Webber in fresh row with Pirelli over tires

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Mark Webber has blasted Pirelli’s Formula One tires again after Sergio Perez suffered a tire explosion during the Korean Grand Prix.

Webber was following Perez at the time and picked up tire damage himself by running through the debris.

“That is how it is,” said Webber to The Telegraph after the race. “The drivers aren’t super important – it is what other people want.”

“The tyres are wearing a lot and they also explode a bit. But that is for Pirelli to sort out.”

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery responded to Webber’s latest complaints, saying: “There are two issues here that Mark is conflating.”

“Firstly the situation with Sergio’s tire. It was nothing to do with delaminations earlier in the season. He had a major lock-up and flat-spotted.”

“The other issue about degradation is the same old story.”

Fernando Alonso also complained about Pirelli’s tires during the weekend, leading to a stinging response from Hembery in which he told Alonso to consult the “soon to be four-times-champion” Sebastian Vettel on how to get the best out of the rubber. Hembery later apologized for his remarks.

Hembery said Perez’s failure was no cause for concern: “We have been able to determine very quickly that it was the result of a flat spot caused by a lock-up under heavy braking.”

“We’re obviously on exactly the same construction as we raced here last year, so there’s no underlying problem, while flat spots or punctures have just always been an integral part of racing.”

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.

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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.