Wehrlein regains DTM championship lead at Oschersleben

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Mercedes AMG Petronas reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein continued to strengthen his bid for a seat in Formula 1 next season by regaining the lead of the DTM championship at Oschersleben this weekend.

Wehrlein races for Mercedes in DTM, Germany’s leading touring car series that pits the marque up against rivals Audi and BMW.

In just his third season in the series, Wehrlein finds himself in contention for the championship, having won races at the Norisring and in Moscow so far this year.

On a weekend that was dominated by BMW, Wehrlein managed to emerge with the lead of the championship once again as title rival Matthias Ekstrom hit trouble at Oschersleben.

A pointless weekend for the Swede saw Wehrlein regain top spot in the standings by finishing fifth on both Saturday and Sunday, giving him a lead of 14-point lead with two rounds remaining.

The other title protagonists, Edoardo Mortara and Jamie Green, both had quiet weekends. Mortara retired from both races, whilst Green could score just four points on Sunday.

Saturday’s race was won by former F1 driver Timo Glock, who dominated proceedings from pole position. The German posted the fastest lap en route to his second DTM victory by 1.8 seconds from Bruno Spengler. Antonio Felix da Costa completed the podium in third place.

On Sunday, BMW dominated proceedings again as Tom Blomqvist claimed his maiden DTM win. The British rookie stepped up to the series from F3 at the end of last year, and became the tenth different winner in 14 races.

Wehrlein is known to have held talks with Force India about a seat in F1 for 2016, but with the team set to retain Sergio Perez alongside the already-confirmed Nico Hulkenberg, the German is unlikely to find a role there.

Instead, he may be able to secure a seat with Manor Marussia F1 Team. Earlier this week, Autosport reported that the British outfit was in talks with Mercedes over an engine deal for 2016, which would most probably pave the way for Wehrlein to race for the team.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”