nurburgring

LAT

Norris extends F3 points lead with crushing Nurburgring victory

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McLaren Formula 1 youngster Lando Norris extended his points lead at the top of the FIA European Formula 3 standings on Saturday by taking a dominant victory at the Nürburgring.

Norris, 17, moved into the lead of the F3 championship at the last round at Spa, and continued his good form in qualifying by grabbing pole for the opening race of the weekend.

Norris went wire-to-wire in the wet, eventually taking the checkered flag 17.5 seconds clear of compatriot Jake Hughes, pulling out the gap in just 20 laps.

The result saw Norris add to his lead over German rival Maximilian Günther, who by finishing a lowly 13th slipped to 36 points behind the Carlin racer.

“There isn’t too much to say about my race. My start was good, I managed to keep Jake and Callum [Ilott] at bay. After that, I was able to pull clear from the rest of the field and build up an advantage,” Norris said.

“On lap eight, I had a hairy moment when I briefly went off the track and lost a few seconds. Otherwise, everything went well and my car was great, so I can’t complain.”

Hughes and Ilott took pole position for races two and three, set to take place on Sunday, with Norris due to line up third and second in the respective races.

Despite enjoying a successful F1 test with McLaren in Hungary last month, Norris is set to be placed in Formula 2 next year by the British team.

FIA WEC: Porsche claims 1-2 at Nurburgring

Photo: Porsche
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Porsche Team dominated proceedings in Sunday’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring, the first post-24 Hours of Le Mans race of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid that won at Le Mans carried through to a second straight win with the trio of Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard. It’s also Bernhard and Hartley’s third straight victory at the Nürburgring, having done so with Mark Webber each of the last two years.

This car moved ahead of the sister No. 1 car on the final pit stop sequence, done just within the final 15 minutes of the race. The No. 1 car of Neel Jani, Nick Tandy and Andre Lotterer led most of the race but pitted for its final stop with 15 minutes remaining on Lap 196, with the No. 2 car pitting a lap later after inheriting the lead, completing a shorter stop and staying out front to the flag.

Porsche now has its first overall 1-2 finish in the FIA WEC since, surprisingly, Shanghai in 2015. Although Porsche won a number of races in 2016, all of them saw either Audi or Toyota come second.

Toyota was down to a single bullet today almost from the off, with the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima having had a fuel pump issue at the start of the race, and having lost five laps.

While the car made it back to fourth overall it was never in with a shout of a result from there, finishing behind the pair of Porsches and the No. 7 Toyota, in the hands of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and the returning Jose Maria Lopez.

Jackie Chan DC Racing’s dream season in LMP2 continued with its third win in four races for the trio of Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent in the No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson. It was a dominant win in the nearly all-spec class over the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca and No. 36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 cars, the latter car having got ahead of the second Rebellion in the final hour.

In GTE-Pro, AF Corse’s No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE broke through for its first win of the year, with the new pairing of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado winning their first race as teammates. The No. 71 car of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon won at Spa. This Ferrari victory made it the first manufacturer to get to two wins in the category after Ford (Silverstone), Ferrari (Spa) and Aston Martin (Le Mans) won the first three races.

Porsche’s new mid-engined 911 RSR looked promising after its first WEC pole set on Saturday, but was unable to break through for its first win yet on a global platform. Nonetheless the pair of cars, the No. 91 of Richard Lietz and Fred Makowiecki and No. 92 of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen, completed the podium for Porsche’s first double podium of the year.

Porsche’s older and previous generation 911 RSR did break through in GTE-Am with the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing, the Proton team’s first win in WEC since the Bahrain season finale last year. Christian Ried shared the car with young guns Marvin Dienst and Matteo Cairoli, the latter two winning their first races in FIA WEC. The No. 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari was second with the No. 98 Aston Martin third to make it three manufacturers in as many positions.

The FIA WEC has another month-plus break before its next race at Mexico City the first weekend in September.

FIA WEC: Toyota captures 6 Hours of Nurburgring pole

Photo: Toyota
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While Toyota Gazoo Racing took the pole owing to ultimate pace with its low downforce configuration Toyota TS050 Hybrid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, courtesy of a single lap record from Kamui Kobayashi, pole for Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Nürburgring in high downforce spec was a bit more of a surprise.

Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez delivered the top spot in LMP1 and overall for the team not far from its Cologne, Germany headquarters in Saturday’s qualifying session with an average best time of 1:38.118. That put it just clear of the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley at 1:38.272.

With Toyota near its team headquarters and looking to return to winning after the No. 8 car won the first two races at Silverstone and Spa, and with Porsche’s No. 2 of Bernhard, Hartley and Earl Bamber having won at Le Mans but now racing on its home soil, it’s an interesting fight ahead on Sunday.

Although the TDS Racing-run No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson took the LMP2 pole at 1:45.001, it’ll face a steep uphill battle in the race. Roman Rusinov was assessed a three-minute in-race penalty to be served Sunday for his driving infringement at Le Mans, having taken out Khaled Al Qubaisi’s Porsche 911 RSR at the Porsche Curves there.

Rusinov shares the car with Pierre Thiriet and Ben Hanley, the latter driver standing in for Alex Lynn, who himself is replacing Lopez at the FIA Formula E Championship race weekend at the New York City ePrix.

