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Alonso: Austin performance among the best of my career

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Fernando Alonso believes that his performance in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix was one of the best of his career despite finishing outside of the points.

Alonso has struggled to find any kind of form in 2015 thanks to the deficiencies of the Honda power unit in his McLaren car, scoring just 11 points.

However, damp conditions at the Circuit of The Americas throughout Sunday’s race helped to neutralize the field and limit the power advantage of the other teams, giving Alonso a more level playing field to fight on.

The Spaniard managed to fight his way up into the points, running as high as fifth before an issue on his power unit caused him to lose time in the closing stages of the race.

Alonso eventually crossed the line 11th, losing P10 and the final points-paying position on the last lap, but was delighted with his performance at COTA.

“This was one of the best races of my career,” Alonso said. “To be running one minute behind the penultimate car on lap two, and then be running as high as fifth position with ten laps remaining was quite a feat.

“After such a strong recovery, it was a shame that a mechanical issue in the closing laps put us out of the fight. That meant my feelings after the race were more sad than happy – but we can go away and continue to try to improve these issues.”

Teammate Jenson Button managed to bring home some points for McLaren, recording his best finish of the season in sixth place.

“This was a strategic race today, and, strategy-wise, we did a perfect race,” Button said. “The team should be very happy with what we achieved; we made all the right calls, but still we need to go away and look at our lack of performance.

“In the opening laps, I really enjoyed racing in the drying conditions, and I felt like I was able to make a bit of a difference.

“We got onto slicks before the others, and made the right calls, but, once it was dry and everybody knew where to brake, it became a lot more difficult for us. We just couldn’t match the others’ pace once they all found their feet.

“Nevertheless, it’s great to get some points – and I enjoyed the challenge. We just didn’t have the pace.”

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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