Grand prix of Japan (Suzuka) 27 September, 2015

HAMILTON BACK ON TOP!

The world no. 1 clinched victory at Suzuka in front of Rosberg and Vettel. Romain Grosjean saw the flag in seventh place, while both Infiniti Red Bull Renaults finished outside the points. 

RICCIARDO Daniel (aus) red bull renault rb11 action during the 2015 Formula One World Championship, Japan Grand Prix from October 25rd to 27th 2015 in Suzuka. Photo DPPI

Eighth double!

Mercedes racked up its eighth double of the 2015 season with Lewis Hamilton back in top form after his retirement in Singapore. The British driver, beaten in qualifying by his teammate Nico Rosberg, took his revenge in the opening seconds of the race. He went on to score an easy victory without ever coming under threat. He has increased his lead over the German in the F1 drivers’ world championship to 48 points. Hamilton’s 41st win equals the total of the late, great Ayrton Senna in the F1 record books.

First finish outside the points

Infiniti Red Bull Racing failed to score points for the first time this season. A week after being on the second step of the podium in Marina Bay, Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t do any better than fifteenth in Japan. The Australian was in seventh place on the grid, but a tangle with Felipe Massa’s Williams in the first corner which caused a puncture on his left-hand rear tyre, shattered his hopes of a good result, hence a simple race at the rear of the field. Daniil Kvyat came home in 13th place after starting from the pits, his car had to be rebuilt after his big shunt in qualifying.

Another outstanding race from Grosjean

Romain Grosjean was eighth on the grid and seventh at the chequered flag, his sixth points-scoring finish this season. It was another outstanding display by the French in difficult conditions. His six points have propelled him into ninth place in the drivers’ world championship standings.

Romain Grosjean (Lotus F1 Team) :

”We finished with both cars in the points so I’m definitely happy with that! When it came to my own race we were a little bit slow against the Force India. We tried to fight Nico Hulkenberg but couldn’t. I really struggled with the tyres at the end – it seems the new Pirelli limits hurt us more than our rivals so we’ll work around that for the next race. Overall though, we’ve had a good result as a team.”

Next round: GP of Russia (Sotchi – 11 October)

Grand Prix of China (Shanghai) 2015

World Champions!*

This weekend the Citroën Total team added another two victories to its tally in China and wrapped up its second manufacturers’ world championship title.

LOPEZ José Maria (arg) Citroen C Elysee team Citroen racing portrait ambiance MULLER Yvan (fra) Citroen C Elysee team Citroen racing portrait ambiance LOEB Sebastien (fra) Citroen C Elysee team Citroen racing portrait ambiance during the 2015 FIA WTCC World Touring Car Championship race at Shangaï from September 25 to 27th 2015, China. Photo Vincent Curutchet / DPPI.

Number 2!

The Citroën Total team had a dream weekend in China with two pole positions and two victories including a triple ensuring the manufacturers’ title with two rounds still to go till the end of the 2015 season.* The French team has again dominated its rivals with 17 victories in the 20 races held so far.

Lopez heading for a double

José Maria Lopez, winner of the first heat and third in the second won by an on-form Yvan Muller, tightened his stranglehold on the world title. The Argentinean, the reigning world no. 1, has been in a class of his own with eight victories already this season and he now has a 75-point lead. This is more than enough to win another title – in the next round in Thailand?

Yves Matton (Team Principal, Citroën Racing):

“First of all, I would like to thank our drivers for the work they have done and for their sense of fair play. Even with the best car and the best team, you can’t achieve these kinds of results without exceptional drivers. In particular, I would like to thank Yvan, who was the first to join us and made sure we were ready from the very start of the 2014 season. When we talk about Citroën Racing, that also includes all the staff at our technical centre. You don’t see them on the television, but they are an integral part of this World Championship title.”

 *Subject to the publication of the official results by the FIA.

Next round: Thailand (Buriram, 30th September-1st October)   

 

 

The 6 hours of the Americas (Austin) 20 September, 2015

PORSCHE TIGHTENS ITS GRIP

The no. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid scored another victory in Austin. At present the German manufacturer dominates its rival from Ingolstadt and is aiming for a double in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The Signatech Alpine saw the flag in sixth place in the LM P2 category.

