475

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Motorsports Mondial

Dubai, UAE, 1st December 2010: Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi pledged today to go flat out to present the UAE with a victory to celebrate in the 32nd Dubai International Rally over National Day weekend.


“I’m in it to win and nothing else,” said the Team Abu Dhabi driver, who tackles the final round of the 2010 FIA Middle East Rally Championship partnered by Irish co-driver Michael Orr in a Super 2000 Ford Fiesta.

“It will be maximum attack. I’m not here just to participate or settle for a place on the podium. I want to win my home event on National Day weekend, not just for myself but for all the people of the UAE.”

With the FIA World Rally Championship now his obvious main priority, Sheikh Khalid can do nothing to influence the outcome of the Middle East series, although he is determined to add to his back-to-back Dubai International Rally wins in 2005 and 2006.

Qatar’s Misfer Al Marri carries a major advantage into the event as he bids to replace fellow countryman Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah as the FIA Middle East champion.

Despite winning the last two championship rounds in Syria and Cyprus, Al Attiyah is still eight points adrift of Al Marri who needs only a top six finish in Dubai to become the fourth Qatari, and the eighth driver overall, to win the championship since it was first held in 1984.

But Al Marri will do well to guard against complacency in an event which has produced many dramatic moments over the years, in a sport which so often throws up the unexpected.

Back in 1993, after finishing level on points with fellow Qatari Nasser Khalifa Al Atya, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani – who is back in action this time – clinched the title in Dubai on a countback because he had previously won the longest rally of the series in Jordan.

Qatar, which produced the first ever FIA Middle East champion in Saeed Al Hajri 26 years ago, could round off this campaign with a regional 1-2-3, as Khaled Al-Suwaidi currently holds third place in the regional series.

But both Skeikh Khalid, and his brother Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, can overhaul him in Dubai and it promises to be a thrilling climax to the championship.

Taking place under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Arts and Culture Authority, the 32nd Dubai International Rally has attracted a starting line-up of 27 drivers from 12 Middle East and overseas countries.

Spectators can get their first close-up view of all the rally cars during scrutineering which takes place between 08.00-12.30hrs tomorrow (Thursday) at the Rally HQ, Dubai Men’s College, in the Higher Colleges of Technology campus, Academic City.

H.H. Sheikh Majid will flag off the cars from the Ceremonial Start on Emaar Boulevard beside The Palace in the Old Town Island, Dubai at 7.30pm on UAE National Day.

For those keen to follow the action, the special stages on Friday’s Leg 1 are found in the Malaiha and Shawka area and can be easily located from the Sharjah-Kalba Road.

The special stages on Saturday’s Leg 2 are in the Al Dhaid area and can be easily located from the Sharjah-Kalba Road or the Al Dhaid Road.

The rally finishes at the Old Town Island, Dubai at 4.30pm on Saturday, December 4. Enthusiasts can follow the event on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/DubaiInternationalRally

FIA Middle East Rally Championship drivers’ standings after seven of eight rounds:

1. Misfer Al-Marri (QAT) 44pts

2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) 36pts

3. Khaled Al-Suwaidi (QAT) 22pts

4. Sheikh Abdulla Al-Qassimi (UAE) 21pts

5. Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi (UAE) 20pts

6. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SA) 20pts

7. Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani (QAT) 14pts

8. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (QAT) 14pts

9. Essam Al-Nejadi (KWT) 14pts

10. Mohammed Al Marri (QAT) 10pts

Motorsports Mondial

Image from the 2011 Calendar “Americana


Eddie Cheever. Raised in Rome. Cheever was second in the 1974 World Karting Championship, raced in British F3 and drove for Ron Dennis in Formula 2, placing second in the 1977 Championship ahead of Didier Pironi, Riccardo Patrese and Keke Rosberg.

