Force India delighted with testing work at Silverstone

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Force India’s chief race engineer Jakob Andreasen has praised the entire team for their work over the past three days at Silverstone during the young driver test as Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil and James Calado all put in sold performances for the British-based team.

“It has been an excellent three days of testing for us,” Andreasen said in a team report. “Everything went according to plan and was executed perfectly by the team. We’ve generated all the data we needed and given Pirelli a lot of information on their new tires.”

Andreasen also heaped praise upon the team’s designated young driver, James Calado, for doing so well during his first full test in a Formula One car.

“As for the drivers, I want to say a big well done to James Calado. He did a superb job for us and settled in very quickly with the team. We’ve been working with him for a few months during our aero tests, but he was on the top of his game this week and gave us some great feedback.”

The weather was also perfect for testing as the traditional British weather subsided to allow Silverstone to bask in bright sunshine and hot temperatures.

“As for the weather conditions, we could not have asked for more. In fact, it was actually a bit tougher because of the heat, but the consistent temperatures over the three days were ideal for testing.”

Force India currently lie 5th in the constructors championship ahead of next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”