Motorsports Mondial

Photo: btccmedia


Warwickshire’s Mat Jackson and Fife’s Gordon Shedden, the latter with a victory double, shared the wins in today’s three rain-soaked Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.

Oxford’s Jason Plato continues to lead the points table but only just from new second-placed man Shedden as Britain’s premier motor racing championship now heads to the spectacular Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire for its next three races on the weekend of 9/10 June.

Staffordshire’s Andrew Jordan had headed Saturday’s qualifying session to line up on pole position for the first of today’s races. But it all went wrong for the Pirtek Racing driver at the first bend as his Honda Civic tangled with Plato’s MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 and crashed.

This left the way clear for Jackson to reel off his second win of the season in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus ahead of Inverness’s Dave Newsham in his Team ES Vauxhall Vectra and Plato. Newsham’s second place was the best of his career so far. Having started from lowly 18th and 19th spots after a disastrous qualifying session, Shedden and team-mate Matt Neal, the reigning Champion, were sixth and tenth.

Shedden was unstoppable in race two as he quickly made up positions to pass Jackson for the lead and a comfortable win. Plato took second ahead of Jackson in third. Neal was fifth. In race three Shedden and Neal then simply romped clear of the opposition to give Honda a dream 1-2 result. Third, adding to earlier fifth and fourth place results, was the impressive Frank Wrathall in his Dynojet Toyota Avensis. Plato was fourth.

As a result, Plato leaves Thruxton holding a four-point lead from the charging Shedden. Next up are Neal, Jackson and Hampshire’s Robert Collard who, on his home track, took a fourth and two seventh places today in his eBay Motors BMW.

Plato enthused: “We’ve had zero running in the wet before with the MG so to take away a big points haul on a rainy day is very pleasing. We’ve got a big test programme planned between now and Oulton which should really enable us to make big gains with the car.”

Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, who also set the fastest lap in all three races at Thruxton, added: “Two wins at Donington a fortnight ago and another two wins today… it’s been a mega weekend, even if qualifying didn’t go our way. The Civic’s chassis really came into its own today in the wet and round the fast corners but it’s still early days.”

And commented Droitwich Spa’s Neal: “It’s been a bit of a scruffy day for me so to get on the podium in the third race was a good way to finish – and of course it’s another great result for Honda. The main thing is I’ve come away still in the hunt but it’s extremely competitive out there.”

Jackson, from Henley in Arden, said: “The conditions today haven’t been ideal for the Focus which runs a slightly smaller tyre compared to the Honda and MG so I’m delighted by what we’ve achieved today. It’s all about consistent scoring and not letting the others escape at this stage.”

Meanwhile, Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team have extended their respective leads in the Manufacturers/Constructors and HiQ Teams championships respectively. Jackson and Redstone Racing have taken over at the top of the Independent Drivers and Teams standings.

Elsewhere, two drivers were today penalised for on-track incidents. Redstone Racing’s Liam Griffin was handed a time penalty in race three which relegated him from 11th to 12th place while team-mate Aron Smith was officially reprimanded and had two penalty points added to his competition licence for an incident in the previous round at Donington Park.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: f3euroseries

Third Hockenheim success for Prema Powerteam

In the third race of the Formula 3 Euro Series at the 4.574 kilometres long Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, that counts towards the newly-founded FIA Formula 3 European Championship, just like the first race, a Prema Powerteam driver claimed victory. Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam) crossed the finish line in first place, followed by Carlos Sainz (Carlin) and Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport). After the first Formula 3 Euro Series race weekend, that was also attended by FIA president Jean Todt as a guest, Juncadella is first in the drivers’ standings.

Carlos Sainz wasn’t able to convert his pole position into the race lead, he had to let Daniel Juncadella and Felix Rosenqvist pull away. Once in the lead, the Prema driver immediately pulled clear from the rest of the field while Sainz initially had to make his way past Rosenqvist, who was second after the start. After that, Juncadella’s lead was already too big for Sainz to jeopardize the second victory of the weekend for his compatriot.

Guest driver Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport) claimed fourth place ahead of the best-placed rookie Sven Müller (Prema Powerteam) and William Buller (Carlin).

Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam): “Apart from the second race, the weekend could hardly have been better, I am really happy. I was particularly quick in the early stage of the race and I was able to pull a nice gap over Carlos. Eventually, I had some problems with traction and Carlos closed up again.”

Carlos Sainz (Carlin): “Generally, I hadn’t expected that we would be this good over here, because compared to most of the other teams, we don’t have a lot of experience with the Hankook tyres. Unfortunately, I had problems at the start again. Now, we have to investigate what the reason for that was.”

Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport): “Like all weekend, I wasn’t able to match the pace that Daniel and Carlos had. Third place was the maximum for me. In spite of the problems, I was on the podium in all the races and I have scored many points. Given these circumstances, I can be happy with that.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: gp2media

Dillmann defeats Razia to take maiden GP2 win

Rapax rookie victorious in Sprint Race at the Bahrain International Circuit

Victory never tasted so good for Tom Dillmann: the French rookie took a lights-to-flags win in today’s Sprint Race after having to hold off a charging Luiz Razia in the final laps. He took the chequered flag 0.1s ahead of the Arden man and thus pocketed his first ever GP2 win.

When the lights went off, polesitter Dillmann had to defend his position at Turn 1 to keep the lead ahead of Marcus Ericsson. Further down the pack, Esteban Gutierrez and Felipe Nasr took a blazing start. The Mexican entered Turn 1 from the inside slightly came together with Giedo van der Garde. The Dutchman spun but was able to rejoin safely. By then, Razia had made his way to P3 from fifth on the grid.

At the front, Dillmann started to pull away from Ericsson who was himself busy with trying to keep Razia at bay, but the Brazilian prove to be too strong a rival for the Swede today and overtook him to take P2. A lap later, the iSport man’s race went from bad to worse when Rio Haryanto passed him for P3. Series leader Davide Valsecchi was next on the list of Ericsson’s torturers, but their battle was interrupted when Gutierrez attacked Valsecchi and passed him at Turn 1.

Dillmann was 4.2s ahead of Razia by then. Gutierrez continued to slice through the field when he overtook Ericsson and then targeted Haryanto. The Indonesian defended well his position but had to surrender a lap later. Behind this pair, Valsecchi passed Ericsson who later was also overtaken by Nasr. Haryanto could not resist for too long when Valsecchi started to put pressure on him. The Italian closed in on Gutierrez for P3 and he was soon close enough to make a move on the Mexican. If the first two attempts did not work, the third one stuck and Valsecchi was back on the podium.

Meanwhile, the race leader had managed to build up a gap of 5.5s to Razia, but the Brazilian started to pick up the pace and what was a comfortable cushion between the two men slowly but surely disappeared. Dillmann lost four seconds over two laps and with three laps to go, Razia had reduced the gap to 0.9s. The Arden man started to try and find a way past the Rapax rookie who defended his position the best he could although he seemed to be struggling on his tyres. Razia came even closer and attacked the Frenchman from all parts, but he made a small mistake on a curb which gave Dillmann a tiny room to breathe. On the final lap, Razia was back in Dillmann’s mirrors and pushed hard to find a way past, but the Frenchman made no mistakes and crossed the finish line with the smallest of margins.

Behind the leading duo, Valsecchi took another podium finish in third ahead of Gutierrez. In the final corners, Nasr took P5 from Haryanto. Ericsson and Fabio Leimer pocketed the final points. Valsecchi is now more than ever the clear leader of the Series with 107 points after a fabulous Bahraini campaign, 24 points in front of Razia. Gutierrez is third with 54 points, nine points ahead of Max Chilton. Leimer lies in fifth place with 41 points.

The fourth round of the 2012 GP2 Series season will take place in Barcelona, Spain in two weeks alongside the Formula One Grand Prix.

Motorsports Mondial


Despite an early contact, Esteban reaches a point in Bahrain

After a difficult qualifying session, Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez finished 10th in the Feature race of the GP2 Series´ round 3, which took place at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Gutierrez started from 13th on the grid, but a contact at the start of the race damaged his front wing, making him fall down to place 21 and forcing him to make his mandatory pit stop earlier than planned.

“It was a difficult day because there was a lot of traffic in qualifying, and in a category as competitive as this is, a small problem can have a big effect on your performance, we knew we were not as bad as it looked but that obviously was not the result we were looking for.

“During the race we were trying to gain a few positions, from the start and with a good strategy, which was really working for us and we were happy with the balance of the car and with every other aspect really”, expressed the driver.

Team Lotus GP quickly replaced the damaged front wing and Esteban rejoined the race and started gaining positions to eventually finish 11th, however, the Mexican moved up one more place to finish 10th after DAMS driver Felipe Nasr was penalized for disobeying a yellow flag; he had finished 7th but fell down to 11th after the penalty.

“A contact on the first corner greatly affected us as I did five laps with the damaged wing and had to stop to change it, taking more time than usual, and with that I lost several places.

“We finished eleventh and I just learned that some drivers were penalized and that we are officially tenth, reaching the final point. In the end, this is not the way we want to earn points but at least we are still gaining points and that has a value to us”, he added.

Esteban remains third in the standings with 46 points. Davide Valsecchi won the race and is first with 97 points, followed by Luiz Razia, with 69.

“There are a few positives; I am happy with the balance of the car and the tire performance as compared to last weekend and that is something really good; maybe this day was far from ideal but I think we must have the ability to accept things and just move on because it is a long season”, he said.

Lotus GP driver will be looking to climb up the field during the Sprint race that is scheduled for this Saturday at the same circuit in Bahrain.

“Our objective is to reach the points, there is not much of a strategy, we basically have to start and finish the race, trying to do a good start and avoid contacts in the first corners.

“We have a good car to try and gain positions in the final laps, thus reaching the points paying zone”, he concluded.

Motorsports Mondial


Photo: gp2media

Giedo van der Garde flies to Sakhir pole

Caterham Racing driver steals Davide Valsecchi’s thunder

Giedo van der Garde is a happy man: the Caterham Racing driver claimed today’s pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit in 1:42.451, one tenth quicker than Davide Valsecchi. Fabio Leimer took P3 in an thrilling qualifying session.

Esteban Gutiérrez was the first driver to take to the track in the session in Sakhir. He set the early pace with a 1:43.213, but Series leader Valsecchi on Prime Pirelli tyres claimed P1 after a stellar lap that saw him set the quickest times in sectors 2 and 3. The Italian’s rival Luiz Razia also improved and moved up to P2, two tenths behind Valsecchi.

The first ten minutes saw Felipe Nasr pushing hard, locking up Turn 10 and nearly coming together with Tom Dillmann. Max Chilton attempted to challenge Valsecchi but made a mistake in the second sector on both tries. The DAMS racer went for another quick lap, but hit traffic in the final part of the track and chose to re-enter the pits to switch to Option tyres. Leimer moved up to P3 ahead of Rio Haryanto and Dani Clos.

Chilton eventually found a way around Sector 2 and edged Razia out of P2. His teammate Haryanto also found some extra pace to take P3. Mid-session came and van der Garde lying then on P20 found a clear lap. On Option tyres, the Dutchman pushed hard and even made a small mistake in the final sector, but that was enough to do the job and take pole in 1:42.451, one tenth quicker than Valsecchi. Leimer also improved and moved up to P3 again.

As the clock ticked down, traffic intensified and Valsecchi was unable to match the Dutchman’s pace. He re-entered the pits one minute before the end of the session, along with Leimer which left van der Garde to celebrate and enjoy his first pole position of the season. Behind the top 3, Carlin’s pair Chilton and Haryanto ended up P5 and P6 respectively, ahead of Razia, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Clos, Marcus Ericsson and Dillmann.

Carlos Sainz claims pole position at Hockenheim

Photo: f3euroseries

Carlos Sainz (Carlin, 1:33.709 minutes) was fastest in Formula 3 Euro Series qualifying at the 4.574 kilometres long Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg and achieved a great comeback for his team Carlin in the world’s strongest junior racing category. Second fastest in qualifying, Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam, 1:33.995 minutes) was 0.286 seconds slower than his compatriot. Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport, 1:34.045 minutes) ended up third, Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam, 1:34.259 minutes) was fourth. In the ranking for the second-fastest laps, Sainz also came out on top and this will not only start the third, but also the first race of the weekend from pole position. All three races also count towards the newly-created FIA European Formula 3 Championship.

In the first qualifying of the year, Carlos Sainz and Daniel Juncadella had a thrilling battle for first place. With two minutes remaining, Juncadella was in the lead, but then was toppled by Sainz. On his final lap, the Carlin driver once again improved his own lap time. There was no way to hold the son of the two times’ world rally champion off his maiden Euro Series’ pole position.

With Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport, 1:34.371 minutes), the best-placed guest driver was fifth, followed by Sven Müller (Prema Powerteam, 1:34.446 minutes), the best rookie in the 18 drivers strong field. The lap times of the first ten drivers in qualifying were within less than a second.

Carlos Sainz (Carlin): “This wasn’t an easy qualifying, because there were many cars on the track and I hardly had a clear lap. With my first set of tyres, I tried to complete as many laps as possible, to get maximum insight. With the second set, it went particularly well towards the end.”

Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam): “I am happy, because I am on the front row of the grid. With the second set of tyres, the balance of my car wasn’t that good anymore, so I wasn’t able to do any better. Now, we have to analyse what the reason was.”

F1Weekly podcast # 570


The Spanish Armada.  Double WRC Champion Carlos Sainz Sr is a huge football fan, his favorite team being Real Madrid. He was unable to attend the last World Cup Finals to cheer his home team to victory. He was able to watch the finals from Silverstone in the company of Fernando Alonso and his mother.

That weekend saw Spanish success from South Africa to Silverstone as Sainz Jr took victory in Formula BMW race.

Sainz Jr was interested in becoming a Formula 1 driver, in his own words, “since the age of three.” The kid is destined to be the next ‘muy macho hombre de Espana.’

Racing under the wings of Red Bull, the 17-year-old is now leading the British F3 Championship after two rounds in his rookie season. Past weekend he won two of the three races at Monza.

Last year he won the Formula Renault NEC Championship and was second in the Euro Cup.

Please enjoy a conversation with Sainz Jr on this week’s podcast. My thanks to Sainz Sr for this wonderful moment of Spanish motorsports legends – past, present and future.


— Nasir Hameed