Caterham calls on Frijns for Friday practice in Bahrain

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After getting both Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson home in Malaysia, Caterham has decided to hand Kobayashi’s CT05 to its reserve driver, Robin Frijns, for FP1 on Friday at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old Dutchman, a former champion of the Formula Renault 3.5 series, will be making his first-ever Grand Prix appearance and will be one of two competitors from the Netherlands to take part in this weekend’s festivities; ex-Caterham man Giedo van der Garde will drive in FP1 for Sauber.

Frijns got acquainted with Caterham’s 2014 challenger during this year’s round of preseason testing (pictured).

“I’m excited about being back in the car for my first FP1 of the 2014 season with Caterham, especially as I already have experience of the car at Bahrain from the day I did in the pre-season tests,” he said in a release.

“It’ll be interesting to see how much progress we’ve made across the whole car since I last drove it, but my focus will be on helping the team prepare for the race weekend, something I know I can add value to, assuming we have a problem-free session.”

Frijns will also be a part of Caterham’s tire test with Pirelli at Bahrain next Tuesday, just a few days after the Grand Prix. He added that he wants to show strong there as well.

“Obviously [testing is] a different proposition to an FP1 – quite a lot less pressure, more time on track and a much bigger runplan, but it’s still really important to approach that day with the same focus and determination to do as well as I can for the team.

“It’s another chance for me to continue to learn as much as I can about operating efficiently with the team on track, building on the work I’ve been doing with them in the simulator back at Leafield, and I can’t wait to get back to work.”

Christopher Bell wins third straight Chili Bowl

@cbnationals, Twitter
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Christopher Bell passed Kyle Larson on the final lap of the 55-lap A-Feature to win the 33rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Bell is only the second driver in event history to win three consecutive Golden Drillers, joining Kevin Swindell who holds the record with four.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to win the Chili Bowl,” Bell said at ChiliBowl.com. “To do it three straight times is just unbelievable, but man, I don’t even care about three straight. What about that race? I don’t think I’ve ever really been a part of a last lap race like that, so I’m just glad that thing came out in the end.”

As the white flag waved on his eighth appearance in Saturday’s main event, it seemed Larson was finally going to walk away with his first Golden Driller. This was closest he’s been to the win.

Larson took the lead from Logan Seavey on Lap 21 after a five-lap hot pursuit. Bell moved into second for the first time on Lap 27 but a caution forced him back to third as the field realigned to the last completed lap.

On Lap 33, Bell passed Seavey again for second before another caution reset the field. On the next restart Bell road the rim diving to the hub in Turns 3 and 4. With Larson in sight, Bell started to think about where he was going to put his third trophy.

The final caution flag of the night waved with 20 to go to set up the Bell vs. Larson shootout fans had been waiting for since Larson retired early from the race last year. Larson pulled away on the highline in Turns 1 and 2. He switched to the low in 3 and 4.

With five laps to go Larson hit traffic. That gave Bell the opportunity to close the gap. With two to go Bell was on top of Larson and challenging for the lead. On the final lap Bell passed Larson in Turn 2 as they bumped tires. Glued together through the final pair of turns, they touched twice more before Bell pulled away on the final stretch.

The action wasn’t over, however. Bell wound up on his lid following the win. His donuts got a little out of control and he rolled his midget.

Justin Grant took third by passing Brady Bacon on Lap 36. Bacon followed for fourth with Zach Daum in tow to complete the top five.

Tyler Courtney was the hard charger of the night finishing sixth after starting in 22nd. Brad Sweet and CJ Leary finished seventh and eighth.

Seavey was able to hold onto third until late in the race but ultimately the pole sitter who led the first 20 laps faded to ninth.

Tanner Thorson rounded out the top ten.

Friday’s Main Event

1. Christopher Bell
2. Kyle Larson
3. Justin Grant
4. Brady Bacon
5. Zach Daum
6. Tyler Courtney
7. Brad Sweet
8. CJ Leary
9. Logan Seavey
10. Tanner Thorson
11. Danny Stratton
12. Jonathan Beason
13. Tucker Klaasmeyer
14. Colby Copeland
15. Rico Abreu
16. Michael Faccinto
17. Chad Boat
18. David Gravel
19. Cole Bodine
20. Robert Dalby
21. Jake Neuman
22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. Shane Golobic
24. Sean McClelland