D’Ambrosio: London ePrix circuit to pose “a big challenge”

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Jerome d’Ambrosio has delivered his first thoughts on the circuit that will be used for the FIA Formula E season finale in London in two weeks’ time, saying that it will pose “a big challenge” to drivers.

The inaugural season of the series will end in London with a double-header round. A circuit in the grounds of Battersea Park in the heart of the city is being constructed for the event.

D’Ambrosio, winner of the Berlin ePrix last month, visited the venue on Thursday as part of a media day previewing the races on June 27 and 28.

“I don’t think I’ve ever raced anywhere quite as pretty as this, with all the trees and flowers next to the track,” d’Ambrosio said.

“I think we’ll need to use our clear visors because of the shade caused by the trees. And I hope I’m not in the first qualifying group as I think there are going to be a lot of leaves on the track at that stage too.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for sure. We will run the car higher than usual to stop the floor of the car touching the road and to make sure that when we hit the brakes all four wheels are on the ground. I think there could be a lot of safety cars!”

Boasting 200 acres of space, Battersea Park was opened back in 1858 by Queen Victoria and is one of the few venues on the Formula E calendar that does not incorporate public roads, limiting disruption in London.

“We looked at many venues for a London race and Battersea provided the best solution,” series CEO Alejandro Agag said.

“It’s in the heart of the city, it has great transport links and because it takes place inside of the park, we don’t have to shut any roads.”

Formula E heads to its London finale with four drivers in the mathematical running for the title, but the real battle appears to lie between first-placed Nelson Piquet Jr (128 points) and Lucas di Grassi (111).

Kyle Busch happy with first stint: ‘Put me in the car, there’s excitement!’

AP Photo/Terry Renna
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 at Daytona debut of the “KB Show” was cut short by a strategy maneuver but still delivered drama and a positive result.

Kyle Busch got the No. 14 RCF GT3 Lexus back on the lead lap and back in contention for a GTD victory at Daytona International Speedway.

“It was good,” Kyle Busch said with a broad smile after a 42-minute stint. “Just, uh, shit, put me in the car, and there’s excitement around! Drove all my way back to the lead lap and everything.

“Overall, we’ve had a good experience and hell I only got one stint in, so I’m ready for more. Sign me up, coach!”

The two-time Cup champion was expected to drive for at least 90 minutes, but the first full-course caution of the race (with 19 hours and 16 minutes remaining) caused AIM Vasser Sullivan to change up its drive plan. Busch was called to the pits in favor of Parker Chase.

“With all the strategy and the way the wave-bys work here, it’s quite different than what we’re accustomed to (in NASCAR),” said Busch, who likely will drive longer now later in the race. “That wasn’t bad. To get ourselves back on the lead lap and back to a position where we can start scrapping again hopefully is what we needed.

“So I got one stint in, but I’m trying to save myself and (teammate) Jack (Hawksworth) for a little later.”

Busch climbed into the car shortly after 6 p.m. as the last of the No. 14’s four drivers. He complained a few times on his radio about traffic, which he said was his biggest challenge.

“There were a couple of instances we ran down a smaller car, and (it was) just mirror driving in front of us,” he said. “That was pretty bad. We lost probably 2 seconds on that. Overall, I guess that’s road racing.

The yellow flag was exactly what Busch’s team needed after being forced to start from the rear of the field when it missed qualifying because of an engine change. Hawksworth, who started the race, said the car was “quick in the wrong places and slow in the right places” after struggling with handling and speed in the first stint.

“I don’t feel we’re out of it,” Hawksworth said. “It’s a very long race. Still early days. We need to work on having speed for the end of the race. The position right now doesn’t really make any difference. We’ll need to find some performance at the end of the race to fight for the win.”