de Silvestro feeling positive after first F1 test

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After completing her first Formula 1 test yesterday, Simona de Silvestro has spoken of her happiness with her performance ahead of the second day of running at Fiorano.

The former IndyCar driver joined Sauber at the beginning of the season with the target of completing enough testing during 2014 so that she could line up on the grid for the Swiss team next year. As part of this, she was given a test at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track yesterday, and enjoyed every second of it.

“Although it’s something very special to drive a Formula 1 car, I was not too nervous in the morning,” de Silvestro explained. “I was more focused on what my job would be.

“But, after completing the installation lap, I realised that this was my first lap in a Formula 1 car, and that this was something really special.

“What impressed me most was the downforce of the car and the braking. When I did my first lap the brakes were cold, but even then the deceleration was beyond what I had experienced before. The G-forces are significantly higher compared to what I was used to in IndyCar.”

de Silvestro is now hoping to build on this good start today as her test running continues in the Sauber 2012 car, the C31.

“Overall, I’m happy with my first day in a Formula 1 car,” she said. “Physically I feel quite good, which is definitely a result of my preparation in recent months. I have been training really hard and this paid off. I can’t wait to get into the car again tomorrow. The feeling you get driving a Formula 1 car is just awesome!”

Sauber test engineer Paul Russell was also delighted with her performance.

“Simona did a very solid job today,” he said. “It was immediately clear that she is an experienced driver. It was as good a start in a Formula 1 car as you could hope for, and you couldn’t really ask for more today.”

Video highlights from Sunday’s Dakar Rally Stage 8: Bikes, Cars, Quads, Trucks

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Sunday’s Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally brought the race into the final country it will compete in, Argentina.

Monday’s Stage 9 was cancelled after bad weather made course conditions impassible for racing. Stage 10 picks up Tuesday morning. The overall Rally ends Saturday.

Here’s some of Sunday’s key video highlights:

BIKES

Antoine Meo wins Stage 8.

QUADS 

Simon Vitse wins Stage 8.

CARS

Stephane Peterhansel wins Stage 8.

TRUCKS

Dmitry Sotnikov wins Stage 8.