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No. 17 doubles up

The no. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid scored its second win on the bounce in the blue riband category after the Nürburgring, when Bernhard-Hartley-Webber took victory in the USA in front of the no. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Fässler-Lotterer-Tréluyer. The latter racked up their fifth consecutive top-3 finish, and still hold first place in the world endurance championship, but their lead has shrunk to 10 points over the Porsche trio. Di Grassi-Duval-Jarvis in the no. 8 Audi clinched their first podium of the year ahead of the no. 1 Toyota TS040-Hybrid driven by reigning champions, Davidson-Buemi.  Kazuki Nakajima joined them for the American round, but at present Toyota cannot match the pace of the German cars, and the trio was unable to do better than fourth two laps behind the winners.  In the FIA WEC Manufacturers’ Championship Porsche also leads the dance from Audi.  The cherry on the cake for the Stuttgart manufacturer was another double in LM GTE Pro by the Team Manthey 911 RSRs after the Nürburgring.  The no. 72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia remained unbeaten in GTE Am since the Le Mans 24 Hours.

American comeback!

More than 50 years after a works Alpine’s first outing in the United States when Mauro Bianchi and José Rosinski drove an M63 in the 1964 Sebring 12 Hours, the make made its American comeback this weekend in the Circuit of the Americas 6 Hours. Nelson Panciatici-Paul-Loup Chatin-Vincent Capillaire in their no. 36 Alpine A450b finished sixth in the LM P2 category a lap behind the winners, the G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 driven by Rusinov-Canal-Bird. Signatech Alpine is lying ninth in the LM P2 Teams Trophy, and is still chasing its first top 3 finish in the WEC after scoring points in three out of the five rounds held so far.

Philippe Sinault (Signatech Alpine Team Princepal):

”We are very disappointed to fail twenty seconds of the podium. We chose a bold strategy to stop once less than all of our competitors. It almost pays. We showed here that we were true candidates for a podium. Our Alpine A450b led after three hours and Nelson was second fastest lap. Since the beginning of the season, we had never been so competitive. The work done by the team on performance and on managing tires and fuel is remarkable. Alpine A450b continues to progress and the gap is greatly reduced. It’s tight competition.”

 Next event: 6 Hours of Fuji (11 October)

Superbike World Championship Spain (Jerez) – 20 September, 2015

Rea Crowned World Champion

Although Jonathan Rea didn’t make it to the podium for the first time this season, logically enough the Brit was crowned world champion after the Spanish event. Kawasaki took the manufacturer’s title with two races still to go.

2015 Superbike World Championship, Round 11, Jerez, Spain, 18-20 September 2015, Kawasaki Racing Team

The Races

Just for once, Jonathan Rea didn’t make it to the podium at the finish of either of the held on the circuit in Jerez. It must be said, however, that the Kawasaki rider only needed six points to secure the World Championship title. So he didn’t try to tempt fate and settled for two fourth places. Tom Sykes won the first race before finishing fifth in the second.

“I’m pleased because this is the first time I’ve won on this circuit in Jerez,” commented the 2013 world champion. “I think I could have done as well in the second race if we hadn’t chosen the wrong tyres. I didn’t feel as good, I lacked feeling with the front, and I couldn’t keep up the same pace. The good thing is that Kawasaki is already certain of winning the Manufacturer’s World Championship title.”

In Supersport Kenan Sofuoglu also ended his weekend with another win. The Kawasaki rider finished more than a second ahead of Jacobsen, with Marc Faccani taking a well-earned sixth place.

The Championship

After riding impeccably all season, Jonathan Rea won his first World Championship title in Jerez.

“It’s a kid’s dream come true,” said the Kawasaki rider. I’ve been racing after that goal since I was six years old, and it’s hard to realize that today I’ve finally made it. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices and worked really hard to get here. There have been ups and downs, injuries … But it’s great.”

With 331 points clocked up, Tom Sykes stays in third place overall, twenty-two points behind Chaz Davies. In Supersport Kenan Sofuoglu consolidated his leadership. The Turk is now thirty-three points ahead of Jacobsen, the new runner-up. Jules Cluzel was seriously injured after falling during the practice test sessions, when the American is the only rider who can still prevent Sofuoglu from winning the world championship title again. It was a good day too for Marco Faccani, who’s now made it to the top ten.

