Category Archives: General

SUPER GT X DTM

Karthikeyan wins Sunday’s sensational Dream Race at Fuji

  • Ex-F1 racer takes command as drama breaks out behind
  • Former DTM champ Wittmann earns second on birthday
  • Duval reverses fortunes with pole and charging drive to third after puncture

Narain Karthikeyan (Modulo Epson Honda NSX-GT) won the second Dream Race at Fuji Speedway, leading home the field after a breathlessly exciting, incident-strewn, Safety Car-punctuated finale to this weekend’s long-awaited SUPER GT x DTM tie-up.

The Indian driver quickly took control of the race, slipstreaming past pole-sitter Loïc Duval (Audi RS 5 DTM) at the start of the second lap and seeing off a lengthy challenge from the chasing cars of Naoki Yamamoto (RAYBRIG Honda NSX-GT), Koudai Tsukakoshi (KEIHIN Honda NSX-GT) and Daisuke Nakajima (MOTUL MUGEN Honda NSX-GT).

Marco Wittmann, Narain Karthikeyan, Loic Duval, SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race, Sunday, Race 2, Fuji Speedway © SUPER GT

These four cars set the pace at the front until a number of Safety Car periods began to ramp up the pressure, finally causing a series of frantic, multi-car accidents that slimmed down the field and resulted in a nail-biting single-lap charge to the chequered flag.

Safety Cars raise the pressure

The first two Safety Car periods were called in order to clear debris resulting from left-rear punctures to Duval and René Rast (Audi RS 5 DTM) – possibly as a result of running a sub-optimal set-up following a lack of dry running this weekend, according to Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass.

At the second restart, two multiple-car accidents took out several SUPER GT runners, including frontrunners Tsukakoshi and Nakajima. A third Safety Car was then called out to clear the increasing amount of carbon-fibre debris left scattered across the racetrack, and to remove James Rossiter’s CALSONIC IMPUL Nissan GT-R, which had rolled to a halt at the first corner with heavy accident damage.

Modulo Nakajima Racing, Honda NSX-GT, Narain Karthikeyan, winner, finish, SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race, Sunday, Race 2, Fuji Speedway © SUPER GT

If Karthikeyan was able to successfully manage the pace at the front, it grew increasingly unruly behind him: on the very last lap, Duval and Wittmann scrapped mightily for second, switching positions several times. The Frenchman only took runner-up spot on the chase to the finish line – but was then penalised one second for nudging Wittmann a couple of corners earlier. The top three was separated by just 0.935s, with the German earning second place – appropriately enough on his birthday.

Behind the top three, Yamamoto came home fourth from Kamui Kobayashi (BMW M4 DTM), who drove a hugely spirited race to fifth – on his debut weekend in a DTM car.

SUPER GT x DTM

Nick Cassidy wins first-ever SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race

  • Stunning lights-to-flag victory for New Zealander
  • Benoît Tréluyer takes DTM top honours in sixth position
  • Front-row starter Duval fails to make race after install-lap shunt

SUPER GT frontrunner Nick Cassidy took a commanding lights-to-flag victory at Fuji Speedway to win the first-ever Dream Race joint-event between the Japanese GT series and DTM on Saturday.

The KeePer TOM’S Lexus LC500 driver was untroubled from pole position after fellow front-row starter Loïc Duval failed to make the grid after crashing on the installation lap. In the opening laps, the New Zealander quickly established a healthy lead over the chasing cars of Ronnie Quintarelli (MOTUL AUTECH Nissan GT-R) and Naoki Yamamoto (RAYBRIG Honda NSX-GT).

LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOMS, Lexus LC500, Nick Cassidy, SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race, Saturday, Race, Fuji Speedway © SUPER GT

As Cassidy’s lead grew, he was able to recover from a slightly shaky pit-stop where his crew struggled to quickly switch both front wheels. Not even a late-race Safety Car period could halt his progress: despite the novelty of the new-to-SUPER GT Indy Car-style restart, Cassidy held off a late charge from Koudai Tsukakoshi, who finished second in his Keihin Honda NSX-GT, ahead of Yamamoto.

Tréluyer leads DTM contingent

Frenchman Benoît Tréluyer (Audi Sport Japan RS 5 DTM) emerged a slightly surprising victor of the seven-car DTM challenge, finishing sixth after steadily improving across the whole weekend. Behind him, 2019 champion René Rast (Audi Sport RS 5 DTM) finished eighth after spending most of his race embroiled in spirited scraps with a number of drivers, most notably Quintarelli, with whom he enjoyed a ding-dong battle, exchanging position as they fought into the Turn One hairpin.

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport RS 5 DTM) started well from fourth place, but faded during the race, eventually getting pitched into a spin by Tréluyer as the field scrabbled through the tight Dunlop Corner after the restart. The German came home 13th.

