Suzuka 8 Hours

A pole and a podium for Team Green

 

Like last year, Team Green sparkled on the Suzuka circuit for the grand finale of the World Endurance Championship. Long leader after winning pole position, the Kawasaki of the Japanese team slipped to the third step of the podium.

With Jonathan Rea riding the No. 11 ZX-RR, Team Green had no other goal than to win the Suzuka Eight Hours, the flagship event of the World Endurance Championship, at the end of July. Together with Leon Haslam, his future World Superbike team-mate, and Kazuma Watanabe, the Brit held his own in the free practice sessions by setting the track record of 2’05″168, before securing the pole position for the next day accompanied by his two teammates. With the passage of a typhoon in the night from Saturday to Sunday, the race was unfortunately held in less favourable conditions, wind and rain disrupting its smooth and orderly performance. Designated to start, Haslam lived up to the trust placed in him. Always as comfortable on a wet track, the Brit handed over the Kawasaki number 11 to Rea in first position just before the first hour of racing. Starting off with slicks on the drying track, Rea kept the lead while behind him several stars came croppers on a very tricky track. Fighting it out with the Yamaha number 21 and Honda number 33, the Team Green Kawasaki stayed in front until a fuel outage made it lose about thirty seconds. And then after five hours and twenty-five minutes of racing, Rea definitely lost contact with the leaders because of a fall with slick tires, in the rain and behind the safety car. “The team should have allowed me to come back sooner to change tires,” the triple World Superbike champion regretted afterwards. Disappointed to only make it to the third step of the podium, Rea, Haslam and Watanabe however made a date to win the race in Suzuka next season, which Kawasaki have not done for the last twenty-five years.

Mads Østberg takes brillant second place!

Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen held off a fightback from former three-time Rally Finland winner, Jari-Matti Latvala, in the closing stages to secure a hard-earned second place. Meanwhile, Craig Breen and Scott Martin moved up into eighth position during today’s final leg, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson gradually got their feeling back in the car after rejoining under Rally 2 rules.

It’s no easy task to head into the final leg – covering 45.72km on four stages – just 5.4s ahead of a driver of the calibre of Latvala, a three-time winner of the event. However, Mads Østberg managed to pull off the impressive feat of holding off the experienced Finn, thus securing a superb runner-up spot, his best result at the rally after two third places (2013 and 2015). The result was also Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s third podium this season, following the second and third places claimed in Sweden and Mexico respectively.

The flying Norwegian confirmed straight away this morning that he meant business: he struck a telling blow with the fastest time on the opening stage of the day, Citroën’s fifth stage win of the weekend, extending his advantage to 6.3s. However, Latvala, close to his best form again at his home round, narrowed the gap to just 2.5s ahead of the Ruuhimäki Power Stage showdown and its unending series of jumps. Yet again, Mads held his nerve to beat the Finn by three tenths after five minutes of intense driving at an average speed of 122.5kph, securing second place by just 2.8s!

Whilst still limited by his position in the running order (3rd), Craig Breen nonetheless set some decent times, especially on SS21 where he missed out on the stage win by 4.2s or on the Power Stage, where he ended 1.7s behind the overall winner. The Irishman also took advantage of the misfortune of one of his rivals to finish eighth overall, at a rally where his own result dealt a body blow at the start with a puncture (SS2).

Back in action today under Rally 2 rules after his mistake on Saturday’s leg, Khalid Al Qassimi concentrated on making it to the end, whilst gradually rebuilding his confidence.

WHAT THEY SAID

Craig Breen

“It was a difficult weekend for us, with the puncture on Friday that proved very costly, leaving us to clean the road for two days. We nevertheless managed to show our pace whenever the conditions enabled us to do so. It was nice, especially, to finish with a good time on the Power Stage, which means we can now look ahead to Germany with optimism.”

Mads Østberg

“I’m really, really happy to fighting at the front again on these incredible stages! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my racing career. I’m also delighted for everyone at Citroën. The guys did a fantastic job to get us in this position and I’m proud to be a part of this team. I knew from our pre-event test that this C3 WRC was the best car that I’d ever had on this rally and I’m pleased that we managed to show it this weekend.”

Khalid Al Qassimi

“Although it was a difficult rally for us, with our mistake yesterday morning, I’m pleased we were able to rejoin the action today and enjoy these incredible stages. Above all, I’m delighted for the team, whose hard work has been rewarded by a great result.”

