Ogier continues to dominate with snowy victory | WRC Rally Sweden Sunday Report

Sébastien Ogier took another clean sweep of rally lead and power stage victory as he wrapped up Rally Sweden on Sunday.

The reigning triple-world champion took the lead at the first stage of the rally in SS2 and despite a sublime performance from Hayden Paddon, he never relinquished it.

A reduced running of just twelve stages instead of twenty-one meant almost an hour of time was knocked off the winner’s time compared to last year; the Frenchman’s 2015 winning time of 2:55:30.5 dwarfed by his effort in 2016, clocking in at 1:59:47.4, just under an hour quicker.

The planned four stages on the final day of WRC Rally Sweden were cut to just one – the final ‘power’ live TV stage in Värmullsåsen. The final power stage sees additional points awarded to the fastest three drivers, and Ogier did just that, gaining an additional three points.

Next fastest was local boy Andreas Mikkelsen, followed by Kris Meeke, who took a huge hit to his rally on the first day when a rock smashed his steering out of shape. The Northern Irishman finished down in 23rd overall, but his effort on Sunday was enough to salvage his first point of the season.

Results from SS21 – Värmullsåsen (Power Stage)
1) Sebastien Ogier, VW Motorsport – 7:42.7 (3 Pts)
2) Andreas Mikkelsen, VW Motorsport II – 7:46.1 (2 Pts)
3) Kris Meeke, Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team – 7:51.7 (1 Pt)

Nobody could come close to Ogier’s time; not even Hayden Paddon, who had threatened to overpower him all weekend. The New Zealander tried all he might, but a puncture to his radiator on the very last stage put paid to those efforts.

Final Rally Results after 12 stages
1) Sebastien Ogier, VW Motorsport, Polo R, (1:59:47.7)
2) Hayden Paddon, Hyundai, i20 (+29.8)
3) Mads Ostberg, M-Sport, Fiesta RS (+55.6)
4 Andreas Mikkelsen, VW Motorsport II, Polo R (+1:10.8)
5) Ott Tanak, DMACK, Fiesta RS, (+1m 50.7)
6) Dani Sordo, Hyundai R, i20 (+2m 24.0)
7) Henning Solberg, Adapta, Fiesta RS (+2m 40.0)
8) Craig Breen, Abu Dhabi Total, DS3 WRC (+2:44.6)
9) Elfyn Evans, M-Sport, Fiesta R5 (+5:17.0) WRC2
10) Teemu Suninen, Skoda Motorsport, Fabia R5 (+5: 31.6) WRC2

POS) Driver, Team, Car, Time/Split
*Note only top 10 positions are show

The result sees Ogier extend his lead in the championship to 26 points already over VW colleague Mikkelsen, who is in turn six points of fellow Norwegian Mads Ostberg.

Hayden Paddon’s incredible form in Sweden sees him put points on the board after the disappointment of Monte Caro, and the Kiwi has promised “more of the same” next time out in Mexico.

Steady form from Dani Sordo and Ott Tanak see them in fifth and sixth, and Henning Solberg and Craig Breen do well to get on the leaderboard after their first rallies of the year.

Drivers Championship Standings
1) Sébastien Ogier, VW Motorsport (56 Pts)
2) Andreas Mikkelsen, VW Motorsport II (33 Pts)
3) Mads Ostberg, M-Sport (27 Pts)
4) Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport (18 Pts)
5) Dani Sordo, Hyundai Motorsport N (18 Pts)
6) Ott Tanak, DMACK (16 Pts)
7) Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Motorsport (15 Pts) 8) Stéphane Lefebvre, (10 Pts)
9) Henning Solberg, Adapta (6 Pts)
10) Elfyn Evans, M-Sport WRC2 (6 Pts)

The Constructors’ championship is a much closer affair, with Hyundai snapping at the heels of VW

Constructors Championship Standings
1) VW Motorsport (54 Pts)
2) Hyundai Motorsport (49 Pts)
3) VW Motorsport (30 Pts)
4) M-Sport (27 Pts)
5) DMACK (18 Pts)
6) Hyundai Motorsport N (14 Pts)

The next race of the season is the WRC Rally Mexico beginning on March 4th.

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Denny Hamlin holds on to win NASCAR Sprint Unlimited

Denny Hamlin won the first race of the NASCAR season, Daytona Sprint Unlimited, on Saturday evening after a tense race-long battle with Brad Keselowski. The opening race of the 2016 NASCAR Season serves as a precursory event to next Sunday’s Daytona 500, when the championship begins in earnest and drivers will score points.

