F.3 – Nicholas Latifi ready for a new challenge in Imola…
One month after the challenge at the Red Bull Ring, the Italian F3 European Series is now ready to come back to Italy for the last three races which will take place at the international circuits of Imola, Vallelunga and Monza .
After setting the best qualifying time in Austria , the Italo-Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi is ready to go back behind the wheel of his Mygale 18 to continue his progressions as a F3 driver and to chase after new scores. In these first months, the JD Motorsport standard-bearer has demonstrated his abilities in achieving constant progressions, being able to almost set top drivers times. Unfortunately his lack of experience in driving open wheel cars has denied him to achieve more important results such as the podium which still remains the main target.
NICHOLAS LATIFI: “ I feel confident in the race in Imola. I hope to confirm the good results achieved in qualifying at the Ring and set a good race. My goal is to obtain good final results which I unfortunately wasn’t able to get in the last race.”
The week-end will start on Thursday with four sessions of collective tests, then will go on on Friday, August the 31st, with a half an hour free practices session ( from 9.00 to 9.30) followed by the two qualifying sessions (17.25-17.40 and 17.50-18.05) which will determine the starting grid of the 22’ + 1 lap race and the 30’ + 1 lap race on programme on Saturday at 14.55 and Sunday, September the 2nd, at 10.00. The 15’+ 1 lap sprint race (at 18.00) will end the sixth meeting of the season.
WILLIAMS F1 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW…
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: It’s great to be back racing again after the August break and the whole team has been preparing eagerly for the remaining nine races, eight of which are back to back. Spa is a fantastic circuit and an excellent challenge for the drivers and car alike. We’re expecting rain at the beginning of the weekend but are hopeful for a dry qualifying and race. Setting the correct wing level with DRS is crucial around this track and one tends to see a number of different aerodynamic solutions. Pirelli are bringing their hard and medium tyres which were last used way back in Malaysia.
Pastor Maldonado: Spa is a very special circuit for me because I’ve had a lot of success there in the past and I really enjoy the layout. The circuit also has a lot of history so it’s a race that you want to do well at. It will also be interesting to see the performance of the other teams and find out who has made gains since we last raced. I’m looking forward to getting going again after the summer break and hopefully we can build on the good progress we’ve shown so far this season and have a strong run of results in the second half of the year.
Bruno Senna: We’ve had a good streak of races recently and I had a solid result in Hungary so I’m looking forward to keeping the momentum going. Spa is one of my favourite tracks and I raced there last year with the Pirelli tyres so that knowledge will help with our performance this time around. Qualifying will be important and I’m looking to get into Q3 like I did in the last race and from there hopefully score some good points for the team.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: The driver will encounter every sort of corner possible so we have to get the RS27 to perform over all levels of torque and revs. The engine needs to deliver good top end power for the long straights, yet a smooth power curve through the flowing corners like Blanchimont. Response is also key out of the slower hairpins and chicanes. We actually use Spa as a control circuit on the dyno to test an engine’s reliability as it puts so much stress on the internal parts. With such huge demands exerted, we’ll be introducing fresh engines for this race.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: Spa is one of the most demanding circuits of the year for our tyres because of the high levels of energy they are subjected to, which is why we have selected the P Zero Silver hard and P Zero White medium compounds: a combination that was last used in Malaysia at the start of the year. The other important factor in Spa is the weather, as rain is a very frequent occurrence: sometimes with wet conditions affecting just one part of the circuit while the rest remains dry. Consequently there are many interesting opportunities to formulate a number of different strategies over the course of this very long race.
RED BULL BELGIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW.
Sebastian Vettel: “The Spa circuit is defined by the surrounding nature and it’s one of my favourite tracks. I was very happy to have won there last year. Spa offers every type of racing corner; ultra-fast, medium-fast and slow chicanes, that alternate with fast straights. The difference in altitude and the unpredictable weather really make the track a big challenge – and it’s one that every racing driver loves to compete on. It’s good to be back after the summer break.”
Mark Webber: “Spa is the best track to have after a break and it’s extremely rewarding for drivers at that venue. It’s obviously remained pretty much unchanged for some time and it has a lot of character. Eau Rouge is a very special part of the track, the spectators love going to watch the cars there and I would encourage anyone to see it live once in their lives – it’s mind blowing. It’s one of the classic tracks where you feel like an F1 car belongs on the circuit. We’re looking forward to going there and challenging for the victory.”
