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McLaren off foot of constructors’ table after double Hungary score

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McLaren moved off the foot of the Formula 1 constructors’ championship table after claiming a double points finish in Hungary on Sunday, led by Fernando Alonso in sixth place.

McLaren ventured to the Hungaroring hopeful of its chances given the reduced importance of engine power and straight line speed, a flawed area for the team with its Honda power unit.

Alonso and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne started seventh and eighth respectively in Hungary, but moved in opposite directions off the start.

Alonso entered an early battle with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr., eventually pulling away after pitting before enjoying a trouble-free run to sixth place at the checkered flag, recording the fastest lap of the race in the process.

Vandoorne was able to hold on to P10 and score his first point of the season, with the combined score lifting McLaren above Sauber to ninth place in the constructors’ championship.

“We were probably looking at seventh or eighth position today, but with Ricciardo out of the race, sixth place became possible, and we grabbed it,” Alonso said.

“Still, we worked for that result all weekend – no mistakes, good practice sessions, strong qualifying, and then a perfectly executed race.

“There are three or four weekends in a season where we can be competitive, so we need to maximize those and fully capitalize on our potential – and that’s exactly what we did this weekend.

“Races like Spa and Monza are going to be more difficult for us, so let’s just enjoy this result and think about the difficult ones when they come.”

“It’s been quite a positive weekend for me – we came here expecting to be competitive and we were able to run inside the top 10 for the whole weekend,” Vandoorne added.

“When an opportunity like this comes up, we have to grab it with both hands – and we did. Before my stop, we were looking at the gap behind and trying to over-cut people behind us, but I made a small mistake at the stop, locked up and stopped too long.

“Nonetheless, my pace in the race was encouraging – we were definitely quicker than the Force Indias here, but overtaking is very difficult. In the end, we got points so it’s a good weekend for the team.”

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.