Superbike World Championship – France

A Five-Star Rea

While there are still two events to be run, Jonathan Rea on the Magny-Cours circuit won his fifth world champion title in a row. A unique performance in the history of the Superbike World Championship.

By winning the second race of the weekend at Magny-Cours as well as the sprint of the Superpole, Jonathan Rea clinched his fifth World Superbike title, something no rider has ever done before. The previous day, the Kawasaki rider was second in the first heat organized on the French circuit. The feat is all the greater in that there are still two events on the calendar, in Argentina and Qatar, and only a while ago Rea was 61 points behind Alvaro Bautista. “I’m super happy,” said the Brit. “It’s the most incredible challenge I’ve ever met since I started racing. The beginning of the season was very complicated, but we never gave up. We managed to react and work as a team. Honestly, I didn’t expect to win the title this weekend. The goal was to get it in Argentina and then go to Qatar without any pressure. Bautista’s fall was an opportunity that we couldn’t miss. I was better on the bike today, it was warmer and the pace was slower. Michael was better than me in some parts of the circuit, I was better in others. I took stock of the situation before riding all-out to win. And winning the title on top of a new victory is just fantastic. It’s a great reward for the whole team without whom nothing would have been possible.” For Leon Haslam, the weekend at Magny-Cours was more difficult. Victim of a crash Saturday, the Kawasaki rider had to settle for seventh place under the chequered flag on Sunday afternoon. Toprak Razgatlioglu took advantage of the French event to chalk up his first World Superbike win. The Turkish rider unfortunately fell on Sunday after clinching with Alvaro Bautista. In Supersport, Lucas Mahais chalked up his first win of the season in front of his fans after a hard-fought race. if proof was needed, Hikaro Okubo finished fifth – just two seconds behind his teammate.

The Championship

Backed by the 83rd victory of his career in Superbike, at Magny-Cours Jonathan Rea became the first five-time world champion in the history of the championship. With 544 points, 129 more than Alvaro Bautista, his runner-up, the Kawasaki rider is sure he cannot be overtaken when there are only two races left to contend. Leon Haslam slipped to sixth overall with 21 points behind Toprak Tazgatlioglu, who is now in fifth place with just 14 points behind Michael Van der Mark. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias has consolidated his fourth place and is now only 14 points from Jules Cluzel. Hikari Okubo keeps his fifth place. 30 points now separate the two teammates.

Endurance – Bol d’Or

Champions deserved better

For their first race with the number 1 plate, the riders of the team Kawasaki SRC were really unlucky. Just as they were fighting it out with the front-runners, the title-holding team had to retire after a crash, all due a cursed slick of oil.

The opening round of the 2019/2020 season of the Endurance World Championship, the Bol d’Or turned into a nightmare for the team Kawasaki SRC. Having qualified for second place on the starting grid, the title holders successfully rode through the chaotic start to the race, the rain having forced the organizers to suspend the event shortly after 18:00. “We started aquaplaning on the straight,” said Jeremy Guarnoni. “Even riding behind the pace became dangerous. Stopping the bikes was the right decision.” The 83rd Bol d’Or was interrupted for a dozen hours. The race management waited until the weather improved to restart the bikes at 6:00 am for the next 8 hours. After starting well, the team Kawasaki SRC was among the leading quartet when the Honda number 5 broke its engine, covering the Paul Ricard circuit with oil. In the wake of Mike Di Meglio, Erwan Nigon was trapped without being able to react. “There was oil everywhere,” said Gilles Stafler’s rider. “I found myself on the ground without having the time to understand or do anything. I was able to pick up my bike, and I was about to start it again when Loris Baz fell in turn. His bike cut me down, and when it hit mine, everything caught on fire. I just managed to get out of the blaze, it was pretty terrifying.” The motorcycle being completely destroyed, the Kawasaki team were unable to make it to the finish of the first race of the season. The next meeting is in December in Malaysia for the Eight Hours of Sepang, a new event on the EWC calendar.

MotoGP World Championship – Aragon Grand Prix

Márquez increases his lead

Leader of the Moto2 World Championship, Álex Márquez increased his lead by finishing third in the Grand Prix of Aragon while taking advantage of the fall of Augusto Fernandez, his main rival in the title race.

