Rally of Argentina

One-two finish for Citroën Total!

Combined result of the Citroën DS3 with Kris Meeke winner in front of Mads Østberg. The French team goes second in the constructors’ standings.

First

Leaders from the second stage of a ruthless rally, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle sign their first victory in the world rally championship.

Second

Second place Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson allow them to point respectively to the second place of the drivers and co-drivers championships. The team is second at the manufacturers ranking.

Twenty-nine

Citroën Total displays now ninety-four wins and twenty-nine one-two finishes, records in the WRC history.

Seventy-four

Kris Meeke is the seventy-fourth British driver to win a world championship event after Roger Clarke, Richard Burns and Colin McRae.

Kris Meeke

“Once we had crossed the line, I was overcome with emotions. It’ll take time for it to really sink in. It was a really difficult race but the DS 3 WRC is a solid and reliable car.”

Next round

Rally de Portugal (21-24 May)

 

The Le Mans 24 hours

Second Place for Starters

After clocking up the best practice time and being favourites to win, the SRC Kawasaki team had to settle for second place in the first event of the season after a fall early in the race.

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This year, Gilles Stafler’s team will be racing in all the events of the Endurance World Championship, i.e. all four events instead of the two French 24-hour classics raced by the SRC Kawasaki team up to now. “We started talking about this possibility last August,” said the manager of the French team. “Kawasaki’s project was all the more appealing in that the factory had not raced in all of the world championship events for twenty years. It took a little time to get things together because we needed to be given the budget, but everything has now fallen into place. I’ve kept the team we had last year with Matthieu Lagrive, Grégory Leblanc and Fabien Foret. All three riders are very similar in terms of performance, they form a homogeneous team with which of course we will be aiming for the title. And we have the means of achieving that ambition with a safe and reliable bike.” For the opening event of the championship on the Le Mans circuit, the Kawasaki SRC looked set to win after clocking up the fastest trial times and completing the first hour of the race in the lead with Matthieu Lagrive. Unfortunately, Fabien Foret’s fall at the start of his first stint ruined the team’s ambitions. “We ended up in the bottom of the standings eight laps behind the leaders,” says Gilles Stafler. “From that point onwards, we had to think about the championship and climb back up as high as possible in the pack to score a maximum number of points.” By bringing the ZX-10R back to second place, the riders did their job. The next meeting is in Japan in July for the Suzuka Eight Hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Prix of Argentina

First Top Ten for Redding

By finishing ninth in the Grand Prix of Argentina, Scott Redding made it to the top ten for the first time this MotoGP season. Rabat was less successful in Moto2 and had to settle for twelfth place.

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The Races

After qualifying in eleventh place, Redding struggled to get into the rhythm of the race because of a lack of grip on his Honda. The rider of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS also lost time when Yonny Hernandez’s Ducati caught fire in front of him. He nonetheless finished the race in ninth position, making it to his first podium of the season. In Moto2, Rabat was unlucky once again. After starting in the lead of the first line, the defending world champion went off the track on the first lap after a firefight with Johann Zarco. After restarting in last place, Rabat managed to climb back to finish twelfth. Marquez meanwhile scored points for the third time in a row by finishing fifth.

The Championship

With his top ten, Redding is now the thirteenth in the MotoGP standings, level on points with Dani Pedrosa in twelfth position. In Moto2, despite the four points he scored in Argentina, Rabat has lost a place and is now in eleventh position. Marquez stays seventeenth.

The Background

Everybody knew the Grand Prix of Argentina would be a question of tyres. For its second appearance at the MotoGP calendar, the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit posed a difficult challenge once again for the teams, the riders and Bridgestone, the official supplier of the championship. “The circuit is a complicated one because there are a lot of very fast curves and the coating is particularly abrasive,” observed a manager of the Japanese manufacturer during the free practice sessions. “The grip changes with each session, and that’s why this year we made an extra-hard rear tyre. During the previous Grand Prix, several riders struggled to finish the race.” Following Bridgestone’s advice, Scott Redding took the start with the extra-hard tyre. It allowed the Honda rider to finish the race in ninth position and stand up to the Suzuki of Maverick Viñales. “Perhaps I ought to have opted for a hard tyre like Marquez and Crutchlow, who both rode much faster than me,” admitted Redding at the finish. “I had fairly regular lap times, but was never really able to attack because I lacked grip on the front and rear wheel.”

