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Tim Marklund dies in accident

Snowmobile racer and entrepreneur Tim Marklund, who had started to dip his feet into the world of rally raid, died Saturday after being involved in an accident. According to a report from Piteå-Tidningen, he was killed at a crossing in Hortlax, Piteå. He was 32.

Marklund grew up in extreme sports, riding snowmobiles and dirt bikes in events like watercross and stunt performances. In 2013, he broke his back after a motocross crash ended with him landing flat on his body; despite initial fears of his career ending and losing the ability to walk, he was able to return to action after recovering for eight months.

In 2015, he founded Norrlands Industri och Konsult AB (Nikab), a consultation firm for industrial workers, and Maddecks AB, which builds sled decks for pickup trucks.

When the SxS Nordic Series was established by Mattias Ekström in late 2022, the Swede decided to enter the championship with fellow snowmobile veteran Oskar Andersson as navigator. Despite their inexperience, the duo finished runner-up in the inaugural championship to Pontus Fredricsson and third in the team standings.

Ekström and Marklund eventually teamed up for the World Rally-Raid Championship‘s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in late February and early March, where they drove Can-Am Mavericks in the T3 category for South Racing. Andersson had hoped to once again serve as Marklund’s co-driver but was snagged by visa problems and Dakar Rally veteran Alexey Kuzmich filled in.

Kyle Larson to race Spire truck at North Wilkesboro

With his Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Alex Bowman recovering from a fractured vertebra, Kyle Larson will take his place in the #7 Chevrolet Silverado RST of Spire Motorsports for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on 20 May.

Besides serving in relief duty, the start is intended to provide Larson with some track experience before the Cup Series’ NASCAR All-Star Race the following day.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to run the Truck race at North Wilkesboro next weekend with Spire Motorsports,” said Larson. “It’s a shame that Alex won’t be able to compete. We wish him a speedy recovery so he can return to the track soon. Since I’ve never raced at North Wilkesboro, I think it could be beneficial to get some additional laps in at the track. I’m looking forward to double duty All-Star weekend.”

Larson will make his first Truck start since the 2021 Bristol Dirt Race, where he crashed out for Niece Motorsports. Unlike in the Xfinity and Cup Series, he has never run a full Truck schedule, making at most four starts as a 20-year-old prospect in 2012. He has two Truck wins at Rockingham in 2013 and Eldora three years later.

In his main series, Larson is currently eighth in points with a pair of wins at Richmond and Martinsville. His Hendrick team-mates have all made starts in Spire’s #7, with William Byron winning in his lone race with them at Martinsville in 2022.

Christian Eckes leads through chaotic Darlington conclusion

Christian Eckes is the second driver to notch multiple NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series wins in 2023, though it took him having to sprint from the field and keep his distance multiple times as Friday’s race at Darlington Raceway was plagued by multiple wrecks in overtime.

Eckes set the tone early by winning Stage #1, and he and Corey Heim would dominate as they combined to lead all but ten laps. The former took the top spot on the ensuing restart on lap 132, from which he faced an onslaught of pressure from the likes of Stage #2 winner William Byron and Rajah Caruth.

As Byron tried to close in, Timmy Hill spun with two laps remaining to trigger overtime. Eckes’ McAnally-Hilgemann Racing team-mate Jake Garcia collided with Caruth on the first overtime attempt, setting up a second try.

Yet another accident occurred on take two when Grant Enfinger hit the wall in turn four, though the caution came out after Eckes had crossed the start/finish line to begin the final lap. As such, the race ended under yellow and Eckes secured his second win of 2023.

Interestingly, the victory also completes an unusual cycle of finishes for Eckes. In the five races between his win at Atlanta and the Darlington triumph, he alternated between crashing out and finishing thirtieth, or placing fifteenth.

Consistency is the Key: How Nick Cassidy Became Formula E’s New Title Favourite

There is absolutely no doubting that Nick Cassidy is the man of the moment in the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, following his stunning victory at the Monaco E-Prix. His win at the legendary Circuit de Monaco was not only emphatic but a sign of a driver who is now the title favourite, and comfortably so.