In front of his fans, on the Aragon circuit, the leader of the Moto2 world championship was eager to shine. Álex Márquez didn’t win, but by making it to the podium for the ninth time of the season and also taking advantage of the fall of his rival in the title race, Augusto Fernandez, the rider from Cervera has increased his lead at the top of the overall standings. From pole position, Márquez fought it out to the finish behind Brad Binder, together with Luca Marini and Jorge Navarro. “It was a difficult race because the conditions were different from those we had during the practice test sessions, especially because of the wind that had changed direction,” said the Marc VDS rider. “In trying to catch up with Binder I used my rear tire too much and at the end of the race I lacked traction. So when Jorge overtook me I didn’t insist. Augusto having fallen, my thoughts were on the championship.” His team-mate Xavi Vierge made it again to the top-ten, taking the chequered flag in tenth place. “I was hoping for better,” said the Catalan. “I didn’t have the same good feelings as during the practice test sessions, I had the impression I was fighting with the bike.” Marco Bezzecchi, who suffered from a lack of grip on his rear tire, finished fifteenth. Philipp Oettl, the second rider of the team KTM Tech 3, had to settle for twenty-sixth place. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira returned to the top fifteen. Thirteenth on the finish line, the Portuguese rider was satisfied with his performance after two Did Not Finish: “I had a good race fighting it out with the top riders. I am all the happier in that it’s not easy to overtake on this circuit.” His teammate Hafizh Syarhin ranked twenty-first.

The Championship

With his third place, Álex Márquez increased his lead in the overall standings from 26 to 38 points. A good operation before the major round of four races overseas looming ahead in October. Xavi Vierge stays in fourteenth place. On the side of the Tech 3 team, Marco Bezzecchi is in 23rd place with 11 points while Philipp Oettl’s counter has yet to start. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has moved up one places. He is now seventeenth with 29 points. No change for Hafizh Syahrin, still twenty-fourth with 6 points.

ANTONIO FELIX DA COSTA JOINS DS TECHEETAH

DS TECHEETAH are very proud to announce that Antonio Felix Da Costa will join the team on 1st October 2019. 

The 28-year-old Portuguese driver will take his take his long-term #13 for Season Six of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship that will commence on 23 November 2019 in Riyadh.

Antonio has raced in the championship since its inception, having contested 54 races where he achieved pole positions, podiums and two race wins (Buenos Aires and Riyadh). In the last season 2018/2019 Antonio Felix da Costa finished 6th overall.

Mark Preston, DS TECHEETAH Team Principal:

“It’s fantastic to have Antonio back with the team. He’s remained a close friend with all of us during his time away and we’re all looking forward to welcoming him home and to see him in the gold and black DS TECHEETAH colours. He will be a great, and fast, addition to the team and we’re all very excited to see what Jean-Eric and Antonio will deliver on track this coming year.”

Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director:

“I am particularly proud to welcome Antonio in our team. His experience in this discipline and his speed will be crucial in our pursuit of victories and titles. While awaiting the first race in Riyad, he will be able to commence several test sessions together with Jean-Eric and help us to improve our FE E-TENSE 20.”

Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS TECHEETAH Driver:

“Getting the opportunity to join a double championship winning team in such a highly competitive motorsport category like Formula E it’s very rare. It was a very hard decision to leave my current position but it’s an opportunity I just couldn’t say no to and I’m very excited to join Jean-Éric and everyone at DS TECHEETAH.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH Driver:

“I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to Antonio. We’ve been friends for a long time, and we’ve been part of the same motorsport program in the past so it’s great to be able to work together again. He will be a great addition to the team.”

CITROËN CLAIMS A ONE-TWO FINISH AND MOVES BACK INTO THE TITLE HUNT !

Brilliantly reliable and competitive, the C3 WRCs of Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi Janne Ferm claimed a magnificent one-two finish at Rally Turkey, enabling the French crew to move back into serious contention in the race for the drivers’ and co-drivers’ world titles.

The tactics were fairly straightforward for the Citroën Total World Rally Team on today’s remaining 38.62 kilometres. Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm’s job was to maintain a decent pace so as to secure second place and avoid the risk of being caught out. Meanwhile, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia needed to confirm their pace notes on Marmaris (7.05km), the day’s opening speed test that would also be used as the Power Stage. They then had to look after their tyres on the next two stages so they could push as much as possible on the final test in the hope of collecting a few bonus points. Citroën’s crews stuck to the plan, securing the one-two finish, whilst Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia scored three extra points with the third fastest time on the Power Stage.

