GCK reaches final in 2nd ever race at Montalegre RX

29th April, Montalegre, Portugal
Round 2 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Montalegre race circuit saw GC-Kompetition successfully introduce both GCK Mégane R.S. RX to the track in the Portugese mountains as Guerlain Chicherit reached the team’s first Championship finals and placed 5th overall whilst Jérôme Grosset-Janin just missed out on a spot in the semi-finals finishing the weekend in P14 after Q4.

With both drivers completely new to this track, Saturday saw them impress with ever-improving pace as the sun beat down on the dusty track, with Guerlain placing 2nd in Q1 and posting GCK’s first ever top 5 qualification result finishing in 4th overall. Jérôme took the lead in his qualifier but a tap by Johan Kristoffersson into the first corner pushed him out resulting in him placing 15th overall after Q1.
Jérôme went on to win his Q2, whilst Guerlain finished 5th in his group, wrapping up day 1 in 14th and 8th place respectively.

Sunday delivered extremely challenging weather conditions with a mix of sun, hail, rain and even snow keeping the teams on their toes throughout the day. Guerlain and Jérôme lined up together for an early Q3 on a very wet track and whilst they finished 1st and 2nd respectively, a 5 second penalty for Chicherit for contact in the first corner and a drying track resulting in quickly tumbling times in the following qualifiers, saw them finish Q3 in 10th and 14th overall.

Q4 saw Guerlain and Jérôme line up together again and, showing increasing confidence on the new track as the rain beat down, Chicherit finished 2nd right behind Timur Timerzyanov with Grosset-Janin placing 4th, resulting in 11th place and a semi-final spot for Guerlain and a 14th place for Jerome at the end of Q4.

The Portugese mountains delivered a beautiful backdrop as the sun made an appearance again for the 1st semi-finals on a dry track. Guerlain lined up on the 3rd row and raced cleanly and strongly beating Kevin Hansen, Mattias Ekström and Niclas Grönholm to a spot in the final, as he finished in 3rd place behind Johan Kristofferson and Andreas Bakkerud.

Lining up for the final on row 3 next to Petter Solberg for the first ever Championship race in heavy snow, race conditions like never seen before in the history of World Rallycross saw Guerlain race his
way into 5th place behind Johan Kristofferson, Sebastien Loeb, Petter Solberg and Andreas Bakkerud.

Guerlain Chicherit commented: “It was a really incredible weekend for GC-Kompetition and for me personally as I achieved my first ever spot in a Championship final on the team’s 2nd ever outing in the
newly built GCK Mégane R.S. RX. It’s a really promising start to the season and I’m excited to see what we may be able to achieve as our confidence and experience in the car increases. I really loved racing
this track and can’t wait to be back next year. I’m really proud of the team who works super hard to ensure we continue to improve every time we are in the car.”

Jérôme Grosset-Janin added: “It was a challenging start to the weekend for us as we had to quickly learn the track having never been here before. Our lap times are ever improving as we’re mixing it with the Championship regulars and I’m really happy with the team’s results this weekend. Contact in my Q1 and the resulting time meant I had to continue fighting my way back from then on but I’m getting more and more confident in the car as we learn to adapt to different conditions, so I’m really looking forward to Belgium to continue pushing for that podium position.”

Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT out of luck

Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s luck escaped them on the second full day of racing: just as they seemed on course to secure another podium finish, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle picked up a puncture that relegated them to eighth place. Earlier on, Craig Breen and Scott Martin were forced to retire after rolling their C3 WRC, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson continued to rack up the miles and ended the day in fourteenth place.

Yesterday’s weather forecast proved to be accurate: fog was indeed in evidence on the morning loop of stages, and in these kind of unpredictable visibility conditions, it’s easy to go too slowly and get your pace wrong. This is all the more true now that crews are no longer able to see split times in the cockpit. It is therefore a case of who can adapt the best to the conditions and have unwavering confidence in their pace notes.

Yesterday’s weather forecast proved to be accurate: fog was indeed in evidence on the morning loop of stages, and in these kind of unpredictable visibility conditions, it’s easy to go too slowly and get your pace wrong. This is all the more true now that crews are no longer able to see split times in the cockpit. It is therefore a case of who can adapt the best to the conditions and have unwavering confidence in their pace notes.

Meanwhile, Craig Breen was focusing on trying to keep improving. His splits suggested he was mathcing the pace of the future stage winner on first run on Cuchilla Nevada – Rio Pintos (40.48km) when unfortunately he was caught out by a crest on a corner and rolled the car. He nursed the car back to midday service, but an in-depth analysis of the roll cage, which had been damaged in the incident, concluded it was unfit to continue.

