Tag Archives: Racing

INDYCAR SERIES

FLORIDA FRESH. FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG.

BOURDAIS AND COYNE RACING ARE HOT ON A COOL BREEZY DAY.

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series got off to a great start with the opening round won by Sébastien Bourdais over French countryman and 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud. Scott Dixon was third, the Kiwi still not successful here after 13 attempts.

Penske-star Will Power started from his seventh St. Pete pole position, next to him was Dixon, the Ganassi team now powered by Honda. Josef Newgarden, the man from Tennessee, qualified on the second row in his first drive for Penske. Sato-san was fifth, having jumped from Foyt’s stable to Andretti Autosports.

Setback & Comeback

Sébastien Bourdais crashed his Coyne operated car in qualifying and was relegated to the back of the grid. Compadre Pagenaud also did not fare well, qualifying only 14th.

Power led the first few laps before the Mayor, James Hinchcliffe, laid down the law and took the lead. This was just the beginning of Power’s problems; a puncture, running over air hose and fuel-feed issues led to his retirement.

Bourdais avoided tangle with other competitors and on lap 37 passed Pagenaud for the lead. The Penske driver started his charge in the closing stages of the race but the ex-Toro Rosso F1 racer kept his cool and gave Coyne racing team a well deserved win, a very happy reunion not only for the two and but also for the driver and crew chief Craig Hampson – the last time they worked together was in their glory days at Newman-Haas.

Behind Dixon in third, Florida native Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato completed the top five.

Victory for Le Mans-native & St. Pete-based Bourdais was 36th of his stellar career on this side of the pond and elevates him to 6th on the all time wins list.

Look back

Paul Tracy was the winner of the inaugural St. Petersburg event in 2003, then held under the CART umbrella. Helio Castro Neves is the only three-time winner of the event, 2006/7 & ‘12. And, surprisingly, Graham Rahal is the only American winner.

Penske has been the dominant team here with eight wins, but their winner from the past two years, Juan Pablo Montoya, was missing in action but will be activated by the Captain and self ‘percolated’ during the merry month of May.

American heavy weights in Indy Lights

The future of IndyCar racing is bright as two young Americans won their first race in the series in dominating fashion. The season opening race was led from start to finish from pole position by Wisconsin native Aaron Telitz. Last season he won the Pro Mazda (formerly Star Mazda) championship.

F1Weekly will feature an exclusive interview with this young talent in an upcoming podcast.

On Sunday, second generation and 16-year-old driver Colton Herta took victory after a race long duel with Santiago Urrutia, the Uruguayan driver is in his second year in the series. Colton made papa Bryan proud by becoming the youngest ever winner in Indy Lights history.

— Nasir Hameed

Photo: IndyCar.com

F1Weekly podcast #719

CLARK AND NASIR ARE OVER THE MOON WITH THE SPECIAL INTERVIEW OF FERNANDO ALONSO’S FORMER TEAM MATE… GIANCARLO FISICHELLA FROM THE DAYTONA 24 HOURS RACE LAST WEEKEND.

Minardi (1996)

In 1996, he made the move to Formula One, making his debut for the Minardi team, after being the official test driver the previous season. However he did not complete the full season since Minardi required a driver who could bring funding to the team, and replaced Fisichella with Giovanni Lavaggi.

Jordan (1997)

For 1997 he made the move to Eddie Jordan’s eponymous team, where he drove alongside former F1 champion Michael Schumacher’s brother Ralf, himself a former Formula Nippon champion. Fisichella gained his first podium finish at the 1997 Canadian Grand Prix, and went on to finish higher in the points standings than his team-mate. At Hockenheim a victory looked to be within reach for Fisichella, but a puncture and the performance of an on-form Gerhard Berger denied him the win. Fisichella was able to show his talent again at the rain-soaked Belgian Grand Prix in which he finished a commendable second behind Michael Schumacher. Following this race, the Benetton team signed him for 1998.

Benetton (1998–2001)

Fisichella driving for Benetton at the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix.

