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Vettel ‘over the moon’ with hard-fought Hungarian GP win

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Sebastian Vettel was “over the moon” to win Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix despite struggling with a handling issue for much of the race, extending his Formula 1 championship lead.

Vettel had to nurse his car for much of the race, holding on for his fourth win of the year despite coming under significant pressure from Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel made no secret of the challenge he faced when talking on the podium after the race, admitting it was a struggle to keep the car under control.

“I’m over the moon, it was a really difficult race. Maybe it didn’t look like it, but I had my hands full from three or four laps after the safety car,” Vettel said.

“There was something wrong, I don’t know why the steering started to go, and it seemed to get worse. Then I stayed off the kerbs and tried to save the car. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t do a favor to Kimi, obviously I couldn’t go faster, I didn’t have the pace.

“But towards the end it did come back a bit. I had a couple of laps where I had a bit of a cushion and could breathe a bit. I really had to stay focused the whole race.

“I was hoping for a couple of laps to breathe but they didn’t come. So a bit tough, but a great result, a great day. Thank you for the support. It was really great.”

Explaining the issue, Vettel said: “It’s a weird feeling. It was tilted to the left, so you go down the straights and the steering isn’t straight. In right-handers it’s sort of OK, but in left-handers you have to get used to it.

“After a couple of laps it’s OK, but it keeps changing all the time because you have to go further than you want, and then you think in your head.

“Not ideal, but it doesn’t matter. A big thank you to the team after a great race.”

Vettel heads into the F1 summer break leading Hamilton by 14 points at the top of the drivers’ championship.

PWC confirms 2018 season finale at Watkins Glen

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Pirelli World Challenge will end its 2018 season at Watkins Glen International, the series confirmed Friday.

The exciting finale will feature traditional 50-minute sprints for GT and GTS classes and 40-minute features for Touring Car classes.

The last PWC event at Watkins Glen was held in 2010 with sports car greats Ron Fellows (GT) and Peter Cunningham (GTS) winning the top two events and Robert Stout claiming the Touring Car race. The Pirelli World Challenge series premiered at Watkins Glen International in 1992 and has featured eight PWC years (1992, 1996-1998, 2007-2010) at the famed New York road racing facility.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Pirelli World Challenge competitors, officials, leadership, and fans to Watkins Glen International in 2018,” said Michael Printup, Watkins Glen International President. “This series features fantastic wheel-to-wheel racing across a wide spectrum of sportscar classes and our fans are in for a treat on Labor Day weekend next year.”

In addition to the Watkins Glen season finale, the Pirelli World Challenge also announced its race lineup for 2018 with the GT/GTA/GT Cup divisions again being split into five GT Sprint (50 minutes) and five GT SprintX (60 minutes, two drivers) races. The GTS events, featuring GT4 machinery, will remain nine-weekends with a total of 18 50-minute Sprint rounds while Touring Car divisions will contest 40-minute Sprints in the class’ 12-race, six-weekend campaign.

The GT Sprint championships will be contested in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Long Beach, Calif., as well as at the permanent road circuits of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America and Watkins Glen. The GT SprintX championship will be campaigned at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), VIRginia International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Portland International Raceway and Utah Motorsports Campus.

Details on the 2018 race regulations for GT Sprint and GT SprintX events will be announced in the near future, including the new pit stop requirements and other amendments to competition rules.

Featuring the GT3 and GT4 categories, the second annual SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hours is set to return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 26-28.

2018 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule

Date, Track (Classes)

March 9-11, Streets of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Fla. (GT Sprint and GTS)
March 23-25, Circuit Of The Americas (COTA), Austin, Texas (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
April 13-15, Streets of Long Beach Long Beach, Calif. (GT Sprint)
April 28-30, VIRginia International Raceway Alton, Va., (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
May 18-20, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Bowmanville, Ont., CAN, (GT Sprint and GTS)
May 25-26 -28, Lime Rock Park Lakeville, Conn., (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
June 22-24 Road America Elkhart Lake, Wis., (GT Sprint and GTS)
July 13-15, Portland International Raceway Portland, Ore., (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
August 10-12, Utah Motorsports Campus Grantsville, Utah, (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
Aug. 31-Sept. 1-2 Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, N.Y., (GT Sprint, GTS and Touring Car)

Special Event

SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge, California 8 Hours
October 26-28, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Salinas, Calif.