World Championship Qatar 205

LOEB AND CITROËN PART WAYS

The Citroën Total team finished its season with another two victories for Lopez and Muller, and said goodbye to Sébastien Loeb who will now fly the Peugeot colours in off-road rallies!

LOEB Sebastien (fra) Citroen C Elysee team Citroen racing portrait ambiance during the 2015 FIA WTCC World Touring Car Race of Argentina at Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina on March 6th to 8th 2015. Photo Francois Flamand / DPPI.

Finishing on a high note

Double world champion, José Maria Lopez, scored his seventh pole position and clinched his 10th victory confirming his domination of the 2015 WTCC. Yvan Muller won the second race and overtook Sébastien Loeb in the battle for the runner-up spot. The Citroën Total team finished its second year in the WTCC with 21 wins in 24 races, the manufacturers’ title and a quadruple success in the drivers’ ratings!

 “By winning the races here with the titles already decided, José María López and Yvan Muller reminded everyone why they are the best drivers in the competition today. The whole team was terribly sad when it sunk in that this was Sebastien Loeb’s last race with us. A great chapter in the history of motorsport has ended today. We will always share a lot of fond memories with Sebastien.”

Yves Matton (Team Principal – Citroën Racing)

 

“I wanted to hold onto second place in the World Championship, but I knew it would be difficult and that Yvan would push hard to get the better of me. Even though there was only one point in it in the end, I have no regrets. I thank Citroën for that and for everything we have done together over the past 15 years. It was really emotional to be with the team for the last time today, but I’m looking to the future, and the challenges that lie ahead for me are exciting. I still have a few things I want to try before I call it a day!”

Sebastien Loeb (Citroën Total Team)

Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi 2015

ROSBERG FINISHES THE SEASON IN A BLAZE OF GLORY!

 In the final grand prix of the year the German scored his sixth victory in 2015 followed home by his world champion team-mate. Daniel Ricciardo saw the flag in a low-key sixth place. Romain Grosjean scored a brilliant ninth-place finish.

 KVYAT daniil (rus) red bull renault rb11 action during the 2015 Formula One World Championship, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from November 27th to 29th 2015 in Yas Marina. Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Rosberg finishes in a blaze of glory!

Nico Rosberg clinched his sixth pole position on the bounce and strolled home to his third consecutive victory. In addition, he set the fastest lap in the race scoring the first grand slam of his career! The German has been unbeatable since his team-mate at Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton, wrapped up the 2015 F1 world title. The British driver explained his three second places by a suspension tweak that he has found it difficult to cope with for the past few weeks.

Raïkkönen’s revival!

It was only Kimi Raïkkönen’s third top-3 finish of the season but it came at just the right moment. At the wire the Finn got the better of his fellow-countryman, Valterri Bottas, in the drivers’ championship classification, and snatched fourth place behind the two Mercedes and the other Ferrari in the hands of Sebastian Vettel who finished a stunning fourth after the Scuderia played with fire in qualifying. In the final classification of the drivers’ championship, the teams doubled up with the two Williams drivers in fifth and sixth places followed by the two Red Bulls and the two Force Indias.

Grosjean bows out on a high!

After being pushed back to 19th place (gearbox change) Romain Grosjean fought his way up through the field on an out-of-sync strategy and clinched the points that went with ninth place. It was a stunning performance on his last drive for the Lotus F1 team. Next year the Frenchman will race for the Haas-Ferrari outfit. At Infiniti Red Bull Racing Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat saw the flag in sixth and ninth places respectively after a challenging season.

 “It was the best way to leave the team, scoring some good points and having a good race. The team deserves it and I’m very proud of the gift I’m leaving as a present. It’s been an emotional day for me and I’m so happy to be able to reward everyone at Enstone with points.”

Romain Grosjean (Lotus F1 Team)

Bahrain 6 hours

Signatech Alpine clinches a fourth-place finish

Pole position and a ding-dong battle

The Signatech Alpine team arrived in Bahrain boosted by their first victory in the LM P2 category in the previous round in Shanghai. This weekend the French squad confirmed its gathering momentum, in particular thanks to a stunning pole position in LM P2 putting Panciatici-Chatin-Dillmann on the fifth row of the grid. After making a cautious start the Alpine A450b soon became involved in the battle for first place with the G-Drive Racing Ligiers and the KCMG Oreca 05. It held the lead on several occasions, and the team looked on course for a top-3 finish until their hopes faded in the closing stages of the race despite the best efforts of Tom Dillmann, Paul-Loup Chatin and Nelson Panciatici. The Alpine A450b saw the flag in fourth position, less than 1.5 seconds behind the third-placed car after a 6-hour battle!

