Grosjean annoyed by Monaco crash accusations

4 Comments

Romain Grosjean has admitted that he felt annoyed by the accusations following the crash between himself and Max Verstappen during last Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, believing it to be evident that he was blameless in the incident.

During the closing stages of the race, Verstappen crashed into the back of Grosjean and flew into the barrier at Sainte Devote, sparking a safety car period that ultimately cost Lewis Hamilton victory.

Although the Dutchman was unhurt, he was deemed by the stewards to have caused the accident and handed a five-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen reacted to this by claiming that Grosjean had caused the accident by brake-testing him, only for Lotus to prove via the data on the Frenchman’s car that he had in fact braked later than the previous lap.

Speaking ahead of the race in Montreal next weekend, Grosjean rejected the idea that he had brake-tested Verstappen and admitted that the suggestion that he had caused the crash was annoying.

“Of course not, what would that possibly achieve?” Grosjean said when asked if he had brake-tested Verstappen.

“In Monaco it’s pretty easy to keep a car behind you, even a car that’s faster than you, by placing your car on the racing line and just focusing on driving your laps. The difficult bit is for the guy trying to get past.

“I didn’t brake early or lift off the throttle earlier on the lap which Verstappen hit me, in fact the data showed I braked five metres later than the lap before!

“The FIA are pretty thorough in their investigations and I don’t know which annoyed me more: being hit and knocked out of the points, or having to go through the inquiry afterwards for something that was clearly not my fault.

“Ultimately, Max caught himself out by driving too aggressively on the wrong circuit to attempt a move like he did and we both felt the consequences. He’ll learn; he’s a very talented driver.”

Grosjean ultimately finished the race down in 11th place as a result of the incident, but remained upbeat thanks to the performance of the E23 Hybrid car.

“Despite not finishing in the points, there are quite a few positives from Monaco,” Grosjean said. “The circuit itself is a good test of how a car behaves in low-speed corners, and the E23 worked well.

“We also were able to employ a good strategy to get back into a point-scoring position after the gearbox penalty meant we started pretty far back on the grid. We also showed that the E23 has pretty strong rear suspension, even when attacked by another car.”

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

0 Comments

Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”