Alonso was Ferrari’s saving grace once again in Austria

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Fernando Alonso endured another lonely race at today’s Austrian Grand Prix as he crossed the line in fifth place, some eighteen seconds behind race winner Nico Rosberg.

The Spaniard has been making the most of his lacklustre Ferrari F14 T car this season, and currently lies fourth in the drivers’ championship after eight rounds.

Today, he continued his record of scoring points in every race so far, but struggled to match the Mercedes cars out in front and the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who finished third and fourth respectively.

Alonso appeared to improve his pace in the second half of today’s grand prix, and nearly caught Massa at the end. However, he says that the cars ahead were not running at their full speed, thus exaggerating his own pace.

“First of all the cars ahead had Perez slowing the group and we were catching up,” he explained. “They seemed to use the maximum power only a few laps in the race and they have so much advantage that they play with it a little bit.

“With Massa in the end, when I was close, he pulled away. Same with Hamilton on the first lap, it was unbelievable the difference between the two cars.

“I think if they ran with those settings every lap they would have lapped everyone, but they cannot do for the whole race.”

Once again though, Alonso was Ferrari’s top finisher in Austria. His teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was largely anonymous during today’s race, save for one amusing radio call where he complained about a lack of power. The Finn crossed the line in tenth place.

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.