The timing of his move to Benetton move was unfortunate. Following Renault’s withdrawal from Formula One, Benetton would contest the 1998 season without “works” (factory-supplied) engines, instead using rebranded development versions of 1997 Renault engines. Despite not having the latest engines, Fisichella still managed second places at Montreal and Monaco, even being in contention for a victory in Canada until gearbox problems slowed him down. In Austria, Fisichella scored his first pole position, although an on-track clash with Jean Alesi during the race cost him any chance of a good result. He was then able to add only two more points to his total in the second half of the year as Benetton lost ground on their competition.

1999 proved to be a similarly inconsistent season for Giancarlo Fisichella. He did score some points finishes, including second at Montreal, and again came close to a victory in the European Grand Prix, until he spun off whilst in the lead. This would prove to be his best chance of a victory for the next few seasons.

Fisichella’s season was to follow a similar pattern in 2000. He again gained some surprise podium finishes early in the year, but Benetton’s now unfortunately traditional poor second half of the season meant that he failed to score any more points. Since joining Benetton, Fisichella had comprehensively outperformed his Austrian team-mate Alexander Wurz, who would then leave the team to make way for British rookie Jenson Button in 2001. Renault had purchased the Benetton team by the start of the 2001 season, but their investment was too late to enable much progress with Benetton’s uncompetitive 2001 car, and as a result, Fisichella was battling for much of the season with teams such as Minardi and Prost. However, the efforts of technical director Mike Gascoyne and his staff did result in improvements over the year, culminating in a 4-5 finish at the German Grand Prix and a third-place finish for Fisichella at the Belgian race. Despite Fisichella gaining the team’s best results that season and consistently outperforming Button, he was not retained by the team, so he rejoined Jordan for 2002.

Jordan (2002–2003)

Fisichella driving for Jordan at the 2002 US GP.

Fisichella managed to score just seven points in 2002, comfortably outpacing new teammate Takuma Sato, although the Jordan-Honda car of that year was never truly competitive. After Honda withdrew their engine supply, Jordan switched to Ford engines for the 2003 season, but the team were still unable to compete with the top teams on the grid. Despite this lack of performance, Fisichella won his first race at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Battling with McLaren’s Kimi Räikkönen amidst heavy rain and numerous crashes, Fisichella took the race lead on lap 54, soon before the race was red-flagged. However, he was demoted to second place on the podium, because (per regulations) Räikkönen was the race leader two laps prior to the red flag. Several days later, though, the FIA determined that Fisichella had already begun his 56th lap before the red flag, meaning that he, and not Räikkönen, had been leading the race two laps before its premature end, awarding the Italian his first F1 victory. Fisichella was the only F1 driver to have won a race without having stood atop the podium. He collected the winner’s trophy at the next race at Imola.[2] Fisichella’s only other points finish of 2003 was to be a seventh place at Indianapolis.

Sauber (2004)

Fisichella driving for Sauber at the 2004 US GP.

Unhappy at the Jordan team’s performance, Fisichella moved to Sauber in 2004 in the hope of greater results, and of using the team as a way of gaining access to, and a drive for, 2003 World Champions Ferrari, who supplied re-badged engines to the Sauber team. Fisichella drove well all year, comfortably outpacing team mate Felipe Massa for much of the season (scoring 22 championship points vs Massa’s 12).

Renault (2005–2007)

Fisichella at the 2005 United States Grand Prix.

His strong performances prompted former Benetton-Renault team boss Flavio Briatore to re-sign him for the 2005 season as partner to the young Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. A win at the season opening race at Melbourne signalled the Formula One breakthrough that commentators had been predicting, but it proved to be something of a false dawn. A run of poor luck saw Fisichella fall behind his team mate in the championship standings, and at times the pair were achieving noticeably different lap times with the same equipment. It appeared that Fisichella simply did not have the pace to match Alonso.

