MotoGP, Grand Prix of Qatar

Morbidelli Makes It

After promising preparation work during the winter, Franco Morbidelli confirmed in Qatar that he’ll be someone to reckon with this season. A stated candidate for the Moto2 World Championship title, the Italian rider brilliantly won the first race of the season.

 

 

The Races

Although he has already made it eight times to the podium, Franco Morbidelli had never managed to reach the first step. The Total rider put an end to that regrettable fact the best way possible by winning on the Losail circuit after obtaining his first pole position. Having overtaken Tom Lüthi, the Italian raced out in front to cross the finish line nearly three seconds ahead of his Swiss rival. Second on the grid, Alex Marquez was in third position for many laps before downshifting to fifth. Jack Miller began the MotoGP championship on the right foot. On a circuit that has always been unfortunate for Hondas, the Australian managed to get the better of Alex Rins late in the laps and take eighth place in a race won by Maverick Viñales. Still recovering from his terrible crash during the test sessions in Malaysia early in February, Tito Rabat nonetheless clinched fifteenth place. In Moto3, Jakub Kornfeil ended twentieth while Patrik Pulkkinen fell four laps from the finish line.

The Championship

Attacking hard at the start of this season, Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS can be proud of its four riders having all scored points. In MotoGP, Miller and Rabat left Qatar in eighth and fifteenth places respectively in the overall standings, while in Moto2, Morbidelli and Marquez now hold first and fifth positions in the provisional ranking.

The Background

Last year, an arsenal of aerodynamic appendages were added to the fairings of the MotoGP bikes, turning the Grand Prix machines into fighter aircraft. Considering most of the fins to be dangerous, and anxious to keep inflation in development costs under control, the race managers decided to ban all of them. This year, teams can no longer expand the fairings of their motorbikes at will. The first model has to be approved during the first Grand Prix, and then only one upgrade is allowed during the season. In addition, it must be approved by the MotoGP technical director. None of the regulations prevent engineers in the racing departments from using their brains, however. The result is that we saw a whole range of new ideas take form over the winter, with wings tucked inside the double flanks, and front fairing nose trims equipped with nozzles or extractors.

MotoGP is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing , the championship must remain a testing ground for brands and their engineers.

Michael Bartholemy,
boss of Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle claim the Citroën C3 WRC’s first win!

Rally Guanajuato México (7-12 March 2017)

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle kept up their impressive form and (just about) held their nerve on the final day of Rally Mexico. Despite running off the road a few corners before the end of the Power Stage, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT crew secured the C3 WRC’s maiden rally win!

– The final day of the rally only featured two stages: La Calera (32.96km) and the Derramadero Power Stage (21.94km).

– As the crews left the service park this morning, light rain had started to fall. This led to the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT crews making different calls when it came to tyre choice. Kris Meeke went with four soft and two hard Michelin LTX Force tyres, whilst Stéphane Lefebvre opted to go with six soft compound tyres.

– On the penultimate speed test, Kris Meeke claimed his fifth stage win of the weekend. He extended his lead over Sébastien Ogier by another 6.3s, whilst Stéphane Lefebvre set an excellent third fastest time.

– The team looked on nervously as the crews contested the Power Stage, broadcast live on television. And there was certainly no shortage of drama! With the finishing line almost in sight, the Northern Irishman’s Citroën C3 WRC ran wide on a long right-hand corner. The car ran through the hedge at the side of the road and into… a spectator car park!

– Kris managed to keep his cool, get around the parked cars and back onto the road in a few seconds. He crossed the finishing line to secure victory by 13.8 seconds!

– After something of an emotional roller-coaster ride during the final stage, there were scenes of joy and celebration in the team as Kris and Paul were welcomed as champions on their return to the León service park.

– This is Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle’s fourth win in the WRC, following Argentina in 2015, and Portugal and Finland in 2016. It is also Citroën’s 97th win in the World Rally Championship.

 

YVES MATTONYves Matton
Directeur de Citroën Racing
«What happened in the Power Stage is almost beyond belief, even if this kind of thing has occurred before. At the time, there was some confusion as to what had happened; the onboard footage made it look like there had been a major off whereas the tracking system indicated that the car was still moving. When the car crossed the finishing line, we were absolutely thrilled and all the tension and drama just slipped away! This first win on gravel shows that the C3 WRC has some very solid foundations and that the Citroën Racing team did a good job during its development. We’ll now be able to work in a slightly more relaxed manner as we look to keep improving.»

 

KRIS MEEKEKris Meeke
« I think I might end up telling this story hundreds of times… I’m annoyed with myself for making that mistake. The car went wide after a big compression and we were very lucky. I quickly looked to get back on the road because I knew we could still win. That’s the main thing: we showed the potential of the Citroën C3 WRC in securing the car’s first win. I’m proud and delighted for the entire team, this result is for them.»