Race of the Netherlands

Rea on a cloud

Six wins in four events for Jonathan Rea. The Kawasaki rider has got off to a flying start to the season and now has a fifty-point lead in the overall standings. Kenan Sofuoglu also won in the Supersport category, consolidating his leading position.

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The Races

Once again, Jonathan Rea gave no quarter during the fourth event of the Superbike World championship in the Netherlands. After clocking up the second fastest time in the free practice sessions, the Brit rider laid down the rules in both races, taking a wide lead at the end of the race to prevent any one of his opponents from catching him up. “I’m really happy about this weekend because everyone was expecting me here,” said the Kawasaki rider. “Everyone knows Assen is my favourite circuit and the pressure was on after my good start to the season with the ZX-10R. I kept a cool head in order to make all the difference in the final kilometres.” In pole position on the starting grid, Tom Sykes fought it out with the front runners before losing speed in the final laps of the two races. “We’ve made progress, but we still lack a little something to keep up the pace throughout the race,” said the Brit. “The encouraging thing is that we know where we’re going.” In Supersport Kenan Sofuoglu scored his second win in a row after a firefight with Jules Cluzel. The Kawasaki rider got the better of the Frenchman in the last chicane. Marc Faccani finished eighth.

The Championship

Confirmed championship leader when he arrived in the Netherlands, Jonathan Rea left Assen with the equivalent of a two-win lead over Leon Haslam. Tom Sykes keeps his fourth position but the Brit is now thirty-five points behind Chaz Davies. It was a good day for Kenan Sofuoglu as well, who now has a twenty-five point lead in the standings over the American Jacobsen. Marc Faccani has climbed back to eleventh position.

The Background

Ever since the start of the season, Tom Sykes has been racing for his first Superpole. The lap time leader seemed to have lost his magic recipe for letting it rip. The fourth event of the season, held in Assen, one of his favourite circuits, allowed the Kawasaki rider to regain his rank by winning the 24th pole position of his career. “This Superpole was a long time coming but it made me really happy,” said the Brit. “It shows that progress we’ve made with the new bike. The machine and I work better together. You could say we form a whole once again. In the first races, we were working in different directions. I have to congratulate Marcel, my chief engineer, and the whole of the team because since Aragon because things have been much better. We need to continue in the same way.” Third best performer in the history of the Superbike World championship in terms of pole positions, Tom Sykes is now just one point away from the second place held by Troy Bayliss.

Race of Morocco

The Citroën Steamroller crushes its rivals

As in Argentina the Citroën C-Elysées dominated in Marrakesh with Lopez and Muller scoring victories.

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Lopez worthy of his rank!

José Maria Lopez won the first race from pole and finished third in the second one showing that it’s not for nothing he’s the reigning world champion. The Argentinean has increased his lead in the championship.

Muller lays down a marker

The four-time world champion scored his first win in 2015 putting him in third place overall behind José Maria Lopez and Sébastien Loeb, his team-mates in the Citroën Total squad.

An unequalled performance

With an historic one, two, three, four, five in the first race and a triple in the second, the French cars already have a big lead in the manufacturers’ championship chase after only two events.

Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Director): “Our drivers have just written a new chapter in Citroën motor sport history. Their quintuple success is testament to the speed and reliability of the C-Elysée WTCC, as well as the close-knit nature of our team.”

Next round

Hungary (1-3 May)

Grand Prix of Bahrain

The RB11s and Romain Grosjean in the points

Lewis Hamilton racked up his third victory in four grand prix with a dominant performance at nighttime in Bahrain. The two Infiniti Red Bull Racing entries and Romain Grosjean finished in the top 10.

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Hamilton on another planet

The reigning world champion dominated qualifying and then gave a master class. The British driver opened up a gap at the front while behind him battle raged. His team-mate Nico Rosberg was caught out at the start and took third spot knocking Sebastien Vettel out of second place in the drivers’ ratings.

Raïkkönen’s candle bursts into flame!

The Finn came home in second place, his first top-3 finish of the season, showing that he too can take the fight to Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel wasn’t really at home on the Sakhir circuit and finished fifth in the second Ferrari behind Valtteri Bottas’s Williams.