BMW Team RBM, BMW M4 DTM, Kamui Kobayashi, SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race, Friday, Free Practice 1, FP1, Fuji Speedway © SUPER GT

BMW’s Kamui Kobayashi was another stand-out performer, enjoying a late-race scrap with Rockenfeller to finish 14th.

Fellow BMW drivers Marco Wittmann and Alex Zanardi both struggled: the German gambled on a first-lap pit-stop, but was later forced to make a second stop, eventually finishing 18th, a lap adrift. Zanardi only narrowly made the race after his crew discovered a technical issue on the installation lap. He was forced into the pits for a lengthy stop during the race, too, eventually rejoining for the closing laps, and finishing eight laps down

FORMULA E

BIRD WINS PORSCHE AND MERCEDES ON THE PODIUM

Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird won the 2019-20 Formula E season-opening Diriyah E-Prix ahead of Porsche’s Andre Lotterer and Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne as FE’s new teams took debut podiums.
Bird used an aggressive attack mode strategy to climb from fifth on the grid to score a ninth career FE win five years to the day since he scored his first category win at the 2014 Putrajaya E-Prix.

Robin Frijns (NLD), Envision Virgin Racing and Sam Bird (GBR), Envision Virgin Racing, 1st position

At the start, polesitter Alexander Sims easily held the lead off the line ahead of Mercedes pair Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, as Bird harried Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara for fourth in the early stages.

Bird took his first attack mode activation on lap nine of what would become a 34 lap race, briefly dropping to P6 behind Jerome d’Ambrosio (Mahindra Racing) before getting back by on the following tour.

The British driver used his time in the 235kW higher power mode to shoot past Mortara on the run to the Turn 18 – the race’s first corner – on lap 11.

After his initial attack mode activation ended, Bird was able to stay with the Mercedes pair ahead as they in turn chased Sims.

On lap 20, Bird took his second attack mode activation – staying ahead of Lotterer, who had risen to fourth from seventh on the grid and was also in his second attack mode activation.

After catching back up to the top three, Bird used his power advantage over de Vries to take third on lap 22 at Turn 18, the right-hand corner at the end of the main straight that easily featured the most action.

Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), Mercedes Benz EQ Formula, 3rd position

But it was on the following lap that the defining moment of the race occurred as Bird caught up to the back of Vandoorne, who then launched his own move on long-time leader Sims at Turn 18 that resulted in a slight touch, which sent them both deep.

Vandoorne was able to get ahead and take the lead, while Bird nipped past Sims to take P2.

Two tours later Sims took his second attack mode and dropped behind Lotterer, who had moved past de Vries when the newly crowned Formula 2 champion moved to take his final activation.

F1Weekly podcast # 810

THE HOST ADMITS DEFEAT AND WILL LISTEN TO NASIR CONTINUE HIS PRAISE OF THE F1 2019 SEASON AND OF COURSE THIS WILL CONTINUE FOR YEARS TO COME!
BIG MOTORSPORTS NEWS OF THE WEEK…

CITROEN QUITS WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT…The French firm has a storied history in the WRC, winning nine consecutive drivers’ championships with Sebastien Loeb between 2004 and 2014, and eight manufacturers’ titles during that period. But it has struggled to compete with Toyota and Hyundai in recent years, finishing third in this year’s makes’ points. Ogier, who has won six drivers’ titles with Volkswagen and M-Sport Ford, was third in the drivers’ standings.

Ogier, who started his works career with Citroën in 2009, had returned to the firm this season on a two-year deal, but his unhappiness with the competitiveness of his C3 WRC became clear during the year. He is widely expected to switch to the title-winning Toyota squad for 2020. Finn Esapekka Lappi also drove for the team this year.

In a statement, Citroën Racing said that “following the decision of Sebastien Ogier to leave Citroën Racing after 2019 WRC season, Citroën decided to withdraw from its WRC programme in 2020 due to the absence of a first-class driver available for 2020 season.”

With sister firm DS a frontrunner in Formula E and Peugeot gearing up to return to the World Endurance Championship with a hybrid supercar in 2022, Citroën had been expected to leave the WRC in the coming years – but it is still a surprise for the firm to leave so quickly.

Citroën boss Linda Jackson said: “Our decision to withdraw from WRC programme as early as end of 2019 follows on Sébastien Ogier’s choice to leave Citroën Racing. We obviously have not wished this situation but we could not imagine 2020 season without Sébastien.

“I would like to thank Citroën Racing team for their passion and commitment. A part of Citroën’s DNA is intimately linked with the rally and we are proud to be one of the most titled brands in WRC History with 102 victories and eight manufacturer titles.”

Play Podcast: 11-19-19f1weekly810.mp3

FORMULA 1

MAX WINS CRAZY BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX

Verstappen secured the win on Sunday at the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix. After being robbed of the win at last year’s race in Brazil, Verstappen drove brilliantly to finish first after starting on pole and managing to hold back Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton.