FINAL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS

Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2 :35:18.1
Ostberg / Eriksen (Citroën C3 WRC) + 32.7
Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 35.5
Paddon / Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 1:35.6
Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 2:15.0
Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 2:19.2
Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 2:29.5
Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) + 3:08.4
Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:51.8
Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) +8:37.4
37. Al Qassimi / Patterson (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:06:10.2

DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Thierry Neuville – 153 points
Sébastien Ogier – 132 points
Ott Tänak – 107 points
Esapekka Lappi – 70 points
Dani Sordo – 60 points
Andreas Mikkelsen – 57 points
Jari-Matti Latvala – 55 points
Elfyn Evans – 52 points
Mads Ostberg – 48 points
Kris Meeke – 43 points
Craig Breen – 39 points

MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Hyundai WRT – 228 points
M-Sport Ford WRT – 202 points
Toyota Gazoo Racing – 201 points
Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 153 points

DS Automobiles and Techeetah to form partnership

Press Release, Versailles, 23rd July 2018

DS Automobiles, which has been active in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship since the series opened to manufacturers, will run its new car – the DS E-TENSE FE 19 – in association with TECHEETAH from 2018/2019.

 

This partnership brings the first chapter of the brand’s involvement in the electric street racing series alongside Virgin Racing to an end; a partnership that has harvested five race wins, sixteen podium finishes, six pole positions and three fastest race laps. In the course of the last three seasons, DS Virgin Racing has finished inside the top three of the Teams’ classification twice.

The new team will be presented on October 1, 2018, ahead of the start of Season 5 in Riyad, Saudi Arabia, on December 15.

From 2018/2019, the duration of Formula E races will be 45 minutes plus one lap, with no mid-race car swaps. Next season’s single-seaters feature significantly revised styling and aerodynamics and will be powered by new, manufacturer-developed 250kW electric motors, while energy management will continue to be a fundamental part of the championship.

Xavier Mestelan Pinon   (Director, DS Performance): “We would like to thank Virgin Racing for the three wonderful seasons we spent together. Our involvement in Formula E is an integral part of DS Automobiles’ commitment to the electrification of its model line-up. The DS E-TENSE FE 19’s development began several months ago with the objective of being in a position to challenge for the top step of the podium from the opening race of the 2018/2019 campaign. Our association with TECHEETAH, who recently celebrated winning the 2017/2018 Drivers’ Title in addition to coming second in the Teams’ standings, is geared towards this target. We are fully aware of the qualities of the men and women who work at TECHEETAH and I am convinced that our two entities will dovetail perfectly.”

Edmund Chu, President (TECHEETAH Formula-E Team): “We’re very excited about teaming up with DS Automobiles as we enter a new era of ABB FIA Formula E with the Gen 2 car. DS has extensive experience in Formula E having been a championship manufacturer since Season Two and finishing within the top three each season. We’ve had some brilliant battles on track this season with DS and we can’t wait to combine the wealth of experience and expertise of arguable two of the best teams in the paddock, as TECHEETAH become a manufacturer team for the first time.”

MotoGP World Championship – Grand Prix of Germany

Mir’s best result

Second at the finish line of the German Grand Prix, in Sachsenring Joan Mir obtained his best result since arriving in Moto2. Victory is getting closer for the reigning Moto3 world champion.

The Races

Third at Le Mans and Mugello, Joan Mir did better in Germany. Eighth at the start, the young Spanish rider managed to lead the race for a few laps before finishing second behind Brad Binder. “I attacked from start to finish to try to keep up the pressure,” said Mir. “But Brad didn’t crack. I’m happy nonetheless because I kept up a good pace all weekend, only my qualifying session wasn’t up to standard. But I knew I could fight for the podium and I’m happy to have made it.” For Alex Marquez, victim of a bad fall during the practice test sessions, the race was painful. Fourth in the first lap, the Spaniard then downgraded to cross the finish line in thirteenth position. In MotoGP, Stefan Bradl, who replaced Franco Morbidelli, finished sixteenth, just short of the points, and just in front of Tom Lüthi who had to deal with grip problems at the end of the race.

The Championship

Despite his difficulty in the German Grand Prix, Alex Marquez keeps third place in the Moto2 overall classification. Joan Mir has won a new position: he is now fourth, eighteen points from his teammate. In MotoGP, Morbidelli has dropped back to seventeenth position.

