The races of the weekend (23-25 July 2021)

With a pause for most of the main international categories this weekend there will be more time for Touringcar racing with TCR Italy, TCR Russia and TCR Eastern Europe all on track, while the DTM returns for the second round of the season at the Lausitzring and Formula Regional Championship races at Spa.

Rally di Roma Capitale for the ERC completes the program of the weekend.

DTM at Lausitzring

TCR Italy at Imola

TCR Russia at Igora Drive

TCR Eastern Europe at Grobnik

Formula Regional at Spa

ERC Rally di Roma Capitale

DTM at Lausitzring

Exactly five weeks after the season opener at Monza the DTM is back in Germany for the second round of the season at the Lausitzring.

The new-for-the-series GT class has proved a success in the season opener with close racing and spectacular action.

Ferrari´s Liam Lawson and Audi´s Kelvin van der Linde took advantage from this year´s new ruleset to come home from Italy with a win apiece in their first races in the series. The South African now leads the championship with 38 points, 11 more than Lawson.

Amongst the series veterans, Nico Müller in his Audi is the best placed in the standings after a convincing weekend at Monza where he finished second in the second race. He lies third overall 16 points behind the leader.

Only one further point behind is another rookie with a long past in GT racing, Vincent Abril. The Monegasque finished second in the first of the two opening races.

Former F1 driver and current Red Bull protegee Alexander Albon in the second Ferrari follows in fifth after a consistent weekend at Monza with a fourth and a seventh place.

The main news for this weekend involves the choice of the layout of the track. For the first time since 2003 the DTM will use the banked first corner of the Lausitz tri-oval instead of the usual infield section between Turn 1 and Turn 5 of the DTM layout.

At the end of the main straight, instead of braking hard to enter the infield on the left, the drivers will continue at maximum speed and thanks to the almost six degree banking they should be able to go full throttle and stay on the road.

In the history of the DTM it´s not the first time the series uses the banked corner of the Lausitzring. It has already been used in 2003 but only during free practice for, after a tremendous accident for Aiello in his Audi TT during the first session it was decided to revert to the usual DTM layout.

While there are many doubts from teams and drivers about the capability of the cars and the tires to go through the banked turn and the risk of a repeat of the accident of 2003 is possible, there is no doubt the choice has generated a lot of interest from the fans.

Even if the cars will not be able to run full throttle, for sure positioning the car in the best way at the entrance of Turn 1 will be crucial as it will reduce the time of lifting off.

The cars will then continue in the second straight of the oval and join the infield section just before Turn 3 of the tri-oval and continue on the usual DTM layout until the start/finish line.

In the modern era of the DTM the Lausitzring has always been a track where it´s difficult to warm-up the tires. Unlike at Monza, expect overcuts to be more frequent than the undercuts.

As usual there will be two races of 55 minutes + 1 lap with two 20-minute qualifying session to decide the grid for the respective race.

Timetable DTM at Lausitzring

Friday 23rd
13:00 – 13:45 1. Training
16:05 – 16:35 2. Training
Saturday 24th
10:30 – 10:50 Qualifying 1
13:30 – 14:30 Race 1
Sunday 25th
10:10 – 10:30 Qualifying 2
13:30 – 14:30 Race 2

TCR Italy at Imola

Imola hosts the fourth round of the season for the Italian Touring Car Championship – or TCR Italy if you prefer.

Eric Brigliadori has remained the series leader in his Audi RS3 LMS prepared by BF Motorsport, but four drivers are looking for a solid weekend to dethrone him.

Finland´s Antti Buri (Hyundai) is the closest in the standings only seven points behind Brigliadori and looks to carry momentum after taking four podiums in the last four races of the season.

Kevin Ceccon is third in the standings after his first win of the season in the last race at Vallelunga. The Hyundai driver has a gap of 13 points from the leader.

Following in fourth is three time defending champion Salvatore Tavano. In his Cupra León Competición prepared by Scuderia del Girasole he has dominated the first weekend of the year at Monza winning both races. After a difficult weekend at Misano he came back with two podiums at Vallelunga and now lies 21 points adrift from Brigliadori, looking to cut the gap.

The top five battling for the title is completed by Nicola Baldan, Buri´s teammate at Target Competitiion. The Italian driver in his Hyundai i30 N has yet to win a race this year and lies 31 points behind Brigliadori in the standings.

There are some international additions to the usual entry list for this round with three drivers making guests appearances.

The most notable presence this weekend is Mikel Azcona who competes in both FIA WTCR and TCR Europe this year. The Spanish driver has taken two wins at Imola last year when he took part at the TCR Italy event and wants to do the same this weekend. He will be at the wheel of the Cupra León Competición prepared by Vulcano Motorsport, the same he uses in TCR Europe, the championship he is leading.

The other two guests are Martin Ryba, another TCR Europe regular, and Ibrahim Akhmadov, who has been racing in TCR Russia recently. Both will be driving a Honda Civic Type R.

It will be interesting to see the performance of the drivers on this track considering the next round will be again at Imola during the first weekend of September.

Timetable TCR Italy at Imola

Saturday 24th
13:20 Race 1 (30 mins + 1 lap)
Sunday 25th
12:15 Race 2 (30 mins + 1 lap)

TCR Russia at Igora Drive

The Russian Circuit Racing Series moves to Igora Drive for the third round of the season after two eventful events at Smolensk Ring and Bogorodsk.

Four different drivers have won the first four races of the season with Lada´s Kirill Ladygin the most consistent driver having taken one win and a total of three podiums to provisionally lead the championship. The defending champion has a 23 point cushion over Pavel Kalmanovich (Cupra).

Despite driving the older version of the Cupra León TCR, Pavel Kalmanovich has won the first race at Bogorodsk after starting from pole position and looks focused on building momentum.

Galvanised by his recent win at Bogorodsk in race 2, Dmitry Bragin (Audi) is next in the standings only one point behind Kalmanovich.

Tied with him for third is Andrej Maslennikov (Hyundai) who instead has yet to win a race this season.

There is a huge amount of Hyundai i30 on the grid but none of them have won a race this season. Maslennikov´s teammate at Lukoil Racing Team Ivan Lukashevich, winner of one of the races at Igora Drive in 2020, hopes to change this. He is fifth in the standings, 31 points from the lead.

Other drivers looking for a good weekend to turn their season around are Mityaev in the second Lada and Burlutskiy in the Carville Hyundai.

Timetable TCR Russia at Igora Drive

Sunday 25th
11:45 local time (10:45 CEST) Race 1 (13 laps)
16:15 local time (15:15 CEST) Race 2 (16 laps)

TCR Eastern Europe at Grobnik

The Automotodrom Grobnik near Rijeka, Croatia hosts the fourth round of the season for TCR Eastern Europe.

At the moment there are two drivers in contention for the title: Michal Makeš and Tomáš Pekař both from Czech Republic and both driving a CUPRA León TCR although prepared by two different teams.

With only two rounds and four races left after this weekend, time is running out for the rest of the field as they need to take massive points to stay in the title fight.

Pekař has looked the fastest this year after starting the season with a double win at the Hungaroring followed by a further win in the second race at the Slovakia Ring.

However Makeš has responded by taking two wins in the first race at both Slovakia Ring and Tor Poznan and now leads the standings by a 9 point margin over his rival.

Makeš has finished every single race on the podium this year showing an incredible consistency, while his rival, despite winning more races, has failed to reach the podium in Slovakia Race 1 and more importantly at Poznan where he finished outside of the points.

In the championship fight this weekend is the last call for German Sebastian Steibel who is third in the standings but already with a big gap (48 points) from Makeš.

Bartosz Groszek made his debut in Poland and was the first driver able to stop the domination of the duo Pekař-Makeš. He hopes to repeat himself this weekend while local driver Žarko Knego will try to benefit from his home round to improve his fortunes after a difficult start to the season.

Timetable TCR Eastern Europe at Grobnik

Saturday 24th
14:45 Race 1 (25 mins + 1 lap)
Sunday 25th
11:50 Race 2 (25 mins + 1 lap)

Formula Regional European Championship at Spa

After some troubles during the Monaco weekend and the disqualification in the first race at Paul Ricard, Grégoire Saucy (ART) seems to have found his speed back after taking for the second time this season a hat-trick of wins. Can the Swiss driver continue on his momentum as the series enters the second half of the season at Spa this weekend?

Thanks to his six wins in ten races he has a comfortable lead of 62 points over the rest of the field.

However the three drivers from R-ace GP following him in the standings are ready to collect big points this weekend and cut the gap from the lead.

Hadjar, David and Maloney have been consistent this year but they have won only one race each this year compared to the six taken by Saucy.

Paul Aron is another driver to watch. He started the season with three podiums in the first five races, but since then he has failed to reach the top three and is still seeking his first win in the series.

Another interesting driver is the Italian Gabriele Miní, Saucy´s teammate at ART and second best rookie of the season in the standings behind Hadjar. With already four podiums under his belt and three in the last four races he is looking good to take the first win of the season.

Better performance are expected from Quinn, Alatalo, Vidales and Colapinto all under-performing in this first part of the season. Colapinto was one of the favourite at the start of the year but finds himself down in twelfth in the standings after having to withdraw from two rounds, being involved in two crashes at Barcelona and after a mediocre weekend at Paul Ricard.

His season seems to have taken a turn recently at Zandvoort where he has taken the first podium of the year thanks to a second place in the second race.

There are some changes to the entry list for the sixth round of the season.

The most important involves ART´s driver Thomas ten Brinke who has decided despite his young age (still 16) to retire from Motorsport. His place will be taken by Patrik Pasma from Finland, who has been racing for the Finnish team KIC Motorsport in the first five events. He will partner Saucy and Minì at ART GP.

It will be interesting to see the performance of the Finnish driver, who is one of the most experienced guys in the field and has already shown good pace in the recent mid-season testing.

His place at KIC has been taken by Jasin Ferati. The Swiss driver was already part of the series having driven for Monolite Racing until now.

The place left vacant in the Italian team has been taken by Dexter Patterson from Scotland who will be making his debut in the series.

JD Motorsport expands to three cars for this weekend´s Belgian round with Israeli Ido Cohen who is currently racing in the FIA Formula 3 partnering Eduardo Barrichello and Tommy Smith.

Portuguese team DR Formula will instead reduce its effort to just a single car for Emidio Pesce as his previous teammate Brad Benavides has decided to retire from the full season to concentrate on his opportunity for 2022.

Van Amersfoort Racing is also forced to reduce his effort for Spa to only two cars with Francesco PIzzi not returning for this round.

In spite of the recent flooding in the Eifel the series has recently announced the postponement of the seventh round of the season which was due to take place at the Nürburgring on August 7-8.

The next round is scheduled for September 11-12 in Spielberg, Austria while the Nürburgring round should be recovered in September or October.

Timetable Formula Regional at Spa

Friday 23rd
10:55 PRACTICE 1
14:55 PRACTICE 2
Saturday 24th
11:20 QUALIFYING 1
16:50 QUALIFYING 2
19:25 RACE 1 (30 mins + 1 lap)
Sunday 25th
11:35 RACE 2 (30 mins + 1 lap)

ERC Rally di Roma Capitale

This weekend´s Rally di Roma Capitale is the third rally of the season for the European Rally Championship.

In the entry list there are sixty-three cars registered, more than the half (34) are competing in the main class with Rally2 cars and will battle for overall honours.

Favourite of the weekend is Alexey Lukyanuk 2018 and last year´s winner and current leader of the championship after winning Rally Poland, the opening event of the season, and finishing third at Rally Liepaja.

The two time ERC Champion comes fresh from a great performance at Rally Estonia in the WRC where not only did he win the WRC3 category, but also was able to finish ahead of WRC2 winner Andreas Mikkelsen.

The Norwegian driver is his main opponent in the ERC as well as in this weekend´s rally.

Lukyanuk after making his first appearance with the Skoda Fabia in Estonia will revert to his familiar Citroen C3 for the Italian round, while Mikkelsen has stayed loyal to his Skoda Fabia.

The gap in the championship between the two rivals is 9 points in favour of the Russian.

Poland´s Miko Marczyk (Skoda), Nikolay Gryazin (Volkswagen) winner of the recent Rally Liepaja and Craig Breen (Hyundai) with his MRF Tyres will try to have their say in the rally and in the championship.

Breen is also coming from a very positive experience in Rally Estonia where he finished second overall and previously finished second in Rally Liepaja too, best result for his tire manufacturer.

As always the ERC main competitors will have to confront themselves with the local drivers who are very competitive and know the rally very well.

Amongst them Umberto Scandola (Hyundai), winner of the rally in two occasions when it was part of the Italian Championship, Andrea Crugnola (Hyundai), winner of no less than nineteen stages of this rally in the last two years, and Giandomenico Basso (Skoda) the only Italian winner of the rally in the ERC era.

Simone Campedelli (Volkswagen) mounting MRF tires like Breen is also looking for a good result this year after a difficult start to the season, while Fabio Andolfi (Skoda) and Damiano De Tommaso (Citroen) will make their first appearance of the season.

The all-asphalt rally based in Fiuggi south-east of Rome will start on Friday morning with the usual qualifying stage which will decide the starting list for the first leg of the rally.

It will be followed later in the morning by the Shakedown and in the evening by the Ceremonial Start at Castel Sant´Angelo in Rome.

Real actions will start the next day in the morning with three stages of more than 34 km in total. Two of these stages will be repeated in the afternoon while a short special stage will end the first day of competition.

Sunday will be a long day for the competitors with a 51 km loop of three stages in the morning to be repeated in the afternoon and an additional third pass through Guarcino to end the rally in the late afternoon.

The Ceremonial Start and four more stages will be shown live on Facebook and Youtube with images from the sky and stage-end commentary.

For more information about the live stages visit the official website.

The full entry-list and the complete itinerary are available here.

The races of the weekend (16-18 July 2021)

After one week of almost no racing – except for the WTCR in Spain – Motorsport racing returns in great style this weekend with the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. A new weekend format will make its debut while Formula 2 is back in the support package of the event.

It will be a great two days for all endurance fans thanks to IMSA on Saturday at Lime Rock and the FIA WEC on Sunday at Monza.

The WRC is also on the program with Rally Estonia, while the ADAC Truck Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, scheduled for this weekend as the second round of the FIA ETRC, has unfortunately been cancelled after the recent flooding events in the Eifel area.

Formula 1 British Grand Prix

WEC 6 Hours of Monza

IMSA Northeast Grand Prix

WRC Rally Estonia

FIA ETRC ADAC Truck Grand Prix at Nürburgring
cancelled

Formula 1 British Grand Prix

This Saturday we will assist to an historic moment in the history of Formula 1. For the first time the starting grid for Sunday´s race will be determined not by a qualifying session, but instead by a 100 km qualifying race which should last around 40 minutes.

No matter what you think about qualifying races, it will still be something unprecedented in more than 70 years of history of the championship.

However the biggest challenge for teams and drivers will not be the qualifying race on Saturday afternoon, but rather the qualifying session which will take place already on Friday evening, after just a single practice session. And after Friday´s qualifying all cars will be on parc ferme, which means set-up adjustments cannot be made anymore.

A similar short schedule before qualifying was used last year at Imola. In that case the weekend started only on Saturday with only one practice session in the morning anticipating the usual qualifying session in the afternoon. This format puts more pressure in the teams and the drivers who need to find the correct solution for qualifying in short time. This should help mixing the field, although we have to say at Imola in 2020 we didn´t have much surprise in the grid.

The usual 60 minutes free practice session on Friday will start at 14:30 local (15:30 CET) and will be more frenetic than usual with the teams needing to prepare the cars for Qualifying later on the same day at 18:00 (19:00 CET).

Qualifying will work as usual with three qualifying sessions and knockout phases. The aggregated results will form the grid for the qualifying race.

Saturday morning at 12:00 (13:00 CET) there will be a second free practice session (again of 60 minutes) which will work as a warm up for the qualifying race and for Sunday´s race too.

The Saturday qualifying race will start at 16:30 (17:30 CET) and will last 17 laps (around 100 km, one third of the total race distance). Drivers will probably use the softer Pirelli compound – C3 – while pitstops are not expected.

The Sprint Qualifying – this is the official name of the session – will also award points but only to the top three: three for the winner, two for the runner-up and one for the third placed at the finish.

For this round there will be a total of 29 points available: 3 for the win in the qualifying race, 25 for Sunday´s race win and one for the fastest lap on Sunday. Only the 2014 Brazilian GP awarded more point in the history of F1: 50 points.

The final result of the Sprint Qualifying will set the grid for the main race on Sunday, which will start at 15:00 local time (16:00 CET) and will last as usual 52 laps.

Only then we will be able to give the first impressions on the success – or lack of – of this new experiment.

Qualifying races have not worked in other series – think at the qualifying race for this year´s 24 Hours of Daytona – but it has probably been a good idea to give it a try.

The new format which will be repeated in two further events this year – at Monza and Interlagos – is supposed to become a normality in the future, if it proves to be a success. This idea has already divided opinions amongst the fans, between traditionalists for which the ability of being fastest on a single lap is an important skill and who is open to try new things.

For sure having a big crash during the qualifying race could be problematic. The points available for the sprint qualifying are not many and there are no points awarded for positions behind P3 which means there is absolutely no gain (actually only risks) in trying to overtake in the final part of the sprint qualifying, as it would mean only an improvement of one place in the grid.

The risks of having a crash at the start will be double as we will have two starts during the weekend and if someone has a bad qualifying result, he has more time to recover.

The good news is that the format is for now tested only on tracks where it´s not difficult to overtake. It would be impossible to think of an entertaining qualifying race at tracks like Monaco, Hungaroring, Singapore where overtaking is almost impossible.

While we will have to wait at least until Sunday to have an idea on how the new format worked at Silverstone, there is still a championship at stake with many battles not only at the front of the field and this new format could spice things up.

Max Verstappen and Red Bull are coming from an incredible run of four wins in the last five races – but it could have been five out of five if it weren´t for the final tire blow in Azerbaijan when Verstappen was comfortably leading. The Dutch driver has a 32-point gap over Lewis Hamilton in the standings, but the 7-time World Champion races on his home soil this weekend, where he has won a record seven times in the past. He holds the record of poles here (7) and knows he has only one possible result this weekend: the win.

Mercedes has made some mistakes in France and the car´s pace in Austria was disappointing, but we are sure at Silverstone it will be a different thing. The track should suit more the Mercedes and Hamilton will be pushed by the home crowd.

Furthermore Mercedes has usually been stronger during the race than on the single lap, which means the format for this weekend´s race should help the Brackley team.

After a long (for Mercedes) run of five races without wins it´s time to return at the front. If they can´t win here, the second part of the season will be even tougher and with Verstappen in such a great form, it will be more difficult to catch him.

Verstappen on the other side doesn´t have any pressure as he doesn´t need to win this weekend and this could make things easier for him. An important asset considering the lack of time to set up the car in the best way.

In the manufacturers championship Red Bull-Honda and Mercedes are separated by 44 points and here the difference between the two second drivers will play a big role.

Both Pérez and Bottas were indirectly involved in the last interview of Helmut Marko. The former Austrian driver now advisor at Red Bull affirmed his team should consider signing George Russell in case the Mercedes protege fails to take the Mercedes seat alongside Hamilton next season.

This could seem strange considering Pérez is doing well at Red Bull. Probably it was just a way of pushing Mercedes to change its driver line-up.

In fact, an internal fight at Mercedes with two drivers taking away points from each other could benefit Red Bull, which instead has a clear number one in the team. For the same reason it´s difficult to think that Red Bull can put an emerging driver like Russell alongside Verstappen.

In any case the Championship doesn´t live only on the fight at the front. There are many more interesting battles in the middle of the group.

There is once again the fight for third between McLaren and Ferrari, with the British team that should have an advantage at Silverstone, while Lando Norris is again the only driver to have finished every single race in the points this year and he is battling for a third place in the standings against Perez and Bottas.

There is a lot of hope if you are a British fan (to make up for the football displeasure of the last week) looking at the last results of Norris and those of George Russell, although it has to be seen how the Williams will behave at Silverstone.

Formula 2

Formula 2 is finally back after a long pause of six weeks. Silverstone is round number four of season, which consists of eight events.

Bahrain and the two street events at Monaco and Baku have put UNI Virtuosi´s Guangyou Zhou in the lead of the standings. But Prema drivers Oscar Piastri and Robert Schwartzman are not too far from the lead, 5 and 14 points adrift respectively.

With three races per weekend things can change rapidly in the championship like shown by Schwartzman. The Russian driver has had a difficult start to the season, but in Baku he finally took his first win and the first podiums of the season climbing up the standings from eighth to third.

But the driver who had the most impressing weekend in Baku was Jüri Vips. The Estonian driver, a Red Bull protege and driving for team Hitech GP in the series took two wins out of three races and now lies fourth in the standings only one point behind Schwartzman.

Driver to watch is Dan Ticktum. The Carlin driver racing in his home ground took one win here in 2020 and is determined to repeat himself in 2021. Another local driver looking to bring home good points is Jack Aitken, back at HWA Racelab for this round.

A driver who is instead looking to change his fortunes this year is Christian Lundgaard. Driving for ART GP the Dane started as one of the favourite for the title, but he has failed to deliver so far. He was betrayed by his car in some occasions (Monaco for example where he was running in a podium position) but his thirteenth place in the standings can´t be justified only by unlucky circumstances.

In any case, like in Schwartzman´s case one good weekend can change things rapidly, so don´t count him off yet.

Porsche Supercup was originally scheduled to run during the British GP this weekend but with most teams coming from Germany the planned race had to be cancelled for Covid restrictions in the Country.

To maintain the number of eight events for the 2021 season a double header will be added to the calendar with a second race during the Italian GP at Monza at the end of the season.

