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Issue 2 | April 2014

Formula One | IndyCar | BTCC | WRC | NASCAR | GP2 | Interviews | Previews | Statistics

Pitlane Reporter wish Michael Schumacher a speedy recovery


A Word From The Editor Wow, what a start to the season; frantic is not the right word. Formula One has certainly been everything pre-season promised it would be, so much so that I’ve struggled to keep up when reporting on the first three races. The world of Rally has got into full swing with Bruno over in Portugal reporting as I write these notes. As you will see, has also managed to get some fantastic pictures yet again. IndyCar visited St Petersburg this season has to offer. The Power, who will be hoping to written a brilliant report on

Contents

and gave fans a glimpse of what season opener was won by Will finally win the title. Eric Hall has this race later in the magazine.

We welcome back Travis Barend, our esteemed NASCAR journalist, who worked for us at The Podium. NASCAR has had an exciting start too as you will read. It also has some unique tech to reduce rain delays, something other motor sports will have to look at. Joining us to report on GP2, GP3 and DTM, we have Katy McConnachie, a young reporter who has a bright future. I am just glad that we managed to snap her up so early in her career. Expect to see her name a lot in the future. We also say hello to Adam Johnson, an accomplished British Touring Car journalist. He has given us an overview of the first race at Brands Hatch and looks forward to the coming season. Staying with BTCC, I was fortunate enough to interview Dan Welch, a driver destined for big things in the sport. The reaction to Issue One has been brilliant. We hope that you all enjoy this issue as much, if not more than the last

one. Have a great month, we will see you again in May.

Phil Woods - Editor No part of this magazine may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical or physical – without express prior permission and written consent of the publisher. Contributions are invited and when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Manuscripts should be typewritten. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during transmission or in the editor’s hands. In the absence of an agreement the copyright of all contributions, literary, photographic or artistic, belongs to The Pitlane Reporter. The Publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed in editorial material or otherwise do not necessarily represent the views of the Publisher. The Publisher cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the late appearance or non publication of any advertisement. Information about products and services featured within the editorial content does not imply an endorsement by The Pitlane Reporter. © 2014. The Pitlane Reporter.

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Meet The Team As editor of this magazine I could easily have listed all our writers in a small column on the inside cover. However, I think everyone who writes for Pit Lane Reporter is worthy of a much bigger ‘shout out’. I believe that I have assembled a great team of journalists, each one with a unique style that seems to be popular with our readers. I am proud of the talent that I work with, hence my desire to introduce each one of them to you in more detail. Here they are (including myself)

Phil Woods Editor Phil has been a writer for over 20 years. He is the former editor of The Podium Magazine and has had a book published in 2009 (Beat About the Bush – The funny side of language). Phil has been involved in motor sport journalism for the past three years and is now proud to bring you Pit Lane Reporter. Phil is a member of the British Association of Journalists. Phil has a unique way of writing that seems to be attractive to readers. He writes in a conversational style, whilst giving his proof readers a nightmare, it has proved to be successful. Phil can be contacted at phil@pitlanereporter.com

Eric Hall IndyCar Journalist Eric, based in Indianapolis, has been an IndyCar fan for his entire life and has been independantly covering the series since 2011. His blog, anotherindycarblog, has been at the core of his coverage for the past four years along with contributing to a number of online outlets as well. His love for motorsport and IndyCar history and unconventional way of writing his “from the fan’ perspectives has garnered a small, but strong following. Eric can be found at the track during most of the summer and looks to bring the readers behind the IndyCar catch fence in 2014 Eric can be contacted at eric@pitlanereporter.com

Bruno Keiser Rally Journalist Hello rally fans all over the world! Matchbox cars are my very first childhood memories. Since then I´m hooked on speed, cars and powerful engines. Later I became a car mechanic and in my last “normal” job, I worked for the Swiss air force as a jet engine engineer. My passion for rally (and motorsport in general) has grown together with the burning desire to capture speed and passion with my camera. In autumn 2010, I made a meaningful decision: All or nothing! I quit my job, sold everything I had (incl. my beloved Lotus Elise) and bought an old motorhome. I added everything needed to live in it permanently. Fully packed, with a budget for only one year and my beloved cat “Megi”, I left my family and friends on April 4, 2011, heading for my new life as a motorsport photographer in Finland.Since then I´m living my dream in my 14m² on wheels… Bruno can be contacted at bruno@pitlanereporter.com

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Journalist

Travis Barend Nascar JourTravis is a Public Relations student with a strong passion for NASCAR racing. Whether it is through the PR field or as a journalist, Travis dreams of having a career in NASCAR one day. Through his own blog, TracksideChatter.com, Travis showcases some of his writing while also giving other aspiring journalists an opportunity to contribute. Additionally, he is a writer for Speedwaymedia.com as well as NASCARTheGame.com. You can follow Travis on Twitter @TracksideTravis to keep up with his writing and his take on everything NASCAR. Travis can be contacted at travis@pitlanereporter.com

Katy McKonnacchie

GP2, GP3 & DTM

Katy, currently a media student, has been a Motorsport fan for as long as she can remember. When she isn’t studying, she can be found watching anything from Formula 1 to World Series by Renault or over on her blog sharing her passion for Motorsport with other fans. Over the course of year Katy will be bringing you updates and features on GP2, GP3 and DTM. katy can be contacted at katy@pitlanereporter.com

Adam Johnson BBTC JournalChief BTCC corrospondent for Pit Lane Reporter, and unashamed fan of the series since 1998. I cover touring car racing on these shores and around the world, with a penchant for noise, spectacle and a good underdog story. With the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series growing, it’s exciting times for stock car racing in Europe, and I cover the European stock car scene in detail. Away from motorsport I’m a Media Writing student at University of Greenwich, uni radio presenter, and I love rock music and the sport of roller derby. Adam can be contacted at adam@pitlanereporter.com

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Letters Page Hi James

Dear Editor

le ow that some peop kn I of d un so e th I am appalled at ated by the quieter tr us fr e ar I ld ou sh the new engines, or but I am personally s, ne gi en w ne e th it. say lack of sound in arting to get used to st ng ri ea H . rs ca ne the Formula O r me it’s all about Fo as w ia al tr us A the crowd in . I know the sound ng ci ra . ct pe ex ’t dn one thing I di ething special, but m so as w s ha ng ci Granted, the ra to move with the ed ne e w e er th t be been good so far, bu times. Can anything I ! ng si is m ng hi ise? is somet ne to increase the no do e ni er B . it e lik by really don’t ar that it is possible he I d te es gg su s (Eccleston) ha the rev limits. I ng gi an ch be to s ed that the sound ne tful that anything ub do am u yo do , season turned up somehow will change this ? le ib ss po is think this though. UK) James Salt (Brighton,

Dear Editor

Hi Asif

Do you print letters in your magazine? If so, I wanted to say how other motor sports should take notice of NASCAR and how they have created technology to dry a track. This would help prevent a situation like F1 had in Malaysia with qualifying. Asif Kharundi India)

(Bhopal,

Yes we do print letters, at least we do now. Funny that you should bring the NASCAR rain delay technology. Our NASCAR expert, Travis Barend, has written a great feature for this issue about the technology. Maybe the powers that be in other track motor sports will read this and take notice.

Dear Phil

Hi Kurt Issue One was an ex cellent Th read. It wa ank you for s great to your kind w see that it you have g ords, ’s always go ot Eric Hall od to get fe back to W cover Indy edback. e were plea Car. There sed to secu just isn’t enough cov re E on to our erage in Eu team again ric rope as y there shou , and ou’re right, ld be. Also the photo’s the Rally photo’s ar Bruno take e stunnin g. One p s are amazing. As fo problem, I r my redictions, have to po yes, I am int out to that your going predictions be wrong about Red for Red a Bull in For Bull, s they have mula One a improved a re really d way off the great eal since w mark. inter testin g. I still don’t think they stand Kurt (Ghen a chance of a 5th cha t, Belgium) mpionship though.

Dear Pit Lane Reporter

Hi Graham

at ost people did feel for Massa M sa as M e lip Fe at th ve olI can’t belie at point, Williams even ap th so n ai ag rs de or am was given te I am not sure that they d, ise og He . er re ca s m ia early in his Will it through. It would t gh ou th in ed ov pr he ange is a great driver as be pretty fruitless to ch to se clo so e m ca he en 2008 wh n, as the team orders rule agai be t us m an m or po e Th en the title. has always happened, ev it to le ru e th ly re Su . so frustrated it was banned. While en wh be ld ou sh rs de allow team or ay not like it, it is a m e m so ly on e th is is changed again. Th nally team sport and occasio es tic ac pr ir fa un p sto way to ething drivers need to do som like this. team in a race that favours the is er than themselves. This th ra A) US e, ill xv Graham (Kno ge on a hot debate that will ra y to and on. I just can’t see a wa of our resolve it myself. Do any ea to other readers have an id email sort this issue out? If so, rter. us at letters@pitlanerepo be in com and your letter could Issue 3.

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Review by Phil Woods

What A Start!

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There was no other headline for it really! I could have been clever and followed everyone else’s lead but in my view so much went on, there isn’t one thing that made this inaugural race of the turbo era stand out. It was crazy from the start to the finish. In this review, I am going to try and make sense of it and give you my thoughts...........Deep breath.......

Qualifying During Saturday qualifying the cars would be turned to full throttle for the first time in many cases, it was expected that many teams would struggle, and it certainly played out that way. To start with the most obvious situation, Mercedes were on pole, no surprise there. However the biggest shock of the day was the speed Daniel Ricciardo had got from his Red Bull. He managed to put it onto the front row of the grid next to Lewis Hamilton, despite all the well-publicised problems for the Milton Keynes team. This didn’t mean Red Bull had solved everything though, as current world champion, Sebastian Vettel, didn’t manage to make it out of Q2, being unable to get any real pace from the car. Williams were expected to do well in qualifying, however a 9th for Massa and a 15th for Bottas (following a grid penalty) was not the start the team had hoped for. One of the biggest shocks was Caterham putting a car into Q2 for the first race of the season, Kamui Kobayashi making a great start on his return to Formula One.