The Background

Needing to score only six points to win the Holy Grail, Jonathan Rea was almost certain to leave the Jerez circuit with the world championship crown on his head. The reward was well-deserved for the Kawasaki rider, who has had a particularly remarkable season. Since the opening of this season’s competition in Australia, Rea has always made it to the podium apart from the event in Jerez. With twelve wins, six second places and two third places, the Brit has as outclassed the opposition all season, and clinched the world championship title with two races still left to run.

At 28, Jonathan Rea has chalked up his first major award. Runner-up in the British Superbike Championship in 2007, runner-up in the World Supersport Championship the following year, third in the World Superbike Championship in 2014, Tom Sykes’ teammate had to wait until he joined the Kawasaki team to show off his great talent. For the Japanese manufacturer it’s the third title they’ve won since the creation of the World Superbike Championship in 1988. Scott Russell took the title in 1993, imitated twenty years later by Tom Sykes.

Bol d’Or (Castellet) – 20 September, 2015

A historic win

Out of luck since the start of this season’s world championship, the Kawasaki SRC team bounced back to win the 79th Bol d’Or, which was held this year on the legendary Paul Ricard circuit.

TEAM SRC KAWASAKI Gregory LEBLANC / Matthieu LAGRIVE / Fabien FORET Kawasaki ZX10R Formula EWC  Bol d'Or 2015 (Circuit Paul Ricard) 19-20/09.2015 PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek www.photoPSP.com

After fifteen of the events were held at Magny-Cours, the Bol d’Or this year returned to the Paul Ricard circuit, a historic site that already hosted the most famous of all Endurance races from 1978 to 1999. To celebrate the event, the Kawasaki SRC team chalked up their win after 24 hours of riding hard and fast. Starting from pole position, the team of Gregory Leblanc, Fabien Foret and Matthieu Lagrive avoided a number of pitfalls to clinch their first victory of the season, a welcome success after the troubles of the first three events: a fall at Le Mans depriving them of a fight for the finish, tyre problems at Suzuka and a broken engine at Oschersleben.

With eleven victories at the Bol d’Or, Kawasaki now hold the record number of wins in the most famous of all Endurance races.

For Gilles Stafler, it’s the fourth success in a row, and on his home ground, dear to the heart of the manager who lives in Le Cannet des Maures, a few dozen kilometres from the Paul Ricard circuit.

“It’s true that it I really wanted us to win,” admitted the boss of the SRC team. “Not only because this is our home ground, but also because we needed to get over the disappointments of a season in which we haven’t had much luck. We’ve never had any problems with the bike since it came out in 2011. For our partners, it was important to win here.”

Fabien Foret agreed:

“After my fall at Le Mans, I wanted to redeem myself,” said the veteran of the Kawasaki team. “I’m delighted to have done so.”

But as Gregory Leblanc said, their success didn’t come easy.

“We had a fast, reliable bike, which was an additional asset with the long straight,” said the Kawasaki rider, “but every time we thought we’d made the difference and were high and dry, a glitch cropped up. Over-consumption during one of the stints, a tyre problem on another, and a defective headlight after nightfall … But we got there in the end, and I admit it feels really good to chalk up our first win of the season.”

Grand Prix of Singapore – 20 September, 2015

Singapore puts a smile back on Ricciardo’s face!

The Australian driver in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team finished on the second step of the podium while victory went to Sébastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton retired and Nico Rosberg came home fourth.

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Vettel could influence the outcome of the title chase

In Singapore the four-time world champion confirmed that he is the only driver capable of stopping the Lewis Hamilton/Nico Rosberg steamroller or at least of being the first to benefit from their slip-ups. He scored his third victory of the season from pole position that Mercedes had occupied for the previous 23 grand prix. In both qualifying and the race the Silver Arrows suffered from a lack of grip in the hot conditions, and from the fact that the circuit had few of the fast corners in which they excel. Rosberg had to make do with fourth place scoring valuable points as his English team-mate retired due to power unit problems. Ferrari took full advantage of this mishap and Kimi Raïkkönen came home third putting two red cars on the podium for the first time in 45 grand prix.

