Sonoma Update: Dixon leads after stop-start first half

Leave a comment

Multiple incidents have kept IZOD IndyCar Series drivers from getting into a proper rhythm so far at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway.

Five full-course caution periods – a new record for the IndyCars at Sonoma – have already emerged, with many of them stemming from contact within the tight Turn 7 hairpin. In the race’s first 40 laps, E.J. Viso and Tony Kanaan were hit with drive-through penalties for avoidable contact in that particular corner.

Turn 2 has also been a trouble spot. Just after the green flag, Mid-Ohio winner Charlie Kimball locked up his tires going into that right-hander, made contact with the rear wheel guard of Helio Castroneves and then spun out. Kimball fell a lap off the pace after the incident, but has since made it back up and had risen to 15th by the halfway point.

Front-row starter Scott Dixon has stayed ahead of all the pushing and shoving, and on a restart at Lap 35, the New Zealander was able to get past Justin Wilson for the lead in Turn 2.

At halfway (Lap 43 of 85), Dixon led Team Penske rival Will Power by six-tenth of a second, followed by pole sitter Dario Franchitti in third, championship leader Helio Castroneves in fourth, and Marco Andretti in fifth.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”