Hampered by running first on the road, Khalid Al Qassimi remained committed to his careful approach, as he tried to improve his handling of the C3 WRC between the morning and afternoon loops. He made to the end of day two in fourteenth place.

Rally Argentina concludes tomorrow with the famous El Condor and Giulio Cesare stages, with huge, enthusiastic crowds expected to line the roads.

WHAT THEY SAID…


Pierre Budar
, Citroën Racing Team Principal

« Obviously, it has been a frustrating day because after having once again shown the performance level and reliability of our C3 WRC, Kris was on course to bring home a deserved podium. His aim was to hold onto third place and was certainly not trying to push to close on the second-placed driver. That was the approach we had agreed with him after Craig went off this morning. Sure enough, Craig made a mistake but up to that point he had every reason to be pleased with his performance, compared with the best drivers on this surface, at an event at which he has so little experience. Finally, Khalid managed to keep out of trouble and get some more miles under his belt.»


Kris Meeke

« There was a stone in the middle of the road and I couldn’t avoid it, given the width of the road. Unfortunately, I got a puncture straight away on the right rear tyre. It’s a shame because I was both quick and consistent, and I clearly felt capable of securing third place.»


Craig Breen

« Unfortunately, I turned in a bit too soon on a right-hander over a crest. I realised that I was going to hit a ditch so I tried to steer to avoid it but it was too little, too late and when we landed, we were thrown into a roll. Obviously, I’m sorry for the team, who deserved a better result, and am frustrated not to have been able to complete any more miles at this event, where I’m already short on experience. But I have to focus on the speed we showed at certain points and will aim to come back stronger in Portugal.»


Khalid Al Qassimi

« It wasn’t an easy day for us, mainly due to the fact we opened the road all day, which meant we spent the morning especially cleaning the road for those behind. I enjoyed the afternoon driving a C3 WRC that was more precise, despite making a minor mistake, which fortunately had no serious consequences.»

STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2

1. Tänak / Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h58’33’’9
2. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 46’’5
3. Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 1’08’’2
4. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 1’59’’0
5. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 2’13’’8
6. Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 2’42’’9
7. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 2’49’’1
8. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) + 3’20’’4
9. Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 4’17’’6

14. Al Qassimi / Patterson (Citroën C3 WRC) + 17’17’’2

Loeb on the WRX podium again in the snow of Portugal !

WRX Round #2 – Montalegre, 28-29.04

Legend Sébastien Loeb may be used to snow from events like Rally Sweden – but he certainly wasn’t expecting it in rallyross! Nonetheless, the Team PEUGEOT Total driver showcased all his talent to take the PEUGEOT 208 WRX to a 2nd consecutive runner-up spot on round 2 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship this weekend, held high up in the mountains of Montalegre, Portugal. The altitude certainly provided a tough test for the race car as well as its drivers, but all 3 pilots once more showed their sparkling potential on an event that everyone will remember…


Sébastien Loeb got off to a flying start in Portugal by winning Q1 and finishing 2nd in Q2, making him the points leader overnight on Saturday.
While he felt a bit less confident in the wet and slippery conditions of Q3 and Q4 on Sunday morning, he comfortably went through to the semi-final with the 600-horsepower 208 WRX. The Frenchman finished 2nd in the semi, which earned him a place in the final, which was held just as the snow started to fall hard. After an intense sideways battle around the spectacular Montalegre circuit, Loeb finished 2nd overall in the final: the same result that he achieved in Barcelona, to boost his position in the championship rankings.


Timmy Hansen was the only person to beat Loeb in a race on Saturday, winning Q2 in front of his illustrious team mate to lie 2nd overnight in the overall points rankings. He too easily qualified for the semi-finals, and the news got even better for the Swede on Sunday afternoon when he won his semi-final, again in front of Loeb. Hansen was set for a strong finish in the snowy final but unfortunately hit the guardrail and spun while pushing hard for the win, dropping him to the back of the order. There were no prizes in the final for him, but plenty of points from the weekend.

Kevin Hansen also had a great start in Portugal and seemingly got better and better as conditions became more challenging: finishing 5th and 9th in the wet Q3 and Q4 sessions on Sunday morning. These strong results promoted him to the semi-final but disaster struck when he was caught out by a rival who braked early and went into the back of him, breaking the intercooler on his car. To save the engine from terminal damage, he chose to switch it off, and his promising weekend was sadly over – although a point had been well and truly proved.

