Kvyat ends tough home race weekend fifth for Red Bull

© Getty Images
0 Comments

Daniil Kvyat was pleased to end a tough home grand prix weekend in Russia on a positive note by finishing fifth for Red Bull on Sunday.

Kvyat has become the poster boy of the race in Sochi, being just the second Russian driver to race in Formula 1 following Vitaly Petrov’s brief stint in the sport with Renault and Caterham.

The Red Bull driver had hoped to make up for a disappointing first home outing in 2014 this year, but looked resigned to another difficult race after qualifying down in 11th place.

However, a long first stint and a flurry of late retirements allowed Kvyat to make his way up the order, eventually crossing the line in fifth place to pick up ten points for Red Bull on Sunday.

“I think we squeezed everything out of it today and ten points at the end of such a complicated race is a very good achievement, so we have to be satisfied with these points,” Kvyat said.

“With hindsight, you could say we could have run a slightly better strategy, but you can never be completely sure how these things will turn out and you never stop learning in this respect.

“It was nice to see all the people that came here to support me today, it’s a great feeling and hopefully it will continue and get better and better.

“I could also see that other drivers had their fans in the crowd as well which was nice, it’s a true passion and it looks like in Russia the sport is growing a lot and many people are coming which is great to see.

“I’m already looking forward to Austin because I think it should suit us a little bit better and I’m looking forward to those high speed corners.”

In the sister Red Bull car, Daniel Ricciardo had been poised to finish in the top five before a problem on his car forced him to retire from the race with a few laps remaining.

“I’m happy with how I drove but it’s a shame we don’t have any points to show for it,” Ricciardo said. “The risky strategy was working well and we were looking good to earn some decent points.

“We’re not sure what happened, we suspect it’s a suspension issue. I came out of turn four and I felt something was not right and I reported back to the team.

“The team will investigate the issue but I think considering we weren’t expecting too much from this track, we can be pleased that we were racing with the faster cars of Williams and Ferrari and managed to keep them behind us for a good while.”

Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

DETAILS FOR THE 61ST ROLEX 24How to watch, entry lists, schedules for the IMSA season opener

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN GTPRolex 24 at Daytona kicks off new golden era for sports cars

But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds