United Autosports

Brown talks up ‘awesome’ Alonso after maiden sports car tests

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Fernando Alonso’s preparations for his sports car racing debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona got off to an “awesome” start in a private LMP2 test at Motorland Aragon earlier this week with United Autosports.

Ahead of a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next June as part of his bid to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso will appear at Daytona in his first sports car racing appearance.

Alonso tested an LMP1 car with Toyota last Sunday in Bahrain before returning to Europe to test United Autosports’ Ligier JS P217 car that he will race at Daytona.

United Autosports team boss Zak Brown – also Alonso’s F1 boss at McLaren – talked up the Spaniard’s display in Friday’s FIA press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“He’s a true racer,” Brown said. “I wasn’t at his test in Bahrain so I’ve only spoken to him briefly about it. I think he found the way the cars, with their energy systems and the recovery work, are fascinating.

“I was at the test in LMP2 and as you would expect he was awesome, very focused and what we saw was the least amount of fall-off over a run that we’ve seen of any racing driver in our cars.

“So he is definitely on the top of his game right now.”

Alonso is set to continue his private testing program through the winter before appearing at the ‘Roar Before the Rolex 24’ test in early January at Daytona.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen takes pole at Brazilian GP

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has taken pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

It’s the second career pole for the Dutch driver, who beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by just 0.123 seconds.

Verstappen’s first pole was earlier this season at the Hungarian GP in August.

Six-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes will start from third position. The 2018 winner at Interlagos finished 0.191 seconds back.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon finished in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Hamilton was fastest in final practice earlier Saturday, 0.026 quicker than Verstappen.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday is the penultimate race of the season. Hamilton secured the season title, his sixth, in the previous race in the U.S.