Roberto Merhi ready for first F1 outing, but admits it will be a challenge

0 Comments

Roberto Merhi is feeling excited ahead of his first Formula 1 outing during practice for the Italian Grand Prix tomorrow, but admits that he faces a big challenge to get to grips with the car at the sport’s most demanding circuit.

Monza is the fastest track on the calendar, requiring low downforce and skinny wings. It is something of an anomaly in terms of setup, making it a challenge for all of the teams and rivers.

Merhi, pictured in blue, has been racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series this season, but will replace Kamui Kobayashi for practice on Friday in Italy. Although he is excited, he admits that he faces a big challenge.

“I’m quite excited,” Merhi told journalists at Monza. “The first time is in free practice, and it’s going to be hard but let’s see how it goes.

“Tomorrow is a hard situation. You need to prove that you are ready to race and you need to try to build up your confidence on the car, but you have just one hour and a half in practice and two sets of new tires.

“You need to show that you have consistent lap times, that you can do steps during your free practice session. It’s important to give good feedback to the team so they know how the car is behaving. I think this is a mandatory thing for tomorrow.”

Merhi is thought to be in the frame to replace Kobayashi for the Singapore Grand Prix if he can obtain his FIA superlicense in the meantime. However, the Spaniard is taking things one step at a time.

“I don’t know yet,” he said when asked if he would be racing in Singapore. “At the moment, the idea is to do the free practice one to see how it goes, to see how much I can learn from the car and from everyone.

“And then we will see what is going on and what is the next target. But Singapore is quite a tough place to do a race!”

Merhi will become the fourth driver to race for Caterham in 2014, with Andre Lotterer also replacing Kobayashi for the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
0 Comments

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.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

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.