Maldonado happier with Williams handling

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Pastor Maldonado says he’s feeling more positive about Williams’ chances in the final two races following the changes made to the car during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

Williams found the FW35’s handling improved when they tested a 2014-style exhaust solution which does not harness the ‘Coanda effect’ exploited by the current generation of cars.

“We made a positive step forward with the car in Abu Dhabi and its feeling better to drive, so hopefully we can continue making progress this weekend and manage to finish in the points,” said Maldonado.

The Venezuelan driver scored the team’s only point of the year so far in the Hungarian Grand Prix. The next two races will be his final outings for the team who have already confirmed he will not be driving for them in 2014, taking his PDVSA backing with him.

Maldonado’s team mate Valtteri Bottas will be making his first appearance at the track. “I did not drive this track in FP1 last year so this will be a new experience for me but one I’m really looking forward to,” he said. “I talked to some of the drivers last year and they were very positive and mentioned how challenging the Circuit of the Americas was.”

Video highlights from Stage 12 of Dakar Rally, 2 stages remain

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Thursday’s Stage 12 of the 40th Dakar Rally not only closed the overall standings gap in at least two classes (cars and trucks), two other classes (bikes and quads) failed to get going due to weather conditions.

The full video highlights of Stage 12 will air on NBCSN on Friday at 7 pm ET, but here are some of the highlights from Thursday’s action:

CARS

2018 Dakar Rally: Nasser Al-Attiyah wins Stage 12 of cars

BIKES

 Stage 12 cancelled due to weather conditions

 

TRUCKS

Ton van Genugten edged out Martin Kolomy in Stage of, while Federico Villagra and Eduard Nikolaev both faced an uphill battle to finish fourth and third respectively.

QUADS

Even though the Quads were also impacted by weather issues on Thursday, Ignacio Casale, the 2014 Dakar winner, continues to make his case for a second overall victory in the quads.