The event began under the lights at Daytona Beach with a twenty-five strong grid, but a race of attrition – which saw three multi-car collisions – meant that just eight finished the race without damage.

Hamlin’s race actually started in tough conditions, after contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr caused damage to his Number 11 Joe Gibbs Camry and he had to stop for repairs. Brad Keselowski was in trouble too, as his Number 2 Penske Ford began overheating early in the race due to debris lodge in his radiator.

Lap 23 saw the first of three huge incidents, when an unfortunate Brian Vickers lost pressure in his right-rear tyre, careening across the track and taking Dale Earnhardt Jr, Greg Biffle, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick with him. Vickers and the latter two retired on the spot, while the rest continued with damage; Junior falling five laps down on the leader.

After the crash the racing resumed on Lap 30 with Hamlin leading the way from Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Austin Dillon. The middle period of the race saw an intense scrap for the lead emerge between the 2 and 11 cars, with neither giving an inch.

Jimmie Johnson had not finished the previous four Sprint Unlimited events, and after he took miniscule contact with Paul Menard on Lap 45 and spun into the infield, it ensured he would not again in 2016. The spin took him through the grass, tearing off his front splitter and front-right fender with it.

Casey Kahne became the third Hendrick driver involved in an incident during the race, after Jamie McMurray attempted to bump-draft him. It did not go to plan, and the 5 car got loose, veering left, into the 47 of AJ Allmendinger.

With three to go another multi-car pile up ensued with sparring duo Keselowski and Carl Edwards making contact at the front, eliminating Edwards, Aric Almirola and reigning champion Kyle Busch from proceedings.

The race resumed and took NASCAR into its new ‘Overtime’ system, essentially a replacement for the old Green-White-Chequered arrangement which used to occur if there was a caution that would take the race through to the chequered flag. Instead the leader has to now reach the ‘Overtime Line’ – which varies from track to track – before the result will be taken, and two more laps will be run.

However, shortly after Hamlin passed this line in Daytona, another wreck behind him, including McMurray and Keselowsi, took out yet more cars, in effect freezing the field where they were and ensuring the victory for Hamlin.

1) Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Toyota, (1:32:16.000)
2) Joey Logano, Penske Ford (+0.924)
3) Paul Menard, Childress Chevrolet (+1.008)
4) Kyle Larson, Ganassi Chevrolet (+2.568)
5) Casey Mears, Germain Chevrolet (+3.733)
6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Roush Fenway Ford (+3.896)
7) Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Chevrolet (+4.512)
8) Austin Dillon, Childress Chevrolet (+6.024)
9) Brad Keselowski, Penske Ford (+17.985)
10) Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Ford (+26.858)
11) Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Chevrolet (+29.094)
12) Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Toyota (+57.130)
13) Martin Truex Jr, Furniture Row Toyota (-1 lap)
14) Jamie McMurray, Ganassi Chevrolet (-1 lap)
15) Dale Earnhardt Jr, Hendrick Chevrolet (+4 laps)

Out/Unclassified:
Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Toyota (Collision, -7 laps)
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Toyota (Collision, -7 laps)
Aric Almirola, Petty Ford (Collision, -7 laps)
Ryan Newman, Childress Chevrolet (-10 laps)
Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Chevrolet (Brakes, -15 laps)
AJ Allmendinger,JTG Daugherty Chevrolet (Collision damage, -23 laps)
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Chevrolet (Spun Off, -36 laps)
Clint Bowyer, HScott Chevrolet (Collision damage, -56 laps)
Brian Vickers, Stewart-Haas Chevrolet (Collision, -57 laps)
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Chevrolet (Collision, -57 laps)

Ogier continues to resist Paddon Pressure | WRC Rally Sweden Saturday Report

Sebastien Ogier continued to resist pressure from New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon on the second day of the WRC Rally Sweden as it entered Norway, for a few stages. A gap of 17.1 seconds over Paddon, followed by the Norwegian contingent of Mads Ostberg and Andreas Mikkelsen – gives him the perfect opportunity to take the honours on Sunday.

As with Friday’s running, a reduced itinerary had been planned ahead of the event, with three removed from the roster for Saturday.

Stages 12 and 16 saw drivers compete the tricky ‘Colin’s Crest’ jump, a blind peak named after the late Colin McRae, over which cars literally fly and is one of the most spectacular sights of the entire calendar.

