WRC

THE C3 WRC RETURNS TO LATIN AMERICA

The WRC heads to Argentina for round five, only the second on gravel after Mexico, where the Citroën Total World Rally Team crews Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm will once again enjoy the huge, passionate crowds typically found in Latin America. Both crews will be determined to show the same speed they had a month and a half ago on the roads around León and maintain their run of podium finishes.

Winners in Mexico on the only gravel event held so far in 2019, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia find themselves back on the surface on which the majority of the championship is contested with the firm intention of confirming their pace with the C3 WRC on dirt roads. With seven stage wins, including the Power Stage, in Central America last month, they had produced a very high performance level. It is therefore no surprise that they come into this round with high hopes, although this gravel event differs somewhat from Rally Mexico.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 -WRC Mexico (MX) – WRC 06/03/2019 to 10/03/2019 – PHOTO : @World

The French pair has finished on the podium four times in nine appearances at this rally, which rewards those who know the roads well. They will also be able to count on the experience of the Citroën Total World Rally Team, which has already won in Argentina ten times. Whereas in the past they have often been first to tackle these stages, where grip levels tend to increase as more cars complete, this time they will be running second on the road, meaning they will enjoy slightly better grip conditions.

Meanwhile, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will be sixth in the running order. Although they don’t have as much knowledge as their team-mates of this rally, this being only their second appearance here, the fact they will be tackling cleaner roads may help them to make up partly for their lack of experience. In any case, the feeling at the end of the Mexican round and the stage times set in Central America suggest that the Finnish duo will be looking to confirm their growing confidence on this, their second gravel event in the C3 WRC.

In the meantime, Esapekka and Janne got some additional miles under their belt on this surface, as did Sébastien and Julien, as part of a four-day pre-event test held recently in Portugal, each crew spending two days in the car.

INDYCAR

ROSSI WINS AGAIN AT LONG BEACH

LONG BEACH, California (Sunday, April 14, 2019) – Al Unser Jr. may be “King of the Beach,” but Alexander Rossi is driving himself toward INDYCAR racing royalty at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

For the second straight year on the iconic NTT IndyCar Series street course, Rossi dominated the competition. The Andretti Autosport driver led all but five of 85 laps from the pole position Sunday to become the first back-to-back winner at Long Beach since Sebastien Bourdais won three in a row from 2005-07.

“We were able to get a race car I was really happy with,” Rossi said. “Winning the pole is huge come Sunday because it allows you to hopefully be in front leaving Turn 1 and really just control the race from there.

“It’s awesome to be able to really kickstart our year.”

INDYCAR Acura GP of Long Beach

ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Official results

Driving the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, Rossi cruised across the finish line 20.2359 seconds ahead of Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden – the largest margin of victory at Long Beach since Unser Jr. won by more than 23 seconds in 1995. Rossi became the ninth multiple winner at Long Beach, joining the likes of his team owner Michael Andretti (two wins), Mario Andretti (three), Bourdais (three), Paul Tracy (four) and Alex Zanardi (two). Unser Jr. took home six victories at “the Beach.”

Four of Rossi’s six NTT IndyCar Series career victories have now come when the 27-year-old Californian started from the pole position. Sunday’s win also moved him into second place in the 2019 championship standings after four of 17 races, trailing Newgarden by 28 points, but he said it was no day at the beach.

“I think we got lucky that we were able to get through some traffic and Josef was held up for a bit,” Rossi said. “From that standpoint, we were able to build a gap. It’s never easy. We didn’t have a whole lot of pressure … but you still have to go quick, right? There are a bunch of really fast guys behind you, so you can’t relax at all.”

Rossi became the fourth NTT IndyCar Series driver, each from a different team, to win in as many races this season. He also delivered Andretti Autosport its 200th race victory in all disciplines in which the team has competed since its 2003 inception. Sixty-three of those wins have come in NTT IndyCar Series competition.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in I think a short period of time, to get to 200,” Michael Andretti said. “We’ve had so many great people help get us there. I was just told we had 38 different drivers that won for us over the years to get us to this point.”

