FIA WEC: Mark Webber preparing for possible wet WEC debut

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With the possibility of rain for tomorrow’s World Endurance Championship season opener at Silverstone, Mark Webber is expecting a six-hour race filled with challenges.

The former F1 competitor, now driving for Porsche’s factory team, will start sixth on the grid in the No. 20 919 Hybrid that he co-drives with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.

The Aussie figures that the result was solid considering the lack of preparation going into today’s qualifying.

“One hour of free practice wasn’t a lot to get two guys and the car ready for qualifying and to practice the qualifying procedures,” Webber said in a release.

“Nevertheless, we had an eye on race preparation and kept doing set-up changes. In qualifying, we might have left a bit of performance out there, but the team did a very good job.

“A possible wet race would give us an extra challenge on the operational side as well as on track. Despite the temporary four-wheel drive, any race car on the limit in the wet needs the maximum respect.”

Porsche’s sister car, the No. 14, ended up third on the grid behind the No. 7 Toyota and No. 1 Audi. Altogether, the team was pleased with how the day went.

“Positions three and six are more than satisfactory for our new team,” said Porsche LMP1 vice president Fritz Enzinger. “We have tough months of preparation work behind us. We used to say, ‘Who takes time to breath has lost the battle.’ I feel very happy for every single team member.”

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.