This one-two finish is the Citroën Total World Rally Team’s first such result since the 2015 Rally Argentina and is the team’s third win this season, following victories in Monte-Carlo and Mexico. It also sees them take their ninth and tenth podiums of the year. It equally signals the team’s return to the front with an impressively fast and robust C3 WRC this weekend and illustrates its determination to fight all the way in the championship. The result is certainly excellent news for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, who move back up to second in the standings, just seventeen points behind the leaders, with some ninety points left up for grabs in the three remaining rounds of the season.

Third on the road on Friday, Sébastien and Julien got off to a frustrating start with a puncture six kilometres from the end of the first proper stage. However, they moved back up to third place on the next stage and ended the day in second overall, 17.7s behind their team-mates, setting two consecutive third fastest times in the process. A bold tyre choice for Saturday morning’s opening stage in the very hot conditions (three medium and two hard Michelin tyres) enabled them to claim their first stage win of the weekend on Yesilbelde (33km). Their rivals were left at least a minute behind. They then focused on taking as few risks as possible and controlling their pace. They nonetheless grabbed the second fastest time on the repeat of Yesilbelde, which took them into the overall lead. This morning, they were therefore well placed to bring home their third win in the C3 WRC and also secure their seventh podium in 2019.

Making the most of their position down the running order (ninth) on day one, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm impressed on SS2 with a second fastest time. They then took the overall lead on the following test with their first stage win! Clearly at home in the C3 WRC, Citroën’s Finns were as calm and focused as they were impressive, despite their road position being a disadvantage on certain very rough sections of Friday’s afternoon loop and having a tyre package ill-suited to the rain that began to fall late in the day. They even added two stage wins to their tally and led the rally until a brief stall on SS12 saw them relinquish the lead to their team-mates. A minor mishap that didn’t prevent them from heading into today’s final leg in a strong position to claim their third podium of the season, after also finishing as runners-up in Sweden and Finland.

REACTIONS FROM…

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver

“We really needed this win if we were to have a chance of getting back into contention in the championship so I’m really happy to bring it home for the team this weekend. We knew that anything could happen at a rally like this where it is really rough but we managed to keep out of trouble by adopting a smart approach. It’s a good morale boost for everyone as we move into the end of the season! We all know that we have to keep working really hard. We’ll savour this win and then get down to work again tomorrow.”

Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver

“It was a very demanding event, one which I didn’t really enjoy last year so I’m obviously pleased with my performance this weekend. We managed to have two very good first legs, displaying the same kind of pace as Seb and Julien, which is no easy feat. Today, the challenge for us was to get the car over the line and help them as much as possible. Our C3 WRC was perfect this weekend. We had no issues whatsoever and that was one of the keys to us securing this great result.”

TWO QUESTIONS FOR PIERRE BUDAR, CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL

What can you say about the team’s one-two finish this weekend?

I’m incredibly proud of what we have all managed to achieve this weekend! It’s certainly going to do us a whole lot of good. After the disappointment in Germany, I think the team proved that it had recovered. We were united and have shown real strength of character to manage to bounce back like that this weekend. We came away from four days of testing in Greece feeling optimistic about our chances and we had confirmation this weekend that we were right to feel positive. Everyone worked really hard to provide our crews with a C3 WRC that was both extremely robust and very quick on these rough gravel roads, which are some of the most demanding all season. The crews rounded off the job with a great deal of talent. They both produced an authoritative, dominant performance this weekend, claiming five stage wins in total. Rest assured, we’ll be driven by the same determination and fighting spirit right until the final stage of Rally Australia.

How would you describe the performances of your crews?

Perfect! Esapekka and Janne made the most of their road position on Friday morning, before proving to be extremely solid when the conditions were no longer particularly kind. They led the rally for nine stages, finding the right balance between pushing and controlling. They then clearly understood that the team needed them to not risk ruining what was shaping up to be a great result. I would like to pay tribute to their superb team spirit. They have clearly made another step forward in the C3 WRC on gravel and will now be a definite asset in our attempt to win the world title with Sébastien and Julien. Speaking of whom, Messrs Ogier and Ingrassia managed perfectly to deal with their position in the running order on Friday, ending the day ideally placed. They then produced the kind of performance of which they alone are capable on Saturday morning, showing their unrivalled ability when it comes to tyre management. The sign of a true champion is knowing when is the right time to strike. Over the years, they have also become known for never giving up and they certainly reminded everyone of that this weekend!

THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEKEND

Yesilbelde (33km), Saturday’s opening stage and one of the slowest and most technical of the weekend with average speeds of just over 75kph, saw the Citroën Total World Rally Team crews establish their future one-two finish with authority

This very rough stage was clearly the big challenge of Saturday’s leg. Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm, having already been at the sharp end in the C3 WRCs the day before on the very long Çetibeli stage (38.15km) disregarded the length of the test and the stifling heat to produce impressive performances. The French crew recorded a genuinely breathtaking time thanks to a bold tyre choice, whilst the Finns finished 16.7s behind to make it a one-two on the stage. Further back, only Andreas Mikkelsen came close to the Citroën crews, whilst the rest of the field was at least a second per kilometre off the pace, a huge gap at this level. This performance also left the Citroën Total World Rally Team’s closest rivals a minute adrift, enabling the team to approach the afternoon loop, expected to be very demanding, in a more relaxed mood.

FINAL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS

  1. Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) 3:50:12.1
  2. Lappi / Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +34.7
  3. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:04.5
  4. Suninen / Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:35.1
  5. Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:25.9
  6. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2:59.1
  7. Meeke / Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:53.3
  8. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +5:34.8
  9. Tidemand / Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +7:22.9

DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

  1. Ott Tänak – 210 points
  2. Sébastien Ogier – 193 points
  3. Thierry Neuville – 180 points
  4. Andreas Mikkelsen – 94 points
  5. Kris Meeke – 86 points
  6. Jari-Matti Latvala – 84 points
  7. Teemu Suninen – 83 points
  8. Esapekka Lappi – 80 points
  9. Elfyn Evans – 78 points
  10. Dani Sordo – 72 points

*subject to the publication of the official classification by the FIA

MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

  1. Hyundai WRT – 314 points
  2. Toyota Gazoo Racing – 295 points
  3. Citroën Total WRT – 259 points
  4. M-Sport Ford WRT – 184 points

*subject to the publication of the official classification by the FIA

INCREDIBLE TURNAROUND GIVES TIMMY HANSEN WORLD RX LEAD IN LATVIA

Riga, 15 September 2019 – Timmy Hansen has taken the lead of the FIA World Rallycross drivers’ championship heading to the final round of the season, scoring victory in an incredible reversal of fortunes.

After Qualifying 2 on Saturday afternoon Timmy was P15 and out of the Semi Final qualification places, after being pushed into a tyre barrier that broke his car’s right-rear wheel.

But an incredible run of results on Sunday ensured he turned around a potentially disastrous weekend into a race win, starting with topping both Q3 and Q4 to qualify second.

Kevin Hansen’s route to the Semi Finals was a model of consistency. A fantastic launch off the line in Q1 led to heat victory from fifth on the grid, and he continued that consistency across Saturday and Sunday to qualify fourth.

Those results led to Timmy and Kevin sharing the front row of Semi Final 2, with the pair finishing where they started and setting up a thrilling Final battle with title rival Andreas Bakkerud, who had taken the Top Qualifier spot.

Another fantastic start from second on the grid propelled Timmy to the lead by turn one, a position he held until the chequered flag. Kevin was a little less fortunate, trapped in the midfield squeeze that dropped him down to last at turn one. A valiant recovery ensured he finished in fourth place at the flag.

Timmy now has a one-point lead in the drivers’ championship over Bakkerud, while Kevin remains a strong contender in third, only eight points behind his older brother.

Thanks to both drivers’ incredible consistency throughout the year, Team HANSEN MJP needs only eight points at the season finale in South Africa to win the teams’ championship, having further extended its advantage over nearest rival GRX in Latvia.

WORLD RX OF LATVIA RESULTS :

1st – Timmy Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  7th
Qualifying 2   –  DNF
Qualifying 3   –  1st
Qualifying 4   –  1st
Semi-Final 2 –  1st
Final – 1st

4rd – Kevin Hansen

Qualifying 1   –3th
Qualifying 2   –  7th
Qualifying 3   –  10th
Qualifying 4   –  5th
Semi-Final 2 –  2rd
Final – 4rd

TALKING POINTS

You can’t keep a good man down. Timmy won every single session in which he raced on Sunday after being down in P15 the day before.

Timmy is guaranteed to finish the 2019 World RX season as the only back-to-back round winner, following his France win with victory in Latvia. He remains the only multiple winner this year too.

