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Mitch Evans: “I’m keen to build on the positive momentum” in Berlin

Mitch Evans is aiming to maintain the momentum from the past couple of rounds of the 2021-22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season this weekend, with the New Zealander looking for another good haul of points at the Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit.

The Jaguar TCS Racing driver took a double victory in the Rome E-Prix and followed that up with a second place in the Monaco E-Prix, with Evans only nine points behind championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne heading into this weekends Berlin E-Prix.

Evans says that despite the good run of results, there are always things to improve on, and he is keen to do just that this weekend in Germany.

“Monaco was another strong weekend for me and I’m delighted I could bring home another trophy for the team,” said Evans. “That said, there is always room for improvement and I’m keen to build on the positive momentum.

“I secured a podium in Berlin last year and with only nine points between myself and the top of the driver standings, I’m determined to bring home another points haul this weekend.”

Spire Motorsports partners with UACC for Ukrainian civil defence aid

As international support for Ukraine continues with the country now seventy-seven days into its defence from Russian invasion, Spire Motorsports has joined the increasing pool of aid. On Tuesday, the NASCAR Cup Series team announced a partnership with the Ukranian American Coordinating Council (UACC), which will paint the #77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in blue and orange for Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway. Josh Bilicki will drive the car.

The livery’s base resembles the Ukrainian flag with blue atop a yellow band, but also features the pattern—albeit rotated—running from the nose to rear. Besides the colours, the #77 features the phrase “Slava Ukraini” (“Glory to Ukraine”) along the quarter panels. Underneath the slogan are the cities Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kherson, and Mykolaiv, all of which are locations of major battles in the conflict.

The UACC is a nonprofit founded in 1965 by Ukrainian World War II veterans who immigrated to the United States with the goal of supporting Ukrainian Americans. Following Russia’s invasion, the UACC shifted towards helping Ukrainian civil defence by providing helmets and body armour. Receiving the blessing of the U.S. State Department, the UACC acquired such equipment through direct purchases and donations from parties like police and state defence forces.

“In 1991 when Ukraine became independent, many believed that their dreams had finally come to fruition, showing those in Ukraine the path to true democracy,” said UACC Vice President Oksana Tscherepenko. “Now, as we watch the occupiers threaten Ukraine’s right to freedom and democracy, it becomes obvious that this dream is not fully realized and our men, women, children and elderly are being killed just for protecting their fundamental rights to democracy. Many civilians are defending themselves and Ukraine with little training and without proper gear or protection.

“After receiving a license from the U.S. State Department, the UACC purchased gear and received incredibly generous donations from individuals, law enforcement agencies, and state national guards, allowing us to ship an abundance of ballistic gear including helmets, vests and plates. One hundred percent of that gear is delivered to civilians in Ukraine who need it the most.”

Slinger Speedway gets dirty with SODA

Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin is dubbed the “World’s Fastest Quarter Mile Oval” thanks to its length and 33° banking in the turns. Since its opening in 1948, the track has been one of the premier venues for grassroots and occasionally national stock car racing, with the Slinger Nationals being a major super late model event while NASCAR Cup Series champions Matt Kenseth and Alan Kulwicki made their names here before moving up.

This past weekend, the traditionally paved oval was the site of… off-road racing?

6/7 May saw Slinger host the season opener of the Short-course Off-road Drivers Association (SODA). Founded in 2021, it assumed the identity of the series that served as the hub for Midwestern short course racing from the 1970s to 1990s with notable drivers like longtime NASCAR faces Brendan Gaughan and Jimmie Johnson. After racing exclusively at Gravity Park USA in the inaugural year, the series branched out to add dates at Slinger and Outagamie Speedway & County Fair. The Slinger round was originally scheduled for 29/30 April before being postponed a week due to weather.

But why Slinger? Track owner and promoter Todd Thelen recalled the interest in holding an off-road race began circa 2014/15 with a stunt by his friend Garret Loehrer.

“This all started about eight years ago when a friend brought out his off-road race truck out at one of our SlamFest (Eve of Destruction) events to go over a jump,” Thelen told The Checkered Flag. “Of course, he went way further than anticipated and landed halfway up turn two and almost hit the wall, the place went nuts. After that event we started talking about some day doing an off-road race.


