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HISTORIC ONE-TWO FOR HANSEN BROTHERS IN BARCELONA

Barcelona, 28 April 2019 – Team Hansen MJP recorded a sensational FIA World Rallycross Championship result, with Timmy Hansen winning every single qualifying session, his semi-final and the final, while championship leader Kevin Hansen made it a Hansen family 1-2 in the final for a unprecedented result in FIA World Rallycross history.

Timmy Hansen claimed his first 2019 WRX victory – the sixth of his career – with younger brother and Abu Dhabi winner Kevin Hansen finishing second. The Hansen name topped every session from the start of qualifying as they dominated in Barcelona. The incredible performances from Timmy and Kevin are reflected in the championship standings, with Team Hansen MJP leading the 2019 WRX Team Standings by 18 points, while Kevin remains on top of the 2019 WRX Driver Standings and Timmy climbs to third with his victory.

After a devastating first round in Abu Dhabi for Timmy, which required a complete rebuild of his Peugeot 208 WRX after a collision with Andreas Bakkerud, he proved himself as the driver to beat from the start of Q1 in Barcelona. Timmy won the opening qualifying session and every one after that, seizing a maximum allocation of qualifying points, while Kevin emerged second after the qualifying heats with impressive and consistent speed.

Their qualifying performances meant that the brothers were seeded separately for the semi-finals, as Timmy and Kevin lined up for semi-final 1 and semi-final 2 respectively. Both drivers took dominant victories in their semi-finals, with healthy leads of 2.148s and 2.525s for Timmy and Kevin respectively.

Timmy produced a faultless performance in the final to claim an untroubled victory, taking his mandatory joker visit on the last lap. Rounding off the Hansen one-two finish, Kevin put on a brilliant display of driving while employing some fine race craft to hold off his rivals. Kevin took his joker while running second on the fifth lap, passing Niclas Gronholm afterwards to take third with one lap remaining. On the final lap, Andreas Bakkerud took his joker, handing Kevin the opportunity to close in and pounce, claiming second in the closing stages of a nail-biting final.

WORLD RX OF CATALUNYA-BARCELONA RESULTS

1st -Timmy Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  1nd
Qualifying 2   –  1th
Qualifying 3   –  1st
Qualifying 4   –  1st
Semi-Final   –  1st
Final   –  1st

2st – Kevin Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  2nd
Qualifying 2   –  2th
Qualifying 3   –  5st
Qualifying 4   –  4st
Semi-Final   –  1st
Final   –  2st

TALKING POINTS

Timmy bounced back from a disappointing Abu Dhabi to deliver a dominant and unbeatable weekend in Barcelona, becoming the third driver in WRX history to deliver a clean sweep.

The Hansen name will go down in history as the first siblings to claim a one-two finish on an FIA World Rallycross Championship event.

Timmy and Kevin also ensured that the Hansen name joins an elite club of families to have scored a sibling one-two in an FIA World Championship event: the other two are Michael and Ralf Schumacher in Formula 1, as well as Colin and Alister McRae in the European Rally Championship.

An enormous effort to simply be on the WRX grid at all this year has blossomed into incredible success, with Hansen leading both the drivers’ and teams’ championships after Barcelona.

The big number

100

The percentage of points available from a single FIA World Rallycross Championship event that Team Hansen MJP scored at Barcelona this weekend.

TIMMY HANSEN

“I think this has been the best weekend of my career so far. We got off to the best possible start on Saturday, winning the qualifying heats, and then we won the semi-final too. For the final I lined up against Kevin, and we played a good team game as we agreed that we would give each other plenty of room. The final was perfect as well, and when I saw in my mirror that Kevin was behind me to finish second, that was a really special moment as well. I was actually feeling very emotional: this was the perfect revenge after everything that happened in Abu Dhabi. Now I’m just going to enjoy the moment and head to Spa with even more confidence.”

