Valsecchi has faith in Lotus E21

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Lotus F1 Team test driver Davide Valsecchi believes that the 2013 Lotus car is fast and competitive following his run at the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday.

Valsecchi deputized for Kimi Raikkonen, who came down with food poisoning, in the morning session yesterday before handing the reins back to full time driver Romain Grosjean for the afternoon.

Although he only finished eleventh fastest, Valsecchi was highly impressed by the new car.

“It’s clear that it’s [the E21] a very good racing car. For me to be able to get immediately on the pace means that the car is certainly fast and competitive.”

The 2012 GP2 champion was also highly grateful for the opportunity. The test driver role in Formula One has been criticized in recent years, with Sauber test driver Robin Frijns making his limited opportunities in the role public. However, Valsecchi was enthused by the session yesterday.

“This morning was quite a rush to get everything ready as the call only came late, but the team were fantastic getting the car prepared for me.

“It was a fantastic opportunity; I sat in the seat of a former World Champion so I knew that I’d be fast for sure.”

Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane was also impressed by Valsecchi, and revealed that he would be happy to call on the Italian driver if need be.

“Davide did a great job at short notice and we know we can rely on him if he’s called upon again.”

Lotus will be encouraged by the pace of the E21 as well as that of their test driver. Should Valsecchi’s good showings continue, he could be in the running for a race seat should one become available.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.