Maverick Vinales captured his second consecutive Moto3 pole in emphatic fashion at Catalunya, ending more than a quarter of a second clear of the field.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin sealed his first front-row start in second, with Le Mans winner Louis Rossi in third.
Vinales (Avintia FTR-Honda) was already leading the timesheets with 10 minutes to go when he shaved nine tenths of a second off his best, dropping down to a 1m52.160s – at the time putting him more than six tenths of a second clear of the field.
Both Khairuddin and Rossi were able to close that deficit slightly, but neither looked truly capable of deposing Vinales.
Championship leader Sandro Cortese (Ajo KTM) bounced back from a hand injury suffered in a fall in FP3 to qualify fourth, ahead of Monlau Honda’s Miguel Oliveira, who fell with one minute of the session remaining.
The Spaniard had been part of a four-bike draft but ran into the back of Alexis Masbou and fell, taking out Brad Binder (RW Kalex-KTM) in the process.
Neither he nor Masbou were able to improve their times as a result, but they had done enough to seal fifth and seventh – Luis Salom (RW Kalex-KTM) separating them.
Hector Faubel (Aspar Kalex-KTM), Niccolo Antonelli (Gresini Honda) and Efren Vazquez (Laglisse Honda) rounded out the top 10.
Times to follow…
IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader Will Power topped the time chart as teams began preparations for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
Power turned a lap of 1 minute, 12.8335 seconds (102.313 mph) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet in the second of two practice sessions – the first in wet conditions and the second in drying conditions.
Justin Wilson, who won in the series’ last visit to Belle Isle, was second quick (1:12.9343; 102.174) despite sliding into a tire barrier during the first practice.
Indy 500 pole sitter and fifth-place finisher Ryan Briscoe, driving the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car, was third quick (1:13.1176), while Simon Pagenaud was fourth (1:13.1195) in the No. 77 Schmidt/Hamilton HP Motorsports car. Tony Kanaan was fifth (1:13.3012; 101.663)
Also on June 1, Sebastian Saavedra posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 20.5109 seconds (92.559 mph) in the afternoon practice in the No. 27 Team AFS car as Firestone Indy Lights teams made their debut at Belle Isle.
Tristan Vautier was second quick (1:20.9043; 92.109) in the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car. Gustavo Yacaman (1:21.6569), the Firestone Freedom 100 pole sitter, was third in the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol/Xtreme Coil Drilling car. Points leader Esteban Guerrieri was fourth (1:21.8908) in the No. 11Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car.
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
Live timing and scoring reports from the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix are available on the Internet at racecontrol.indycar.com.
Feature stories, reports, driver quotes and notes will be posted on the INDYCAR media website at media.indycar.com. More detailed information, including media advisories and VNF coordinates are also posted on the media website. Hi-resolution images are available to media at www.indycarmedia.com. Media updates will also be provided on Twitter by following @indycarpr
Sebastien Bourdais will compete in road/street course races and Katherine Legge will compete on ovals as Dragon Racing will consolidate into one full-time IZOD IndyCar Series entry. Bourdais, a four-time CART champion, will drive in the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix this weekend in the No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet.
“Here we are, Detroit, the real start of my season,” said Bourdais, who has never competed on the 2.07-mile, 14-turn course. “Now that Dragon Racing and I have joined the Chevy family, I am excited about the future prospects and particularly this coming weekend. I know how important this event is for Chevrolet, and I will do my very best to offer them a great result. I don’t know this track but I have faith in the potential of our new package.”
The following IZOD IndyCar Series cars/drivers have incurred 10-grid spot penalties for unapproved engine changes at Indianapolis: #38 Rahal, #78 De Silvestro.
David Ostella will compete in this weekend’s Firestone Indy Lights race on Saturday in the No. 22 Global Precast/LiUNA/entry fielded by Team Moore Racing with assistance from Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian.
Ostella’s Team Moore Racing car was damaged in an accident during the Firestone Freedom 100 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 25. The will utilize Bryan Herta Autosport’s white and blue No. 28 car as well as its crew to put the young Canadian back on track.
DAVID OSTELLA (No. 22 TMR-Global Precast-Xtreme Coil Drilling): “I have a lot of respect for Bryan Herta Autosport. They run a great program, so I think this partnership with Team Moore will be a great opportunity for me to learn and honestly, I can’t thank them both enough. Without this partnership and all the effort extended to help me after Indy, I wouldn’t be racing this weekend. I’m confident in this team collaboration and in the car. Indy is behind me now and I’m ready to just race so I can show my sponsors and fans what I’m capable of.”
