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The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is a Formula 1 race that takes place at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy. Here are some key details about the event:

  1. Circuit: The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, commonly known as Imola Circuit or Imola Racing Circuit, is located in the town of Imola in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. It has a length of 4.909 kilometers (3.050 miles) and features a total of 19 turns.

  2. Race History: The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix made its debut on the Formula 1 calendar in 2020 as a result of the revised schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race returned to Imola after a 14-year absence, previously known as the San Marino Grand Prix.

  3. Track Characteristics: The Imola Circuit is known for its challenging and technical layout, with a mix of high-speed straights and tight, twisty sections. It offers limited overtaking opportunities, putting a premium on qualifying and strategic race decisions.

  4. Weather Conditions: The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix takes place in the spring, typically in late April or early May. Weather conditions in the region can vary, ranging from cool and wet to mild and dry. It adds an element of unpredictability to the race.

McLaren’s Andrea Stella: “The team have reset and are ready to go again in Imola”

The McLaren F1 Team head to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend looking to rebound from their worst performance of the season last time out in Miami where Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri could only finish seventeenth and nineteenth respectively.

The Azerbaijan-Miami Grand Prix double header saw two very different results for McLaren, with both drivers scoring good results at the Baku City Circuit before being nowhere near them in the United States.

The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari has been good to McLaren in recent years, with Norris scoring top three finishes in the past two seasons, but Andrea Stella, the Team Principal of the Woking-based squad, knows a repeat in 2023 will be extremely difficult to achieve.

Stella says that after the horror result in Miami, it is important for the team to rebound and contend once more for points, particularly if they want to fulfil their ambition to return to the very front of the field.

“After a positive race in Baku, we had a difficult event in Miami in which we scored no points,” Stella said.  “The team have reset and are ready to go again in Imola to kickstart the triple header ahead of us.

Lando Norris: “The result in Miami wasn’t what we had hoped for”

After the disappointment of the Miami Grand Prix where neither Lando Norris nor Oscar Piastri were close to scoring points, the McLaren F1 Team head to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix looking to turn around their fortunes.

Norris has many good memories of the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari having secured back to back podium finishes at the track, but he knows the team has a lot of work to do if they are to make it a hat trick, particularly on the back of their toughest weekend of the year so far in the United States.

Nevertheless, Norris is excited to get back to racing at Imola in the first of three races on consecutive weekends, the first triple header of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

“I’m looking forward to racing in Imola and getting the triple header underway,” said Norris.  “It’s a fast technical track which can make it difficult to read. However, it’s got some iconic features, which make it a fun one to drive.

“The result in Miami wasn’t what we had hoped for, but we’ve done well at this track historically with back-to-back podiums in the last two years. Whilst we’re not in that fight this year just yet, the circuit holds some good memories.

Wheels on 2024 W2RC Silly Season continue to turn

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Sébastien Loeb are the two biggest stars of rally raid today, but both might be headed for greener pastures in 2024.

Speaking with MARCA, Al-Attiyah revealed his contract with Toyota expires on 1 September, the final day of the World Rally-Raid Championship‘s next race Desafío Ruta 40. While Toyota will certainly want to keep him in their ranks and he intends to launch negotiations for such a possibility, he also noted he expects to be in talks with two other brands.

Already a two-time winner of the Dakar Rally and FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies champion he signed with Toyota in 2016, Al-Attiyah quickly turned the Toyota Hilux into one of the most successful rally raid vehicles of all time. Save for a retirement in his first try in 2017, he has never finished worse than second at Dakar with victories in 2019, 2022, and 2023, while also claiming the final World Cup title followed by the inaugural World Rally-Raid Championship in 2022. He currently leads the W2RC standings after winning the Sonora Rally.

“My contract ends after Argentina, and it will be there when we will talk with Toyota and with two other manufacturers,” Al-Attiyah told MARCA. “We finish the contract in August and it will be then when we will look at it.”

Loeb sits second behind Al-Attiyah. He has raced for Prodrive and their rally raid factory team Bahrain Raid Xtreme since 2021, stringing back-to-back runner-up finishes at Dakar which included winning seven stages with six in a row at the 2023 edition.

Where it’s All Gone Wrong for Pascal Wehrlein

Having led the 2022/23 FIA Formula E World Championship for over three months, Pascal Wehrlein faces the seven biggest races of his Formula E career, with the German being at serious risk of seeing his title charge fall agonisingly short.

Back at the end of January when the Diriyah double-header took place, Wehrlein was quickly labelled as the title favourite, with it being incredibly easy to see why. After finishing second at the season-opener in Mexico City, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team driver claimed a famous double victory in Diriyah, launching him to the top of the Drivers’ Championship.

