TUSC: Rahal at BMW leads more Rolex 24 confirmations

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A few more Rolex 24 at Daytona lineups have been confirmed in the last 24 to 48 hours. Here’s a quick recap for more of the cars racing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship opener:

  • Graham Rahal has been confirmed with the BMW Team RLL team in the GTLM class. Rahal will share the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTLM with John Edwards, Dirk Mueller and Dirk Werner; the sister No. 55 car will see Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Maxime Martin and Andy Priaulx behind the wheel.
  • Gustavo Yacaman has a full-season deal confirmed with OAK Racing in its No. 42 Morgan Nissan in the P class. The P2-spec car will also feature Olivier Pla, Roman Rusinov and a fourth driver to be named later in for the Rolex 24. Pla is confirmed at OAK for the full season, but it hasn’t been determined what championships he’ll be competing in yet.
  • Marsh Racing’s No. 31 Corvette DP will see full-season drivers Boris Said and Eric Curran joined by Max Papis and Sunoco Challenge winner Bradley Smith at the Rolex 24. The team steps up from the Rolex GT class into DP this season.
  • Via Sportscar365.com, Risi Competizione will feature a lineup of Matteo Malucelli, Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni in its No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia in the GTLM class.

Only a handful of teams are yet to confirm their full lineups. We’ll do a recap of who’s where in a separate post later this week.

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.