“The Safety Car was unfortunately timed for us” – Williams’ Dave Robson

Williams Racing added two more points to their 2022 collection, after Alex Albon finished in ninth-place at the Miami Grand Prix. Nicholas Latifi finished fourteenth at the Miami International Autodrome.

Albon recovered brilliantly from his eighteenth-place starting position, to cross the line initially in tenth before being promoted to ninth following a late five-second time penalty for Fernando Alonso.

Latifi on the other hand struggled, the Canadian suffered some issues with his FW44 early-on resulting in a miserable afternoon for the Williams driver.

Both Albon and Latifi suffered slightly from the race’s late Safety Car. Latifi started the race on the hard compound with the aim of running deep until a safety car was released. The Canadian pitted several laps before Lando Norris‘ and Pierre Gasly’s collison, meaning starting on the hards hadn’t paid off.

Under the safety car, Albon was unfortunate to drop behind Esteban Ocon who made a late pit-stop whilst the time lost was reduced.

37 comprise NWES grid for 2022

Save for the pandemic-impacted 2021, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series grid continues to grow with each season. For this weekend’s season opener at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo, thirty-seven cars will comprise the field across the EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 levels; the thirty-seven is a series record, trumping the thirty for 2021.

As with any Silly Season, 2022 sees new faces in new places, perhaps most notably in three-time champion Alon Day moving from CAAL Racing to PK Carsport, with whom he won the 2020 title. Some drivers graduate from EuroNASCAR 2 to PRO like Tobias Dauenhauer and reigning champion Martin Doubek.

Others have never raced in the Euro Series before. Such débutants include sports car veteran Lucas Luhr, YouTube personality Alberto Naska, touring car regulars Christoph Lenz and Riccardo Romagnoli, European Abarth Trophy star Cosimo Barberini, and rally driver Yannick Panagiotis who worked as co-driver to NWES CEO Jérôme Galpin at the Dakar Rally in January. Reigning champion Loris Hezemans will not defend his title as he is in America competing in the Cup Series, but his younger brother Liam is racing in EuroNASCAR 2 for the first time as a team-mate to Doubek.

European Truck Racing Championship outfit Buggyra ZM Racing will join NWES and field a pair of newcomers in sisters Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc. David Vršecký, a twice champion of the truck series, is scheduled to race part-time for the team, as is Gustas Grinbergas, who helped Cup Series driver Cody Ware win the 2019/20 Asian Le Mans Series. Racingfuel Motorsport is also a new organisation with Luhr.

Eleven cars are in the Club Challenge.

EuroNASCAR

NumberTeamEuroNASCAR PRO driverEuroNASCAR 2 driverCar
1Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi MotorsportThomas KrasonisAndrea Tronconi*Ford Mustang
2Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi MotorsportFederico MontiKasparas Vingilis*EuroNASCAR FJ
3RDV CompetitionFrédéric GabillonUlysse DelsauxEuroNASCAR FJ
4PanasportPanagiotis YannickYannick Panagiotis*Ford Mustang
5Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi MotorsportPatrick LemariéVladimiros TziortzisEuroNASCAR FJ
7Hendriks MotorsportMartin DoubekMartin DoubekFord Mustang
8Racers MotorsportDario CasoPaolo ValeriChevrolet Camaro
14SpeedhouseMarc GoossensArianna Casoli #Ford Mustang
16MK1 Racing – RaceArt TechnologyCappelli Claudio RemigioAlfredo de MatteoShadow DNM8
17MK1 Racing – RaceArt TechnologyManfre BernardoFrancesco Garisto*Shadow DNM8
18Race Art TechnologyGiorgio MaggiToyota Camry
23Team BleekemolenHenri TuomaalaLeevi LintukantoChevrolet Camaro
24PK CarsportAlon DayMalcharek ChristianChevrolet Camaro
25Not Only MotorsportPaolo Maria SilvestriniAlina Loibnegger #Chevrolet Camaro
27Double VNicolo RoccaPatrick Schober*Ford Mustang
29Buggyra ZM RacingAliyyah KolocAliyyah Koloc*#Ford Mustang
33SpeedhouseCosimo BarberiniPaul Jouffreau*Ford Mustang
36Not Only MotorsportVittorio GhirelliChevrolet Camaro
38Buggyra ZM RacingGustas GrinbergasYasmeen Koloc*#Ford Mustang
40SpeedhouseMatthias HauerFord Mustang
44Team BleekemolenJonne RautjarviJanne Koikkalainen*Chevrolet Camaro
46Marko Stipp MotorsportRomain IannettaMiguel GomesChevrolet Camaro
47Racers MotorsportLeonardo ColavitaLeonardo ColavitaChevrolet Camaro
48Marko Stipp MotorsportYevgen SokolovskiyYevgen SokolovskiyChevrolet Camaro
50Hendriks MotorsportTobias DauenhauerLiam Hezemans*Ford Mustang
54CAAL RacingGianmarco ErcoliLuli del Castello*#Chevrolet Camaro
55The Club MotorsportFabrizio ArmettaChevrolet Camaro
56CAAL RacingGil LinsterFord Mustang
58Racingfuel MotorsportLucas LuhrChristoph Lenz*Chevrolet Camaro
64SpeedhouseAlexander GraffEric QuintalFord Mustang
65The Club MotorsportRiccardo RomagnoliRoberto BenedettiChevrolet Camaro
69Team BleekemolenSebastiaan BleekemolenMelvin de GrootFord Mustang
72Team BleekemolenIan Eric WadénMichael BleekemolenFord Mustang
88CAAL RacingMassimiliano LanzaAlberto Naska*Chevrolet Camaro
89Not Only MotorsportDavide DallaraAlberto PanebiancoChevrolet Camaro
90Not Only MotorsportNicolò GabossiAdvait DeodharChevrolet Camaro
94Racingfuel MotorsportBruno StaubRoger Mettler*Chevrolet Camaro
Italics – Junior Trophy
Bold – Challenger Trophy
Underline – Legend Trophy
# – Lady Trophy
* – Rookie Trophy