Timetable British GP

Friday 16th
11:30 – 12:15 F2 – Practice
14:30 – 15:30 F1 – Practice 1
16:50 – 17:20 F2 – Qualifying
18:00 – 19:00 F1 – Qualifying

Saturday 17th
8:50 – 9:40 F2 – Race 1 (21 laps)
12:00 – 13:00 F1 – Practice 2
14:45 – 15:35 F2 – Race 2 (21 laps)
16:30 – 17:00 F1 – Sprint Qualifying (17 laps)
Sunday 18th
10:50 – 11:55 F2 – Race 3 (29 laps)
15:00 – 17:00 F1 – Race (52 laps)

WEC 6 Hours of Monza

Third round of the season for the FIA World Endurance Championship and with only six rounds scheduled in 2021 it will end to the first half of the season.

Thanks to its high speed straights and with the 24 Hours of Le Mans taking place in less than five weeks (August 21-22) the 6 Hours of Monza will serve as a final preparation and final test for the marathon de la Sarthe.

In the past the 1000 km of Monza was one of the main events of the World Sportscar Championship but since the creation of the WEC it has never been part of the schedule until this year.

The last 1000 km took place in 2008 as part of the European Le Mans Series. The race was discontinued after 2009 and until 2016. In 2017 the track returned to the ELMS calendar but only as a 4 hour race.

After many rumours in the last few seasons and after hosting the WEC pre-season tests in both 2015 and 2020, its return to the main Sportscar Championship will finally materialise this year with the 6 Hours of Monza.

The series has had a lot of news recently with the announcement of a reached agreement between IMSA and ACO to race both LMPH and LMDh in the main class in both series, the reveal of the new Peugeot 9X8 which will race in the WEC from 2022 and finally the changes in the 2021 calendar with the cancellation of the round in Japan and the addition of a second race in Bahrain.

Toyota has won the first two rounds of the season at Portimao and Spa in both cases with the trio Buemi-Hartley-Nakajima. Can Conway-Kobayashi-López in the second car do something to stop their teammates?

And it has not to be downsized the role of the single Alpine which has made impressive progress after the opening race and was able to beat Toyota for pole on qualifying in Belgium.

The main class will have a total of five cars entered thanks to the two Glickenhaus. The Dumas-Mailleux-Westbrook exemplar, which made its debut at Spa but not without issues, will be joined by the second car of Derani-Menezes-Pla. The team hope for better fortunes in Italy after the debut was marred by many issues and mistakes.

There is a total of 37 cars in the entry list: alongside the 5 cars from the main class, there are 12 cars in the LMP2 class (11 of them are Oreca-Gibson), 4 GTE Pro (2 Ferrari and 2 Porsche with the two manufacturers having shared the wins in the first two rounds) and 16 GTE Am.

The Entry list, the complete Schedule and the Spotter Guide for the race are available here.

Timetable 6 Hours of Monza

Friday 16th
15:30-17:00 Free Practice 1
Saturday 17th
9:30-11:00 Free Practice 2
14:00-15:00 Free Practice 3
18:00-18:30 Qualifying
Sunday 18th
12:00-18:00 Race (6 hours)

IMSA Northeast Grand Prix

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is back this weekend with the IMSA Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock.

As usual, due to the short nature of the track only the two GT classes will be racing.

The two Corvette and the Porsche from WeatherTech Racing are the sole entries in the GTLM class and will be fighting for the overall victory next Saturday.

Corvette has won four of the first five rounds of the season, in three cases with championship leaders Garcia-Taylor, while the only victory for Porsche came at Sebring.

In GTD there are 13 cars.

Lexus has finally taken the first win of the season (it was a 1-2 to be more precise) in the second round at The Glen, but unfortunately for them it didn´t count towards the championship. Still it showed that the team is making improvements after a disappointing start to the season. There is a lot of work to do though, as the best placed drivers in the standings Montecalvo-Veach are sixth and already 232 points away from the lead. The other Lexus, winner most recently at Watkins Glen is even further behind in eleventh and presumably out of contention for the title.

The duo Auberlen-Foley from Team Turner is still leading the standings in the class. In their BMW they are the only team able to win more than one race this season.

However considering the new point system (a maximum of 350 points for the race win and points for qualifying) a gap of 61 points over second placed De Angelis-Gunn in their Aston Martin is not enough to keep them relaxed.

The round could be a good opportunity for Sellers-Snow (Lamborghini), still seeking their first win in 2021, but still third in the standings 104 points adrift from the lead.

Robichon-Vanthoor fourth in the standings are also looking after a good result this weekend. At this track their team Pfaff Motorsport took their first win in the championship just two years ago.

The track at Lime Rock makes its return to the Championship after it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

The Spotter Guide for this round is available here.

Timetable IMSA Northeast GP

Friday 16th
5:10 PM – 5:55 PM ET Qualifying
Saturday 17th
3:10 PM – 5:50 PM ET Race (2h40)
Friday 16th
23:10 – 23:55 CET Qualifying
Saturday 17th
21:10 – 23:50 CET Race (2h40)

WRC Rally Estonia

The World Rally Championship is back this weekend with Rally Estonia. The Baltic country has made its debut in the WRC calendar last year and has already proved to be a great success.

Based on fast gravel roads, the rally is the home round for 2019 Champion Ott Tänak who has won here four times in his career including the inaugural WRC event last year.

There are high expectations on him and the team in this event. Hyundai has been leading in all the gravel events this season, but its only win in 2021 came at the Arctic Rally in February on snowy conditions. Suspension issues have cost the Korean manufacturer the win in the last four rounds of the WRC. Twice it happened to Tänak in Portugal and in Italy while the most recent happened to Neuville at the Safari Rally Kenya.

In championship terms this has generated a solid lead for Toyota in both championships. Ogier leads his teammate Evans by a big gap in the drivers´championship – 34 points – after the Welshman made a mistake in the last round in Kenya and could only score points in the Power Stage.

Neuville is the best placed Hyundai in third but already 56 points behind the French rival. It´s going even worse for his teammate Tänak, the Estonian a further eight point adrift in fourth.

Having already shown great confidence on the gravel of Portugal and Sardinia, there are no doubts about Tänak´s ability, but will the car assist him on the full distance?

Toyota on the other side is sure to have solved the issues that prevented them to fight against the Estonian last year. The car was developed in Finland on roads very similar to those they will find in Estonia (although narrower) and they are sure there will be competitive this weekend.

With a win count of 5-1 for Toyota, the manufacturers championship sees the Japanese outfit 59 points ahead of their Korean rivals.

But with Estonia this weekend and Belgium next month being the home rallies respectively for Tänak and Neuville there is high probability Hyundai will close the gap.

For this round the third Hyundai will be driven by Craig Breen, who makes his return in WRC after last driving in Croatia. It is the first event of the year on gravel with a WRC car, although he has already driven the first two gravel rallies of the ERC calendar (Poland and Liepaja). The Irish driver finished second last year in this rally.

Toyota responds with its standard line-up, with Rovanperä looking for a clean weekend and Katsuta, incredibly second in Kenya for his first career podium, alongside championship contenders Evans and Ogier.

Pierre-Louis Loubet will make his return with the Hyundai prepared by 2C Competition after he was substituted by Oliver Solberg in Kenya. The French driver is still seeking his first point finish of the season and a clean run throughout a weekend.

Another driver making his comeback in the main class is Teemu Suninen at M Sport. In the three events he has entered this year in a WRC car, twice he has retired in the first stage of the rally. A third time could be difficult to be forgiven by his team.

The rally will start on Thursday evening with start ceremony in the city of Tartu just before the first stage stage of the rally, a short super special in the city.

Real competition will kick off on Friday morning with four stages in the southern part of the country near Otepää. After service the four stages will be repeated in the afternoon for a total of 128.24 km.

Saturday will see the drivers return to the area of Tartu and as usual it will be the longest day of the rally with a total of 132.18 km of competition. Again four different stages will be run in the morning and after service park they will be repeated in the afternoon.

A repeat of the Super Special in Tartu will be run in the evening to end the leg.

Sunday there is still time for 52.10 km. A loop of three stages will be repeated later in the morning with the final pass of 6.51 km counting as the Power Stage.

All the stages are completely new or have been changed from last year with the exception of one of the three Sunday´s stages which is the same as last year.

In this page you can find more information about the rally with the entry list and the full itinerary.

The races of the weekend (9-11 July 2021)

With the UEFA European Football Final taking place this Sunday there is not much space for Motorsport this weekend. Of the categories we follow only the FIA World Touring Car Cup is racing with the Race of Spain occurring in Alcañiz, Aragón.

WTCR Race of Spain

The FIA World Touring Car Cup travels to Spain for round number three of the season at the circuit of MotorLand Aragón in the town of Alcañiz, Spain.

The track made its debut in the series last year and has already proved a success within the fans and the drivers thanks to six packed races. The track, in fact, was used for two events in 2020, the Race of Spain and the Race of Aragón, which was also the final event of the year.

The first two rounds of 2021 (Germany and Portugal) have seen a substantial equilibrium at least between Hyundai, Honda and Lynk & Co.

Hyundai with its driver Jean-Karl Vernay leads the drivers standings, despite a difficult weekend in Estoril. Race 1 was in fact a complete disaster for the Korean manufacturer with only Luca Engstler able to finish and down in 12th place. The other three drivers were all involved in a multi-car accident at turn one after the start and were all forced to retire. Race 2 though went much better for the manufacturer with all three drivers finishing in positions 2-3-4.

Vernay has a 5-point margin over Honda’s Attila Tassi and Lynk & Co’s duo Yvan Muller and Santiago Urrutia.

Despite the win in the main race, for Honda Portugal it was more a case of what could have been. After a fantastic qualifying session which ended with four Hondas in the top 5, there was high expectation for the main race. Instead three of the Honda drivers were left unable to fight for the win: first it happened to Girolami, who had to start from the back of the grid, having made repairs from a race 1 incident, then Guerrieri stalled from pole at the start and finally Monteiro retired with technical issues while in a comfortable lead. Only the young Tassi could save the Japanese manufacturer’s weekend, taking also his first career win in WTCR.

But the bad news for Honda are not over, as compensation weights based on the performance of the cars and not on race results are introduced from this round.

In the first two rounds the Honda Civic was the fastest model in WTCR and for that reason in Spain it will run 70 kg (considering both BoP and compensation weight) heavier than at the previous rounds.

Despite not taking full benefit from the performance advantage in Estoril, Monteiro and Guerrieri, the latter recovering to eight after his false start in the main race, are both fifth in the standings, 9 points from the lead, while Girolami is down in eighth, 19 points adrift.

Hyundai will also have to add weight: 50 kg more compared to the previous rounds. Apart from Vernay, the start of the season has been quite complicated for the other drivers, as the team probably need time to learn the new car. Engstler and Michelisz are in fact tied in ninth place already 33 points behind their teammate. Tarquini is a further 5 points behind in twelfth place. With so much competition amongst different manufacturers, Hyundai could already start to think about team orders with Vernay appearing as the clear team leader at the moment.

With Honda and Hyundai becoming heavier, the third manufacturer could take advantage. Lynk & Co will in fact add only 10 kg of compensation weight for the next round while the BoP has remained unchanged.

