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FORMULA E

RENAULT E.DAMS WIN BUENOS AIRES EPRIX

Renault e.dams has won the third ePrix of season three of the FIA Formula E Championship with a mature and confident drive from Sébastien Buemi on the Puerto Madero circuit. The win is Séb’s third in a row and the team’s sixth consecutive victory, taking the Renault e.dams tally to twelve from twenty-four ePrix since the series inauguration, a 50% success rate.

Nico Prost backed-up Séb’s victory with fourth after a race-long dice with rival racer Lucas di Grassi, Nico has scored points in every ePrix this season, last finishing outside the points at the Long Beach ePrix in April 2016.

Race day started with the threat of the first full wet ePrix on everyone’s minds, however the clouds dissipated to a hot afternoon, once more putting the team’s technical focus on battery management.

Both drivers proved pacey through the practice sessions despite the repeated appearance of red flags as competitors clashed with the barriers as an illustration of the tricky track surface on the three-season familiar 2.48km anticlockwise, asphalt and concrete track. Séb drew Q2 and Nico Q4 for qualifying, with Nico unlucky to narrowly miss out on joining Séb in Superpole.

Séb started from P3, Nico P6. Séb maintained position at the start, whilst Nico lost a place, however both worked their way forwards, Séb into P1 ahead of the car swap pit stop, Nico into P3 by the same marker.

Séb thereafter sailed serene to his sixth win in a row, whilst Nico fell victim to Lucas di Grassi, dropping to fourth. Post-race, di Grassi did visit the stewards for an unsafe release at the pit stop – for which his team was ultimately penalised – but his finishing position remained.

Renault e.dams won in Buenos Aires thanks to the support of technology partner, HP. The team uses the latest HP technology to give the greatest potential for success, the proof of which has been seen by the perfect start to season three of Formula E with three wins from three races.

Renault e.dams leaves Argentina with 111 points in the Teams Championship, ahead of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport on 60 points. Sébastian has 75 points in the Drivers’ Championship with his nearest rival, Lucas di Grassi, on 46. Nico Prost is in third position with 36 points.

Renault e.dams, Sébastien and Nico will next be seen in action for the fourth round of season three, the Mexico City ePrix at Circuito Hermanos Rodriguez on April 1.

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

FIA FORMULA 3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP INCREASES PRIZE MONEY FUND TO 500,000€

The FIA Formula 3 European Championship has confirmed an expansion of the newly introduced prize money incentive for rookie drivers to include teams and other drivers competing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship from the 2017 season.

In 2016 the FIA has already awarded the top three rookies in the championship with a substantial monetary prize to be used on a second season in the category. The driver winning the rookie title has received 100,000€ and 50,000€ each went to the drivers finishing second and third in the rookie standings.

The FIA has confirmed that the prize money incentive for rookies will remain in place for the coming season. In addition to the 200,000€ provided to novice drivers, the FIA F3 European Championship has now confirmed that a further 300.000€ prize fund will be at stake for the 2017 team and driver championship. While the championship winning driver will receive 100,000€ when moving to another FIA championship, the remaining 200,000€ will be distributed among the entered teams according to a performance distribution scale.

The introduction of prize money in the FIA F3 European Championship is part of the campaign to strengthen the championship further, but at the same time sustaining the existing values of the series. The FIA has already introduced changes to the Technical Regulations, which reduce the costs of competing in the series and create a common baseline for all teams entering the 2017 season. Further adjustments to the 2017 Sporting Regulations have had the same intention: creating an affordable series and a balanced competition, while at the same time retaining the crucial F3 DNA.

President of the FIA Single-Seater Commission, Stefano Domenicali, commented, “The general economy in single-seater racing makes it necessary for us to continue to work on the value of the championship for drivers and teams. With the newly introduced prize money incentive, which has already been awarded to the rookie drivers last year and will be extend to the teams this year, we want to establish some financial assistance for our competitors. This way teams will be able to broaden their search for drivers and offer seats to young talents who might lack some funding. The amount provided will not only be funded by the FIA, but also by the series sponsors and the promoter of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the Formel 3 Vermarktungs GmbH. All parties involved in the series are working together to strengthen the series and to retain an attractive platform for all competitors.”

Walter Mertes, CEO of the Formel 3 Vermarktungs GmbH added, “The prize money incentive is another step in the bigger picture of creating an attractive FIA F3 package for 2017 and beyond. Formula 3 has always been the benchmark when it comes to driver development and improvements implemented from the upcoming season will guarantee it remains that way.”

