World Rallyx

WORLD RX PREPARES FOR PORTUGUESE SEASON-OPENER

The opening round of the all-new FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy will kick off in Portugal this weekend (3-4 May) with more than 50 of the world’s best rallycross drivers set to battle it out across the Supercar, Super1600 and TouringCar categories and in the supporting RX Lites Cup.  The line-up will also include two former World Champions as former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and former WRC Champion Petter Solberg join the Supercar line-up.

World RX – which is promoted by IMG, the global sport, fashion and media company – is the FIA’s newest World Championship and in 2014, the race action will be broadcast in more than 100 countries with a combined household reach of 816 million homes. The Championship is made up of 12 rounds: Portugal, Great Britain, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Argentina.
 

Round 1, World RX of Portugal, will be based in Montalegre: a municipality in northern Portugal, located in the district of Vila Real on the border with Spain.  The draw for Saturday’s first qualifying heat will be made on Friday afternoon (2 May).  The second qualifying heat also takes place on Saturday with the remainder of the heats plus the semi-finals and finals to take place on Sunday (4 May).

There will be six World RX two-car teams present in Portugal including the manufacturer-backed squads of Ford-OlsbergsMSE (Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss), VW-Marklund (Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund) and Peugeot-Hansen (Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen).  Also in Portugal and fighting for Supercar victory will be PSRX’s Petter Solberg with team-mate Alex Hvaal.

“There are a lot of very good drivers in RX this year – it’s going to be tough but I will fight – I promise you!” explained Petter Solberg who will pilot a Citroen DS3 Supercar. “Last year we had some problems with the car but now we have good experience of the circuits and we will come back even stronger. I want to win the title.  I’ll be flat out from the start!”

Monster Energy World RX Team’s Liam Doran and Poland’s Krzysztof Skorupski will also be present in Portugal with their Citroen DS3 Supercars, with the addition of Albatec Racing’s Jacques Villeneuve and Andy Scott.  Villeneuve spoke positively ahead of his World RX debut: “Rallycross is both fast and exciting. The power in the cars is unbelievable, they’re like rockets but driving is what I know – it’s what keeps me alive.  The extra elements that make up rallycross are what I need to learn this year – the strategy, the close driving, the tyres – that’s what’s new for me.”

Other notable entrants in Portugal include top female driver Ramona Karlsson who will be driving a Per Eklund Motorsport run Saab 93.  Belgian driver Jos Jansen will also be competing, as well as Poland’s Bohdan Ludwiczak and Frenchman Alexandre Theuil. Two-time European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill will also join the Supercar line-up in his Citroen DS3 Supercar and flying the flag for Portugal will be local favourite Joaquim Santos in a Ford Focus.

Martin Anayi – Managing Director for World RX at IMG Motorsport – added: “All the ingredients are now in place to make World RX the must-watch motorsport series in 2014. In Portugal, we’ve got a star-studded line-up of drivers who will also be joined by some great local drivers, which is fantastic for the home fans. It’s very positive to have so many entries at our first World RX event, and of course this will be the first ever time that we see the RX Lites in action too. The circuit is nestled in the mountains of Montalegre and creates a stunning backdrop for what is expected to be a fast and furious weekend of racing ahead.  Over the past few months, a lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes and now we can’t wait to get the season up and running.”

INDYCAR SERIES

HUNTER-REAY REPEATS AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Sunday, April 27, 2014) – The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Green Flag waved 2 hours, 30 minutes late, but for Ryan Hunter-Reay it was well worth the wait.

Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL car, led Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti across the finish line under caution to win at Barber Motorsports Park for the second-straight season. A severe thunderstorm forced the race into a delayed start with a 100-minute time limit.

“I’ve been anxious (to compete) since we left Long Beach,” said Hunter-Reay, who started from the pole in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13 but was involved in a multi-car incident on Lap 56 of 80 that dropped him to the rear of the field. “With the rain and the wet conditions on how we started out there, it was tough. Then we went to the Firestone reds, and man – on a wet surface that was just really tough to keep the car on track. Once we got out front though, we started checking out and it was a dream to drive the DHL car.

“(Long Beach) should have been a great result, but we got it today.”

It was the 12th IndyCar victory for Hunter-Reay, who moved 18 points behind championship leader Will Power heading into the inaugural May 10 Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the reconfigured road course. Hunter-Reay capitalized on a Lap 16 mistake by Power, the pole sitter, whose No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car slid off the wet road course in Turn 5. Power, also a two-time winner at Barber, quickly recovered but was 4.0830 seconds behind at the completion of the lap.

Marco Andretti, who started ninth in the No. 25 Snapple car, went almost the entire distance without radio communication with his pit lane crew. He overtook Power for second on the Lap 34 restart and held off repeated challenges by reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.