KEVIN HANSEN

“We had a really good Q1 and Q2; then I had to get my elbows out a bit more in Q3 and Q4, but I really enjoyed it. I got the fastest lap of the weekend too, which made me really happy, as the ultimate pace compared to Timmy is perhaps the area where I’ve been lacking before, but now we’re getting there. Timmy did an amazing job this weekend; he really deserved to win. I wouldn’t say that he was completely uncatchable as there were times that I was close to him, but we drive each other on, which is perfect as it’s all about the team. Now I’ve extended my championship lead but this is not something that I’ve been thinking about much: we’re only on round two out of 10 so there’s a really long way to go.”

KENNETH HANSEN

« I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of success in my career as a driver, winning many races and championships, but actually I think this feeling right now is even better. I can’t actually believe that it’s happened, so it’s going to take a while to sink in. There’s no way that we could have done better – so the expectation is even higher now, as the very best we could do from now on is equal what we have achieved now. And I think that will be very difficult to do, but of course we will try.

« I feel so happy and most of all so proud, both of what we have created with the Hansen MJP team but also as a dad. It’s hard to describe what it’s like seeing your boys finishing first and second, fighting so hard but so fairly. They think of the team first and they’re great friends. I think Timmy had something extra this weekend, while Kevin had to fight a bit harder, but they learn from each other all the time and that’s the biggest strength of our family team. »

NEXT ROUND: WORLD RX OF BELGIUM

Round three of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will be held at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which makes its WRX debut in 2019. Belgium has a long history in rallycross, with Spa replacing the Mettet round. Already a host to some of the greatest races in the world, Spa will be a new experience for all teams and drivers arriving at the atmospheric Belgian venue. Eau Rouge, perhaps the most famous corner in the world, is set to have a starring role in the Spa World RX of Benelux: will anybody dare to take it flat?

DS TECHEETAH TAKE THE LEAD IN THE TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

With André Lotterer securing both pole position and second place in today’s Rome E-Prix, DS TECHEETAH has taken the lead in the team championship, leaving the team in a strong position for DS Automobiles home race in Paris on 27 April 2019.

An action-packed E-Prix in the Italian capitol saw André not only qualify on pole but doing it all over again in the super pole, to start an impressive P1. Team-mate, Jean-Éric Vergne, had an issue with one of his front suspension of his car which saw the Frenchman start in P16.

A nail-biting race saw André battling on track with Mitch Evans, who eventually used the Attack Mode to clinch the win.

André Lotterer, P2: “Mixed feelings today. I’ve got my first pole position in the bag and good points, but I really wanted to win and I think I had the car for it. So, we need to look at what happened as I started to struggle with the tyres a bit in the middle of the race so I couldn’t keep Mitch behind me. It was a clean fight in the end and it was good to see that we had an energy management race today. We’re in a good position so hopefully I can get my first win soon, I’m keener than ever for it now and I think it will be a good second part of the season.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, P14: “It was a tough day for me today. I had a good race starting 16th after a bad qualifying where we had a little technical issue. It was a good recovery and I managed to secure the fastest lap, but then I got a penalty which put me out of the points. I should have been leading the championship after today, but we have plenty of races to go and we still had a very good race with André who finished second with strong points for the team. So, all in all it’s not too bad, but we just need to have two cars finishing on the podium in Paris. That would be great!”

Mark Preston, DS TECHEETAH Team Principal: “Stellar drive from André today. The win was so incredibly close today and André really deserved the win. We’ve got an incredibly good car, so the rest of the season should be a good one. Jean-Éric was unfortunate to have a technical issue in qualifying which put him at the back of the grid and compromised his race start. He did a great job to climb all the way up to P7 before his penalty.

“So far we’ve had seven races with seven different teams and winners on the top step of the podium. If that doesn’t showcase the incredible competitiveness of this championship, I don’t know what does. It’s an incredible championship.”

Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director: “André Lotterer had an exceptional day today. His amazing qualifying lap and second place in the race, showed his true fighting spirit and highlighted the cars excellent performance. His duel with Mitch Evans was gripping and exciting until the final lap. This great result and the hard team work has put DS TECHEETAH in the lead of the Teams’ championship heading into the Paris E-Prix, the home race of DS Automobiles, the only French manufacturer in the championship.”