The Background

Despite all his courage, Franco Morbidelli had to decide not to participate in the German Grand Prix. After injuring his left hand in the Netherlands, the Moto2 world champion who started this season in MotoGP tried to participate in the first free practice session. But he quickly realized that it would be useless to persevere, especially on a route as tortuous as that of Sachsenring. “I realized it was better not to take any risks and accelerate the healing of my hand for the next race in the Czech Republic,” he said. On Friday afternoon, the team Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS decided to entrust their Honda RC213V to Stefan Bradl. Now a test driver for the HRC, the German rider quickly found his bearings on a machine that had allowed him to make his debut in MotoGP in 2012, in the wake of his Moto2 World Championship title. “It’s also the bike I’m developing for the Honda race service,” he says. Sixteenth at the finish, the German was satisfied with his race: “Given the short time I had in the practice test sessions, I think I had a good race and proved that I was still up to the mark in MotoGP.”

DS Virgin racing cap off best ever Formula E season in New York

Press Release, New York, 15th July 2018

British driver Sam Bird records highest finish to date with third in drivers’ standings

DS Virgin Racing secure third in teams’ championship

Race marks final round of season four and end of Generation I car era

 

DS Virgin Racing rounded out their best ever season during today’s final Formula E race in New York City, securing third place in both the teams’ and the drivers’ championship.

British driver Sam Bird picked up another points finish with 10th place but finished just one point adrift of rival Lucas di Grassi to narrowly miss out on the championship runners-up spot.

The final race of the season – the championship’s 45th since beginning in 2014 – took place in Brooklyn’s Red Hook district, with drivers this time facing tricky, wet conditions compared to yesterday’s heat wave. Yet come race time, the grey clouds had been replaced with blue sky, meaning the series has incredibly still yet to experience a wet race in four seasons.

Bird lined-up on the grid P8 with team-mate Alex Lynn down in P18 after a difficult rain-affected session. As the race got underway, Bird got away cleanly to be running inside the top 10 with Lynn unfortunately having to carry out a stop/go penalty for a gearbox change. That dropped him down the order with energy saving once again proving key for the 43-lap race.

Come the mid-race car swaps – the very last time these will take place in the all-electric series – both drivers made clean changes and set about settling into the later stages of the race. Up ahead, Bird tried hard to move further up the order as he challenged for second place in the championship, but was unable gain ground, coming home in P10, with Lynn crossing the line in P14.

“This weekend has not gone the way we wanted but it’s still been an amazing season,” said Bird. “If someone had told me at the start of the year that I’d be coming into the final weekend as a title contender I never would have believed them, but we were and that’s down to the hard work of everyone in the team. They’ve got the most out of the car and taken every opportunity that’s come our way and that’s a great achievement.”

Lynn said: “For sure it’s been a difficult weekend for us, but as always we gave it our best shot and my thanks goes to the team for their commitment this season. As my rookie season, it’s been a steep learning curve but for sure an enjoyable one.”

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director of the team, said: “It’s been a fantastic season for DS Virgin Racing and all this wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of each and every team member, and of course the support of our partners; DS Automobiles, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Total, Kaspersky, STANLEY, Alpinestars and One All Sports. To do what we have this season, in such a closely fought series, is a great achievement and, although this weekend didn’t quite give us the results we wanted, we can be very proud of what we have accomplished.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “At the end of an incredibly competitive season, DS Virgin Racing and Sam Bird are in the top three of both championships. With two victories and four podiums, the team have delivered a great performance. We are progressing in an increasingly competitive and demanding environment, which is extremely promising. Our congratulations go to Jean-Eric Vergne and to Audi who won this year’s driver and team championships.”

Today’s race marked the final round of the fourth Formula E season and the last with the generation one car. It also signifies the last time the drivers will undertake car swaps due to the technology improvements with next season’s car.

The new season gets underway in December in Riyadh, with pre-season testing commencing in October.

2018 ABB FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP
NEW YORK EPRIX (ROUND 12) – RÉSULTS (43 LAPS):

1. JEAN ERIC VERGNE, TECHEETAH, 43 LAPS (25PTS)
2. LUCAS DI GRASSI, AUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER, +0.508S (18PTS)
3. DANIEL ABT, AUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER, +1.287S (16PTS, FL)
4. SEBASTIEN BUEMI, RENAULT E.DAMS, +1.780S (15PTS, P)
5. FELIX ROSENQVIST, MAHINDRA RACING, +12.146S (10PTS)
6. MITCH EVANS, PANASONIC JAGUAR RACING, +20.050S (8PTS)
7. NELSON PIQUET JR, PANASONIC JAGUAR RACING, +20.592S (6PTS)
8. NICK HEIDFELD, MAHINDRA RACING, +24.275S (4PTS)
9. ANDRE LOTTERER, TECHEETAH, +28.821S (2PTS)
10. SAM BIRD, DS VIRGIN RACING, +32.810S (1PT)
14. ALEX LYNN, DS VIRGIN RACING