Firestone Racing engineers have developed an all-new rain tire for use in the IZOD IndyCar Series that is a significant departure from the type of rain tires that have been utilized for the past 15 seasons. With rain falling on the Raceway at Belle Isle circuit during today’s practice session, this new wet-condition race tire is being utilized for the first time today.
The new Firestone Firehawk rain tire’s tread pattern is inspired by the Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 passenger tire, and it will serve as more of an “intermediate” rain tire than its “full wet” predecessor.
AL SPEYER (Executive Director, Firestone Racing): “We always say that Firestone Racing regards our participation in the IZOD IndyCar Series as a giant laboratory,” said. “This new rain tire is truly a product of that philosophy. It’s unique in the fact that its tread design is inspired by the ultra-high performance Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 tire, so it borrows from passenger tire technology. But it also contains new technology that we believe will one day make its way into passenger and commercial (truck) tires. It is a very interesting two-way technology transfer.”
Each IZOD entrant receives five sets of primary Firestone Firehawk tires for the race weekend plus three sets of alternate tires. The Firestone primary and alternate tire specifications for Detroit remain the same as those used earlier this season on street circuits at St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Brazil.
ABC’s coverage of the 96th Indianapolis 500 earned a 4.3 final rating, according to Neilsen Media Research. It is the best final rating for the Indianapolis 500 telecast since the 2008 race.
Full-season IZOD IndyCar Series entrants were given the choice to use the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race engine they received for Miller Lite Carb Day practice and the 200-lap race May 27 or the changed-out engine for the balance of their 1,850-mile threshold.
Multiple teams refitted the changed-out engine for testing at the Milwaukee Mile on May 29 in preparation for the June 15-16 Milwaukee IndyFest to use up the remaining miles, and inserted the Indy 500 engine for this weekend’s race on Belle Isle and subsequent events until it reaches the 1,850 miles.
The series is in the midst of five consecutive weekends of racing. Following Belle Isle is the Firestone 550 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, the Milwaukee IndyFest, and the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 23 at Iowa Speedway. The Texas and Iowa races are under the lights.
Sixteen drivers are scheduled to test at Iowa Speedway on June 12-13 in advance of the event on the .875-mile oval that will feature two heat races on June 22.
Firestone Indy Lights officials announced today the following post-race penalties from the May 25 Firestone Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
Sebastian Saavedra has been placed on probation for the remainder of the 2012 racing season for failure to follow rules as instructed in the Race Day Drivers’ Meeting and engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct.
Tristan Vautier has been penalized five driver points for failure to follow rules as instructed in the Race Day Drivers’ Meeting.
Gustavo Yacaman has been penalized 10 driver points and put on probation for the remainder of the 2012 season for failure to follow rules as instructed in the Race Day Drivers’ Meeting and engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct.
Pursuant to the Firestone Indy Lights rulebook, the member may appeal the imposition of the penalty within the time and manner prescribed in section 13.1.
Filipe Albuquerque led a one-two for the Rosberg Audi squad in the second DTM free practice session at Spielberg on Saturday morning.
Albuquerque, one of only four drivers to have scored points in every race so far this season, leapt to the top of the timesheets with 15 of the 90 minutes to go; his time of 1m25.654s unchallenged for the remainder.
His team-mate Edoardo Mortara was 0.094s adrift while the impressive Joey Hand brought his RMG BMW up to third at the very end. The top five was completed by Abt Audi team-mates Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider while Jamie Green was the best of the Mercedes contingent in sixth for HWA.
After overnight rain, the track was damp for the beginning of the session, with laptimes gradually improving from the 1m43s early on to the 1m34s with half an hour gone.
Champion Martin Tomczyk was the first man to switch from wet Hankook tyres to slicks and immediately found four seconds per lap, although he eventually faded to 17th.
Among the drivers popping up ahead of him were HWA’s Ralf Schumacher, who had a couple of minor offs during the damp part of the session, Friday pace-setter Mike Rockenfeller (Rosberg Audi), Roberto Merhi (Persson Mercedes) and Dirk Werner (Schnitzer BMW).
Title contenders Gary Paffett and Bruno Spengler were 11th and 16th fastest for HWA and Schnitzer respectively while Robert Wickens – 15th for Mucke Mercedes – suffered the only spin of the session when he gyrated at the exit of Turn 1 late on.
