GP2: Nasr and Cecotto win as Rossi scores first points

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The fourth round of the 2014 GP2 Series season in Austria saw Carlin’s Felipe Nasr and Trident’s Johnny Cecotto Jr. emerge victorious as American driver Alexander Rossi finally scored his first points of the season.

F1’s direct feeder series is enjoying its tenth season in 2014, but the advantage currently lies with DAMS driver Jolyon Palmer. The Briton entered the weekend with a healthy lead, but his worst showing of the season meant that his advantage was cut into by Nasr. The Brazilian does still trail by 33 points, though.

Nasr’s win in the first race came at the expense of Cecotto, who could only finish sixth despite starting on pole. McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne finally refound his form to finish second, having not scored any points since his win at the very first race of the 2014 season in Bahrain. The podium was completed by Ferrari youngster Raffaele Marciello.

Marciello doubled up in race two to secure yet another third place finish, but he was unable to challenge Cecotto and teammate Stefano Coletti at the front. The latter’s charge was highly impressive, but he just did not have the pace to beat the Venezuelan.

The races in Austria saw Alexander Rossi secure his first points of the season. Despite being one of the pre-season title favorites, Rossi had failed to finish any higher than 11th heading into the race weekend. However, he rallied to finish eighth in the feature race, giving himself pole position for the sprint race. Unfortunately, a poor start and aggressive tire wear meant that he had to settle for fifth place come the checkered flag.

GP2 will support the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks’ time, and after seeing his lead at the top of the standings decrease this weekend, Palmer will be hoping to extend it once again on home soil.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”