KEVIN HANSEN TAKES UNFORGETTABLE MAIDEN WORLD RX WIN IN ABU DHABI

Abu Dhabi, 06 April 2019 – Team Hansen MJP experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in Abu Dhabi during an emotional opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Kevin Hansen scored his first ever WRX victory in spectacular style, with victory in qualifying and his semi-final in addition to his final win, while Timmy Hansen’s weekend was cruelly curtailed early on by an enormous shunt which destroyed his car’s rollcage.

Both Timmy and Kevin had started the World RX of Abu Dhabi in brilliant fashion, finishing 1-2 in Q1. Timmy took the top spot once again in Q2 but his weekend ended shortly afterwards, being on the receiving end of a heavy shunt with Andreas Bakkerud. Crossing the start/finish line to begin the final lap, Timmy had just rejoined the track from taking his joker lap and was hit side-on by Bakkerud, who was disqualified for his part in the collision. A heroic effort from Timmy meant he nursed the car to seventh place in Q3 but rollcage damage to his Peugeot 208 WRX was too extensive to compete in Q4 or the semi-finals.

The whole team was understandably shaken by Timmy’s huge accident but regrouped around Kevin, who showed incredible resilience to press on and win both Q3 and Q4. With Timmy looking on from the spotters’ position in the Abu Dhabi grandstands, Kevin then scored a semi-final victory put him on pole for the final.

Kevin led most of the final, until being spun out at the hairpin by Niclas Grönholm in the latter half of the fourth lap. Grönholm was then given a three second penalty post-race for pushing and overtaking, restoring the lead which Kevin had held for much of the final to seal his first ever WRX win, and provide Team Hansen MJP a happy ending for a rollercoaster first weekend as a privateer team.

WORLD RX OF ABU DHABI RESULTS

DNF – Timmy Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  1st
Qualifying 2   –  1st
Qualifying 3   –  7th
Qualifying 4
Semi-Final
Final

1st – Kevin Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  2nd
Qualifying 2   –  6th
Qualifying 3   –  1st
Qualifying 4   –  1st
Semi-Final   –  1st
Final   –  1st

TALKING POINTS

Having come into the opening round with so many question marks as to the relative pace, Team Hansen now knows that it can run in the front, having won all the sessions it participated in: a promising start to the season!

The brand-new Abu Dhabi track proved to be an excellent rallycross venue, with plenty of exhilarating drama captivating the fans.

The competitive order around Team Hansen has shifted somewhat: GRX Taneco was Hansen’s closest rival in Abu Dhabi, scoring one point more for the teams’ championship in part due to Timmy’s absence from Q4 and the subsequent finals.

The big number

30

The number of points Kevin Hansen scored at Abu Dhabi by winning the Final, his Semi Final and also being Top Qualifier, the maximum possible from a single FIA World RX round.

TIMMY HANSEN

“I’d describe today as an extremely abrupt end to what had been a perfect weekend. I was fastest in Q1, fastest in Q2 and for what it’s worth I think I would have been fastest in Q3. But then everyone saw what happened: Bakkerud thought it was the last lap, so he went flat out after the joker and basically drove into my driver’s door. It was a massive impact and the roll cage was pushed in towards my left leg, but I am OK, just a bit of bruising. It makes you realise how tough these cars are. Then, once I was out, Kevin saved my day. I was supporting him from the spotters’ tower: cheering him on and helping as much as I could. I’m incredibly proud of him, so a day of very mixed emotions. Mostly, I’m just really happy for him.”

KEVIN HANSEN

“I think this was the craziest weekend of my career…so many emotions! Straight away we could see that we had good pace and that we were in the fight; then we had Timmy’s crash, which was a big low, then I had to focus on the semi-final and final, where we finished second. I was leading with a good margin over Niclas until the corner where he passed me: I felt a hit at the rear and I nearly spun. Straight away I thought it should be a penalty, but when it is with the stewards you never know how it will work out…and then after about an hour, I found out I had won; my first win! Of course you never want to win in the stewards’ room but in the end it wasn’t about that: it was all about the pace that we had right from the start of the weekend, which is a great sign for the future. Now we come away with 30 points, which is the best way to start the season.”