It was a qualifying session full of drama, with good dry running followed by the most challenging conditions when rain started to fall. Big stars dropped out early, rookies showed the watching world that they meant business. It was all set up for a fascinating first race of the season.....

The Race We will start with the start that wasn’t a start but needed to be re-started! Confused? Don’t worry, most people were. As Charlie Whiting waited to press the starting lights button, a yellow flag was waved at the back of the grid. It was Jules Bianchi in his Marussia, stalling his engine. The cars had to go on another formation lap. As both the Marussia’s stalled, they both would eventually start from the pit lane behind the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. The race would now be shortened by one lap, meaning that the fuel saving wouldn’t need to be as aggressive. When the start got underway for real, pole sitter Hamilton took off slowly. He was passed by Rosberg and Ricciardo by the first corner. As Massa approached the end of the pit straight he had his mirrors full of Kobayashi’s Caterham. Unfortunately for both drivers there had been a failure of the braking system on the green car, leading to a rear end shunt that put both drivers out of the race. By lap three, the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton had been called in to the pits to retire; a problem with one of the cylinders causing a disappointing end to the Australian GP for the championship favourite. There is no doubt that he will be back at the front again in Malaysia. The first few laps saw plenty of overtaking. Bottas was showing the true speed of the Williams making some magnificent progress through the field. Hulkenberg, in his Force India lifted himself up to 4th place. Bottas’ progress was abruptly halted during the 8th lap. He made a great move on fellow countryman, Raikkonen, however he touched the wall on turn 10 damaging the rear tyre. He managed to make it to the pits, but would have to start all over again from the back of the field. His crash caused the deployment of the safety car on lap 12, whilst debris was cleared from the track. Jenson Button felt the benefit of this safety car as he was passing the pit lane entrance just as the pits were opened. He made a late turn in and managed to lift himself from 9th place to 6th.

Both of the Lotus cars ended qualifying at the back of the grid. Only a grid penalty for Esteban Gutierrez meant they wouldn’t start together on the back row. Toro Rosso surprised everyone by getting both cars into Q3 and starting an impressive 6th for Vergne and 8th for rookie Kvyat. McLaren had a mixed session, with Magnussen putting his car on the second row of the grid in 4th, however Button could only manage 11th after missing out on Q3, he did start the race in 10th following Bottas’ penalty. Force India had a similar experience to McLaren, Hulkenberg would start in 7th, continuing his fine form from last season. His team mate Sergio Perez would start the race in a disappointing 16th. Marussia had a good qualifying session finishing 17th and 18th, not bad for a team so used to starting on the back row.

When the race began again on lap 16, Rosberg sped away, showing how fast the Mercedes is. No doubt Hamilton was watching and imagining what might have been if his luck had been better. Rosberg then had very little to worry about. Ricciardo was going well in second. He was being closed down by the McLaren of Magnussen in the latter part of the race. Unfortunately for the Dane, the Red Bull seemed to have a little extra in the tank (no pun intended, see end of report) for the end of the race and finished 2.2 seconds ahead of the McLaren youngster.

Jenson Button managed an impressive 4th place following a typically good McLaren pit stop on lap 32. He got the jump on both Alonso and Hulkenberg. He did try to catch his new team mate, but was too far Ferrari were expected to be strong competitors to the Mercedes teams. back to make a real dent in Magnussen’s lead. A great effort from Kevin However Raikkonen didn’t get out of Q2 and would start in 11th .Alonso who, with his 3rd place finish, matched Lewis Hamilton’s debut start at (as per usual) would start in 5th place. It won’t be long before the FIA say McLaren back in 2007. Not only did he achieve that, but he is the first Alonso doesn’t need to take part in qualifying and that they’ll put him in Dane to stand on an F1 podium. 5th regardless. There could even be a possibility of circuits naming grid spot 5, the ‘Alonso’. Meanwhile, Bottas was charging through the field again in his Williams. In the final stint he managed to get past Hulkenberg and make it up to Sauber managed 13th for Adrian Sutil but a gearbox penalty would cause 6th for the end of the race. Surely a contender for performance of the Gutierrez to start the race in 21st place. day. If he hadn’t had the earlier brush with the wall, I have no doubt that

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he would have been on the podium. There was another high profile early retirement in this race. Sebastian Vettel was out on lap 5. He had been complaining about a lack of power from the formation lap. At one point he did start to get a little annoyed over the radio, asking the team to “Do something”.

The Results

Both Lotus cars, predictably retired (based on their testing performance). The biggest surprise was how long they did last. A lot of people expected them to retire early on, but they had a reasonable race with Maldonado lasting until lap 29 and Grosjean to lap 43. Special mention has to go to Marussia, they had their best finish ever with a 13th and a 14th. Max Chilton continued his record of finishing every grand prix he has entered. 13th position could be a massive result at the end of the season in the battle with Caterham (Although both Caterham and Marussia would say they are fighting more than just each other this season, and I hope that they are right.). Caterham did have Ericsson in 11th place at one point in the race. However they were the biggest losers when the safety car was deployed, ultimately retiring on lap 27. Ferrari have some work to do if they are to catch up. It looks as though they are the best of the rest behind the Mercedes powered teams, but they’ll want to be challenging for race wins. One suspects that without Alonso this weekend, they’d have been nowhere near a podium. However a 4th place for the Spaniard was good when compared with their competition. Following the race, Ricciardo had his 2nd place taken from him when Red Bull were disqualified from the race. They were told that the fuel flow reading was too high, but they failed to take action (apparently unlike other teams). This meant that Magnussen and Button took 2nd and 3rd to give McLaren a double podium, a great achievement considering they didn’t manage one podium in 2013. This was a great start to the season. It was made all the more impressive with 14 of the 22 cars finishing the race. Most pundits expected far more retirements, so much so, that plans were being put into place in case no car finished. Roll on Malaysia, that’s all I can say

Team performance of the day – McLaren Driver of the day – (Joint) Rosberg and Bottas

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by Eric Hall Packing a brand new title sponsor in Verizon and a plethora of off-season driver changes, the IndyCar circus unloaded on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida for the first weekend of racing for 2014. A hybrid street and airport runway course, the 1.8 mile 14 turn St. Pete circuit boasts a long and wide front straight complimented by a tight but fast and flowing infield section. The sunny and warm weather of southern Florida is the perfect environment to kick an exciting season of racing off. The weekend started anything but sunny. Given the wet weather forecast for the weekend, it was miraculous both sessions of Friday practice and Saturday morning practice ran dry. This was welcome news taking into account all the off-season team changes with drivers looking for comfort, communication and speed as they learn their new teams and teammates. Qualifying was a different story with torrential rains delaying all sessions and sending fans at the track running for cover from the severe weather hammering the ocean side facility. After a damp pair of sessions and a two dry sessions of knockout qualifying, Takuma Sato took the pole for Sunday afternoon’s opening race of the 2014 season.

Will Power quickly pulled away from the field and was untroubled for the remainder of his run to the checkered flag placing his Verizon Chevy into victory lane and inaugurating the Verizon IndyCar Series. Although the race could be written off as yet another Will Power show at the front, the story of the day was the constant action in the rest of the field. A day of risers and fallers was in stark contrast to what was seen at the head of the field. P1 was about the only position that was not heavily contested every lap of the race.

Honda’s decision to move from a single turbo layout to the twin turbo configuration during the offseason looks to have worked. The Japanese manufacturer was able to place seven drivers in the top ten. They didn’t Drivers were met with the best weather of the weekend Sunday quite make it to the top step of the podium, but a marked afternoon and the green flag was shown right on schedule improvement from 2012 and 2013. without a hint of rain in the skies. After a very clean start, Sato led the field into Turn 1 pulling away from Ryan Hunter- The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was an excellent start for Reay and the rest of the charging pack. Following his first the best kept secret in motorsport and the competition pitstop on lap 27, Sato was unable to hold off Will Power who has not missed a beat during the extended off-season. took the lead with a risky outside pass into Turn 1 on lap 31. Normally the field really looks like they are regaining their racing bearings during the opening round, but this year the The first caution of the day came out for Charlie Kimball’s stalled entire series came out looking like a well-oiled machine. car in the runoff area of Turn 1 and the resulting visit from the safety crew attending to the stranded machine. On the ensuing /// The Streets of Long Beach in Southern California played restart, overeager drivers further down the running order host to round two of the Verizon IndyCar Series. Local rushed to the green flag and made contact contact sending residents waved the green flag for the 40th consecutive British rookie Jack Hawksworth into the concrete wall just year at North America’s oldest running street race. after the pitlane entrance collecting Marco Andretti on the way. The transition from Formula One in the 80’s to CART and Once the green flag was waved for the final restart, then IndyCar in the 90’s and 2000’s has been well documented

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as well as the current bid to bring F1 back to the historic room for error on the highly technical street course. circuit. However, the city and the series recently inked a multiyear extension securing the Grand Prix as IndyCar’s southern As of printing, the race has not taken place, but Will Power, Scott California home on the streets for the foreseeable future. Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and the rest of the drivers for the top three teams are always tough to beat at the track that accepts Bumpy city streets filled with dust and dirt will posed only the strongest contenders onto the top step of the podium. similar setup challenges as the streets of St. Petersburg did just two weeks prior. Oversteer and mechanical Be sure to visit www.PitLaneReporter.com to find out exactly grip were in high demand as the tight concrete canyons what happened in Long Beach! //// of Long Beach are even more unforgiving. There is no

IndyCar - The Montoya Report by Eric Hall

Juan Pablo Montoya’s reintroduction to American open-wheel racing has been more difficult than was initially thought. The historically quick Colombian contested his first race in a single-seater in nearly eight years at the season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and it was apparent he was struggling with grip on the city street circuit all afternoon. Expectations were high when Montoya signed with Team Penske to contest the 2014 IndyCar season after being unceremoniously jettisoned from fellow IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR operation following the 2013 season. With no room for Montoya in the team that brought him a CART championship, an “Indy 500” win and a route into NASCAR, he went looking for greener pastures and new challenges. He found both of those things with his signing at Team Penske, but what he did not immediately find was speed.

