Hulkenberg keen to regroup in Austria after missed Baku chance

Getty Images
1 Comment

Nico Hulkenberg has set his sights on bouncing back at next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix after a disappointing retirement at the last Formula 1 race in Baku, spurning a chance for a top-five finish.

Hulkenberg was running on-track with eventual race winner Daniel Ricciardo and podium finisher Lance Stroll in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix before making an error and clipping the wall, causing damage to his Renault car that forced him to retire.

The wasted opportunity was frustrating for Hulkenberg given the unpredictable nature of the race in Baku that saw Renault leave as the only team not to score points.

“It was a difficult weekend. It was a crazy race, one of those you get every five years,” Hulkenberg said.

“During the red flag we were sixth, things were going well and we were making up places with people crashing, I was just trying to stay alive and out of trouble.

“Unfortunately, lap two after the red flag, I misjudged the turning into turn seven and hit the inside wall and broke the steering arm.

“That was the end of my race which was disappointing, we surely would have had a couple of points. That is racing, however, and we will regroup and go again in Austria.”

Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix saw Hulkenberg enjoy one of his strongest F1 qualifying displays in recent memory as he qualified third and started second, only to retire late on due to a brake problem.

“It’s a short track with not too many corners. It’s important not to get a false impression as it’s still very challenging and technical,” Hulkenberg said, previewing the Red Bull Ring circuit.

“It has a lot of elevation – up and down – and some tricky corners to match. On paper, it looks easy but actually to get a good lap time it isn’t so simple. It’s about balance, there are some medium speed corners so it will be important to find that and get a decent lap time.

“Last year was fantastic to be on the front row. I managed to string a good lap together in Q3. It was just a shame not to follow that up in the race!”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
0 Comments

Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.