THE BOSS – KENNETH HANSEN

To come here and achieve what we did, as a private team again with so many question marks before the start of the season, is an amazing achievement and I’m so proud of everyone in the team. Now we know that we’re on the pace, which we could see from the very first session. But then I think nobody could have predicted what happened next, with the big crash for Timmy and then such a dramatic final for Kevin. In the end, he completely deserves this victory and I’m so happy for him. The damage to Timmy’s car was very bad, but now that we’ve had a chance to look at it, it’s definitely fixable, so we should see him out in the same car for Barcelona. Abu Dhabi certainly provided us with a start to the season that we’ll always remember!

NEXT ROUND: 
WORLD RX OF CATALUNYA

Round Two of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will be held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which had previously been the season opener for the past two years. It’s a circuit that Kevin Hansen knows particularly well, securing the FIA European Rallycross Championship title here in 2016 with a round victory. Elder brother Timmy is definitely no slouch around here either, with two podium finishes in WRX to his name. Can he make it three this year? We’ll find out in three weeks time, as the WRX world tour rolls on to Barcelona in just three weeks time, kicking off on April 27.

MotoGP World Championship – Aragon Grand Prix

Morbidelli consolidates his leadership

With a fine eleventh place in Aragon, Franco Morbidelli consolidated his status as leader in the “Rookie of the Year” rankings. The good performances by Alex Marquez and Joan Mir in Moto2 moved them together into the top six.

The Races

Despite a penalty imposed during the practice test sessions that forced him to start from the back of the grid, Franco Morbidelli performed creditably on the Motorland circuit of Aragon. Fourteenth by the fifth lap and waiting in ambush behind Bradley Smith and Takaaki Nakagami, the Italian soon attacked to take eleventh place. A position he kept until the finish. His teammate, Thomas Lüthi, for many laps believed he was going to score his first points of the season. Unfortunately, the degradation of his rear tyre at the end of the race did not allow him to do better than seventeenth. In Moto2, Alex Marquez fought it out with Brad Binder before loosing pace in the last kilometres. “I attacked too early in the race: on this circuit, when you use the slipstream of your opponents, you can save your tyres,” said the former Moto3 world champion. “That was the problem. I am still happy I gave everything during I had the race even if I missed the podium at the finish.” Fourth under the checkered flag, Marquez finished two places ahead of his teammate, Joan Mir, who paid his modest fifteenth place on the starting grid in the race.

The Championship

Now with thirty-one points in his pocket, on the eve of the tour of the four overseas races of October Franco Morbidelli is 16th in the MotoGP championship and heads the “Rookie of the Year” ranking. In Moto2, Alex Marquez has dropped back to fifth place in the Championship, just ahead of Joan Mir. Two tiny points separate the two riders of Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.

The Background

A MotoGP team today means around twenty people. Among them are the “tyremen”, responsible, as their name suggests, for tyre management. At Marc VDS, their names are Nacho Lorenzana and Martin Zabala. To begin with, their tasks include the regular maintenance of the rims that must not cover more than 2000 km in the races. Checking, cleaning, tightening brake discs and pressure sensors … Every day, both of drive their rack to the Michelin tent where the tyres that their team has chosen for the day are mounted. Two hours before the motorcycles take the track, the “tyreman” starts to warm the wheels under electric blankets. Slick tyres are heated to ninety degrees, rain tyres to forty-five degrees. Then, throughout the day, the tyre pressure is controlled by the sensors placed on the rims. A pressure that must constantly be fine-tuned according to the temperature of the track, but also the weather conditions, the wind, the air temperature, and so on.