Wehrlein was rapid in qualifying at the start of the season, with him having progressed to the duels in two of the opening three races. As a result, he was in a prime position to capitalise on Porsche’s remarkable energy efficiency, which at the season was far superior over the other manufacturers. He made winning look embarrassingly easy, to the point where Porsche looked unbeatable.

Credit: Simon Galloway courtesy of FIA Formula E

He was capable of breezing his way into the lead whilst still preserving energy, something which saw him and Jake Dennis clear-off into the distance in Mexico City and Diriyah. Following Diriyah, the German boasted a six-point lead in the standings, thanks to having scored sixty-eight points from just the opening three races. In the following six races, he’s scored just thirty-three, highlighting just how much his progress has halted since the opening few rounds.

With the exception of Cape Town and the second race in Berlin, Wehrlein’s qualifying performances have been woeful since his two wins in Saudi Arabia, with Porsche seemingly being unable to extract one lap performance from the 99X Electric Gen3. His qualifying struggles initially weren’t too big a concern, with Porsche’s energy efficiency advantage still resulting in the twenty-eight year-old breezing through the field.

Nitro Rallycross rebrands to Nitrocross

Nitro Rallycross was originally born to be the next American rallycross series, but evolved to the point where the racing seems to more resemble more a cross between its original discipline and short course off-road racing. This growing deviation has become so apparent that the series has rebranded to Nitrocross for its third season, which begins in June.

“I love rallycross, with its action-packed sprint racing and door-to-door action. That core hasn’t changed. But we can’t be relegated to the rules historically in place for rallycross,” explained series head Travis Pastrana. “The Nitro Circus full-send mentality is also a big part of our DNA. We wanted to make sure that attitude came through loud and clear.”

Even from the inaugural season in 2021, Nitro RX had been attached to tracks that might be considered unconventional for rallycross. Glen Helen Raceway in California, for example, is an all-dirt track mainly known as a site for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and Great American Shortcourse. Although the series’ brief stay in Europe to kick off the 2022/23 calendar took place at rallycross sites like Lydden Hill and Strängnäs, it quickly reverted to short course-based tracks upon returning to North America; even the paved Circuit Trois-Rivières in Canada ended up a single-surface track covered in a snow, as was the Calgary Stampede.

Nitrocross’ home base at MidAmerica Outdoors is one of the more obvious examples. Located in Jay, Oklahoma, MAO’s portfolio almost exclusively consists of short course properties like GAS, the Ultra4 USA rockcrawling series, and the MAO Racing SXS and Truck Championship Series. MAO is also the site of Pastrana’s “dream track”, and will host the 2023/24 season opener on 10/11 June as part of the facility’s Visions Off-Road weekend.

Much of this shift can be attributed to action sports-savvy parent company Thrill One Sports & Entertainment, who also owns Street League Skateboarding. In July 2022, Thrill One was acquired by equity firms overseen by UFC president Dana White and skateboarder Rob Dyrdek.

Auto Club Raceway at Pomona

Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, also known as Pomona Raceway, is a renowned drag racing venue located in Pomona, California, USA. It is considered one of the most iconic and historic tracks in the world of drag racing. Here's some information about Auto Club Raceway at Pomona:

  1. History: Auto Club Raceway at Pomona has a rich history that dates back to 1950 when it first opened. It has been a staple in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) circuit and has hosted countless drag racing events over the years.

  2. Track Layout: The drag strip at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona is a quarter-mile (1,320 feet) long, which is the standard length for NHRA-sanctioned events. The track is made of concrete and offers excellent traction for high-speed racing.

  3. NHRA Winternationals and NHRA Finals: Auto Club Raceway at Pomona is the home of two prestigious NHRA events—the NHRA Winternationals and the NHRA Finals. The NHRA Winternationals kick off the NHRA season in February, while the NHRA Finals mark the culmination of the season in November.

  4. Iconic Moments: Pomona Raceway has witnessed many historic and memorable moments in drag racing. It has seen legendary drivers, such as John Force, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, and Shirley Muldowney, achieve significant victories and set records on its hallowed ground.

Josh Williams joins AM Racing for North Wilkesboro Trucks

Josh Williams is best known as a NASCAR Xfinity Series regular, after being a championship contender in the ARCA Menards Series and even dabbling in the Cup Series. However, his Craftsman Truck Series experience is relatively scant with just one career start.

That will change on Saturday as he enters the Truck race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, driving the #22 Ford F-150 for AM Racing.

Williams’ lone Truck start came at Martinsville in 2014, where he raced for his own team and placed thirty-fourth after his brakes failed 82 laps in. The one-off came while he was racing in ARCA, coming off a fifth-place points finish the previous year. Successful 2015 and 2016 campaigns led to him graduating directly to the Xfinity Series, where he has been a mainstay since.

