The Boost Mobile Super Trucks season will officially end a round shorter than planned. On Monday, the Repco Supercars Championship confirmed the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 at Surfers Paradise has been cancelled for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initially scheduled for 3–5 December, the Gold Coast 500 had already been planned as the final round of both the Supercars and Super Trucks calendars. Due to the news, that role is now passed to Sydney Motorsport Park whose Sydney SuperNight will take place on 19–21 November as the trucks’ fourth and last race weekend in 2021.
“Given the evolving and unpredictable COVID situation, it has become increasingly challenging to stage a complex multi-faceted event on the streets of Surfers Paradise for tens of thousands of spectators this year,” stated Supercars CEO Sean Seamer. “We understand that our fans were looking forward to the season finale on the Gold Coast. To cancel the event for a second year is an incredibly difficult decision, but a necessary one.
“We thank the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland and the City of Gold Coast and Major Events Gold Coast for their ongoing support. We fully intend to return to the Surfers Paradise street circuit in 2022 and we are confident that everything is headed in the right direction for us to do so in spectacular style.”
After being called off in 2020, the race’s 2021 prospects were cast in doubt as COVID continued to impact Australia. Among the chief challenges was trying to set up a street circuit during a pandemic; although the Townsville 500, held on a street course in Reid Park, hosted the Supercars and trucks in July without much trouble, the logistics for Gold Coast were deemed far too difficult to pursue.
Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Alex Palou took back the lead of the points standings after winning the Grand Prix of Portland, now holding a twenty-five point gap to Patricio O’Ward.
Palou rebounded from being involved in an incident on the first lap, where he missed turn two as Felix Rosenqvist tapped the right rear tyre of Scott Dixon who was on the inside of Palou, forcing them all to run wide.
After pitting under caution and running on an alternate strategy, he had to fend off a charging Alexander Rossi during two late race restarts as Simon Pagenaud was tagged by his teammate Will Power on lap 86, and again when Oliver Askew spun in turn two as the race went back to green on lap 89. Both times Palou took advantage of an early start to catch Rossi off guard and build a gap that would not be beat en route to the Spaniard’s third victory of the year.
“We kept our heads down, we knew that the race was really long and I cannot believe it, we made it!” Palou said post-race.
“The guys made it, they just gave me the numbers and we just followed it. The strategy was amazing.”
Roman Bilinski took his third win of the 2021 GB3 Championship season in Race 3 at a sodden Oulton Park on Sunday.
Having given up two rounds’ experience of the car to his rivals, only joining Arden Motorsport from Donington Park onwards, replacing Frederick Lubin in the first instance during a spell of illness, then taking Alex Connor‘s seat from the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps round which saw him take his first win.
The Polish driver recently announced he would no longer be racing in the F4 British Championship, leaving Carlin and committing to the rest of the GB3 season with Arden, the team he ran with in British F4 in 2020.
His 2020 campaign saw him finish eighth in the final standings, while he sat 13th at the time of his departure in August.
Bilinski received a ten-second time penalty after Race 2 for gaining a position after exceeding track limits at Old Hall corner to get past Sebastian Alvarez into Cascades on Lap 2.
Luke Browning took his first GB3 Championship win at Oulton Park in controversial circumstances on Sunday, being reinstated into top spot on countback as the race was red-flagged late on.
The Fortec Motorsport man won the 2020 F4 British Championship, and has been a podium-finisher in ADAC and Italian F4 this season, but made his GB3 debut at the weekend.
He moved around the outside of Championship leader, and 2020 British F4 runner-up Zak O’Sullivan into Old Hall on the first lap, and held the lead until Lap 10, when Carlin‘s 16-year-old tried to take the lead around the outside into Hislop’s, a move which had caught Sebastian Alvarez out two laps earlier.
Alvarez’ attempted move on Roman Bilinski nearly resulted in the Hitech GP car collecting O’Sullivan’s team-mate Bryce Aron, but it was O’Sullivan who found himself in the tyres after going onto the damp grass and locking up.
He wasn’t the only title contender in strife. Fortec’s Roberto Faria challenged new team-mate Browning through Old Hall, making contact with the rear of Browning’s car after the pair took opposite lines into the first corner.
The Stadium Super Trucks‘ upcoming race weekend at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will have a little Norwegian flair. On Saturday, sports car racer Mads Siljehaug announced he will make his series début at the street circuit on 24–26 September, piloting a Crosley Brands truck. He will be the first Scandinavian to compete in SST.
“24-26. September this Norwegian ‘farmer’ will fly through the street in Long Beach with over 80.000 spectators,” posted Siljehaug on social media. “Forever grateful for this opportunity.. All thanks to @bolemastus (Crosley Brands CEO Bo LeMastus)!”