Sebastien Loeb scores another podium for Peugeot at RX Latvia

The 9th round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Latvia was extremely closely-fought: to the extent that the winning margin in one of the Qualifying races (Q1) was just 0.009 seconds – or 23 centimetres on track! In the end, it was another podium for Team PEUGEOT Total, with Sebastien Loeb taking 3rd position, his 3rd straight podium finish in Riga and 6th of the season so far. On top of that, all 3 PEUGEOT 208 WRX lined up together in the Final: a great achievement for PEUGEOT in only its 1st year in this complex discipline. Even if the Final race didn’t entirely go to plan for Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen, who finished 5th and 6th respectively, it was still a strong team showing, with a useful points haul. Loeb was the second-best points-scorer of the weekend, while Team PEUGEOT Total scored more points (45) than any other team in Riga. PEUGEOT Sport remains in line with its target of challenging for wins, and there is still plenty to hope for from the next adventure in the USA, in just 10 days.

QUOTE/UNQUOTE

 

Bruno Famin, PEUGEOT SPORT Director
“Despite a Saturday that was quite tricky for us, with a few incidents in the Quali 2 session, we were able to fight back on Sunday, with 2 strong performances in Quali 3 and Quali 4 this morning, which led to an extremely strong Semi-final: I will admit that we were quite proud of this achievement. The Final was less good, which characterises what was quite a mixed weekend for us in the end, with some positives and some negatives. On the positive side, we have seen once again that the speed of the car is very good, allowing Sebastien to claim his 6th podium from 9 events. On the other hand, it’s clear that we still have some work to do, as we expected in our very 1st year with a full factory programme on the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The launch off the line is still one of our weakest points. We will be applying ourselves to that task, diligently and humbly, over the coming weeks and months. Again, I send all my thanks to all the people involved in this project, who are working relentlessly behind the scenes.”

Sebastien Loeb, PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo #9 – 2nd in Riga
“The weekend went quite well: we made a good start right from Q1, then we struggled a bit more in Q2, hitting a barrier, which cost us some time. Q3 and Q4 today were especially good: I think we have a solid pace but the problem we have is that the 3 manufacturers here have nearly the same speed, so it’s very hard to make a difference on the track, and at the moment we’re not consistent enough at the race starts. Quite often I lose a place by the 1st corner, and that’s actually what happened in the Final today. But I’m happy to be back on the podium, of course! We just need to find a little bit more to be challenging for the victory and that’s going to be our objective between now and the end of the season. There aren’t any miracles in this sport, but you just have to work hard to understand how to improve. It’s definitely only a question of time, for the whole team.”

Timmy Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo #21 – 5th in Riga
“I’m happy with the result of this weekend overall and I think 5th is a fair reflection of what I deserved. My start wasn’t perfect in the Final and I was probably missing a bit to be challenging at the very top, but overall the speed was very, very good and we’ve seen some good progress; especially when we ended up with 3 PEUGEOTs in the Final. If we carry on working in this way, I think we can definitely achieve our goals. My highlight of the weekend was Qualifying 3: it’s a race that we won, where we were able to run in clean air and maximise all our opportunities away from traffic. I really enjoyed myself driving the PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo. Now I will fly to the USA, where I will participate in the Nitro Games organised by Travis Pastrana prior to the next WRX race. So it’s only fun ahead!”

Kevin Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71 – 6th in Riga
“I’m actually more than happy: I’m really delighted. I got through to the Final, for the 4th time this year, and I raced well all weekend. What makes me particularly pleased was the way that we reacted to the setbacks we experienced on Saturday. It was looking really tough but with the help of the team, we dug deep and were able to fight back: it’s really an extraordinary group of people here who never give up. From my perspective, I feel that I’m learning more all the time with this car and that we’re continuing the learning curve that we embarked on. I’m eager to make more progress now!”

NEXT ROUND (#10/12): USA – September 29th & 30th
​The FIA World Rallycross Championship resumes in a fortnight, from 29-30 September, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. This venue is also home to the United States Grand Prix, but the rallycross track is a brand new purpose-built facility in the stadium area between turns 12 and 15, located in a natural amphitheatre so that fans can see the entire layout from any seat. The event also promises a festival-type atmosphere, with music and other entertainments scheduled as well as all the WRX action on track.

MotoGP World Championship – San Marino Grand Prix

Morbidelli overtakes Syarhin

By finishing twelfth in the San Marino Grand Prix, Franco Morbidelli has overtaken Hafizh Syahrin in the “Rookie of the Year” standings.