Kevin “lost” the grid draw lottery and ended up choosing his grid slot last for the second consecutive weekend. Nonetheless, he still ran in the top five during qualifying all weekend.

This is the first time in World RX history that three drivers have gone to the final round still able to win the championship. The last time that the World RX title race went to the final round was 2015, when one of the two title protagonists was Timmy Hansen.

The big number

13

The number of positions Timmy gained in qualifying, following his Q2 retirement with a broken wheel.

TIMMY HANSEN

“It was tough yesterday. First of all we were very disappointed, but then you can either decide to be angry or to be happy. We came together, we had nice evening and this morning we played some nice music. Everybody was pumped, everyone kept believing that if we made the perfect day today, anything can happen, nothing is certain.

“All four of my launches today were really good. To focus exactly on what you need to do and just drive your best in all these circumstances we’re facing with the championship, in the wet as well, after being in such a low position, is a massive win for the team. This really came from the heart, in wanting it and believing in it. To sit here after where I sat yesterday feels amazing. I’m so proud of these guys, of my big family, that they were with me and that we’ve achieved this together.

“I hope that all three of us have a good weekend in South Africa and a fair battle. Let the best man win!”

KEVIN HANSEN

“I have always struggled a bit in Riga but I felt a lot better this year, which was nice. The one time I had a free run was Q1, where I think I made the launch of the weekend! I got a bit stuck the rest of the time but still had very good speed – I just wasn’t able to get any free air.

“We definitely made some big steps on the launches this weekend. That was the key to staying in front and being fourth at the end of qualifying, then second in the Semi Final. We knew that we were too weak in that area and we knew that if we want to win the championship, we would have to improve there.

“A lot can change in six weeks, so we will make sure to stay on top of our game, drive some TitansRX and prepare ourselves for the final showdown. It’s really important to keep the racing up: when everyone goes to Cape Town for Q1, they will not be as fresh and racing-minded as we will be. In total, with 12 qualifying starts – and hopefully four semi-finals and four finals – between now and Cape Town, we will be keeping our race game really strong. ”

THE BOSS – SUSANN HANSEN

“Everybody stepped up their game this weekend. Our crew always take responsibility but with Kenneth busy filming a TV show in Greece, we felt the absence of one member of a very small team not being here. Their extra effort made a big difference.

“When we came back this morning it had started to rain, so it felt like it was a new race, a new beginning after Timmy’s crash yesterday. It felt like a fresh start.

“What we’ve learned from these difficult moments is that when we turn our focus inwards, rather than looking outside, we begin to focus on every detail: what the spotter needs to say, that the mechanics double and triple check every detail on the cars, and the drivers having one more try at finding the best launch setting.

“This result means the world to us. Timmy and Kevin showed so much strength today and knew exactly what to do during such a rollercoaster weekend. I’m so happy for them and for the whole team.”

NEXT ROUND: 
WORLD RX OF SOUTH AFRICA

Killarney Raceway, located on the northern fringes of Cape Town in South Africa, hosts the World RX season finale on 16/17 November.

Like Biķernieki, it’s a purpose-built circuit racing facility that’s been adapted for rallycross, featuring high-grip asphalt. But unlike the Latvian track, it’s a fast, open, and wide circuit that pushes World RX machines to their highest speeds.

There’s an eight-week wait before the World RX titles are decided – so we’re itching to get back on track in Killarney!INCREDIBLE TURNAROUND GIVES TIMMY HANSEN WORLD RX LEAD IN LATVIA

MotoGP World Championship – San Marino Grand Prix

Marquez makes it to the Podium

By finishing third in the San Marino Grand Prix, Álex Márquez made it to the podium for the eighth time this season. A performance that allows the Moto2 Championship leader to maintain a lead of more than one victory in the overall standings.

After his fall in Britain, Álex Márquez had to redeem himself. Which is just what he did. On a circuit where he has never felt very comfortable, the Marc VDS rider managed to qualify for the front row on the starting grid before taking a place on the podium. In the fight with Augusto Fernandez and Fabio Di Giannantonio, Márquez had to struggle for a long time before securing third place. “Right from the first lap I had a major warning that made me think,” said the championship leader. “I narrowly avoided a crash, and I told myself the race was going to be difficult. I concentrated on keeping the fastest pace possible by staying with the riders ahead of me. After my fall at Silverstone, I had to get back on track.” Xavi Vierge had a positive weekend, finishing eighth, as he did in June in the Netherlands. For a long time sixth, the Catalan unfortunately missed a gear in the last laps, leaving Navarro and Binder to use it to their advantage and overtake him. On the Tech 3 Moto2 side, Marco Bezzecchi fell at the start of the race and Philipp Oettl finished twenty-third. In MotoGP, Hafizh finished fifteenth, just ahead of Miguel Oliveira. Victim of a fall early in the race when he could have made the top ten, the Portuguese rider managed to return to the track in last position and almost scored points.