The Phoenix-born racer made his F1 debut in the 1978 South African Grand Prix for Hesketh. His remaining 122 F1 starts saw him drive for Osella, Tyrrell, Talbot-Ligier, Renault, Alfa Romeo, Haas Lola and Arrows. His first career podium came in the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix and he was second at Detroit for Talbot-Ligier.

In 1983, he was teammate to Alain Prost and scored four podium finishes and was sixth in the championship. His final podium finish came in the streets of his birth place while driving for Arrows in 1989, his final year in F1.

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Motorsports Mondial

Paul Di Resta’s masterpiece: 2010 DTM champion

Shanghai. Fortune in the Far East. Scottish Mercedes-Benz driver Paul Di Resta ends up second in the DTM finale in the metropolis of Shanghai, which makes him the 2010 DTM champion. Bruno Spengler from Canada (Mercedes-Benz), who was the points’ leader prior to the race, failed to make up positions from 17th place on the grid following an accident in qualifying, which cost him his three points’ margin. In the final standings, 24-year old Di Resta has 71 points. “This smile won’t be off my face for a long time. Fortunately, my flight is only booked for Monday. I would have liked for more family members to be here to celebrate with me. But now, I will celebrate with the team. Today, it was more about the title rather than victory in the race. That has worked out”, Di Resta described his feelings. In total, the Scot scored three race wins and three second places this season. Di Resta only failed to score points on two occasions.

British driver Gary Paffett won the race in China, which allowed him to become runner-up in the final drivers’ standings to complete the 1-2-3 for Mercedes-Benz in the championship. “Now, I have won for the second time in Shanghai after 2004. I am enjoying this type of circuits. My goal was to win this race. The rest was out of my hands”, said race winner Paffett.

The German DTM champion of the years 2008 and 2009, Timo Scheider, became the best-placed driver of an Audi A4 DTM by finishing third in the DTM finale. In the battle for the title, Scheider was also the best driver with four rings on the bonnet of his car in fourth place. “Admittedly, I had problems at the beginning of the season, but the team kept its faith in me. In the second half of the season, I was again able to battle for pole positions and race wins. Third place in the final round is a good way to end the year”, said Scheider, looking back on the 2010 season.

Behind German Martin Tomczyk (Audi) in fourth place, Spaniard Miguel Molina became the best-placed driver with a 2008-spec car with his Audi A4 DTM in fifth. DTM rookie David Coulthard from Scotland achieved his maiden points’ finish. The Mercedes-Benz driver ended up eighth and scored one point. 19,000 spectators came to watch the DTM season finale in the Far East. After a collision with seven minutes remaining, the race was stopped and wasn’t restarted.

The first DTM race of the 2011 season will take place at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg on May 1st next year.

Head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz Norbert Haug: “Paul Di Resta is a worthy champion. Yesterday, that was by no means certain. After all, making a mistake here is easy. It was a thrilling race. Gary’s second victory here in Shanghai speaks for him. Everybody involved has worked together very well. We have had quite a few good seasons before, but this year with the first three places was something quite special. The fact that the first three drivers were separated by only five points shows how close competition in this series is.”

Head of motorsport Audi Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: “I am proud of being a member of such a great team that is working on a common goal. We haven’t been as strong as in the years before. Even the smallest errors sometimes mean that you have to end your championship dreams. When you lose, it doesn’t mean that you are weak, it just means that others were a little bit stronger. We have to catch up and we have learned our lesson, from which we will benefit next year.”

R.O.C.

Formula 1 superstars Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher both hailed Team Germany’s incredible fourth successive victory in the ROC Nations Cup after a rollercoaster evening in front of their home crowd.

In a repeat of the last two ROC Nations Cup finals, Team Germany lined up against Team GB, represented in the ESPRIT arena by Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato.

The two teams were extremely closely matched and needed a sudden-death shoot-out to decide the result, with Schumacher beating Priaulx by a fraction.