He is currently racing the full Xfinity season for DGM Racing, where he sits twenty-second in points with a best finish of tenth at Talladega. Williams had been suspended for COTA after parking his car in the middle of the Atlanta race in March, drawing him national attention and even new sponsors.

In 2022, Williams completed the NASCAR national series trifecta by running three Cup races for Live Fast Motorsports.

TRANSCRIPT: TCF Interview with Sara Price

On 12 May, The Checkered Flag sat down with Sara Price to discuss her Sonora Rally National Car/UTV win, which clinched free entry into the 2024 Dakar Rally, and her very eventful two weeks of racing in Mexico that included Sonora, the Mexican 1000, and Dos Mares 500.

The full transcript of the interview is available below. Some text has been altered from the actual dialogue to improve readability and remove verbal pauses.

An article covering the interview can be read here.


TCF: It’s been about two weeks since Sonora and a lot has happened since then, but has it fully sunk in yet that you’re going to be racing at Dakar soon?

SP: Oh yeah, it’s fully sunken in and as you guys know, making the commitment is a huge one itself, but now it’s putting the pieces of the puzzle together in order for us to make it happen. Either which way, I’ll break the bank account to make it happen, so we’re going.

William Byron capitalises on late wreck, wins Goodyear 400

Ross Chastain just can’t avoid drama.

The NASCAR Cup Series‘ Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway went from being a goodday for Chastain, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Larson, to a badday. The trio combined to lead all but 28 of 293 laps, only for Truex to crash while racing Chastain before the latter wrecked with Larson as they battled for first.

Truex won the pole and dominated the first half as he claimed the first stage and led 145 laps, only for his day to come to an end on the final lap of Stage #2. He had been pursuing Chastain for much of said lap before Truex got into his left-rear bumper in turn three. Chastain bounced off the wall and collided with Truex, causing the latter to spin down the track.

While he avoided damage, Truex never led again as he was forced to make up lost ground. He succeeded for the most part as he was running fifth with fourteen laps to go but was turned in turn one after driving up into Joey Logano on the ensuing restart and triggering an eight-car stack-up.

“There was plenty of room there, but he just came off the wall and hit me,” said Truex of Chastain. “Like I said, knocked the tow out in the right front. Pretty crappy from there and then on that restart I guess I just got real tight and I don’t even know who I squeezed into the wall, but I apologise to them. Probably my fault, just got real tight and couldn’t stay down the track.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah plans FIA President campaign

Nasser Al-Attiyah has accomplished much in his racing career as a five-time Dakar Rally winner, the reigning World Rally-Raid Champion, and sixteen Middle East Rally crowns. In the near future, he hopes to add another major title to his name as he intends to run for FIA President when the next election arrives. He revealed his plans in an interview with Al Sharq last Sunday.

“I am qualified for this global position because of my great experience in the field of cars,” said Al-Attiyah. “I am determined to do so, and I have the desire to achieve this dream of holding such a prestigious role. I am honoured to fulfill this dream for my dear country, Qatar, with the support of those responsible for sports and its development, and there will be special planning for this nomination.”

The presidency has a four-year term that can be renewed two more times. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who dominated the Middle East Rally Championship with fourteen titles before Al-Attiyah’s own breakout, was elected to the post in 2021. Thus, the next scheduled election will be in 2025 while Sulayem is permitted to run for re-election.

Al-Attiyah is by far the most decorated driver in Qatar’s motorsport history and one of the greatest in off-road racing as a whole. Besides the aforementioned MERC successes, he also won the Production World Rally Championship in 2006 and has a pair of WRC-2 titles. In rallying’s sister discipline rally raid, he boasts five FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cups including the final edition, and his momentum carried over into its successor World Rally-Raid Championship in 2022 as he claimed the inaugural trophy alongside his fourth Dakar.

His W2RC title defence has been strong so far as he dominated Dakar and won the most recent race at the Sonora Rally to hold the points lead; even his retirement at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge had seen him win every stage before crashing out. His 2023 has also seen him win in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.

Veloce becomes first multi-time winner of 2023 in Hydro X Prix 2

Attrition and low visibility due to rain and mud were key issues in Sunday’s Hydro X Prix, but Veloce Racing was not fazed in the slightest as Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor won their second heat and led all four laps of the Grand Final to secure their second win of the Extreme E season. While it has only been four races, Veloce is already the first team in 2023 with multiple victories after taking the season opener.

In their new red livery, Veloce held off a late charge from McLaren XE, who had to settle for second in their first final of the season. Although they came up short of victory, runner-up was still a strong rebound for McLaren after being among the many victims of the heat races; during the first lap of Heat #1 in Qualifying #2, Emma Gilmour drifted into the hay bales while racing Timo Scheider who also crashed into them as did Klara Andersson while trying to avoid them.

“We had a tough weekend, much tougher than Saudi Arabia,” said Hansen. “We didn’t really have anything on our side yesterday, so to finally get into the Grand Final and have all our support on GridPlay really helped.

