Ocon and Fong set to take part in Abu Dhabi GP practice

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ABU DHABI – Esteban Ocon and Adderly Fong will make their Formula 1 weekend debuts in Abu Dhabi on Friday when they take part in practice at Yas Marina.

With FP1 taking place in the daytime and offering little in the way of information for the teams ahead of the nighttime race, it does offer them a chance to test out their younger drivers and evaluate them up against the current F1 field.

Ocon, 18, won this year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship in a very competitive field that also included 2015 Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen.

The Frenchman is highly rated within the F1 paddock, and will take part in practice for Lotus on Friday in Abu Dhabi as part of his development programme with the British team. He will also run in the post-race test at Yas Marina next week on Tuesday, with team reserve driver Charles Pic running on the Wednesday.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for me to drive in my first session at a grand prix and I am tremendously grateful to Lotus F1 Team and Gravity Sport Management,” Ocon said. “The practice session on Friday will be my first time driving the Yas Marina Circuit and my first time in the latest generation Formula 1 car, so there will be a lot to learn, especially as I will be completing the team’s programme for the free practice session.

“For the test day we will have far more time me to learn and develop with the car so I’m really looking forward to Abu Dhabi.”

Fong has enjoyed a rather patchy junior career so far, scoring just two points in the last two years of GP3. He has also taken part in one Indy Lights race (Baltimore 2012) and some other formative series, but enjoyed his biggest run with Sauber in a two-year-old car in Valencia earlier this year. He will now follow this up with FP1 in Abu Dhabi.

“I am very excited about my Formula 1 debut in Abu Dhabi, but also at the same time a little bit nervous,” 24-year-old Fong said. “Last month I drove the Sauber C31 for the first time in Valencia, and it was good to get the mileage to be able to familiarise myself with the speed of a Formula 1 car.

“Being able to drive during a Formula 1 weekend is a great privilege, and I am very happy to have the opportunity. It is good that I already know the track as at the same time here last year I did a GP3 race.”

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.