Maldonado expecting tricky German GP

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Pastor Maldonado is looking forward to next weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, a track where he has impressed in the past, but has admitted that it could be a tough race for Lotus.

The Venezuelan driver won the GP2 feature race at the track in 2010, and keen on racing at one of his favorite circuits on the calendar.

“I’ve been quite quick there in the past – winning in GP2 – and it’s a fun circuit to drive so we’ll see how it goes,” Maldonado said. “I really like the people there; the fans are great and so many of them come to the race. There is a great atmosphere, particularly in the final few corners with the big grandstands.”

However, Maldonado did concede that it could be a difficult weekend for Lotus, although he was pleased with the engine update from Renault that he used at Silverstone earlier this week.

“There’s potential for it to be a tough weekend for us,” he conceded. “The surface is very smooth, there are some slower corners with strong traction demands out of them as well as several straights where you need as much power as possible.

“Certainly, the latest engine I used at the Silverstone test feels to be much stronger so that will be a benefit.”

Maldonado retired from the British Grand Prix on the penultimate lap of the race, but he has taken the positives out of the race.

“It was a similar story to other races in that we struggled for power so I wasn’t able to fight the cars around me,” he said. “I pushed as hard as I could but it was a difficult race and not what I wanted in front of the Enstone team and our fans.

“I’m disappointed to have not scored points but our car is showing that it can compete at different circuits.”

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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