“It was nice after Friday, with our double P1s in Free Practice, to come back and actually get on top. It was a huge effort from the team to pull through in such difficult conditions. They gave me full rein for an hour before the Final and quick decisions on set-up and everything. It was really cool to pull it off.”

Chip Ganassi Racing joined Veloce and McLaren on the podium as the last finisher. ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team and Rosberg X Racing had wrecked together, with RXR’s Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky describing the race as a “mud-blinded final with wipers out of action”.

INTERVIEW: Sara Price breaks down 2024 Dakar Rally ticket, Mexico triple

Sara Price has raced nearly everything off-road, ranging from motocross bikes at the X Games to the Spark ODYSSEY 21 of Extreme E. In January 2024, she will add a Can-Am Maverick X3 at the Dakar Rally to that portfolio after clinching free admission to the race by winning the Sonora Rally‘s National Car/UTV class in late April.

While that alone is already an achievement, it was also the first race in a very busy two weeks for her in Mexican desert as she immediately followed with victory in her category at the NORRA Mexican 1000 and a runner-up at the Dos Mares 500. By the end of the stretch, she had run over three thousand miles (4,828 km) in the same X3 despite not having time to catch her breath or practice.

The Checkered Flag had the opportunity to speak with Price on Friday about her “triple duty” and qualifying for Dakar in just her first year as a Can-Am factory driver.

“It was crazy. It was 3,000 miles too, not kilometres, which is crazy. I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, we went that far,'” Price remarked. “It’s been absolutely amazing and I leave on Monday again to go back down to Mexico to go do Trail of Missions with all the factory Can-Am racers, so I’m going to hop back in my race car that I just raced 3,000 miles in and we’re about to go do it all again just for fun this time, so no racing.”

Winning Sonora

She arrived at Sonora as one of nine UTV entries in National Car/UTV, which is separate from the FIA-sanctioned World Rally-Raid Championship that oversees such vehicles in T3 and T4. She began the rally on a strong note by winning the Prologue and went on be the category’s only multi-time stage victor as she also took Stages #2 and #3. Even in legs she did not win, she still finished second twice while the last leg was overshadowed by a thirty-two-minute penalty after otherwise setting the second-best time of the day.

Kyle Larson hangs on in wild Darlington Xfinity finish

The last time Kyle Larson raced in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington Raceway, he was in a thrilling finish as last-lap contact with Sheldon Creed allowed Noah Gragson to sneak by for the win. Eight months later, his duel with John Hunter Nemechek also caused the two to tangle coming to the finish; this time, however, as Nemechek slid into the inside wall, Larson pulled away to score the win.

The two were the class of the field as they combined to lead 103 of 147 laps and split the first two stage wins. Nemechek, who comprised 57 of those led circuits, held first for much of the final segment including the final restart with seven laps to go.

Larson closed in on Nemechek on the last lap before getting side by side on the backstretch. Slight contact between the two entering turn three caused Larson to brush the wall. Exiting the final corner, Larson was sandwiched between Nemechek and the barrier, and a bump with the latter caused him to ricochet back into Nemechek which shot him into the inside retaining wall.

After re-firing his damaged car, Nemechek crossed the line in fifth.

“Just disappointed a little bit from the standpoint of how that ended up there,” said Nemechek. “Overall, we gave it a shot and still had a shot to win off of turn four. Fast car, top five to show for it when it probably should have been Victory Lane or second.”

X44 triumphs in Hydro X Prix 1 after Andretti penalty

After falling short of the podium in both Desert X Prix races to begin their Extreme E championship defence, X44 was on the top step of the first Hydro X Prix Saturday.

Andretti XE led the way in the Grand Final for Race #1, but a switch bay violation in which Timmy Hansen traded off with Catie Munnings before the latter departed too early resulted in a fifteen-second penalty. With Andretti beating X44 to the finish by six seconds, the time docked was enough for X44 to leapfrog them for the win.

Even if circumstantial due to the infraction, Cristina Gutiérrez still enjoys her third career Extreme E win while Fraser McConnell notches his first.

“It just goes to show that prioritising opportunity and inclusivity doesn’t have to come at the cost of performance, and we’re proud to be showing what’s possible here in Extreme E,” said McConnell. “We didn’t have the best starting position—second from the outside—so I knew I was going to have to do something a little risky to get in front which I managed. I went a little wide and they got the better run, but that’s racing. We were able to stay close enough to capitalise on their penalty. A win is always a win and very happy to do this one for X44.”

Carl Cox Motorsport scored their maiden podium in just their second race weekend, taking advantage of Ganassi driver RJ Anderson‘s flat tyre. Rosberg X Racing failed to finish after Johan Kristoffersson rolled the car.