The Races

In great shape during the practice test sessions, ninth after four laps of the race, Franco Morbidelli got off to a great start in his national Grand Prix: the rider lives a few kilometres from the Misano circuit. Fighting it out with Bautista and Iannone, the reigning Moto2 world champion unfortunately suffered when his tires began to deteriorate. “As the laps went by I started having problems and had to slow down because I could not brake properly,” he said. “I also lost too much time when I accelerated.” Twelfth under the checkered flag, the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider was finally satisfied with having scored some valuable points on his home ground. For Tom Lüthi, the thirteenth race of the season turned into an ordeal. Unable to find the right settings during the practice test sessions, the Swiss rider had to settle for twenty-second place. “I had trouble finishing the race, I couldn’t attack,” he regretted after the race. In Moto2, Joan Mir was fifth. “I finished the race well after struggling to find my pace during the first part of this Grand Prix,” said the reigning Moto3 World Champion. “We’ll have to find out what went wrong to do better during the next race in Aragon.” Hit by an opponent shortly after the start, Álex Márquez managed to make a great comeback from 32nd to 18th place.

The Championship

In scoring four points in Misano, Morbidelli has climbed back to sixteenth place in the MotoGP Championship and now leads Hafizh Syahrin in the “Rookie of the Year” standings. In Moto2, Álex Márquez has dropped to sixth place overall, just behind teammate Joan Mir, who took advantage of his new top five to move up the standings and get closer to Lorenzo Baldassari.

The Background

Next year, the team Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS will no longer race in the MotoGP category. So its team owner has decided. “We began in the Moto2 class from its inception in 2010,” recalls Marc van der Straten. “We expanded our team in that class and won many victories over the seasons, going as far as to win the title of world champion in 2014 with Rabat, then in 2017 with Franco Morbidelli. Whether with Tito, Franco, Álex, or later with Scott Redding and Mika Kallio, we have won more than thirty races and scored more than 80 Moto2 podium finishes. We have become the reference team of the Grand Prix intermediate class. In 2015, we decided to move into MotoGP as well, but the results have so far never been what we were hoping for. The choice to run in the premier-class category was never really mine, and that’s why I have decided that next year the Marc VDS team will return to what it was at its origins, a family team designed to serve as a springboard for talented young riders.” In parallel to that program, the Marc VDS team will also be involved in the five new MotoE World Cup events.

MotoGP World Championship – Austrian motorcycle Grand Prix

Another top ten for Mir

For the seventh time since the start of the season, Joan Mir finished the race in the top ten. Eighth in Austria, the Moto3 world champion is now only three points behind Lorenzo Baldassari.

The Races

In difficulty during the practice test sessions and only twentieth on the Moto2 grid, Joan Mir had a great start and overtook a dozen other contenders in the first lap of the race. “We improved the behaviour of the bike in the warm-up but I still missed one or two tenths each lap,” said the young “rookie” who won the Moto3 race on the Spielberg circuit last year. Despite the lack of grip on the rear wheel, Mir managed to climb back to eighth place. In the fight for the podium with Luca Marini, Alex Marquez fell in the last corner of the last lap … “I was ready to accept a fourth place when I lost control of the front wheel”, regretted the Spaniard at the end of the Austrian motorcycle Grand Prix. In MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli finished 19th while Tom Lüthi took the chequered flag in twenty-second place, almost one minute behind winner Jorge Lorenzo.

The Championship

Still third overall in the Moto2 category, Álex Márquez is now seventy-three points behind Miguel Oliveira and seventy-six points behind the leader, Francesco Bagnaia. After finishing sixth, Joan Mir is now only three points behind Lorenzo Baldassari. In MotoGP, no change for Franco Morbidelli, still seventeenth overall and second in the ranking of “rookies” two points behind Syahrin. Nothing new for Lüthi who still has not managed to open his points counter.