QUOTES…
Bruno Famin, PEUGEOT SPORT  Director

«It has been a good weekend! Even though on paper the results look quite similar to the first round in Spain two weeks ago, it’s more positive as we score plenty of points towards both championships. Sébastien Loeb has scored 25 points, which makes him the second-best performer of the weekend behind Kristoffersson, who scores 26. And in the team rankings, we are the joint best performers of the weekend together with Volkswagen. What’s positive is that our cars have shown good pace and good reliability throughout the weekend, with no technical issues. The cars have gone better in the dry than in the wet, but it’s still very encouraging. A solid performance. »

Sébastien Loeb, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9
« I had a really good feeling with the 208 WRX from the beginning. In the dry, the car was easy to handle, and I felt very confident: I could concentrate on the lap time rather than what I was doing with the car itself. The Q1 and Q2 sessions were good but in Q3 the conditions were different, and I was struggling a bit more to find the line. Luckily in the semi-final the conditions were dry again, then the final was run in amazing conditions. It was a good fight all weekend and I really enjoyed it; it’s not normal to see snow! The battle is so close between everyone, but we are right up there too. You have to do everything perfectly if you want to have a good weekend in rallycross. It’s not always easy but very satisfying when it happens.»

Timmy Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21
« In the final, I was going well but Kristoffersson was faster, and I made a mistake when I was trying to keep up. The weather changed for the final and we didn’t have time to adapt the car to the slippery conditions: we still had the set up from the dry run before. So, I think that was part of it, but it was also my mistake. I went too fast into the corner, hit the rail and spun round. That’s racing sometimes, mistakes can happen. At least we had a good weekend, a good qualifying and a win in the semi-final, with very tricky conditions. It’s a shame we can’t celebrate on the podium now, but I think the pace is there every time we’re on track; there’s no reason to feel negative. »

Kevin Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71
« I had a really good start again in the semi-final and I was just behind Ekstrom: I was sure he was going to go for the joker. Then he braked, and I didn’t have time to stop: I hit him in the rear and broke the intercooler. So, that was it. I’m a bit disappointed: you’re really excited and then suddenly it’s all over on the straight and there’s nothing you can do. On the positive side, we’ve got good speed and I’ve been making better starts than Barcelona. We’ve had two events now and I’ve been through to the semi-final on each occasion. I feel very good with the car and I trust it: especially when you have to go sideways like you do here. Without the incident in the semi, I think we could have been in the final, so that’s great.»

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 2

1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON / Volkswagen Polo R – 53 pts
2. Andreas BAKKERUD / Audi S1 – 44 pts
3. Petter SOLBERG / Volkswagen Polo R – 43 pts
4. Sébastien LOEB / PEUGEOT 208 WRX – 39 pts
5. Timmy HANSEN / PEUGEOT 208WRX – 36 pts
6. Mattias EKSTRÖM / Audi S1 – 36 pts
7. Niclas GRÖNHOLM / Hyundai i20 – 28 pts
8. Janis BAUMANIS / Ford Fiesta – 22 pts
9. Guerlain CHICHERIT / Renault Mégane RS – 20 pts
10. Timur TIMERZYANOV / Hyundai i20 – 17 pts
11. Kevin HANSEN / PEUGEOT 208WRX – 16 pts
12. Robin LARSSON / Ford Fiesta – 15 pts
13. Kevin ERIKSSON / Ford Fiesta – 14 pts
14. Jérome GROSSET-JANIN / Renault Mégane RS – 12 pts
15. Grégoire DEMOUSTIER / Peugeot 208 – 3 pts

TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 2

1. PSRX Volkswagen Sweden – 96 pts
2. EKS Audi Sport – 80 pts
3. Team PEUGEOT Total – 75 pts
4. GRX Taneco – 45 pts
5. GC Kompetition – 32 pts
6. Olsbergs MSE – 29 pts


NEXT ROUND
The 3rd round of the championship will takes place in Mettet, Belgium, from May 12-13. The Circuit Jules Tacheny is located close to Charleroi, totalling 1.149 kilometres in length and with a 61% asphalt surface plus 39% gravel. Compared to many of the other tracks visited by rallycross, this one is quite technical with some low-speed corners and twisty sections. Unlike Portugal, the joker comes at the very end of the lap – which can set up some dramatic finishes. With Belgium being a heartland of rallycross, Mettet is always an extremely popular event.

Paris podium for Sam Bird & DS Virgin Racing

Paris, 28th April 2018

Third-place finish for British racer in dramatic last lap finish

DS Virgin Racing maintains second position in both teams’ and drivers’ championship

Formula E returns on May 19 with Berlin E-Prix

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird secured third place during today’s dramatic Formula E Paris E-Prix with the Briton clinching the final podium place on the last corner of the last lap. The result means the team maintains its momentum in the all-electric championship, lying second in both the teams’ and the drivers’ standings.

Bird once again looked quick from the off, topping the timesheets in the opening practice session with team-mate and fellow Brit Alex Lynn following suit with P6. In the all-important qualifying session, Bird only narrowly missed out on pole to Jean-Eric Vergne, with Lynn set to line-up in P15 – despite only being half a second off the pace.

