GRAND PRIX OF THE NETHERLANDS, JUNE 27 2015

Another podium for Rabat

Tito Rabat clinched his fifth podium in a row at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, his first on the Assen circuit. Alex Marquez made it to the top ten, while in MotoGP Scott Redding finished thirteenth.

The Races

After qualifying for the front row of the starting grid and leading until three laps from the finish, Tito Rabat showed he meant business on the Assen circuit. “I had a good race,” agreed the rider for Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team. “I had a good start and I had to fight to catch up with Folger, the race leader. The fight with Zarco was tough as well. But Johann’s bike was running at a slightly faster rate than mine and there was nothing I could do when he overtook me three laps from the finish.” Alex Marquez crossed swords with Mika Kallio. But a tiny error a few kilometres from the finish made the Spaniard loose contact with the Finn. Marquez still took the chequered flag in ninth position, equalling his best result since his debut in Moto2. It was a difficult weekend, however, for Scott Redding in the MotoGP class. After flunking Q1 again, the Brit finished thirteenth, 43 seconds behind the winner. “I’ll remember this as a frustrating weekend,” admitted Redding. “Just when we thought we’d taken one step forward, we’ve actually made two steps back. We mustn’t give up, but I’d like us to find ways of improving my feelings with this bike.”

SCOTT REDDING GBR ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS HONDA

The Championship

Even though he scored only four points in the Netherlands, Redding stays at thirteenth place in the MotoGP standings. In Moto2, Rabat has consolidated his second spot even if he is now forty-five points behind Zarco. Marquez has climbed up another place thanks to the seven points he scored in Assen, and is now fifteenth in the Championship.

The Background

From next year onwards, the Grand Prix of the Netherlands will be raced on a Sunday. That something of a revolution for the Dutch TT, an event which is almost a century old, and was always held up until now on the last Saturday of June. “At the time,” says Hans van der Mark, “the race was held on open roads which had to be closed to traffic, and preventing villagers from going to church on Sundays was out of the question.” The tradition has continued. Since 1925, Dutch fans have become accustomed for the meeting to be held in late June near Assen so they commune with their passion for motorcycles. The only event to feature in the World Championship calendar since its inception in 1949, the Grand Prix of the Netherlands is therefore going to break with tradition to meet the demands of modernity. “Organizing the races on Sundays will mean we can welcome more spectators,” said the organizers of the Dutch TT. “We’ll also have better media coverage, and that will benefit everyone. It was a step we had to take.”

Next race: Germany, July 2015, 11-12

France (Castellet), June 28, 2015

Citroën Racing holds its own on home turf!

The French team consolidated its leadership in both championships with the C-Elysées WTCCs scoring a one, two, three, four in race one after which José Maria Lopez  clinched victory in the second heat.

Loeb’s premier!

Sébastien Loeb racked up his very first pole position in the FIA WTCC and took full advantage of it to win the first race, his third victory of the season and his fifth in the WTCC. Following him home were Yvan Muller, José Maria Lopez and Ma Qing Hua as the French Citroën Total team filled the first four places after a superb display. Loeb wasn’t as fortunate in the second heat as he went off and retired.

Auto - WTCC Paul Ricard 2015

“Pechito” gets back on top

In the last two meetings the reigning world championship and 2015 leader saw Muller making huge inroads into his lead. “Pechito” fought back and put things right in race 2 with a victory that helped him open up the gap over his Alsatian rival to 39 points. Ma Qing Hua was also on the podium, his first top-3 finish since Marrakech.

Sébastien Loeb: “First of all, I was really pleased to be starting from pole position for the first time in the FIA WTCC. I didn’t get a great start. I didn’t handle the clutch well and I found myself battling to hold on to my position in the first lap. After pulling a few lengths clear thanks to the scrap between Yvan and Pechito, I was able to drive with greater peace of mind. I got a good start in Race 2 but I made a stupid mistake. There was just too much damage and I had to give up. Despite notching up my third win of the season, it’s not been a positive meeting for me overall, as I’ve fallen further behind in the Championship.”

Next Round: Portugal (Vila Real, 10 – 12 July)

Slovakian Grand Prix, 21st June, 2015

Loeb back in the winner’s circle!

After a below-par performance in Moscow, the Citroën Total Team was back on top monopolising the podiums on the Slovakiaring. Sébastien Loeb took advantage of this to get back in the winner’s circle!

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Two triples for Citroën Total

Yvan Muller scored his 45th victory in race 1 ahead of José Maria Lopez and Sébastien Loeb. In race two the nine-time world rally champion got the better of his team-mates leading home Lopez and Muller. The Citroën C-Elysées were on another planet in Slovakia.

Seb racks up no. 4!

Sébastien Loeb, who won in Argentina at the start of the season, added another victory to his tally in race 2. The Frenchman made a stunning start from eighth on the grid and was up into second place after the first corner; he then made short work of Gabriele Tarquini a lap later. The former world rally no.1 has now scored four wins in the WTCC.

Carlos Tavares, CEO, PSA Peugeot Citroën:

“Citroën Racing has once again shown its combative qualities and its strong team spirit. The team is an example for the whole PSA group, showing us what we have to do each day: push ourselves to the limit to achieve things we have never done before. We have to do that every day, working together and trusting each other.”

 Next Round: France (Paul Ricard, 26 – 28 June)

WSK Misano (Italy), 21st June 2015

Kawasaki lays down the law

Once again, the Kawasaki riders gave no quarter during the eighth round of the Superbike World Championship. Sykes and Rea shared the wins on the Misano circuit, reinforcing their domination of the overall standings.

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The Races

Starting from pole position, his third of the season and the twenty-fifth of his career in the Superbike category, Tom Sykes outclassed the opposition in the first race of the day, leading from the first to the last lap. In trouble with the grip of his rear tire, however, the Kawasaki rider had to settle for fifth place at the finish of the second race. “I ought be happy with my weekend,” said Sykes. “A lot of riders would be satisfied with winning a race after taking pole position. But I’m disappointed not to have achieved the same performance in the second race.”

Jonathan Rea got a better deal by changing strategies between the two races. After qualifying for the second row of the starting grid, the championship leader finished second in the first race before winning the second. “I’m pleased with the result because I managed my tyre wear in the second race,” he explained. “I know we have to start thinking about the championship, but today I really wanted a win.” And it’s the twenty-sixth of his career in the Superbike championship.

In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu crashed in the last lap. The triple world champion still managed to get back on his bike and took the chequered flag in eleventh position. Marco Faccani finished ninth.

The Championship

For Jonathan Rea, the races come and go but all are starting to look alike. With two new podiums, including one win, the championship leader now has a one hundred and thirty-three point lead over his teammate. With his well-earned second place, Tom Sykes meanwhile is sixteen points ahead of the rider in third place.

In Supersport, despite his shock defeat, Kenan Sofuoglu is still twenty points ahead of Jules Cluzel, while Marco Faccani has slipped back to tenth place overall with forty-three points on his scoreboard.

The Background

The last ten races of the Superbike World Championship have been won by the Kawasaki team. Imperial since the start of the season, the ZX-RR 10 has driven the competition into the ground. At Misano, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea shared the wins once again, riding with virtuosity, once again reducing their opponents’ role to that of mere underdogs.

Since the creation of the World Superbike championship, only the Ducati factory has achieved such a series of wins. With seventeen podiums in a row, Jonathan Rea is flying away in the lead of the overall standings, one hundred and thirty-three points ahead of his teammate. The championship has never been dominated this way since the 1995 season. That year, after sixteen races, Carl Fogarty was one hundred and thirty-six points ahead of Troy Corser. With sixteen podiums in a row, the current championship leader has also equalled a performance that only Troy Corser had achieved up until now. And that was in 2005.

 

Austrian Grand Prix (Spielberg) 21st June, 2015

Ricciardo saves Red Bull’s bacon 

There wasn’t much rejoicing in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing camp as they left Austria with only the point that went with 10th place. In mitigation, the team was penalised after qualifying due to the engine regulations. Mercedes scored another double with Rosberg beating Hamilton.

The RB11s penalised

The decision to change the power units of the two Red Bulls breached the 4-engine per car per season rule and resulted in a penalty. Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo started the race in 15th and 18th places. The Australian got the better of Felipe Nasr in the closing stages of the race pocketing the final point. All in all it was a disappointing home grand prix for the Austrian outfit.

Rosberg stuns Hamilton!

Although Lewis Hamilton again beat Nico Rosberg in qualifying, the German made a better start and snatched the lead on the inside in the first corner. From then on Nico controlled his world no. 1 teammate, clinched his third win of the year while Mercedes racked up its fifth double in 2015. At present Hamilton’s lead over Rosberg has been cut to 10 points in the world championship ratings.

 

Grosjean forced to retire

Romain Grosjean was in ninth place after avoiding the traps of a chaotic first lap, which then became eighth thanks to an out-of-sync strategy to steer clear of traffic. The Lotus’s gearbox let him down on lap 36.

 

Christian Horner (Infiniti Red Bull Racing – Team Principal):

We want to move up the grid and everyone in Milton Keynes is working incredibly hard to get ourselves back up there.”

