27/08/2012

Weekend Result Roundup

World Endurance Championship (WEC)
Result: Chandhok 7th (in class & overall, 6 points)

Karun Chandhok was in action at the six hours of Silverstone with JRM Racing. He drove the car during qualifying and placed it in P7, a position they seem to have made their own this season. Post qualifying Karun said:

"Today we were even closer to the front of the field and there was only a hairs breadth between ourselves, Strakka and Rebellion. This is a big step forward over the previous races where we have been a lot further back. We could have gone even faster – I did a 1:46.4 yesterday and I was up on my first two sectors, but traffic in the last corner cost me some time. Although qualifying for a six hour race isn't the be-all and end-all, it would have been nice to show our true form. All the same we can be relatively satisfied with today, particularly given we missed the earlier session. It's pretty hopeful for tomorrow".

Teammate Peter Dumbreck started the race for JRM and there was disaster straight away when he was tapped into a spin at the first corner, dropping the car down to P20 overall. However he fought back amazingly well and retook P7 just before he handed the car over to Karun.

Karun did a solid job in the car for his three hours. By the halfway point of the race Karun was in P5! Unfortunately the Indian had a spin just before he handed over to third teammate David Brabham. That spin put the car back in P7, where they would eventually finish.

Here are the updated standings:

Drivers World Championship (8th-13th):
8=) Ryan Dalziel (34.5 pts)
8=) Enzo Potolicchio (34.5)
9=) Peter Dumbreck (28.5)
9=) David Brabham (28.5)
9=) Karun Chandhok (28.5)
10=) Andrea Belicchi (26.5)
10=) Harold Primat (26.5)
11=) Danny Watts (23)
11=) Jonny Kane (23)
11=) Nick Leventis (23)
12=) Luís Pérez Companc (21)
12=) Pierre Kaffer (21)
12=) Soheil Ayari (21)
13) Stéphane Sarrazin (18.5)

LMP1 trophy standings:
Note: Although JRM were 7th in LMP1; the teams in 1st, 2nd & 3rd are manufacturers (Audi & Toyota) and therefore not part of the LMP1 trophy. This means JRM score 12 points for 4th place.

1) Rebellion Racing (112 points)
2) Strakka Racing (75)
3) JRM (75)
4) Pescarolo Team (25)
5) OAK Racing (8)

Post-race Karun said: 

"We've definitely moved on from the last WEC event we did in Spa. The speed is better compared to the rest of the privateers – I was able to match the pace of the Strakka and Rebellion for most of my stints. Then at the end unfortunately I was going into Copse and had to go on the marbles to get past a GT car and lost grip and spun. It's looking a lot more positive for Brazil and with a three week gap between here and Interlagos we can really look at everything and work out how to get everything coming together. It was also really nice to meet Tim and Etienne at the event and have some home cheer!"

Formula Renault 3.5

Race One Result: Bianchi 1st (25 points)
Race Two Result: Bianchi 3rd (15 points)

Jules Bianchi was also in action at Silverstone as Formula Renault 3.5 was a support race to the World Endurance Championship.

It was a fantastic weekend for the French driver! He qualified 4th for the first race which turned out to be one of the most chaotic races i have ever seen. It started under dry conditions with threatening skies. The rain came early on, very heavily! So heavily in fact that NINE cars went off track at the same corner while still on dry tyres.

(A tonne of cars off the track in the wet conditions, click to enlarge)

Conditions got so bad that the race was red flagged, Jules kept his car on track in the madness though and found himself P2.

(Jules in P2, just before the red flag was thrown, click to enlarge)

When the race was restarted, Jules immediately put the race leader, Will Stevens, under pressure - and Will cracked; losing control of his car in the wet conditions and handing Jules the lead! From then on it was just a case of staying on track and Jules managed to take the win; a thoroughly deserved win too! He said: 

"I made a very good start by moving from fourth into second. Then things became tricky. Kevin was the first to run into difficulties. When he went off the track, I immediately asked my team to let me come in and switch to wets, and it was the right decision. The rest of the race was every bit as difficult, and the visibility was awful. It's an important victory in terms of the championship".

Jules continued his solid pace by grabbing pole for race two. Unfortunately he slipped down the order at the start of the race and settled into P4. For the rest of the race Jules had to defend from behind and he did a good job of that, managing to keep his position. On the penultimate lap of the race the leader, Marco Sørensen, suffered a puncture, causing retirement. Jules would benefit from this by finishing P3. He said:

"It's always a bit disappointing to finish third after starting the race from pole. Victory was possible, but I just didn't get into the right rhythm at the start of the race. It was pretty intense between me and Robin [Frijns]. He defended his position strongly, but he ended up losing out and dropped two places in one hit. Congratulations to Sam Bird – he's a rival I know I need to watch until the end. The end of the season will be very close. Between Robin, Sam and me, whoever makes the first mistake will pay a heavy price".

So, an eventful weekend all-in-all! To come away with a double podium is a great result and things have tightened up in the championship battle:

Drivers' Championship (1st-4th):
1) Robin Frijns (131 pts)
2) Sam Bird (126)
3) Jules Bianchi (125)
4) Nick Yelloly (92)

Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup
Race One Result: Engineer 16th (5 points)
Race Two Result: Engineer 10th (11 points)

Shahaan qualified in 16th position for the first race of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring. The drivers were met with very wet conditions for the race but the Indian driver made sure he finished the race and ended up in P16, not a top ten finish as he would have been hoping for.

However, Shahaan did get back into the top ten in race two. Starting P10 and finishing P10, a solid job and a hefty amount of points too. This is how the standings have changed:

Drivers' championship (10th-15th):
10) Sandy Stuvik (99 pts)
11) Alex Riberas (97)
12) Gabriel Casagrande (95)
13) Shahaan Engineer (90)
14) Meindert van Buuren, Jr. (87)
15) Pierre Gasly (78)

Other
Sailesh Bolisetti took part, as a guest driver, in the Volkswagen Polo Cup this weekend. It was nice to see him back in the series that pretty much launched his international career by gifting him a place in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup.

Race One Result: Bolisetti 2nd
Race Two Result: Bolisetti 4th 3rd*

Interesting results for Sailesh. We knew he'd be near the top given his international experience, but he has also been away from the series for a while so just how near the top would remain a mystery.

He qualified 3rd for race one and 7th for race two, so to finish 2nd & 4th (now 3rd*) shows improvement in both races from his starting position - a good effort. In actual fact he could have done better but he went the wrong way with setup initially. It was corrected eventually, but did that mistake cost him some positions?

*EDIT: Since this was published, Ajay Kini, the guy who won race two, has been handed a 20s penalty for contact with another car. This promotes Sailesh into P3! It's a double podium for him, fantastic effort!

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