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Motorsports Mondial

Photo: dtmmedia

Mortara on top in Austria – maiden DTM race win

Spielberg. Picture-postcard weather, a thrilling race with numerous overtaking manoeuvres and two premieres on the winners’ podium: in front of 48,500 spectators, the DTM enjoyed a successful race weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. With the first DTM race win of the year for Audi, Italian Edoardo Mortara became the overjoyed winner of the fourth season round. After a faultless race with great duels, the 25-year old made his dream come true and, after 203.322 kilometres, crossed the finish line as the winner for the first time in the DTM. “This is a great day for myself and for Audi. Pole position yesterday and victory today. It is almost unbelievable. I have already had some nice moments in motorsport, but this one is very special”, said the best DTM rookie of the year 2011 after his success in the longest DTM race in history to date.

Only one second later, Martin Tomczyk crossed the finish line. With his BMW M3 DTM, the reigning DTM champion started from fourth place on the grid, made his way up to finish second and scored 18 points in the battle for the title. After the race, the 30-year old said: “The timing of the second stop was perfect. I re-joined the field right behind the race leader. Today is a great day for the DTM. All three brands in the top three and a highly exciting race.”

British Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett completed the podium. The points’ leader started from second place, battled for the lead and still had to let Tomczyk past after the latter’s pit stop. Paffett said: “We came to Spielberg to score as many points as possible for the championship. Finishing on the podium is great, even though, of course, I would rather have won. Fortunately, I was still able to extend my points’ lead.”

In the drivers’ standings, Paffett is now leading with 83 points from Mattias Ekström from Sweden (Audi), who finished fourth in Styria and now has 47 points to his tally. Brit Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) with 44 points and BMW driver Bruno Spengler from Canada with 43 points are also within striking distance. Green finished the race in fifth place, Spengler had to park his car and retire on lap 33.

With his Audi A5 DTM, Timo Scheider had a topsy-turvy race. Having started 16th, the 33-year old was able to make up positions, but lost ground again after tangling with BMW driver Augusto Farfus. Scheider battled and finished sixth after 47 laps. His fellow Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Filipe Albuquerque as well as Joey Hand and Augusto Farfus (both BMW) rounded out the top ten. The next round takes place at the Norisring in Nuremberg, July 1st.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of motorsport Audi: “Winning such a thrilling race is a particular joy. This was first-class promotion for the DTM, for the Red Bull Ring and for Audi. Here, our A5 DTM was the benchmark. We were on top in every practice session and Edo did a perfect job turning his maiden pole position into his first-ever race win. He had to work hard for this success, which was very important for all of us. The entire crew has been working in the last couple of weeks to be back on top again in the DTM.”

Jens Marquardt, BMW motorsport director: “A big compliment to Audi for their performance of today, but also to the great fans on the stands. Martin Tomczyk has shown a great performance, his crew an ideal strategy. Today, we had overtaking manoevres on the track and in the pit lane: everything that a great race needs. I reckon that this was one of the best DTM races of the last couple of years.”

Norbert Haug, head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz: “What we have seen today was a DTM gala. The stands were packed, the race was incredibly exciting. The battle for the lead was just fantastic. When two people quarrel, a third is often rejoicing. A duel costs time, so that Martin Tomczyk could benefit. Victory was within reach, but Gary was able to extend his points’ lead. Competition in the DTM is immensely close. Five of the first six-placed drivers did lap times of 1:27.00 minutes.”

F1Weekly podcast # 566

Photo: Renaultsport

F1weekly podcast number 566 special weekend interview

A conversation with Robin Frijns

Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Champion Robin Frijns will join Fortec for the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 campaign.

The Dutchman will be paired alongside Carlos Huertas to complete Fortec’s driver line up.

The 20-year-old tested with the team, who were second in the Team’s Championship in 2011, at Motorland in November.

Frijns enjoyed a fantastic 2011 with Josef Kaufmann Racing, taking five wins en route to the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup title and demonstrated excellent consistency by finishing inside the top five at every race.

He comfortably secured the title with a round to spare, winning the championship ahead of highly rated Carlos Sainz Jr. by 45 points.

That title came a year after he victorious in Formula BMW Europe, which also came with Josef Kaufmann Racing.

Fortec’s Formula Renault 3.5 Team Manager Jamie Dye said: “Robin has always been one to watch – his consistency throughout the 2011 season was phenomenal and he’s proven himself to be the complete package.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have him with us for 2012 and he has shown that he thoroughly deserves a place in the Formula Renault 3.5 series.

“We’re very much looking forward to working with Robin this year and we’re confident that both he and Carlos will be strong contenders next season.”

