Super-DRS leads to Super Pole for Super German!

With such a mixed-up grid, and so many strong teams and drivers, the question of who will win is unknown. Perhaps Kobayashi could get his first podium, and maybe Rosberg will get that long-awaited first win.

F2
It was a fascinating F2 race. I was unable to make it out to Silverstone, but I was watching the live timing and can’t wait for it to be shown on Motors TV. Tuscher fell back quickly from pole, and Zanella took the lead with Marinescu and Bacheta behind. As the race went on, these three pulled a small gap over the drivers behind, including Dino Zamparelli who was fifth for all but the final lap when his car got a problem. In the closing laps, Marinescu began to struggle but Bacheta picked up the pace. First he took the Romanian, and on the penultimate lap he overtook Zanella for the lead. It was close, but he maintained his position for the win. So far, the Brit has a 100% record of scoring points in F2, and he also leads the championship.
Marinescu took fastest lap but fell to fourth, with Alex Fontana third making it two Swiss drivers on the podium. Daniel McKenzie did excellently and finished fifth after Zamparelli fell back. Tuscher ended up sixth with rookie Hector Hurst seventh. Zamparelli finished ninth, with Iranian Kourosh Khani taking the final point.

Auto GP
Sergey Sirotkin took his debut pole position at Marrakech, but stalled briefly on the line to lose position. Pal Varhaug took the lead, and maintained it until his pit stop when he stalled the car. The team got it going again, but he was only able to finish third. Championship leader Adrian Quaife-Hobbs didn’t make the best start and struggled on his tyres. As soon as possible, he pitted for fresh tyres and then he improved. He managed several slick overtakes, before getting behind Sergio Campana – then running second. After Varhaug’s muddled stop, this became the race for the win. Quaife-Hobbs had many opportunities, but he wasn’t taking any risks and I’m sure he was satisfied with second. Campana took his first win.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs still leads the championship with 95 points, while Varhaug is now 24 points behind in second. Sirotkin came home sixth and has 60 points, while Chris van der Drift has 49 in fourth. Both Manor MP boys are about equal, and de Jong is fifth with 43 points. Race winner Campana is sixth with 39.

Tomorrow, the same series will be on track once again. Can Rosberg win his first race? Will it be a double for Bacheta on home turf? And what adventures await in the reversed-grid Auto GP? There’s also BTCC and WTCC action.

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Varhaug wins second Auto GP race

Auto GP
The second race of the weekend got underway with a great race from winner Pal Varhaug. Virtuosi UK made a great pit stop to get him into the lead from his start in seventh. It was a close race throughout until lap 10, with 0.3s between van der Drift, Spavone, Campana and Guerin. Guerin took polesitter Campana out as he locked his brakes into the first chicane. With Spavone taking the escape road, it was all the opportunity Adrian Quaife-Hobbs needed to take third. Van der Drift finished 3.5s behind Varhaug, and 1s ahead of yesterday’s race winner. Sergey Sirotkin barely lost out to Quaife-Hobbs, the Russian making a magnificent comeback after his stall from race 1 left him at the back on the grid and taking fastest lap once again.

Adrian and Pal are tied for points at the top of the championship, though in the under-21 championship it is the Brit who leads as van der Drift is over 21. The Kiwi sits in third ahead of his Manor MP teammate de Jong, who retired from race 2. Fifth is Facu Regalia, and Sirotkin is sixth. In the team’s championship, Manor MP are leading due to the consistency of their drivers – both Super Nova and Virtuosi UK have only score points from one driver.

GP3
There is a two-day GP3 test in Barcelona starting tomorrow, and as well as the signed drivers the teams are testing a number of potentials. At Lotus GP, Carlos Sainz Jr [taking part in British F3 this year]; at Status, Kotaro Sakurai [British F3 National class champion] and Tom Blomqvist [FRUK 2010 champion]; Maxim Zimin will be at Jenzer; Antonio Spavone and Kevin Ceccon [Auto GP champion] at Trident; Antonio Felix da Costa and Will Buller [Fourth in British F3] at Carlin; and Tamas Pal Kiss and John Wartique at Atech CRS.

Quaife-Hobbs takes Auto GP victory

Auto GP
The first race of the season began with 16-year-old Sergey Sirotkin stalling on the grid. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs maintained his lead, but was closely folowed by Sergio Campana. Despite being held up by the delayed Sirotkin after his pit stop, Quaife-Hobbs was still able to hold position over Campana to take a close win. Behind them, Pal Varhaug found himself in third where the Norwegian maintained a decent gap between himself and those on either side. Chris van der Drift began well for Manor MP, but a mistake coming out of Parabolica saw him lose places. Though he fought back, taking as late a pit stop as possible, he was only able to finish sixth. His teammate Daniel de Jong gained several positions to finish fourth on the road.
However, the MLR71 team were discovered after the race to have changed the front tyres instead of the rear tyres. All teams had been instructed to change the rear tyres at Monza. This meant Campana and Michele La Rosa both received 1-minute penalties, promoting Varhaug to second and de Jong to third. Campana was demoted to tenth.
Sirotkin took the point for fastest lap, which doesn’t really make up for his stall but it’s forgivable with the Russian’s limited experience. Quaife-Hobbs leads the championship with 26 points – 25 for his win, and one for pole. While we don’t know if he will be driving in the next round, it seems highly likely considering his brilliant performance today. Incredibly, the Brit had never done a standing start in the car before today, and it was also his first ever pit stop.
The second race is at 10:45 GMT tomorrow, where Antonio Spavone starts from pole having finished eighth after Campana’s penalty. Former F2 driver Max Snegirev starts next to him.