WRC

CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT MOVING IN RIGHT DIRECTION

The second weekend of the 2017 World Rally Championship provided yet further evidence that it is one of the most open and unpredictable seasons in many years! In Sweden, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT met some of its targets thanks to its young drivers, Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre. Whilst not underestimating the scale of the challenge ahead, the team undoubtedly made progress and is heading in the right direction ahead of the first round on gravel.

THE STORY OF THE RACE FOR THE C3 WRCs

The rally got underway on Thursday evening with the Karlstad super special stage. However, all the crews were waiting until Friday morning before switching to maximum attack in the forests of the Värmland.

The Citroën C3 WRCs were in impressive form at the start of the race, with Kris Meeke setting the second fastest time on SS2 and Craig Breen finishing third on SS3. At the mid-leg point, Kris was third overall whilst Craig was eighth, less than twenty seconds adrift of his team-mate.

On the second loop, Meeke had to contend with excessive wear on his Michelin X-Ice North 3 tyres and was unable to hang onto third place. Meanwhile, Breen struggled with the handling of his C3 WRC after damaging the front aero package when he hit a snow bank. He held onto eighth place, but dropped time to the drivers ahead.

“We clearly still have work to do to make the most of our car’s potential in certain conditions. On this surface, we were fast on the first pass on the stages,” noted Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal. “We still need to work out why our drivers were less comfortable on the second runs.”

On Saturday, Kris Meeke was unable to hide his frustration as the seconds slipped away. Despite driving well, the Brit dropped to fifth place. In the afternoon, he made a mistake on Vargåsen 2: after missing a corner, the C3 went off the road and fell into a snow-filled ditch. Spectators rushed to help but unfortunately, it took them eight minutes to get the car back on the road…

Craig enjoyed a more positive day. Avoiding the previous day’s mistakes, the Irishman profited in particular from the misfortune of other drivers to move up a few positions. As he returned to service and parc ferme in Torsby, he could be pleased to have ended day two into fifth overall. The rally concluded with a sprint finish on Sunday, with just three stages to complete. Craig Breen and Scott Martin looked to make sure of their result and therefore took no risks. They added a second fifth-place finish to the one secured in Monte-Carlo!

Twelfth overall, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle nonetheless scored two points as they claimed fourth place on the Power Stage. With both Citroën C3 WRCs making it to the finish, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT added 16 points to its tally in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.

DAYTONA 24 HOURS

Daytona International Speedway, Sunday 29 January 2017 – No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Dpi-V.R won the 55th edition of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA this afternoon, completing 659 laps of the famous Daytona International Speedway. Ricky Taylor took the chequered flag first after a testing 24 hours ensuring that he and his team mates, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and NASCAR legend, Jeff Gordon, were awarded the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA trophy and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. Captivating, spectacular and extremely demanding, the ‘Rolex 24’ is one of few motor sport events in the world to test the ultimate limits of man and machine, all against the clock.

Hurley Haywood, five-time winner of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, waved the green flag at 14:30 local time on Saturday, officially marking the start of America’s famous race. The Cadillac Prototype trio of the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing, #10 and #5 Mustang Sampling Racing set the pace from the beginning before early favourite, #31, suffered steering issues in the eighth hour. As darkness fell the rain began to fall and a bitter cold set in, making the track treacherous and demanding the utmost concentration from the teams.

In the early hours of Sunday morning with the extreme conditions refusing to let up, the field experienced two extended hour-long safety car periods, underlining the true attritional nature of this test of endurance. The cars competing this year are the most technologically advanced of this era; every lap is a learning experience for teams who are pushed to the limits. With three hours remaining, and finally a dry track, the Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) winners were far from decided with multiple cars on the lead lap. Counting down the final minutes on the Rolex clock, the race went down to the wire with a thrilling battle between the leading Cadillacs; ultimately the #10 took the lead from the #5 with a legal and robust move into turn 1 with only moments to go. Throughout the 24 hours the #10 successfully answered everything its rivals, nature and time could test it with and deservingly took the chequered flag by only 0.671 seconds from its sister car.

#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing took victory in a very competitive GT Le Mans class having battled until the closing minutes of the race with the second place #911 Porsche GT Team holding off #62 Risi Competizione. #38 Performance Tech Motorsports won the Prototype Challenge (PC) title and #28 Alegra Motorsports the GT Daytona (GTD) class.