Daniel seizes his chance

Daniel Ricciardo’s second place was his second top-3 finish in 2015 and his best result of the season so far. He started on the front row with Sébastian Vettel and was glued to the German’s gearbox when the chequered flag fell.  The Australian got the best out of the RB11, which was very much at home on this atypical layout. Daniil Kvyat, who also shone in qualifying setting the fourth-fastest time, finished sixth as he was caught out by the safety car when a place in the top 3 looked a real possibility.

Grosjean outside the points

Romain Grosjean was in Q3 for the tenth time this year. In the race itself he defended his place in the points helped by a clever strategic undercut. However, the Frenchman was unable to fend off the Toro Rossos and Saubers and retired within sight of the finish.

 Daniel Ricciardo (Infiniti Red Bull Racing):

“I think this was our best chance of a win and we got close, so we can be proud of what we did,” he said afterward. “We have made the most of our opportunities here. At the start Seb just went away and then I was coming back to him and if it hadn’t been for the Safety Car, we’d have got pretty close and maybe an undercut would have been possible at the pit stop. Making both stops under the safety car affected our chances and I think that dictated the race really. We got the fastest lap right at the end and we can be proud of that. Moving forward, Suzuka is usually a good track for us, although I don’t expect to do as well as there, but we can aim for the top five. It’s good to get another podium, I’m really happy for the team. The last few races the chassis has really come alive so thanks to the guys for that.”

Next round: GP of Japan (Suzuka – 27 September)

Australian Rally, 13 September 2015

PODIUM FINISH FOR KRIS MEEKE

Kris Meeke was in the mix throughout the rally and he took the flag in third place in the Citroën-Total colours. Victory went to Sébastien Ogier (Volkswagen), who clinched his third world title.

Triple crown

Sébastien Ogier scored his seventh victory of the season and wrapped up his third WRC title in succession. Only 9-time champion Sébastien Loeb, Juha Kankunnen and Tommi Makien with four titles each have done better in the history of the WRC. Thanks to the points scored for second place by Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen racked up its third manufacturers’ title.

Meeke back in the top 3

It was Kris Meeke’s first podium finish since his victory in Argentina in his DS 3 WRC at the end of April. The Northern Irish was in the lead in the rally on several occasions (SS4 to 7, then 9 to 11), and he put on an excellent performance in Australia to finish on the podium behind the two Polo R WRCs. He also gained a place in the drivers’ championship chase and is now lying sixth. 

Lefebvre is a quick learner! 

Following Mads Østberg’s withdrawal as he was injured during reconnaissance, young French Stéphane Lefebvre replaced him at the last minute to drive the second works DS 3 WRC. He finished 13th scoring a precious point in the manufacturers’ championship.

Kris Meeke (Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team):

“We achieved the first target which was to make it to the finish and be consistent. I would point out that we led the rally for almost two days. I think we did a very good job and we couldn’t really have expected to do much more on the final leg. We have to keep working hard.”

 

Next round: Tour de Corse (1 – 4 October)

Japan race (Motegi) 13 September, 2015

LOPEZ DEALS HIS RIVALS A BODY BLOW!

The world no. 1 in the Citroën Total team scored his seventh victory in 2015 and opened up a big lead in the championship.  

Citroën or Citroën?

By winning the first race José Maria Lopez took a big step towards wrapping up his second world title. With three events (six races) left to run, mathematically speaking the world title cannot escape the drivers in the Citroën Total team. It looks like it will go to the Argentinean unless Yvan Muller or Sébastien Loeb can turn the tables on their team-mate. 

Objectives on Chinese territory

Although the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC drivers were unlucky in race 2 after putting on a spectacular display in the first heat, the Citroên Total team could well clinch the manufacturers’ title at the next round in Shanghai. Citroën must not give away more than 37 points in China. 

Xavier Mestelan (Deputy Team Principal – Citroën Racing):

“Despite carrying 60 kg of ballast, which is a major handicap on a circuit like this, we managed to perform well. First of all, I must pay tribute to Pechito López for his win. He got a terrific start and followed that up with a perfect race. Things didn’t go quite so well for him in Race 2, but that is sometimes how it goes when you’re in the pack. Sébastien Loeb, Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller put on a good show too, and I think the crowd here in Motegi has seen two entertaining WTCC races!”

