Force India aim for mid-pack charge

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The Force India duo of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil will go off from mid-pack for the Chinese Grand Prix, with di Resta narrowly missing Q3 for 11th on the grid and Sutil coming away with a 13th place start.

Di Resta was off the pace in FP3 at 16th position, but battled back when he needed to. Although he said a better FP3 would’ve allowed him to advance into the final round, he also reckons that his grid spot won’t matter much in a race that is shaping up to be about tire strategy.

“I don’t think that will make much difference tomorrow, because it’s going to be a race all about making the tires last,” he said on Saturday. “The good news is that we’ve got a free choice on tires for the start and our car has proved to be competitive over race distances, which means we can be optimistic of scoring points.”

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As for his teammate Sutil, he was hoping for better during qualifying but is also happy to have his pick of tires for the start on Sunday.

“There was no major problem with the car and I felt happy with the balance, but I lost some performance during qualifying and didn’t have the grip to go any faster,” he said. “The positive is that I’m able to choose my starting tires tomorrow and I have all new sets available for the race, which should allow us to target some points in the race.”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.