 

Next round: British GP (5th July)

Le Mans 24 Hours

Disappointment for SIGNATECH ALPINE

The Alpine A450b crashed out during the night when it was lying third in the LM P2 category won by KCMG. Porsche scored a double in LM P1.

A promising start ends in disappointment

The no. 36 Alpine A450b was fifth in the LM P2 grid and third after nine hours racing so it tackled the night in a strong position. Unfortunately, Paul-Loup Chatin lost control of the car at Mulsanne. He did everything he could to bring it back to the pits, but in vain. The reigning European champions had to retire. 

Porsche scores no. 17!

Seventeenth victory at Le Mans (a new record) for the German manufacturer, the first since 1998. The no. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Nico Hülkenberg, Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy) won racking up 395 laps followed in second and third places by the no. 17 919 Hybrid (Webber, Hartley, Bernhard) and the no. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Fässler, Lotterer, Tréluyer).

Corvette’s feat

Although there was only one works C7.R at the start, no. 64, it took the chequered flag in first place in GTE Pro driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor. Ferrari saved its bacon in LM GTE Am thanks to SMP Racing’s victory.

Philippe Sinault, Team Principal Signatech-Alpine:

“We made a great start. Our aim was to be in a position to score a top-3 finish. The first two cars set a searing pace, and third place was a good spot to be in to tackle the night. Our strategy could have given us a decisive advantage. But Le Mans remains a tough race. We don’t yet know why the accident occurred. We’re going to study all the parameters. A big bravo to the whole team and our drivers who did an excellent job in the early stages of the race, and who showed remarkable abnegation in the difficult moments.”  

Next round: Nürburgring 6 Hours (30 August)

Catalunya Grand Prix, 14 June, 2015

Redding scores best result of the season

By finishing seventh in the Catalunya Grand Prix, Scott Redding achieved his best result of the season in Barcelona. Tito Rabat made it to the podium once again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Races

Although he flunked Q1 and was forced to start from the fifth row of the starting grid, Scott Redding rode his best race of the season, ending up by equalling his best result in MotoGP. Fighting for fifth place for several laps, the Brit had to do the best he could during the second part of the race when his tyres deteriorated. “The track was tricky and a lot of riders crashed,” he said. “It was important for me to finish without making any mistakes. All is not perfect yet, but we made progress over the weekend, and that’s encouraging.”

In Moto2, Tito Rabat led the race until the last lap. But a tiny error not far from the finish allowed Zarco and Rins to overtake the world champion, who had to settle for third place. Hit in the first lap by another rider, Alex Marquez meanwhile managed to climb back from twenty-eighth place to eleventh, clocking up lap times identical to those of the leading group. 

The Championship

Thanks to the nine points he scored in Barcelona, Redding has moved back up to thirteenth place in the MotoGP standings. The Brit is now only four points away from the twelfth position held by Aleix Espargaro.

In Moto2, Rabat stays at second place in the championship, but it is now forty points way from Johann Zarco, leader of the pack. Marquez has moved up one place, and is now sixth in the championship standings with twenty-three points. 

The Background

Apart from a DNF in France, Alex Marquez has always scored points since his debut in Moto2. Nevertheless, his best result to date being the ninth place he took in Jerez, the Moto3 World Championship title holder feels he’s not yet where he hoped to be when he joined the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team.

“For him and for us, it’s tougher than we thought it would be,” said Michael Bartholemy, manager of the Belgian team. Moving up from Moto3 to Moto2 is never easy. Some make it quickly, others need more time to learn how to handle the weight of the machine and the behaviour of a standard road-going engine without any electronic assistance. Alex also suffered two very heavy falls in Almeria earlier this year. That didn’t help build his confidence. But you can see he’s made good progress since the Spanish Grand Prix. He’s an intelligent driver who understands what to do and who knows where he wants to go. And in Barcelona, his lap times were the same as the leaders’. If he hadn’t been hit by another rider in the first lap, he would have easily been able to finish in the top ten.”

Italian Rally (Sardinia) – 14 June, 2015

ØSTBERG UP TO SECOND POSITION 

True to its reputation, the Sardinia rally proved ruthless. Victory goes to Sébastien Ogier. Mads Østberg finishes fifth, grabbing the second place in the championship.

Mads back from the brink

The weekend started badly for the Citroën Total World Rally Team Abu Dhabi: Kris Meek off the road in the second stage, and Mads Østberg far from confident. However, the Norwegian, catchy, climbed back in third at one stage, and finished in fifth place. These points earned him second place in the standings, 66 points behind the leader.

Ogier flies

The only driver among the tenors to have driven the event without technical problems or wrongdoing, the world no. 1 reinforces its leadership with this fourth victory in six races contested.

Precious points

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle came back in the event under Rally2 and collected some important points for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, which retains second place in the manufacturers championship.

Marek Nawarecki (Deputy Team Principal Citroën Racing):

“This rally has more than lived up to expectations as an extreme event. In losing one of our DS 3 WRCs on the second stage, we weren’t in the best situation. Mads gradually picked up his pace, but he also had a number of issues to contend with. We have to be fairly pleased with the fifth place, which takes him into second position in the Drivers’ World Championship. The points scored by Kris also ensured the team holds onto the second place in the Manufacturers’ standings.”

 

 

 

WSK Portugal (Portimao) – 7 June, 2015

Another twin-win for Rea

After Sykes in Donington, Rea put on the show in Portimao by winning both races in the seventh round of the world championship. For the Kawasaki rider, it’s the fourth twin-win of the season, a further feat allowing him to widen the gap with his opponents even more. Sykes has moved up to second place overall.

PhotoCRThe Races

To say that the Kawasaki team is dominating the Superbike World Championship this season is an understatement. In Portugal, Rea and Sykes took the first two places in the first race. They achieved the one-two under difficult conditions, the oncome of rain forcing the riders to return to the pits. For many laps Sykes was on a par with his teammate before a technical hitch made him lose contact.

In the second race, held when the circuit had dried out, Rea quietly imposed his style, while Sykes had to contend with a tyre losing pressure which unsettled his bike’s behaviour. The Brit had to give up as the laps went by and resign himself to finishing in eighth position. In the Supersport category, Kenan Sofuoglu once again made it to the podium, finishing second after leading the race until the start of the very last lap. Marco Faccani took the chequered flag in twelfth position.

The Championship

Having scored 330 of the 350 points possible, Jonathan Rea is racing away in the lead of the standings in the World Superbike Championship. The Kawasaki rider is 124 points ahead of his new runner-up, who is none other than his teammate. After making it to his seventh podium of the season, Tom Sykes has taken second place in the championship, seven points ahead of Leon Haslam. In the Supersport category, Kenan Sofuoglu also remains a strong leader. The Kawasaki rider has a 40-point lead over the winner of the day, France’s Jules Cluzel. Marco Faccani is still included in the top ten. With 36 points, the Italian ranks ninth overall.

The Background

Nothing seems able to stop Jonathan Rea from taking the Championship crown this year. Despite a fall in the Superpole on Saturday afternoon, forcing him to start twice from the third row of the starting grid, the championship leader once again was in scintillating form and won both races. Out of the first seven rounds of the season, Rea has won ten races, including four twin-wins, and finished two others in second place. The Brit has thus become the first rider in history to score 330 points in fourteen races – surpassing the track record of his compatriot Neil Hodgson – a fabulous achievement, but one that has not altered the Kawasaki rider’s sense of modesty.

“I’ve got a great bike and a great team,” says Jonathan. “Each weekend we manage to apply the right strategy. We’ve learnt the lessons from the mistakes we made in Donington. I now have a solid lead in the overall classification, but it won’t change my approach to the next races.”

Russia Grand Prix – 7 June, 2015

Yvan Muller does a good day’s work in Moscow

 The French won the first heat on the Moscow Raceway and then scored more points in the second helping him to move up to second place in the overall classification 35 points behind José María López, his team-mate in the Citroën Total squad.

A record increased to 44 victories

Yvan Muller won the first race from pole on Sunday after fighting off the attacks of his teammate, the reigning world no. 1, José María López from Argentina. It was the 4th time world champion 44th victory in the WTCC, and his third this season. The Alsatian started from tenth on the grid in the second heat and bagged the points that went with sixth place in an action-packed race. He has reduced the gap to López by 16 points, and has snatched the second place from Sébastien Loeb in the overall classification.

Honda and Lada shine

Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic) had not won a race in the WTCC since 2013. His victory in the second heat helped him consolidate his fourth place in the overall classification behind the Citroën Total drivers. Lada also put on a standout performance on home turf with two cars in the top four in the second heat, its best result. 

The C-Elysées hungry for revenge in Slovakia!

This weekend, Citroën’s domination came under threat and a strong fight back is expected from the French team in 2 weeks in Bratislava.

 Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Racing:

 “This weekend in Moscow has been a great sporting show, with performance levels much closer than we have seen previously. When we get to the next few circuits and the compensation weights are adjusted, we will see whether this was a one-off or a lasting trend.”