Six hours complete at Le Mans

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Racing with heavy hearts after the death of teammate Allan Simonsen in the opening moments of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Aston Martin Racing team is performing admirably as the race crosses the six-hour mark.

In the GTE-Pro category, the No. 99 Aston of Bruno Senna, Robert Bell and Frederic Makowiecki and the No. 97 Aston of Stefan Mucke, Peter Dumbreck and Darren Turner are running first and second in the class, ahead of the two Porsche AG Team Manthey 911s. The third GTE-Pro Aston, the No. 98 for GRAND-AM vets Bill Auberlen, Paul Della Lana and Pedro Lamy, currently sit seventh in the class.

“It’s not easy conditions out there,” Mucke told SPEED Channel after stepping out of the No. 97 following his stint. “We’ve had a lot of safety cars and a lot of dirt on the track…But so far, everything is running good. The team is doing a good job and I think we can be happy.”

As for the remaining Aston in the GTE-Am category (the class that Simonsen was racing in), the No. 96 of Jamie Campbell-Walter, Roald Goethe and Stuart Hall are eighth in the class.

Back up front, the Audi contingent has control of the proceedings, currently holding the top three positions overall with the No. 1 R18 E-Tron Quattro (pictured) of Benoit Treyuler, Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler leading their teammates in the No. 2 (Loic Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish) and No. 3 (Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gene, and Oliver Jarvis) R18 hybrids. However, the No. 2 camp had a bit of a scare during the fifth hour when the No. 24 Oak Racing LMP2 Morgan-Nissan of David Heinemeier Hansson lost control in front of Duval at the Porsche Curves.

Fortunately for Audi, Duval was able to escape unscathed and continue on; he has since set his fastest lap of the race at 3 minutes, 23.269 seconds on Lap 86 around the massive Circuit de la Sarthe.

In the LMP2 category, the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan of John Martin, Roman Rusinov and IndyCar part-timer Mike Conway led the race at the six-hour point, while in GTE-Am, the No. 55 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Piergiuseppe Perrazini, Darryl O’Young and Lorenzo Case are on top.

Sainz airlifted to hospital following practice crash

xxxx during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.
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Carlos Sainz Jr. has been airlifted to hospital after a big crash during the final free practice session for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

Under braking at turn 13, Sainz lost the backend of his Toro Rosso car, causing him to hit the left-hand wall before slamming into the TecPro barrier at the end of the run-off area.

The session was immediately red flagged as medical crews tended to Sainz, taking 20 minutes to extricate him from the Toro Rosso car due to how it had pitched under the barrier.

FIA media delegate Matteo Bonciani told reporters: “The driver is conscious and is still in the process of being extricated. When we know something, we will let you know.”

After being extricated from the car, Sainz was taken away on a stretcher before being placed in an ambulance, giving a thumbs up to let fans know that he was okay. He is also reported to have been talking to doctors in the medical centre after the crash.

Sainz has now been airlifted to hospital for further checks, and is set to miss qualifying later today, with Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost telling BBC Sport: “To sit him in the car immediately seems a bit risky, but we will wait and see.”

The damage caused to the TecPro barrier has also caused the planned GP3 race to be cancelled, giving the track workers time to carry out repairs ahead of the F1 qualifying session later today.

Qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Saturday.

Rosberg tops shortened FP3 in Russia after Sainz crash

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 09:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 9, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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Nico Rosberg set the pace in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning as the session was called early following a heavy crash for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr.

With 25 minutes remaining, the session was stopped when Sainz slammed into the wall at turn 13, pitching in under the TecPro barrier at the fastest point of the circuit.

A loss of power on the car meant that Toro Rosso could not make contact with its driver, causing concern as the medical crew was sent to the crash site to tend to Sainz.

Replays showed that Spaniard lost the back-end of his car under braking coming into turn 13, causing him to hit the wall on the left-hand side of the track before travelling down the track and into the wall at the end of the high-speed straight.

After being extricated from the car, Sainz was shown on TV cameras to be moving around on a stretcher, giving a thumbs up before being placed into an ambulance.

“The driver is conscious and is still in the process of being extricated,” FIA media chief Matteo Bonciani told reporters. “When we know something, we will let you know.”

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost added: “As far as I am informed, he is conscious. He is now with the doctor. I think that he is so far okay.”

With qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix due to start in just two hours’ time, it is unlikely that Sainz will be able to take part in the session, with Tost believing it to be “too risky”.

The amount of damage caused to the barrier could also result in delays across the course of Saturday’s running, with GP3 scheduled to race before the F1 qualifying session. The early sunset in Sochi could also cause problems towards the end of the day.