MRTI: Franzoni scores Pro Mazda Race 2 pole in wet qualifying

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – A wet qualifying session for Race 2 of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at Watkins Glen saw Victor Franzoni again score pole, his second of the weekend, giving him a weekend sweep of qualifying. It also sees him increase his championship lead over Martin to nine entering the final race of the season.

Carlos Cunha qualified second, while Franzoni’s title rival Anthony Martin qualified third, provisionally. Nikita Lastochkin and Kris Wright completed the top five.

Things went from bad to worse for Martin ahead of tomorrow’s race, as he was later assessed a two-spot grid penalty for running the checkered flag. That sees him drop back to fifth on the official grid as Lastochkin and Wright were moved forward.

The wet qualifying session was problematic for a handful of drivers, especially in the early minutes. Martin brushed the wall in Turn 11 and Sting Ray Robb spun as well, but both drivers were able to continue. However, TJ Fischer spun exiting the bus stop and impacted the wall, bringing out a red flag before any drivers were able to record flying laps. Fischer was not credited with a timed lap and will start 13th.

Also of note: Robert Megennis will not participate in Race 2. Megennis was involved in a Race 1 crash with teammate Lastochkin that took both cars out of the race.

Qualifying results are below. Race 2 begins at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday morning.

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NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.