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GP2: Nasr and Cecotto star on a tough weekend for US drivers

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Felipe Nasr and Johnny Cecotto Jr. have been the stars of the second GP2 weekend of the season in Spain as both claimed one win at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, it was a disappointing weekend for American drivers Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi, who both failed to score any points once again due to a number of problems.

Qualifying saw Stephane Richelmi secure his first pole position in the series for DAMS, but he stalled on the grid, handing the advantage to teammate Jolyon Palmer, who had qualified in second place for the feature race. Palmer made an early stop to change onto the hard tire, and this proved to be costly as Cecotto – who had started way back down in 16th place – went deep into the race before stopping for a set of softs. This allowed him to clinch his third GP2 victory, and answer a number of critics who dislike his aggressive driving style.

The feature race saw Alexander Rossi retire with an engine problem, whilst Conor Daly could only come home in 17th place as he struggled on the soft tire.

For the sprint race on Sunday, the top eight finishers were reversed to form the grid, handing pole to Arden driver Tom Dillman who was stepping in for the injured Andre Negrao. The Frenchman performed admirably on his return to the series and eventually finished in third place.

The star of Sunday was unquestionably Felipe Nasr, who claimed his first ever GP2 win after recording 10 podium finishes over the past two years. He finished ahead of Palmer, who, with his fourth podium in as many races, has stormed into the lead of the championship.

Daly’s race ended prematurely when he was caught up in an incident between Simon Trummer and Artem Markelov. Rossi endured a quiet race to cross the line down in 14th.

GP2 now has a two week break before the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, but its own support series – GP3 – will not return until Austria. Red Bull junior Alex Lynn leads the championship after completing a grand chelem – pole, fastest lap, win, lead every lap – on Saturday, whilst Dean Stoneman won the sprint race on Sunday.

Rosberg delighted with near-perfect lap en route to Russia pole

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 10:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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Nico Rosberg believes that he produced a near-perfect lap en route to pole position for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.113 to beat Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to pole position by three-tenths of a second.

The result marked Rosberg’s third pole position of the season, and is the first time he has scored back-to back poles since the end of 2014.

Conditions in practice on Friday plus a scary crash for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. on Saturday meant that the field headed into qualifying almost blind in terms of setup and car balance, but Rosberg was pleased with what he achieved.

“It was a tricky session today as we were not able to practise a lot yesterday,” Rosberg explained. “We had to guess what the right set up for this track will be.

“But we nailed it and had a nearly perfect lap in my first run in Q3. So I’m quite pleased with that.

“I’m in the best possible position for tomorrow, which is great. I really hope for a clean race, it will be a great battle with Lewis.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff praised Rosberg for his consistently quick display in practice and qualifying, but believes that the lack of practice running will also have an impact on Sunday’s race.

“A great job from Nico to take a second pole position in a row; he has been quick all weekend and kept that going through qualifying to take P1,” Wolff said.

“For the race, it will be a bit of a journey into the unknown because we have not had much running this weekend. This track is tough on the rear tires and everybody will be watching the tire degradation carefully.

“We’re starting from the best possible position but we need to take everything one step at a time.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.

WEC: Porsche sweeps to front row lock-out in Fuji

Car #17 / PORSCHE TEAM (DEU) / Porsche 919 Hybrid Hybrid  / Timo Bernhard (DEU) / Mark Webber (AUS) / Brendon Hartley (NZL) Qualifying LMP1 & LMP2 - 6 Hours of Fuji at Fuji International Speedway - Shizuoka - Japan
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Porsche extended its streak of pole positions in the FIA World Endurance Championship to nine races by locking out the front row of the grid for the 6 Hours of Fuji on Saturday.

Sharing qualifying duties in the no. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard posted a two-lap average of 1:22.763 seconds to give the German marque pole position at Fuji Speedway.

Yet again, it was the sister no. 18 Porsche of Marc Lieb, Neel Jani and Romain Dumas that put up the most stringent challenge, but fell three-tenths of a second short at the end of the LMP qualifying session.

Audi put up more of a fight to the Porsches this time around as both of its R18 e-tron quattros finished within half a second of the no. 17’s time. The no. 7 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer will start third ahead of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis in the no 8.

Toyota endured another fairly routine qualifying en route to P5 and P6 as the TS 040 Hybrid car struggles to keep up with its rivals, beating only the Rebellion and ByKolles runners in LMP1.

In LMP2, G-Drive continued its dominant streak by finishing first and second in class. Sam Bird, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal will start from pole tomorrow ahead of Gustavo Yacaman, Luis Felipe Derani and Ricardo Gonzalez in the sister car.

AF Corse bounced back from a difficult race in Austin to finish first and second in GTE Pro qualifying, led by the no. 71 of James Calado and Davide Rigon. Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni will start just behind in P2 ahead of the no. 99 Aston Martin Racing entry.

Ferrari’s strong form carried over into GTE Am as well as the SMP Racing F458 Italia took class pole, finishing three-tenths clear of the no. 98 AMR Vantage.