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Rebellion Racing announces LMP2 switch for 2017

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Rebellion Racing will leave the LMP1 privateer ranks and head to LMP2 for 2017, although has not made a determination on the type of car it will run.

It brings to an end the team’s LMP1 stint, which has occurred since 2009, but this year saw a reduced LMP1 presence after the 24 Hours of Le Mans from two cars down to one for the balance of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Here’s a portion of what the team confirmed in a statement:

“Since 2014, Manufacturer development has significantly pushed the boundaries of LMP1 and, after having been the main flag bearer for the privateer entrants in the category for the past seven seasons, REBELLION Racing will next year move to the new style LMP2.

“It is an exciting time for LMP2 as new specification cars, which will be eligible to race in all the top sportscar championships around the world, are currently being unveiled by the chassis suppliers.  The pace of these new LMP2 cars is forecast to be significantly quicker than the current cars and with high levels of competition between the teams and the cars, the challenge is very attractive to REBELLION Racing, we are looking forward to this new adventure.”

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

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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.