However, his intentions to slowly ease into the new equipment were by no means kept a secret. What followed was a methodical few days of relearning what the current iteration of IndyCar is all about, how the cars drive and simply learning how to successfully mesh with the most storied team in the paddock. Not wanting to throw a full day of testing due to damage caused by driving out of his depth, Montoya took a systematic approach to tuning himself with the new equipment. He did not burn the timesheets up, but he also did not unnecessarily put either himself or the racecar in danger during the two rainy days of testing.

With a handful of closed team testing days already under his belt prior to official preseason testing at Barber, Montoya was more than ready to drive in anger once the green fell in St. Petersburg. What followed was a frustrating day of fighting oversteer and simply trying to learn as His pre-season testing times at Barber Motorsports Park were much about race conditions as he could all while staying not at the speed that Montoya is accustomed to running. out of the way and out of trouble. Learning has been the

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mission objective for Montoya since rejoining the series. Following a spirited early race battle with Sebastien Bourdais, Juan Pablo settled into something of a rhythm and was able to make headway into the field. Montoya was able to crack the top ten on merit and speed before falling to last place one lap down during the second pitstop rotation. The day ended well with him fighting back to a late race high P12 and finally crossing the finish line in an admiral 15th position.

The skill of driving on street circuits is a cornerstone of IndyCar racing and is a skill that has been very difficult for new drivers to the series to master However, the upcoming natural terrain road courses should go a long way in bolstering his confidence. Juan Pablo definitely has his work cut out for him but he is driving for one of the best teams in the paddock to take on this challenge with.

Montoya was clearly fighting the low-grip public roads that comprised the St. Petersburg circuit; the same type of low-grip surfaces that are a staple in the Verizon indycar Series. And something that Montoya will have to master very soon if he really wants to be the title contender that he has predicted being in 2014.

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by Phil Woods

Real Storms in Qualifying, Hamilton Storms in the Race

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Qualifying

conditions only got worse as the final session went on. Vettel drove a great lap to take 2nd on the grid, managing to split the two Mercedes. It was becoming evident that the Red Bull team have improved by a huge margin from their pre-season testing form. Alonso took a magnificent 4th considering he was almost out with suspension damage in Q2. Ricciardo came in 5th in front of the other Ferrari of Raikkonen. Hulkenberg again showed his class in these conditions by grabbing a 7th place. The Toro Rosso of Vergne then separated the two McLaren’s, with Magnussen in 8th and Button in 10th.

I found myself sitting around on Saturday eagerly awaiting a qualifying session that I never thought would start. Torrential rain arrived just prior to the official start time, delaying it by 15 minutes. The rain didn’t let up, so the session was postponed a second time. People started to wonder if we would have to move qualifying to the Sunday morning, as any delay past 5pm local time would have been taking us close to darkness. The session did finally get under way at 4:50pm and although conditions were wet, the rain had eased off enough to make a Lewis Hamilton’s pole position put him level with Jim Clark as start. Britain’s best ever qualifier, something for him to be extremely proud of. However many would bet that he will overtake Clark Q1 was full of intrigue as Vettel reported an issue with his Red in Bahrain. Bull and was told to come back into the pits. Fortunately for the German, all that his car needed was a systems reset. Anything THE RACE more and he would have been starting the race from the back of the grid. Instead, as you will see later, he ended up having The dominance of Mercedes continued in Sepang as Lewis a very good qualifying session. Both McLaren’s went out on Hamilton took his maiden Malaysian victory, finishing a the full wet tyres although others started on intermediates. massive 17 seconds ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg. It Unfortunately that was the wrong choice and both cars needed was a race that proved to be little problem for the 2008 world to get back in quickly for a change of tyres. They managed this champion, never threatened and always out in front. and made it into Q2. Lotus once again struggled with Pastor Maldonado not making it through, and Grosjean only just Hamilton got off to the perfect start, with all the action going managing to. Others who fell at the first hurdle were Adrian on behind him. Rosberg started well to move ahead of Vettel Sutil in the Sauber, (who would start in 18th place), the two into 2nd. Vettel had some close action with his new team mate Marussia’s and the two Caterham’s. Marcus Ericsson spun in the early stages, with Ricciardo getting the better of him. with just over half a minute left taking his car into the barriers Vettel managed to get third place back, this time though there and back onto the track, bringing out a red flag. This ended were no team orders in play. ‘multi 21’ was not on the menu the session. for Red Bull this season in Sepang.

The Race

The rain continued to fall into Q2. Everyone went out on full wet tyres except the Ferrari and Williams teams. This time the majority were correct as Alonso managed to crash into Kvyat at turn 9 while heading back in for a tyre change. The red flag was back out whilst the Toro Rosso front wing was removed from the track. Alonso had severe damage to his suspension and most commentators thought it was the end of qualifying for the Spaniard. However, the brilliance of the Ferrari team was evident as he made it back out and put the car into Q3. Out in this session were Kvyat in 11th, the Sauber of Gutierrez in 12th, Massa in 13th, Perez in the Force India in 14th, the other Williams (both struggling in the wet) of Bottas in 15th and Grosjean in 16th. Bottas was adjudged to have impeded Ricciardo during the session and was awarded a 3 place grid penalty, he would start in 18th.(moving Sutil up to 17th). At the back, the early laps proved to be encouraging for Caterham, as they managed to get Kobayashi up to 10th at The top ten shoot out began with McLaren again opting for a one point and he was looking comfortable there too. He didn’t different tyre than anyone else. However, Magnussen was soon manage to stay there but two excellent drives by Kobayashi and back into the pits for wet tyres though, since the conditions Ericsson gave the team in green a brilliant 13th and 14th place, necessitated it. Button gambled on intermediates. This gamble something that could be invaluable at the end of the year. Max didn’t pay off, but it was worth a try. Early on, Hamilton put in a Chilton finished in his Marussia as the final classified runner, 1:59:431, this would ultimately prove to be the pole time as the extending his amazing record of finishing every race.

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The William’s pair of Massa and Bottas were ploughing through the field again in the drier conditions. Massa ended up finishing in an impressive 7th and Bottas in 8th, not bad from 18th on the grid. Massa was told to move over by the team as Bottas looked more likely to catch 6th place Jenson Button, but this request was ignored by Massa. I am not surprised either, since the last thing Massa ever expected to hear just two races in with a new team was “Bottas is faster than you.” You’ve got to feel sorry for Massa sometimes. I met him at the British GP in 2012 and he is such a lovely guy, I always feel for him when this happens. So, Felipe, good on you!

Both Sauber’s retired with mechanical faults. They had been battling near the back of the field with each other before they had to stop. Hulkenberg finished an impressive 5th for Force India, however his team mate, Sergio Perez didn’t even get to start the race. The race was yet again full of incident, and it was hard to keep up at times. Hamilton got his season off to a flyer, Rosberg kept himself on top of the drivers’ championship and a one/two for Mercedes saw them overtake McLaren in the constructors championship. (see - championship standings at the back of the magazine).

Back at the front, Rosberg came under a little bit of pressure from Vettel around lap 34, the two Germans were a second Malaysian Grand Prix - Results apart. This didn’t last long though as the Red Bull was a little more thirsty on the fuel than the Mercedes and Vettel had to conserve more. Rosberg soon went off into the distance again to claim a well-deserved one/two for Mercedes. Ricciardo was doing well in 4th and really should have kept that position. Unfortunately on lap 40 he went into the pits and someone forgot to tighten his front left wheel. This meant he had to be pushed back into his pit box to be made safe. That, combined with an unsafe release penalty put Ricciardo at the back of the field, meaning his race was effectively over. Bad luck two weeks in the row for the Australian, both times nothing to do with the driver. He retired the car with 5 laps to go. The battle for the 11th was a big one, despite there being no points on offer, between former team mates, Raikkonen and Grosjean. Raikkonen had been hit earlier in the race by Magnussen’s McLaren, hence the reason why Alonso finished an impressive 4th and Raikkonen 11th. Kimi won this battle of ex-team mates, but he couldn’t chase down the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat who finished 10th, getting into the points for the second race running.

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INTERVIEW by Phil Woods

An interview with Dan Welch Star of the British Touring Car Championship www.pitlanreporter.com

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Today our editor, Phil Woods had the pleasure of talking to Dan Welch, a BTCC driver who races for his own families team, Welch Motorsport. Dan has been racing in BTCC since 2011, finishing 22nd in the championship during his maiden season. His most successful season was in 2012 when he was 15th in the standings, he also had his best finish of his BTCC career, when he was 4th at Oulton Park.

its not a cheap hobby to have. So the more work I can undertake myself is work I don’t have to pay someone else to do. You never stop learning, as we’ve moved through categories we’ve always had to try and catch up. We’ve always tried to place ourselves in difficult championships not going for an easy ride, but that is the main reason for us really financially its the best way to do it. Some of the budgets with existing teams, they have to charge it as they all have workshops, overheads, staff costs and that all costs a lot of money so that’s why we’ve done it. PW – (That brings me to a couple of questions further down with you talking about money), British Touring Cars is a good way of giving smaller teams the chance to race in a big series, I used to know quite well Tony Gilham, Team-Hard. I know that as a small team starting out they got the chance to get in there. Whereas going into things like F1 you’ve got no chance unless your millionaires, do you think you will see a day when a small team manages to rise to the top without the need for a huge budget in touring cars?