As the race got underway, Bird was just able to hold off from a charging Andre Lotterer behind to run second throughout the first half of the race, all the while pushing Vergne ahead.
Then, in the second half, Lotterer made a late lunge up the inside on lap 35 to squeeze by Bird with Lucas di Grassi also getting by a lap later. Lying fourth, it looked like the Briton would miss out on a top three finish but with just seconds to go, Lotterer – now in third – had depleted his energy. Crawling along, just meters from the finish line, Bird was helpless to avoid the stricken Techeetah car, making contact but somehow still managing to limp over the line in third and his 14th podium in Formula E. Despite his pace, Lynn was unable to improve on his P14 finish.

Bird said : « The weekend has been strong for us and the team but Jean-Eric [Vergne] drove a very smart race and we were unable to bring the fight to him. He fully deserved the win and I know how special it is to win on home soil. It was certainly an eventful race and I’m really pleased to come away with third place and more points for me and the team.»

Lynn said : « It’s not been the best weekend for me sadly. From our side of the garage we had a little bit of a disappointing qualifying, which then means it’s always going to be difficult in the race. We managed to gain a couple of positions but unfortunately couldn’t move further up the grid. However, we know the pace is there and we’ll regroup and bounce back in Berlin.  »

DS Virgin Racing  Team Principal Alex Tai commented   : « Paris has been a fantastic weekend for the team, both on and off the track. It’s great to see Sam on the podium yet again, and at the home race of our manufacturing partner DS Automobiles. We’ve also hosted an Innovation Summit here, as well as announce both a new partner in STANLEY Black & Decker, and a new majority team owner in Envision. With just four races to go, the team remains in a very strong position and we’re very much looking forward to the next race.»

DS Performance   Director   Xavier Mestelan Pinon   added: « It’s great to see Sam on the podium three times in a row and to continue being in the top three in our Paris home race, and a real satisfaction to be still in the race for both titles in this really demanding championship.»

Yves Bonnefont, DS Automobiles CEO said : « It was a great race in Paris. We are delighted with the show given to the DS fans. Sam Bird was able to finish the race on three wheels, as did the 1955 DS… It’s a tradition for our brand.»

The next Formula E race takes place in Berlin on May 19. For more information visit www.ds-virginracing.com. Click here to watch the race highlights.

2018 FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP PARIS E-PRIX (RD 8) – RACE RESULTS (49 LAPS):

1. JEAN ERIC VERGNE, TECHEETAH (28PTS, P)
2. LUCAS DI GRASSI, AUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER (19, FL)
3. SAM BIRD, DS VIRGIN RACING (15PTS)
4. MARO ENGEL, VENTURI FORMULA E (12PTS)
5. SEBASTIEN BUEMI, RENAULT E.DAMS (10PTS)
6. ANDRE LOTTERER, TECHEETAH (8PTS)
7. DANIEL ABT, AUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER (6PTS)
8. FELIX ROSENQVIST, MAHINDRA RACING (4PTS)
9. OLIVER TURVEY, NIO FORMULA E (2PTS)
10. JOSE MARIA LOPEZ, DRAGON (1PTS)
14. ALEX LYNN, DS VIRGIN RACING

DRIVERS’ STANDINGS:

1. JEAN ERIC VERGNE, 147PTS
2. SAM BIRD, 116PTS
3. FELIX ROSENQVIST, 86PTS
4. SEBASTIEN BUEMI, 70PTS
5. LUCAS DI GRASSI, 58PTS
14. ALEX LYNN, 17PTS

TEAMS’ STANDINGS:

1. TECHEETAH, 188PTS
2. DS VIRGIN RACING, 133PTS
3. AUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER, 114PTS
4. MAHINDRA RACING, 107PTS
5. PANASONIC JAGUAR RACING, 88PTS

MotoGP World Championship, USA

Grand Prix of the Americas

A podium for Marquez, an exploit for Mir

It did not take much for Álex Márquez to score his first win of the season in Texas. The Spaniard finished second while Joan Mir had his best result in Moto2 by finishing fourth.

The Races

Leader from the first to the twelfth lap after taking pole position, Marquez finally gave in at the end of the race when Bagnaia caught up with him. “With the wind and a higher runway temperature, the conditions were quite different from those of the free practice sessions,” said the Marc VDS team rider. “Finally I’m quite pleased to make it to the podium because I only just managed to hold the bike two or three times. The next Grands Prix in Europe will take place on circuits that suit me better.” Jostled in the first corner and twenty-fourth after the first lap, Mir made a superb comeback to take the checkered flag in fourth place. A great performance for the reigning Moto3 world champion who was riding only his third Moto2 race in Texas. In the MotoGP category, Tom Lüthi and Franco Moribelli had more difficulty in taking the measure of a circuit of the Americas where the bumps in the track are increasingly numerous. The Swiss ranked eighteenth and the Italian twenty-first.