Renault Sport Sporting Manager Emmanuel Esnault also expressed his pleasure that Robin is moving up to Formula Renault 3.5 with Fortec.

He said: “We are all happy to see Robin joining Fortec Motorsport for his maiden season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and are proud to observe that the prize money of €500.000 offered to the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Winner is allowing him to make concrete the step forward in our unique stairway to F1. “We wish him all the best.”


F1Weekly podcast # 563

Photo: gp2media

F1weekly podcast number 563 Australian GP discussion

Byfieldt Bypass. Today’s edition of Byfieldt Bypass will see some nose scratching by our mate in Australia, Lucien Byfieldt.

This week’s interview is with Javier Garcia Vicente. One of the original listeners of F1Weekly since the beginning. Javier is from Viva Espana and currently residing in Holland. The music featured on the show today is his own composition. Please enjoy this conversation which was recorded minutes after the finish of the Australian GP last weekend.

On the GP2 Front:

Davide Valsecchi bags Sepang pole

DAMS ace quickest in closely fought qualifying session in Malaysia

Davide Valsecchi set the quickest laptime early in today’s qualifying session with a 1:45.494 on his third lap and was never bettered although his rivals came mighty close with the top five drivers finishing within the same tenth of a second. Luiz Razia and Max Chilton completed the top three.

The first qualifying of the 2012 season kicked off with Esteban Gutiérrez taking to the track first and setting the early pace, but his laptime was improved by one hundredth by Johnny Cecotto. Valsecchi claimed P1 and provisional pole in the first third of the session dipping under 1m46. His teammate Felipe Nasr moved up to P2, but only temporarily as a flying Fabio Leimer clocked a laptime good enough to edge out the Brazilian and close in on Valsecchi, a mere 0.09s slower than the Italian.

A yellow flag was given after Rodolfo Gonzalez went a bit too wide and when the track cleared, Chilton was free to push hard and slipped into P2, 0.06s away from Valsecchi’s best time. As most of the drivers re-entered the pits for some fresh rubbers, Stefano Coletti took advantage of a clear track to move up to P3.

The final ten minutes saw an intense battle for pole and it was Razia who was fastest in Sectors 2 and 3 and shot to P2 a shy 0.6s behind Valsecchi. The Italian, Razia, Chilton, Coletti and Leimer finished within the same tenth whilst the top nineteen drivers were covered by 0.9s. James Calado, Jolyon Palmer, Giedo van der Garde, Fabio Onidi and Nasr rounded up the top ten.


Motorsports Mondial

Photo: 80sChiyuld

LRGP confirms names for Abu Dhabi young driver test

Lotus Renault has today announced its three drivers for the Abu Dhabi young driver test, which takes place later this month.

The rookie days will take place from Tuesday 15th – Thursday 17th November at the Yas Marina Circuit, which will also be scene of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix a few days before.

Stepping into the R31 during the three-day test will be Robert Wickens, Canadian (Tuesday), Kevin Korjus, Estonian (Wednesday) and Jan Charouz, Czech (Thursday).

Robert Wickens, a Formula Renault 3.5 champion, is recognised as the brightest Canadian driving talent to emerge for two decades, and is well on the path to becoming a Formula 1 star. In 2009 he finished in second place in the FIA Formula Two Championship, and in 2010 he was runner-up in the GP3 Series. In his return to Formula Renault 3.5, where he competed in 2008, he won the 2011 season championship with Carlin Motorsport.

Kevin Korjus is the current World Series by Renault driver. The Estonian 18 year old was the 2010 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion. This year, Kevin became the youngest driver to win a race in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

Jan Charouz, one of LRGP’s third drivers, is also entrusted with the R31. The Czech motor racing driver won the 2009 Le Mans Series season and 2006 F3000 International Masters season, as well as taking fourth place in the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans. Since 2010, Jan is LRGP’s reserve driver and also competed in the World Series by Renault Formula Renault 3.5 Championship and Auto GP.

Eric Boullier, Lotus Renault GP Team Principal & MD: “The young driver test in Abu Dhabi in is a great opportunity for us to cast our eyes over potential future stars of the sport. With a plethora of young hopefuls out there, we hope to spot very strong contenders for future F1 seats. As the season draws to a close, this three day test will pit the wits of the three drivers against this challenging circuit. We look forward to seeing how they get on.”

Robert Wickens: “I’m really excited – I think it’s every kid’s dream to drive a Formula 1 car. I can’t wait to drive the Lotus Renault on Tuesday; I have been waiting a long time. Obviously I’m confident having won the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship; that was a big achievement for me and it just proves to myself I’m capable of doing something like this. I feel like I’m ready for Formula 1 and I think driving the car in Abu Dhabi will be kind of a true test. All year, my goal in World Series was to win the Championship and to get this drive, so hopefully I can make the most of the opportunity and put in some competitive lap times.”

