Perez, Hulkenberg and Maldonado hit with penalty points

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Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado have all had penalty points added to their super licences by the FIA race stewards following incidents in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

None of the trio managed to finish inside the top ten at the Sepang International Circuit, with Maldonado retiring nine laps from the end due to a brake problem.

The Lotus driver had already served a ten-second stop/go penalty during the race for speeding under the safety car, and was given a further three-point penalty on his super licence after the race for the misdemeanor.

“The driver failed to stay above the required time set by the FIA ECU during the deployment of the safety car,” the stewards’ penalty report read.

Maldonado was disappointed to miss out on the top ten once again in Malaysia, with another first lap incident compromising his race.

“The potential is clearly there, especially in the race where the car pace is very competitive and we can score good points,” Maldonado said. “Unfortunately there was an incident on the first lap which lost me a lot of time and compromised the race from then on.

“Unfortunately, we suffered from a brake issue, which isn’t great but it’s effectively our first race and we need to keep working through issues, ready for the next grand prix. As soon as we have a clean race, we will be fighting for good points.”

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg received identical penalties on what was a difficult day for Force India. Both drivers got caught up in incidents with other drivers – Perez span Romain Grosjean, Hulkenberg span Daniil Kvyat – but neither believed that they deserved a stop/go penalty and two penalty points.

“I felt I had nowhere to go and couldn’t avoid contact with Romain,” said Perez, who crossed the line in 13th place. “I thought it was a racing incident but it ended up costing us a lot. It’s a disappointing result but at least we were able to learn a lot from this race and this will help us going forward.”

Hulkenberg’s incident appeared to be more innocuous than Perez’s, but was again costly as the German finished 14th.

“The penalty for the contact with Daniil dropped me out of the fight for points,” Hulkenberg said. “I went a bit wide in turn one and chose to go back on the inside going into turn two. I was quite well alongside him, but he probably didn’t think I would try to come back at him.”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.