DW – Well I think you’ve got examples right there with what Andrew Jordans done. They’re not a huge outfit yet they are well funded, but don’t have a huge budget like Honda has. They’ve just applied their resources really well, got the right people on board and have done a fantastic job. It depends how you look at it of how small or underfunded team you want to be. We are probably one of the smallest teams that turn up on a weekend and still there are 22 of us there. As soon as you get 2014 is set to be an exciting year for Dan as his team have two to touring cars there is no such thing as a small team. cars on the grid. Dan will be hoping to get that well deserved elusive podium, good luck Dan, we will be watching with in- PW – The NGTC car is being lorded as a way for smaller teams terest. to get into british touring cars and be competivie, now you’ve As you will read, Dan started his racing career from an early age in karting, as do many other racing drivers. He moved up to the Seat Cupra Championship in 2007 where he managed to finish 5th in the championship. Dan also raced in the Ginetta G50 cup and then in 2009 he competed in the Seat Leon Eurocup.

ran one from the beginning in the touring cars, do you agree Phil Woods – What made you decide to start motor racing, with that, that it is a good way for smaller teams to get in and and how much your dad was an influence on it? be competitive? Dan Welch – I don’t think I ever really got a choice to do anything different. With growing up and going racing every weekend it was just a way of life! I started when I was about 6, and how I ended up getting into it was dad back in the day used to race against John Button, Jenson’s dad, and it was kind of one of them things that John would come along to the meetings. And they decided that Dan was at the age to get into racing and basically took me under their wings for a few years. PW – How difficult is it to move through the categories, you’ve been with your family team since the Seat Cupra Championships, most drivers as they move up through the categories look for a new team. But with you being with a family team all the way through I’m just wondering if you had more knowledge of the challenges that people face as you move through the categories?

DW - That was the whole concept of what’s now the British touring car, the concept of it was that you didn’t need millions of pounds and a manufacturers budget to develop a car. That there are so many stock parts to bolt together and then its up to the engineers to try and get the performance out of it, there’s still plenty of areas where we can make a difference, but the idea is to help cut costs and cut budget and put more of a level playground out there, so if you had a manufacturer turn up they would just blow everyone else out of the water. PW – So do you think its helped then moving to the NGTC? DW- Its been for everyone at Toca quite a tough project to bring together but I think the grid numbers sum it up. PW – There’s a lot of ex champions on the grid this year, does that make it more exciting or daunting for yourself?

DW – The main reason we’ve always done it as a family team is the cost side of things. As you move through the categories DW – Neither really, they’ve all only got 2 arms and 2 legs. So

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it doesn’t really make a difference who they are, your better to race against the best in the world. And everything about it raises the profile of the championships, its great to have them on board but there are no names to be worried about. If you look at the results from the weekend they are all the same people at the front, no new names there. PW – What was you favourite race you were involved with, and why?

which obviously makes life a bit tougher in the garage, but its real progress for you isn’t it? DW – We ran 2 cars last year, so it makes no difference to us at all. As a team we are geared up to run more than 2 cars, its not that difficult when my cars up and running, too run 2 identical cars than two different cars on a race weekend. Its great having Ollie on board he’s a quick pedaller, and we’ve got data to compare to drive the car forward.

DW – Pass, I can’t say I really have one. PW – I remember one you probably enjoyed, I was there with my son, Oulton park 2012 which position did you come in? Was it 4th? DW – No I can’t say I enjoyed that one because I finished 4th! PW – I suppose 4th one of the worst positions to finish in because your one step away from the podium? DW – We’ve been striving to get on the podium for 2 and a half years now which we are finding very disappointing, we know all the reasons why and what for, and why it didn’t hap- PW – Is there any other motor sports you enjoy watching, pen but at the end of the day we haven’t done it and that’s we when you take yourself away from the track, or do you keep away from the day job when you relax? have got to keep pushing for. PW – On to your own career hopes for the future, is British touring cars where you want to stay or have you got other plans? DW – I’ve always got kind of two fold plans anyway, one we’re building the welsh motor sport team and in England the team is now running in the top championship there is, British Touring Cars is the top championship there is and you can’t go any higher. We’ve got the TOCA licence guaranteed for the next 2 years, So that’s great for the team. Myself, I’m at the pinnacle of what there is in England, you can look at things like the world touring cars but I think British touring car championship is now bigger and better. I’d love to go and do DTM or something but I’m a bit more realistic than that, my future goals are essentially to make a living out of motor racing. Whether its running a team, driving, getting the right sponsorship in that kind of thing and the only place I can see that happening is the British touring cars championship. PW – So your big thing is running your own team, keeping that going, you’ve pulled in another driver this year haven’t you? DW – Yes, we have Ollie (Ollie Jackson) on board PW – With Ollie there now it gives you 2 cars on the grid

DW – I will watch anything with wheels to be honest, if I’m sat down and watching the telly I will just sit and watch it. So anything really, I will even watch the Scottish mini championship if its on the telly! PW – The one thing I love about coming to touring cars, is the amount of support races that you get to see, if you go to F1 there are some support races but the real focus is the F1, but there is so much at touring cars, your Clio Cups, the Porsche Carrera Cups and the Ginetta’s there’s so much I love it! DW – Its the best there is by a long way. Nothing compares to a British GT weekend. They’ve done a great job of building up the profile of the touring championships and with it comes the support packages. PW – At Brands Hatch in 2012 I was in one of the garages, I was with Tony Gilham actually, when that race was over I was with Nic Hamilton in one of his garages during the Clio Cup just watching so many different style of racing was brilliant! Apart from yourself, who can you see winning the championship this year and why? DW – I think its going to be wide open this year, there are 10 people who could win it.

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There are so many people at the top of their game, get everything right, it could be any number of people. I guess Andy (Andrew Jordan) is title favourite but the development and dynamics that are put in at Honda they’re bound to go forward. You’ve got Jason (Jason Plato) with the MG that obviously got it a bit wrong at Brands Hatch, but its not going to be long until he’s fighting. The BMW’S look really strong but it could be anyone at the minute, we will just have to wait and see how it pans out.

DW – No, I just get in and drive. PW – I was going to ask you what role you fill in the team, but I’m not sure there’s any point in that, because every role there is, you seem to do. DW – I am team gopher, I am your kind of jack of all trades, whatever needs doing, making, I get involved in everything. PW – How are you finding getting sponsorship this year? DW – Always tough, the only place you can really get sponsorship is the British touring championship, its the only championship with good value as you’ve got something to sell to the sponsor. No other championship has that, it helps but people aren’t throwing money around anywhere so its tough! PW – Finally, what are your hopes for you and your team this season?

PW – What do you like to do in your spare time? When you’re not fixing gear boxes and driving? DW – I don’t know what spare time is! PW – OK that’s a fair answer In the lead up to a race weekend, do you have any regular preparation ritual that you follow each time? Or do you just get in the car and drive?

DW - Podium, that’s the target! We’ve worked so hard over the winter, it was really disappointing not to get my car out at Brands. We’ve built two fresh cars over the winter, we are building our own engines in house which is going to take time to develop. They’re not going to be right to start with, we make the body work, we paint the cars, we do the stickers. As much as we can do in house we do! Which again comes down to the cost side of things, the more we can do the cheaper we can make the overall package. The Podium is our target certainly. Dan Welch and Welch Motorsport are in an ideal position to offer companies great exposure. If you want to take advantage of a great sponsorship opportunity, please email Dan at daniel@welchmotorsport.com

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BTCC: The Old Guard Vs The Chasing Pack

by Adam Johnson

It was interesting to watch the fallout from the excellent Bahrain Grand Prix, where every chance was taken to bash F1’s critics after one good race. The BTCC had three good races to start their 2014 season at Brands Hatch, and no-one batted an eyelid. Why? Because this is kinda how it is week in, week out for the BTCC.

seems fair that his swashbuckling driving is rewarded with mechanical failures and bad luck, but as crushing his driveshaft failure on the grid in race 2 was, it was almost worthwhile to see his spectacular assault in race 3 from 27th to 11th, having already powered to a 5th in race 1. With rookie team-mate Hunter Abbot showing good raw pace, what this owner-driver outfit need is stability - no sponsor drop-outs and no huge The proof that BTCC is getting their regulations right lies in the pudding crashes/rebuilds draining funds. His idea to allow fans to own shares in - both record crowds and drivers are turning out this year as the NGTC his team is a masterstroke and a further step forward for the already fans regulations provide close racing and an ease of competition that lets favourite. anyone jump in and have a reasonable chance of not just making up the numbers. And that’s what makes the 2014 season so fascinating - not There was a fascinating duel between the two returning overseas only are there 30+ cars registered for the season, but a good 15-20 of veterans, and most of the buzz in the paddock and grandstands centred them have the potential to pull off race wins in the right circumstances. on the return of Alain Menu and Fabrizio Giovanardi - heroes to two A touring car driver needs no extra motivation to win or to race hard - different generations of BTCC fan. Both had mixed weekends but, take note, NASCAR. crucially, Menu appears to have joined a team with more momentum. Warren Scott’s Team BMR outfit have four cars, proven to have pace in It was fascinating in the opening rounds to look at the nearly-men just them last year, and two excellent young drivers in Jack Goff and Aron behind the leaders, the ones desperately striving to make the next step Smith. Getting the veteran Menu in makes perfect sense - his experience up from occasional race winners to championship contenders. Eurotech, can help the team and drivers develop whilst his raw pace and ability West Surrey Racing, Triple 8 and Honda Team Dynamics have the to extract the maximum from a car means instant results. Thanks to a advantage of years of experience in the touring car game, but with the spin early in race 1 however, this speed only really manifested in race 3, NGTC regulations remaining stable, other teams are starting to build where a storming drive netted him a 5th place finish from 16th on the sturdy platforms to challenge the status quo. On current evidence it grid. Goff and Smith were also impressive across the weekend, and are in looks like Andrew Jordan, Jason Plato and co have just enough to keep a bracket alongside Adam Morgan and the hugely impressive the pretenders at arm’s length, but the gap may be closer than it has been rookie Tom Ingram as future touring car superstars. in previous years. Except perhaps with Honda…... We were told going into Brands Hatch that the twisty Kent circuit wouldn’t suit the long wheelbase Civic Tourers. We can only hope this was the Team Dynamics crew attempting to downplay themselves, because this weakness didn’t manifest; veteran Matt Neal’s worst finish of the weekend was 4th, and 2012 champ Gordon Shedden wasn’t far behind. Reigning champ Andrew Jordan’s year-old Civic Hatchback did seem more nimble than the Tourers, which looked unwieldy and slippery through Paddock Bend in particular. This was demonstrated in two race victories with Jason Plato’s MG being the closest threat. But Donington would appear to play into the Civic Tourer’s hands a lot more than Brands Hatch, if the team themselves are to be believed.

