Photos: Buhl Sport Detroit

Buhl Sport Detroit confirms Augie Lerch to debut in GRC Lites this week

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Augie Lerch, who ran the first half of this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season, will make his Red Bull Global Rallycross debut this week in the GRC Lites class. He’ll drive the No. 4 Opportunity Detroit/Buhl Sport Detroit entry, the car and sponsor of which were announced late last month.

The Tucson driver also competed in three Stadium Super Truck races this season, to gain experience on dirt.

“I have been on pavement for most of my racing career,” Lerch said in a release. “This year I competed in three Stadium Truck races with a best finish of third at the Sands Sports Super Show round. I have been a big fan of the GRC series and when Robbie Buhl called with this opportunity it was too exciting to pass up.”

Lerch will be part of a 14-car GRC Lites field that also includes fellow past Mazda Road to Indy drivers Austin Cindric, Colette Davis and Gustavo Menezes.

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.