The Background

Whether in MotoGP or Moto2, the riders of Team Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS suffered more than the others from the poor weather conditions in which the free practice sessions of the Austrian Grand Prix took place. With a lot of rain and few dry laps, Morbidelli and Lüthi in MotoGP, and Mir in Moto2, had a hard time adjusting their bikes before the race. “We made progress during the warm-up but it was not enough,” regretted the current Moto3 world champion at the finish. For Morbidelli, in addition to a tune-up that could have been better, the wrong tyres were chosen, once again due to the lack of riding on a dry track. “We did not have enough time to evaluate all the possible choices and our lack of experience cost us dearly,” said the Moto2 world champion. “I set out with a soft tyre on the rear wheel, and from the start I had less grip than the riders who were in the same group as me. The grip continued to deteriorate right to the finish, and I quickly realized that I had made the wrong choice.”

The SRC in the top five

Forced to retire from the Bol d’Or last September, the Kawasaki SRC team clinched a fifth-place finish at Le Mans after a heroic come-back.

 

Everything had started well for the team of Gilles Stafler … On the eve of the start, Randy de Puniet was letting guns do the talking by signing the fastest time of the free practice sessions. The former Grand Prix rider demonstrated that the Kawasaki ZX-RR # 11 on the Sarthe track could still be counted on.

Right from the first handover, De Puniet concretized the ambitions of the SRC team by fighting it out for the lead of the race with Kenny Foray, rider of the BMW No. 48. Both equipped with Pirelli tyres, the two machines put on a show in front of the 76,000 spectators around the Bugatti circuit. And then came the time for the first refuelling. Randy de Puniet left the handlebars to Mathieu Gines who, unfortunately, was to fall on his first lap. By the time they got back to the pits and make the necessary repairs, Randy de Puniet had to resume the race in forty-sixth position, far from the GMT 94 which had just taken control of the race.

Driven by their courage more than anything else, the riders of the Kawasaki No. 11 made a comeback as the laps sped by until a radiator problem once again plunged them into the depths of the overall classification.

Despite this second blow, Randy de Puniet, Jeremy Guarnoni and Mathieu Gines whipped their machine into shape during the two clocked laps to return to the top five. For their perseverance the Kawasaki SRC team won the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy which rewards fighting and sporting spirit. Fifth at ten laps from the winner, the FCC TSR Honda France team, the Kawasaki SRC team also scored its first points in the 2017/2018 World Endurance Championship at Le Mans.

Which means Gilles Stafler’s team is eleventh overall with twenty-seven points. The next event is in Slovakia on May 12 and 13.

Podium for Bird in Punta del Este to maintain title bid

Press Release – Punta del Este, 17th March 2018

Sam Bird secures third place during thrilling Punta del Este E-Prix Best ever result for fellow British team-mate Alex Lynn with sixth DS Virgin Racing move to third in both drivers’ and teams’ standings as series reaches halfway point.

 

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird made up seven places to secure his 16th career podium during today’s thrilling Formula E race in Punta del Este, with team-mate Alex Lynn producing his best ever finish with sixth. The result by the two British drivers moves the team into third position in the manufacturer standings – with Bird also third in the drivers’ championship – as the all-electric series reaches its halfway stage.

 

In beautiful, sunny conditions, the Uruguayan beach resort played host to the third and final race in the championship’s Latin American leg, with both Bird and Lynn showing strong pace from the off and never running outside the top 10 during the morning’s practice sessions.

 

Their strong pace continued into qualifying where Lynn yet again made it into the Superpole (top five) shootout and would go on to start the race third, with Bird a little further back in 9th.

 

As the 37-lap race got underway, Lynn held onto third place with Bird already moving up the field to lie seventh in the early stages. After a brief safety car period, both drivers looked racy heading towards the pit stop window on lap 20.

 

However, running with less energy, Lynn had a slower in-lap combined with a tricky pit stop to allow team-mate Bird, and others, to get the jump on him with the two re-joining the race in fourth and fifth. This allowed Bird to start to pull away and chase after the leading duo of Lucas di Grassi and Jean-Eric Vergne, whilst Lynn has working hard to keep a pressing Felix Rosenqvist and Mitch Evans at bay. In the closing stages, Lynn was forced to settle for sixth, whilst Bird had now joined the battle for the lead pressing both leaders hard, but sadly ran out of laps before he could mount his challenge.