Siljehaug mainly competes in the Pirelli GT4 America and 24H GT Series, the former of which saw him finish fourth in 2020 SprintX Silver points alongside Marco Polo Motorsports team-mate Nicolai Elghanayan. Despite skipping two rounds that year, the duo scored three wins at Sonoma and a sweep at Road America. Eight races into 2021 (though they did not run the latest weekend at Watkins Glen), the Siljehaug/Elghanayan combo sits sixth in the Silver Drivers championship, while MPM is eighth in the Teams category, with a class podium in the second race at Sonoma where they finished third.
In the 24H GT’s GTX class, he drives for Reiter Engineering with Eike Angermayr and Horst Felbermaye Jr. The teamhas never finished lower than second in the division in 2021 and are third in the standings with three wins—Mugello, Paul Ricard, and Catalunya—in four starts.
After rising through the ranks in Norway, Siljehaug won the inaugural ADAC GT4 Germany championship in 2019 with Angermayr. He has also raced in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, where he and Reiter notched a runner-up class finish at Silverstone in 2018, and the GT4 European Series, scoring a third overall at Zandvoort in 2019.
The Lillehammer native is just the third driver of European nationality to race in SST, joining Anthony Gandon (French) and Max Papis (Italian). Representation from the continent is fairly rare, which is perhaps understandable as SST has never run a points race there (though the trucks participated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2015) and the COVID-19 pandemic would have greatly restricted any recent travel opportunities to the American-based series.
Daniel Ricciardo clinched a sensational win at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit in Italy. Lando Norris and Valtteri Bottas joined him on the podium in an action-packed race.
Ricciardo has struggled since the start of the season with his new team and it was finally redemption for the Australian to record the eighth win of his career and his first win for the McLaren F1 team.
This is the first win for the McLaren team after the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. The long wait has ended with a McLaren 1-2 on a day when the championship leaders took each other out after their first pit stop.
The race started under hot conditions with the air temperature at 28 degrees C and the track temperature at 43 degrees C at the “temple of speed”.
The Pirelli tyre choice for the race was the white-striped hard compound tyres (C2), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C3), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C4).
Martin Truex Jr. is good at Richmond Raceway. Two years after sweeping the NASCAR Cup Series races there, he led the final fifty-one laps in Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders to win his fourth race of the year and punch his ticket to the Round of 12.
Much like Xfinity Series race winner Noah Gragson earlier in the day, Truex started third while points leader Kyle Larson was on pole; Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Denny Hamlin began the night in second. Truex briefly enjoyed a strong start before it turned out to be too good as he was penalised for jumping at the line, forcing him to pass through pit road before rejoining. After six playoff drivers wrecked out in last week’s Darlington event, the streak continued when Kurt Busch spun and slammed into the turn one wall on lap 42.
At the front, Hamlin led all but four laps (Busch led four under competition caution) to win the first stage ahead of Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Larson, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Brad Keselowski, Truex, Kevin Harvick, and Aric Almirola. All but Chastain were playoff drivers.
The 148-lap Stage #2 ran completely green with Hamlin, Elliott, Truex, and Larson leading significant laps. JGR’s Christopher Bell also enjoyed some time in front during the green-flag pit cycle. During his stop, Elliott backed up under the belief that he was in a lengthy stop, but inadvertently destroyed his crew’s jack and consequently sinking him a lap down. By the green-checkered flag, Hamlin led a JGR 1–2–3 with Kyle Busch and Truex tailing. Larson, Logano, Bell, Chastain, Almirola, Alex Bowman, and Harvick. Bell and Chastain split the playoff racers.
Hamlin kicked off the final stage by continuing to lead. Six laps in, Bubba Wallace‘s brakes failed and he wrecked for what would be the segment’s only caution. As the race crossed the 100-to-go mark, drivers began pitting under green; Michael McDowell, who finished last in the playoff opener, continued to have postseason woes when he was slapped with a speeding penalty for a third time. Another pit cycle came with fifty laps left, during which Truex inherited the lead from Larson as he made his stop. Busch sped on pit road and received a penalty.
Fernando Alonso to start the Italian Grand Prix from tenth place on the grid, after strong performance in sprint qualifying, team-mate Esteban Ocon to start in twelfth.
After a disappointing Friday at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for the Alpine F1 Team, it was a much better Saturday. Alonso drove a strong sprint to finish in eleventh place after starting in thirteenth. The Spaniard made two places early on after overtaking Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly crashing out ahead.
