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Jarvis, Brundle join Jackie Chan DC Racing for WEC campaign

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Jackie Chan DC Racing has announced that British drivers Oliver Jarvis and Alex Brundle will join its full-season line-up in the FIA World Endurance Championship for 2017.

The team founded by David Cheng and Hollywood star Jackie Chan confirmed last month it would be entering two ORECA 07 cars into the WEC’s LMP2 class, having linked up with Jota Sport for 2017.

On Sunday, the team’s line-up for the season was completed with the announcement of Jarvis and Brundle.

Jarvis arrives having spent the majority of his racing career as an Audi factory driver, being part of its full-season WEC line-up in the LMP1 class for the past two years.

The Briton secured a GT3 deal with Bentley for 2017 in the Blancpain GT Series, and will balance this with a full LMP2 campaign in the WEC.

Brundle – son of ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle – has raced in a variety of sportscar disciplines in recent years, winning the European Le Mans Series with United Autosports last year and racing in the final six rounds of the WEC season for G-Drive.

Despite being chased by United Autosports for a return in 2017, Brundle has signed up to race with Jackie Chan DC Racing instead for his first full WEC campaign since 2013.

Brundle will race in the No. 37 ORECA 07 alongside Cheng and Tristan Gommendy, while Jarvis slots into the No. 38 entry with Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent.

The new WEC season kicks off on April 16 at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton takes F1 pole in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

Russian pole Lewis Hamilton
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to equaling the Formula One win record Saturday by clinching pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, after narrowly avoiding early elimination when Sebastian Vettel crashed.

Hamilton charged to a track-record time of 1 minute, 31.304 seconds, beating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by 0.563 for his fifth straight pole position. Hamilton can achieve his 91st career win in the race on Sunday, matching the record held by Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was beaten into third by Verstappen’s fast run at the end of the session and was .652 off Hamilton’s time.

The long run from the grid to the first significant turn means Bottas could yet threaten to overtake Hamilton at the start Sunday using the slipstream from his teammate’s car.

“It’s nice being on pole but here is probably the worst place to be on pole,” Hamilton said.

“This year you’re seeing that our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years. So I generally expect one of (Verstappen and Bottas) to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and run the fastest race I can.”

Bottas earned his first win at the 2017 race in Russia after starting third and overtaking the two Ferraris ahead of him at the start.

Verstappen and Bottas both start the race on medium tires, which could give them an edge in terms of pit strategy over Hamilton, who is on soft tires, which wear much faster.

“I’m just going to have to nurse those tires for as far as I can. These guys, if they get by, they’re going to be pulling away,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen said he was delighted to start second.

“I wasn’t expecting that and of course it’s great for us. If we can get a good start tomorrow you never know what can happen,” he said.

Vettel lost control of his car over the kerb on the inside of the 90-degree, right-hand turn four and spun into the wall, before the Ferrari bounced back onto the track. Teammate Charles Leclerc was following closely behind and narrowly missed the wrecked car, driving over its discarded front wing.

“Oh my God, that was very, very close,” Leclerc told his team over the radio. Leclerc qualified 11th and Vettel 15th as Ferrari failed to reach the top-10 shootout with either car for the third time in four races.

Vettel’s crash meant the red flag was waved while Hamilton was trying to set his first valid lap time to make the third session – after his first attempt was earlier ruled out for going off the track.

After the track was cleared and the session restarted, Hamilton had to rush his out-lap to make it over the line in time for another flying lap with just a second to spare.

“It was horrible,” Hamilton said. “Heart in the mouth.”

Hamilton was also asked to report to race stewards over another incident in which he went off the track in the first part of qualifying. No further action was taken. It was found Hamilton didn’t gain an advantage because the lap time wasn’t counted.

Hamilton is the runaway championship leader with a 55-point advantage over second-place Bottas and 80 over Verstappen. If he can earn four more pole positions in the last seven races, he would be the first driver to 100 in F1 history.

Earlier in the third and final practice Saturday morning, Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds that was 0.776 better than his Mercedes teammate Bottas, who had been quickest in the first two sessions.