INDYCAR

FERNANDO ALONSO AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso returned to IMS for the first time since his attention-grabbing effort in the 2017 Indianapolis 500, when he led 27 laps and was named rookie of the year. The Spaniard’s progress was delayed Wednesday by an electrical issue on the installation lap in his No. 66 McLaren Chevrolet and he was unable to complete both phases of the refresher session.

“It’s good to be back, to feel again the magic of the place,” Alonso said.

He added that the car issue wasn’t a complete surprise since it was the first time on track with the Dallara chassis prepared at the McLaren Technology Centre in England, with the finishing touches placed on it a week ago.

“For us, obviously, we lost a little bit of time at the beginning,” he said. “This was more or less expected because, as I said, it was a brand new chassis, brand new car. Everything fit in the last week. We expect to run slowly, step by step, short runs at the beginning. It’s what we did.

“If we could probably have (run) the (install) laps at midday, maybe you discover these issues, then you have hours to work on the car, be ready for the afternoon. The weather delays everything. You do the lap at 5:30 p.m. and there is no room to get back on track on time.”

The IMS focus shifts now to action on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course for the INDYCAR Grand Prix. Practice and qualifying take place Friday, May 10. The sixth annual race airs live at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, May 11 on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

The 103rd Indianapolis 500 takes place Sunday, May 26 and airs live at 11 a.m. ET on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

F1Weekly podcast # 787

CLARK IS TIRED OF THE FERRARI FAKE SPEED AND HANDING THESE WINS TO TOTO. NASIR LOVING LCH SEES NO PROBLEM WITH THE COMPLETE DOMINATION OF THE 2019 SEASON!

SERGIO PEREZ GIVES US HIS THOUGHTS ON BAKU…

Sergio: “Baku has become one of my favourite races of the year. It’s a quick lap with good overtaking opportunities and that seems to generate lots of drama. I love the lap and it’s a real challenge for the drivers because the walls are close and you have to be so precise. Street circuits generally really test the drivers and I actually wish we had more on them on the calendar.

“I’ve been on the podium in Baku at two of the three races so far and I think my podium last year was one of my best races. I remember getting ahead of Vettel and then keeping him behind me during the final laps. I had to concentrate so hard and I drove some of the best laps of my life. Each lap was like a qualifying lap!

“This team has always been competitive in Baku so I am hopeful the same is true this year. For a number of reasons the track layout has always suited our cars. It’s a track where you need good top speed and confidence on the brakes. I was happier with our performance level in China, especially on Sunday, and we need to find the same rhythm in Baku.”

Play Podcast: 04-24-19f1weekly787.mp3

WRC

A C3 R5 ONE-TWO FINISH WITH BONATO-BOULLOUD AND ROSSEL-FULCRAND!

Yoann Bonato – Benjamin Boulloud and Yohan Rossel – Benoît Fulcrand finished as winners and runners-up respectively at the Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières-Rhône in their Citroen C3 R5s, once again illustrating the competitiveness of Citroën Racing’s flagship customer racing product.

Bonato-Boulloud and Rossel-Fulcrand dominated the event in the C3 R5, the French crews winning thirteen of the fifteen stages and leaving their rivals to fight over the crumbs at this year’s Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières-Rhône. Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud lived up to their status as reigning two-time French Rally champions (2017 and 2018), the pre-event favourites immediately grabbing the overall lead by winning the opening stage. It was a lead that they would hold onto until the end of the rally, whilst also picking up the honour of “best performers” with eight other stage wins. It was a dominant, controlled performance from start to finish.

This was their first win of the year, a second consecutive victory at this event after prevailing here in 2018, and the result moved them to the top of the French championship standings. Still learning about the C3 R5, Yohan Rossel and Benoît Fulcrand, winners of the 2018 Peugeot 208 Rally Cup, picked up where they had left off at the Rallye Terre des Causses (2nd), gradually upping their pace as they finished the event on a high. Having taken one stage win during the first leg on the wide, circuit-style roads, they ended day one fourth overall, just 1.5s adrift of second place. However, another three stage wins on Saturday’s afternoon loop enabled them to grab second place by eight tenths of a second. A narrowly secured runners-up spot that shows not only how closely contested the event was, but also how the pair improved over the two days.

BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP

LOGGIE AND KEEN SHARE OULTON PARK POLES AS MULTIMATIC MAKES PERFECT START IN GT4

> RAM Racing and Barwell Motorsport start up front on Easter Monday
> Maxwell and Priaulx unstoppable in GT4
> Results: Qualifying

RAM Racing’s Ian Loggie claimed his maiden British GT pole position at Oulton Park earlier today ahead of Easter Monday’s two season-opening British GT races. Phil Keen starts Race 2 up front for the second successive year, while Scott Maxwell and Seb Priaulx handed Multimatic Motorsport’s #15 Ford Mustang a double GT4 pole position.

GT3 Q1: LOGGIE UNTOUCHABLE IN OULTON’S SUNSHINE

RAM Racing’s Mercedes-AMG had looked fast in practice and Loggie converted that potential into a maiden British GT pole position during the first of today’s 10-minute qualifying sessions.

Team Parker Racing’s Ryan Ratcliffe made the early running but couldn’t respond to any of the three laps that were good enough for Loggie to seal pole. His best – set on the final tour – of 1m35.061s was ultimately sufficient to topple the Bentley driver by 0.597s.

Barwell’s Sam De Haan was just 0.041s behind after beating JRM’s Rick Parfitt Jnr to third by less than a tenth in the closing stages, while Dominic Paul was fastest of Century’s BMW continent in fifth.

The second Barwell Lamborghini completed the top-six courtesy of Adam Balon, who was just 0.006s behind Paul but another 0.3s clear of Adrian Willmott. Mark Farmer ended up fastest of the Aston Martin drivers in eighth.

GT3 Q2: KEEN DENIES RAM RACING A DOUBLE POLE

Phil Keen has always enjoyed Oulton. Three wins from the last four races attests to that. And Barwell’s Lamborghini factory ace put himself and co-driver Adam Balon in prime position to add to the tally by claiming pole position for Monday’s second 60-minute encounter.

Adam Christodoulou held the initial advantage thanks to Callum Macleod’s first flying lap being discounted for a track limits infringement. However, none of that mattered once Keen joined the party, his 1m33.541s comfortably good enough to secure top spot by 0.496s from Macleod, whose second lap vaulted RAM Racing’s Mercedes-AMG up to second.

ABBA Racing’s Christodoulou made it two Mercedes-AMGs in the top-three, while Seb Morris equalled the efforts of his JRM co-driver Rick Parfitt Jnr by completing row two. Barwell’s second Lamborghini driven by Jonny Cocker and TF Sport’s #2 Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim finished fifth and sixth fastest.

Multimatic’s only previous British GT appearance came in 2007, while the Mustang makes its championship debut this weekend. However, the team – best known for its FIA WEC exploits with Ford – showed its class by claiming GT4 pole positions for both races.

Its #15 and #19 entries both start up front on Monday morning when Scott Maxwell leads away team-mate Jade Buford. The pair enjoyed a personal battle for pole throughout the first 10-minute session as the advantage swung this way and that. The Canadian ultimately triumphed, but only by 0.103s from his North American counterpart.

HHC’s McLarens start line astern behind after Dean Macdonald overcame Tom Jackson. The Scot finished 0.3s shy of pole and less than two tenths ahead of his team-mate. A 570S also occupies fifth courtesy of Tolman Motorsport’s Jordan Collard, who was less than 0.1s clear of TF Sport’s Patrick Kibble in the first of the Aston Martins.

Mark Kimber’s Century BMW, the Academy Motorsport V8 Vantage of Alex Toth-Jones and James Dorlin’s second Tolman McLaren finished seventh, eighth and ninth, while Kelvin Fletcher was the fastest Am in Beechdean AMR’s Aston Martin.

WRC

THE C3 WRC RETURNS TO LATIN AMERICA

The WRC heads to Argentina for round five, only the second on gravel after Mexico, where the Citroën Total World Rally Team crews Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm will once again enjoy the huge, passionate crowds typically found in Latin America. Both crews will be determined to show the same speed they had a month and a half ago on the roads around León and maintain their run of podium finishes.

Winners in Mexico on the only gravel event held so far in 2019, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia find themselves back on the surface on which the majority of the championship is contested with the firm intention of confirming their pace with the C3 WRC on dirt roads. With seven stage wins, including the Power Stage, in Central America last month, they had produced a very high performance level. It is therefore no surprise that they come into this round with high hopes, although this gravel event differs somewhat from Rally Mexico.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 -WRC Mexico (MX) – WRC 06/03/2019 to 10/03/2019 – PHOTO : @World

The French pair has finished on the podium four times in nine appearances at this rally, which rewards those who know the roads well. They will also be able to count on the experience of the Citroën Total World Rally Team, which has already won in Argentina ten times. Whereas in the past they have often been first to tackle these stages, where grip levels tend to increase as more cars complete, this time they will be running second on the road, meaning they will enjoy slightly better grip conditions.