Dixon, the runner-up in each of the previous four races finished third ahead of Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Power and Pagenaud are the only two drivers with top five finishes in every race.

HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA POST-RACE QUOTES:

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Owner, Andretti Autosport): “I’m really proud of this whole team. Marco (Andretti) did a hell of a job. He drove his way to the front there and Ryan (Hunter-Reay drove a perfect race. Feels good after the last one for sure.” (On Hunter-Reay strategy): “It just played out that way. We were lucky that Will (Power) made that mistake, and that gave up the top position. That was really important. Just the way everything fell with the rain and how it dried out. It came to us. It was a great day.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “I’ve been anxious (to compete) since we left Long Beach. What a dream to have a car like that at that distance. Great to get the No. 28 DHL car with a Honda at a Honda (sponsored) race into Victory Circle. (Long Beach) should have been a great result, but we got it today.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda): “It was fun. If you look at the onboard, the start was incredible. Very treacherous and very difficult to see. We had a little moment with Montoya at the start and dropped to 13th. The SPHM team did a great job and the car was fast and the Honda power was great. The car was really good all race and I was able to go forward. It’s a good start of the season for us.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Verizon Chevrolet was really fast on the wet tires and I just got in trouble in turn 5. I keep moving my braking point further and further into the corners and I got caught going too far. It’s tough to not push past the limits with wet patches everywhere. We really didn’t have the pace in the dry anyway, but that sure didn’t help our cause when I went off course. We may have just been a bit heavy on downforce. Still a fifth-place finish today and we have the points lead going into the month of May.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing): “I had another fast car and another disappointing result.  Once again, I feel bad for the KVSH Racing guys.  They did a great job.  I want to thank my sponsors, especially Hyrdoxycut for their support this weekend. We just have to move on and try and win the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.”

Formula Renault 3.5

CARLOS SAINZ JR WINS AT HOME

Carlos Sainz Jr (DAMS) becomes the first Spanish driver to win in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at the Motorland Aragón circuit. After taking the pole, the member of the Red Bull Junior Team went on for a green to chequers victory ahead of Nikolay Martsenko (Comtec Racing), followed by Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), the top rookie finisher on the day. The Spaniard now sits alone atop the general classification.

During Saturday morning qualifying, Carlos Sainz Jr took his third consecutive pole. The Spaniard posted best time of the session in 1:40.418. Oliver Rowland shared the front row, while Nikolay Martsenko, Roberto Merhi (Zeta Corse) and Zoël Amberg (AVF) completed the top five.

The Comtec Racing driver put in an excellent start, which allowed him to threaten Carlos Sainz Jr at the first corner, but the Spaniard held on to the lead. Zoël Amberg moved up to third place ahead of Oliver Rowland, Marlon Stöckinger (Lotus) and Roberto Merhi. In contrast, Matias Laine (Strakka Racing) had to return to the pits to change the front wing, while William Buller (Arden Motorsport) and Oliver Webb (Pons Racing) retired.

In stringing together one fastest lap after another, Carlos Sainz Jr pulled away from the field. Back in the chase group, Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus), 13th in qualifying, passed several cars, including those of Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) and Sergey Sirotkin (Fortec Motorsports) to move into seventh place. On lap 13, Oliver Rowland got past Zoël Amberg. Marlon Stöckinger made the most of the situation to get around the Swiss driver.

Carlos Sainz Jr went on for the win with a more than 14-second margin of victory from Nikolay Martsenko. Top rookie, Oliver Rowland made his first trip to the podium in the category ahead of Marlon Stöckinger. Zoël Amberg held on for fifth place ahead Roberto Merhi and Matthieu Vaxiviere. Sergey Sirotkin, Pierre Gasly and Pietro Fantin complete the top ten.

Quotes

Carlos Sainz Jr: ”It is an incredible feeling to win at home, with all my compatriots who support me. It is a huge achievement. After a delicate start, where I honestly thought I would lose a few spots, I didn’t expect the gap to increase so quickly, in as much as qualifying was very close!”

Nikolay Martsenko: ”My good start was probably due to the fact that I was the only car at the front of the grid that had a high-downforce configuration. I managed to overtake Oliver before having a good battle with Carlos at the first corner. Then, he pulled away, so I made the most of it to assure this first podium finish.”

Oliver Rowland: ”My start was a little difficult, in as much as I had already messed up at Monza. The race pace was good, but it is so hard to overtake on this track. We now need to work to improve and do better tomorrow.”