DRIVERS’ STANDING

1. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE, 198PTS
2. LUCAS DI GRASSI, 144PTS
3. SAM BIRD, 143PTS
4. SEBASTIEN BUEMI, 125PTS
5. DANIEL ABT, 120PTS
16. ALEX LYNN, 17PTS

TEAMS’ STANDINGS

1. AUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER, 264PTS
2. TECHEETAH, 262PTS
3. DS VIRGIN RACING, 160PTS
4. MAHINDRA RACING, 138PTS
5. RENAULT E.DAMS, 133PTS

Sam Bird & DS Virgin Racing “Ready for challenge” of Formula E title-decider

Press  Release – Versailles, 9th July 2018

British racer Sam Bird goes head-to-head with France’s Jean-Eric Vergne in New York showdown for championship title.

British racing driver Sam Bird and his DS Virgin Racing team say they are “ready for the challenge” as they head to New York City this weekend, fighting for both the teams’ and the drivers’ championship in Formula E’s season finale title-decider.

The final two rounds of the all-electric series take place on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where Bird and season-long title rival Jean-Eric Vergne remain the only drivers left in contention. With two races to play out, a total of 58 points are up for grabs with Bird 23 points adrift of Vergne.

Bird, who has two wins and three podiums under his belt so far this season, will also be returning to the site where he secured a famous ‘clean sweep’ winning both races, securing one pole and amassing a total of 53-points.

At the same time, his DS Virgin Racing team will be vying for the teams’ championship where they currently lie third and are counting on every point from Bird and fellow British team-mate Alex Lynn, who made his Formula E debut at the 2017 New York event, securing pole on his first attempt and becoming only the second driver in the series to have ever done so.

This year’s race takes place on a slightly modified circuit layout and increased race distance, making Saturday’s race the longest ever this season.

Speaking ahead of the weekend Bird said: “For sure, we’re ready for the challenge and will be giving it everything we’ve got. It’s going to be tough with the new layout and extended lap count but the whole team has been working flat out – as they have done all season – to prepare for this weekend. We never expected to be in this position at the start of the season, but we’re here and we’re going to do the very best job we can.”

Lynn said: “It’s great to be returning to New York where I made my Formula E debut; it’s an amazing location for a race. As a team, there’s a lot at stake so we’ve been working hard in the simulator and back at our Silverstone base to ensure we’re ready. I know I can deliver strong results myself to help benefit the team and, of course, support Sam.”

Sylvain Filippi, DS Virgin Racing’s Managing Director, commented: “Since the last race, the preparation from everyone has been intense as we know what we’re playing for. Last year was the perfect weekend for the team, both on and off the track, but we know this year the challenge is even greater due to the strength of our competitors. Nevertheless, I know every single team member will do the very best job they can.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “The two last races of the season will be amazing, with this high intensity duel at the top between Sam and his former team-mate. With just 23 points difference, nothing is certain. We are more motivated than ever to give our best and try and repeat the feat of last year.”

NEW YORK  E-PRIX – PROGRAMME
ROUND 11 & 12: SATURDAY 14 & SUNDAY 15 JULY (EDT // GMT +4)

SATURDAY, JULY 14
07:30-08:15 FREE PRACTICE 1
10:00-10:30 FREE PRACTICE 2
11:30-12:30 QUALIFYING
15:30 RACE (45 LAPS)

SUNDAY, JULY 15
08:30-09:15 FREE PRACTICE 3
11:00-12:00 QUALIFYING
15:00 RACE (43 LAPS)
LENGTH 2.373 KM
TURNS 14
DIRECTION CLOCKWISE
HASHTAG #NYCEPRIX

DRIVERS’ STANDING

1. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE 163 POINTS
2. SAM BIRD 140 POINTS
3. LUCAS DI GRASSI 101 POINTS
4. SEBASTIEN BUEMI 92 POINTS
5. FELIX ROSENQVIST 86 POINTS
16. ALEX LYNN 17 POINTS

TEAMS STANDINGS

1. TECHEETAH 219 POINTS
2. AUDI SPORT ABT SCHAEFFLER 186 POINTS
3. DS VIRGIN RACING 157 POINTS
4. MAHINDRA RACING 116 POINTS
5. PANASONIC JAGUAR RACING 105 POINTS

Superbike World Championship – Misano

Rea: Racing Science, Riding Art

After California, it was Italy that saw Jonathan Rea shine brightly. As at Laguna Seca, the Kawasaki rider won the two races of the weekend in Misano. With class and authority.