Meanwhile, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will be sixth in the running order. Although they don’t have as much knowledge as their team-mates of this rally, this being only their second appearance here, the fact they will be tackling cleaner roads may help them to make up partly for their lack of experience. In any case, the feeling at the end of the Mexican round and the stage times set in Central America suggest that the Finnish duo will be looking to confirm their growing confidence on this, their second gravel event in the C3 WRC.

In the meantime, Esapekka and Janne got some additional miles under their belt on this surface, as did Sébastien and Julien, as part of a four-day pre-event test held recently in Portugal, each crew spending two days in the car.

INDYCAR

ROSSI WINS AGAIN AT LONG BEACH

LONG BEACH, California (Sunday, April 14, 2019) – Al Unser Jr. may be “King of the Beach,” but Alexander Rossi is driving himself toward INDYCAR racing royalty at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

For the second straight year on the iconic NTT IndyCar Series street course, Rossi dominated the competition. The Andretti Autosport driver led all but five of 85 laps from the pole position Sunday to become the first back-to-back winner at Long Beach since Sebastien Bourdais won three in a row from 2005-07.

“We were able to get a race car I was really happy with,” Rossi said. “Winning the pole is huge come Sunday because it allows you to hopefully be in front leaving Turn 1 and really just control the race from there.

“It’s awesome to be able to really kickstart our year.”

INDYCAR Acura GP of Long Beach

ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Official results

Driving the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, Rossi cruised across the finish line 20.2359 seconds ahead of Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden – the largest margin of victory at Long Beach since Unser Jr. won by more than 23 seconds in 1995. Rossi became the ninth multiple winner at Long Beach, joining the likes of his team owner Michael Andretti (two wins), Mario Andretti (three), Bourdais (three), Paul Tracy (four) and Alex Zanardi (two). Unser Jr. took home six victories at “the Beach.”

Four of Rossi’s six NTT IndyCar Series career victories have now come when the 27-year-old Californian started from the pole position. Sunday’s win also moved him into second place in the 2019 championship standings after four of 17 races, trailing Newgarden by 28 points, but he said it was no day at the beach.

“I think we got lucky that we were able to get through some traffic and Josef was held up for a bit,” Rossi said. “From that standpoint, we were able to build a gap. It’s never easy. We didn’t have a whole lot of pressure … but you still have to go quick, right? There are a bunch of really fast guys behind you, so you can’t relax at all.”

Rossi became the fourth NTT IndyCar Series driver, each from a different team, to win in as many races this season. He also delivered Andretti Autosport its 200th race victory in all disciplines in which the team has competed since its 2003 inception. Sixty-three of those wins have come in NTT IndyCar Series competition.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in I think a short period of time, to get to 200,” Michael Andretti said. “We’ve had so many great people help get us there. I was just told we had 38 different drivers that won for us over the years to get us to this point.”

INDYCAR Acura GP of Long Beach

Andretti had high words of praise for Rossi, the driver who picked up win No. 200.

“I think he’s a great driver,” Andretti said. “I think we saw in him from the moment he sat in one of our cars, we knew we had someone special here. He’s been great to have as a part of the team.

“He drove flawlessly all weekend. That lap he did (in) qualifying, I think, was the difference as well. To be able to start on pole here is a big advantage.”

By finishing second in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden scored his fourth top-four finish to start the season. Starting fourth, the 2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion leapfrogged to second place during the first round of pit stops and remained there the rest of the day.

“It’s tough when you’re not able to compete at the very, very front,” Newgarden said. “We were at the front, but you want to be competing for first (place). That’s disappointing, but we gave it our all today and thought we had a pretty good race for the most part. … We just were a little short.”

INDYCAR Acura GP of Long Beach

Reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon finished third in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. The five-time champion and 2015 Long Beach winner crossed the finish line in fourth place behind Graham Rahal, but the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver was penalized a position for blocking Dixon on the final lap.

“It was unfortunate with the Graham Rahal incident,” Dixon said. “I think he overshot Turn 8 and then quickly tried to turn in reaction. The rule is you can’t come back to defend if somebody’s already there, and that’s what happened.

“It was just one of those things. Had he not reacted there, we would have (passed him) anyway. But it’s racing, hard racing.”

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast