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Engel returns to DTM with Mercedes for 2017, set to miss two FE rounds

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Maro Engel will return to DTM in 2017 with Mercedes after being named as part of its trimmed down line-up for the new season.

Mercedes, Audi and BMW agreed to reduce their entries from eight to six drivers for 2017, with the new season due to begin at Hockenheim on May 7.

Engel raced for Mercedes in DTM between 2008 and 2011, and has remained a factory driver for the German marque since leaving the series, tasting victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2016.

Engel will race alongside Gary Paffett, Lucas Auer, Paul di Resta, Robert Wickens and Edoardo Mortara in DTM this year for Mercedes, with Felix Rosenqvist, Maximillian Götz, Daniel Juncadella and Christian Vietoris losing their seats.

“I definitely have some unfinished business with the DTM,” Engel said. “I am very pleased to that I’ve been able to battle my way back into the squad over the past few years and that I now have a chance to prove myself in the coming season.

“I have fantastic teammates who I’ve obviously known for a long time. That’s why I’m sure I won’t have any problems settling in.”

Engel is also signed up to race in Formula E during its third season with Venturi, but NBC Sports understands that the German will miss races in Paris and Brussels due to clashing DTM commitments.

Audi’s Loic Duval is in a similar position, racing for Faraday Future Dragon Racing in Formula E, and could also join Engel in dropping out of two rounds of the all-electric series.

Rosenqvist had been facing a similar dilemma heading into 2017, but the ex-Indy Lights racer confirmed in a statement that Formula E was his priority this year.

“I really enjoyed racing in the DTM with Mercedes last year, and I learned a lot about how to deal with the pressure that comes with representing a top-line manufacturer,” Rosenqvist said.

“It’s a fantastic championship, but at the end of the day it just wasn’t possible to combine it with Formula E this year, which is obviously a shame.

“I’ve had a strong start to the season with Mahindra; I’m currently fourth in the standings and we’ve been putting a lot of effort into the development of our package.

“It’s impossible to say how we’ll fare now that we get to circuits that the others know, but we are in a good position and we’re working flat out to try and get our first win. That requires my full attention at the moment.”

Robert Hight extends Funny Car victory streak to 13 seasons

Photo: Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery
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MORRISON, Colo. (AP) Robert Hight beat Tommy Johnson Jr. on Sunday in the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway to extend his Funny Car victory streak to 13 seasons.

Hight topped Johnson with a 3.995-second pass at 317.57 mph in a Chevrolet Camaro SS for his 38th career victory.

“We definitely struggled through the first few rounds and we were lucky to get those round wins, but I have a great team who figured things out and helped get me to the winner’s circle,” Hight said. “It’s definitely a long-time coming and we hadn’t had much luck, but today we had some luck and we hope this continues throughout the Western Swing.”

Antron Brown won in Top Fuel, Drew Skillman in Pro Stock, and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Brown edged teammate and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett with a 3.792 at 319.82. He has three victories this season to push his career total to 64.

Skillman raced to his second straight victory and the fifth of his career, beating points leader Bo Butner with a 6.916 run at 198.15 in a Camaro.

Krawiec topped Matt Smith with a 7.145 at 188.28. The Harley-Davidson rider has two victories this season and 38 overall.

Sauber confirms Matsushita for Hungary test as well

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Honda junior driver Nobuhiro Matsushita will have a run with Sauber F1 Team on the second day of the Hungarian Grand Prix post-race week test, in the team’s C36 chassis.

Sauber’s engine selection for 2018 is up in the air. While the team announced a switch from year old Ferraris to Hondas, this was done under prior team principal Monisha Kaltenborn and rumors have persisted the deal may be off, or wasn’t fully done in the first place.

That Matsushita is running at this test for his first day in an F1 car – Gustav Malja will run on day one – could indicate the Honda switch isn’t yet a dead topic.

“When I was four years old, I was fascinated by Michael Schumacher, watching him racing in Formula 1. Since then my dream was to become a Formula 1 driver,” he said. “I am very excited about my first Formula 1 test and I am really looking forward to driving the Sauber C36-Ferrari at the Hungaroring – it is a great opportunity for me. I hope it will be a productive day for the team as well as for myself, so that I can learn as much as possible. I would like to thank the Sauber F1 Team for making this happen.”

New team boss Frederic Vasseur, formerly of Renault, gave his take on the test.

“I am pleased that Nobuharu has this great opportunity. He deserves the experience of his first test in a Formula 1 car. Ever since his debut in Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix, I have been following his progress closely, and have watched him advance his performance from year to year. With this Formula 1 test, he comes one step closer to his dream of becoming an F1 driver one day.”

Renault confirms Robert Kubica will test in Hungary

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Renault Sport F1 Team has confirmed Robert Kubica will make his return to a current Formula 1 car in the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test, which will only continue to fuel the hype train for a possible race return.

The Pole has undertaken two tests in recent weeks with older cars but this day in the Renault R.S.17 will provide the team a chance to evaluate him in current machinery to gauge his race level fitness.

It’s a story that has got the F1 world buzzing in recent weeks as Kubica, injured in a rally accident before the 2011 season, has made a comeback to restart his racing career.

Poor Nicholas Latifi, also confirmed for the test that runs the Tuesday and Wednesday after the Hungarian Grand Prix, will be undoubtedly overlooked as a result.

Jolyon Palmer will race in Hungary this weekend at least but whether the Brit continues beyond the summer break that follows afterwards remains a question mark.

Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean to launch cookbook

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Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean may be one of the sport’s most promising talents on-track, but he also has a burning passion off it: cooking.

Grosjean may have been spent a good part of this year cooking his brakes, but you’ll now be able to cook bakes instead…

F1’s resident foodie is set to release a cookbook alongside wife Marion Jolles in the coming weeks, as announced on his Facebook page.

Grosjean currently sits 13th in the F1 drivers’ championship with 18 points to his name, helping Haas to match the points total from its debut season after just 10 races in 2017.