Toro Rosso drivers expecting challenging Canadian GP

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Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen are both expecting to face a number of challenges at next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix due to the unique nature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

The rookie drivers have made an impressive start to life in F1, proving that they are deserving of a place in the sport with a string of stand-out performances.

At just 17 years old, Verstappen has been particularly impressive at the start of his F1 career, but the Dutchman suffered his first major accident in Monaco last weekend after crashing into the back of Romain Grosjean.

“I’m feeling fine now after the unfortunate end to the Monaco Grand Prix and there are no after affects from the crash,” Verstappen said. “I even spent a day karting afterwards so everything is fine on the physical side.

“Canada will be a challenging race for us with its long straights, but I think we can have another strong weekend anyway. It will be the first time for me in Canada and I’ve heard a lot of great things about the circuit, the city and the country so I’m looking forward to it.”

Sainz managed to finish tenth in Monaco, but the tire allocation of soft and super-soft did harm Toro Rosso and force the team into two-stopping both of its drivers.

With the same allocation set to be brought to Canada for next weekend’s race, Sainz is expecting the team to face a challenge once again, but is excited about spending more time in Montreal.

“Canada will be another completely new track for me,” Sainz said. “It’s a semi-street circuit and like the last venue in Monaco, you can get very close to the walls at the side of the track.

“I was in Montreal last year, as I went to watch the Grand Prix, and I really enjoyed spending time in the city, which I liked a lot and the track itself looks very interesting. I’m looking forward to my first experience of driving the track, which looks as though it provides some good overtaking opportunities.

“We will again have the soft and super-soft tires and we can expect high degradation, so it could be a challenging weekend on that front.”

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 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


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