Club Challenge

NumberTeamDriverCar
2Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi MotorsportMonti FedericoEuroNASCAR FJ
25Not Only MotorsportJulian VanheelenChevrolet Camaro
33SpeedhousePaul JouffreauChevrolet Camaro
38Buggyra ZM RacingJosef MachacekFord Mustang
40SpeedhouseNeo LambertFord Mustang
46Marko Stipp MotorsportAndreas KuchelbacherChevrolet Camaro
48Marko Stipp MotorsportGordon BarnesChevrolet Camaro
58Racingfuel MotorsportChristoph LenzChevrolet Camaro
64SpeedhouseEric QuintalFord Mustang
89Not Only MotorsportEivind BrynildsenChevrolet Camaro
94Racingfuel MotorsportRoger MettlerChevrolet Camaro

“Leaving Miami with more points is really special” – Alex Albon

Alex Albon continued his impressive start to life at Williams Racing, after finishing in ninth-place at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. On the other side of the garage, Nicholas Latifi continued to struggle and languished in fourteenth.

Albon performed valiantly at the Miami International Autodrome despite having started in eighteenth-place. The Thai driver worked his way through the field and did well to capitalise on others misfortunes.

The Williams driver was in a battle at the end of the race with Esteban Ocon, who was holding up the pack as his team-mate ahead had a five-second penalty.

Albon initially crossed the line in tenth but was promoted to ninth, hours after the race had finished. Fernando Alonso was awarded a second, five-second time penalty for gaining an advantage off the circuit.

Albon was very happy with his second points finish of the season after finding “the pace that I knew we had”.

“Credit to Esteban for driving a strong race” – Alpine’s Laurent Rossi

BWT Alpine F1 Team CEO, Laurent Rossi, was delighted with the performance of Esteban Ocon following the Miami Grand Prix. The Frenchman was the only Alpine to finish in the points at the Miami International Autodrome, after team-mate Fernando Alonso received two, five-second time penalties.

Ocon recovered brilliantly in Miami to finish in eighth-place, having started from the pit-lane following a big crash in Free Practice 3. The Frenchman ran deep into the race on hard tyres, hoping that a late safety car would occur allowing him to get a cheap pit-stop.

The Alpine driver got just that, after Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly collided on the exit of Turn 7. The crash came as a result though of Alonso dive-bombing Gasly at the start of the same lap, resulting in damage for the Scuderia AlphaTauri driver.

Alonso was awarded a five-second penalty for the collision, which he accepted full blame for. This penalty meant that despite crossing the line in eighth, he was demoted to ninth.