 

Sam Bird, who dedicated his podium to the late journalist Henry Hope-Frost, said :  « We were slightly fortunate with drivers around us having issues, but the pace was good today and we really wanted to fight for the lead at the end; but it wasn’t to be. Overall, it was a strong race for us and nice to get another podium, as well as a great result for the team and also to help keep our title bid going.»

Alex Lynn  said:  «For sure today has been a positive race for us and I’m really pleased to come away with sixth and my strongest result to date. The pace was good as we were once again in Superpole, but things didn’t quite go our way during the race, but it’s still a great result for me and the team.»

Team Principal, Alex Lynn commented:  «We’ve previously not had the results at this track so it’s even better to come away with such a strong finish and I’m delighted for both Sam and Alex. Formula E has such a competitive field so to be in third position in both the drivers’ and the teams’ championship at the halfway point is really a testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team.»

DS Performance Director, Xavier Mestelan Pinon added:  «We’ve scored big points here in Punta del Este, allowing us to recover third place in the team standings. We’ve just crossed the halfway mark of season four and being third in both championships offers us great opportunities moving forward for the second half of the season.»

The series now heads to Europe with the next round of the 2017/2018 ABB FIA Formula E Championship taking place for the first time in Rome, Italy on April 14.

Points finish for Lynn in Mexico City

Press Release – Mexico City, 3rd March 2018

DS Virgin Racing continue to show strong pace in Mexican capital. Bird continues title bid, remaining third in driver championship.

 

DS Virgin Racing’s Alex Lynn finishes in the points at the Mexico City E-Prix, in front of roaring crowds at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

The British driver showed strong pace in the opening practice sessions and despite a crash in FP2, was able to qualify in second position, with team mate Sam Bird qualifying in ninth as a result of a suspension issue.

Due to previous gear box changes both DS Virgin Racing drivers incurred ten place grid penalties for the Mexico City E-Prix, and after penalties were applied across the field, lined up on the grid in P10 and P19 respectively.

Bird pitted a lap earlier than the rest of the field and following a good car change was able to move up several positions. Unfortunately, a later incident with Prost saw the Brit fall down the rankings as he then continued to push on and battle hard around the 17-turn circuit.

Meanwhile, Lynn maintained consistent pace throughout whilst fighting against those around him. Following a good pit stop Lynn returned to the track in ninth position and continued to push hard. Opting for a different strategy to Bird, Lynn was able to push harder at the end of the race, allowing him to finish in the points.


Lynn
said : “Today was really positive, the team has showed we were fast through both free practice sessions and then making it into the Superpole shoot-out and qualifying in second. Unfortunately, due to a grid penalty, we started the race in tenth but managed to retain the place despite a frantic race. The performance we’ve shown today is positive and we’re confident moving forward to Punta Del Este.”


Bird
said : “It was a tough day at the office, we knew it was going to be difficult from the start of the weekend with the grid penalty, but we showed strong pace in both practice sessions. Going into the race, we knew we had to try something different with our strategy today, sadly this didn’t quite pay off but it’s positive that I still remain third in the driver standings. I’m looking forward to be racing again in Punta Del Este in a few weeks time.”


Team Principal Alex Tai commented : “We came into this weekend knowing we had difficult circumstances, but from the start of the weekend we showed we had the pace to challenge at the top. We were strong in all sessions prior to the race, with Alex making it into Superpole and qualifying second and Sam making it into the top ten. Whilst it is disappointing to only come away with one point this weekend, the team showed how competitive we are amongst fierce opposition. We look forward to showing our true potential in a few weeks when we race in Punta Del Este.”


DS Performance Director, Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “The assessment of the weekend is disappointing, with only one point scored. Starting with ten place grid penalties for both cars, our chances of being able to position high on the grid were slim. However, we remain positive as we remain third in the driver championship and are close to the top three in the team standings. The team will now focus on the next race in Punta Del Este, in two weeks, where we hope to be competitive once again.”