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Paul di Resta to make Rolex 24 debut with United Autosports

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Mercedes DTM driver and Williams Formula 1 reserve Paul di Resta will enter the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the first time in January with United Autosports.

One-time DTM champion di Resta raced in F1 full-time for four seasons before returning to the German touring car series in 2014, and is currently in contention for a racing return with Williams F1 for 2018.

Di Resta will get his first taste of sports car racing when he enters the Rolex 24 in January at Daytona International Speedway, joining United Autosports’ two-car effort.

“I’m really looking forward to racing at Daytona and with United Autosports. I’ve never done a 24-hour race and never raced a prototype so it’s all new to me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” di Resta said.

“Entering a 24-hour race is something I’ve looked at doing before and when asked, I jumped at the opportunity. The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is getting bigger every year, so it’s great to be part of it.

“I plan to do some testing ahead of the race to get integrated into the team and to get a shot at driving the car prior to heading to Daytona in January.”

Zak Brown, team owner and chairman of United Autosports added: “I’m pleased we have managed to pull together a deal for Paul to join the team at Daytona.

“Although he’s not driven our car before, he’s had plenty of racing experience in different categories so I’m confident he will have a good race and enjoy being with the team.”

Di Resta will race alongside Will Owen in one of United Autosports’ Ligier JS P217 cars, with Lando Norris and Philip Hanson also confirmed to be part of the team’s line-up.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).