Provisional General Classification* : 1. C. Sainz Jr – 50 points, 2. N. Martsenko – 36, 3. M. Stöckinger – 30, 4. R. Merhi – 28, 5. P. Gasly – 27, …
*Subject to confirmation of the results following the technical and sporting verifications

Formula Renault 3.5

HOME POLE FOR CARLOS SAINZ JR AT MOTORLAND ARAGÓN

Joint points leader Carlos Sainz Jr (DAMS) scored his third straight pole of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series season at Motorland Aragon on Saturday, the Red Bull Junior Team member securing top spot on the grid from Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) and Nikolay Martsenko (Comtec Racing).

The session began with Jazeman Jaafar (ISR) setting the pace and then Marco Sorensen (Tech 1 Racing), Oliver Webb (Pons Racing), Zoel Amberg (AVF) and Nikolay Martsenko all going quicker. By the midway point, however, Carlos Sainz Jr and Oliver Rowland were trading fastest times.

After bolting on new tyres, Jazeman Jaafar once again went clear of the field, only for Carlos Sainz Jr to outpace everyone at the session’s end with a time of 1:40.418. Joining him on the front rows will be Oliver Rowland, Nikolay Martsenko, Roberto Merhi (Zeta Corse) and Zoel Amberg.

Saturday’s FR 3.5 Series race starts at 14:30.

Carlos Sainz Jr: “There’s honestly no secret to it. I just had to be confident on each lap and make the most of the conditions to find those vital thousandths. You don’t get any points for being on pole, though, and it’s up to us to back it all up in the race.”

Formula 1

ALEXANDER ROSSI WILL DRIVE FP1 IN MONTREAL AND AUSTIN 

Leafield Technical Centre, UK – Friday 25th April 2014

Caterham F1 Team has confirmed that Alexander Rossi, Caterham F1 Team Reserve Driver and Caterham Racing GP2 race driver, will drive in two FP1 sessions this season at the Canadian and US Grands Prix in Montreal and Austin respectively.

Rossi has been flying the US flag as one of Caterham F1 Team’s Reserve Drivers since 2012 in addition to his role as one of the team’s primary simulator drivers. He has completed multiple FP1 sessions and test days for the team since 2011 and Montreal and Austin will mark his first tastes of 2014 machinery on track, building on the extensive mileage he has already accumulated in the team’s state-of-the-art simulator at its Leafield, UK base. This is the continuation of Rossi’s development towards a F1 full time race seat and reflects the ongoing commitment that Caterham have to see him reach his ultimate goal.

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Caterham F1 Team: “Alexander will be continuing his development with two more FP1 sessions for us in Canada and the USA. While his focus this year is firmly on GP2 we are pleased to give him more opportunities to play an active role in the F1 team’s race weekends and to have him help us develop our car at two races that are very important for us, both in terms of our season overall and with the strong support we have commercially in the North American continent.”

Alexander Rossi: “Each time I step into F1 machinery there is an important job to do. Montreal and Austin are important races for me and I want to thank Caterham for the opportunity to continue my development to a full time race seat in F1. My GP2 program combined with my F1 team Reserve Driver duties give me invaluable insight and experience for my future. I’ve built up a lot of hours in the F1 simulator already this year, but Montreal will be my first visit behind the wheel of the CT05 on track. I look forward to a positive runplan for both the Canadian and USA sessions.”

WORLD RALLYX

 

EKS IS LATEST TEAM TO JOIN WORLD RX

EKS is the latest team to pledge support to the all-new FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy after the Swedish squad confirmed it will compete in 2014 with the brand-new Audi S1.

The team – which will be made up of two-time DTM driver Mattias Ekstrom and reigning Junior World Rally Championship winner Pontus Tidemand – will contest selected rounds in World RX.

Speaking about the news at the official World RX media day in Italy, Ekstrom explained: “This year our plans are to complete as much research and development of the car that we can for the future. Our goal is of course to build the best car. I grew up in the rallycross paddock because of my father and I’m very excited about driving a Supercar this year and to witness the sport growing as a World Championship.”

Pontus Tidemand added: “It feels really good to be with EKS, a team with a real ambition to win. There is a lot of experience in the team and it’s made up of members who love to compete – I can’t wait for the year ahead!”

Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director at IMG Motorsport, concluded: “It’s a great honour to have Mattias at our official press day at Franciacorta, and of course we are delighted that Pontus has also confirmed he will also join us in 2014. With the addition of Mattias and Pontus, we now have the most diverse set of drivers in any motorsport championship in the world.  We’ve got champions from F1, WRC, Formula Drift, X Games, BTCC and now we have DTM and Junior World Rally champions to add into the mix.  It will be interesting to see how the Audi S1 Supercar fares on the grid too; now all the elements are in place for an unforgettable inaugural season.”

In mid-May, EKS will reveal more details about the team’s race calendar, its partners and some of its guest drivers.  “Behind the wheel of the second car we will put a number of interesting wildcard entries,” concluded Ekstrom with a smile.