Stages on Saturday
SS10 – Fredriksberg 1, 18.19 km
SS11 – Rämmen 1, 22.76 km
SS12 – Vargåsen 1, 24.70 km
SS13 – Fredriksberg 2, 18.9 km
SS14 – Rämmen 2, 22.76 km
SS15 – Hagfors Sprint, 1.87 km
SS16 – Vargåsen 2, 24.70 km
SS17 – Karlstad (Super-Special), 1.9km

Saturday morning’s trip through Fredriksberg saw Ogier take the quickest time, but his team mate Jari-Matti Latvala was still having a rotten time, coming home with a puncture thanks to some stones. Dani Sordo also had a tricky first stage of the day with a puncture, also on the left front, not helping his time as he came in over a minute slower than Ogier.

However, neither were as unfortunate as Eric Camilli, who went off the road in SS10 and rolled his Fiesta RS, completely destroying it, along with any hopes of points.

Kris Meeke had to retire on Friday afternoon after an encounter with a stone in the road, but was allowed to re-start under WRC2 specification on Saturday after fixing his Citroen’s steering.

Hayden Paddon kept Ogier honest through the first few stages on Saturday, and had cut the gap to 8 seconds by the mid-point, but some risky and aggressive driving from the Frenchman illustrated why he’s yet to be beaten in three years in the sport.

The fearsome Colin’s Crest peak in SS12 & 16 did not claim any casualties with all drivers navigating the jump without damage, and in fact, a new furthest jump was recorded by Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen driving for M-Sport in a Ford Fiesta R5.

His jump of 45 metres just edges ahead of the 44m record set by Thierry Neuville at the event last year and was performed in fifth gear at roughly 165 kilometers per hour.

A high-speed moment of oversteer for Ogier could have proved disastrous in SS16, but VW’s leading driver proved his talents once more to lead the pack going in to the final day of running on Sunday.

Standings after Day 2 (SS10, 12, 14, 16-17)
1) Sebastien Ogier, VW Motorsport, Polo R, (1:52:04.7)
2) Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport, i20 (+17.1)
3) Mads Ostberg, M-Sport, Fiesta RS (+42.3)
4) Andreas Mikkelsen, VW MotorsportII, Polo R,(+1:07.4)
5) Ott Tanak, DMACK, Ford Fiesta RS (+1:31.6)
6) Dani Sordo, Hyundai Motorsport, i20 (+1:56.3)
7) Henning Solberg, Adapta, Ford Fiesta RS (+2:17.2)
8) Craig Breen, Abu Dhabi Total, DS3 (+2:0.8)
9) Elfyn Evans, M-Sport, Fiesta R5 (+4:44.7) WRC2
10) Pontus Tidemand, Skoda Motorsport, Fabia R5 (+5:02.6) WRC2

POS, Driver, Team, Car, Time/Split

Click here for Day 1 of Rally Sweden

Click here for Day 3 of Rally Sweden

Paddon hounds Ogier on Day 1 | WRC Rally Sweden Friday Report

Sebastien Ogier continued his excellent start to the 2016 WRC season on the opening day of Rally Sweden, with a lead of 26.9 seconds over Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon.

Weather worries in Sweden prompted the cancellation of the 1.9km first Super-Speical stage of the event in Karlstad, meaning that the first round occurred on Friday morning in Torsby.

Stages on Friday
SS1 – Karlstad (Super-Special), 1.9km
SS2 – Torsby 1, 16.48km
SS3 – Röjden 1, 18.47km
SS4 – Svullrya 1, 24.23km
SS5 – Kirkenær 1, 7.07km
SS6 – Kirkenær 2, 7.07km
SS7 – Svullrya 2, 24.23km
SS8 – Röjden 2, 18.47km
SS9 – Torsby 2, 16.48km

Lack of snowfall in Sweden meant that the studded Michelin tyres were not suitable to some of the roads, and so the two stages in Kirkenær were cancelled, meaning no mid-day service stop for any cars.

This was awful news for Jari-Matti Latvala, who landed awkwardly after a small bump at the end of SS2, breaking his driveshaft. The Norwegian said “I will drive, but I don’t know what spares we have in the car. Will have to have a look”.

An unseen water splash caught out his VW team mates Ogier and Mikkelsen, who both slid into some light branches after a large puddle caught them out. Neither took too much damage, although both suffered damage to the left-front wing of the car.