This promotes the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca to net pole at 1:45.197 in the hands of Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent. The LMP2 class winners and second place overall finishers now seek their third win in four FIA WEC races this year. Vaillante Rebellion’s No. 31 Oreca of Bruno Senna, Julien Canal and Filipe Albuquerque, the car having been repaired after contact with a GT car yesterday, qualified third.

Porsche’s mid-engined 911 RSR took its first FIA World Endurance Championship pole in GTE-Pro with the No. 92 car of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen, one week after the new car took its first overall pole in IMSA courtesy of Dirk Werner at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Aston Martin Racing won the GTE-Am pole with Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy sharing the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage V8, in a car that will also feature Mathias Lauda in the lineup.

Sunday’s six-hour race begins at 7 a.m. ET.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Overall, LMP1/LMP2, GTE-Pro/GTE-Am

FIA WEC: Porsche opens Nurburgring weekend with practice sweep

Photo: Porsche
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Porsche Team premieres its new high downforce aero package this weekend at the resumption of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, with the 6 Hours of Nürburgring Round 4 of the 2017 season. And it’s also premiered at the top of the timesheets in the pair of practice sessions.

The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid led both the morning and afternoon sessions, improving from a best time of 1:41.612 in the first session down to 1:38.663 in the second, for the car driven by the 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning trio of Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley.

All three have been bullish heading into the weekend, the Kiwi pair of Bamber and Hartley thankful to have Bernhard’s lifetime of success at the Nürburgring alongside them.

“I am very excited about racing the new high downforce package for the first time,” Bamber said heading into the weekend. “We come off Le Mans with good momentum and our priority is to push for the manufacturers’ championship. If we can secure that, we want the drivers’ title as well. I have some experience on the Nordschleife but not so much on the Grand Prix circuit. But I like it and can’t wait to take the 919 Hybrid round there for the first time.”

Hartley added, “It’s been a crazy but good couple of weeks after Le Mans and the result has just about sunk in. We have since tested our high downforce kit and the focus now moves on to the remaining World Championship races. We have won the Nürburgring race for the last two years and Earl and I are lucky to have ‘Mr. Nürburgring’ himself as a teammate. Everyone at Porsche has been working hard to get the new aero kit ready for the Nürburgring race. A victory on home soil would be the icing on the cake after Le Mans. I’m looking forward to another big fight!”

Bernhard won here in 2015 and 2016 with Hartley and Mark Webber, and in both years the Nürburgring win launched them into a several-race win streak. It was four consecutive races in 2015 and three last year.

The No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, featuring Sebastien Buemi on WEC duty instead of Formula E at New York City with Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, could only get within 1.11 seconds in second practice.

The TDS-run No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson (practice one) ended fastest of the day in LMP2 with another of the New York City Formula E substitutes, Ben Hanley in for Alex Lynn, joining Roman Rusinov and Pierre Thiriet to top the charts in this class. The best time here was a 1:47.188. Vaillante Rebellion’s No. 31 Oreca, Filipe Albuquerque deputizing for Nico Prost alongside Bruno Senna and Julien Canal, led the second session at a slower 1:47.717.

Portuguese driver Albuquerque adds the Oreca to the Ligier JS P217 he races with United Autosports in ELMS and the Dallara P217 baseline chassis to the Cadillac DPi-V.R as now having driven three of the four 2017 homologated LMP2 spec chassis this season.

Porsche topped GTE-Pro for the day with the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Fred Makowiecki at a 1:56.244 in second practice. But with the fastest of all four manufacturers within 0.721 of a second, the debut of the new automated Balance of Performance system has at its first day delivered a decently close result.

In GTE-Am it was Spirit of Race on top with its No. 54 Ferrari 488 GTE, Miguel Molina back here after a one-off AF Corse run at Le Mans. The best time here was a 1:57.592.

Qualifying runs tomorrow with the race Sunday.

RESULTS: FP1, FP2

FIA WEC and Formula E: Driver movement flow chart

Buemi's weekend destination is the hot-button topic of the FE/WEC conflict. Photo: Getty Images
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This weekend’s pair of conflicting FIA rounds, the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Nürburgring and the FIA Formula E Championship New York City ePrix, mean there’s a bit of driver movement.

My colleague Luke Smith broke down who goes where and the respective reasonings a couple weeks ago.

Here in simplified form are a pair of tables that show who was in what car at the most recent round, and who takes over this weekend as the two race events clash this weekend. Bold type indicates a driver change for this weekend.

FIA WEC 6 HOURS OF NÜRBURGRING

# Class Team Le Mans Nürburgring
7 LMP1 Toyota Gazoo Racing Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez
13 LMP2 Vaillante Rebellion Beche/DHH/Piquet Beche/DHH/Derani
31 LMP2 Vaillante Rebellion Senna/Canal/Prost Senna/Canal/Albuquerque
24 LMP2 CEFC Manor TRS Racing Graves/Hirschi/Vergne Graves/Hirschi/Merhi
26 LMP2 G-Drive Racing (TDS) Rusinov/Thiriet/Lynn Rusinov/Thiriet/Hanley
71 GTE-Pro AF Corse Rigon/Bird/Molina Rigon/Vilander

FIA FORMULA E NEW YORK CITY ePRIX

# Team Berlin New York City
9 Renault e.dams Buemi Gasly
37 DS Virgin Racing Lopez Lynn
2 DS Virgin Racing Bird Bird
3 NextEV Piquet Piquet
8 Renault e.dams Prost Prost
25 Techeetah Vergne Vergne
33 Techeetah Sarrazin Sarrazin