The images of Cassidy climbing out of the cockpit in Monaco, before standing on top of his Jaguar I-TYPE 6 will be replayed over and over again, with it being a power shot of how things have turned so dramatically for the Envision Racing driver this season. If recent Formula E history repeats itself then Cassidy will be the first ever Gen3 Formula E World Champion, with reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne having won at the Principality last season before claiming his crown.

Credit: LAT Images courtesy of FIA Formula E

Cassidy’s performance in Monaco was the epitome of what is required to be a World Champion, with the Kiwi having timed his charge to the front to absolute perfection. For the second race in a row, the Envision driver demonstrated a stunning understanding of knowing when to hit the front, with it almost appearing like he’s figured out the formula to being an FE winner this season.

The racing this season has been like nothing ever seen before in FE, with the drivers having completed the first half of the races this year whilst lapping several seconds slower than usual, in a bid to preserve energy. Almost like in the Tour de France, the lead has been constantly changing at near enough every corner, in an attempt to sit in the slipstream of the driver ahead.

It’s caused excitement, hundreds of overtakes and more often than not this season complete carnage, but it’s ultimately what has made FE so thrilling this campaign. With the field often being so compact, broken front wings have become a common sight, with Monaco having been no exception. Cassidy, though, has been able to glide through the field and lead without needing to drop a place, due to his race management having been a step ahead of the rest.

Carlos Sainz Admits Ferrari, “Struggle with race pace”, Following Poor Miami Showing

It wasn’t an easy Miami Grand Prix for Carlos Sainz Jr. and Scuderia Ferrari, as they lacked the pace to compete for the podium places.

Sainz started on the front row alongside Sergio Pérez, but the Spaniard was unable to challenge the Mexican and the RB19 in the first stint. Sainz explained that the team tried to allow him to undercut Fernando Alonso, who started third, but unfortunately, he came out of the pits into traffic and that pushing cost him crucial time.

The Spaniard went on to admit that Ferrari struggled with their race pace and that was evident with Sainz dropping all the way down to fifth falling behind Max Verstappen, Alonso and even George Russell in the struggling Mercedes. The Ferrari driver was also awarded a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

“It was a tough race for us. My first stint on the Medium was good, but we tried to undercut Fernando early and I had to push the Hards too much immediately after coming out of the pits in order to get through the traffic. I think we paid the price for that a bit, but in general, we clearly struggle with race pace. It’s frustrating, but we’ll keep working on a solution and I’m confident that we can progress as a team for the next races.”

Charles Leclerc: “We have to understand why we are so competitive in qualifying and off the pace in the race”

Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc failed to make an impression on the Miami GP finishing in seventh, the position he started the race in.

Hydro X Prix to run along 2.67-km course in Glenmuckloch

This weekend’s Hydro X Prix will take the Extreme E championship through 2.67 kilometres of the former Glenmuckloch coal mine in Scotland. The length is the shortest in series history, beating out the 2022 Energy X Prix‘s 2.9 km.

Despite the distance, Championship Driver Tamara Molinaro described it as “probably one of the most extreme courses we have ever had. It will be quite a challenge because in some places it is quite narrow so it is hard to overtake, and the drivers will have to use their creativity to get those overtaking opportunities.

“There are changes in the levels of grip, because there is grass, slimy gravel, and more rocky sections, forcing the drivers to change style at short notice. The weather is also going to be something that the drivers must really take into consideration. A lot of elevation changes will make it even more interesting, and I can’t wait to see what the course delivers this weekend.”

The course begins with a run into a righthand turn, from which the track runs through rock and water hazards. While the latter is evident via the race name, there is increased emphasis on water as the mine is intended to be converted into a green energy site powered by water and reservoirs.

Credit: Extreme E

The Continental Traction Challenge, or Super Sector, will run along a hairpin and include a jump. As usual, the team with the fastest combined time of their two drivers through the seciton will earn five points.