Rossi spoke after the race, about how pleased he was with what he thought was a double-points finish for the team.

Esteban Ocon: “We need to keep that momentum” – after finishing eighth in Miami

Esteban Ocon was the sole BWT Alpine F1 Team driver to finish the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in the points, despite having started from the pit-lane.

Ocon drove one of the best races of his Formula 1 career so far, after finishing eighth at the Miami International Autodrome. The Frenchman who missed Qualifying following a heavy crash in Free Practice 3, started the race on the hard compound and ran deep into the fifty-seven lap race.

Ocon was one of a few drivers to capitalise on the race’s late safety car, which was brought out as a result of Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly colliding on the exit of Turn 7. With the safety car out, Ocon lost very little time during his pit-stop, putting him in ninth spot by the time the safety car period ended.

Initially Ocon crossed the line in ninth but inherited eighth-place, after Fernando Alonso was awarded a five-second time penalty for a collision with Gasly.

The Alpine driver was delighted with his performance and is hoping the team can “keep that momentum”.

Alfa Romeo’s Frédéric Vasseur: “Bringing home six points is a positive result”

Frédéric Vasseur admits the disappointment that Valtteri Bottas finished seventh rather than fifth in the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday shows just how far the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN have come in 2022 compared to in recent FIA Formula 1 World Championship seasons.

Bottas was on course for a top five only to make a mistake late in the race whilst defending from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, which meant the Finn ended seventh at the chequered flag.

Despite losing four points due to the mistake, Vasseur, the Team Principal at Alfa Romeo, says the six points gained will go a long way towards the Constructors’ Championship in 2022, and they know there is still improvements to come with the C42-Ferrari this season.

“It shows how much progress we have made this year that we’re actually a bit disappointed with P7 – which is a really good result in itself,” said Vasseur. “We were really strong out there today and we ran most of the race comfortably in P5, just behind the two Red Bulls and Ferraris: the timing of the Safety Car really affected us, nullifying Valtteri’s advantage over the two Mercedes’.

“Still, bringing home six points is a positive result and another gain for our championship standings, but we know we can improve even more.”

Valtteri Bottas: “We showed we can fight on a par with everyone in the midfield”

Valtteri Bottas was content with his seventh-place finish in Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix, but he knows that for the timing of the safety car and a small mistake, it could easily have been fifth.

The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN driver had been inside the top five all afternoon long at the Miami International Autodrome and was keeping a good distance to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

However, the crash between Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris brought out the safety car and bunched up the field, with Russell taking on fresh tyres as well.  Bottas attempted to defend his position but ran offline, clipping the wall and losing enough time to fall behind both Mercedes drivers.

“I am happy with our performance, it was a strong race although, in the end, we were penalised by the timing of the Safety Car,” said Bottas. “I was managing the gap over Lewis [Hamilton] and P5 would have been possible, but once the race was neutralised, the gap was gone and George [Russell] was on fresh tyres behind us, so keeping this place would have been difficult.

“I was trying to brake late to defend my position, overshot the braking point slightly and sadly the nature of the track here means that if you go off the line a little and into the dirt, you’re off and you hit the wall. I was lucky nothing broke on the car and I could continue.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We were third-quickest on the road, this is where we are”

Toto Wolff believed his Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team maximised the points on offer to them in Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton ending fifth and sixth respectively.

From twelfth on the grid, Russell started on the hard compound tyre and took his pit stop behind the safety car late in the race, and with the chance of running fresher tyres was able to jump both Valtteri Bottas (after the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN driver made a mistake) and team-mate Hamilton to end the day fifth.

Hamilton survived first corner contact with Fernando Alonso and was running sixth at the safety car restart, and although he fell behind Russell, he too was able to capitalise on Bottas’ mistake to end the day in sixth.

Wolff says both Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari are currently ahead of them in the pecking order in 2022, and they will be doing a lot of research before the Spanish Grand Prix later this month to understand why the pace they showed on Friday did not translate into a strong weekend at the Miami International Autodrome.

“We maximised our points today – with George’s starting position, we could afford to roll the dice on a long stint on the Hard and it worked out for him with the safety car, while it was unfortunate for Lewis,” said Wolff.

