Ryan Hunter-Reay; Will Power

The 2012 IndyCar title rivals among those with a tough two days in Toronto


Ryan Hunter-Reay won at Toronto in 2012 and finished third in 2011. Will Power is a two-time Toronto winner.

The two combined didn’t have a finish better than 15th in either race this weekend.

They are among those needing to leave their bad luck behind in Canada and move onto Mid-Ohio seeking a rebound. Here’s what happened to them and some of the others who could have used a better weekend in Toronto.

  • Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power. What a tough weekend for the championship rivals of 2012. “RHR,” whose momentum was rolling through the short oval run of the season, has hit the skids in the last three races through almost no fault of his own. On Saturday, the defending champion had two stalls on pit lane and a nose change that ultimately left him 18th. He ended a spot worse on Sunday after last lap contact with Power exiting Turn 1, heading to Turn 2. Power’s trouble spot all weekend was Turn 3, as twice on Saturday he overcooked his braking point and slid off line, while the contact on Sunday left him 18th.
  • Takuma Sato. If Franchitti’s been the top riser in points, Sato has been on an uncontrollable decline since Brazil. He led the points entering Indianapolis; he’s now 12th, nine races later, with just one top-10 finish in that time frame. He retired with a broken exhaust header on Saturday and from contact on Sunday after being caught up in the RHR-Power contact, with nowhere to go. Tough days for the A.J. Foyt Racing team and driver, who seek to recapture their early season momentum.
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The pair of Graham Rahal and James Jakes took four combined top-10s at Detroit and a grand total of zero from Toronto. Rahal’s Saturday charge was halted by contact with Tristan Vautier – which didn’t amuse his dad and team boss Bobby – and an anonymous run to 13th occurred on Sunday. Jakes, meanwhile, had the pace to be a contender as he made the Firestone Fast Six on Friday, but was saddled with a 10-spot grid penalty. He recovered to 12th. On Sunday, Jakes made a rare mistake when he hit the curbs hard through Turn 5, with the jolt forcing his hands off the wheel and sending him into the wall.
  • Sebastian Saavedra. The Colombian has punched above his weight at times this year, but with a mostly new crew in his camp and teammate Sebastien Bourdais finally finding form with new engineer, it was a rough weekend for the “junior Seb” at Dragon Racing. Last place on the grid on Saturday and getting caught up on the Lap 65 four-car pileup then left him 16th, while he was slightly better on Sunday, ending 15th. Saavedra is just three points ahead of Mike Conway – Saavedra has driven all 13 races this year, Conway just five.

Formula E: Team Aguri confirms da Costa for second season

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Antonio Felix da Costa has been confirmed for a second season with Team Aguri for the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E Championship, which begins later this month in Beijing.

He won once this past year at Buenos Aires and finished eighth in the points despite missing both the season opener and season finale due to clashes with his DTM schedule.

Said the 24-year-old Portuguese driver, “I am really happy to continue with Team Aguri and Formula E for season two. This championship is earning its respect in the world of motorsport and I am honoured to be involved. Regarding the season, I am really looking forward to getting started.”

Team Aguri team principal Mark Preston added, “It is a great pleasure to have Antonio continuing with the team for season two of Formula E. Antonio brought us our maiden win in Buenos Aires and helped to develop the team from scratch, he will continue to build on that success for season two and beyond.”

The team that bares the name of ex-Formula 1 driver and team owner Aguri Suzuki has not yet confirmed its second driver, which is the last outstanding seat to be filled on the Formula E grid.

Amlin, which had partnered with Aguri last year, is now present with the Andretti Formula E team and its drivers, Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro.

Hulkenberg leads shorter than normal FP1 in Russia

Nico Hulkenberg
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Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg posted a 1:44.355 lap of the of the Sochi Autodrom to lead a fairly abnormal, and shorter than usual, first free practice for the Russian Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg posted the time to conclude the usual 90-minute session, to pip Nico Rosberg at 1:44.407 on his final lap. The usual 90-minute session was shortened due to a track delay for cleanup of diesel fuel on course.

Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top five.

While the clock started on time for the full 90-minute session, track activity was halted for the opening 30 minutes to clean up diesel spillage on the track at Turn 8.

It left teams and drivers with just a 60-minute first free practice to tackle the Sochi Autodrom, but did not push the session later or affect the timetable for the rest of the day. However, with a damp if not entirely wet track, it made things difficult in FP1.

The delay also meant that teams weren’t able to use an extra set of Pirellis handed out at the start of FP1. Supersofts can be used for the first time in FP2.

During the delay, it did offer a chance for sarcasm, and Manor seized the opportunity following a comment from McLaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso noting that even with Mercedes engines next year, Manor wouldn’t move ahead of them.

NBC’s Will Buxton explained the track surface dilemma drivers would face in this session.

With just under one hour to go in the session, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was the first to head out on course, leading several others. Ericsson made the first laps of the weekend at the track where he made his final start for Caterham a year ago.

Both Williams drivers went on course on Pirelli’s wet weather tires for their installation laps. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg tried the intermediates, and Alonso was first on course in slicks.

No official times were registered until there were less than 40 minutes remaining in the session, with Alonso registering a 2:00.736 time, while putting down a bevy of sparks. He quickly lowered the mark to 1:56.327, and 1:53.854 after that. Ericsson was next in at a 1:58.926, although dropped into the 1:54 range not long after.

Alonso’s teammate Jenson Button clocked in at 1:50.920 with just under 20 minutes remaining and for the first time this year, we could say we had a McLaren Honda 1-2 on track, albeit under abnormal circumstances.

The trsck got busy in the final 15 minutes, with Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen posting a 1:50.870 to lead before Alonso clocked in a 1:49.240.

A 1:47.959 from Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, then a 1:45.987 from Hulkenberg followed in the final 10 minutes as times firmly began to drop. Vettel got down to a 1:45.491 shortly thereafter, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton came up two tenths shy of the mark at a 1:45.691.

Ericsson reported a power cut near the end of the session down at Sauber but otherwise there were no issues through the field, other than a handful of spins, including one from Hamilton on his final flier at the second-to-last corner.

FP2 begins from 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.