2013 GP2 champion Fabio Leimer loses Super Formula seat

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2013 GP3 Series champion Fabio Leimer will no longer be racing in the Japanese Super Formula series this season after parting company with Team Infinite Mugen.

Leimer had been due to race in the premier Japanese single seater championship in 2015, having spent the last year working with Pirelli as a test driver and racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Rebellion Racing.

However, it was announced on Friday that the Swiss racer would no longer be taking part in Super Formula this season due to financial problems.

“This season, Fabio Leimer had been scheduled to compete in the Super Formula series for Team Infinite,” a statement from the team reads. “[As he is] unable to fulfil the contract terms that had been entered into, we have with regret decided to cancel the driver contract with Mr. Leimer.”

Leimer issued his own statement, and said that the deal fell through due to an issue with his representative in Japan.

“Of course I am extremely disappointed,” Leimer said. “We went for the Japan adventure after we had found a representative in Japan.

“We signaled from the beginning that any budget had to be secured by him. Unfortunately, his promises and the trust placed in him were not tenable.”

“However, we are already working on solutions for the coming season, which we can finance ourselves. I wish the Mugen team every success and apologize for the circumstances which have arisen through us.”

Leimer has no other confirmed plans for the new season, but is a potential candidate for the available seat at Manor Marussia F1 Team, given that he does hold a valid FIA super licence from his GP2 title win.

In other Super Formula news, British youngster William Buller has confirmed his participation in this year’s championship, joining Kondo Racing alongside compatriot James Rossiter.

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