Rebellion tops second day of testing for Petit Le Mans

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FIA World Endurance Championship squad Rebellion Racing led both sessions of testing today at Road Atlanta in advance of this weekend’s Petit Le Mans, the season – and series – finale for the American Le Mans Series.

In the afternoon run, Nick Heidfeld logged the fastest lap of the day – 1 minute, 9.816 seconds (130.973 mph) – in Rebellion’s No. 12 Lola B12/60-Toyota (pictured, from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans). Heidfeld is sharing the No. 12 this weekend with Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost, who both won last year’s Petit for the team alongside Andrea Belicchi.

Right behind them were the ALMS’ reigning P1 champions from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. Their No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03c, to be driven by Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas, logged a best lap of 1 minute, 10.875 seconds in the morning session.

Third-fastest overall was the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola B12/60-Mazda of Chris Dyson, Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry with a time of 1 minute, 11.723 seconds.

Also atop the charts in their respective classes today were:

P2 – No. 551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b (Scott Tucker/Ryan Briscoe), 1 minute, 14.008 seconds (123.554 mph)

Prototype Challenge – No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 (Ozz Negri/Sean Rayhall), 1 minute, 15.558 seconds (121.020 mph)

GT – No. 91 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R (Dominik Farnbacher/Marc Goossens/Ryan Dalziel), 1 minute, 19.340 seconds (115.251 mph)

GT Challenge – No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Dion von Moltke/Seth Neiman/Brett Sandberg), 1 minute, 24.219 seconds (108.574 mph)

Testing will resume on Wednesday afternoon.

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.