Kawasaki Racing Team

The Races

Superlatives start to fail when it comes to telling of Jonathan Rea’s exploits. In Misano, the Brit still showed off the science of racing and the art of riding by winning on Saturday and Sunday. Rea won the first race after completing all the laps in the lead after a great start from second place on the grid. The Kawasaki rider went looking for his second victory racing all out. “If the first race was more or less easy, the second was much more complicated,” he said. “Starting from the third line, you really have to be aggressive in the first laps and overtake without asking any questions. But once again the qualities of my bike allowed me to do my best, and I must admit that the new, wider Pirelli tires suit me down to the ground.” After overtaking Davies and Sykes, Rea got rid of Melandri and van der Mark to chalk up the sixty-fourth victory of his career. Starting from pole position, Tom Sykes had to settle for fifth place on Saturday afternoon. “I had the same worries as in Thailand with a dribble on the front wheel entering the corners,” regretted the former world champion. “We found the solutions the next day by changing the fork but I still lacked grip on the maximum angle to do better than a new fifth place.” Toprak Razgatlioglu finished eleventh and twelfth, while in Supersport Okubo had his best result of the season with ninth place. Sheridan Morais did not finish.

The Championship

On the eve of the summer break, Jonathan Rea has further consolidated his leading position. He now has three hundred and seventy points, ninety-two more than Chaz Davies, his current runner-up. Thanks to his twin top five, Tom Sykes has consolidated his fourth place. In the manufacturers’ standings, Kawasaki leads with fifty-nine points.

The Background

With the two new wins he has just chalked up at Misano, Jonathan Rea has not only increased his overall lead in the World Superbike Championship. Thanks to his new twin-win, the third of the season, the Kawasaki rider, who has won more than half of the races in which he competed this year, is doing as much good for his statistics as those of the Akashi factory. He now has a record of sixty-four victories and one hundred and twenty-seven podiums. And for Kawasaki, whose number of successes now stands at one hundred and twenty, it means the Japanese make has now taken second place behind Ducati in the standings of the most successful manufacturers in the history of the Superbike World Championship.

GCK lands first ever podium spot at Sweden RX in Holjes

1st July, Holjes, Sweden

Round 6 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship saw 51,600 excited fans gather for one of the most anticipated rounds of the Rallycross season in Holjes, Sweden, to watch 17 supercars battle it out on a rollercoaster ride of a track that offers great viewing to fans and a technical challenge to drivers; big kerbs are a prominent feature that assist those who use them well and bite those, who don’t.

The fans weren’t to be disappointed, as this weekend in Sweden was filled with some of the most nail-bitingly exciting and explosive racing of the season so far, seeing some of the most experienced drivers finish the weekend early after strong contact with other drivers or the unforgiving track.

GC-Kompetition faced an emotional weekend of highs and lows that culminated in GCK driver Jérôme Grosset-Janin racing the GCK Mégane R.S. RX to his first and the team’s second final of the season, where he finished in 3rd.

Friday’s practice saw both GCK boys finish practice as the fastest privateer team, despite some technical issues on Jérôme’s car. With the mechanics working through the night to get both Mégane RS RX fit for Saturday, Guerlain started Q1 in the first race of the day on a fresh track, sandwiched in the middle in a three-man race. Coming off the start line at the back of the pack, he worked his way up to P2 and laid down a very strong race, finishing in P13 overall despite a broken driveshaft. A similar start for Jérôme saw him make a strategic decision to immediately take the joker lap. He finished race 3 in P3, and P11 overall.

Q2 saw both GCK drivers go head to head in the second race, with Jérôme on pole and Guerlain between Kevin Eriksson and Timo Scheider. After good starts for all of them, Guerlain found himself sandwiched between Eriksson and Scheider in a fight to get ahead, whilst Jérôme managed to steer clear of the commotion to take the lead. Whilst Guerlain’s trajectory following the contact shot him into the gravel resulting in a slow puncture, he took his joker lap in his second lap, fighting his way back into P3. Jérôme managed to race ahead keeping enough space between himself and the others to be able to take his joker lap in the last lap without any takeover, finishing the race in P1 whilst Guerlain held on to his spot and finished in P3.