Speaking of rookies, it was intriguing to watch the duels further down the order as newer drivers and teams strived to prove themselves in intense combat. Some were disappointing; Martin Depper and Marc Hynes (yes, the guy who beat Jenson Button) are both in this category by dint of struggling badly with championship-leading cars. But generally all logged good finishes and solid combat hours under their belts. Keep one eye on United Autosports; the British GT frontrunners jumped in with youngster James Cole and GT veteran Glynn Geddie, and with experience and technical nous from other disciplines behind them, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them start logging good results. The same goes for Robb Holland and his Rotek Racing outfit.

Having said that, it is rare for one team to dominate a race weekend, let alone a season in modern BTCC. So if any team does have an advantage it won’t be by much. Certainly the MGs of Plato and Sam Tordoff looked But for now, the old stagers hold all the cards. Expect the status last year to be a well-rounded proposition, and not much has changed. quo to continue at Donington, but the chasing pack grows Same with Colin Turkington and his posse of BMWs. Expect the battle closer by the day. It was at this venue last year that Turkington between these five protagonists to continue.

announced the BMW as a title threat; will anyone repeat that So what about the nearly men? Several names stood out in Kent. If trick this year? It’ll be fun to watch either way. anyone deserves a works drive, it is the firebrand Rob Austin. It hardly

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BTCC Results - Brands Race 1 Position Name

1 Andrew Jordan 2 Jason Plato 3 Matt Neal 4 Gordon Shedden 5 Rob Austin 6 Robert Collard 7 Aron Smith 8 Colin Turkington 9 Tom Ingram 10 Sam Tordoff 11 Nick Foster 12 Jack Goff 13 Adam Morgan 14 Fabrizio Giovanardi 15 Mat Jackson 16 Warren Scott 17 Dave Newsham 18 Hunter Abbott 19 Jack Clarke 20 Glynn Geddie 21 Simon Belcher 22 Lea Wood 23 Robb Holland 24 Aiden Moffat 25 Ollie Jackson 26 Chris Stockton 27 Alain Menu DNF James Cole DNF Marc Hynes DSQ Martin Depper

Car Honda Civic MG6 GT Honda Civic Tourer Honda Civic Tourer Audi A4 BMW 125i M Sport Volkswagen CC BMW 125i M Sport Toyota Avensis MG6 GT BMW 125i M Sport Vauxhall Insignia Mercedes-Benz A-Class Ford Focus ST MK.III Ford Focus ST MK.III Vauxhall Insignia Ford Focus ST MK.III Audi A4 Ford Focus ST MK.III Toyota Avensis Toyota Avensis Toyota Avensis Audi S3 Saloon Chevrolet Cruze 4dr Proton Gen2 Chevrolet Cruze 5dr Volkswagen CC Toyota Avensis MG6 GT Honda Civic

Race 2 Position Name

1 Andrew Jordan 2 Gordon Shedden 3 Colin Turkington 4 Matt Neal 5 Nick Foster 6 Robert Collard 7 Adam Morgan 8 Tom Ingram 9 Fabrizio Giovanardi 10 Sam Tordoff 11 Jason Plato 12 Mat Jackson 13 Aron Smith 14 Jack Goff 15 Warren Scott 16 Dave Newsham 17 Alain Menu 18 Hunter Abbott 19 Jack Clarke 20 Glynn Geddie 21 James Cole 22 Robb Holland 23 Simon Belcher 24 Aiden Moffat 25 Ollie Jackson DNF Lea Wood DNF Martin Depper DNF Rob Austin DSQ Marc Hynes DNF Chris Stockton

Car Honda Civic Honda Civic Tourer BMW 125i M Sport Honda Civic Tourer BMW 125i M Sport BMW 125i M Sport Mercedes-Benz A-Class Toyota Avensis Ford Focus ST MK.III MG6 GT MG6 GT Ford Focus ST MK.III Volkswagen CC Vauxhall Insignia Vauxhall Insignia Ford Focus ST MK.III Volkswagen CC Audi A4 Ford Focus ST MK.III Toyota Avensis Toyota Avensis Audi S3 Saloon Toyota Avensis Chevrolet Cruze 4dr Proton Gen2 Toyota Avensis Honda Civic Audi A4 MG6 GT Chevrolet Cruze 5dr

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Race 3 Position Name Car 1 Colin Turkington 2 Matt Neal 3 Jason Plato 4 Robert Collard 5 Alain Menu 6 Gordon Shedden 7 Mat Jackson 8 Jack Goff 9 Dave Newsham 10 Adam Morgan 11 Rob Austin 12 Sam Tordoff 13 Andrew Jordan 14 James Cole 15 Hunter Abbott 16 Fabrizio Giovanardi 17 Jack Clarke 18 Marc Hynes 19 Nick Foster 20 Robb Holland 21 Simon Belcher 22 Ollie Jackson 23 Warren Scott 24 Aiden Moffat 25 Glynn Geddie NC Chris Stockton DNF Aron Smith DNF Tom Ingram DNF Lea Wood DNF Martin Depper

BMW 125i M Sport Honda Civic Tourer MG6 GT BMW 125i M Sport Volkswagen CC Honda Civic Tourer Ford Focus ST MK.III Vauxhall Insignia Ford Focus ST MK.III Mercedes-Benz A-Class Audi A4 MG6 GT Honda Civic Toyota Avensis Audi A4 Ford Focus ST MK.III Ford Focus ST MK.III MG6 GT BMW 125i M Sport Audi S3 Saloon Toyota Avensis Proton Gen2 Vauxhall Insignia Chevrolet Cruze 4dr Toyota Avensis Chevrolet Cruze 5dr Volkswagen CC Toyota Avensis Toyota Avensis Honda Civic

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NASCAR Takes the Next Step with Track Drying Technology

by Travis Barend Rain has played a factor in five of the first seven race weeks of the had no issue, and this is definitely far below that pressure, so we’re 2014 NASCAR season, okay there we believe.” Race day weather is not controllable. However, NASCAR has tak- According to NASCAR, Air Titan 2.0 will reduce track-drying time en another step in reducing rain delay times through track drying between 25 and 50 percent, depending on atmospheric conditions. technology. At Martinsville Speedway in March, the sanctioning body unveiled Air Titan 2.0. “Obviously dew point is important, the lower the better,” stated Stefanyshysn. “That means we have dry air over the track which The new system, which works together with existing jet dryers can suck up the water molecules from the track surface. Ambiand the Eco-Infused Elgin Track Vacuum/Sweeper, is designed to ent temperature is important, higher is better, and wind, the more be more time and energy efficient than the previous Air Titan 1, wind there is, that’s better. So if we get in a situation where we have which was introduced last season. a very low dew point, high temperatures with a lot of wind, nature is helping us a lot.” Air Titan 2.0 has more than triple the blade capacity of the original version and delivers 2.6 times more air volume at a speed of 568 NASCAR has teamed up with Toyota for the project. Air Titan 2.0 mph. The compressed air will be 70 degrees warmer than the am- is now one, self-contained unit in the back of a Toyota Tundra. In bient temperature. total, the system uses almost 80 percent less fuel than Air Titan 1 and produces nearly 80 percent less carbon dioxide. Despite the speed and heat, NASCAR has no concerns about the compressed air hurting the racing surface. Air Titan 1 will continue to be used at each track this season, primarily for track cleaning. It will also be used for additional support “The Air Titan 1 was a high pressure, this is low pressure,” said during rain delays. Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR’s vice president of innovation and racing development. “We’ve gone from approximately 85 psi down Track characteristics, such as length, will determine the number of to this system running 5 to 10 psi. We have no concerns about the units NASCAR sends to each race. track. We actually tested Air Titan 1 at the higher pressure and we

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NASCAR Begins 2014 with Variety of Winners Impressive Young Talent The 2014 NASCAR season is well underway, yet no dominant season. force has stepped up. Finally, Joey Logano showed his continual career growth by After seven Sprint Cup Series races to start the season, winning at Texas Motor Speedway in the seventh race of the there have been seven different winners. Under NASCAR’s year, making a last lap pass around Jeff Gordon for the win. new Chase format, these winners have virtually guaranteed Logano’s win gives Team Penske two victories to start the themselves a chance in NASCAR’s championship-deciding season, one for each of its drivers. format. Yet to earn a trip to victory lane this year is the 2013 champion At Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500, Jimmie Johnson. The No. 48 team has come close, finishing NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabbed second at Martinsville and running competitively elsewhere, the checkered flag, winning his second Great American Race. but they have also experienced misfortune. At Auto Club Earnhardt has posted solid results throughout the first several Speedway, Johnson suffered a tire failure late in the race while races, including top two finishes in the first three events of the leading. Earnhardt Jr. has been the only one of four drivers to year. win at Hendrick Motorsports so far this season. Kevin Harvick, making the move from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart Haas Racing, posted a great result early as well. Harvick’s No. 4 car took the victory at Phoenix International Raceway for the second race of the season. Overall, Harvick has experienced growing pains with his new team, taking home only one top-5 finish and two top-10s. The team has suffered many mechanical failures and currently sits just inside of the top 30 in the standings, which is required for his win to count towards a Chase entry.

In NASCAR’s second-tier series, the Nationwide Series, Sprint Cup Series drivers continue to provide a strong presence. In six races, Kyle Busch has won twice, while Brad Keselowski also went to victory lane once. Kyle Larson, a Cup Series rookie, won his first Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway, holding off Busch and Kevin Harvick in a final lap charge.