For the Chinese manufacturer a good news after the start of the season saw the car behind in performance compared to Hyundai and Honda. All podiums and the only win of the season (actually a 1-2-3 in Estoril with Ehrlacher in front) were taken in the reversed grid races, while the drivers were struggling in qualifying and in the main races.

The team was left unhappy with the BoP at the start of the season, calling for its adjustment prior to the Portuguese round. The decision from Geely (the Holding Group which owns Lynk & Co) of withdrawing support for the home race in Ningbo has to be read as a result of that dispute with the series.

Alongside Muller and Urrutia – the latter took his first WTCR win at Aragón last year – the team can count also on 2020 Champion Yann Ehrlacher, seventh in the standings 12 points off the lead, while Thed Björk needs a very good weekend if he wants to improve his position in the standings (13th with a gap of 39 points from the leader).

Regarding the other models in the series, the second round of the season didn’t show any improvements for Audi. All Comtoyou drivers will benefit from a reduction in weight of 30 kg and they will hope for a performance improvement. Best driver in the standings is Nathanael Berthon, eleventh but already 37 points from Vernay.

CUPRA has instead already shown some progress after a miserable opening weekend in Germany, with both Rob Huff and Mikel Azcona able to hit the top 10 in Portugal. The English driver is also the best placed driver in the standings.

More improvements are anticipated for this weekend as the CUPRA will lose 20 kg from success ballast.

Race of Spain is also the home ground for the manufacturer and for two of its drivers, Jordi Gené and Mikel Azcona, with the latter having taken his first WTCR win at Aragón in one of the races from last year.

Racing in this time of the year in Spain is always connected to sun and hot weather, something we were missing in the first two rounds of the season. This is one of the areas of most concern for drivers and teams, as it can affect tire wear.

The WTCR event will be supported by the PURE ETCR, the touring car series for electric cars, which will run on a different layout of the track but on the same program. This means that Azcona, Genè and Vernay will be on double duty this weekend, as all three drivers are entered in both series.

The two Spanish drivers will race the Cupra e-Racer alongside Mattias Ekström and Dániel Nagy, Vernay will be at the wheel of the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR together with Augusto Farfus, Tom Chilton and John Filippi, while the Alfa Romeo Giulia will be driven by Stefano Coletti, Luca Filippi, Rodrigo Baptista and Oliver Webb.

Timetable Race of Spain
All times in CET
Friday July 9th
9:00-9:30 Pure ETRC – Free Practice
11:30-12:00 Pure ETRC – Free Practice
14:35-14:57 Pure ETRC – Pool A Round 1
17:35-17:57 Pure ETRC – Pool B Round 1
Saturday July 10th
09:45-10:25 WTCR – Free Practice 1
11:20-11:57 Pure ETCR – Pool A – Round 2
12:45-13:25 WTCR – Free Practice 2
14:50-15:27 Pure ETCR – Pool B Round 2
16:30-17:10 WTCR – Qualifying
18:00-18:30 Pure ETCR – Pool A Round 3 Time Trial
19:30-20:00 Pure ETCR – Pool B Round 3 Time Trial
Sunday July 11th
9:45-10:00 Pure ETRC – Round 4 DHL Super Final A (7 laps)
11:15-11:45 Race 1 (10 laps)
13:15-13:50 Race 2 (12 laps)
16:0-16:20 Pure ETRC – Round 4 DHL Super Final B (7 laps)

The races of the weekend (2-4 July 2021)

Formula 1 returns this weekend for its second event in Austria at the Red Bull Ring with Formula 3 and again Porsche Supercup as support series.

In the United States IndyCar races at Mid-Ohio while IMSA remains at Watkins Glen for the second weekend in a row.

Rallying is back this weekend with Rally Liepaja in Latvia as part of the European Rally Championship.

Austrian Grand Prix

IndyCar at Mid-Ohio

IMSA at Watkins Glen

ERC Rally Liepaja

Austrian Grand Prix

Formula 1 remains in Austria for the second week in a row with the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg hosting its second event in succession, but will the results be an exact copy of what we saw last week?

Last Sunday Verstappen and Red Bull took a dominating win which was never under doubt during the 71 laps of the race.

It has to be said however that the 35 second gap over Hamilton at the end of the race was exaggerated by the fact that the British driver decided to pit with a few laps to go for the fastest lap of the race and to gain one additional point in the championship.

Still there was nothing Hamilton could do to keep up with the speed of his rival and even before his late pit-stop he was 17 seconds off the lead.

The team is investigating the causes, as they try to not repeat the same defeat this week. But can Mercedes find a way to close the gap in just one week?

The only big difference between the two races are the tires, with Pirelli having decided to bring softer compound in the second event at Spielberg to try to shake things up this weekend.

Softer compound means more performing but also less durable tires, which could lead to changes in the strategies.

Another variable is the weather. Last weekend there was no rain during the event, but being in the middle of the Alps it´s always probable we will have some rain during the three days. Temperatures will also go down by a couple of degrees.

Verstappen has now stretched his lead over Hamilton to 18 points. If both drivers repeat the same results this weekend the Dutchman could find himself with a lead of 24 or 25 points (depending on who gets the fastest lap) over his rival, which would mean the advantage in points of a win over the 7-time world champion.

The season is long and everything can change quickly but it´s clear that at the moment Red Bull has the upper hand over Mercedes and the latter need to improve the pace as Hamilton´s skills alone could not be enough against Red Bull´s strength.

The difference between Verstappen and Hamilton on one side and their respective teammates on the other one was evident once again in Austria.

Bottas´s season continues to be a roller-coaster. At the start of the first weekend in Austria he was protagonist of a strange pit-lane spin during free practice for which he received a three-place grid penalty for the race. He was able to reverse it by finishing third on Sunday, but 11 seconds from Hamilton despite his teammate took an additional stop at the end of the race.

This season Bottas was competitive only at Portimao, Monaco (where he was quicker than Hamilton but was forced to retire) and Paul Ricard, while at Imola and Baku he was completely out of pace. His best results this year have been four third places and he sits only fifth in the standings, even behind Norris who drives for McLaren.

That´s clearly not enough for the team which is behind Red Bull also in the manufacturers´ championship with a gap of 40 points.

Question marks are arising over him returning with the team next year, so he needs to improve his chances with a strong result on a track he has always liked in the past.

The most probable driver to take his place alongside Hamilton if he´s not confirmed next year seems to be George Russell. But the British driver in his third year at Williams has yet to bring home some points for the British outfit. While there is no doubts about his speed especially on qualifying, he doesn´t bring the same experience Bottas has and needs to improve his ability to assure important results for the team.

McLaren and Ferrari continue their fight for third in the championship. Norris has once again finished the race in the points, for the 13th time in a row and for the eighth (out of eight races) this seasons.

McLaren was very close to the front row in qualifying but in the race there was nothing Norris could do to keep the second drives of Red Bull and Mercedes behind and he had to settle for fifth also one lap behind the winner.

Instead of looking ahead McLaren had to look behind, as Ferrari coming from a disastrous French GP and after a difficult qualifying in Austria found again better speed during the race to finish sixth and seventh just behind Norris.

In the standings the gap has now been cut to 12 points in favour of the team from Woking.

Ricciardo´s recent progresses have been halted by technical issues in Austria, with the Australian driver unable to retake the positions lost due to a power unit issue. His pace in qualifying was in any case very far from that of Norris.

Leclerc had also a difficult weekend in Austria having triggered two minor contacts during the race. The first one was enough to cause damages to the Ferrari´s front wing and to put an end to Gasly´s race. Luckily the second one with Räikkönen later in the race didn´t cause any damages to any of the two cars and the Frenchman could still finish well inside the points, but without those accidents he would have had a chance of battling with Norris.

If Ferrari can improve its starting position this week and Leclerc avoid the same mistakes, they can be ahead of McLaren in the second round in Austria.

Another battle in the standings which is shaping up nicely is that for fifth place with Alpha Tauri, Aston Martin and Alpine in the mix.

The Italian team is confirming the potential showed before the start of the season, but it´s lacking in strategy and reliability, while Gasly always seems to be involved when there are contacts at the start. His teammate Tsunoda did a clever race to finish in the points for the third time this year, while the team has had at least a car in the top 10 in every race in 2021. If there are no issues expect AlphaTauri to battle inside the top 10 with both cars.

Last Sunday Lance Stroll has made a great race for Aston Martin to bring home a couple of points with his eighth place, while Vettel battled hard during the race but was unable to hit the top10.

Fernando Alonso was once again the point scorer for Alpine, while his teammate Ocon has endured another disappointing weekend. The Frenchman seems to have lost the confidence he has shown at the start of the season.

Williams´s George Russell was once again driving very well at Spielberg, also running inside the points, until he had to come into the pits to retire because of a power unit issue.

He has another opportunity this weekend on the same track.

For Williams the decision of opting for a no-compromise approach based on focusing only on certain tracks of the calendar rather than building a car suitable to all circuits has not payed off yet, but the first points of the year are at the door.

Formula 3

Third event of the year for Formula 3 this weekend at the Red Bull Ring, with the third-tier open wheel series returning alongside Formula 1.

Formula 3 cars were not present during the first weekend of racing in Austria, so we don´t have a reference point of what to expect next days.

Team Prema is leading the championship with Norwegian Dennis Hauger on 66 points and that´s not something we are not used to see in Formula 3, but there is high competition coming from at least two more teams, making the championship pretty much open.

One of these teams is MP Motorsport. Thanks to a great start of the season, rookie Victor Martins is second in the standings only 6 points adrift of Hauger. The Frenchman has shown great consistency, having finished all the races of the season in the points so far and is now focusing on taking his first win in the category.

His teammate Caio Collet is also impressing in his first season in F3. The Brazilian has taken two podiums this year, last time out in the last race in France

Trident is the other team which is impressing this year. The competitiveness shown during preseason tests was proved to be real in the opening two rounds of the season.

Jack Doohan after taking his first win in the series in the final race at Paul Ricard is now third in the standings only 2 points behind Martins and 8 adrift of the lead, while teammate Novalak (like Martins in the points in every race), thanks to his very consistent results is not too far in fourth place overall.

There are more drivers and teams in need of delivering good results to stay in touch with the top of the standings.

For example Hauger´s teammates at Prema, Caldwell and Leclerc. The British driver started the season with a win in Catalunya and was runner-up in the points at the end of the first weekend, but in France he lost any opportunity to bring home good points in the most important third race after he was involved in a race-ending contact with another driver.

Arthur Leclerc had a miserable start of the season, but he was able to take his first win in the series in France in race 2. The Monegasque showed great character after not being able to set a time in qualifying and being forced to start from the back of the field. With intelligence he recovered to 12th in race 1 which was enough to start from pole on race 2, the race that he later won to take also the first points of the season. Despite having only 15 points in the bag and sitting 11th in the standings, there is high potential in him.

ART Grand Prix is the team looking to improve its performance after a non consistent start to the season. Russian Aleksandr Smolyar has taken two wins this season (only driver to do so in Formula 3) in two different tracks and both times on race 1, but he needs to find more pace when he starts from the middle of the pack.