After such an exciting ROC Nations Cup, the drivers gave their reaction to events. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Michael Schumacher (Team Germany): “It is special because we had won this three times in a row which was great anyway. So to do it a fourth time here in Germany, considering we were almost knocked out in the group stages, is fantastic – we are more than happy. The crowd were very supportive tonight; they were cheering us all the way and with Sebastian having just won the world championship it was even more emotional and fun out there tonight. After the group stages we definitely needed to wake up – it felt like we were asleep. But when we were in the final, against the British guys, I thought we had a good chance.”

Sebastian Vettel (Team Germany): “The moment I went out on to the track everyone stood up and went crazy. It was a really cool night for all the fans, as well as for Michael and myself to get so much support. It was extremely close in the first round and we thought we might get knocked out. But I was lucky I had Michael on my team. It was a fun experience and to win at home, the first time in many years that The Race of Champions has been held in Germany, is very special.”

Andy Priaulx (Team GB): “To race against Michael Schumacher is always a privilege and we were beaten by two good guys tonight. I had some good races today, particularly the one against Sebastian Vettel. I beat the current Formula 1 world champion which is not bad for an old touring car driver! That is three years in a row I have lost out in the final after losing to Germany at Wembley and then Beijing. I really wanted to get it today but it is great to be here and we did well.”

Jason Plato (Team GB): “For lots of reasons we really wanted to win that one but in the end we weren’t quick enough. I let the side down a bit as I wasn’t on the top of my game when Andy certainly was. We gave it a good shot – close but no cigar.”

Bertrand Baguette (Team Benelux): “I had a lot of fun and for me racing against Michael Schumacher, Sébastien Loeb and Alain Prost is a dream. It went quite well but unfortunately we didn’t make it to the final. I have to say I am happy for the people who voted for me to be here as part of Team Benelux. I am really proud to be here and very happy I could be here thanks to them.”

Heikki Kovalainen (Team Nordic): “That’s the way it is sometimes. I managed to do well in my races and win all three but we had tough opponents. It is nothing to be ashamed of; just the way it is and next year we have to come back a bit stronger.”

Tom Kristensen (Team Nordic): “It is frustrating to be eliminated in the first round. Heikki did a fantastic job to win all his races and it would have been nice to progress but there’s always next time. It makes me even more determined to do better tomorrow. You don’t need to use the cars on Monday so everyone will push even harder!”

Carl Edwards (Team USA): “I had fun driving and I am excited for tomorrow when I need to redeem myself. I don’t know what went wrong; I was just slower than I was yesterday. I was much faster yesterday, especially in the KTM, but there is no excuse, it was just me. I will run better tomorrow, I’m sure.”

Travis Pastrana (Team USA): “It felt really good to beat Sebastian Vettel in the first round and it was just really cool to race him because I have so much respect for him. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t go through but it was awesome having Carl Edwards over here and driving alongside me for Team USA. It was a bit tough for us out there but now I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Mick Doohan (Team All Stars): “That was an absolutely fantastic experience, really enjoyable. I was surprised to beat Carl Edwards because he spends all his year driving cars so I enjoyed that. This is a lot of fun for me and I just enjoy driving these cars against these drivers. I have a blast and if I can come close to these guys I am really happy.”

Alvaro Parente (Team Portugal): “I got the puncture during the run so I hit the wall because of that. Already on the straight the car didn’t feel quite right so maybe I could have stopped there but I am a racing driver so I tried to push on. The puncture cost us the chance to go through but that was just down to bad luck and I’ll try to get a better result tomorrow.”

Tonight’s official attendance was 36,189 and tickets are still available to see the main event tomorrow, when the stars of world motorsport go head to head for individual glory in The Race of Champions.

Motorsports Mondial

Di Resta reaches for the stars – pole in an action-packed qualifying.