JR Motorsports has been the only team to provide breakthroughs for Nationwide Series regulars. Regan Smith won the opener in Daytona and Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR After missing the Chase last season, Brad Keselowski kicked legend Bill Elliott, scored his first series win at Texas Motor off up 2014 on a high note, winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Speedway in the third race of the year. Keselowski passed Earnhardt Jr. on the final lap after the No. 88 car ran out of gas The Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR’s third-tier in a courageous fuel mileage call from the pit box. series, has only raced twice so far this year. Kyle Busch won at Daytona and Matt Crafton won at Martinsville. Carl Edwards won the race at Bristol Motor Speedway and Kyle Busch won a week later at Auto Club Speedway in a last The NASCAR season has been going strong since February, lap pass. Busch won the 2013 race in a similar fashion, taking yet there is no clear dominant force for the championship in the lead after the white flag. any of the three divisions. Many top teams and drivers have yet to visit victory lane. As summer approaches, more drivers Kurt Busch won his first race for Stewart Haas Racing at will win, but it is also likely to see repeat winners take the Martinsville Speedway. It was also his first win since driving checkered flag. for Team Penske, which he parted ways with after the 2011

by Travis Barend

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REVIEW

by Bruno Keiser WRC Rally Guanajuato Corona 2014, Mexico, March 6-9 Terve ! The difference from the previous rally in Sweden couldn’t be bigger in comparison than with the third round of the World Rally Championship in Mexico; more precisely in the region and mountains around Guanajuato and Leon. This is the first of six consecutive rallies on gravel and here the temperatures climb there to the same heights as the cars do on the special stage “El Chocolate”, where they climb up to 2781 meters above sea level, the highest point of the season. Due to the thin air, engines lose about 20% power and the very long special stages also require everything from each driver. Despite the 402 km divided into 21 special stages, the Central American competition is the most compact rally in the calendar. After his victory in Sweden, championship leader Jari-Matti Latvala had the dubious honour of being first on the road and therefore sweeping it for the following drivers. Latvala said that the foreseeable time loss on the first day won’t bother him too much, and he proved his words with the fastest time in shakedown. On the opening super special, partly driven in an old mining

tunnel in Guanajuato (part of the UNESCO world heritage site), his teammate Sébastien Ogier underlined his victorious ambitions with a first fastest time. A dramatic first leg on Friday took its toll when third placed Mikko Hirvonen parked his M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC in SS9 with a generator failure. The same stage ended Chris Meeke’s hopes for a top result. On the previous stage he set second fastest time and moved up to fourth but he had to strike his colours with a broken left rear wheel suspension.

A slightly too optimistic pace-note let Andreas Mikkelsen go wide in a slow corner where he hit a rock. The broken rear

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wheel suspension forced him to retire from first leg. Hyundai debutant and WRC returnee Chris Atkinson suffered a big time loss when his anti-lag system didn’t work and thus he poked along the stages without engine power.

His compatriot Andreas Mikkelsen was thrown on his roof and out of competition by an overly optimistic pace note. Polish former Formula 1 driver Kubica ended his day shortly after the start of SS13 with going upside-down again. Both crews were fortunately uninjured. Northern Irishman Chris Meeke, restarted under rally 2 broke another wheel suspension, this time front right.

Robert Kubica’s day ended on the first of the two runs on the Leon racetrack when his Fiesta’s wheels pointed to the sky after going wide in a left-hander. At the end of the day, Sébastien Ogier topped the Leaderboard by 26 seconds over mid-day leader Mads Östberg.

The leading Volkswagen duo was spared from any problems and finished the rally on one and two. This was the second consecutive victory in Mexico for Sébastien Ogier who earned the maximum of 28 championship points after winning the power stage too. Korean manufacturer Hyundai was overjoyed with their very first podium place, achieved by Thierry Neuville. Luckily an overheating engine problem on the liaison section to the podium could be solved by a subsequent emergency repair for the leaking cooler. As a replacement for the lost cooling liquid, Neuville and his co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul used the Corona beer they received from the main sponsor at the power stage end. Frenchman Ogier left Mexico for Portugal as Championship leader again. The next round in the WRC will have at least one more spectator. I’ll be there to provide you first hand impressions. See you there!

Saturday was not spared from dramas either. The Norwegian runner-up was stranded on the liaison road High octane greetings after the 53.69km long Otates stage with a broken suspension. Bruno A makeshift repair shortly before the stage enabled him to finish the stage but didn’t last long enough...

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Your Guide To GP2

The Weekend

Established back in 2005, GP2 has become the ultimate In total, four sessions take place over the course of a feeder series to the world of Formula One. race weekend. Practice, Qualifying, a Feature Race and

a Sprint Race will take place through Friday-Sunday. A Since 2005, over 20 drivers have reached the pinnacle of Motorsport reverse grid pole is used for the second and final race. by competing in the GP2 series after nail biting races across the world, following Formula One on its journey throughout seasons Practice: past. In 2014, the series will be as competitive as it has ever been with GP2 holds a single 45 minute practice session on Friday morning, 26 drivers competing in a total of 22 races in 11 countries. All giving drivers a chance to adapt to the track and to work out what fighting for the Championship and trying to create an impression will be the best set up for them ahead of the competitive racing. on members of the Formula One community. Qualifying: As before, GP2 will travel along with Formula One to old circuits and new; allowing drivers to compete on the same tracks which those Friday afternoon sees a 30 minute qualifying session to who have reached the top, race on during a Grand Prix weekend. determine the line-up for the Feature Race on Saturday. As well as being granted Pole Position, the fastest driver will also receive four points to add to their championship campaign.

Qualifying

The Car

Feature Race

Feature Race: In 2014, GP2 will continue to use the Dallara GP2/11 car, developed by Italian manufactures, Dallara. The third generation of car was GP2 cars take to the track on Saturday afternoon for the Feature Race. introduced during the race weekend in Istanbul, Turkey back in 26 drivers compete against each other over an approximate race 2011 and has been used since. distance of 170km (excluding Monte Carlo, where the approximate race distance is only 140km) or a maximum time of 60 minutes. The chassis will be used by all teams, the only difference being the livery that each team chooses to run during the course of the 2014 On lap 6 the pit window is open. All drivers must make a pit stop during season. A number of spare parts can be provided to teams but must the course of the race as both the prime and option compounds must be purchased through the GP2 series organisers. be used, unless it is wet, when drivers are not required to make a stop. Dallara structural

representatives can also repairs on the chassis over

Technical Specifica-

carry out Two extra points are awarded to the driver who finishes the season. inside the top ten with the fastest race lap. The points

system for the Feature Race of the weekend is below:

The grid for the second race of the weekend is determined by where the Top 8 finish. The Top 8 finishers have their positions reversed on the grid for the Sprint Race. The table below explains the “reverse grid� system:

Sprint Race

Sprint

Race:

The Sprint Race begins early on the Sunday morning and it is a clear sprint from lights to flag over 120km (excluding Monte Carlo, where the race distance is 100km). A driver does not need

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to make a stop during this race, although drivers can still stop 2013 Championship with Racing Engineering as becoming to repair any damage they may have picked up during the race. Champion means that you are no longer permitted to compete in GP2. As in the Feature Race, two extra points are awarded to the driver who finishes inside the top ten with the fastest race lap. A A number of drivers will remain on the grid for 2014 but driver cannot have stopped for a tyre change when the weather have switched to different teams, spicing up the grid that conditions were consistent to be eligible for fastest lap points. little bit more. The points system for the second race of the weekend is below:

2014 Season Calen-

2014 Season Entry

The 2014 Season Entry List:

Takuya Izawa, Raffaele Marciello, Artem Markelov, AndrĂŠ NegrĂŁo, Arthur Pic, Facu Regalia, Kimiya Sato, Axcil Jefferies and Stoffel Vandoorne will all make their debut on the GP2 grid in Bahrain coming from series such as Formula Reanult 3.5 and the European Formula Three Championship. Whilst eight drivers will be stepping into GP2, a number of drivers will also be stepping out. Sam Bird and James Calado will be heading to race in WEC whilst Marcus Ericsson has made the step up to Formula 1, joining the Caterham F1 Team alongside former GP2 racer, Kamui Kobayashi. Tom Dillmann has also left the sport after a lack of budget finally took its toll. Fabio Leimer will not compete in the series after winning the

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A Quick ‘what to expect in 2014 2013 saw RT Russian Time take the Teams Championship with Sam Bird and Tom Dillmann and are expected to be more determined than before to do well for their late Team Boss, Igor Mazepa. With Mitch Evans, the 2012 GP3 Champion, and young Russian star, Artem Markelov on board, the team is full of young blood and ready for a challenge with both drivers hoping to make their mark and continue where Russian Time left off in the previous season.

than ever with strong teams and drivers all ready to take the challenge. After Fabio Leimer took the Drivers’ Championship in 2013, it is only natural that Racing Engineering will be hoping to produce a strong performance and produce another Championship winning worthy driver from Ferrari Young Driver, Raffaele Marciello, and Stefano Coletti.

With the cars so similar, no rookie should be ruled out of the running. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see some of the new kids on the block take the challenge to the more experienced in the series making for an exciting season with every race being fought to the very end. Although the Champions will be determined to make sure that they can Moral of the story is, in GP2, expect the unexpected and remember that retain their crown, teams such as Carlin, DAMS and Racing Engineering, anything is likely to happen. all of which were closest in terms of points, will not be allowing the Russian team to run off with the Championship. The fight will be bigger

by Katy McConnachie

BAHRAIN GP REVIEW

Night Thriller

by Phil Woods

Both the Williams’ and Force India’s had looked good throughout Qualifying qualifying and they got their rewards as Valterri Bottas landed a 4th place ahead of Sergio Perez in the Force India. Felipe Massa finished in 8th with Nico Hulkenberg in the other Force India in a Nico Rosberg took pole, leading a Mercedes 1- 2 with Lewis disappointing 13th place. Hamilton in 2nd. Mercedes were totally dominant throughout the free practice sessions and continued that into qualifying, leaving a Kimi Raikkonen out-qualified his team mate Fernando Alonso for 0.8 second gap to Daniel Ricciardo in 3rd. the first time this season as he finished in 6th and Alonso in 10th. Hamilton had been in a very confident mood going into this session Jenson Button managed 7th place in his 250th Grand but a mistake at turn one during his final flying lap, left him unable Prix (congratulations Jenson from everyone at Pit Lane to catch his team mate. Reporter on this magnificent achievement). His team

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mate Kevin Magnussen was two places behind in 9th. The biggest name casualty in Q2 was four times world champion, Sebastian Vettel, still seemingly struggling with the new regulations. He would find himself not making the top 10 shoot-out again, this time he would be in 11th.