Forty-one of the 55 race starters made it to the finish, further exemplifying the punishing nature of this two-lap test of the clock. The 3.56-mile circuit demands a unique combination of resilience, skill and awareness, as well as reliability and performance, proving there are two types of winners at the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA: those who win and those who cross the finish line after 24 hours.

F1Weekly podcast # 718

CLARK AND NASIR ARE STILL REMINISCING ON THE 2016 RACING SEASON SAYING GOODBYE TO BERNIE AND SHARING THEIR HOPE ON A POSSIBLY GREAT 2017 F1 SEASON. CLARK IS ALSO EXCITED ABOUT RENAULT ENTERING FOUR R8 GORDINI’S IN THE 2017 RALLYE MONTE CARLO HISTORIQUE!!

Barcelona, January 25, 2017 – Renault today announced it will take part in the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 2017 involving four teams at the wheel of Renault 8 Gordinis:

  • Team n°5: Manu Guigou / Jean-Pierre Prevot
  • Team n°8: Jean Ragnotti / Sebastien Delanney
  • Team n°12: Michel Leclere / Michel Duvernay
  • Team n°14: Guillaume Chancel / François-Paul Forgeoux
The Renault 8 Gordini, a legend!

Few cars can have made such an impact during their time as the Renault 8 Gordini, prompting Renault to enter Renault 8 Gordinis in this competition. This was one the most popular sports models ever made by Renault, offering a top speed of 175 km/h at a very affordable price.

The Renault 8 Gordini appeared in 1964 to open up the thrill of sports driving to a whole generation. Though the “Gorde”, as it was affectionately known, was based on the Renault 8 Major, racetrack modifications at the hand of wizard Amédée Gordini left it largely unrecognisable.

Nothing was done halfway: the original model’s sensible engine was transfigured to squeeze out almost twice the power, with changes like a new cylinder head and two splendid Weber carburetors. Then the suspension, steering, brakes and equipment were upgraded to achieve a the top speed of 175 km/h. Visual signs of this remarkable sporting aptitude included round instrument dials and a smart blue finish with white stripes. The 1108 cc engine of the initial release gave way to a 1255 cc unit with the 1966 facelift, which also brought in the tell-tale dual headlamps. The Gordini Cup, introduced the same year, went a long way to developing the Renault 8 Gordini myth, consolidating its reputation with an impressive list of racing honours. Many racing drivers learned their craft at the wheel of a Renault 8 Gordini, and hold very fond memories of it. In 1970, the great little Renault 8 Gordini finally gave way to a Renault 12 model bearing the same name.

The four Renault 8 Gordinis entered by Renault are equipped with Michelin X M + S 89 tyres of dimensions 135X15 which have already proved their efficiency in previous editions.

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RALLY MONTE CARLO

Ogier takes his Monte Carlo triple

Look at the people who’ve won the Rallye Monte-Carlo three or more times – as Sébastien Ogier now has – and you see some of the greatest names in the history of rallying: Walter Röhrl, Tommi Mäkinen, Carlos Sainz, Sébastien Loeb. Ogier’s victory was… well, classic Ogier, with barely a missed beat as he calmly negotiated his way from his hometown of Gap all the way back to Monte Carlo.

People might talk about home advantage – one of the stages even passed along the route Ogier used to take to work back when he was a ski monitor – but Ogier’s shown enough class over the last few years for his rivals to know better than that.

Kris Meeke nearly steals the win

While Citroën’s Kris Meeke was nowhere to be seen during Sunday’s glitzy Monte Carlo podium ceremony, the Northern Irishman – who’ll only be competing at selected rounds this season as Citroën develop their 2017 car – came close to spoiling Ogier’s party.

After Ogier took the first stage win of the season, Meeke – with a three-year Citroën contract in his pocket and no championship to aim for – fought back and claimed the second to lead the rally overnight. The pair went toe-to-toe on Friday and Saturday’s stages until a cut through a right-hander saw Meeke rip the sump guard off his DS3 and damage his gearbox. But it was a tantalising look at the type of fight between the pair that we could be treated to next season – in fact, Ogier enjoyed it so much that he called VW to see if they could offer any help to Meeke…

Thierry Neuville re-finds his flow

Hyundai debuted its new i20 WRC at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, with Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville driving the car as Hayden Paddon stuck with the 2015-spec machine. Neuville would be the first to admit that he was in need of a good result in Monte Carlo after a tough previous season, and he showed just why Hyundai had put its faith in him with a strong drive to third, including a number of stage wins in tricky conditions despite still searching for the ideal set-up on his new car.