Alonso was closing in on Lance stroll towards the end of the sprint, however there wasn’t enough laps for the veteran to do anything about the Canadian. The Spaniard will start Sunday’s race from tenth instead of eleventh, as sprint winner Valtteri Bottas will start from the back of the grid after taking an engine penalty.
Alonso enjoyed the sprint and is expecting the point positions on Sunday to be decided by small margins.
“We took two positions today and it means we start a little higher tomorrow so I am happy with that. I would have liked to have gained more, but it was difficult to follow closely here. If I was at home watching as a fan, then I would probably have enjoyed it because you get two days of racing. It’s going to be a race decided by small margins tomorrow, so we have to make sure our pit-stops and strategy are good.”
Lance Stroll will start the Italian Grand Prix from ninth place after a solid sprint qualifying at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team team-mate Sebastian Vettel to start eleventh.
After starting the sprint in twelfth, it was a good afternoon by Stroll who enjoyed a sprint long battle with Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez, in what was one of the highlights of the sprint event.
The pair battled hard but fairly, with Pérez eventually getting the better of the Canadian. The Mexican had initially gotten past Stroll but was forced to give the place back after running off the circuit. In the end Stroll held on to cross the line in tenth, just ahead of Fernando Alonso, the Canadian will start Sunday’s race from ninth however as sprint winner Valtteri Bottas will start from last after taking an engine penalty.
Stroll enjoyed the sprint and is looking forward to the full race on Sunday.
“That was a fun race today. It was not an easy decision to go for the soft tyre over the medium because, while it provides a better launch, degradation becomes a factor later on. We made a good start and gained some places in what was quite a tricky first chicane with all the tyre smoke and loose grass. I then had some good wheel-to-wheel racing with Checo [Perez] later on, too.
Antonio Giovinazzi continued his incredible sudden run of form, with a brilliant sprint qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix, whereas team-mate Robert Kubica had a Saturday to forget.
The Italian driver who is fighting for his Formula 1 career, will start Sunday’s race from seventh on the grid, after finishing eighth in Saturday’s sprint. Giovinazzi had an excellent start at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza after starting tenth, and quickly found himself in eighth after making his way past Sergio Pérez and with Pierre Gasly crashing out ahead.
The Italian’s aggressive start proved crucial, as from then on the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver had a relatively relaxed drive to the flag. Giovinazzi inherits a seventh place start for Sunday’s race as sprint winner Valtteri Bottas will start from the back of the grid after taking an engine penalty.
Giovinazzi is very happy with how Saturday went and is confident of repeating his performance on Sunday.
“I am really happy about today’s result, especially in front of our home fans, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We knew we had to be aggressive at the start and we did it, making up two places. We’ve given ourselves a good position to start tomorrow, now we have to finish the job and hopefully gain even a little more.
Scuderia Ferrari lock-out third row of the grid for home grand prix, in what was an excellent sprint qualifying for the team after a difficult morning in Italy.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr are set to start from fifth and sixth for the Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, after a well controlled sprint qualifying.
It was a strong sprint for Leclerc, the Monegasque driver made an excellent start to climb above team-mate Sainz into seventh, before being elevated into sixth when Pierre Gasly crashed out on the opening lap. From then on it was a cruise for Leclerc, who despite finishing the sprint in sixth, will start the main race from fifth with sprint winner Valtteri Bottas starting from last after taking an engine penalty.
It was a considerably better afternoon for Leclerc compared to his morning, after feeling unwell during free practice two and being monitored under medical supervision. Leclerc now has his eyes firmly set on the race and is hoping to put in a strong performance in front of the Tifosi.
“We had a good Sprint Qualifying and maximized our potential, finishing 6th and 7th. Due to Valtteri’s penalty, we will each move up a place and lock out the third row of the grid, which is the best we could have wished for. I expect the race to be a tough one, because our competitors ahead have had a strong pace all weekend. Our job will be to score as many points as possible, and if we have a perfect race, we can put some pressure on the four cars in front.
The Mclaren F1 Team to start from second and third at the Italian Grand Prix, after magical sprint qualifying for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.
Daniel Ricciardo will start the Italian Grand Prix from the front row alongside former team-mate Max Verstappen, after finishing third in the second trial of sprint qualifying. Ricciardo who started the sprint at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in fifth, made a perfect start and elevated himself up to third by the first corner.
Ricciardo was lucky to get through the first corner without a puncture, Pierre Gasly’s front wing made contact with Ricciardo’s rear, leading to an immediate retirement for the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver.
From then on it was a cruise for Ricciardo who inherits a second place start for Sunday’s race, with sprint winner Valtteri Bottas to start from last after taking an engine penalty. Ricciardo is very happy to be back at the front and is ready to convert Saturday’s performance into a strong haul of points on Sunday.