But the French team awaits better performance from Frederik Vesti. The Danish driver was one of the favourites at the start of the season, but all the promises have failed to translate into wins so far.

Despite setting the best time in qualifying in France, he was not able to confirm his performance in the rest of the event and two anonymous races were followed by a mere sixth place in the race he started from pole. Signs that he needs to improve his tire management if he wants to close the gap to the front this weekend.

Qualifying will take place on Friday afternoon, but the fastest driver of the session will have to wait until the last race on Sunday to take advantage of the pole position.

Race 1 in fact will reverse the top 12 of qualifying, while race 2 is based on the results of the first race (again with the top 12 reversed). The final race of the weekend will form the grid from qualifying results.

Porsche Supercup

Defending champion Larry ten Voorde continues his impressive performance after taking his second win in a row last weekend in Austria and wants to go three out of three this Sunday, as the series remains at Spielberg for the next round of the season.

The Dutch driver has already a healthy gap (considering the low number of races completed) of 19 points over his nearest rival. This is because he battled with different drivers in the first two events.

Jaxon Evans, his main rival at the season opener at Monaco (where he finished second), ended only sixth in the second race and now lies third in the standings already 20 points behind the leader.

ten Voorde´s rival in the first race at Spielberg was instead Ayhancan Güven. The Turkish driver showed that BWT Lechner Racing is still one of the strongest team in the championship, after the first event of the year saw the Austrian outfit in troubles.

Second place is not enough though and expect them to have another go this weekend.

Güven is sixth in the standings because he didn´t score at Monaco.

Second is then Dorian Boccolacci. The French driver former protagonist in junior open wheel series has been very consistent at the start of the year with a third and a fourth place.

Another protagonist of the first race in Austria was Leon Köhler, the German finishing third after keeping Boccolacci at bay.

Dylan Pereira, Güven´s teammate at Lechner Racing, needs to bounce back from a disappointing start of the season.

Timetable Austrian GP

Friday 2
9:30-10:15 F3 – Practice
11:30-12:30 F1 – Free Practice 1
13:50-14:20 F3 – Qualifying
15:00-16:00 F1 – Free Practice 2
16:30-17:00 W Series – Qualifying
17:25-18:10 PSC _ Practice
Saturday 3
10:35-11:20 F3 – Race 1 (24 laps)
12:00-13:00 F1 – Free Practice 3
13:25-13:55 PSC – Qualifying
15:00-16:00 F1 – Qualifying
16:30-17:05 W Series – Race (30 mins + 1 lap)
17:45-18:30 F3 – Race 2 (24 laps)
Sunday 4
11:05-11:50 F3 – Race 3 (24 laps)
12:15-12:50 PSC – Race (18 laps)
15:00-17:00 F1 – Race (71 laps)

IndyCar at Mid-Ohio

Round 9 at Mid-Ohio opens the second half of the 16-round IndyCar season after the cancellation of the street race in Toronto due to Covid restrictions.

The series has searched for a replacement for the Canadian event but in the end it has decided to not replace it. This means that there will be a long break after this weekend´s race, with the Nashville street race taking place on the second weekend of August.

Spanish youngster Alex Palou has retaken the championship lead after taking his second career win at Road America. His margin over previous championship leader O´Ward is 28 points.

The two youngsters are the main protagonists of the season, both in only their second full season in the series, but the only drivers to win multiple races this year.

Despite a gap of 53 points from the lead, a driver like Scott Dixon just can´t be counted off yet. If you add that Mid-Ohio has been one of his favourite tracks, having won there a record six times – despite a miserable weekend in 2020 – then the championship is still pretty much open for him.

Still incredibly looking for their first win of the season is Penske. The team has had a disappointing season so far, but while in the first part of the year they were lacking in pace, in the last three races they were constantly at the front, losing the win only in the final phase.

Power at Belle Isle in race 1 and Newgarden at Road America were both forced to retire while in the lead in the final laps of the race due to technical issues, while Newgarden was dominating the second race at Belle Isle until the penultimate lap, when he was overtaken by an inspired O´Ward.

While the team is desperate to find again Victory lane, Newgarden and Pagenaud are not out of contention for the title yet, with respectively 88 and 94 points to be recovered in the remaining races.

The race at Mid-Ohio will see the return of Felix Rosenqvist at McLaren SP after his huge accident at Belle Isle sidelined him for two races and that of Rinus VeeKay at Ed Carpenter Racing after he recovered from his bike accident.

The race will also see the return of Santino Ferrucci in a third car from Team RLL – the American has been very competitive in his previous outings this year – and the debut of Ryan Norman, former Andretti driver in Indy Lights, to bring the total number of cars in the entry list up to 26.

Indy Lights

Battle resumes in Indy Lights this weekend at Mid-Ohio for rounds number 11 and 12 of the season.

With 20 races scheduled for 2021 this weekend marks the start of the second half of the year.

The championship fight is now open to three drivers all within 8 points.

David Malukas (HMD) leads the standings on 235 points after taking his fourth win of the season in the most recent race at Road America. But his margin over second place is not big enough to tranquillise him.

Both his teammate Linus Lundqvist and Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti) are in fact only 8 points adrift in second place.

The Swedish driver has won only 2 times this season but he has always been very consistent, also in races where he has not performed well like recently at Road America.

Kirkwood instead has won as much as the leader – 4 races – but three of them have come from the last four rounds. His incredible run has been stopped by an accident at the start of the second race at Road America, but he wants to reopen the count this week.

Other drivers to watch are Danial Frost, best time in both qualifying sessions at Road America but unable to reproduce the same speed in the race, Toby Sowery, five time in the top 5 in the last six races, and Alex Peroni who went very close to take his second podium of the year at Road America before technical issues stopped him.

Full timetable Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

ET Times
Friday 2
11:25 am-12:10 pm IndyLights – Practice
2:30 pm-3:15 pm IndyCar – Practice 1
3:35 pm-4:05 pm IndyLights – Qualifying 1
Saturday 3
9:05 am-9:50 am IndyCar – Practice 2
10:05 am-10:35 am IndyLights – Qualifying 2
12:00 pm-1:15 pm IndyCar – Qualifying
3:30 pm-4:00 pm IndyCar – Final Practice
4:20 pm-5:20 pm IndyLights – Race 1 (35 laps)
Sunday 4
9:50 am-11:00 am IndyLights – Race 2 (35 laps)
11:30 am-2:30 pm IndyCar – Race (80 laps)
CET Times
Friday 2
17:25-18:10 IndyLights – Practice
20:30-21:15 IndyCar – Practice 1
21:35-22:05 IndyLights – Qualifying 1
Saturday 3
15:05-15:50 IndyCar – Practice 2
15:05-15:35 IndyLights – Qualifying 2
18:00-19:15 IndyCar – Qualifying
21:30-22:00 IndyCar – Final Practice
22:20-23:20 IndyLights – Race 1 (35 laps)
Sunday 4
15:50-17:00 IndyLights – Race 2 (35 laps)
17:30-20:30 IndyCar – Race (80 laps)

IMSA at Watkins Glen

Same track for the IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship but complete different format with a 2h40 minutes race instead of the 6 hours endurance we assisted last weekend at Watkins Glen.

Mazda arrives galvanised by the first win of the season and wants to build on momentum in the second weekend.

Acura was very close however with Meyer Shank Racing finishing a best-season second in the 6 hours race and now wants to go one place better.

The other Acura of team Konica Minolta was also very fast last weekend and is interested in keeping the lead of the championship.

Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor have now a smaller margin of 32 points over Jarvis and Tincknell in second.

The third manufacturer in the series, Cadillac, clearly doesn´t want to watch the others battling and they want to have their say in the championship fight. Derani and Nasr despite having won no races this year are third in the standings, 159 points adrift of the lead.

But let´s not forget that there has been a change in the points structure from this year, with a total of 385 points available each weekend (35 for qualifying and 350 for the race). This means the gaps are not so huge like it may appear.

Like in the previous week all classes are entered for this round with the only difference that GTD will not count as a point scoring race.

Endurance entries only like the Ally Cadillac in DPi and the two BMWs in GTLM will not take part in the race, while we will have a total of 31 cars entered for this round.

The race will take place on Friday, with qualifying already on Saturday.

The Spotter Guide is available here.

Timetable WeatherTech240 at The Glen

ET Times
Thursday 1
2:05 pm-3:20 pm Practice
5:40 pm-7:10 pm Qualifying
Friday 2
6:10 pm-8:50 pm Race (2h 40)
CET Times
Thursday 1
20:05-21:20 Practice
23:40-1:10 Qualifying
Friday 2
0:10-2:50 Race (2h 40)

ERC Rally Liepaja

Second round of the year for the European Rally Championship in Latvia.

Rally Liepaja will take place around the city of Liepaja the second biggest city in Latvia.

Two time European champion Alexey Lukyanuk (Citroen) has started his title defend in the best possible way by winning Rally Poland, the opening round of the season.

He has a good chance to continue that form this weekend. The Russian driver has never won Rally Liepaja but he has finished second and third in the last two years at the venue. He will contest the second round with a different co-driver, with Dimitry Eremeev returning alongside him for this rally

The winner of the last two editions of the rally Oliver Solberg has not made his comeback this year so he won´t go for a straight third win in Latvia, but there is another driver looking to add a third success here. It´s Nikolay Gryazin. The Russian has won in 2017 and 2018 and driving his Volkswagen Polo GTI he will try to forget the unfortunate start of the season in Poland.

Men to watch are again Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda), second in Poland, and Craig Breen (Hyundai), still searching for more experience with the new tire manufacturer, but already competitive in the first round of the year, while a surprising result may come from Mikolaj Marczk (Skoda), Nil Solans (Skoda), Efren Llarena (Skoda), Yoann Bonato (Citroen), Erik Cais (Ford) or one of the drivers who has not impressed in the first rally of the season, Umberto Scandola (Skoda), Grégoire Munster (Hyundai) or Fabian Kreim (Volkswagen).

The rally will take place on just two days with start on Friday morning at 12:00 local time (11:00 CET) and will finish on Saturday afternoon with a total of 181.74 km of competition divided in 12 stages, though two stages from Friday have been cancelled. This leaves only four stages in the first day of the rally.

Differently from the WRC the starting order will be decided by a qualifying stage on Thursday afternoon. The drivers will then decide from which position they will start the rally.

A total of four stage included the first and the last one (SS12 at 14:25 CET) will be streamed live on the series official Youtube channel.

More information about the rally included the itinerary and the full entry list are available here.

Races of the weekend (25-27 june 2021)

Formula 1 with the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring is once again the highlight of the weekend, but there will be a lot of actions from other series as well.

With the Safari Rally Kenya, the WRC returns to Africa for the first time since 19 years, while endurance racing fans will enjoy the 6 Hours of the Glen valid for the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

Touring car racing won´t be missing from the program of the weekend with WTCR at Estoril, BTCC at Brands Hatch and TCR Italy in Vallelunga.