George Russell: “We just don’t have the key to unlock this performance”

George Russell says there are mixed feelings to take away from the Miami Grand Prix despite climbing from twelfth on the grid to finish fifth on Sunday afternoon.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver believes the disappointment comes from the failure to convert the pace the W13 appeared to have on Friday when it matters, with a lowly grid slot meaning a recovery drive through the field rather than a battle for the podium.

Russell knows the team still have work to do in order to unlock the true performance of their 2022 car, but the failure to truly understand the problems makes for a potential long job ahead.

“It’s mixed feelings to be honest because obviously based on where we were yesterday, today was a good result but if you’d told me after Friday we’d finish P5 and P6 and that far behind P1, I’d have been pretty disappointed,” said Russell.

“We have a fast race car in there, we just don’t have the key to unlock this performance. And we don’t really understand why that is so there’s work to do.”

TRANSCRIPT: TCF Interview with Amy Lerner

The Checkered Flag got to speak with Amy Lerner, off-road racer and director of the film One More Win, on 29 April. The documentary profiles the legendary career of Rod Hall and his aspirations of running the 2017 SCORE International Baja 1000, which would be his fiftieth start dating back to the inaugural event in 1967.

Provided below is the full transcript of the interview. Some text has been altered from the original dialogue to improve readability and remove verbal pauses, though an audio version is available at the bottom.

An article summarising the interview can be read here.

Transcript

TCF: How did you get to know the Halls, and where, when, and how did the idea to create a documentary come to mind?

AL: I first met Rod Hall about a dozen years ago. I had read about this thing called the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, or the Gazelle Rally, in the newspaper, which was a nine-day, all-women’s navigation rally, and it just kind of sounded fun. It wasn’t anything that I had ever done. I had never driven off-road and I was having a moment, and decided to see if I could go and compete.






INTERVIEW: Amy Lerner documents Rod Hall’s quest for One More Win

“There might be people that do fifty Baja 1000s, but not the first fifty. You never win enough. Always one more win.” — Rod Hall

Rod Hall is a venerated name in the desert racing community. He raced in the legendary SCORE International Baja 1000 from the inaugural event in 1967 to the fiftieth in 2017, a feat that will never be matched, winning the overall in 1969 and his class twenty-five times. Getting to #50 was no easy task, especially as he was in his late seventies and managing Parkinson’s disease, yet he aimed to achieve this virtually impossible goal until it finally became a reality.

Hall’s efforts to run the fiftieth Baja 1000, as well as the final stages of his racing career, were the topic of Amy Lerner‘s documentary One More Win, which was formally released in January. It was a years-long production that profiles Hall’s life on and off the track, featuring interviews with family members and following his participation in races like the NORRA Mexican 1000 and two Baja 1000s. Lerner, an off-road driver herself, even teamed up with Hall’s granddaughter Shelby to compete in the 2017 Mint 400 in his legendary 1968 Ford Bronco, a segment that coincides with Hall’s health battle.

One More Win is a poignant story of overcoming difficult odds to accomplish one’s dreams, yet still remaining grounded in reality. It is easy to paint the protagonist of any film as an infallible hero and Hall might have even appeared that way throughout his driving days, but he is human like everyone else with his own challenges physically and mentally.

The Checkered Flag had the opportunity to speak with Lerner on the film, her relationship with Hall and his family, and her own racing career.





Ferrari ‘Can’t be Completely Happy’ with Miami Result Despite Double Podium – Binotto

Mattia Binotto admits there is some disappointment for Scuderia Ferrari to take away from the inaugural Miami Grand Prix despite both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. finishing on the podium on Sunday.

Leclerc started from pole position with Sainz alongside him on the grid, but Max Verstappen was able to pass both of them before the end of lap nine to take over the lead, a position he would hold on to until the chequered flag.

Binotto, the Team Principal at Ferrari, says both drivers drove as well as they could have done during Sunday’s race at the Miami International Autodrome, but the pace of Oracle Red Bull Racing’s RB18 was just that little bit stronger than the pace of their F1-75, something they will look into addressing in the upcoming races.

“We can’t be completely happy with today’s race because, although the F1-75 was competitive, our rivals were a few tenths per lap quicker than us,” said Binotto.  

“If you consider how many points we are taking home from here, we can’t be too disappointed, given that we are leading both championships, but it’s clear we now need to respond. We are keen to get the job done and there are still a lot of races to go.


RaceScene.com