Ricciardo feels a step forward with new Red Bull car

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Daniel Ricciardo believes that Red Bull has made a step forwards with its new car for the 2015 season following a solid first day of testing in Jerez.

The Australian driver got behind the wheel of the new RB11 car for the first time today, sporting an eyecatching camouflage design that is intended to make the car harder to photograph and analyze.

Ricciardo completed 35 laps in Jerez on Sunday, 14 more than the team managed in the entirety of the four-day test last season, and was pleased with what the team had managed on day one.

“We got going pretty well this morning and I got a few laps under my belt, so the first impressions are good,” Ricciardo said. “We’ll get a few more laps over the next few days, but so far everything seems pretty encouraging.

“I can feel a step forward. I won’t go into too much detail but it’s there.”

Ricciardo’s day was not completely trouble-free though, as a technical issue curtailed his running in the afternoon. However, he was still feeling very positive.

“We didn’t do a whole lot of laps but definitely more than at this test last year,” he noted. “In general everything is behaving as it should. Obviously we had a couple of issues, but once the car is running it’s all going pretty normally. A good first day, there are some positive signs there.”

Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin confirmed that the issue that ended Ricciardo’s day was not too serious, and deemed it to have been a successful first test for the Red Bull RB11.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that today represented a good day for the team and for the RB11,” Rocquelin said. “The car preparation has been good, the day’s running was by and large excellent and we’ve already gathered a lot of information. The day generally went according to plan, starting cautiously, building up the length of the runs and learning all the time.

“We had a small issue with the brake controls system around lunchtime, but you’re always going to have little niggles like that on day’s like this.

“We stopped running late in the afternoon with a technical issue, but it wasn’t too serious. An alarm went off on the engine and at that stage of the day, knowing that an investigation would take time we chose to stop. Aside from that, everything went pretty as we hoped.”

Daniil Kvyat will enjoy his first run in the RB11 tomorrow in Jerez. Click here to see the full line-up.

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 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


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