36 DILLMANN Tom (FRA) CHATIN Paul Loup (FRA) PANCIATICI Nelson (FRA) ALPINE A450-B NISSAN team Signatech Alpine action   during the 2015 FIA WEC World Endurance Championship, 6 Hours of Bahrain from November 19th to 21th 2015, at International Circuit of Sakhir. Photo Frederic Le Floc'h / DPPI

Porsche clinches two more titles

After dominating free practice and qualifying the Porsche 919 Hybrids, especially the one driven by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, had a much tougher race. The championship leaders’ car, which shot into first place, came in for a pit stop just after the half-hour mark that cost it five laps for repairs to the accelerator. The Audi R18 e-tron quattros, much more at home in the blazing sun, took the fight to the other 919 and the drivers’ title changed hands on several occasions. The evening coolness seemed to help the second Porsche driven by Dumas, Lieb and Jani, which won the race, gifting the world title to their team-mates.* Toyota took full advantage of the problems that hit the German cars and no. 2 saw the flag in third place giving Alexander Wurz a podium finish in his last race. In LM P2, victory and the title went to the no. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier* from the KCMG Oreca, while in LM GTE Pro French duo Pilet-Makowiecki gave Porsche another win in their 911 RSR, and their team-mate Richard Lietz clinched the drivers’ crown.* Aston Martin won the LM GTE Am Category in which the title went to the SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia.*

 “After our fast times in practice our out-of-sync strategy should have paid off so we feel frustrated. After fighting at the front throughout the race it’s tough not to be on the podium. The coming-together with the Toyota hurt our chances. But let’s look on the bright side of things as we’ve achieved our objective, fourth place in the overall classification in LM P2. Overall it’s been a positive season and we were always in the mix. Just a tiny lack of success prevented us from finishing in the top three. Roll on next year!”

Nelson Panciatici (Signatech Alpine driver)

 

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

 

Next round: 6 Hours of Silverstone (17 April 2016)

Wales Rally GB 2015

OGIER WINS, BUT EVERYBODY’S THOUGHTS WERE ELSEWHERE

Sébastien Ogier led the rally from start to finish and ended the season with his eighth victory marred by the tragic events in Paris. Kris Meeke scored a superb second place ensuring the same position for Citroën in the world manufacturers’ championship.

A sad final

It looked like there was going to be a close fight between the two Volkswagen drivers as Ogier was only 8/10th of a second in front of Latvala at the end of the first stage. However, in the second corner of the next one the Finn made a mistake that led to his elimination. Even if Meeke managed to hang on to the Frenchman throughout the first day, the latter gradually pulled away. The tragic events in Paris on Friday night cast a pall over the rest of the rally, which continued nevertheless. The three-time world champion, deeply affected by what had happened, did not make any mistakes and scored his third victory on the bounce in the Wales Rally GB. Meeke too put on a brilliant, faultless display, and did not wilt under the pressure exercised by Mikkelsen in the closing stages to clinch second place in front of the Volkswagen driver.

101_MEEKE_2015_WRCWALES-300x200

Mission accomplished

The two Hyundai drivers Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon, who were very consistent all weekend, saw the flag in fourth and fifth places despite being under constant threat from M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans. Mads Østberg went off in the 11th stage when he was battling with this group, but recovered to score the points awarded for seventh place consolidating the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s second position in the manufacturers’ championship. The French make had other reasons to be satisfied as Norwegian driver, Veiby, won in the Junior WRC and Quentin Gilbert wrapped up the title in WRC 3!

Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal):

“Now is not really the time for celebrating, given the circumstances. Obviously, our thoughts are with the victims of the Paris attacks. The sporting result is secondary, but i wish to say thank you and well done to the team for their hard work throughout the year. We have achieved all our targets with second place in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, a Junior WRC rally win and the WRC 3 title, which shows that we are still leading the way in promoting talented young drivers. I would also like to thank Mads Østberg, Jonas Andersson, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle for their commitment throughout the season”

 Next round: Monte Carlo Rally (22-24 January 2016)

Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos) 2015

THE RED BULLS IN THE THICK OF THE ACTION

Rosberg again beat Hamilton to the chequered flag with Vettel in third place. The RB11s met with mixed fortunes with Kvyat in seventh place and Ricciardo eleventh. Grosjean came home eighth.