The difference in pace between Fisichella and Alonso was noticeable, and while Alonso’s metronomic consistency helped him win the 2005 championship, Fisichella’s general bad luck was to cost him points finishes. He was overtaken and lost the lead on the final lap of the Japanese Grand Prix by McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen, despite his race engineer urging him to avoid letting Räikkönen past. Nevertheless, his performances alongside Alonso throughout the season enabled Renault to win the World Constructors’ Championship ahead of McLaren and Ferrari, the team that had won that title the previous six seasons.

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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.

DAKAR RALLY

Torrential rainfall puts pay to Stage Six of the Dakar Rally

With much of Oruro and the surrounding area underwater this morning the Dakar Rally organisers had no choice but to cancel Stage Six. The “extreme climatic conditions” in the region saw competitor safety put first and the proposed 527-kilometre timed special stage between Oruro and La Paz called off.

Get a real sense of the torrential rain falling in Oruro and the impact it had on proceedings by watching/downloading today’s News Cut here.

Those competitors who remain in the race after a gruelling first week that has seen high-profile retirements, such as Nasser Al-Attiyah, Carlos Sainz and Toby Price, came into La Paz this afternoon. The racers were greeted by hoards of enthusiastic fans that lined the streets of the highest capital city on the planet.

Now comes a well-earned Rest Day in La Paz with racers searching for a slice of comfort after exiting the mudbath of the Oruro bivouac. Rest Day gives Dakar competitors a chance for a full service of their race vehicle, various media commitments and hopefully the chance to get some much needed shuteye.

The Rest Day also gives a chance for petrolheads such as windsurf legend Robby Naish to get an up close look at how the Dakar works. Naish is due in the La Paz bivouac on Sunday to catch up with crews such as Team Peugeot Total, the Red Bull KTM Factory Team and Team Kamaz Master. After a dramatic first week of action they’ll be no shortage of stories for the thrill-seeker to hear about.

FORMULA 3

FACES GOING PLACES

ENAAM AHMED GOING DOWN UNDER TO RISE & SHINE

Enaam Ahmed, friend of F1 Weekly from his sensational karting career, is hoping to get his 2017 racing campaign rolling to match the conclusion of his 2016 season.

The Tasman series may have flown into extinction like the Dodo bird, but the New Zealand-based Castrol Toyota Racing Series has feathered the careers of several promising young drivers over the past few years.

Recent past champions include home grown talent Mitch Evans, who went on to become GP3 Champion. Lance Stroll won the championship in 2015 and this season will see action in Formula 1 with Williams.

In 2016, Lando Norris took the title and went on to win the Formula Renault Euro cup.

Enaam is now 16, the minimum age requirement to compete in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, and with two race winning seasons of open wheel competition behind him, is looking forward to championship challenge against not only much older drivers, but also drivers who raced last year in the same series.

The opening round of the 2017 Championship is on January 14 at Ruapuna near Christchurch. Each round features three races and is staged on successive weekends; the final event on February 12 at Manfeild is the prestigious New Zealand Grand Prix.

After winning five karting championships in his final season of karting in 2014, Enaam raced to Rookie of the Year honors, and 5th overall, in the 2015 British MSA Formula Championship. He also raced in selected rounds of the Northern European-based SMP Formula 4 Series; winning five races, including all three at Pärnu in Estonia.

The 2016 season saw Enaam step up to the BRDC British F3 and in the opening round at Snetterton he was a race winner and also finished on the podium in the other two races of the weekend. He was classified 5th in the overall standings in this very competitive series. He then completed the 2016 racing season on a high note by winning the British F3 Autumn Trophy.

The car used in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series is the Italian Tatuus single-seater, powered by a 1.8 liter Toyota engine which produces around 160 kWs running on an 85 percent ethanol bio-fuel.

Michelin is the official tire supplier.

Enaam will race with Giles Motorsport; his teammates will be Australian Luis Leeds and Dutch driver Richard Verschoor.

Quick and consistent, Enaam’s fighting spirit has been the hallmark of this young racer from London town.

Racing so far from home base, Enaam said, “I’m really excited to be going into TRS with such fierce competition. It’s going to be a really good challenge to go up against these experienced guys as I wasn’t old enough to do it last year.

“Let’s see how it goes!”