“It’s really nice to be up there. We had a good start, that was important, but I knew we could. Our starts have been great all year, so we had the potential. I tried to get Max [Verstappen] in Turn One. I had a really good run – I was able to brake quite late, but he also had a decent run into the turn, so I tried to hang on the outside and then I could see that I was running out of room, so I had to come out of it.
World championship leader Max Verstappen will start the Italian Grand Prix from pole position, after sprint qualifying winner Valtteri Bottas takes an engine penalty. Team-mate Sergio Pérez to start from eighth at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
As the second installment of sprint qualifying came to a close, Verstappen probably couldn’t believe his luck. The Dutchman finished second at Monza and collected an additional two world championship points, unlike Lewis Hamilton who received none. The world champion had a poor sprint and finished in fifth, meaning the British driver will start from fourth spot for Sunday’s race.
This means Verstappen who will start from pole with Bottas starting from the back after taking an engine penalty, goes into the race with a five point lead in the standings. The Dutchman is hoping for a clean race on Sunday and knows just how important it will be to make a gap quickly.
“To be on pole tomorrow at a track like this is a real positive for us, we had a good start and the race went better than expected. We scored a few championship points and it’s great to be starting at the front tomorrow. I was giving it my all to keep close to Valtteri today, but I still expect a tough race tomorrow as Lewis is starting in P4 and they have a bit more pace than us, we know we are slower than the Mercedes here.
“I’m hoping for another clean start tomorrow so I can create a bit of a gap at the beginning, because I will definitely need it later in the race. It’s going to be an interesting battle and we’ll see what happens, we’ll keep pushing and try to make the most out of it.”
How fitting is it that on the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, cars numbered #9 and #11 finished 1–2?
The #9 of Noah Gragson held off Justin Haley‘s #11 on a late restart with seven laps to go to win for the second straight race.
Despite his Darlington win the previous week, Gragson started third as Austin Cindric was on pole ahead of Harrison Burton. Although Cindric and A.J. Allmendinger, the top two in points, dominated the opening stage, Tommy Joe Martins stole the show on fresher tyres when he took the lead with five laps remaining. When it appeared Martins would score his maiden stage win, David Starr—who was on the verge of being lapped while battling a tight car—impeded his progress which enabled Allmendinger to generate enough momentum to overtake him coming to the finish. Martins settled for a still-best second ahead of Ty Gibbs, J.J. Yeley, Burton, Daniel Hemric, Gragson, Spencer Boyd, and Patrick Emerling.
Martins’ race would unravel two laps into Stage #2 due to a spin. Further accidents in the stage took out Jade Buford, C.J. McLaughlin, who was driving Mike Harmon’s #74 normally piloted by Bayley Currey, who in turn wrecked out while new JD Motorsports team-mate Landon Cassill retired with an ignition problem in Stage #3. Gibbs ran in front for much of the segment en route to the win. Burton, Gragson, Hemric, Cindric, Sam Mayer, Riley Herbst, Ryan Sieg, and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top ten.
Despite a 36-lap run under green that was mainly led by Burton, various wrecks would reduce the next green-flag stretches into the single-digit durations. After Martins suffered terminal damage in a crash, Gragson took the lead on the ensuing restart but additional accidents forced him to stay on the defensive for later resumptions. The final restart came with seven laps to go, and despite an effort by Haley, it was not enough as Gragson held him off for his second win of the year.
Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Alex Palou adds to his weekend of firsts, claiming his maiden NTT IndyCar Series pole position on his first trip to Portland International Raceway for the Grand Prix of Portland.
Palou was fastest in the early practice session even after bringing out a red flag, and was fastest in every segment of qualifying he participated in. After an engine failure and wreck in the past two races, Palou sets him self in the prime position to take his third win of the season.
Group one hit the track first, including the likes of Alexander Rossi, Romain Grosjean, Helio Castroneves and Patricio O’Ward. Marcus Ericsson was the fastest in the group, with Rossi and Graham Rahal right behind, while Grosjean and Castroneves missed out on the top six. Championship leader O’Ward narrowly escaped the session in sixth along with surprise advancements in Oliver Askew and Max Chilton.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was expected to compete in this group, but due to engine issues in the earlier practice session he did not participate as his team performed an engine change. He will start from the back of the field. IndyCar rookie Callum Ilott was also in this group, finishing eleventh for Juncos Hollinger Racing. He will start the race tomorrow in nineteenth.
Post session, race control announced that Grosjean impeded McLaughlin as he was setting up for his next flying lap. While both were outside of the spots to advance, Grosjean will now start twenty-first.