 Daniel and Daniil in the mix

Daniel Ricciardo started the race on the fourth row and came home sixth. His teammate, Daniil Kvyat, clinched ninth spot, a great effort as he started in 17th place. It was Infiniti Red Bull’s best result of the 2015 season so far putting the team in fourth place in the constructors’ title race.

Another seventh for Grosjean

The Frenchman clinched another seventh-place finish after driving a great 2-stop strategy race from tenth on the grid.

Daniel Ricciardo (Infiniti Red Bull Racing): “I think the race went as well as it could and I drove well to finish sixth. The chassis is working better and through the corners we are more or less there. We’ll move onto Europe and see if we can get further up the grid and keep improving.”

Next round

Spanish GP (10th May)

Grand Prix of Austin

One retirement but plenty of resolve

Although he didn’t manage to cross the finish line, Scott Redding remains optimistic about the next race in Argentina. The Honda Marc VDS rider and his team made great progress over the weekend in Texas.

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The Races

After starting well from the second row of the grid, while fighting it out with Lorenzo over the first few kilometres of the race, Redding unfortunately fell before the end of the first lap after hitting the back wheel of the MotoGP twin world champion’s Yamaha. “I tried to start again,” said Redding. But with a bent handlebar and a broken footrest, it wasn’t possible. It’s frustrating, but I prefer to remember the weekend for the progress we made with the bike.” In the Moto2 class, Tito Rabat scored his first points of the season by finishing fourth. “It’s not the result I was hoping for,” said the title holder. “But considering the tire wear problems I quickly encountered during the race, I am happy enough to score the points and start my season.” In trouble throughout the free practice sessions, Alex Márquez nonetheless managed to finish in fifteenth place.

The Championship

With a Did Not Finish, Scott Redding has slipped to seventeenth place in the overall MotoGP standings. Tito Rabat has made it to the Moto2 class standings after scoring his first points in the season, placing him in tenth position. Marquez now ranks seventeenth.

The Background

After struggling to find his feet in Qatar, Scott Redding wanted to regain his confidence in the circuit of the Americas. What with corner exit traction problems, a lack of feeling with the front of his RC213V, the young British rider nevertheless left Doha with some ideas about the work that needed to be done and make progress. By winning sixth place on the starting grid for the second event of the season in Texas, Redding and his team showed they have found ways to overcome these difficulties. By working on the settings of his factory bike and changing his riding style, the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider managed to regain his feeling and improve his lap times in each session. “I rode fast on Friday and Saturday, on a dry and wet circuit,” he said during the practice test sessions. “I’m ready for the race, come rain or shine.” Unfortunately, Michael Bartholemy’s protégé did not have the time to reap the fruits of his labour. After falling during the first lap of the race, he will have to wait until Argentina to make good the progress promised in Texas.

Race of Spain (Aragon)

Rea takes off

 

After a superb twin-win in Thailand, Jonathan Rea consolidated his leading position on the Aragón circuit with another victory, followed by an excellent second place. Kenan Sofuoglu was also successful in Supersport.

 

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The Races

Even though he had to start from the second row of the grid, Jonathan Rea did not take long to make up the ground he lost on Tom Sykes in the first race. The Kawasaki pilot then took control of the race along with Chaz Davies. The two Brits fought it out until the very last lap, Rea having the last word in the battle with the Ducati rider. After finishing third in the first race, Tom Sykes unfortunately didn’t finish the second after a fall in the fifth lap put him out for the count. During the second race Rea eventually lost to Davies, who started off better. “I made a rather cautious start to the race because I was not sure what to expect with the tires,” said the championship leader. “And I didn’t want to destroy them too soon. Overall I am very happy with my second place.” In the Supersport category Kenan Sofuoglu had his first win of the season by finishing more than three seconds ahead of Jacobsen’s Kawasaki. “I’m really happy because it’s been almost a year since I won,” grinned the Turkish rider. “It feels good to get your place back.” »

The Championship

With four wins and two second places, Jonathan Rea tops the provisional standings of the World Superbike Championship with a twenty-six point lead over Leon Haslam. Tom Sykes has moved up to fourth place, seventeen points behind Chaz Davies in third place. In the Supersport class, Kenan Sofuoglu has taken advantage of his victory to take first place with fifty-five points chalked up on the board. The Turk now leads the American Jacobsen by thirteen points. Marco Faccani has fallen back to the thirteenth place overall.