In second place and on the podium for the first time of his career was Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly who made the most of Hamilton’s impact with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon in the final laps. The Thai driver took a wide line into turn ten, just ahead of Hamilton who went for the gap and came into contact with the right rear wheel of Albon’s car.

Gasly pulled ahead of both drivers and crossed the finish line approximately six seconds behind Verstappen. Hamilton recovered to claim third but stewards later handed him a five-second penalty that dropped him to seventh place. Albon dropped back to 15th and could only finish in 14th place.

Hamilton’s loss was McLaren driver Carlos Sainz’s gain, with the Spaniard moving up from his fourth-place finish to claim the third and final podium spot. Like Gasly, it was also the first time Sainz enjoyed a podium finish.

Both Gasly and Sainz were also helped by a collision between Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. At lap 66, following a safety car period to deal with Valtteri Bottas’ retired Mercedes, Verstappen led the race and was followed by Vettel, Albon and Leclerc. By turn one, Albon managed to pass Vettel who tucked in behind the Thai. At the same time, Leclerc closed right up to Vettel and passed him for fourth place, also at turn one.

Vettel got a better exit in the second part of the Senna Esses and chased after Leclerc, trying to take the place back. However, it resulted in the two men colliding on the straight and it spelt the end of the race for both of them.

With the two Ferrari men out, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was able to finish fourth followed by his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in fifth.

Charles Leclerc #16
“It’s a real pity to end the weekend like this. I am sorry for the whole team, especially because today we were fast and we were looking good to bring home some decent points.
It had actually been an exciting race for me. Starting from the midfield, I enjoyed fighting my way forward and was satisfied with the way things were progressing.
We will move on from this in any case and continue to work together in the best way. Now it’s time for us to focus on Abu Dhabi to end our season in the best possible way.”

FORMULA 3

MACAO ROOKIE VERSCHOOR TAKES SENSATIONAL VICTORY

Macao rookie Richard Verschoor upset the form book by holding off pre-race favourite Jüri Vips to secure a sensational victory in the Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup.

The race got off to a dramatic start, front-row starter Robert Shwartzman out of the running before getting to Lisboa Bend on the opening lap. The Russian’s undoing was light contact with Christian Lundgaard on the way into Mandarin, the resulting front-right puncture ending his day on the spot.

That left polesitter Vips out front, as Verschoor snuck up the inside of Lundgaard into Lisboa to snatch second place.

Vips found the best part of two seconds over Verschoor on the opening lap alone, but his early advantage disappeared when Ferdinand Habsburg crashed on his way out of the Solitude Esses on the third lap, bringing out the Safety Car.

The Lap 8 restart proved to be bad news for Vips. The Estonian was powerless to stop Verschoor from getting a run through the first two corners, his Dutch rival sweeping into the lead at Lisboa Bend.

Hopes of a quick fightback were dashed when Sophia Floersch rolled to a stop on the way into Mandarin, the recovery requiring a short Virtual Safety Car intervention.

When the race went green and DRS was enabled Vips piled pressure on the leader, even getting next to Verschoor into Lisboa on Lap 11. But he couldn’t find a way past, Verschoor holding on to become the first Dutch driver to win the Macau Grand Prix.

“To be honest I can’t really believe it just yet,” he said. “It was such a hectic race and I was under a lot of pressure. I think we had really good pace, but to be honest Jüri was a bit too fast for me. I didn’t expect to be able to keep him behind. I saw he tried to do one big move and then I had a big gap, but he still closed the gap. I thought for those last two laps he’d be able to fight me. So I made sure I had a good sector three and sector four so I could have a big enough gap to not get overtaken.”

Vips, meanwhile, was left devastated by missing out on victory after a near-flawless weekend. “I’m just disappointed,” he said. “I feel like it was a perfect weekend, minus the Safety Car restart. I don’t really know what happened there, I think I picked up something on my tyres. I don’t know if it was debris from the crash. But that’s how Richard got close to me and passed me. Then I ruined my tyres by taking a risk. In the end I had big flat spots, I don’t know how I managed to keep Richard under pressure in the middle sector because my tyres were finished.”

Logan Sargeant made it two Macao rookies on the podium, the Carlin driver sealing a fine third thanks to a fast start from sixth on the grid, followed by a Lap 9 move at Lisboa Bend on Lundgaard.

“I had a decent-enough start,” said the American. “I got a good run through Mandarin and I think I picked up a couple of positions. And then it was just picking them off one by one and trying to catch the leaders. The VSC was a bit of a shame. I felt like after that I really lost the confidence in the grip I had in the tyres. But I’m happy, we’ll be back next year to try and win.”

Lundgaard came home fourth ahead of Alessio Lorandi and Callum Ilott, as Liam Lawson capped off a brilliant day for MP Motorsport with a charge from 20th on the grid to seventh.

Fellow Kiwi Marcus Armstrong was another hard charger, turning a 17th grid slot into eighth, as David Beckmann and Frederik Vesti rounded out the top 10.