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Pierre Gasly to make F1 debut from P15 on Malaysia grid

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Pierre Gasly will start his first Formula 1 race from 15th place on the grid in Malaysia after a solid showing for Toro Rosso at the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday.

Red Bull-backed youngster Gasly was confirmed to be making his grand prix debut earlier this week in place of Daniil Kvyat, who has been dropped due to poor form.

Gasly made an impressive start to qualifying by beating teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in Q1, and finished just 0.156 seconds off his time in Q2, taking P15 on the grid.

““I think today was positive and I’m happy – your first qualifying in Formula 1 is always a special moment and one I was really looking forward to,” Gasly said.

“I tried to give my best and I think we made really good progress between FP3 and qualifying. I felt comfortable in the car in Q1 and then, in Q2, I kept on learning while giving my all and I’d say we can be satisfied with the result.

“I now look forward to tomorrow, my first Formula 1 race and something I’ve been dreaming of since I was very young…! I expect it to be a really good experience and I hope to keep improving tomorrow as well.

“You never know what can happen with the weather here so, if the rain and tricky conditions do appear, I will welcome it as I felt confident in the wet in FP1 on Friday and I’m sure it will make it all even more exciting.”

The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2am ET on Sunday.

Kyle Busch happy with first stint: ‘Put me in the car, there’s excitement!’

AP Photo/Terry Renna
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 at Daytona debut of the “KB Show” was cut short by a strategy maneuver but still delivered drama and a positive result.

Kyle Busch got the No. 14 RCF GT3 Lexus back on the lead lap and back in contention for a GTD victory at Daytona International Speedway.

“It was good,” Kyle Busch said with a broad smile after a 42-minute stint. “Just, uh, shit, put me in the car, and there’s excitement around! Drove all my way back to the lead lap and everything.

“Overall, we’ve had a good experience and hell I only got one stint in, so I’m ready for more. Sign me up, coach!”

The two-time Cup champion was expected to drive for at least 90 minutes, but the first full-course caution of the race (with 19 hours and 16 minutes remaining) caused AIM Vasser Sullivan to change up its drive plan. Busch was called to the pits in favor of Parker Chase.

“With all the strategy and the way the wave-bys work here, it’s quite different than what we’re accustomed to (in NASCAR),” said Busch, who likely will drive longer now later in the race. “That wasn’t bad. To get ourselves back on the lead lap and back to a position where we can start scrapping again hopefully is what we needed.

“So I got one stint in, but I’m trying to save myself and (teammate) Jack (Hawksworth) for a little later.”

Busch climbed into the car shortly after 6 p.m. as the last of the No. 14’s four drivers. He complained a few times on his radio about traffic, which he said was his biggest challenge.

“There were a couple of instances we ran down a smaller car, and (it was) just mirror driving in front of us,” he said. “That was pretty bad. We lost probably 2 seconds on that. Overall, I guess that’s road racing.

The yellow flag was exactly what Busch’s team needed after being forced to start from the rear of the field when it missed qualifying because of an engine change. Hawksworth, who started the race, said the car was “quick in the wrong places and slow in the right places” after struggling with handling and speed in the first stint.

“I don’t feel we’re out of it,” Hawksworth said. “It’s a very long race. Still early days. We need to work on having speed for the end of the race. The position right now doesn’t really make any difference. We’ll need to find some performance at the end of the race to fight for the win.”