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).

Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

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Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

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