Caterham impress in Hungary with solid finish

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Caterham will head into the summer break with a spring in their step following a strong performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Giedo van der Garde secured his best result of the season by finishing P14, just ahead of teammate Charles Pic as both drivers finished over one lap ahead of closest-rivals Marussia as the battle for P10 in the constructors’ championship intensifies.

“I’m really pleased with today’s race, for me that was the best race of the year and it’s great to put in a performance like that before we head off for the August break,” van der Garde said in a post-race statement.

“I think it shows that the plan we’d set for this season, about learning and improving race by race, is working as I was right on the pace we’d targeted until about six laps to go when the tires were pretty much gone.”

Charles Pic finished just 6.3 seconds behind his teammate, opting to run a two-stop strategy that saw him easily beat Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton in the Marussias.

“I had to make the tires last for the rest of the race, 32 laps in total, so I managed them as best I could and there wasn’t really anything more I could do today,” Pic said after the race.

Caterham still trail Marussia in the constructors’ championship by virtue of Jules Bianchi’s 13th place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix, but their recent form suggests that this deficit could be overturned when Formula One returns after the summer break.

March 28 in Motorsports History: Adrian Fernandez wins Motegi’s first race

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While auto racing is an international sport, oval racing remains uniquely American. 

That almost always has remained the case since the inception of the sport, but in 1998, the citizens of Japan got their first taste of American oval racing.

Having opened the previous year, Twin Ring Motegi was built by Honda in an effort to bring Indy-style racing to the Land of the Rising Sun. 

Adrian Fernandez was the first driver to win at the facility, taking the checkered flag in CART’s inaugural race after shaking off flu earlier that day.

Fernandez held off a hard-charging Al Unser Jr to win by 1.086 seconds. The victory was the second of his career and his first since Toronto in 1996.

Adrian Fernandez celebrates with Al Unser Jr and Gil de Ferran after winning the inaugural race at Motegi. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

The race was also memorable for a violent crash involving Bobby Rahal.

Running third with 15 laps remaining, Rahal’s right front suspension broke in Turn 2, causing his car to hit the outside wall and flip down the backstretch.

Luckily, Rahal walked away from the accident without a scratch.

“The car was on rails through (turns) 1 and 2, and all of a sudden it just got up into the marbles, and it was gone,” Rahal said. “Thank God we’ve got such safe cars.”

The following season, Fernadez went back-to-back and won again at Motegi. The track remained on the CART schedule until 2002.

In 2003, Honda switched their alliance to the Indy Racing Leauge, and Motegi followed suit.

The track continued to host IndyCar racing until 2011 with the final race being held on the facility’s 2.98-mile road course, as the oval sustained damage in the Tōhoku earthquake earlier that year.

Also on this date:

1976: Clay Regazzoni won the United States Grand Prix – West, Formula One’s first race on the Long Beach street circuit. The Grand Prix would become an IndyCar event following the 1983 edition of the race.

1993: Ayrton Senna won his home race, the Grand Prix of Brazil, for the second and final time of his career. The victory was also the 100th in F1 for McLaren.

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