The Championship

In making it back to the podium, Alex Marquez keeps first place in the overall Moto2 standings with more than one victory ahead of Augusto Fernandez, the winner in Misano. Thanks to his eighth place, Xavi Vierge has moved up a position. He is now thirteenth with 53 points. Hafizh Syahrin keeps his twenty-fourth place with six points while Miguel Oliveira is now eighteenth one point behind Andrea Iannone and Johan Zarco.

Superbike World Championship – portugal

Rea right back on track

Nearly two months after his triumph at Laguna Seca, Jonathan Rea made his comeback to competition in Portimao – and at the same pace. With two wins and a second place, the Kawasaki rider further increased his lead in the World Superbike Championship.

At the end of a long summer break, Jonathan Rea took the handlebars of his Kawasaki with the same appetite. In Portugal, the quadruple world superbike champion even came one step closer to a fifth star. Clocking the best time during the tests, he won the first two races of the weekend before securing second place in the last heat. “The team did a great job again,” said the Brit. “The conditions were tricky because it was very hot and the track lacked grip, but we managed to find interesting technical solutions to overcome the problem.” On Saturday afternoon, Rea broke away right from the start of the race taking advantage of a crash in the first lap by Alvaro Bautista, his opponent in the title race: “I found myself fairly quickly with a lead of several seconds that I then tried to manage.” Once again winner of the Superpole race Sunday morning, the Kawasaki rider ended the weekend with a duel to the finish with the Bautista’s Ducati. “It was a great fight,” he explains. “But in the last laps I preferred to secure second place and focus on the championship.” Less at ease on the Portuguese track, Leon Haslam chalked up three fifth places after signing the fourth time during the qualifying session. “I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make it to the podium on Sunday afternoon,” said the Brit. “I lacked a bit of confidence in cornering and I was not able to keep pace with the riders ahead of me.” Toprak Razgatlioglu got better and better throughout the weekend. Sixth at the finish of the first race, he finished fourth in the Superpole race before taking the podium of the last heat on Sunday afternoon. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias also made it to the podium. The Kawasaki rider who fought end-to-end with the two Yamaha’s ridden by Caricasulo and Krummenacher finished third less than one second behind the winner. His teammate Hikari Okubo finished seventh.

The Championship

Jonathan Rea attacked the last part of the Superbike World Championship the same way he finished the first half of the season: by increasing his overall lead. With only four races to go, the four-time world champion is now 91 points clear of Alvaro Bautista, his most serious rival in the title race. Leon Haslam stays in fifth place with a capital of 229 points. Sixth, Toprak Razgatlioglu follows close behind with 223 points. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias is in fourth place with 98 points, just ahead of Hikari Okubo, fifth with 82 points.

A terrific comeback!

The FIA World Endurance Championship began today with the 4 Hours of Silverstone (Great Britain).

Thanks to a shift in strategy, Signatech Alpine Elf finished second in the LMP2 category with a last-lap pass and positions itself as a candidate to its own succession.

After a ninth consecutive podium finish for the team, the trio of Thomas Laurent, André Negrão and Pierre Ragues looks ahead to Fuji (6 October).

The season got underway on Friday with two productive free practice sessions, then a third prior to Saturday qualifying. The timed exercise was entrusted to Thomas Laurent and Pierre Ragues, who posted the fifth best time in LMP2.

After the tragic loss of Anthoine Hubert the previous day, hearts were heavy when André Negrão got behind the wheel for the start of the 4 Hours of Silverstone. Boxed in at the inside of turn one by an LMP1 car, the Brazilian lost a position before striking back to move into fourth place ahead of the first safety car period.

Contrary to the majority of its rivals, the Signatech Alpine Elf team stayed out as long as possible before its first stop and Andre Negrão gave it all he had in the battle during his second stint before handing over to Pierre Ragues at the 90-minute mark of the race.