Honda forms Talon short course factory programme

Honda will add a short course division to its Honda Talon programme in 2023, announcing Tuesday the formation of Team Raceco Honda. The new outfit will field the #65 Honda Talon 1000R for Dave Mason Jr. in Championship Off-Road‘s Pro Stock SxS category.

The Talon will be a newcomer to COR, whose side-by-side classes are usually filled with Can-Ams, Polarises, and Yamahas; the Yamaha of Brock Heger won the 2022 Pro Stock SxS title. Much of its racing takes place in deserts, with Zach Sizelove racing one for the Honda Factory Off-Road Racing in SCORE International and desert events like the Mint 400. In 2022, Sizelove won SCORE’s Pro UTV NA class at the Baja 500 in a Talon 1–2 finish. Honda has also sold Talon crate engines for racing customers since November.

Jamie Campbell, whose brother Johnny Campbell has won the Baja 1000 eleven times on a bike, will serve as team manager. The operation is headquarted in Mason’s shop in Crandon, Wisconsin, near the Crandon International Raceway.

Credit: Honda

“For my entire thirty-plus-year career, starting with racing off-road motorcycles for American Honda in the mid-’90s and then moving to four wheels soon after, I’ve wanted to launch a project like this,” Campbell stated. “It’s a pleasure to be working with top-tier partners like Honda, Yokohama Tire and the Mason family, and to have support from eBay Motors. I look forward to professionally representing our stakeholders, and to showcasing the capabilities of the Honda Talon at the highest level of racing.”

Mason has extensive short course experience, currently racing in both the Midwestern COR and West Coast-based Great American Shortcourse, while also racing UTVs and buggies in SCORE. Much of his short course competition has come in Pro 2 trucks, finishing ninth in the 2022 COR standings while winning the 2021 GAS title.

Injuries sideline Manuel Lucchese for 2024 Dakar Rally

Manuel Lucchese had hoped to make his return to the Dakar Rally on a bike in 2024, but injuries he sustained in early April have forced him to set that aside.

“Surgeries are something you never get used to but having the right people around you really helps in these difficult moments,” wrote Lucchese. “My recovery will be very long meaning I won’t be able to race the next Dakar nor any other races until 2024. A summer of physiotherapy is in front of me to start walking again!”

Lucchese raced at Dakar on a bike four times in the 2010s starting in 2012. Mainly riding as a Malle Moto competitor, which entails racing without any assistance from crews, he finished forty-ninth overall in 2016 while his last start in 2017 saw a fifty-first overall and third in Malle Moto.

From 2018 onwards, he began focusing on being a co-driver in SSVs alongside Ahmed Alkuwari, whom he befriended after they collaborated on building rally raid bikes. After injuries and COVID-19 delayed the effort multiple times, the duo finally got to compete at Dakar together in 2023. Racing a Yamaha for X-raid Team in T3, they placed seventeenth in class with a best stage finish of seventh in the final leg.

He won the 2012 FIM Bajas World Cup for over 450cc bikes while also placing runner-up in his class in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Two years later, the Italian claimed the domestic Bajas title. From 2021 through 2023, he was the team manager for Yamaha’s Ténéré World Raid Team.

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Veloce Racing switches to red livery for Hydro X Prix

Veloce Racing‘s #5 will sport a new look for this weekend’s Hydro X Prix as they trade in green for red. On Wednesday, the team revealed their new livery to reflect sponsor E.ON.

“We can’t wait for the Hydro X Prix in Scotland and the car, complete with its new look E.ON colours, looks absolutely mega,” said team CEO Daniel Bailey. “The opening weekend of the Extreme E season in Saudi Arabia was one we’ll never forget and we’re looking forward to challenging for honours again this weekend.”

Since their inaugural season in 2021, Veloce’s Spark ODYSSEY 21 had featured a black base with green trim as both are the brand’s colours. More green was added to the 2022 car, most notably in the form of a diagonal stripe along the doors. E.ON became a team sponsor for the second season.

