Ericsson completes final test ahead of F1 debut

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Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson has completed his final test ahead of his Formula 1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, completing more milage than any other driver in Bahrain today.

Ericsson, who is set to become the first Swedish driver to start a grand prix since Stefan Johansson at the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix, finished in eighth place on Saturday with a fastest lap of 1:38.083 and completed 117 laps with no problems. Given the engine issues that have blighted much of the Renault-powered teams’ best efforts this winter, it was an impressive display from the Swedish youngster.

“I’m very pleased we finished off my pre-season tests with so many laps and I want to thank the team for working so hard last night to fix the car after the problems we had yesterday,” Ericsson said.

“The day went exactly to plan – we started with a few short runs to go through some setup options, and then ran very nearly a whole race simulation, including stops, which was just what we wanted to do today.”

With Kamui Kobayashi returning to the wheel of the CT-05 car tomorrow in Bahrain, Ericsson’s next track time will come during practice for the Australian Grand Prix. However, he feels well prepared and pleased with what he has achieved over the winter.

“I’m back in the factory next week for more sim sessions, and we have more new parts coming for Australia so we have lots to look forward to.

“Overall I’m happy, for the team and for me, and I’m more excited than ever about starting the race season properly in Australia.”

After four years in GP2, Ericsson will be hoping to make a good impression on his Formula 1 debut later this month. With reliability set to be a big problem during the first few races of the season, there is a chance that Caterham could be on track to score their first ever points in the sport, and Ericsson will be keen on being the man to achieve that feat.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III