GP2: Stanaway to test for Status Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi

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23-year-old Richie Stanaway will enjoy some running for Status Grand Prix at the upcoming GP2 pre-season test in Abu Dhabi, it has been confirmed.

Stanaway finished eighth in last year’s GP3 championship, picking up two race wins and two further podium finishes for Status.

At the end of 2014, the New Zealander took part in a GP2 test for the Irish team in Abu Dhabi, finishing as the top rookie.

Although he has not confirmed his racing plans for the year ahead, Stanaway appears to be leading the way for the second seat at Status, and will test for the team once again next week.

“Testing the GP2 car with Status again next week is a great opportunity for me and will be like joining the dots after being so competitive in last year’s post season test,” Stanaway said.

“Stepping up from GP3 to the GP2 car for just one day wasn’t quite long enough to reach my full potential last year. Now I am competing in the full three-day test it will be a huge benefit to me, enabling me to get up to speed and learn everything I can from the team.”

Status enters GP2 for the first time in 2015, taking over Caterham Racing’s entry. Stanaway will be joined in Abu Dhabi by Marlon Stockinger, who has already been confirmed as one of the team’s full-time drivers for the coming season.

GP2 pre-season testing starts on Monday at the Yas Marina Circuit, coming to a close on Wednesday.

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994