While E.ON is headquartered in Germany, its British subsidiary is one of the largest electricity companies in the United Kingdom; the Hydro X Prix therefore serves as its home race, set to take place in Scotland. Veloce driver Kevin Hansen had visited the race site in Glenmuckloch in March as part of the track reveal.

“We are hugely excited about our ongoing relationship with Veloce Racing and the car looks absolutely fantastic ahead of the Hydro X Prix in Scotland,” commented E.ON UK CEO Scott Somerville. “By working with Veloce we’re able to reach a huge number of people and champion both organisations’ shared values around essential topics like fighting the climate crisis and making even more progress towards equality and meaningful diversity.”

George Russell satisfied with fourth place in Miami, finishing ahead of Ferrari

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team’s George Russell equalled his best result of the season so far with a fourth place finish at the Miami Grand Prix, outperforming rival team Scuderia Ferrari in spite of a difficult qualifying. 

“That was a really satisfying race for us today. After the challenges in Qualifying, it felt like a more normal day for us. To finish P4 on merit and finish ahead of the Ferraris was the maximum we could have achieved. The battle with Carlos was really enjoyable. I made a good move that needed a lot of commitment as the track is so dirty off-line.”

Russell thanked team-mate Lewis Hamilton for allowing him to pass during the race, considering their opposite strategies– with Russell starting on mediums from sixth place, and Hamilton opting for hards from down in thirteenth. 

“Thanks to Lewis for letting me by too and enabling me to get on with my race as we were in different battles today. We’ve got a really good relationship and we only want what is best for the Team. That’s what we are working towards.” 

The team is aware of the car’s shortcomings, Russell added, and plan to introduce upgrades at the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. He hopes to see them build upon the success they found on race day in Miami, but realizes that there is still much to be done in order to catch up with frontrunners Red Bull Racing.

Skyler Howes continues recovery after Sonora crash, might avoid surgery

Skyler Howes entered the Sonora Rally as the defending winner, but left in a helicopter with his shoulder in a cast. On the plus side, his recovery has made plenty of progress in the two weeks since the race such that he might not have to go under the knife.

Howes’ rally abruptly ended in Stage #2 when he was riding along a thirty-kilometre straight filled with holes and ruts. His Husqvarna bike hit a deep compression that caused the rear end to kick up, briefly sending him airbourne as he approached a righthand corner. Unable to stop to complete the turn, he went straight into a three-foot drop and the ensuing landing threw him into a cactus. The impact recorded over twenty-seven g’s of force upon hitting the ground.

He suffered multiple fractures to the scapula, one of which was displaced by over a centimetre, while also tearing a rotator cuff and sustaining damage to his shoulder muscle.

Credit: Skyler Howes

“I came to a stop with the air knocked out of me and gurgled up a little blood, and when I finally caught a breath that’s when the pain set in on my shoulder,” wrote Howes. “Just goes to show at this speed even the tiniest little thing can have a massive impact. We take a lot of risk out there and sometimes you get bit.”

Sam Sunderland, Howes’ classmate in the World Rally-Raid Championship‘s RallyGP category and reigning champion, also crashed on the same straightaway and hurt his knee and wrists. The pair were airlifted back to the bivouac for further evaluation.

Fernando Alonso takes third place in Miami: “It’s been a fantastic start to our season”

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team’s Fernando Alonso secured his fourth podium of the season at the Miami Grand Prix after what he described as a “lonely” race, with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez far ahead and George Russell a comfortable distance behind in fourth.

Alonso started the race on the front row, but was unable to challenge Perez and his mighty RB19 for the lead. He held onto second place until lap fifteen, when Verstappen overtook for the position, having charged through the pack from ninth place. 

Though unable to compete with the pace of the Red Bulls, Alonso was satisfied with another solid third place finish. 

“I had a bit of a lonely afternoon out there, but I enjoyed my race. There was nothing I could really do against Max and Sergio but, happily, there was no pressure today from behind, so we’ll take this result.”

With an impressive streak of results– four third place finishes and one fourth– Alonso feels that the team is on track to claim a victory when the opportunity arises. 

