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Title underdogs Gasly, Albon take GP2, GP3 poles in Abu Dhabi

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Friday proved to be a day for the championship underdogs in Abu Dhabi.

Not only did Lewis Hamilton top both Formula 1 practice sessions ahead of Nico Rosberg, but the trailing drivers in GP2 and GP3 took pole position for their respective series to shake up the title race.

In GP2, Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly entered the Abu Dhabi weekend trailing Prema Racing teammate Antonio Giovinazzi by seven points in the drivers’ standings.

However, the gap was reduced to just three after a stunning lap of 1:47.476 was enough to give Gasly pole position and the four bonus points on offer in qualifying.

Giovinazzi was unable to respond, finishing eight-tenths of a second adrift in sixth place, putting him on the back foot heading into Saturday’s feature race at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The GP3 qualifying session offered a similar narrative as the trailing Alexander Albon captured pole position, while title favorite Charles Leclerc lagged behind.

ART racer Albon took pole by over two-tenths of a second on Friday, picking up the four bonus points on offer to whittle Leclerc’s lead down to just 25 heading into the opening race of the weekend.

The opening GP2 and GP3 races of the weekend will take place on Saturday following F1 qualifying, with their season finales preceding the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.