A new order at Mercedes

The Mercedes scored another double, their eleventh of the season, with Nico Rosberg leading home Lewis Hamilton as in Mexico two weeks ago. The German, who gives the impression that since he lost the title something has been liberated in him, set his fifth pole on the bounce and led the race in masterly fashion from start to finish apart from refuelling stops. Hamilton put his team-mate under intense pressure in the first stint of the race, but he was never in a position to mount an attack and a very disgruntled British driver saw the flag in second place. Rosberg’s victory guaranteed him the runner-up spot in the F1 world championship before the last race of the season, as he has 31 points in hand over Sebastian Vettel putting him outside the reach of his fellow-countryman. After its Mexican disaster Ferrari resumed its role of nearest challenger to the Mercedes, and the red cars from Maranello were the only other runners to finish on the same lap as the leader with Vettel over 30 seconds in front of Kimi Raïkkönen, whose race strategy was odd to say the least. None of the other cars could match the pace of these four; not even the Williams as Valterri Bottas finished fifth a lap behind the winner.

Hard-charging Red Bulls

Daniel Ricciardo had the new updated Renault engine, but didn’t find much of a performance gain; and in addition he had to start from the last row due to a 10-place penalty. So it was up to Daniil Kvyat to lead the Red Bulls’ charge in a tightly-packed field (behind the Mercedes).

KVYAT daniil (rus) red bull renault rb11 action during the 2015 Formula One World Championship, Brazil Grand Prix from November 12th to 15th 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo Eric Vargiolu / DPPI.

Throughout the race the Russian was locked in battle with a reinvigorated Nico Hulkenberg to whom he had to give way in the closing laps crossing the line in seventh place. On the other hand, Ricciardo’s gamble – first tyre change on lap 3 – didn’t pay off, and the Australian finished eleventh just outside the points after Massa had been excluded because his tyre pressure was too high before the start. Romain Grosjean shone on the Interlagos circuit in a Lotus that never missed a beat and the Frenchman pulled off some spectacular overtaking moves. He came home eighth in front of Max Verstappen who racked up his sixth consecutive points-scoring finish, a record for a Toro Rosso driver!

Christian Horner (Infiniti red Bull Racing):

“We knew this was going to be a difficult track for us and we were proved right this afternoon, even though the team and the drivers did their utmost to bring home the best possible result. Overtaking is very difficult here and we couldn’t match the pace of the quickest cars down the straight: we clearly weren’t alone in this as only four cars finished on the lead lap.”

Next round: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina – 29 November 2015)

Valencia Grand Prix 2015

Rabat steals the limelight

By winning the last race of the season in Valencia, Tito Rabat left the Moto2 class stealing the limelight. The Spanish rider will replace Scott Redding next year in MotoGP riding the Honda of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.

The Races

Although he missed the last three races of the season due to injury, Tito Rabat didn’t miss his comeback to competition. Having recovered from a broken left wrist, the Spaniard bade farewell to the Moto2 class with a brilliant comeback on the Valencia circuit. After qualifying for pole position, Rabat led the eighteen laps of the race from start to finish, scoring his thirteenth victory in this category.

TITO RABAT SPA  ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS Kalex  Moto2  GP Valencia (Circuit Ricardo Tormo) 6-8/11/2015 PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek www.photoPSP.com

Despite three falls during the practice test sessions and a poor start, Marquez still managed to climb back to finish twelfth.

In MotoGP, Redding had a hard time for his last outing flying the flag of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS. Lacking feeling and grip from the first practice session onwards, the Brit had to wait until the second half of the race to start finding his feet, allowing him to climb back from twentieth to finish in fifteenth place.

The Championship

Scoring a single point for the fifteenth place has not changed anything in Scott Redding’s position in the MotoGP championship standings. The rider for the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS ended his second season in the premier-class category placed thirteenth in the overall classification.

In Moto2, Tito Rabat ended his last year in the intermediate class in third position, three points away from Alex Rins. Alex Marquez meanwhile ended his first season with the Kalex at fourteenth place in the championship.

The Background

Winner of his last race in Moto2, Tito Rabat put an end to his Moto2 career in the best way possible. The Spaniard will make his debut next year in the premier-class category. Rabat has already been given a chance to ride a few laps with the Honda RC213V of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS on the Aragon circuit, a first contact which delighted both the 2014 Moto2 world champion and his team manager.

Michael Bartholemy, the head of the Belgian team:

“He certainly impressed us, he felt quickly at ease, and the machine’s power didn’t faze him.”

What can we expect from him in 2016?

“It’s very hard to say, MotoGP will be very different next year. With Michelin tires, common electronics, more fuel…  A new hierarchy is likely to develop. As far as we’re concerned, having two riders should allow us to work faster, and that should help Tito make faster progress.”

The 6 Hours of Shanghai

SIGNATECH ALPINE SCORES MAIDEN WEC VICTORY!

Blue is beautiful!