Times to follow…
WILLIAMS GRAND PRIX HOLDINGS PLC
Grove, UK. 31 December 2011
Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC (Ticker: WGF1) today confirms that Director of Engineering Patrick Head will step down from its Board of Directors with immediate effect.
Patrick co-founded Williams F1 in 1977 with Frank Williams and over three decades has led the team’s engineering department. In that time, Williams F1 has won 113 Grands Prix and secured nine Constructors’ and seven Drivers’ World Championships.
Patrick will continue in his role as a Board Director of Williams Hybrid Power Limited, a subsidiary of the company that develops and produces hybrid technologies.
The company wishes Patrick well in his future activities and remains indebted for his service to Williams F1 over the past 34 years.
“Patrick and I have been in partnership for 34 years. During that time, he has been the leader of the technical team that has won the majority of our race wins and championships. This is a remarkable legacy and one which will be treasured and definitely not forgotten.
“Patrick is a very straightforward, hard working and truly gifted engineer who comfortably operates at a world class level. I will miss him very much, as I am sure his colleagues will, and he will always be welcome at Grove. Indeed, Patrick will still be seen around the factory as he continues to be involved in the development of our hybrid power activities.”
James Stewart marked his Suzuki debut and full-time return to motocross racing with a 1-1 sweep at Hangtown. Is there any chance he could repeat his perfect season of 2008?
Alain Menu set the fastest time in the final World Touring Car free practice session at the Salzburgring before qualifying this afternoon, repeating his form from practice one.
The dominant force in this year’s WTCC, the three factory RML Chevrolets, were separated by just 0.073 seconds. Each of the trio had taken turns in first place. Championship leader Yvan Muller led Slovakia Ring victor Rob Huff in the closing stages of the session, but pitted moments prior to the chequered flag and was unable to respond to a late effort from Menu.
As in the opening free practice session, the tight chicane at Turns 1 and 2 caught out several of the drivers, with all of the Chevrolets taking either to the escape road or, in Huff’s case, the gravel.
Italian Pasquale di Sabatino enjoyed one of his most competitive sessions of the year in fourth. The bamboo-engineering Chevrolet driver continues to acclimatise to the WTCC following his career in single-seaters.
For much of the half-hour session the five Chevrolets on the entry occupied the top-five positions, suggesting that the high-speed Salzburgring circuit flatters the qualities of the Cruze.
Lukoil Racing’s Gabriele Tarquini eventually broke up the Chevrolet stranglehold by claiming fifth in his SEAT, ahead of the second bamboo car of British Touring Car graduate Alex MacDowall.
Tarquini used the escape road on no fewer than three occasions, causing the race director to issue a warning about respecting the track limits at the chicane.
Spanish teenager Pepe Oriola has relatively recent experience of the Salzburgring, having finished second in the European Touring Car Cup at the of the Austrian venue last July. The Tuenti Racing driver took seventh in his Leon WTCC, ahead of team-mate Tiago Monteiro in the 1.6T-powered Leon.
The session was red-flagged twice. The first stoppage was caused when Darryl O’Young’s Special Tuning SEAT hit a tyre pile on the inside of Turn 1, forcing the Leon to stop in the middle of the chicane.
Hungaroring podium finisher Mehdi Bennani (Proteam) and fellow BMW independent runner GÃ¡bor Weber (Zengo) also suffered off-track moments, at Turns 9 and Turn 13 respectively, to cause the second appearance of the red flags.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m27.304s
2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m27.374s + 0.070s
3. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1m27.377s + 0.073s
4. Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet 1m27.995s + 0.691s
5. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 1m28.024s + 0.720s
6. Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet 1m28.103s + 0.799s
7. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 1m28.474s + 1.170s
8. Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 1m28.546s + 1.242s
9. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m28.604s + 1.300s
10. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 1m28.662s + 1.358s
11. James Nash Arena Ford 1m28.663s + 1.359s
12. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 1m28.837s + 1.533s
13. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m28.839s + 1.535s
14. Stefano D’Aste Wiechers BMW 1m28.963s + 1.659s
15. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 1m29.112s + 1.808s
16. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 1m29.205s + 1.901s
17. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m29.312s + 2.008s
18. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m29.314s + 2.010s
19. Darryl O’Young Special Tuning SEAT 1m30.027s + 2.723s
20. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m30.043s + 2.739s
21. Gabor Weber Zengo BMW 1m30.700s + 3.396s
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