The Frenchman soon had to come back to the pits as it began to rain. In these tricky conditions in his first race in the Alpine A470 in more than two years, Pierre pushed as hard as he could with the intermediate tyres before the second safety car period at the mid-way point of the race.

Meanwhile, the track began to dry and Thomas Laurent took over with an hour and 40 minutes remaining. For his first race with the French squad, he was sixth when the race resumed and soon made a stout overtake on the n°47 Cetilar Racing entry.

As the various strategies faded, the newcomer to the team increased his pace in his second stint before a perfectly executed stop by the team with 20 minutes to go. Leaving the pits in third place, Thomas put the hammer down in the final minutes to close right up to the n°29 Racing Team Nederlands car and snatch second place on the last lap of the race.

With this ninth consecutive podium finish and big points on the board, Signatech Alpine Elf hopes to continue its streak and confirm this strong start to the season at the next round, the 6 Hours of Fuji on 6 October.

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Elf

“We are satisfied with the result of this first race, because our goal was to make a good start to the season and take a ninth straight podium finish. Despite a small technical issue in qualifying, we were quite relaxed after that. Andre put in an excellent start with a different strategy than our rivals, who stopped during the first safety car period. We wanted to reduce the number of stops and it paid off just until the second safety car which didn’t work out in our favour. Pierre still stayed within striking distance and didn’t make any mistakes while dealing with the trickier conditions. Thomas was able to put in a great comeback drive that finished in style on the last lap. I think that we did a good job with the championship in mind, although we did get an idea of how competitive the season is going to be with so many fantastic driver line-ups and top-notch teams among the contenders.”

Thomas Laurent

“It was a busy race with a lot of traffic, tyre management and some great overtakes. I wasn’t sure we would be on the podium when I got in the car and I got caught up in a false pace in my opening stint. I wore out my front-tyres in traffic, but the team put on new left-side tyres to pick up the pace before our final and super-fast stop. The podium was looking out of reach, but I managed to pull away from the guys behind me and was able to take a second place that had looked to be impossible a few minutes before. The team and my team mates did a fantastic job and this result is perfect for my first race with them!”

André Negrão 

André Negrão 

“It had been a long time since I was so nervous as it was such a difficult race! My stint could have been better if I had been a little more aggressive at the start, but the team made huge strides forward with the strategy and set-ups that let us move from fifth to second place. It is always good to score a lot of points straight away when the championship promises to be very competitive with so many serious title contenders behind us. We now look towards Fuji, a meeting that we need to prepare seriously as the conditions are difficult there.”

Pierre Ragues

“We knew there was a chance of rain, b

 

Pierre Ragues

“We knew there was a chance of rain, but the timing didn’t work out in our favour because it began to sprinkle on just my second lap. The team was very quick to switch to intermediate tyres, which are always hard to figure out in race conditions, but I did my best to keep a solid pace and hand over to Thomas in the best conditions. André put in a great start of the race and Thomas drove a perfect end of the race, so our efforts were rewarded during this very emotional weekend. As a French driver in a French team, it was hard to not think of Anthoine Hubert today and we all wanted to honour him.”

Classifications

4 Hours of Silverstone – LMP2
1. Cool Racing n°42 – 124 laps
2. Signatech Alpine Elf n°36 +49.311s
3. Racing Team Nederland n°29 +51.733s
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 +58.972s
5. JOTA n°38 +59.457s
6. Cetilar Racing n°33 + 2 laps
7. High Class Racing n°33 + 2 laps
NC. United Autosports n°22

FIA LMP2 Teams’ Trophy
1. Cool Racing n°42 – 25 points
2. Signatech Alpine Elf n°36 – 18 points
3. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 16 points
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 12 points
5. JOTA n°38 – 10 points
6. Cetilar Racing n°33 – 8 points
7. High Class Racing n°33 – 6 points
NC. United Autosports n°22

HANSEN BROTHERS TAKE STUNNING COMEBACK WIN AND PODIUM IN FRANCE

Lohéac, 01 September 2019 – Timmy and Kevin Hansen showed incredible fighting spirit during World RX of France at Lohéac, scoring victory and third place respectively after starting third and sixth in the Final.

Both had some difficult runs in qualifying, with faster starting cars able to jump ahead and take qualifying points away from both drivers.

But a sensational turnaround began in Q4 on Sunday afternoon, with Timmy leading the way thanks to the fastest race time and fastest single lap of the weekend on his way to being Top Qualifier. He was beaten to the first corner in his semi-final on older tyres, so lined up third for the final.

