Status GP2 likely one to watch in 2015

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Yesterday we had a long conversation with Mark Gallagher on the wider business of F1, upon the release of his book The Business of Winning.

Where Gallagher could be winning himself, as a team principal, is with his Status Grand Prix team in GP2 next year.

Status has achieved a good amount of success in GP3, A1GP and in sports cars over the years and with Caterham’s GP2 operation (seen in Caterham colors, right) as in flux as its F1 team was given the management changes earlier this year, we thought it appropriate to inquire more about the team’s entry into GP2.

“We have been considering GP2 since the A1GP series stopped in mid-2009,” Gallagher told MotorSportsTalk. “The difficulty we faced was that A1GP ran to a ‘winter’ schedule, so it finishing summertime of 2009 and there was no GP2 franchise available for us to pick up. Instead GP3 was being launched so we tendered for a franchise, and were successful in securing that.

“We have now been in GP3 for 5 seasons and the Caterham GP2 deal was the first one that made sense from the point of view of the business, equipment, people and cost,” he added. “We had a lot of support from GP2 itself, and ultimately the deal happened very quickly.

“What excites us about GP2, as it did about A1GP, is that we like competing in international championships for big single seater cars; in the absence of doing F1, GP2 is very definitely the next best thing for a European-based team, and to be competitive in the categories leading to F1 is an exciting opportunity.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.