With the team working hard overnight again to fix the mechanical issues that reared their heads following Saturday’s tumultuous racing, Sunday saw both GCK drivers geared up to fight for semi-final spots as the sun beat down on thousands of roaring fans.
Guerlain started in pole position of the first race of Q3 lining up against Grégoire Demoustier and Timo Scheider. After a strong start, he placed himself well in front of his opponents for a clean race on the fresh, thus sticky, morning track, finishing in P12 overall.

Race 3 of Q3 saw Jérôme line up against Sebastien Loeb, Kevin Hansen, Timur Timerzyanov and Janis Baumanis. Coming off the start line on the outside, he cut behind to take his joker lap thinking he’d have a clean run but found himself being blocked by Loeb’s spinning car after Loeb’s contact with Timur in turn 1. Jerome emerged out of the dust in front of Loeb and Kevin, but after a takeover by Hansen found himself in P4 and P13 overall following Q3.

Q4 saw both GCK drivers line up at the start line together again with Guerlain and Jérôme positioned on the outside of this three-man race with Niclas Grönholm in pole position. Following a strong start, Guerlain fought Grönholm into turn 1 and decided to take the joker to create space between them, leaving Jérôme to battle it out with Grönholm until his joker in the last lap. Unfortunately, another broken driveshaft saw Guerlain fall back, finishing in P3 and thus missing out on a semi-final spot whilst Jérôme managed to grab a strong P2, qualifying him for the semi-finals.

Semi-final 2 saw Jerome line up in sixth position on the inside next to Larsson. He immediately followed Timerzyanov into the joker lap, leaving Solberg, Hansen and Bakkerud to race ahead. The following laps saw Jerome battle it out with Timerzyanov until he successfully managed to take over, finishing in P3 and securing his first spot in the final this season.

Heading out to the final as the only private team against the factory teams, Jérôme lined up on the outside next to Ekström, from where he put down a strong start, heading straight for the joker lap. A mechanical issue for Kevin Hansen saw Jérôme move up to P5 and whilst repeated contact between Ekström and Timmy Hansen resulted in Timmy being pushed off the track, Jérôme drove cleanly to finish the race in P4 behind Ekström, who was hit with a time penalty, earning Jérôme the team’s first ever podium spot with a 3rd place.

QUOTES…

Guerlain Chicherit,  commented: «It was a bit of a frustrating weekend for me as a driver; I was quite unlucky a few times and the Mégane didn’t like the unforgiving Swedish track as much as I did, so we had some mechanical issues. As a result, I didn’t make it to the semi-finals this time but instead was able to cheer on Jérôme as he raced to his first final this season and ended up earning GCK’s first podium position in 3rd overall, which was really awesome to see and a proud moment for GCK in its first season. This track is absolutely incredible and we saw some super aggressive racing this weekend with a lot of the drivers experiencing the highs and lows we did. We’ve now got one month to really focus on Canada and prepare as best as we can to make it to another final.»

Jérôme Grosser-Janin, added: «I am so happy the weekend ended this way. Of course, I never imagined my first podium happening this way, but we were able to take advantage of all the opportunities that were presented to us today. It is the work of the entire team, and so many people, that has finally paid off. We can’t forget that only 3 months ago rallycross was a world totally unknown to GCK and Prodrive. Now, we just have to keep up our good work and continue to progress

MotoGP World Championship – Dutch Grand Prix

Another podium for Márquez
With five podium finishes in eight Grands Prix, Álex Márquez is consolidating his status as a contender for the Moto2 World Championship title. The Spaniard is building up speed before attacking the second half of the season.

The Races

Despite two falls during the practice test sessions, Álex Márquez did his job on the Assen circuit. The Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider was third in the Dutch Grand Prix after having fought from end-to-end in the group of leaders. “I had a hard time during the practice test sessions and the qualifying session,” said the Spaniard. “The race was long and difficult, but despite the wind I managed to keep up a good pace. Without the two or three small mistakes I made along the way I might have won.” Shooting off like a rocket from the third row of the starting grid, Joan Mir climbed back to third place before finally passing the checkered flag in fifth place. “I was not as good on the bike as during the free practice sessions,” regretted the Spaniard at the finish. “This was not the result I was hoping for and we will have to check the data to understand what is handicapping me by the time of the next race in Germany.” In MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli had to abandon before the start of the race after being injured during the tests. The only representative of the team Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS, Tom Lüthi finished the event alone in twentieth place.