The Championship

With his new podium, Álex Márquez returns to second place in the Moto2 overall classification tying with Mattia Pasini and only ten points behind leader Francesco Bagnaia. Joan Mir has moved up two positions and is now seventh. In MotoGP, Tom Lüthi is still racing after his first points while Franco Morbidelli has slipped back to 17th overall.

The Background

The chaotic way in which the Grand Prix of Argentina took place has not gone unchecked. The panic on the grid when all the riders decided to change their tires, Márquez’ false start and the various clashes that studded the race caused a wide range of heated discussions which the riders decided to end at the meeting in Texas. So for once, the traditional meeting of the Safety Commission Drew a full crowd. Carmelo and Carlos Ezpeleta, Loris Capirossi and Franco Uncini managed the session in which, although lively, the discussions finally remained quite courteous. In the end, everyone agreed that a former rider would have to assist Mike Webb as race director. That may provide an opportunity for Loris Capirossi to take on new responsibilities. In the meantime, the authorities have warned the riders that they would be more severe from now on…

 

Superbike World Championship – Netherlands

Rea Rules

Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes shared the two victories during the World Superbike event held in the Netherlands on the Assen circuit. A new triumph for the Kawasaki team.

The Races

Pocketing his twelfth win in the Netherlands on Saturday afternoon, Jonathan Rea also showed that the Assen track holds no secrets for him. Forced the next day to start from the third row of the starting grid, the triple world champion however could do nothing to score a twin-win, his teammate having decided not to let him off the hook. “Tom had a really good pace and in starting with the pack I knew it would be complicated,” said the Brit. “And there was a small vibration on the bike that did not make me want to push it too hard. ” At the foot of the podium at the finish of the first race, Sykes scored his first win of the season the next day. “A good race with a great bike,” said the Kawasaki rider. In Supersport, the riders of the Pucetti team were out of luck. Wanting to overtake his teammate Sheridan Morais in the second lap, Hiraki Okubo hooked his bike and made him crash. Despite all their efforts, the two Kawasaki riders were unable to resume the race.

The Championship

As in Spain a week earlier, Jonathan Rea scored 45 new points in the Netherlands. In so doing the triple world champion consolidated his first place in the overall standings. He is now 30 points ahead of Chaz Davies. Tom Sykes has come back to fifth place with one hundred and one points. In Supersport, Sheridan Morais has dropped back to sixteenth position while Hiraki Okubo is now in twenty-sixth place.

The Background

Since the first race of the Dutch round of the Superbike world championship which was won by Sylvain Guintoli in 2014, Jonathan Rea has seemed invincible on the Assen circuit. Last weekend, the triple world champion fully intended to extend his series of successes. Winner Saturday afternoon for the eighth time in a row, the Kawasaki rider unfortunately hit a snag the next day. Tom Sykes, his teammate, won the Dutch race after leading the race from start to finish. The Brit, who had not won at Assen for five years, scored his first victory of the season in the Netherlands. Making him crow at the finish: “Old Sykes is back!” Even though he took advantage of Rea’s bad place on grid, the Kawasaki rider managed his race and tire wear perfectly. “When I took the lead, I took care of my tyres by controlling my lead,” he said. “I’m really the happiest man alive today, and I have to say a big thank you to my team for allowing me to get back to first place.

The SRC in the top five

Forced to retire from the Bol d’Or last September, the Kawasaki SRC team clinched a fifth-place finish at Le Mans after a heroic come-back.

 

Everything had started well for the team of Gilles Stafler … On the eve of the start, Randy de Puniet was letting guns do the talking by signing the fastest time of the free practice sessions. The former Grand Prix rider demonstrated that the Kawasaki ZX-RR # 11 on the Sarthe track could still be counted on.

Right from the first handover, De Puniet concretized the ambitions of the SRC team by fighting it out for the lead of the race with Kenny Foray, rider of the BMW No. 48. Both equipped with Pirelli tyres, the two machines put on a show in front of the 76,000 spectators around the Bugatti circuit. And then came the time for the first refuelling. Randy de Puniet left the handlebars to Mathieu Gines who, unfortunately, was to fall on his first lap. By the time they got back to the pits and make the necessary repairs, Randy de Puniet had to resume the race in forty-sixth position, far from the GMT 94 which had just taken control of the race.

Driven by their courage more than anything else, the riders of the Kawasaki No. 11 made a comeback as the laps sped by until a radiator problem once again plunged them into the depths of the overall classification.