  • Nasir Hameed

 

RENAULT SPORT

RENAULT SPORT RACING HONOURS IT’S 2016 CHAMPIONS

The awards ceremony for the Renault Sport Series’ was held Friday December 9 at the Atelier Renault on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. In the presence of Jérôme Stoll, President of Renault Sport Racing and many guests, this exceptional season came to its conclusion with the rewarding of the stars of 2016.

Renault has been a major contender in motorsport for more than 115 years. This year it opened a new chapter in its long history, emphasising more than ever competition in the centre of its strategy via Renault Sport Racing, the entity that is now based in Viry. This evening was also the occasion to draw the conclusions on the customer competition seasons in rallying and circuit racing, and to hand out the trophies to the laureates.

Clio R3T France Trophy: the triumph of Charles Martin

After dominating the season, Charles Martin received his cup from Jean-Pascal Dauce, Director of the Renault Sport Racing Customer Competition Programme. Charles Martin also picked up the Junior trophy and the Jean Ragnotti Best Performer award. The French driver was joined by fellow competitors William Pitot and Kevin van Deijne. Charlotte Dalmasso, French Rallywoman Champion, and Manu Guigou, third in the French Rally Championship, were also rewarded thanks to their exceptional performances in the Clio R3T.

Coupe de France Renault Clio Cup: Éric Trémoulet takes the title

Jean-Pascal Dauce also handed Éric Trémoulet his winner’s trophy as his rivals Jimmy and Teddy Clairet looked on, but they combined to give Team Clairet Sport the team championship. Pascal Arellano and Jeremy Sarhy were also honoured for their titles in the Gentlemen and Junior categories. After a season of hard battling, the five men will come together in the Team Clio Cup France at the 24-Hours of Dubai next month.

Renault Sport Trophy: a parade of champions

Laurens van den Acker, Directeur du Design Renault et initiateur du projet Renault Sport R.S. 01, montait ensuite sur scène pour remettre son prix à son compatriote Pieter Schothorst, sacré en PRO. Le Néerlandais faisait de même pour Fabian Schiller, titré en AM ainsi qu’en Endurance avec Markus Palttala. Grands animateurs d’une deuxième saison animée, Kevin Korjus, Fran Rueda, Miguel Ramos et Fredrik Blomstedt étaient également récompensés aux côtés du Team Marc VDS EG 0,0, lauréat chez les équipes.

Laurens van den Acker, Renault Director of Design and the creator of the Renault Sport R.S. 01 project, was next on stage to hand his countryman Pieter Schothorst his trophy for winning the PRO category. The Dutchman did likewise for AM category champion, Fabian Schiller who also won the Endurance crown with Markus Palttala. Front runners in a very competitive second season, Kevin Korjus, Fran Rueda, Miguel Ramos and Fredrik Blomstedt were also rewarded as well as winning team Team Marc VDS EG 0,0.

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0: the consecration for Lando Norris

For more than 45 years, Formula Renault has revealed the biggest hopefuls of tomorrow. Following the McLaren BRDC Autosport Awards, Lando Norris was awarded the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 winner’s cup and rookie of the year title from Renault Sport Academy Director Mia Sharizman. His toughest rivals, Dorian Boccolacci, Max Defourny and newcomers Sacha Fenestraz and Will Palmer were also honoured, as was Josef Kaufmann Racing, which won the team title for the second consecutive year.

Renault Sport Racing, even stronger in 2017

Renault Sport Racing Managing Director, Cyril Abiteboul concluded the award ceremony in turning to the future of the categories in 2017. The commercial success of the latest generation of the Clio Cup has enabled it to solidify its presence in many markets. Also aiming to participate in Renault’s notoriety, trophies dedicated in France, Spain and Switzerland await the Clio R3T. On the circuits, the Renault Sport R.S. 01 will now demonstrate its qualities in prestigious races around the world. Finally, the Eurocup Formula Renault will have an improved calendar where Monaco and eight other 1 tracks, as well as the Pau street circuit, will allow for detecting young champions and perhaps future members of the Renault Sport Academy