The Signatech Alpine team, the reigning European Le Mans Series (ELMS) double champions, took on a major challenge this season by moving up to the next level, the World Endurance Championship (WEC). And with success as this weekend the French team scored its maiden victory in the WEC on only its seventh outing! In Shanghai, the driver line-up was slightly reshuffled with Tom Dillmann, fresh from his eighth place in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series after scoring points (including a top-3 finish in Monaco) in nine out of the 12 races, joining team regulars, Nelson Panciatici and Paul-Loup Chatin. He slotted into the French squad without problems and mastered the difficult conditions in the race in which the trio finished first, a lap in front of the LM P2 championship leaders, the no. 26 Ligier JS P2-Nissan run by G-Drive Racing. Signatech Alpine has been on a roll since the mid-point of the world championship. In the Austin 6 Hours it missed out on a top-3 finish by a whisker and then in Fuji at the beginning of October, the French team saw the flag in second place followed by victory in China with the A450b.

 

Pegasus flies

A great triple stint from Alex Brundle saw the Pegasus Racing Team Total make the most of the conditions to lead the LMP2 race during the first 4 hours. With the track drying in the last 2 hours, the #29 Morgan-Nissan would eventually earn Brundle and his Chinese teammates Ho-Pin Tung and David Cheng a creditable fifth place finish.

Porsche leaves its mark on endurance racing

With one race to go, the Bahrain 6 Hours in November, Porsche clinched the manufacturers’ world championship title* with another double in China today, Sunday, the fourth victory on the bounce for Webber-Hartley-Bernhard, who are also well placed to win the drivers’ crown. But on the Shanghai circuit Audi made them work hard for their success. Once again Toyota was unable to pose a threat to the supremacy of the two German manufacturers. Porsche will also be aiming for the titles in LM GTE Pro with Richard Lietz and his 911 RSR, while in LM GTE Am the battle for the titles will be fought out between the SMP Racing and AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italias in Bahrain on 21st November.

Nelson Panciatici (Signatech Alpine driver):

“We constructed this victory together out on the track and in the pits. It’s our first win in the world championship; it’s a very important one for Alpine and I’m proud to have contributed to it. Conditions were difficult, but we managed to avoid all the traps. Our Alpine A450b was quick right from the word go. We felt confident so we really pushed. And we succeeded!”

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

 

Next round: 6 Hours of Bahrain (21 November)

Grand Prix of Mexico 2015

THE RB11S FINISH JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 3

Rosberg beats Hamilton to victory. A good result for Infiniti Red Bull Racing with Kvyat and Ricciardo finishing fourth and fifth. Grosjean bags point for 10th place.

Mercedes lock out the top 3

The three drivers on the Mexican podium all had Mercedes engines, yet further proof of the German manufacturer’s supremacy since the change to the V6 turbo hybrids last year. Nico Rosberg hit back in the best possible fashion by starting from pole and fending off the attacks of Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps of the grand prix to win the race in style. As a result the German retook second place in the drivers’ classification from fellow-countryman, Sebastian Vettel, who was eliminated by an accident. It was a disastrous weekend for Ferrari as Raïkkönen also retired, the first time that both red cars failed to see the flag since Australia 2006!

In addition to another easy double by Mercedes Valterri Bottas was back in the limelight with third place in his Williams powered by the same unit. It was his first top-3 finish since the Canadian GP after his last two races had ended in retirement. This result helped him to snatch fourth place in the drivers’ championship ratings from fellow-countryman, Kimi Raïkkönen.

 F1 - MEXICO GRAND PRIX 2015

Red Bull Racing brings its 2 cars home in the top 5

Daniil Kvyat just missed out on his second top-3 finish of the season as he was passed by Valterri Bottas when the race restarted after Sebastian Vettel’s accident. The Russian had to make do with fourth place in front of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who had a coming-together with Vettel when the cars braked for the first time on lap 1. The two Red Bull Racing RB11s were under threat from Felipe Massa’s Williams in the closings stages of the race.

Nico Hülkenberg was back in the points with a more upbeat performance which netted him seventh place in front of team-mate, Sergio Perez. The revelation of the year, Dutch prodigy Max Verstappen, scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2015 while Romain Grosjean clinched the final point on offer with tenth spot.

Daniil Kvyat (Infiniti red Bull Racing):

“As a team I think we did a perfect job, scoring solid points from a solid race. The podium was very close and we were fighting until the end, but on the restart after the safety car we didn’t have enough pace on the straight and Williams went full bananas, so Bottas passed me quite easily. It was a shame about not getting on the podium, I thought we deserved it today but that’s racing and we have to accept it. We’ve been very strong this weekend and the track has suited us quite well. I think this weekend showed we can be champions if we get back on the path. I believe in this team, I believe in us and I believe in our future.”

Next round: Grand Prix of Brazil (Sao Paulo – Interlagos – 15th November)