Despite this second blow, Randy de Puniet, Jeremy Guarnoni and Mathieu Gines whipped their machine into shape during the two clocked laps to return to the top five. For their perseverance the Kawasaki SRC team won the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy which rewards fighting and sporting spirit. Fifth at ten laps from the winner, the FCC TSR Honda France team, the Kawasaki SRC team also scored its first points in the 2017/2018 World Endurance Championship at Le Mans.

Which means Gilles Stafler’s team is eleventh overall with twenty-seven points. The next event is in Slovakia on May 12 and 13.

DS Virgin Racing aiming to extend winning streak in Paris

Press Release – Versailles, 20th april 2018

All-electric Formula E series heads to City of Light on Saturday, April 28 for round 8
Team set to continue title push in both drivers’ and teams’ championship
DS Virgin Racing to host renowned Innovation Summit on climate change
Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson to attend as special guest on race day

 

Following its thrilling victory at the recent Rome E-Prix, DS Virgin Racing is looking to continue its winning ways as the all-electric Formula E series returns to Paris on April 28 for round eight.

British racer Sam Bird closed in on the championship lead with victory in the Italian capital last time out and now moves to within 18 points heading into the race at the Circuit des Invalides. Likewise, his DS Virgin Racing team has now moved into second position in the manufacturer standings in what is proving to be its strongest season to date.
With the city’s iconic Eiffel Tower in the background, the 1.920km street track will certainly prove a challenge for both Bird and British team-mate Alex Lynn, with its mix of tight, twisty turns, long straights and numerous overtaking spots; all whilst hitting speeds in excess of 200kph.
The Paris event will also be attended by Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson who, as well as supporting the team throughout the day, will also be a panellist on one of DS Virgin Racing’s now renowned Innovation Summits. The summit, which will bring industry leaders together to discuss climate action and the need to transition to cleaner energy, will also be live streamed on the team’s and Virgin’s Facebook channels, with further details on this and other speakers released closer to the time.

 

Bird  said : « To be heading into the Paris race on the back of a win is a great feeling and the whole team is looking forward to the event. It’s a challenging track but we know we have a quick, reliable car so if we can hook everything up, there’s no reason why we can’t come away with another strong result. »

Lynn  said: « We didn’t have the weekend we wanted last time out but for sure I’m looking forward to the Paris race. It will be another new circuit for me, but preparations have been going well in the simulator and I know we can come out fighting for strong results. »

Team Principal Alex Tai commented : « Paris is set to be a huge event for the team both on and off the track. As well as being the home race for our manufacturing partner DS Automobiles, we will also have Sir Richard Branson in attendance, be hosting an influential Innovation Summit, in additional to making a number of exciting new announcements. Following our victory last time out, everyone in the team is in high spirits and we’re looking forward to maintaining this as we once again fight for the win. »

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added:   « It is very exciting for us to be able to showcase our know-how and technology in the heart of Paris, especially after the victory the team achieved in Rome last week. Although our home race has special significance, our rigorous, determined approach to preparations is the same as for the other rounds. And I can say we are more determined than ever to keep fighting to reach the top of each championship with our DSV-03 Formula E car.»

The commitment and competitiveness of DS Performance in Formula E contribute to the development of the electrification of the DS Automobiles vehicles. DS 7 CROSSBACK E-TENSE 4×4 will soon be launched and all the next models of DS Automobiles will benefit from a hybrid and / or 100% electric powertrain. The Paris E-Prix will also be the occasion to reveal a surprise…

Yves Bonnefont, CEO of DS Automobiles: «It will be an exciting weekend in Paris. We play at home and the DS Virgin Racing team clinched the podium in Paris for two years. DS’ commitment to Formula E underlines our desire to be forerunners in all areas, and we are pleased to see that the biggest brands join us in this competition. Our desire is to continue to be at the forefront. On this occasion, we will unveil DS X E-TENSE – our vision of automotive luxury in 2035.»

Extensive free-to-air live coverage of the race will be available across the globe and in the UK via 5Spike.

Paris E-Prix – Programme
Round 8: Saturday, April 28 (CET)

08H00-08H45   – Free Practice 1
110H30-11H00 -Free Practice 2
12H00-12H36 – Qualifying
12H45-13H00 – Superpole
16H00 – Course (49 laps)

LENGTH 1.92 KM
TURNS 14
DIRECTION CLOCK
WISEHASHTAG #PARISEPRIX

Drivers’ standing

1. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE 119 POINTS
2. SAM BIRD 101 POINTS
3. FELIX ROSENQVIST 82 POINTS
4. SEBASTIEN BUEMI 60 POINTS
5. DANIEL ABT 50 POINT
6. ALEX LYNN 17 POINTS

Teams standings

1. TECHEETAH 152 POINTS
2. DS VIRGIN RACING 118 POINTS
3. MAHINDRA RACING 103 POINTS
4. AUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER 89 POINTS
5. PANASONIC JAGUAR RACING 88 POINTS

Superbike World Championship – Spain

Rea Races Right On

With two new podiums including one win, Jonathan Rea negotiated to perfection the first European event of the season organized in Alcañiz on the Aragon circuit. The Kawasaki rider consolidated his first place in the overall classification.