ABT CUPRA’s Near Points Finish an ‘Important Next Step’

Thomas Biermaier, Team Principal of the ABT CUPRA Formula E Team was left feeling very proud of the Kempten-based team following Saturday’s Monaco E-Prix, with Nico Müller having come agonisingly close to back-to-back points finishes.

The team’s first points finish of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Berlin has seemingly given them a new sense of belief, following their challenging comeback to the all-electric series so far. ABT CUPRA clearly entered the Circuit de Monaco with newfound confidence, which Müller displayed during the race. Whilst Müller and Robin Frijns both qualified badly, the Swiss driver did remarkably well to fight through the field and into the top ten, completely on merit.

He was looking set to finish ninth or tenth as he started the penultimate lap, where he was then hit into the barrier on the outside of Sainte Devote by Sam Bird. The impact resulted in Müller having to retire instantly, to the misery of him and the entire team. Frijns was unfortunately not on hand to capitalise, with the Dutchman having finished thirteenth.

It was a gutting end to the race for ABT CUPRA, who are at least trying to focus on the positives from Saturday. That includes Biermaier, who recognised that Müller’s fight through the field was “an important next step for us in our comeback”.

“We were on a good way today to finish in the points under our own steam and even from a rear grid position – this is an important next step for us in our comeback. My thanks go to the whole team who do a fantastic job again every weekend.

Nico Müller Refuses to Let Late Retirement ‘Get Us Down’

Nico Müller was in an understandably defiant mood following Saturday’s Monaco E-Prix, with the Swiss driver having come incredibly close to claiming points at a second consecutive race.

Since Berlin, Müller has turned a significant corner, with the ABT CUPRA Formula E Team driver having carried his momentum into the Circuit de Monaco. Whilst qualifying wasn’t great, the Swiss driver worked his way through the field from seventeenth, into the points places. He was looking set to finish either ninth or tenth as he started the penultimate lap, where his race took a heartbreaking turn.

Sam Bird dived up the inside of Müller as they entered the first corner, with the ABT CUPRA driver having been forced into the barrier and out of the race as a result. Bird was awarded a five-second time penalty for the incident; however, it didn’t change the fact that Müller was so close to another points finish.

He was understandably devastated to have been taken out given how big a points finish in Monaco would’ve been to the team; however, he remained full of spirit and determined to not let the late retirement “get us down”.

“We definitely deserved points today and were also very close, but unfortunately a competitor obviously had other plans. But we’re not letting that get us down. It was a great race day with lots of fans and it was fun to drive the new GEN3 car here in Monaco.”

Mahindra’s Frederic Bertrand Highlights Importance of ‘Starting Further up the Grid’

It was another weekend to forget for Mahindra Racing at the iconic Monaco E-Prix, as the Indian manufacturer endured another point-less weekend.

Mahindra are certainly enduring a troubling spell of form, with the side having scored just one-point from the last five races. There was some hope of a points finish at the Circuit de Monaco, though, as Oliver Rowland made up seven places in the opening two laps. The Briton flew into sixth early on; however, multiple collisions saw him decide to retire from the race after suffering from pain in his hand. Thankfully, an X-Ray showed that he hadn’t broken any bones.

For Lucas Di Grassi, his miserable run of form continued, with the Brazilian having failed to score a point for the eighth race in a row after finishing twelfth. His sole points finish this season remains as his Mexico City podium, all the way back in January. To add to the team’s disappointment, they slipped to tenth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Rowland and Di Grassi both proved that the team do have a car that can perform in the race; however, they’re currently unable to qualify well enough to take advantage of it. With that in mind, Team Principal Frederic Bertrand has stressed the importance of qualifying “further up the grid”, so that they can be amongst the points much easier.

“Oliver had such a fantastic start, passing multiple cars in the opening laps, so it is frustrating that he ended up having to retire the car, but of course it is much more important that he gets his hand looked at immediately. Lucas also had a good race, he made up places to finish 13th, but the late safety car ruined any chance of us making up any more positions to score those points we are aiming for.