Formula 1 Styrian GP

WRC Rally Safari Kenya

IMSA Sahlen 6 Hours at the Glen

WTCR Race of Portugal

BTCC at Brands Hatch

TCR Italy at Vallelunga

Formula 1 Styrian GP

Formula 1 returns to Austria this weekend for the first of two events in a row in Spielberg with the Styrian GP followed by the Austrian GP on the same track next week.

The Red Bull Ring has already hosted two races in succession last year, as the pandemic caused a late season start and doubts about the possibility of racing later in the season

The circuit is the home track for Red Bull which also owns the track and has good records, with Verstappen taking two wins in a row between 2018 and 2019.

Last year though it was a Mercedes win in both races, with Verstappen unable to match the speed of his rivals, finishing the two weekends with one retirement and a third place.

But this year the situation is quite different, with Red Bull capable of winning everywhere and ahead in both the standings.

Verstappen has in fact a 11-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers´ standings, while Mercedes has a gap of 37 points from their rivals in the constructors´ championship.

Red Bull´s double lead is due to some great performance by Verstappen and Pérez, with the latter able to give the consistency needed by the team to fight against Mercedes, but also down to some mistakes made by the team from Brackley.

This was evident in the last round in France, when Mercedes incredibly waited one lap too much before pitting Hamilton, which resulted in Verstappen taking advantage of the undercut and take the lead of the race.

In the same race, the team made a second mistake by not pitting for a second time when it was clear Hamilton couldn´t pass Verstappen on track and the tires would have not lasted to the end.

They were anticipated by Red Bull and there was nothing they could do once Verstappen pitted.

Hamilton did an amazing work to make his tires last the entire second part of the race, losing the lead only in the penultimate lap. But his teammate Bottas was not able to save his tires and was overtaken not only by Verstappen but also by the other Red Bull of Pérez, costing him a podium position. At the end of the race he was vocal over the radio criticising the team´s strategy.

These were not the first mistakes of the year for the team. At Imola it was Hamilton who went off the road while on second place (but he was then able to recover and finish in the same position), then Monaco saw Bottas unable to rejoin the race after his pit-stop because one of the tires was impossible to be removed. At Baku the “magic button” caused a huge mistake by Hamilton who out-broke himself at Turn 1, losing not only a possible win, but also a point finish.

Verstappen and Red Bull instead look on form at the moment after taking three wins in a row, a feature that happened last time in 2013.

The Dutch driver made a big mistake at the start, gifting the lead to Hamilton, but then was flawless in the rest of the race and determinant in the first laps after his pit-stop.

One team that has incredibly lost performance at Paul Ricard is instead Ferrari. The Italian team was third in the standings before the weekend (although by only 2 points), but the French GP saw both Ferraris finishing out of the points due to issues with tire wearing.

Many are questioning the fact this change of performance has happened just after the FIA decided to introduce new tire pressure checks after races. But probably the reason could be just the hot temperatures we had last weekend at Paul Ricard or just the characteristics of the track. Time will tell.

In the meantime McLaren has returned back to third in the standings after a great performance of the two drivers in the race. If Norris still remains the only driver to have finished every single race in the points, his teammate Ricciardo has finally found some reasons to smile again after his last two events were disappointing.

The team from Woking need to improve the qualifying pace, but if they continue with their race performance they have a great possibility of maintaining the third place in the standings.

Alpha Tauri has finished again in the points in France thanks to another great performance from Gasly, while his teammate Tsunoda had another setback following his best race of the year at Baku.

Aston Martin finished for the first time this year with both drivers in the points, while at Alpine for the second time in a row Fernando Alonso has managed well the tires to make some overtakes in the last part of the race and beat his younger teammate Ocon.

Williams, thanks to a convincing race from George Russell who finished 12th in France, is back in ninth place in the standings just ahead of Team Haas, although still looking for the first points of the year.

Rain is predicted this weekend in Austria and this could spice things up.

Porsche Supercup

Porsche Supercup returns this weekend as part of the program of the Styrian GP for the second round of the 2021 season. The series will stay at the track for another week, as Spielberg will host the ground for the third race of the season too.

Defending champion Larry ten Voorde has started the season in the best possible way, by winning the opening race at Monaco three weeks ago, but he will face strong competition especially from team Lechner, winner last year of both races thanks to Jaxon Evans and Dylan Pereira.

However the opening race was a nightmare for the Austrian team with Ellinas, the best placed driver in the race only eight, while Pereira couldn´t go better than 11th and Simmenauer, Misslin and Güven were all forced to retire.

The race was instead positive for Martinet by Alméras, the French team finished second with Jaxon Evans and third with Dorian Boccolacci.

The race will take place on Sunday before Formula 1.

The Formula 1 GP will see the start of the season for the all-female W Series, with the race taking place on Saturday just after F1 Qualifying.

Full Schedule Styrian GP

Friday, 25
11:30-12:30 – F1 – Practice 1
13:10-13:40 – W Series – Practice
15:00-16:00 – F1 – Practice 2
16:30-17:00 – W Series – Qualifying
17:25-18:10 – Porsche Supercup – Free Practice

Saturday, 26
12:00-13:00 – F1 – Practice 3
13:45-14:15 – Porsche Supercup – Qualifying
15:00-16:00 – F1 – Qualifying
16:30-17:05 – W Series – Race (30 Mins + 1 lap)

Sunday, 27
12:25-13:00 – Porsche Supercup – Race (18 laps)
15:00-17:00 – F1 – Race (71 laps)

WRC Safari Rally Kenya

19 years after its last event in 2002 the World Rally Championship makes its return to the beautiful roads of Safari Rally Kenya in Africa for the sixth round of the season.

It is the first event outside Europe since Mexico last year and also a first visit to Africa for a World Championship event since the WTCR last time visited Marrakech in 2019.

In the past the Safari Rally was one of the most iconic rallies of the championship, having been part of it from 1973 until 2002. Cancelled in 2003 due to financial issues, it was scheduled to make its return to the WRC calendar last year, but the Covid19 pandemic forced the organisation to cancel the event.

One of its characteristics was the duration of the competition, with over 5000 km of total distance in the first years. The rally was an endurance event and even the last WRC edition in 2002 had a total of 1000 km of competitive stages, while all the other events of the year were at around 400 km.

The first event of the new era will continue to take place on the gravel roads around Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, but unlike in the past it will run on a distance of just over 300 km, like the other events on the calendar.

The lack of the endurance aspect of the rally has left many fans disappointed, but it´s a new event for modern rally and it will still be a new competition for all the drivers (no one has ever driven here), while many difficulties will be found on the road. And we are not only talking of rocks on the roads, as wildlife interruptions could also happen during the stages.

Even if it´s not literally an endurance event, the lack of knowledge of the roads and the complications the rally will cause to the drivers will make it probably the toughest event of the year. Finishing the rally without issues and without making mistakes will be difficult and it will still need the drivers to think it is an endurance event to be able to arrive at the end of the Power Stage in first position.

In the championship Toyota is in a great position after winning four times in only five rallies. Sebastien Ogier leads the standings on 106 points, with a gap of 11 points over his teammate Elfyn Evans and, more importantly in the title fight with Hyundai, 29 points ahead of Thierry Neuville.

The Belgian driver in his first year with his new co-driver Martin Wydaeghe has not won any rallies so far, but has finished third in four occasions this year with only one non point score in Portugal.

The Safari Rally Kenya can be a good opportunity for the two Belgians, as everyone in the championship is new to the event.

Ott Tänak is the man most looking for revenge after losing two wins in both the last two events in Portugal and Italy. The gap to Ogier in the lead is immense, 57 points, but with the speed he has shown in those events, the season is still long and nothing is impossible.

It remains to be seen if the issues with the car can be solved in such a short time. In both the last two events on gravel Tänak and Neuville fell victim of suspensions breaks, with the Estonian in particular not appearing to have hit anything hard before retiring. This does not look good for Hyundai, with the Safari Rally Kenya presenting rocky rutted tracks. A more conservative set up could help the team, but could also dent Tänak´s confidence, while rain, always present in this time of the year in Kenya, could help the car by making the passage over rocks softer, but it could also help the drivers starting first on the road (the two Toyotas).

As always the drivers will enter the stages of the first day of competition in the same order as they are in the championship, representing a problem for the two Toyota drivers in the lead, but a good opportunity to recover for Tänak and in particular for Rovanperä and Sordo.

The Finnish driver has finished out of the top 10 in all the last three rallies and he wants to bounce back, after being overtaken in the standings by the fourth Toyota driver, Takamoto Katsuta.

Helped by others´ misfortunes the Japanese driver has finished fourth in both Portugal and Italy, showing good pace and that he can avoid mistakes. A podium result in Kenya is not out of reach if he finds enough confidence with the car and stays out of trouble.

After being forced to withdraw his entry from Rally of Italy two weeks ago, Oliver Solberg will have a second opportunity with the Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC this weekend. Again Co-driven by Irish Aaron Johnston and assisted by 2C Competition like in his first outing in Monte Carlo, he will be driving the car which was used by Pierre-Louis Loubet previously in the year.

Another driver making his return in a WRC car is Adrien Fourmaux. The Frenchman, protagonist of an incredible WRC debut on the asphalts of Croatia and then promising in his first gravel rally in Portugal, will be back at M Sport driving one of the two Fiesta WRC.

Greensmith is confirmed in the other car and will have again Chris Patterson reading his notes, with the new cooperation started in April already showing good promises.

For the Cumbria-based team it will be a difficult event though, as Covid travel restrictions have forced the team to send only essential personnel in Kenya.

A Ford prepared by M Sport won the last WRC event for the Safari Rally driven by Colin McRae, but it seems a feature difficult to repeat at the moment.

The team was also forced to withdraw the WRC2 entry of Teemu Suninen from the rally.

Other drivers who will be missing in Kenya are WRC-2 leader Andreas Mikkelsen and his teammate Marco Bulacia, which leaves us with only one single Ford Fiesta for Martin Prokop in the entry list of the WRC2 class.

Six cars are fielded in the WRC-3 category, which is filled by local drivers. Brothers Onkar and Tejveer Rai will each drive a Volkswagen Polo Gti, while another Polo will be driven by 5-time winner of the rally Carl Tundo.

If usually it´s impossible to think about a R5 car winning a rally, it could still be a possibility this weekend with the possible issues for the WRC drivers and thanks to Tundo´s knowledge of the roads.

Skoda will be represented by Aakif Virani, while two Ford Fiesta will be driven by Karan Patel and polish driver Daniel Chwist.

The Rally starts already on Wednesday with Shakedown while the ceremonial opening will happen on Thrusday in the morning, just before the first stage of the rally, a special stage of less than 5 km.

Real competition starts on Friday with a 3-stage loop in the morning to be repeated in the afternoon. The second stage of the loop is the longest of the rally with over 32 km of competitive distance.

The second day has a similar format with three stages run in the morning and then again in the afternoon. With a total of more than 130 km, Saturday is the longest day of the rally.

On Sunday there will be five more stages, with the last one being as usual the Power Stage.

