Installation lap damage costly for Ricciardo in Malaysia

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Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that his retirement from last Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix was due to damage caused on the installation lap before the race.

Torrential rain hit the Sepang International Circuit just before the start of the race, and Ricciardo was one of many drivers who had an off whilst making their way to the grid.

“Out of the box I wanted to push hard because I knew we’d be starting on the inter tires and I wanted to get a good feel for it in the conditions,” Ricciardo explained. “I came into the corner, started to aquaplane and had that ‘aw crikey’ moment as I slid toward the gravel.

“I had a look and the floor was pretty badly damaged. The mechanics did what they could to fix it on the grid but there was only so much they could do in the short amount of time available.”

The damage didn’t seem to hinder Ricciardo too greatly off the start, and he challenged in the points for the majority of the race.

“The start itself was fine. I managed to gain a couple of positions on the first lap and I think I got in front of both Lotuses. They are quicker than us but I managed to keep them behind.

“But we were getting killed in the high-speed corners with a lot of understeer because of the damage.”

Eventually, Ricciardo retired from the race, and the Australian driver was angry to have suffered the damage in such circumstances.

“That’s how it goes sometimes but I was pretty angry nonetheless.”

Toro Rosso have shown good pace so far this season, with Jean-Eric Vergne scoring the team’s first point in Malaysia, and Ricciardo will be keen to see an upturn in fortunes so he can score his first points of the season at the next race in China.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”