Shanghai: Scot Paul Di Resta has secured himself the best position for the battle for the 2010 DTM title. The Mercedes-Benz driver did the best job in the action-packed qualifying of the DTM season finale at the narrow 2.465 kilometres long street circuit in Shanghai and will be starting from pole position on Sunday at 8.23 h (CET). British driver Gary Paffett will also be starting from the front row, but from second place into the 60 lap race.

Third in the drivers’ standings, Di Resta’s fellow Mercedes-Benz driver also still has title chances. Points’ leader Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz), however, will be facing a difficult task. In the first heat of the four-stage qualifying, the Canadian hit the barriers. Although his car could still be repaired, Spengler failed to improve his time and will only be starting from 17th place. Di Resta said about his fourth pole position of the current season: “It was a very difficult qualifying with little grip. I tried not to take too many risks. First place on the grid is the best position in the battle for the title, but at this track, that can change quickly. One has to be very careful.”

German Timo Scheider was the best-placed Audi driver in qualifying. The reigning DTM champion ended up fourth behind Briton Jamie Green with the 2008-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class. Scheider, who had a crash after the time of the third qualifying heat had elapsed, was sidelined from the fourth and final heat. “Crashing at 220 km/h is not a nice feeling. Fortunately, nothing happened to me. We are now working flat out to get the car ready in time for the race”, Scheider said after qualifying.

Scot David Coulthard (Mercedes-Benz) scored his best DTM qualifying result to date in sixth place.

The final qualifying of the year brought plenty of action. After the accident of points’ leader Spengler in the first qualifying heat, the session was stopped. According to the regulations, all 18 drivers moved up into the next heat. However, this session was stopped early as well due to a crash by DTM rookie Darryl O’Young (Audi) from Hong Kong. As a result, all the drivers had a chance to battle for grid positions in the third heat. The final session of the four fastest drivers was stopped after a crash by Green. Thus, the classification of the third qualifying heat is decisive for the starting grid positions on Sunday.

The eleventh and final DTM race of the year will cover 60 laps and 147.9 kilometres. The start is at 8:23 h (CET). ARD is broadcasting live from 8.05 h.

Motorsports Mondial

2011 GP2 Car

Fabio Leimer leads Day 2 Rapax driver quickest at Yas Marina Circuit in post season tests The second day of GP2 Series post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit saw a few changes in the drivers’ entry list with some racers switching teams and new ones joining, namely Pal Varhaug at Dams, Daniel Macinelli at Rapax, Dani Clos at Ocean Racing and Luca Filippi at Coloni.

The morning session was dominated by Fabio Leimer at the wheel of the #14 car for 2010 Team Champions’ Rapax: the Swiss topped the timing sheet from the moment the pitlane opened until the chequered flag, leaving only scraps to his closest rivals. Charles Pic at Addax looked like the man who could come the closest to Leimer’s best laptime as he stayed P2 for most of the session, but with five minutes left on the clock, GP2 returnee Filippi picked up some pace and finished two tenths from Leimer.

The session was briefly interrupted by three red flags, the second one due to Jake Rosenzweig damaging his Super Nova car on a curb and ending the American’s session prematurely. In the afternoon, yesterday’s quickest man James Jakes – this time at the wheel of a Racing Engineering car, set the early pace, until Sam Bird at Dams bettered his laptime. On the one hour mark, Michael Herck at DPR reminded everyone that he had been the fastest man on track in yesterday’s morning session by going top again, but not for long: Leimer and Josef Kral at Addax bettered the Romanian’s laptime. It was then Stefano Coletti’s turn to place his Trident car at the top of the timesheet.

The fight for today’s top honour continued relentlessly with GP3 Series Champion Esteban Gutierrez at ART claiming the top spot temporarily until Leimer went quickest again, improving his morning’s laptime by four tenths. He was then never dethroned despite Kral’s best efforts: the Addax man finished just one tenth behind the Swiss. In the dying seconds of the session, Clos improved, edging Bird out of the Top 3. Gutierrez finished best rookie of the day. The post-season test will resume on Saturday.