Kevin Korjus: “It’s the most exciting moment of my life and now, as it’s only a few days left, I’m really looking forward to it. I will be driving on the Wednesday and I’m very much looking forward to this event. It will be such a huge experience for me. I was in Enstone last week to ensure my seat and meet all the guys, and I also learned a little bit about the steering wheel because there are so many patterns – it was a lot to take in. I also talked with the engineers about what we are going to do in Abu Dhabi. It will be my first ever time in a F1 car and my first time in the emirate. Everything is new for me and it’s extremely exciting to learn about it. I’m ready to get in the car.”

Jan Charouz: “I’m very excited to go to Abu Dhabi; it is a great opportunity to get some mileage in the R31 this year. I have been doing some driving but nothing in this year’s car yet, so I’m very excited to do that and also to work with the race team.”

Motorsports Mondial



Turkish Delight in Karting

Kaan Önder is a 14-year karting talent from Istanbul. He finished seventh in the 2011 Rotax Euro Challenge and is now aiming to clinch the championship next year. With backing from BMW’s Turkish importer, Borusan Otomotiv, Önder is on his way to becoming a successful WTCC driver.

F1Weekly would like to thank Kaan Önder for taking the time to answer our        questions. We wish him continued success.

Q. What got you interested in motorsports?

A. I started to get interested in motorsports back in 2006 when I went to the Turkish F1 Grand Prix at Istanbul Park. I was very impressed by the atmosphere of the meeting and I really enjoyed watching the race. After that weekend I decided to go to a small indoor kart track and I absolutely loved it. Since then my passion for motorsports has been getting bigger and bigger.

Q. How old were you at the time of your first kart race, and what was your impression?

A. I was 9 years old when I started driving professional karts and I really enjoyed the action and adrenaline of racing. From the first moment I got into a kart I knew that motorsports was the sport for me.

Q. Apart from Istanbul, what are other major karting centers in Turkey?

A. Sadly, currently there aren’t any karting tracks in Turkey which comply with international rules. This is one of the biggest problems Turkish motorsports face because karting is like the kindergarten of motorsports, and without good karting centers young kids can’t start karting which then makes it almost impossible to have successful Turkish drivers. 

Q. In 2008, at the ripe old age of 11, you were Turkish ICA Junior Champion. Please tell us about this championship; how many races and how many entries?

A. 2008 was an important year for me because we knew that there was a lack of competition, race tracks and amount of drivers in Turkey so at the beginning of the year my dad and I decided that I had to start racing outside of Turkey to improve myself. After this decision my dad contacted a British and European championship winning team Protrain Racing and I started to race with them in the UK. I decided to race in the UK because I knew that the level of competition level there was very high and I instantly started improving by racing there. At the same time I continued racing in Turkey and I won the Turkish ICA Junior championship. There were 7 races in the championship and I managed to win 5 of them. Winning the championship was very important for me because this was my first title and was a milestone for my racing career.

Q. In 2009, you won the Turkish KF3 Championship. Was this more challenging to win in terms of depth of competition compared to ICA Junior?

A. In 2009, we started using new generation 125cc KF engines so I started racing in the KF3 championship. I managed to win the Turkish championship again and I added another important title to my CV. I also started racing in the CIK event SEEKZ (South East European Karting Championship) KF3 championship and I managed to finish 3rd overall which was another very important result because the competition in this international championship was a lot tougher than the Turkish Championship. I also continued racing in the UK with Protrain Racing and I continued improving myself. 

Q. The 2010 season saw third championship for you in as many years, this time in the South East European KF3. What was your impression of international competition as compared to local Turkish scene?

A. At the beginning of 2010 after winning the Turkish Championship two years in a row we decided to stop racing in Turkey and only concentrate on international events. I kept on racing in the South East European Championship and I managed to win it after finishing every race on the podium. This was a really important step for me because it was a tough championship with many good drivers and because it was my first international title.

At the same time I started racing in one of the world’s toughest and most prestigious championships, the Rotax Euro Challenge. This championship is the European Championship and it has over 260 of the best drivers all over the world. Racing in this championship really helped me learn a lot and made me improve. I also continued racing in the UK which taught me a lot.

Q. Is there any financial sponsorship available to young talented Turkish kids from Turkish Motorsports Federation or Petrol Ofisi?