The Championship

Third in the Moto2 overall classification, Álex Márquez has reduced to eighteen points the distance separating him from Miguel Oliveira. Joan Mir has benefited from the fall of Xavi Virgin to move back up to fifth place. In MotoGP, Morbidelli has kept his sixteenth place despite being ruled out in the Dutch TT at Assen.

The Background

The Dutch Grand Prix started well for Franco Morbidelli … Eighth time of the FP1, in Assen the Italian hoped to make it his second top ten in MotoGP. A severe crash Friday morning, entering the long left bend at the end of the Veenslang straight during the third free practice session, put an end to his ambitions. “I hit the gravel pit very hard and I found myself spinning as if in the drum of a washing machine,” said the reigning Moto2 World Champion. Morbidelli got up from the interminable series of somersaults with the third metacarpus of his left hand fractured. Compelled to withdraw the rest of the weekend, Franco should nonetheless be able to get behind the handlebars of his Honda RC213V by the next Grand Prix in Germany, on July 15. “I’ll do anything to be there,” said the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider. “My goal, this season, remains the place of best rookie rider in MotoGP.”

The updated Peugeot 208 WRX shows its potential in Sweden but team Peugeot Total finishes just off the podium

WRX Round #6 – Höljes, 30.06-01.07

The latest evolution of the PEUGEOT 208 WRX was introduced at Höljes in Sweden, with the team swapping the known quantity of the previous car for the start of a brand-new learning curve. While the potential was clear to see, circumstances conspired against the French squad in the homeland of the Hansen family. Both Hansen brothers got their PEUGEOT 208 WRX cars into the final, but the overall result does not tell the full story. Timmy Hansen scored the best result for Team PEUGEOT Total in 4th, but was running 2nd until the last lap, when he was hit and ended up in the gravel trap: an offence for which his assailant was penalised.

Loeb WorldRX

Timmy Hansen was rapid in every one of his qualifying heats, holding a top 3 position overall after Q4. He was all set to convert thatinto a strong finish, after he clinched 2ndposition in semi-final 2, but the Swede was viciously taken out in the final run through no fault of his own. Nonetheless he can take away more positives than negatives from the weekend, having shown the clear potential of the new-specification PEUGEOT 208 WRX.

Kevin Hansen put on a great demonstration of his skilland development throughout the weekend, delivering consistent performances in qualifying and earning valuable championship points after finishing 2nd in his semi-final. He started the final race side by side with his brother on row 2 but was not able to deliver the desired result due to mechanical issues: after a respectable start, his engine cut out and the car stopped.

Sebastien Loeb had an unlucky weekend. His 7th position in qualifying reflected the Frenchman’s struggle to find a clean run and the right rhythm with the updated car in a very high level of competition. He finished 4th in semi-final 1, narrowly missing out on going through to the final: less than 4 tenths of a second behind 3rd position.

Team PEUGEOT Total now stands 3rd in the Teams’ Championship rankings with 233 points: however, 2nd position is only 6 points ahead. In the Drivers’ Championship rankings Sebastien is 4th,Timmy 5th and Kevin 7th. A record crowd of 51,600 people attended the “Magic Weekend”, and the PEUGEOT squad now has a clear direction to work towards to improve its latest challenger.

Loeb_WorldRX_2018

QUOTES…

Bruno Famin,  PEUGEOT SPORT Director
« The goal was to bring these new evolutions into competition as soon as possible, because although we’ve racked up nearly the equivalent of an entire season through testing, nothing beats the actual experience of racing. You discover new problems and you use the car in a different way. We knew that, given the level of the championship, it was going to be a big ask, but we wanted to give these technical developments a proper baptism of fire in order to continue to make progress. It’s all about achieving our objectives as rapidly as possible and being able to fight for podiums on every event. It was a complicated start to the weekend: we had to learn and fine-tune the set-up of the car, which is quite different to drive compared to the previous model, and we encountered a few technical problems. Both the drivers and the engineers needed time to find the right set-up. But in the end that happened reasonably quickly, and we could see the progress with the drivers and car with every run: to the extent that we ended up with quite a competitive package by Sunday. If you look at Timmy’s lap times, I reckon he could definitely have aimed for 2ndin the final, had he not been caught up in an incident for which the driver concerned was rightly punished. So although we don’t come away from here with a concrete result to be proud of, there’s enough to make us feel genuinely optimistic for the future. Above all, we’ve shown some very interesting potential, which is exactly what we were after. And we’re not going to back off now ! »

