F1 teams to follow FIA’s lead for Russian Grand Prix

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As concerns about the planned Russian Grand Prix continue to grow, Formula 1 teams have said that they will follow the FIA’s guidelines and lead for the race in October.

The first Russian GP in 100 years is set to take place on October 12th at the Sochi International Street Circuit, which has been built around the Winter Olympics complex in the city. However, following the Crimean crisis and the recent MH17 disaster, there have been some concerns about the viability of the race.

Bernie Ecclestone has said that he sees no reason why the race should not go ahead, as have the organizers in Sochi. When asked about the matter in a press conference yesterday, the team principals said that they would follow the stance taken by the sport’s governing body, the FIA.

“Obviously what’s going on in Russia and that part of the world at the moment is of huge concern to everybody,” Claire Williams of Williams Martini Racing said. “But we’ve always said as a sport we try to disengage from taking a political angle on these things.

“Here the FIA is the governing body of our sport, they issue a calendar and we have to take our direction from them and at the moment, the race is still on the calendar.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Force India team owner Vijay Mallya and Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.

“Well something similar occurred in Bahrain and we followed the FIA’s directive or recommendation,” Mallya said. “I think I agree with Claire. It’s up to the FIA to guide us and we all follow what the FIA guidance is.”

“I absolutely agree with that,” Kaltenborn added. “We have to rely on the governing body and commercial rights holder. They’re the ones who have the responsibility and we will do as they say, like we’ve done in the past.”

The most recent cancellation of a grand prix came in 2011 when trouble in Bahrain flared up. The decision was taken by the FIA to cancel the event, and this was followed by the teams. In 2012, the race went ahead despite lingering concerns, but it was the FIA’s call to make; it appeared to be the correct one as the race went ahead with few problems.

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.