The Frenchman later made a mistake in SS8, missing a junction and sliding gently into a road barrier. While he escaped without damage, Kris Meeke was much less fortunate close to the end of the rally. Just like in Monte, the non-works Citroen driver hit a hidden rock buried in the middle of the corner, and completely ruined his steering, and forcing him to miss the final stage of the day.

Ogier dominated the first three stages of the day, with Meeke taking the honours in SS7, just before he broke his steering. The unexpected pace of Hayden Paddon in the new Hyundai i20 caused a scare for the leader at the end of the day though, and while the Frenchman went off, Paddon capitalised and took the fastest times of the day in the final two stages to close up into second place.

Standings after Day 1(SS2-4, 7-9)

1) Sebastien Ogier, VW Motorsport Polo R, 1:03:10.6
2) Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport, i20, +26.9
3) Mads Ostberg, M-Sport, Fiesta RS, +33.7
4) Ott Tanak, DMACK, Fiesta RS, +34.8
5) Dani Sordo, Hyundai Motorsport, i20,  +38.2
6) Andreas Mikkelsen, VW Motorsport II, Polo R +42.0
7) Henning Solberg, Adapta, Fiesta RS +1:36.9
8) Craig Breen, Abu Dhabi Total, DS3, +1:38.8
9) Eric Camilli, M-Sport, Fiesta RS, +2:43.5
10) Lorenzo Bertelli, FWRT, Fiesta RS, +3:08.6

POS) Driver, Team, Car, Time/split
*Note, only top 10 positions are shown

Click here for Day 2 of Rally Sweden

Buemi takes victory in Beijing ePrix as Formula E Season 2 kicks off

Switzerland’s Sébastien Buemi took the honours at the 2015 Beijing ePrix, the opening round of the 2015-16 FIA Formula E season.

The Renault e.Dams driver finished 11 seconds clear of nearest rival Lucas di Grassi, who won the same race – the series’ inaugural event – last year, and behind him finished Nick Heidfeld, whose spectacular crash with Nico Prost in Beijing 2014 brought the race to a close.

It might well have been an e.Dams double-podium, but Buemi’s team mate Prost had a bizarre aerodynamic failure that left his rear wing dangling off the back of his car.

Due to the lack of downforce required on FE cars, his pace was not really affected, but the Marshals deemed his car’s condition too dangerous, and he duly came in to retire the car with three laps to go.

Sébastien Buemi and e.Dams Renault looked in total control in China.
Sébastien Buemi and e.Dams Renault looked in total control in China.

The race started well for Buemi, who had taken the first ever ‘SuperPole’, a newly-added fifth Qualifying session.

For 2015, Four groups of five drivers are randomly selected in a lottery draw, and these four groups go out separately (to minimise traffic) to set lap times and decide the grid. However, the fastest drivers from each group are now grouped together for the final session, and they get a chance to improve their time, and attempt to take ‘SuperPole’.

His prime starting position meant he was in great shape at the first corner, but team mate Prost locked up and lost second place to Nick Heidfeld. He did exactly the same thing on Lap 2, and that handed third place to Lucas di Grassi.

Lap 3 saw the first ever Full course yellow (FCY) for Formula E, whereby yellow flags to curb drivers’ speed are shown all around the track while an incident is cleared.

The incident in question was that of FE debutant Simona de Silvestro. The sport’s leading lady locked up and clouted the barriers hard, ending her first race on a low.

After two laps, the FCY ended, and immediately Sébastien Buemi took off into the distance; his pace in this stint culminating in a 14.9 second lead at the pit stops and eventually, the win.

Formula E batteries are still not capable of running an entire race, so the compulsory car swaps remain. On lap 14 most cars – including the frontrunners – came in for their swaps, and it was here that another swap occurred – di Grassi slipped past Heidfeld.

1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve caused another FCY when he collided with Team Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa. The Uruguayan ePrix winner of Season 1 was out on the spot, but the Canadian veteran continued.

Season 1 Champion Nelson Piquet Jr had a tough race, languishing in 9th for much of the race, and then suffering a mechanical issue two laps from the finish.

The Dragon racing cars looked spirited at the end of the race, with fourth-placed Loic Duval bearing down on Nick Heidfeld for the final podium position. Jerome d’Ambrosio in the sister Dragon in fifth also looked racy and fancied his chances against Duval on the last lap, but there was not quite enough time remaining, and the trio finished where they were.

Buemi up ahead had created a monstrous gap to di Grassi in second, to take the first win of the season, and the second of his electric career.

This gave him 25 points, as well as three points for Pole Position, and two points for fastest lap, resulting in a highest possible total of 30 points.