The full entry list is available here.

The itinerary is available here.

IMSA Sahlen´s Six Hours of the Glen

WeatherTech Sportscar Championship returns to action this weekend with the 6 Hours at Watkins Glen.

It will be the first time since the 12 Hours of Sebring that all five classes will be back together on the same track.

Acura and Cadillac have shared equally their wins in the first four rounds of the season, with Ricky Taylor and Albuquerque taking two wins for Konica Minolta Acura, while JDC Mustang Sampling and Chip Ganassi have taken each one win for Cadillac.

The Konica Minolta Acura prepared by Wayne Taylor Racing is leading the championship with 1398 points and gap of 71 points.

Second placed in the standings is the Mazda with drivers Tincknell and Jarvis, both still looking for their first win of the season, but very consistent so far thanks to one second place, two third and a fourth. At Watkins Glen last year the team clinched an incredible 1-2 and they hope they can achieve a similar result, even if with only one car entered this season.

The best Cadillac in the standings is the one entered by Action Express under the banner Whelen Engineering, third with drivers Nasr and Derani, 128 points adrift of the leaders. The two Brazilians have been very consistent this year and, despite a difficult start to the season, they have taken two second places in both the last two events and they hope to go one better this weekend.

Magnussen and van der Zande follow in fourth after they recent win at Detroit. It was the first overall win in IMSA for Chip Ganassi since 2015.

Duval-Vautier in fifth and Cameron-Pla in sixth complete the leaderboard.

The race at Watkins Glen is the third event of the year for the North American Endurance Championship, which takes into consideration the results of the four endurance events. Most of the entries with the exception of the GTLM class will have a third driver in their line-up.

The LMP2 class is made up by five Oreca-Gibson and it will be only the second event of the year for the class.

Keating-Jensen-Huffaker, winners of the first event – the 12 Hours of Sebring – are back in the PR1/Mathiasen car. Their main competitors are Merriman-Tilley-Dalziel for Era Motorsport, second at Sebring, and Thomas-Merrill-Nunez for WIN Autosport, fastest in qualifying at Sebring but a technical issue prevented them from battling for the win.

There are 10 cars in the entry list for the LMP3 class with again a single Duqueine fighting against 9 Ligier.

BMW is back in GTLM with the German manufacturer present only in the Endurance events this year. Two M8 GTE will fight against the full season entries of Corvette (with 2 C8R) and Porsche. The drivers of the WeatherTech Racing Porsche for this round will be Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell, who will partner Cooper MacNeil, the only full time driver in the line up.

Finally, there are 14 entries in GTD.

Championship leaders Auberlen-Foley are back in their BMW M6 GT3 with Aidan Read in his first event with Turner Motorsport.

They have a small gap of 7 points over De Angelis-Gunn (Aston Martin) winners of the last event at Detroit, although it was not a championship event for the class and no points were awarded.

Porsche is as always very competitive with P. Long-Heylen-Hindman and Robichon-L. Vanthoor-Kern.

Lexus and Acura are still looking for their first win of the year, while Lamborghini, Mercedes and Audi complete the grid.

The series will stay at Watkins Glen another week for the next round of the season, a standard 2 hour 40 minute event on July 2.

The full entry list for this weekend 6 hours at the Glen is available here.

Schedule
Friday 25
4:20pm-5:20pm ET Practice 1
Saturday 26
8:00am-9:15am ET Practice 2
11:45am-1:20pm ET Qualifying
Sunday 27
8:00am-8:20am ET Warm Up
10:40am – 4:40pm ET Race (6h)

WTCR Race of Portugal

The second round of the season for the WTCR will take place at the Estoril Circuit in Portugal.

As in the recent past, this year´s Race of Portugal was supposed to be run on the streets of Vila Real, but due to Covid restrictions it has been moved to a permanent facility.

The last time a World Touring Car series visited Estoril was in 2008 when it was called WTCC. The winner of the second race was a certain Tiago Monteiro. The Portuguese driver is still in the field and has also won the first race of 2021, meaning we could see a home favourite at the top of the podium in one of the races this weekend.

The first round was held at the Nürburgring Nordschleife and, while it´s difficult to draw conclusions in such a particular track, we can say that Honda and Hyundai are quite on form at the moment.

Honda won race 1 in Germany thanks to Monteiro, while Vernay headed Luca Engstler in a 1-2 for Hyundai in the second race.

Vernay leads the standings with 39 points, 6 more than Monteiro and Girolami.

The Argentinian – also driving for Honda – took pole at the Nürburgring for the main race where he finished on the podium, making another great start of the season like in the previous two years. The question is if he can maintain the same consistency for the rest of the year.

Best of the 2020 champions Lynk & Co were Yvan Muller and Santiago Urrutia, both on the podium in the reversed grid first race and both fourth in the standings after the weekend 10 points adrift of Vernay.

The first event was disappointing for the other two drivers, 2020 Champion Ehrlacher and Björk, who will be looking for different results this weekend.

Michelisz and Tarquini were also unlucky in Germany and are far back in the standings, while Audi and Cupra were the slowest cars in the field.

The best Audi driver was Berthon who finished sixth in race 2 in the premiere for the new model of the RS3 LMS. Coronel and Magnus were also able to finish in the top 10 at least in one of the races, but the team need to close the gap performance-wise.

The first event of the year went even worse for the Zengo team which enters the Cupras with only Bence Boldisz able to finish in the points (13th in race 2), while it was a complete nightmare for the other three drivers, all out in race 2 after a difficult race 1.

Schedule – Race of Portugal (local times)
Saturday 26th
Free Practice 1 – 09:00
Free Practice 2 – 12:00
Qualifying – 15:00
Sunday 27th
Race 1 – 12:15 (13 laps)
Race 2 – 15:15 (15 laps)

BTCC at Brands Hatch

The BTCC heads to Brands Hatch for the third round of the season at the shortest track of the calendar, the Indy layout.

Last time the series visited Brands Hatch was last year in November for the final event of the season.

Being raced in June, this year drivers and teams will probably benefit from a better weather and more hours of daylight.

Our new championship leader is Ash Sutton, who is coming from a very positive weekend at Snetterton, where he took one win and a second place once he got rid of the success ballast he had to carry during qualifying and race 1.

His pace and the overtakes in race 2 and 3 at Snetterton reminded us of his driving from last year, which ended with the championship win for the man from Bishops Stortford. A run that should worry all his rivals in the series.

Sutton´s Infiniti will race on maximum ballast this weekend (75 kg)

Sutton leads the standings on 80 points, but only 2 ahead of his next rival, Tom Ingram, and 5 above Turkington.

Ingram has already found confidence with the Hyundai and in the last race at Snetterton he has taken the car´s and team´s first win in the BTCC. He will need to carry 66 kg of additional weight in qualifying and in the first race.

Turkington was the driver who took the biggest amount of points at Snetterton, after taking pole in qualifying and the win in the first race. He will try to confirm his consistency despite 57 kg of extra weight.

Josh Cook had a fantastic start of the season at Thruxton with two wins in the first two races, but the remaining four races have been quite difficult for him. At Snetterton he was quite off the pace in qualifying and in both the first two races and only in the third race he could finally show his real pace. Driving his Honda Civic prepared by BTC Racing, he lies fourth in the standings, 20 points adrift of Sutton.

Another driver who started the season with great results, but had some troubles recently at Snetterton is Jake Hill (Ford). The Motorbase driver came into the second round as the championship leader and thus had to carry maximum ballast. His results in qualifying and in the first race were promising despite the additional weight, but tire issues kept him out of the top 10 in the other two races. Hill will start the weekend at Brands Hatch with less weight thanks to his fifth position in the standings, 23 points behind the leader.

Team Motorbase had still something to cheer at Snetterton thanks to Ollie Jackson who finished on the podium in race 2, for a total of four podiums for the team in the first six races. Jackson has now entered the top 10 and will carry 15 kg going to Brands Hatch.

Former Motorbase driver Rory Butcher has made amends for his poor start of the season and was protagonist of a solid weekend at Snetterton were he took his first podium with the Toyota. He has gone up to sixth in the standings, just ahead of Stephen Jelley, who looks to have already found the confidence with the 3-Series.

Jason Plato (Vauxhall) instead, after a promising return after a one-year absence from the series, was completely off-pace at Snetterton and finished the weekend with no points. He is now eight in the standings and he will benefit from a reduction of success ballast.

Gordon Shedden (Honda), another series´ returnee, rounds off the top 10. His weekend at Snetterton started in the best way with a pole on qualifying. But the successive disqualification meant he had to start from the back of the grid. His progression on Sunday was still remarkable and ended with a podium on race 3.

These results have shown he has lost none of his speed and he can fight at the front at Brands Hatch. A 9 kg extra weight shouldn´t be an issue.

Other drivers looking forward to continuing their improvements are Oliphant (BMW), Morgan (BMW), Goff (Cupra) and Lloyd (Honda), while Rowbottom (Honda) and Moffat (Infiniti) need to close the gap to their respective teammates.

Timetable BTCC – BT Times

Saturday 25
9:30-10:10 Practice 1
12:05-12:45 Practice 2
15:10-15:40 Qualifying
Sunday 26
11:30 Race 1 (24 laps)
14:40 Race 2 (24 laps)
17:30 Race 3 (24 laps)

TCR Italy at Vallelunga

The Italian Touring Car Championship TCR Italy returns this weekend for the third round of the season at the Circuit of Vallelunga near Rome.

Championship leader is Eric Brigliadori (Audi), despite having missed from the top step of the podium from the first four races of the season.

A consistent run through the first two events has put him in the lead of the standings, although just two points ahead of Anti Buri (Hyundai).

The Finnish driver, 2020 TCR Germany champion and in his first season in the Italian championship, has already taken one win in the second race at Misano, showing he has no awe in the fight against local drivers, who are in some cases veteran of the series and know the tracks very well.

Kevin Ceccon (Hyundai), Nicola Baldan (Hyundai) and Salvatore Tavano (Cupra) are the other protagonists of the fight for the title in TCR Italy. Their gap from the lead is 8, 11 and 17 points respectively.

Tavano, after dominating the first event with two wins out of two at Monza, will look to bounce back following a disappointing weekend at Misano.

Timetable – TCR Italy

Saturday 26
16:00 Qualifying (25 mins)
Sunday 27
11:00 Race 1 (30 mins + 1 lap)
15:00 Race 2 (30 mins + 1 lap)

The races of the weekend (18-20 June 2021)

Another great weekend of racing is awaiting us. Formula 1 will return to the Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix, while IndyCar is on scene at the fascinating Road America.

DTM starts this weekend the 2021 season and a new chapter of its history.

Formula Regional, GT World Challenge and TCR Europe are all racing at Zandvoort, while the national championships TCR Russia and TCR Scandinavia are making their second event of the year.

If you like Rallying, the European Rally Championship will kick off this weekend in Poland.