INDYCAR Acura GP of Long Beach

Andretti had high words of praise for Rossi, the driver who picked up win No. 200.

“I think he’s a great driver,” Andretti said. “I think we saw in him from the moment he sat in one of our cars, we knew we had someone special here. He’s been great to have as a part of the team.

“He drove flawlessly all weekend. That lap he did (in) qualifying, I think, was the difference as well. To be able to start on pole here is a big advantage.”

By finishing second in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden scored his fourth top-four finish to start the season. Starting fourth, the 2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion leapfrogged to second place during the first round of pit stops and remained there the rest of the day.

“It’s tough when you’re not able to compete at the very, very front,” Newgarden said. “We were at the front, but you want to be competing for first (place). That’s disappointing, but we gave it our all today and thought we had a pretty good race for the most part. … We just were a little short.”

INDYCAR Acura GP of Long Beach

Reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon finished third in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. The five-time champion and 2015 Long Beach winner crossed the finish line in fourth place behind Graham Rahal, but the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver was penalized a position for blocking Dixon on the final lap.

“It was unfortunate with the Graham Rahal incident,” Dixon said. “I think he overshot Turn 8 and then quickly tried to turn in reaction. The rule is you can’t come back to defend if somebody’s already there, and that’s what happened.

“It was just one of those things. Had he not reacted there, we would have (passed him) anyway. But it’s racing, hard racing.”

FORMULA 1

I TOLD YOU SO! LCH WINS ANOTHER DOMINANT MERCEDES 1-2 FERRARI LEFT HOLDING THE TEAM ORDERS BAG!

SHANGHAI (AP) — Mercedes has gone 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 in the first three races of the new Formula One season, a great start for the sport’s dominating team.

Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas completed their third straight double in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix. That kind of start has not happened since 1992 when Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese went 1-2 in the first three races.

”As a team, we didn’t expect to have three 1-2s,” Hamilton said. He acknowledged there’s been some luck involved, particularly two weeks ago in Bahrain when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc should have won, but was undone by late engine trouble.

”I think we’re over-delivering a little bit at the moment,” Hamilton said.

Sunday’s race was over in the first 30 seconds.

Second on the grid, Hamilton beat pole-sitter Bottas to the first turn and then led for the entire 56 laps. It was Hamilton’s sixth victory on the Shanghai circuit. It was also the five-time and defending champion’s 75th career victory, which moved him into the lead in the overall standings after three races.

”The start is really what made the difference,” Hamilton said. ”And after that it was kind of history.”

The Mercedes 1-2 streak – two wins for Hamilton and one for Bottas – comes despite early hints that Ferrari had more flat-out speed.

”You can see it is still very close between us all,” Hamilton said. ”We have no idea how the next race is going to turn out.”

Bottas acknowledged he was done in by his slow start, with Hamilton racing ahead out of the first turn.

‘I think I lost it in the start, honestly,” Bottas said. ”It’s a shame about the start. It’s small details, but it’s early days in the season. But we’ve done three perfect weekends so far.”

Ferrari issued team orders to Charles Leclerc at the Chinese Grand Prix

The 21-year-old Leclerc of Monaco was upset after about 10 laps when his Ferrari team ordered him to let Vettel pass. Vettel was in fourth at the time and Leclerc was third.

”Let Sebastian by. Let Sebastian by,” the team radio told Leclerc. He replied, clearly irritated: ”But I’m pulling away” as he backed off and watched Vettel pass.

FORMULA 1

BOTTAS ON POLE LCH P TWO AND MAX VERSTAPPEN PISSED OFF!

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Valtteri Bottas will start Formula One’s 1,000th world championship race from pole position after leading Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in a front row lockout at the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualified third, ahead of 21-year-old Monegasque team mate Charles Leclerc who was unable to repeat his Bahrain Grand Prix pole of two weeks ago.

Bottas, who won the season opener in Australia and leads defending champion Hamilton by one point in the standings, was the third different driver to take pole this season in three races.