The Races

With one win and a second place at the first European meeting of the season, Jonathan Rea seems to have found his cruising speed. The only rider to stand up to the Ducati’s on the Alcañiz circuit, the reigning world champion took the lead on Saturday, with five laps to go. Leaving Forez, Melandri and Davies on the spot, Rea won his fifty-sixth World Superbike victory. “We had problems during the practice test sessions but the fact that the weather cooled off helped us in the race,” explained the Brit. “The team did a great job once again.” The next day, a small error in the final lap as he fought it out with Davies forced him to accept second place. “In the end, this weekend in Spain was very positive,” analyzed the Kawasaki rider. “I scored some important points and increased my lead in the championship.” Finishing sixth in both races, Tom Sykes did not do as well. In the Supersport category, Sheridan Morais pocketed his first points of the season. Called in to replace Kenan Sofuoglu, who is still injured, the Portuguese rider placed seventh. Hikari Okubo, his teammate, had to retire before the finish line.

The Championship

With forty-five more points chalked up, Jonathan Rea has consolidated his position as Championship leader. The triple world champion is now twelve points ahead of Chaz Davies. Seventh overall, Tom Sykes is only three points behind Van der Mark. In Supersport, Sheridan Morais has joined the rankings in fourteenth place. Kenan Sofuoglu is now twentieth and Hikari Okubo twenty-third.

The Background

The new Technical Regulations of the Superbike World Championship definitely do not suit Tom Sykes. A hard braker, the Kawasaki rider has always been one of those who knows best how to get the most out of his engine. Often slower on the apex than his opponents, Sykes opens the throttle before everyone else. Unluckily, today, with a limited engine speed, the Brit can’t benefit as much from the power of his engine. And especially its reach. “When I find myself in a pack, my times are not as good as when I ride alone,” he laments. “The guys bother me during braking and curve entry, and I cannot overtake them when I come out of the bends. And even at the end of a straight line, I cannot take advantage of their slipstream. We’re going to have to find some solutions to get round these difficulties.” Since his second place at Phillip Island early in the season, Tom Sykes has not returned to the podium. The former world champion has not had such a series of poor results in six years.

A podium for team Peugeot total on an action-packed rallycross debut!

WRX #1 – Barcelona, 14&15.04.2018

Team PEUGEOT Total certainly didn’t have it easy as the newly-formed team tackled the first round of the World Rallycross Championship, with torrential rain swamping the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit on Saturday. Conditions improved on Sunday, when nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb made it through to the hotly-contested final and claimed second place: a richly-deserved reward for the whole PEUGEOT Team after several months of frenetic work since this new chapter was opened – not to mention an eventful weekend…

Sébastien Loeb took his PEUGEOT 208 RX into the final at the end of a tough two days of competition. He finished second overall (after the disqualification of Mattias Ekström following a first-lap incident in the final) as Team PEUGEOT Total’s best finisher, on the debut for the brand-new team. He achieved it thanks also to some solid team work, with Kevin Hansen (not eligible to score team points) giving up a grid slot in the semi-final to the nine-time world rally champion. Loeb finished second in the semis, buying him his place in the final, where the Frenchman showed his characteristic flair to seal a podium – despite his most recent competition experiences being in the sand dunes of South America and on the asphalt of Corsica!

Timmy Hansen showed amazing speed all weekend but didn’t get the chance to convert that into a result as his car stopped in the semi-final, while he was leading and pulling out a gap. The Swede took two second places and a win from his qualifying heats, in appalling conditions, to comfortably go through to the semi-final as one of the best performers of the weekend. Despite the disappointment of not being able to complete it, he was delighted with the competitiveness of the car and the improvements made over the winter – and he’s determined to take revenge on the next round.

Kevin Hansen, driving a third 208 WRX that isn’t eligible to score points for Team PEUGEOT Total was 12th after the heats but withdrew in order to hand his place in the semi-finals to Loeb. The youngest driver in the squad enjoyed two good heats on Saturday but was then affected by a technical issue that limited his ability to make a good start, so he fell behind. Nonetheless, Kevin proved his pace and also that of the PEUGEOT 208 WRX.

