© Renault Sport

Australian GP display a ‘hugely encouraging start’ for Renault

Leave a comment

Renault Sport Formula 1 Team managing director Cyril Abiteboul believes that last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix marked a “hugely encouraging start” for the French manufacturer following its comeback for 2016.

Renault made its first F1 start as a constructor since the end of 2010 last weekend in Melbourne, having taken over the Lotus operation at Enstone for the new season.

Drivers Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen crossed the line in 11th and 12th place respectively, and although the race did not yield points, Abiteboul was pleased nevertheless with how Renault fared upon its comeback.

“Melbourne was a great opening race for Renault Sport Formula 1 Team. There were many positives, but the most important was that we showed we can race on track,” Abiteboul said.

“Both drivers delivered exactly what we wanted. It was superb to see Jolyon defending hard against the opposition, especially as that meant a lot of airtime for us! Kevin fought hard to come back from a tough start and overtook late in the race.

“Furthermore, the car looked great on circuit – we have received a lot of positive feedback – and the team worked well together, leading to a lot of interest from a number of quarters.

“It’s only the first race but it’s been a hugely encouraging start. We can look forward to Bahrain with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm.”

Abiteboul’s comments were echoed by team racing director Frederic Vasseur, who said that the goal had been to get both cars to the finish line.

“It was a very positive start to the season. We aimed to get to the end of the race and we got there with two cars,” Vasseur said.

“The end result was not excessively flattering, due to the number of incidents that did not go in our favour, but the pace at the end was good, comparable to Force India and not far from Williams, which is encouraging for the team and a good basis to build on.

“We need to maximize our qualifying form so we can take advantage of this strong race pace but that will come I am sure. If it wasn’t for the restart I think we could have scored points as we were in a great position, but that’s life.

“We know where we are and what we need to do to achieve what we want.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.