Kevin’s starting position on the outside of the grid in the first three qualifiers set him back and although he managed fourth in Q3, he qualified only 10th. But it was the beginning of a rousing comeback: he went from fifth to third in his semi-final, passing Timur Timerzyanov for fourth on lap one and then leaping past Timo Scheider for a place in the Final on the last lap, coming out just ahead when the German driver took his joker.

WORLD RX OF FRANCE RESULTS :

1st – Timmy Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  2nd
Qualifying 2   –  8th
Qualifying 3   –  6th
Qualifying 4   –  1st
Semi-Final 2 –  2nd
Final – 1st

3rd – Kevin Hansen

Qualifying 1   –10th
Qualifying 2   –  12th
Qualifying 3   –  4th
Qualifying 4   –  10th
Semi-Final 2 –  3rd
Final – 3rd

TALKING POINTS

Who says you can’t overtake at Lohéac? Kevin passed five cars in two races to turn a 10th place in qualifying into a third place finish in the Final. Incredible!

Timmy remains the only driver to win multiple World RX rounds in 2019. France was his third victory of the season.

It’s the second time this year that Team HANSEN MJP has had both cars on the podium: one of only two teams to achieve the feat to date this season.

It’s been close in the drivers’ championship all year, but this is the first time ever that Timmy and Kevin have been tied on points in the world championship.

The big number

35.843

The new World RX of France lap record in seconds, set by Timmy Hansen in Qualifying 1. He took the record only 10 minutes after younger brother Kevin had set a new benchmark in his earlier Q1 heat!

TIMMY HANSEN

“This weekend has been amazing. Coming here, we have so much support from the French fans. We’re getting so much love from them, they’re supporting us, I can feel it going out on track.

“I also love to drive here. We can feel that the Peugeot is comfortable around these corners and I was also feeling very comfortable this weekend. I needed a perfect Q4 to be in the race and we got it just when we needed it, and got the pole, so that was very important for the weekend.

“I was all in for the final: I was going to push very hard and then Bakkerud and Grönholm opened the door for me, so I sneaked by. Those were six brilliant laps. On the last lap, I remembered that back in 2015, my dad told me to enjoy this lap, and I saw I had a big gap, so again, I took in the atmosphere, looked up at the grandstands, and I felt the feeling of leading the last lap in Lohéac. To cross the finish line first is such an amazing feeling.”

KEVIN HANSEN

“I have no idea how I got into the final and semi-final! I pushed really, really hard. I was so unlucky with the draw. I don’t know if I’m lucky or it’s random but we are here. For the semi-final, I was sure on the last lap I was not going to make it. Then I saw Baciuška overtake Scheider, and Scheider lost a lot of time, and I saw that I could make it.

“We started last in the final but had a really good launch, then it was all kinds of mess in turn one. I saw Bakkerud got pushed out wide and I just knew: that’s the guy that I have to beat. When I took the joker it was mega-close against Baciuška: I selected a higher gear at turn five than I had used all weekend, kept the throttle lit up, almost lost it, Baciuška helped me save it, and that secured the podium.

“I am a rallycrosser and I am not a perfect man in all conditions, but I get through it like a machine! I never give up. This is why we are in the fight.”

THE BOSS – KENNETH HANSEN

“It’s such an amazing feeling, the pride of winning in Lohéac. It’s the best event to win! We struggled, we had to fight for it and give it all and we were in a bad position on the grid. For Timmy to come out and do it like this is absolutely marvellous.

“We were in difficult positions this weekend and arrived here after a bad race in Canada, so to come back and achieve a result like this was fantastic. Kevin was also in a bad position after qualifying but came back from 10th and got on the podium. Having both of them finish on the podium is wonderful.”

NEXT ROUND: 
WORLD RX OF LATVIA

Biķernieki, located on the outskirts of Latvia’s capital city Riga, is still a recent addition to the rallycross calendar, yet has already cemented its status as a classic track.

It’s another high-grip track, featuring more asphalt than gravel thanks to Biķernieki’s decades-long history as a racing circuit.

These days World RX is the headline act, and it’s a track Team HANSEN MJP has won on in the past, with Sébastien Loeb winning the track’s inaugural event in 2016.

KEVIN HANSEN STORMS FROM THE BACK TO GRAB PODIUM FINISH IN HELL