Timmy Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21
« The guys in the team – engineers, mechanics, and me too – did a great job to adapt to all the changes with the updated PEUGEOT 208 WRX. We had an epic weekend. I was in 2ndposition on the last lap during the final. First of all, Andreas Bakkerud pushed me off line and passed me. And then Mattias Ekström completely pushed me off the track – and I actually dislocated my shoulder in the impact. So I am in a bit of pain. Both in the shoulder and, you know – inside. We still have a lot of potential to discover in all of these updates. So it’s easy to be motivated for what comes next. We will become faster and faster throughout the year. At the next race in Canada we can hopefully fight for the win. »

Kevin Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71
« It was a really good weekend. We worked hard to progress throughout the weekend for our first round with the PEUGEOT 208 WRX in basic 2018 spec. It’s a bit different from the previous car I drove, so it took a while to get used to it with the set-up and everything. Starting from the warm-up this morning, everything has been working better and better throughout the day and I think we progressed a lot both in terms of set-up and driving. And to get into the final once again is really amazing. Unfortunately, we stopped on lap two with a technical problem. It’s a shame but making it to the final here in Höljes is really great. »

Sébastien Loeb, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9
« I’m not so satisfied with the weekend, I have to say. I had a difficult Q1 and Q2. In Q3 this morning, I hit Timur Timerzyanov and broke my suspension, so I finished last in the heat. After Q4, I qualified 7thoverall for the semi-finals. With that place, you start on the outside of the ​2ndrow, which isn’t the best position. So the race started off quite badly for me and didn’t really get any better. Our objective for the championship is to collect points and we didn’t get many this weekend. In the overall rankings, Johan Kristofferson is moving further away at the top and that wasn’t the goal either. Overall, the updated PEUGEOT 208 WRX feels better than the previous one, but we ​still ​need to improve in the future. I think we have some good directions to work in now. »

RESULTS OF FINAL RACE IN HOLJES

1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON – 04:14.969
2. Andreas BAKKERUD – 04:17.946
3. Jérôme GROSSET-JANIN – 04:20.925
4. Timmy HANSEN – 03:34.257
5. Kevin Hansen – 00:45.297
6. Mattias EKSTRÖM – 04:19.238

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND #6/12

1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON / Volkswagen Polo R – 165 pts
2. Andreas BAKKERUD / Audi S1 – 125 pts
3. Petter SOLBERG / Volkswagen Polo R – 119 pts
4. Sébastien LOEB / PEUGEOT 208 WRX – 117 pts
5. Timmy HANSEN / PEUGEOT 208 WRX – 116 pts
6. Mattias EKSTRÖM / Audi S1 – 114 pts
7. Kevin HANSEN / PEUGEOT 208 WRX – 77 pts
8. Niclas GRÖNHOLM / Hyundai i20 – 73 pts
9. Janis BAUMANIS / Ford Fiesta – 51 pts
10. Timur TIMERZYANOV / Hyundai i20 – 48 pts
11. Robin LARSSON / Ford Fiesta – 46 pts
12. Jérome GROSSET-JANIN / Renault Mégane RS – 43 pts
13. Guerlain CHICHERIT / Renault Mégane RS – 34 pts
14. Kevin ERIKSSON / Ford Fiesta – 25 pts
15. Grégoire Demoustier / Sébastien Loeb Racing – 6 pts
16. Oliver Bennett / BMW Mini Cooper – 5 pts
17. Timo Scheider / Seat Ibiza – 0 pts

TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND #6/12

1. PSRX Volkswagen Sweden – 284 pts
2. EKS Audi Sport – 239 pts
3. Team PEUGEOT Total – 233 pts
4. GRX Taneco – 121 pts
5. GC Kompetition – 77 pts
6. Olsbergs MSE – 71 pts


NEXT ROUND
Next up on the FIA World Rallycross Championship, from 4 August to 5 August, is the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres round in Canada: a track Timmy Hansen won at in 2016. Trois-Rivieres is located to the east of Canada, situated between Montreal and Québec City. The track itself is made up of 59% asphalt and 41% gravel, measuring 1.35 kilometres in total. The lap record, dating from last year, currently stands at 48.009 seconds.