Mark Webber pleased with practice pace

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Mark Webber is pleased with his pace in today’s Friday practice sessions, despite not topping the timesheets in either FP1 or FP2.

“It was good today and we achieved a lot of mileage,” Webber explained in a Red Bull team statement. “There are obviously some pretty quick cars out there – we saw that in Malaysia before it rained in qualifying.”

Webber spoke about the importance of getting to grips with the Pirelli tires, which have proven particularly troublesome this weekend due to the high wear rate.

“We’re getting a lot of information, but we’re still in this early phase of learning about the tires. I think that we have a bit of work to do, but the car doesn’t feel too bad, we just have to keep working on understanding the tires.”

The Australian driver was also pleased to not have his running interrupted by adverse weather conditions. Relying there is no rain, this will be the first dry race weekend of the season.

“It’s nice to have a stable weekend in terms of weather, which is unusual in Shanghai.”

Webber finished third in FP1 and fifth in FP2 today, which suggests that he will vying for the win on Sunday relying he can keep up with Mercedes and Ferrari, who appear to have the edge in China. The Australian will also be pleased to have beaten his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, who finished in fourth and tenth.

Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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