On lap 40 Hamilton was nearly 10 seconds ahead and looking comfortable. Then came a Maldonado moment. Yes he was at it again, he came out of the pits and went straight into the side of Gutierrez’s Sauber, flipping it over in the air twice. A dangerous move ensuring that the stewards would come down heavily. He received a 10 second drive through penalty, a five place grid penalty for the next race in China and 3 points on his super license.

The two Toro Rosso’s were expected by many to get into Q3. This didn’t materialise and Daniil Kvyat would pop up in 13th, one place ahead of his team mate Jean-Eric Vergne. This incident bought out the safety car - yet another Mercedes at the front of the field! Hamilton’s lead was now slashed to nothing Esteban Gutierrez came out on top in the battle of the Saubers, as and Rosberg was on the faster tyre. This led to an amazing finish to he managed a 15th place. His team mate, Adrian Sutil went out in the race with Nico trying in vain to get past Lewis. On this occasion Q1, finishing a lowly 18th. This would change though as he would Lewis came out on top to win his second race of the season. He receive a 5 place grid penalty for impeding another car, and would would now trail Rosberg by 11 points in the championship due to start the grand prix right at the back. his retirement in Australia.

Lotus managed to get one car out of Q1; quite a feat these days. Behind all this action was a whole load of other action. The speed Pastor Maldonado didn’t manage it though, finishing a place of the Force India’s and the Williams’ was the best of the rest. They behind his team mate and going out. fought each other until the very end with Sergio Perez putting last seasons’ disappointment behind him to get a brilliant 3rd place Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi flirted with Q2 for almost the whole and a podium finish. Hulkenberg struggled with his ERS towards session, however in a frantic final few minutes, he slipped down to the end of the race, not able to harvest energy. This allowed the 19th, although this did win him the now very common Marussia/ Red Bull of Ricciardo past to claim 4th. Vettel finished 6th behind Caterham battle. Marcus Ericcson would finish 21st in the other Hulkenberg but impressively in front of the two Williams’. The final Caterham, with Jules Bianchi in 20th and Max Chilton in 22nd. two points were gained by the two Ferrari’s.

The Race

A week after the Massa/Bottas well publicised team orders call, we had the same at Red Bull. The call of “Daniel is faster than you” made to Sebastian Vettel, sent Twitter into over-drive (excuse the Ricciardo would start in 13th, as he received a 10 place pun). I have to say that people did find that rather amusing. grid penalty for the team’s pit-stop mistake in Malaysia. Where do I start? This race had it all - inter team battles, midfield teams storming towards the podium, flying cars and much more. Without doubt, this was one of the most thrilling races of modern times. The first two races had been exhilarating, but this was in a class of its own. The new era of Formula One has arrived, and hasn’t it arrived in some style. Lewis Hamilton got off the line better than his team mate, Nico Rosberg. Rosberg tried to retake the lead but couldn’t manage to get past. The two drivers proving what professionals they are, with some extremely close racing. This would have undoubtedly made the Mercedes pit wall nervous, but it gave us fans immense entertainment.

In the end, this was a brilliant race, one that I will remember for a long time. My driver of the day has to be given as a joint award this time, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for racing so hard and yet so fair. You both entertained the world. Thank You! Bahrain GP Results

The two Mercedes were in a different class today. It was obvious that if reliability wasn’t an issue, no one would catch them. They were around 1.5 seconds apart for most of the first stint, but following the first round of pit stops, Rosberg yet again caught up. Early on lap 18 he got his nose in front only for Hamilton to cut back across, as Rosberg ran wide to retake the lead. Rosberg wasn’t happy, asking the team to warn Hamilton that it wasn’t a fair move. He tried again the following lap, this time Hamilton edged him out wide. At the second pit stop, Rosberg took a different strategy to Hamilton, putting on the slower medium tyre while Hamilton decided to leave that until the final stint of the race. Little did anyone know at this stage that this would make for a thrilling finish to this grand prix.

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Competition WIN AN OFFICIAL FERRARI FORMULA ONE TEAM T-SHIRT Ferrari are the worlds most famous Formula One constructor. They have been ever since the first car to bear the famous name entered a Grand Prix way back in 1948. They are arguably the most decorated team in the history of the sport with 15 drivers’ championships and 16 constructors championships. This month we are giving away a beautiful Official Ferrari Formula One T-Shirt. As seen in the picture below. All you have to do is answer the following question; During the first official Formula One season on 21st May 1950, Alberto Ascari and Raymond Sommer competed at which track for Ferrari’s first ever official F1 race? To enter, please send your name, address and contact number to comp@pitlanereporter.com Please also include your size requirements (We offer S, M, L, XL and XXL) Pit Lane Reporter would like to congratulate Douglas Tindle from Ayrshire, Scotland. Douglas correctly named ‘Andrew Jordan’ as the reigning BTCC champion. Douglas wins two tickets to a BTCC event of his choice. Thank you to everyone who entered, try again this month, it could be your turn. Competition Terms & Conditions - This competition is not open to employees or family of employees of either MFO Publishing (UK) Limited and/or any department of Ferrari or supplier to Ferrari. Entries must be received by midnight (UK Time) on 1st May 2014. Entries after this time will not be entered. Winning entries will be entered into a draw. One winner will be chosen at random. By entering the competition you agree to your name being published in the May edition of the magazine. We value your privacy, your details will never be given or sold to a third party, details are for the purposes of this competition only. If you wish to receive information about future

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Looking Ahead in IndyCarby Eric Hall The rolling hills of Barber Motorsports Park will welcome IndyCar as they make their third stop on the championship trail, and the first natural terrain road course of the year. Not only are the grounds as aesthetically pleasing as any European or F1 facility, the track is also loved for its technical details by teams and drivers alike.

IndyCar drivers will turn right into Turn 1 for the first time in the history of the storied facility as the race will be run in the traditional clockwise direction of F1. Gone is the bemoaned Turn 6 carousel of the previous F1 configuration, instead replaced with a quick left-right chicane leading onto Hulman Boulevard. The Turn 7/8/9 complex has been reprofiled again for higher speeds. Similar to the counter-clockwise MotoGP configuration of the road course, the IndyCar race will run through the “snake pit” section to bypass the banked oval Turn 1. This section has also

Juan Pablo Montoya may have his best early season chance to notch a solid finish at the true natural terrain road course of Barber. There is repeatable grip, a high quality race-grade surface, immense safety features and the flow and rhythm that a top level road course should have. Exactly the qualities in a race circuit that European-groomed Montoya needs to build his confidence in the equipment and series. Of course, the regular players at Penske, Ganassi and Andretti will always be a factor. But, the track has been known to favor drivers who can build a solid setup, run a smart strategy and execute a clean afternoon. In the current equipment, the race is always highly competitive; however a surprise driver has yet to clinch the win after only four years of competition.

been reconfigured to allow higher speeds to be carried through the corners with the very tight hairpin replaced with a more manageable right-hander. The track is wide, fast and has been freshly resurfaced insuring there is as much room and grip as possible for the drivers to fight for the honors of the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis victor. Teams have absolutely no data on this facility and drivers The fourth stop on the schedule and final road event have zero experience. Everyone will be starting from scratch before IndyCar hits the ovals is the reconfigured Grand on set-ups and the extremely long straights could lead to some Prix Circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The new interesting aerodynamic choices, so it could truly be anyone’s race. event dubbed: the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, will kick off the festivities in Indianapolis leading up to the “Indy 500” Four road courses, known as “twisties” in the IndyCar world, held later that month on the facilities’ historic oval track. close the first quarter of the season. The season really starts to heat up after Barber as there is literally no time off before the Indianapolis 500; oval practice kicks off the day after the checkers fall for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. This will pose an interesting dynamic by pushing teams to switch the racecar from road to oval configuration quickly and accurately so they can be ready for oval practice the following morning at 11 am.

Upcoming IndyCar Events 27 10 17 18

April – Honda Grand Prix of Alabama – Barber Motorsports Park May – Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course May – 98th Indianapolis 500 Time Trials – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval May – 98th Indianapolis 500 Pole Day – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval

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Vodafone WRC Rally de Portugal, April 3-6

by Bruno Keiser Terve! Dramatically heavy rainfalls in the Algarve region lasting for many days before the start of the 1967 Rally de Portugal turned the roads in the mountains of Baixo Alentejo and Serra do Caldeirao north of Faro into torrents and made some of them impassable. Take a look on Mads Östberg’s picture he published on Twitter:

who believed it’s possible to park anywhere got stuck one after another. Other four wheel driven car drivers had fewer problems. One of them was storming Finn Jari-Matti Latvala who secured another fastest shakedown time, followed by a surprising Henning Solberg

A closer look on the weather forecast for this year didn’t promise any improvement and I was a bit worried about my camera equipment. An expensive camera repair after Neste Oil Rally Finland 2013 was very much in my mind and heavy rain on the day of arrival didn’t make me feel very optimistic. Against all predictions, the clerk of the weather was on the driver’s and my side and closed the sprinkler nozzles on Wednesday morning. A quick visit to at the Estadio Algarve based service park and second Polo-R WRC driver Sébastien Ogier in third position. was enough to get me into rally mood for the upcoming shakedown on the same Despite a dubious weather forecast, the conditions remained dry and sunny all the following days. Nobody minded afternoon. that the ceremonial start from the Casino of Estoril at the The afternoon sun dried the 4.98 km short shakedown stage quite gates of Lisbon was held under friendly warm sunshine. quickly and left behind only a few wet and muddy spots. The situation in the spectator parking area looked a bit different. 4x4 car owners Immediately before the official launch, the fan-popular autograph session