GP3
Ocean Racing Technology announced their first GP3 drivers today. Spanish driver Carmen Jorda, who participated in some of the 2010 Indy Lights series and has taken podiums in the F3 Open Copa F306/300, will join Irish driver Robert Cregan. Cregan was driving in V8 supercars last year, and he came second in the UAE GT Championship for the GTC classification. He last drove in single-seaters back in 2006 for the FFord 1600 Walter Hayes Trophy.

FR 3.5
Giovanni Venturini will take the final space on the grid in the series, partnering Nicolay Martsenko. Initially Daniel Zampieri had been suggsted at the team. Venturini comes from Auto GP, where he finished ninth with two wins and one pole position.

Alguersuari joins the BBC

F1
Dumped Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari has a new job. His voice will soon be broadcast throughout the UK on BBC Radio 5 Live as he becomes the station’s expert F1 analyst – a role previously held by Sky’s Anthony Davidson. Alguersuari has a clear desire to return to F1, and this will give him every opportunity to stay around the paddock; he will be karting throughout the year to help keep up his physical training, and no doubt he will also do some DJing.
Whilst it’s not the best place to be in, it could be much worse for the Spaniard – who became the youngest ever to start an F1 race in 2009. Hopefully he will adapt well to radio, and soon be back on track. He was regarded by fans as a great prospect, and at only 21 he has a good chance of a return. Meanwhile, I will look forward to hearing him for the first race of the season.

Marussia also presented good news today, as their car passed the final crash test. It’s been a hard winter, but now they are ready for Melbourne.

GP2
It was a choppy 2011 for new Ocean Racing signing Jon Lancaster. The Brit participated in the F2 round at Magny-Cours, finishing both times in the points, but dropped out of the series. He then moved to Auto GP, participating in four races. He scored in all four of them, including a win and fastest lap at Donnington Park. But it’s hard to find sponsorship, and Lancaster was struggling. However, the Brit now has an opportunity to shine with what will hopefully be a full season at GP2.

The GP2s were testing in Barcelona today, and Fabrizio Crestani surprised everyone by going fastest for new team Lazarus. Carlin’s Max Chilton was fastest in the afternoon – a great improvement on 2011, as the team get used to the series. Second was Julian Leal, with Marcus Ericsson third. James Calado continued to be the best of the GP3 graduates, and he has a good chance of being a rookie champion.

Auto GP
This series gets under way in just a few days at Monza, supporting the WTCC. A few drivers have been confirmed, including Max Snegirev, Pal Varhaug and Daniel de Jong. The strange make-up of the calendar may be somewhat off-putting to drivers, but more should be revealed in the next few days.

IndyCar
2011 GP2 runner-up Luca Filippi has confirmed that he will be participating in the IndyCar championship this year from the Indy 500. He will be driving at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, which have Honda engines, alongside former F1 star Takuma Sato.

Summer day 6 – Pal Varhaug

Pal Varhaug – 22
Romain Grosjean’s Norwegian teammate Pal Varhaug has not had the best GP2 season ever. Qualifying typically 15-25th on the grid, his promise in more recent races has been hidden by accidents. He’s had a couple of good results however: 8th in the Barcelona sprint, and 10th in the Valencia sprint. He’s sadly not yet been able to get a point.

Best qualifying: 14
Worst qualifying: 25
Best finish: 8 (Barcelona sprint)
Worst finish: 23 (Silverstone sprint)
Retirements: 3

GP2 Qualifying Quotes Turkey 11

Romain Grosjean takes his third pole in succession, having taken both in GP2 Asia. Here’s some quotes from some GP2 drivers’ and teams’ Twitter accounts on qualifying:

Happy to start again on pole tomorrow. Great job!
@RGrosjean (Romain Grosjean, DAMS, P1)

Good job today by Carlin, was p.6 in wet practice and p.10 in qualy but was blocked on a few laps! Bring on tomorrow!
@F1MAX (Max Chilton, Carlin, P10)

Really bad qualy, p12 the car is not there. And I was not really lucky with Red flags.. Tomorrow new day and let’s aim for top 5
@GvanderGarde (Giedo van der Garde, DAMS, P11)

difficult quall with red flags and so on. my free prac i am not happy with my driving. was driving like my grandmother! not really but close
@varhaug (Pal Varhaug, DAMS, P21)

A difficult qualifying, I could only pull one fast lap as I found many yellow and red flags, and traffic on the track. The good news is that the car felt very competitive, just had very bad luck … Tomorrow will be working hard towards the car going well
@RSpeedyGonzalez (Rodolfo Gonzalez, Trident, P26)

Great result for Bird who will be on front row tomorrow with Ericsson P18. Well done team!!! 🙂
@iSportOfficial (iSport, P2 & P17)

Van der Garde complains of understeer on new car. A classification with 3 red flags keeps the mood for tomorrow’s race. Pic spoiled his best lap in the final sector. Although he was able to improve on the final lap. Expected to improve tomorrow
@addaxteam (Addax, P7 & P11)

‎Mikhail Aleshin so unlucky today! Wishing him a speedy recovery. Great job by Max Chilton who will carry the Carlin baton alone from P10 on the grid tomorrow
@CarlinRacing (Carlin, P10 & injured)

In other news, d’Ambrosio has been given the first F1 grid-place penalty of the year. When Maldonado crashed out at the end of FP2, he was judged to have not responded to the yellow flags, and thus will be demoted five places for the race on Sunday.