The Background

Jonathan Rea does not regret joining the Kawasaki KRT team this winter. From his very first laps with the Ninja ZX-10R, the British rider seems to be racing on a cloud. Of the first six races of the season, Tom Sykes’ new team-mate has won four, already equalling his own record for victories in the same championship. With four wins and two second places, in the first three events of the season Rea has scored one hundred and forty points out of the one hundred and fifty points possible: a top-ranking performance, which now makes him the rider to beat in the World Superbike. “It’s a good start,” he modestly admits. “But the season is just beginning and anything can happen in this sport. I am particularly pleased with the result in Aragon, because the circuit has never been my favourite but Sykes and Davies both like it. In addition, we were using a new tire that I had to get used to early in the race. I think I did it intelligently by taking the time I needed to catch up on my opponents. We just have to continue to work with the same dedication for the rest of the season.”

Race of Silverstone

A FRUSTRATING WEEKEND FOR SIGNATECH ALPINE

The Alpine A450b’s race ended in an off after 20 laps. G-Drive Racing wrapped up victory in LM P2 while in the blue riband category (LM P1) the no. 7 Audi came out on top.

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Not as bad as it looked!

Tricky starts to the season seem to dog Signatech Alpine although this didn’t prevent the French team from winning the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) titles in 2013 and 2014. The squad was making its debut in the LM P2 category in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and its race came to a premature end after 20 laps. The Alpine A450b was fourth quickest in qualifying and was lying fifth driven by Paul-Loup Chatin who had a big shunt when the car lost its left-hand rear wheel. Luckily, he emerged unhurt.

Domination

The Ligier JS-P2s entered by the G-Drive Team dominated the LM P2 category scoring a double with no. 26 in the hands of Sam Bird, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal leading home its sister car, no.28. Third place went to the Extreme Speed Motorsports squad.

Audi fends off Porsche

The battle for victory in LM P1 was a real thriller with multiple twists. At the flag the no. 7 Audi of Benoît Tréluyer-Marcel Fässler-André Lotterer took the flag in first place only 4.06sec in front of the no. 18 Porsche!

The Prancing Horse triumphs

In GTE Pro the reigning champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander (AF Corse Ferrari) kicked off their title defence with a victory.

Philippe Sinault – Signatech Alpine team principal): “We’ll have to find out why we lost a wheel in the race. Luckily, Paul-Loup was injured. It’s our first retirement in three seasons. The positive thing is that we were on the pace we’d set ourselves.”

Next race

Spa-Francorchamps (May 3rd)

Grand Prix of China

GROSJEAN AND RICCIARDO BOTH SCORE TOP-10 FINISHES

Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix clinching his second victory of the 2015 season. Roman Grosjean opened his score. On the other hand, Infiniti Red Bull Racing had a low-key race.

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Hamilton dominates!

Lewis Hamilton racked up his third pole position on the bounce, dominated the race and scored his second victory in 2015. His teammate Nico Rosberg saw the flag in second place followed by Sebastian Vettel. The reigning world champion has increased his lead by ten points in the title chase.

Two by two

The two Ferraris finished third and fourth and Vettel’s better performance in qualifying helped him to beat Raïkkönen and score another top-3 finish. Into fifth and sixth came Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas confirming the Williams Martini Team’s high hopes.

Grosjean in the points

Romain Grosjean clinched his first top-10 finish in 2015. The Lotus F1 Team driver was eighth on the grid, which he transformed into an encouraging seventh place in Shanghai. After a couple of frustrating races this result puts him in ninth spot overall in the drivers’ championship ratings.

Ricciardo unhappy

Daniel Ricciardo qualified in seventh place but fluffed his start dropping him back to 17th spot. Even though the Australian fought his way back up into the top 10, the Infiniti Red Bull Racing management and Renault Sport F1 were left with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

Romain Grosjean (Lotus F1 Team): “It was the best we could do on this circuit which wasn’t an easy one for us. It’s satisfying to have scored the first points of the season for the team. I think we can also do a good job in the next grand prix.”

Next round:

Bahrain GP (19 April)