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er who lost the rally lead on the ultimate stage today due to wrong tyre choice. Saturday’s story is quickly told. A suspension failure slowed Thierry Neuville’s i20 WRC. Juho Hänninen lost a lot of time when he suffered a puncture. The irreparably bent roll-cage of his DS3 WRC prevented Chris Meeke from restarting under rally 2. Robert Kubica was stranded beside the road with a burned clutch after another take-off. Third placed Ott Tänäk flipped over his Fiesta badly at the same place where Jari-Matti Latvala had his horrible crash in 2009. However, Tänäk didn’t roll 200 meters down the hillside but blocked the road, whereupon the stage had to be neutralized. Once more there was a familiar face on the top of the leader-board. World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier who achieved the 200 stage win for a Polo R WRC today. Second placed Hirvonen was struggling with worn tires and therefore blunt weapons, followed by a trouble-free Mads Östberg.

with all top-drivers took place. I was there one hour before, with a few other fans, and wondered why it didn’t begin at the time announced in Unfortunately internet connection isn’t available everywhere and that’s the official rally program. As a rally fan you get to know that spectating why the enthusiastic Portuguese spectators and I often hadn’t had any rally is about 99% waiting and Portugal was no exception. idea what was going on. If you have ever attended Neste Oil Rally Finland then you know how much I missed an old-fashioned but working Buildings, which are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site radio. Anyway, the atmosphere was great all day and so was the weather. seem to have a magical attraction on rally cars. This must be The omnipresent elevation offered spectator-friendly viewpoints and inthe explanation for Thursday evening’s super special stage locreased the pleasure of watching sideways action a lot. cation, in front of the Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon. French world champion Sébastien Ogier wasn’t willing to make a birthday present to his team mate Jari-Matti Latvala who turned 29 and was 1.3 seconds faster. A perfect Volkswagen 1-2-3 overnight lead with Andreas Mikkelsen on third let no-one doubt about which car is strongest at the moment. Then the whole WRC posse headed about 260 km south back to Faro in order to prepare for the 146 kms of tomorrow’s first leg.

Sunday promised to be short: only 43.89 km and two different stages, but one of them was driven as the power-stage on a second run. Due to their accidents yesterday, Tänäk and Kubica weren’t able to restart under Rally 2. The Estonian’s roll-cage was much too damaged and Robert’s Fiesta stayed in Service park with an irreparable transmission failure.

Frustration overcame fourth positioned Dani Sordo when he had to park his Hyundai with a broken drive shaft on his way to the first stage this morning, even though it had been checked during yesterElfyn Evans hit troubles when he missed a braking point and day’s evening’s service. Bad luck for the fans favourite but after the rolled over several times, driver and passenger escaped unharmed. rally, Hyundai team boss Michel Nandan rewarded Sordo’s strong performance with a nomination for Rally Argentina next month. Next one who met trouble was former Formula 1 Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica. (I tend to say “of course”.) He cut too much off a curve Lady luck was friendlier to Sordo’s team mate Juho Hänninen when he and hit a tree which demolished his front wheel. His un-drivable Fiesta was able to continue after hitting a tree heavily on the co-driver’s side. RS WRC blocked the road and the stage had to be neutralized. SS4 “Almodôvar” knew how to play to the gallery.

On SS5, it was the turn of flying Finn Latvala, who was only 0.4 seconds behind leading Sébastien Ogier at that time. After the first split he was even 1.3 seconds ahead of his team-mate but then went wide in a curve. Unfortunately rain had washed parts of the road away and the hole there catapulted the Volkswagen in the air. Speed doesn’t kill or demolish, it’s the impact... The damage suffered was too much to be able to continue: Game over for today!

Henning Solberg and Andreas Mikkelsen swapped places. For the younger of them it was an acceptable finish after a very cautious start. His older countryman rejoiced in his fifth place which keeps his hopes alive of driving more rallies this year. Who wouldn’t want to see the constantly smiling Henning more often? Under the eyes of thousands of cheering spectators along the powerstage, the extra championship points for the three fastest drivers went to Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Östberg.

The rerun of “Almodôvar” bit again. This time it was Irishman Chris Meeke who slipped from the road at the same spot as Elfyn Evans before This means that the French champion won the Algarve event for the and didn’t manage to continue either. third time with Volkswagen’s eighth consecutive victory. A resurgent Mikko Hirvonen was finally on the podium again and Mads Östberg Luckily there are also good reports: On the first two morning stages Dani was pleased with his third place too. Sordo set the very first two stage wins for the Korean Hyundai team and took over the temporary lead. I’m sure you agree it’s good for the sports Portugal is world-famous for its olive oil. As a special present from the when another manufacturer is competitive. As soon as they get rid of the rally organizer, Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia were cause of constant defects, they will challenge for victory. awarded their weight in olive oil. Hopefully they won’t need it to compensate an oil leak in their Polo, joked the speaker in remembrance of At the end of the day the rally was led by a driver who hasn’t been overwhat happened to Thierry Neuville in Mexico... night leader for quite a long time: Mikko Hirvonen. Only 3.7 seconds behind, Estonia’s Ott Tänäk surprised everyone, including his team boss A personal note: Malcolm Wilson. Another 2.8 seconds down in third was Sébastien Ogi-

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The hilly Algarve is extremely spectator-friendly. The visibility on the fast and technically demanding stages is mostly excellent and in some parts, you can see many cars in action for a very long time. Pleasant temperatures, easy access to the spectator areas without much traffic and everything for free (YES, no rally pass is needed) deserve my recommendation. That’s why I say every rally fan should consider going to see Rally de Portugal at least once in a lifetime. I bet again my left arm you won’t regret it, bet accepted? High octane greetings Bruno

Final Rankings

All Images - Copyright Bruno Keiser

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Bruno’s WRC Gallery All Images - Copyright Bruno Keiser

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A Fans guide to NASCAR’s New Championship format

by Travis Barend

This year marks the 11th season of the ‘Chase for the Sprint Cup’ – a playoff format used to crown the Sprint Cup Series The Championship Round champion. Since its inception, it has been tweaked constantly, The final round of the Chase is one race and features the four drivers who but the biggest tweak of them all was introduced prior to this have not yet been eliminated. All four drivers start on level points. The season. top finisher of the four drivers in the final race wins the championship. No bonus points for leading a lap or leading the most laps will be awarded In January, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France introduced a in this final race. format similar to ones used in other sports leagues. For the first time, NASCAR will use eliminations to determine a champion. Additional Notes

Making the Chase

As always, while there are a limited number of drivers racing for a championship, the races will be full of others trying to win a race.

The first 26 races of the season will be used to determine the championship Additionally, all drivers who are eliminated during the Chase can still eligible (Chase) drivers – this has not changed. What has changed, finish as high as fifth in the standings. They can still surpass other however, is the number of drivers involved. This season, the Chase field eliminated drivers in points. expands from 12 drivers to 16. All drivers in the top 30 in points who attempt to qualify for each race have a chance at earning a position in the Chase. If a driver meets these requirements and wins a race, they are virtually locked into the Chase.

Standings

If there are less than 16 winners by race 26, the remainder of the field is filled by the highest drivers in the standings without a win. If there are more than 16 winners (traditionally unlikely), the top drivers in the standings with wins – and the point standings leader, regardless of wins – advance. No matter what, 16 drivers will enter the Chase with 10 races to decide a champion. There will be four rounds of the Chase with three eliminations.

Round 1 of the Chase For the first round of the Chase, the standings will be reset to an equal number of points plus an additional three points for each win scored during the first 26 races. There will be three races in this first round. A win guarantees an entry into the second round. The bottom four drivers in the standings without wins will be eliminated following race three.

Round 2 of the Chase The second round of the Chase also features three races and begins with the 12 remaining drivers. The points for the 12 drivers are reset at this stage. A win by a top 12 driver guarantees advancement into round 3. After these three races, the bottom four drivers in points without a win in round 2 will be eliminated.

Round 3 of the Chase The third round, which is also three races in length, will begin with eight drivers, again with the points reset. A win by any of the eight drivers will transfer a driver to the final round. Following the three races, the bottom four drivers in points without a win in the round are eliminated.

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Formula 1 Driver Standings following the Bahrain Grand Prix

Formula 1 Driver Standings following the Bahrain Grand Prix

IndyCar Driver Standings following the Firestone Grand

WRC Driver Standings

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Next Month

Photograph Credits Australian GP article - Copyright Mercedes AMG F1 | IndyCar Review - Barber Motorsports Park Track Image - Wikipedia; GP of Indy Track image - Courtesy of Indianapolis Motor; GP of Long Beach Map - Wikipedia; St Pete Podium - INDYCAR - Chris Jones; Juan Pablo - INDYCAR - Bret Kelly | The Montanya Report - Juan Pablo Montoya 2 - INDYCAR Chris Jones | Malaysian GP Review - Malaysian GP Saubers - Copyright Sauber Motorsport AG; Lewis and Nico on The Podium Malaysia copyright Mercedes AMG F1 Team | Dan Welch Interview - all copyright ‘Jakob Ebrey Photography’ | BTCC The Old Guard versus The Chasing Pack -all copyright - Adam Johnson | NASCAR drying technology article - Air Titan 2 at Martinsville Speedway - Copyright Getty Images | Rally Mexico Article - ‘Red Bull Content Pool’ | Bahrain GP Review - Close Racing Bahrain GP - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg - Copyright Mercedes AMG F1 Team; Lewis Hamilton Celebrates Bahrain GP - copyright Mercedes AMG F1 Team | Rally de Portugal Review - All Images by Bruno Keiser |

‘Aerodynamics for Dummies’ feature – We explain in as simple terms as possible how aerodynamics works on a race car. ‘Unsung Heroes of Formula One’ – A Formula One team is so much more than what you see on television or at the race. We begin a series of interviews and insights into the hard-working people who are rarely in the limelight. ‘Pippa Mann’ – We catch up with one of the world’s best female racing drivers. What does she have in store for 2014? ‘Reviews of races’ – in Formula One, WRC, IndyCar, BTCC, NASCAR, GP2, GP3 and DTM and much more...... Don’t miss it, make a note in your diary, 15th May 2014

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Pitlane reporter issue 2