What they said

Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Director

« It was a very complicated weekend with some big twists and surprises: starting with the weather conditions yesterday, which were really bad for everyone. As the track dried out, the car has gone faster and faster. But we’re pleased with the level of speed we’ve shown in all conditions and finishing the weekend in second place is extremely good news. We’ve shown that we’re very close to our main competitors, which to be honest I wasn’t expecting. Of course I was really happy for the team as well, which was totally new and did a really good job. I think we succeeded in our first challenge in rallycross, which was to have the cars on the grid for all the races. Unfortunately, Timmy was stopped by an electrical problem when he was leading comfortably, but that’s motorsport sometimes: now we have to find the problem and solve it. I think we can feel confident for the rest of the season.»

Kenneth Hansen, Team  PEUGEOT Total  Manager
« We experienced a really up and down weekend, with spins, crashes and terrible weather, but also some great success. Timmy was really fast while Seb got off to a tricky start before he climbed back onto the podium, which was fantastic. Kevin also struggled a bit at the start, but I think we can manage that with the set-up in future. Overall, we can be encouraged by the fact that Timmy was actually dominating the semi-final and I believe that he would have had a great chance to win today. I knew that the PEUGEOT Total team had done a very good job right from the start, but I really wasn’t expecting us to fight with the top manufacturers right from the very beginning.»

Sébastien Loeb,   Peugeot 208 WRX #9
« We’ve seen this weekend all the different emotions you can go through in rallycross in one weekend! I was a bit low at the beginning, and I didn’t expect to go through to the semi-final as we were off with broken rear suspension twice in the heats. Then the decision came that I was going to go through to the semi-final anyway and from that point everything actually went well. I had a bit of luck with me, but this sort of emotional rollercoaster isn’t an easy one to live through! The pace of the car with Timmy is very encouraging as we can see that the car is competitive and that we’ve made a step forward over the winter. We’re in the fight and I hope we can continue in this way.  »

Timmy Hansen, Peugeot 208 WRX #21
« The only negative to this weekend is that there were so many positives we weren’t able to capitalise on! I felt very comfortable in the car all weekend: I was pulling out a gap in the semi-final and yet it was feeling so easy, almost with no real effort. Then the car stopped and that was it, which is obviously hard to take. But in the end, our car was really fast, really good, and we put together a fantastic weekend from the very start. It’s a car that I’m able to fight with. I’m eager to get some revenge now on the next round in Portugal. I just want to get back into the car and try again.»

Kevin Hansen, Peugeot 208 WRX #71
« I think it was a good first race. I know this squad very well, for me everything feels very normal. I have my same crew as last year, so I felt very comfortable, and I had a very good first day as well. I think I was very fast in Q1 and in Q2, and I enjoyed driving the car. But then we had a technical problem today in the start. We dropped a lot in the overall standings and went back to 12th. As Seb was 13th, we decided to swap for the team. I already knew it could be like this last year, so I’m aware of the thought, it’s not like it’s something new. And the next round is only in two weeks.»

Driver’s championship standings after round 1

1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON / Volkswagen Polo R – 27 pts
2. Petter SOLBERG / Volkswagen Polo R – 24 pts
3. Andreas BAKKERUD / Audi S1 – 20 pts
4. Mattias EKSTRÖM / Audi S1 – 19pt
5. Niclas GRÖNHOLM / Hyundai i20 – 18 pts
6. Timmy HANSEN / PEUGEOT 208WRX – 16 pts
7. Sébastien LOEB / PEUGEOT 208 WRX – 14 pts
8. Janis BAUMANIS / Ford Fiesta – 12 pts
9. Timur TIMERZYANOV / Hyundai i20 – 11 pts
10. Robin LARSSON / Ford Fiesta – 11 pts
11. Jérome GROSSET-JANIN / Renault Mégane RS – 9 pts
12. Guerlain CHICHERIT / Renault Mégane RS – 8 pts
13. Kevin HANSEN / PEUGEOT 208WRX – 5 pts

Teams’ championship standing after round 1

1. PSRX Volkswagen Sweden – 51 pts
2. EKS Audi Sport – 39 pts
3. Team PEUGEOT Total – 30 pts
4. GRX Taneco – 29 pts
5. GC Kompetition – 17 pts
6. Olsbergs MSE – 14 pts

Next round

Round two is the World RX of Portugal from April 28-29 at the Montalegre circuit in the north of the country, close to the border with Spain. Located in the hills of the Vila Real region, the Montalegre track is at 1800 metres above sea level, making it the highest circuit on the calendar, requiring engines to be finely tuned for the thinner air. Unlike Barcelona, the venue is specifically-designed for rallycross, with a 0.95-kilometre long circuit made up of 60% asphalt and 40% gravel.