Classification

1) Sébastien Buemi, e.Damns Renault
2) Lucas di Grassi, Abt Shaeffler Audi
3) Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra
4) Loic Duval, Dragon racing
5) Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon racing
6) Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV China Racing
7) Sam Bird, DS Virgin
8) Nathaniel Berthon, Team Aguri
9) Daniel Abt, Abt Schaeffler Audi
10) Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi
11) Robin Frijns, Amlin Andretti
12) Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin
13) Bruno Senna, Mahindra
14) Jacques Villenueve, Venturi (+1 Lap)
15) Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV Team China (+2 Laps)

Retired

Nicolas Prost, e.Dams Renault (Rear wing)
Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri (Collision)
Simona de Silvestro, Amlin Andretti (Collision)

The next race is on November 7 2015 in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Da Cost’ of crashing great in Buenos Aires

Antonio Felix da Costa took victory at the 4th race of Formula E’s first ever season in Argentina. The Portuguese youngster managed to keep clear of trouble in a race that saw two different race leaders retire and a third get demoted with a penalty, to take his and Amlin Aguri’s first win in the series.

Before I begin, please let me emphasise that the best way to understand how epic this race was is to actually watch it. Check out the entire race on YouTube; it’s sublime!

PRACTICE & QUALIFYING

Practice 1 saw the drivers get to learn the track. The challenging Turns 10-11-and-12 complex leading on to the final straight caught out a few drivers. Jean-Eric Vergne tagged the wall with his rear wheel early on, and Nelson Piquet Jr hit it much harder later on, breaking his front wing.

Practice 2 also featured a lot of drivers getting close to the same wall, including Daniel Abt, but he didn’t cause much damage to his car. One person who was not as fortunate was Stephane Sarrazin. He, like many drivers, found the heavy braking zones of Turns 1 & 6 difficult, but couldn’t get the car turned in and walloped the wall at the latter, destroying his car.

E.Dams Renault driver, and winner of the previous race Sebastian Buemi took Pole position in the Qualifying session, with his old Toro Rosso team mate Jaime Alguersuari alongside him in second. Jarno Trulli was the only driver not to set a time, and so he started from 20th.

RACE

At the start, Nick Heidfeld pounced on a slow-starting Jaime Alguersuari, diving down the inside at the first corner to take second place. If his statement of intent was not clear enough already, he then set about harrying Pole man Sebastian Buemi.

On lap 2, ‘Quick Nick’ immediately used his Fan Boost (An extra 30 Kilowatts of power for 5 seconds) to try and overpower the Swiss native, but he couldn’t find a way past.

Seven laps into the race, third-placed Alguersuari was causing a bit of a train. Lucas di Grassi took advantage of this, and overtook him at the first corner hairpin. This caused the group of cars they were leading to bunch up, and because of that, Antonio Felix da Costa managed to get past Jean-Eric Vergne as well.

An unprecedented victory makes da Cost' of racing all worth it. (Sorry)
An unprecedented victory makes da Cost’ of racing all worth it. Antonio dances through the sandy streets of Punta del Este, December 2014.

Fast forward to lap 14, and Heidfeld’s early pace had faded. He used too much of his power up trying to pass Buemi, and fell victim to di Grassi. In the same way as before, the pack bunched up, and Sam Bird also got past him too. Amlin Aguri’s da Costa also challenged Heidfeld (now 5th) but had to bide his time, for a while at least.

Karun Chandhok closed the first half of the race when his Mahindra’s suspension buckled going over the bumps at Turn 9. He lost control of the car and hit the wall, and the Safety Car was deployed.

From here on, the race got pretty crazy. Since it was the half-way point, most drivers were ready to swap cars as is customary in Formula E, but the timing of the Safety Car made this a confusing mess. Lapped cars were stuck in between people on the lead lap, and eventually, the race organisers decided to let everyone overtake the Safety Car so that they could re-form behind it in the correct order.

After a ridiculous seven laps, normal order was restored. Buemi led the pack into the last 12 laps, but set the worst example a leader possibly could – crashing. It was barely more than a nibble at the wall at the turn 8 chicane, but his suspension snapped in half. His despair was broadcast instantly, with his team radio cry of “Aww noooo! I hit the wall!” illustrating the scenario perfectly.

That left Lucas di Grassi in charge of proceedings on lap 24. The man behind him was Sam Bird, but not for long – he left the pits when the red light was on, and got a drive-through penalty.