AUDI LOCKS OUT TOP THREE AT ZANDVOORT – BATTLE FOR THE TITLE HOTS UP…
Zandvoort. The seventh DTM round of the season at Zandvoort in The Netherlands brought plenty of action. Intermittent rain, two safety-car phases and thrilling overtaking manoeuvres turned it into the most exciting race of the season. After 43 laps, Italian Edoardo Mortara emerged as the jubilant winner with his Audi A5 DTM. After his success at Spielberg, this was his second DTM victory of the year. His fellow Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller from Germany and Swede Mattias Ekström followed in second and third place. Excitement is rising in the battle for the title: points’ leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) and Bruno Spengler (BMW) finished seventh and sixth. The third title aspirant, Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) ended up fourth and overtook Spengler to claim second place in the drivers’ standings.
After the race, 25-year old Mortara said: “This was the best race of my life, a really tough battle with ’Rocky’. Conditions were incredible: rain, dry, then rain again. When you are driving in such conditions, you can get off the track on every lap.”
For Audi, the race started with a heart-stopping moment: on pole position, Timo Scheider stalled his engine at the start and dropped back to 14th place. Later on, the race was over for the two times’ DTM champion after the bonnet had come off his car. In the course of the race, there were numerous position changes at the front of the field. Rockenfeller led until lap 32, when eventual winner Mortara overtook him,
Brit Jamie Green started the race from sixth place on the grid and experienced 43 very turbulent laps. The 30-year old crossed the finish line in fourth position as the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver. “For me, this race was a topsy-turvy affair. At the start, it was very good, but then, unfortunately, our first stop was too slow. After that, I was stuck and couldn’t overtake. When the rain set in, I was back in the race again. All in all, fourth place is quite a good result,” the 30-year old said.
Behind Audi driver Adrien Tambay from France, Canadian Bruno Spengler finished sixth with his BMW M3 DTM. Having started the race from 18th place, the 29-year old showed a great recovery. “That was a very good race, even though I wasn’t able to show the full potential of the car. I am happy that I could make it to the finish, because it was really difficult out there. Sixth place is the best we could manage,” Spengler said.
For points’ leader Gary Paffett (Mercdes-Benz), the race was an emotional roller-coaster ride. From sixth place on the grid, the Brit even had made it up into the lead. When rain set in again on lap 28, Paffett and BMW driver Martin Tomczyk collided in the battle for fourth place. The wheels of Tomczyk’s car locked up, he couldn’t avoid Paffett and turned the Brit around. Paffett dropped back to twelfth, but with first-class overtaking manoeuvres, he still made it all the way up to finish seventh. Tomczyk parked his car and immediately made his way to the Mercedes-Benz pit wall stand to apologize to head of motorsport Norbert Haug, who accepted the apologies. The two BMW drivers Dirk Werner and Augusto Farfus from Brazil as well as Ralf Schumacher with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé rounded out the top ten.
In the drivers’ standings, Paffett remains in the lead with 109 points from Green with 93 and Spengler with 91 points. After his victory at Zandvoort, Mortara follows in fourth place with 74 points.
In total, 37,000 spectators attended the third DTM race of 2012 outside of Germany. The next round takes place at Oschersleben, September 16th.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of motorsport Audi: “This was an exciting race with a fierce battle between the three Audi teams. It is nice to see that the performance is there. Now, we are there again where we always want to be: capable of winning. Here at Zandvoort, we were strong as an entire team. I am happy for the guys who have been working hard to achieve this success.”
Norbert Haug, head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz: “Gary was on his way to a podium finish until he was turned around, but the damage is limited with seventh place after a great recovery. Paffett and Green in first and second place in the drivers’ standings with three races remaining are a good basis. Today, our speed was very good, but the conditions weren’t.”
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport director: “One can sum up this race under ’maximum damage control’. Bruno and Augusto have done a tremendous job. I feel sorry for Martin. He was doing very well, but he misjudged the grip as the rain set in. It was a racing accident, in which Gary was involved, too. Fortunately, Gary was able to continue. All in all, it was a good race result after a mediocre qualifying.”