A. Currently there isn’t any support or financial sponsorship from the Turkish Motorsports Federation or Petrol Ofisi. Actually, back in 2007 Petrol Ofisi was organizing a special championship for young Turkish kids and this championship was how I started karting. They were also sponsoring the Turkish F1 Grand Prix and they had a GP2 team but since 2008 they have completely stopped supporting motorsports which is a great shame.

Even though there are very few supporters of Turkish motorsports, I have a very important sponsor “Borusan Otomotiv Motorsports”. Borusan Otomotiv is the official BMW importer of Turkey and their motorsports team is a touring car team which races in WTCC, ETCC and TPS (Turkish Touring Car Championship). They are the biggest motorsports team in Turkey and they have had a lot of success in the past couple of years.

They have been supporting and sponsoring me since the beginning of this year as their official karting driver. Having such a big team sponsoring me is a very important and exciting thing for me but it also requires a lot of responsibility and hard work.

Q. Who is guiding and managing your career?

A. Until the beginning of this year my dad had been managing my career and he had been doing a great job. But since the beginning of 2011 my sponsor Borusan Otomotiv Motorsports has been managing and guiding my career which is a very big positive for me since they are very knowledgeable.

Q. Do you have any racing heroes? 

A. My racing heroes are Ayrton Senna, Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx. I look up to them because they are all great drivers and also great characters.

Q. Karting started from California. Have you ever raced in the United States?

A. I haven’t raced in the United States but I would love to race there in the future. I know that there are very prestigious championships organized there and I know a lot of very good drivers from there too.

Q. You have five impressive years in karting so far. What is your plan for single-seater racing?

A. I haven’t really decided about what I’m going to do when I move up from karting. I am planning to do a touring car test with my team before the end of this year. I want to become a touring car driver more than an F1 driver because I think that touring car championships such as WTCC (World Touring Car Championship) are much more competitive than F1.

I guess having a touring car team as my sponsor is one of the reasons why I prefer touring cars but I also think that the importance of the driver is much more important in touring cars than F1. I hope that I can win WTCC in the future. 

Q. Please tell us about Kaan Önder, your interest in music, food and what other sports you enjoy watching apart from motorsports?

A. I really enjoy playing guitar. I play all sorts of music from metal to blues. I like to listen to music too because I think that listening to different types of music has a big impression on my guitar playing.

My favorite food is a Turkish dish called durum which is a kind of meat wrap. Other than motorsports I enjoy watching snooker and cycling. I also enjoy windsurfing in the summer. 

For more information please visit www.kaanonder.com


— Nasir Hameed 

Motorsports Mondial

Photo : gp2media

Vietoris wins as Grosjean seals the 2011 GP2 Series title

Racing Engineering driver sails to Spa win. Dams driver crowned Champion

It’s a beautiful day in Spa for Christian Vietoris and Romain Grosjean: the German racer drove flawlessly in tricky conditions to take his first win of the season while the Frenchman clinched the seventh GP2 SeriesTM title after he finished third in today’s feature race. Jules Bianchi finished second.

The track was dry at the start of the race today in Spa, and Vietoris got away perfectly from pole position. The German then kept the lead, building a two second gap between him and his closest rival Bianchi who had passed Luca Filippi at the start. Further down, Grosjean made a blazing start from seventh to take third place. With the news of title rival Giedo van der Garde being pushed off track at Turn 1 and him rejoining last, Grosjean’s road to glory looked wide open from then on.

The weather forecast announced some rain to come and the teams chose to stay out on track as long as possible until the heavens opened. On lap 13, as the first raindrops fell from the sky, some of the drivers from the back of the field re-entered the pits to switch to wet weather tyres, and a lap later, everyone else pitted as well. The Top ten rejoined the track in the same order, and it was then that the safety car came out after Julian Leal spun and stopped at the top of Eau Rouge.

More drama happened a few seconds later when Stefano Coletti collided with a very slow Mikhail Aleshin. The safety car stayed on track in order for the Trident racer to receive medical attention. When the track was finally clear, eight laps had passed and the safety car came in for the final lap. Vietoris made a clean re-start and kept the lead from Bianchi and Grosjean.

The fight for eighth place however was intense with Johnny Cecotto Jr putting huge pressure on Fairuz Fauzy and eventually passed him. But the Ocean Racing driver slowed down unexpectedly in the last corner which handed Fauzy back tomorrow’s reverse pole position.

And so, at the chequered flag, Vietoris pocketed his first win of the season ahead of Bianchi, but all eyes were turned on the Dams driver. Romain Grosjean becomes GP2 SeriesTM seventh Champion after Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Timo Glock, Giorgio Pantano, Nico Hülkenberg and Pastor Maldonado.