His job of getting back to the front was made a little easier later on lap 26, when di Grassi’s suspension broke in identical circumstances to Chandhok’s, 10 laps earlier. That left Bird at the front, but his penalty (served on lap 28) dropped him way down the order. Nick Heidfeld then led.

Vergne attacked Alguersuari for third place, and on lap 33, he hit the back of him. It damaged vergne’s nose slightly, but for now, he carried on in third place behind da Costa and Heidfeld.

Heidfeld was then awarded a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. As soon as he peeled in to the pits on Lap 33, da Costa took the lead, and he was the one that managed to hold onto it. But the podium positions were not even close to being decided.

Vergne and Alguersuari occupied the bottom two steps on Lap 34, but as the former defended turn 1 from the latter, he locked up. Both went wide, and that meant Prost, Abt and Piquet were right behind them.

The first corner of the final lap was to be perhaps the most chaotic of the weekend. Vergne defended his second place from Prost, who had just passed Alguersuari, who was himself just ahead of Piquet and Abt. Vergne braked too late; Prost got past him; Abt smashed into the back of Alguersuari; Piquet sneaked through into third place.

Alguersuari dragged his heavily-damaged Virgin car over the finish line in 4th, despite the rear suspension making the car drive diagonally instead of straight. Vergne recovered to take sixth, but Abt was out.

While all that was going on, Antonio Felix da Costa calmly took his and Amlin’s first victory, something the team did not think possible at the start of the season.

FINISHING POSITIONS

1) A Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri
2) N Prost, e.dams Renault
3) N Piquet Jr, China Racing
4) J Alguersuari, Virgin Racing
5) B Senna, Mahindra Racing
6) J-E Vergne, Andretti Autosport
7) S Bird, Virgin Racing
8) N Heidfeld, Venturi
9) O Servia, Dragon Racing
10) S Sarrazin, Venturi
11) H-P Tung, China Racing
12) M Andretti, Andretti Autosport
13) D Abt, Audi Sport ABT (Retired Lap 34, Collision damage)
14) J d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing

OUT/UNCLASSIFIED

J Trulli, Trulli GP
L di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT (Suspension Failure)
S Buemi, e.dams Renault (Collision damage)
M Cerruti, Trulli GP
K Chandhok, Mahindra Racing (Suspension failure)

DISQUALIFIED

S Duran, Amlin Aguri (Power)*

*Salvador Duran was disqualified for using more than his allotted energy during the race.

Vergne joins Andretti as Battersea Park gets the nod

Out-of-luck Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne has left his Formula 1 home for the last three years, Toro Rosso. He is to race for Andretti Autosport’s Formula E outfit in the Uruguayan ePrix this weekend.

Montagny tests the Andretti machine at Donnington. Photo taken from electricalautosport.com
Montagny tests for Andretti at Donnington; now Vergne’s seat. Photo credit: electricalautosport.com

Vergne tested for the team in 2011’s Abu Dhabi Young Driver test, and has occupied a race seat alongside Daniel Ricciardo, and Daniil Kvyat. However, he has had to watch the agonising sight of both Dans progressing to Red Bull, replacing Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel respectively.

17-year-old Max Verstappen is to replace the Frenchman at Toro Rosso for 2015. With a second vacant seat at the team, there were hopes that JEV could cling on to the second seat, but it has now been announced that Carlos Sainz Jr will take it, with car number 55.

Presumably, we can refer to him as Carlo55ainz.

Hold your applause. No please, don’t get up.

With Vergne’s move to Formula E, someone from that series has to move out. That someone is Franck Montagny. Andretti’s line-up has been all over the place so far. First, Pic and Montagny headed the team, until Pic was swapped for Matthew Brabham. Now, Montagny moves aside for his compatriot Vergne to compete.

Katherine Legge has also been swapped out at Amlin Aguri. The Brit has proved popular among fans, gaining the FanBoost privilege in both of the first two races; clearly that will not be the case in Punta del Este.

Rather than a contractual issue, or a lack of performance, Legge is unable to drive at the Uruguayan ePrix due to testing the revolutionary Delta Wing in Daytona.

In her place, Mexican Salvador Duran will drive.

China racing also made a driver swap, replacing Ho-Pin Tung for Antonio Garcia.

LONDON ePRIX

Finally, London’s Battersea Park Circuit has also been given the green light to host the final round of the season in June. Wandsworth Council approved the site, as long as planning permission with the FIA goes through.

It is thought that two races will be held that weekend. Click here to read more.