 Next Round: China (Shanghai, 25 – 27 September)

San Marino Grand Prix, 13 September 2015

Redding scores first MotoGP podium

Although he’s been struggling since the start of the season to adjust to his factory Honda, Scott Redding was talk of the town in Italy after scoring his first podium in the premier-class category. Rabat also had a great race in the Moto2 category, taking the chequered flag in second place.

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The Races

After finishing with a fine sixth place in England, Scott Redding confirmed his progress in Misano by making it to the podium alongside Marc Marquez and Bradley Smith. The performance was all the more heroic in that the race was held under very difficult conditions, the rain starting to fall after only a few laps. The riders had to return to the pits to change bikes twice.

In Moto2, Tito Rabat made a great comeback after the difficulty of having no feeling with his front tyre in the first laps. Whipping his Kalex back into shape, the Spaniard finished fast enough to take the second step of the podium.

Alex Marquez was less successful, and fell only a few laps into the race. After two promising fourth places at Brno and Silverstone, the Marc VDS rider left Misano with nothing more than disappointment.

The Championship

Although the podium he scored in Misano hasn’t changed his place in the MotoGP standings, it has nevertheless allowed Scott Redding to climb back to only three points away from Aleix Espargaro. Placed thirteenth, the Brit is also only sixteen points behind Cal Crutchlow in tenth place.

In Moto2, Tito Rabat took advantage of Alex Rins’ fall to move back up to second place in the Championship. But the Spaniard is still ninety-three points behind the leader, Johann Zarco. Despite his DNF, Alex Marquez stays in tenth position. 

The Background

Making it to his first podium in MotoGP after falling early in the race was the feat achieved by Scott Redding on the Misano circuit.

“When it started to rain, I had nothing to lose and so I attacked hard with my slick tires,” said the rider of the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team. “But I ended up riding a bit too hard and I skidded off into the gravel. I fell and thought the race was over, but I was able to quickly get back to the pits. I started off again with rain tyres, but they didn’t feel right. So when the track began to dry out I quickly returned to the pits to change bikes and start off again with slicks. I thought I hadn’t a chance until I saw P4 on my panel. I thought it must have been a mistake … But it wasn’t… So I got my head down and tried to catch up with Baz who was seven seconds in front of me, before the rain started again. I never thought I’d make it the podium when I woke up this morning. It’s great for me and especially for the team: they’ve kept hope in me all season.”

 

 

Italian Grand Prix (Monza) 6 September, 2015

THE RB11S IN THE TOP 10

Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat finished in the points at Monza where Lewis Hamilton scored another victory consolidating his world championship lead.

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The world no. 1 scores a dominant win

After setting his seventh pole position on the bounce on Saturday at Monza, Lewis Hamilton is now only one away from the record held by Ayrton Senna (8 between 1988 and 1989). Above all, yesterday when the lights went out the world no.1 took the lead and clinched an uncontested victory, his seventh of the season, while his team-mate Nico Rosberg had to retire with engine failure.

The British has opened up a big gap in the drivers’ classification and he has 53 points in hand over his German rival. The latter now has Sebastian Vettel, who finished second in front of the tifosi, looming in his rear-view mirror as the German is only 21 points behind the Mercedes driver. Felipe Massa put on a stunning performance to finish third in front of the second Williams in the hands of Valtteri Bottas followed home by Kimi Raïkkönen in fifth place after a superb comeback, and the two Force Indias whose new specification has put them back among the front-runners. 

Ricciardo steals the show!

Australian Daniel Ricciardo relegated to 19th place on the grid (penalty due to the changes of parts on his Renault power unit), drove a superb race and saw the flag in eighth place in the Italian Grand Prix.  As Danill Kvyat finished tenth Infiniti Red Bull Racing put its two RB11s in the points for the sixth time this season in 12 grand prix.

Grosjean disappointed

After his remarkable top-3 finish at Spa Romain Grosjean had no chance to show his skills at Monza despite starting from eighth place on the grid. The French’s Lotus was harpooned by Felipe Nasr’s Sauber in the first chicane, and he had to retire on the second lap because a rear suspension element was damaged in the coming-together with the Brazilian’s car.

Next round: Singapore GP (Marina Bay – 20 September)