Kobayashi set to refund fans should he miss out on 2014 grid

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Japanese racer Kamui Kobayashi is prepared to refund his supporters should he fail to secure a seat on the 2014 Formula One grid, having raised over $1.8m through donations in order to prolong his career in the sport.

Kobayashi raced for Toyota and Sauber between 2009 and 2012, but he was dropped by the Swiss team at the end of last season in favor of Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez. This year, he has been working with Ferrari as part of their endurance racing programme, but he is still determined to return to F1.

“Personally speaking, I want to come back in Formula One next year,” Kobyashi explained on his website. “And today, there is one thing I want to be clear about “Kamui Support” [the donation drive]. All of the donations to “Kamui Support” have not been used at all this year, because this was purely for an F1 seat.

“And if I don’t need to use them for next year’s F1 seat, I want to return them to all whom made donations.”

This is an incredibly noble gesture of Kobayashi, although he is still focusing on his commitments with Ferrari, having spent a weekend with the team in Monaco.

“I will put all of my effort for the jobs Scuderia Ferrari offered to me and hoping to give you good news as soon as possible. So, I wish you all the best and keep supporting me.”

Known for his banzai style of driving, Kobayashi’s possible comeback will split the opinions of fans and critics, but he is determined to return to the premier class of motorsport next season.

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

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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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.

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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.