George Russell takes pole for Macau GP qualification race


British youngster George Russell will start Saturday’s qualification race for the Macau Grand Prix from pole position after topping the timesheets on Friday for Hitech GP.

Russell, 18, signed up for Macau after finishing his sophomore year in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship third in the standings with two wins to his name.

After finishing 13th in the first qualifying session on Thursday, Russell shot to the front of the pack in the second round on Friday, edging out fellow Briton Callum Ilott by three-tenths of a second.

In a session interrupted by three red flag periods, Russell was able to turn in a lap of 2:10.100 to secure pole for Saturday’s qualification race, with his rivals being denied a final shot at pole after a late stoppage that brought the session to an early end.

Ilott was left to settle for second despite controlling much of the session, his best time 0.370 seconds down on Russell, while Formula E driver Antonio Felix da Costa ended up third-fastest.

Red Bull junior Sergio Sette Camara slotted into fourth ahead of Japanese F3 champion Kenta Yamashita, with British racer Jake Hughes following in sixth after the final red flag denied him the chance to improve his lap time late on.

FIA F3 vice-champion Maximillian Günther wound up seventh ahead of defending Macau champion Felix Rosenqvist as European Formula Renault champion Lando Norris and New Zealand’s Nick Cassidy rounded out the top 10.

The results of Saturday’s qualification race will set the grid for the 63rd Macau Grand Prix on Sunday.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”