Audi, Ferrari sweep to WEC wins at Spa

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Audi and Ferrari swept to wins in the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, in a race that serves as a tune-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Audi’s three R18 e-tron quattro hybrids took a 1-2-3 finish overall, led by the twice-defending Le Mans winning trio of Andre Lotterer (pictured at 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours), Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler. Toyota premiered its new 2013-spec TS030 Hybrid, but the hybrid system failed on the No. 7 car. Meanwhile the debut of the 2013-spec car was explained further in an article by SPEED’s John Dagys.

In GTE Pro, where several ex-Formula One pilots have landed, Bruno Senna and Kamui Kobayashi again finished in the same order as they did in Silverstone. But while that was a win for Senna in his WEC debut, this time it was second and third behind Kobayashi’s teammate in the sister AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia, driven by Italian ex-F1 drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Senna switched to the No. 98 Aston Martin after winning in Silverstone in the No. 97 – the team added a fifth Vantage split between the GTE Pro and Am classes – and co-drove with Frederic Makowiecki and Rob Bell. Kobayashi resumed with co-driver Toni Vilander in AF Corse’s No. 71 Ferrari.

Pecom Racing (LMP2) and 8Star Motorsports (GTE Am) also took class victories. Mike Conway, who raced a Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar in Long Beach, finished fifth in the LMP2 class.

The 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans occurs June 22-23.

Toro Rosso boss hopes to see Kvyat return to Formula 1

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Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost hopes to see sacked driver Daniil Kvyat return to Formula 1 in the near future, saying the Russian “deserves” a place on the grid.

Toro Rosso dropped Kvyat twice through the 2017 season due to poor form, with his final dismissal coming after the United States Grand Prix in October.

Kvyat is no longer part of Red Bull’s motorsport program and is exploring options both inside and outside of F1 for 2018, and Tost feels he could be energized by some time away before returning.

“I am still convinced that Daniil has a very high natural speed. He was sometimes even faster than Daniel Riccardo, but somehow last year and this year he couldn’t show the potential that is within him,” Tost told the official F1 website.

“He was involved in many incidents, but in his defence I also have to say that he had many reliability issues and that didn’t help build up confidence. Being the victim of too many incidents killed the performance he would have been able to show.

“Maybe a short break – to get organized again – and probably we will see Daniil back at his usual performance level with another team.

“Sometimes he was too aggressive at the beginning of the race. The first corner was his weak point. He wanted too much in the first hundred meters – success by any means!

“That puts you under pressure – unnecessary pressure – and that never works.

“I hope for him that he gets another chance, as I think he deserves to be in F1.”