 

STÉPHANE LEFEBVREStéphane Lefebvre
« We have picked up a lot of experience this weekend. Even today, being eleventh on the road meant I had the same grip as the leaders and I was able to get a feel for what the car can do in these conditions. Well done to Kris, Paul and the whole team; this win is a special moment for Citroën Racing. »

Superbike World Championship, Thailand

Rea Races On

As in Australia two weeks ago, Jonathan Rea won both races during the weekend in Thailand. Untouchable in Buriram, the twin world champion now already has a thirty-point lead over Chaz Davies

The Races

Once again, Jonathan Rea did not do things by halves. The Kawasaki rider scored two new victories on the Buriram circuit which hosted the second round of the Superbike World Championship. After clocking up the fastest time in the qualifying sessions, Rea clearly outperformed his opponents in both races. The result on Sunday was even more impressive in that the Kawasaki rider was forced to start from the ninth position after winning the race the day before. Head and shoulders above the pack, he didn’t need much time to overtake those ahead of him. After four laps of a race reduced to sixteen after an interruption due to oil on the track, Rea was already in the lead and could race away to his fifth victory on the Buriram track.

It’s the best start to a season I’ve ever had, I feel really good on the bike and everything is going well. But I was nervous at the start of the second race because it’s not easy to overtake on this circuit and with the speed of the Ducati’s… Melandri is also very tough braking. But everything went well.

Jonathan Rea

Behind him, Tom Sykes did the job by taking two podium places despite minor brake problems. Finishing twelfth on Saturday afternoon, Randy Krummenacher unfortunately didn’t cross the finish line the next day.

In Supersport, Thitipong Warokorn fittingly replaced Kenan Sofuoglu, who’s still recovering. The Thai finished fourth in a race marked by a number of retirements. Kyles Smith, meanwhile, crossed the finish line in fifth position, while Canducci was forced to retire due to mechanical problems.

The Championship

With four wins in four races, Jonathan Rea will attack the European leg of the world championship with a lead of thirty points over Chaz Davies. Third in the standings, Tom Sykes is only eight points behind the Ducati rider. In Supersport, Kyle Ryde moved up to fourth place overall while Michael Canducci fell back to twentieth position.

The Background

With four wins in four races, Jonathan Rea couldn’t do better in the first two overseas races of the 2017 season. This year, the twin Superbike World Champion – who could become the first rider to win three titles in a row – says he’s never felt so good on his bike. But once again this season, the increasingly stringent technical regulations have seriously limited the work of the Kawasaki engineers.

We can’t do much to the bike, especially the engine, That’s why this winter we concentrated on the chassis to optimize the work of the tyres all along the races.

Marcel Duinker,
chief engineer for Tom Sykes

Work that has obviously paid off. In Australia, as in Thailand, Jonathan Rea finished both races at a very good pace:

 We have a great technical set-up with a very well balanced bike.

The PEUGEOT DKR to target more Silk Way Rally Glory

PRESS RELEASE – MARCH 02 2017

  • PEUGEOT Total’s Dream Team is to follow up its landmark one-two-three success on January’s Dakar* with an entry of three factory PEUGEOT DKRs for the 2017 Silk Way Rally (SWR) on July 7-22. PEUGEOT SPORT has confirmed that these cars will be in the hands of DESPRES, LOEB and PETERHANSEL.
  • After winning the 2016 Silk Way Rally**, Team PEUGEOT Total will be out to provide further evidence of the strength and competitive potential of the two-wheel drive PEUGEOT DKR.
  • The event will take the three PEUGEOT DKRs from Moscow’s Red Square in Russia to Xi’an, China, via the Kazakh Steppe and the Mongolian desert on an extreme adventure to back the international offensive of PEUGEOT’s SUV range which is enjoying significant success in Europe and China.

1st: S. PETERHANSEL/J-P. COTTRET. 2nd, S. LOEB/D. ELENA. 3rd, C. DESPRES/D. CASTERA
**1st, C. DESPRES/D. CASTERA (PEUGEOT 2008DKR)

QUOTE, UNQUOTE…

Bruno FAMIN, Director, PEUGEOT SPORT
“The 2017 Silk Way Rally will provide PEUGEOT SPORT with another opportunity to showcase its competitiveness in the world of cross-country rallying. Team PEUGEOT TOTAL is targeting another win on this event which has forged a reputation for being long and gruelling and this year’s rally is likely to be no exception. The terrain it covers, its slot in the calendar and its format make it an exciting challenge for PEUGEOT SPORT, while Russia and China are both very important markets for PEUGEOT.”

Jean Philippe IMPARATO, CEO, PEUGEOT Brand
“PEUGEOT sees the Silk Way Rally as a means to showcase its knowhow and expertise with an entry spearheaded by three highly talented French drivers, namely Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Sébastien LOEB and Cyril DESPRES. We have already demonstrated the performance and reliability of PEUGEOT’s road cars and competition cars and I am convinced that Team PEUGEOT TOTAL will rise successfully to this new challenge thanks to the team spirit that helped it to earn such a successful record.”

Frédéric LEQUIEN, Director, Silk Way Rally
“As organisers, we are extremely proud and honoured to have one of the world’s best-known brands and one of cross-country rallying’s most successful teams contesting our event. All three PEUGEOT crews boast exceptional records and they are all genuine personalities. The 2017 Silk Way Rally promises to be a magnificent, spectacular but also challenging event, with a nicely-balanced itinerary, a wide variety of terrains and a new finish venue this time in Xi’an. We have attracted some major media broadcasting partnerships which will help to promote the Silk Way Rally’s reputation and coverage.”

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