Daniel Ricciardo expecting strong pace in Monaco

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Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo has spoken of his special affinity for the Monaco Grand Prix, and the Australian driver expects the team to run well at the race after a good showing last time out in Barcelona.

Ricciardo ran well at the Spanish Grand Prix to finish P10, and he is sure that this result will translate into a good result this weekend in Monaco.

“The one thing that should guide us is that Barcelona is a very high downforce circuit and this is even higher downforce – if you have it,” Ricciardo explained in his blog. “So, because we were quicker in Barcelona than the team has been for the last few years, that probably points to us having a positive race here. Certainly we should be stronger than we were last year.”

Last year, Ricciardo retired from the race with 13 laps remaining, but he is confident that a similar disappointment will be avoided on Sunday during his second outing in an F1 car around the streets of Monte-Carlo.

“This is my sort of track. It’s got a real old-school vibe and like all street circuits, it’s a lot of fun. Last year I was really buzzing to race here. It didn’t go how I imagined, I really wanted to be quicker than I was, so this year I’m not going to talk it up too much – but I am confident we’ll be competitive and I’ll show some proper speed around the Circuit de Monaco.”

With the second seat at Red Bull up for grabs in 2014, Ricciardo will be hoping to take advantage of Monaco’s high rate of attrition in order to finish well within the points. The ode of Monaco is that good qualifying usually leads to a good race result, and the Australian driver will be keen on harnessing the one-lap pace of the STR08 during tomorrow’s shootout.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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