“The lap was OK, not completely how I wanted. Luckily it was good enough for pole,” smiled the Finn, who pipped Hamilton by 0.023 seconds after setting a best time of one minute 31.547.

“Lewis also managed to improve a lot during the qualifying and it was super-close.”

The pole was a first for Bottas since Russia last September and the seventh of his career. It was also his first in China where Mercedes have won five of the last seven races.

Hamilton sounded happy just to be on the front row, despite six previous poles in Shanghai, after looking out of sorts in practice.

“I didn’t give up, I kept pushing right to the end. Big congratulations to Valtteri, he’s been stellar all weekend and I’ve been struggling and fighting the car,” said the Briton.

“To be as close as we are at the end is fantastic. An incredible result for the team. There was a little bit more time left on the table there but that’s cool, I’ll try and get it tomorrow,” added Hamilton.

UNHAPPY VERSTAPPEN

Ferrari had arrived in China as favorites after showing their speed in Bahrain, particularly on the straights, with Leclerc on pole and leading until a loss of engine power in the closing laps.

While unable to match the quick-cornering Mercedes cars for overall pace in Shanghai, Vettel hoped to be closer on Sunday thanks to the track’s main straight being more than a kilometer long.

“I think there was maybe a little bit more but overall not enough to beat these guys today,” said the 31-year-old German, a four times world champion.

“If we get close we could have an advantage in a straight line.”

The top 10 positions went two-by-two in team order, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly fifth and sixth and ahead of the Renault pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg — the Australian just 0.004 ahead of the German.

F1Weekly podcast # 786

CLARK AND NASIR RELISH THE FACT WE COULD HAVE SOME CAGE RATTLING AT FERRARI WHICH WOULD BRING SOME EXCITEMENT TO ANOTHER PREDICTABLE F1 SEASON. THIS WEEKS SPECIAL INTERVIEW IS WITH INDYCAR DRIVER JACK HARVEY!

Harvey began his kart racing career at the age of nine. In 2006 he won the MSA Super One British title by a single point, and the Kartmasters British Grand Prix, both in the ICA-J class.

In 2007 Harvey become a driver for the Italian Maranello team, in the newly created KF3 category. He ended up winning four trophies by the end of the year, with the Andrea Margutti Trophy, another Kartmasters title, the Italian Open Masters championship and became European Champion in KF3.

For the 2008 season, Harvey signed with the Birel Motorsport team as an KF2 driver, and became Asia-Pacific Champion.

Indy Lights

For the 2014 season Harvey moved to the United States and signed to race for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the Indy Lights series, the established junior feeder series for the Indycar Series. He finished the season in second place in the championship standings, after collecting four wins and 10 podiums in 14 races. As a consequence, in recognition of his position as the top performing British driver in North American motor sport he was also awarded the British Racing Drivers’ Club’s Earl Howe Trophy for 2014.

Harvey returned to Schmidt Peterson for the 2015 Indy Lights season. He collected two wins, six second-place finishes and 12 top 5s in 16 races, which put him runner-up in the overall standings behind Spencer Pigot.

IndyCar

Harvey made his IndyCar debut at the 2017 Indianapolis 500, driving for Michael Shank Racing in association with Andretti Autosport. He finished 31st after contact with debris from Conor Daly’s car on lap 65. Later in the 2017 IndyCar season, Harvey replaced Sebastián Saavedra (who himself had replaced Mikhail Aleshin) at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the final two races of the season.

For the 2018 IndyCar season, Harvey rejoined Michael Shank Racing, in a technical partnership with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, for 6 races.

Play Podcast: 04-10-19f1weekly786.mp3

INDYCAR

FERNANDO ALONSO TEST AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

INDYCAR is providing a digital Video News Feed featuring material from the NTT IndyCar Series. The Video News Feed recaps Fernando Alonso’s test with McLaren Racing, which took place Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway, as he prepares for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 26.

The video is available for download in the Multimedia – Video News Feed section of media.indycar.com. Those without access to the media site can download footage and interviews via direct link here: https://file.ac/OZjYXktMFlM/.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast