Gutierrez not expecting miracles at Sauber in 2014

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After a difficult start to the season, Esteban Gutierrez is not expecting any quick fix at Sauber as both he and teammate Adrian Sutil continue to struggle with the C33 car.

The team is yet to score any points in 2014, and currently sits behind minnows Marussia in the constructors’ championship. In a media session today at Silverstone, Gutierrez was honest about the team’s current state.

“I have to say, at the moment, it cannot be worse,” he said. “We can only go for better things and this is what we have to keep ourselves working [towards]. We have no other options at the moment.”

The best thing about the car? “It’s very strong so when I crashed in the wall in Montreal it broke the chassis!” he joked.

In 2013, Sauber enjoyed an upturn in fortunes towards the end of the year, but Gutierrez is not expecting a repeat in 2014.

“To be honest we cannot fall down into that thought, because last year was pretty special,” he explained. “First of all, the tires were changed. Secondly, aerodynamically, we had something that we found pretty unusual which normally doesn’t happen.

“This year it’s not really the case. We are not really far off to the expectations from the wind tunnel, this kind of thing, so there’s not really something that’s going to change the whole situation.

“And we have to be truthful to ourselves that we cannot just sit and hope that things are going to change like last year. At the moment, we are working a lot to try to find a few tenths, but it’s not going to be one second or even half a second.

“Obviously with some of the parts we can bring, aerodynamically, [it] will be a boost, but apart from that it’s not going to be huge.”

Gutierrez heads into this weekend’s British Grand Prix with a ten place grid penalty for an unsafe release during the Austrian Grand Prix.

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 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


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