Formula 1 French GP

IndyCar at Road America

DTM at Monza

Formula Regional at Zandvoort

GT World Challenge at Zandvoort

TCR Europe at Zandvoort

TCR Russia at NRing

STCC at Skellefteå 

FIA ERC Rally Poland

Formula 1 French GP

Formula 1 is back this weekend in France at the circuit of Paul Ricard near Le Castellet for round 7 of the season.

The race opens the first triple header of the season, with two rounds in Austria following up in the next two weekends.

The previous round in Azerbaijan two weeks ago saw an incredible win for Sérgio Pérez, while for the first time this season neither Verstappen nor Hamilton were able to take points.

The Dutch driver maintains the lead in the standings with a margin of four points over his English rival, but with the series making its return to more conventional tracks (the last two meetings were on the street circuits of Monaco and Baku), there is high premonition that we could see Mercedes back at the front.

The team from Brackley came home from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with zero points, with Hamilton out-breaking himself at Turn 1 while going for the lead, and teammate Bottas unable to impress during the whole weekend.

Hamilton´s moment was caused by inadvertently “switching the brakes off” as reported by the British driver after the race. The system has now been tweaked for the next rounds and shouldn´t give problems to the drivers.

Verstappen couldn´t enjoy his rival´s misfortunes because he was previously involved in a scary accident at over 300 km/h when his rear left tire suddenly blew. It was already the second accident of the day which involved a sudden tire explosion, with Lance Stroll also crashing on Baku´s main straight at high speed.

In both cases no warnings of a possible blowout were reported, with tire manufacturer Pirelli blaming teams for playing with tire pressure.

FIA will increase checks on tires at Paul Ricard during qualifying and after the race.

Mercedes and Red Bull are in a fight for manufacturers´ honours too, with Red Bull now 26 points ahead, thanks to Pérez´s great result at Baku.

The Mexican has had troubles in adapting to the car and he still struggles in qualifying, but his race pace is amazing and, even before the chaotic final phase of the last race, he was able to cover Verstappen and keep Hamilton at bay.

Pérez is now third in the standings, despite a long way off from the top 2.

Bottas instead needs to raise his game up after his terrible weekend in Azerbaijan, with rumours about Russell joining the team next year at his expense continuing to grow. The Finn driver is now only sixth in the standings and that doesn´t help Mercedes in the title fight.

The battle for third in the manufacturers´ standings remains interesting, with Ferrari now ahead of McLaren by 2 points.

The Italian team has taken pole position in both last races, but while the car was matching Red Bull and Mercedes in qualifying, the same cannot be said for the race. That was more evident at Baku where it´s not difficult to overtake and Leclerc was not able to keep other cars behind.

He finished fourth, which is a good result if we think at where the team was last year, but also a disappointment considering he were starting from pole and with both title contenders not able to finish at the front.

McLaren is still awaiting better performance from Daniel Ricciardo, who has improved from Monaco, but has missed for the second time in a row the final qualifying session.

His teammate Norris instead is the only driver in the field to have finished every singe race in the points. He lays fourth in the standings only 3 points behind Pérez.

The only aspect in which he needs to improve is his qualifying speed. With a better starting position at Baku, a podium would have been possible and would have kept Ferrari behind in the standings.

The last round at Baku saw a great race for Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin).

AlphaTauri was finally able to show the potential expressed during the tests, compromised in the first part of the season by strategic or driving errors. Also his teammate Yuki Tsunoda was able to finish in the points for the first time since the season opener.

At Aston Martin the podium result was not expected with Vettel still struggling with the car up to two races ago and unable to go even close to the top 10. Instead he was very strong in Monaco and at Baku he was able to take advantage from other´s misfortunes to finish an incredible second.

However the return of the series to permanent tracks could see the reappearance of the previous issues for the driver and the British team.

The French GP makes its return after been dropped from last season´s calendar due to Covid19 pandemic.

Formula 3

The third-tier of open wheel racing resumes this weekend in France for its second round of the year.

The first event in Spain in early May saw ART´s Aleksandr Smolyar winning the first race, while Prema conquered the other two races with Olli Caldwell in race 2 and Dennis Hauger in race 3, who was also the author of the best time in qualifying.

The two Prema teammates are leading the standings with Hauger two points ahead of Caldwell.

Best of the rest is Clément Novalak for Team Trident, ahead of rookie Victor Martins for MP Motorsport. The two French drivers have been very consistent in their first event of the year, with a best result of second in one of the races.

Other protagonists have been Jack Doohan in another Trident car, which confirms the potential of the team, Caio Collet, who was the second best rookie in Catalunya.

Frederik Vesti, considered the favourite for the title at the start of the season, is only seventh in the standings, with a third place as his best result of the weekend. There is probably more to come from the Danish driver, as he needs to show he can deliver on expectations.

After wining race 1, Smolyar retired from the second race and finished out of the points in the last one, so he lies only eight in the standings.

There has been some changes to the entry list, with Pierre-Louis Chovet who has lost his seat at Team Jenzer because of sponsorship issues. His seat will be taken by Johnathan Hoggard. British, 20 years old, he will make his debut in the series, after racing in British F4, where he finished third in 2018, and BRDC F3, runner-up in 2019.

Chovet has still found a way to be on the grid at least for this weekend. He will sub for Laslzo Toth at Campos, after the Hungarian driver tested positive for Coronavirus and has been forced to withdraw his entry.

Friday 18  
10:05-10:50 F3 – Practice
11:30-12:30 F1 – Free Practice 1
13:50-14:20 F3 – Qualifying
15:00-16:00 F1 – Free Practice 2
Saturday 19
10:10-10:55 F3 – Race 1 (20 laps)
12:00-13:00 F1 – Free Practice 3
15:00-16:00 F1 – Qualifying
16:40-17:25 F3 – Race 2 (20 laps)
Sunday 20
11:40-12:25 F3 – Race 3 (20 laps)
15:00-17:00 F1 – Race (53 laps)

IndyCar at Road America

The man of the moment is of course Pato O´Ward. His final stint after the last caution at Belle Isle was and will stay as one of the best moment of the motorsport year, as he went from fifth to first with only 7 laps remaining.

The way the Arrow McLaren SP driver made his way impressed his rivals, with many suggesting the team has found a way to warm the tyres quickly, resulting in a big advantage over anyone else. Something for which the rivals need to find a solution.

In the meantime the Mexican driver can enjoy the leadership in the standings, despite by a single point.

O´Ward reminds of a mix between the aggressiveness of Castroneves and the reliability of Dixon: he knows when it´s time to attack like showed in race 2 at Detroit, but he also knows when it´s time to settle for position and bring home important points, like at Indy. He doesn´t do many mistakes and does not throw away points, something that in IndyCar is very important. And it´s incredible to think he is only in his second full season in the series.

If he can maintain this consistency, he can become the first championship winner not driving for one of the big-3 (Andretti, Penske, Ganassi) since 2002.

The closest driver in the standings, just one point adrift, is another youngster, Alex Palou, but obviously the most important threat for O´Ward is Scott Dixon. The New Zealander is looking for his seventh title in IndyCar and the 52nd win in the series to match Mario Andretti´s second place in the all time winner list of American open wheel championship. He is third in the standings, 36 points behind O´Ward.

Penske is still waiting for the first win of the season, with Newgarden coming very close to the target in Detroit, after he dominated the race apart from the most important last three laps.

Nevertheless Newgarden is now up to fourth in the standings with a gap of 51 points from the lead, which put him still in title contention. His teammate Pagenaud sixth a further 5 points adrift.

Unfortunately one of the protagonists of the first part of the season, Rinus VeeKay, who also lies fifth in the standings, will be missing from the grid, after suffering clavicle injury in a bike-accident during the week.

The recent GMR Grand Prix winner will be substituted at Ed Carpenter Racing by Oliver Askew, who will run the second race of the season, after having to sub for Rosenqvist at Detroit in the second race of the last weekend.

Rosenqvist, the second Arrow McLaren SP driver, has not been cleared to race by the IndyCar’s medical staff this week and so he will also need a replacement. His place will be taken by Kevin Magnussen.

While wishing all the luck to Rosenqvist, hoping to see him back in his seat as soon as possible, the former F1 driver will be a welcome addition to the series, where Romain Grosjean, his former teammate in F1 at Team Haas, is already part since the start of the season.

After exiting F1 at the end of 2020 they both moved to the United States, with Grosjean racing in IndyCar and Magnussen in IMSA, where he has taken his first win last week driving a Cadillac for team Ganassi.

The number of cars in the entry list remains 25, after the addition of a third Dale Coyne for Cody Ware, who will make his debut in IndyCar.

The rookie driver should have raced at Indy, but he was forced to withdraw just one week before the first tests. The driver has started racing full time in NASCAR Cup Series this year and was part of a LMP2 entry at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January,

The track is the longest in the NTT Data IndyCar calendar and thanks to its fast corners and the undulating nature it is a favourite of both drivers and fans.

For the first time this season the drivers will have two practice sessions – one on Friday and the other on Saturday – ahead of the qualifying session. Both sessions will last 1 hour, while a final 30-minutes practice session is scheduled after qualifying.

Indy Lights

Kirkwood´s two recent wins at Detroit have put him as a serious title contender, as the gap to the front of the standings has gone down to only 4 points

Linus Lundqvist, thanks to two second places, is now the new championship leader, just one point ahead of David Malukas, who instead had his worst weekend of the year, having not taken any win in an event for the first time this season.

Toby Sowery, three times on the podium in the last four races, will try to confirm himself at the head of the field, while, with 45 points from the lead to make up, time is running out if he wants to have his say in the title fight.

After the two races at Road America, the first half of the season will be completed, with five more rounds still to come before the end of the season.

Friday 18
11:30 ET / 17:30 CET – IndyLights – Practice
15:30 ET / 21:30 CET – IndyLights – Qualifying 1
17:00 ET / 23:00 CET – IndyCar – Practice 1
Saturday 19
10:20 ET / 16:20 CET – IndyLights – Qualifying 2
11:10 ET / 17:10 CET – IndyCar – Practice 2
14:30 ET / 20:30 CET – IndyCar – Qualifying
15:55 ET / 21:55 CET – IndyLights – Race 1
17:30 ET / 23:30 CET – IndyCar – Final Practice
Sunday 20
9:40 ET / 15:40 CET IndyLights – Race 2
12:00 ET / 18:00 CET – IndyCar – Race (55 laps)

DTM at Monza

A new era starts this weekend for the DTM.

The German Series has in fact abandoned the Class 1 touring car class and switched to GT3 machines going into this season.

Manufacturers will not be involved directly, with the series allowing only private teams into the grid.

The change to the new formula has forced the series to change many aspects of the racing.

Standing starts will not be utilised anymore, as GT3 cars are not constructed to make stationary starts. For the first time since 2000, the DTM will not see the drivers aligning into the grid, but instead they will form a double-file rolling start, similar to the system in use in IndyCar.

As in all GT3-based series, a Balance of Performance will be implemented, but it will be determined by ITR´s partner AVL Racing, rather than just using SRO general values for GT3.

To further ensure competition between different cars, success ballast will be deployed with the top three from the result of each race receiving 25, 18 and 15 kg of handicaps for the next race. This aspect is not new to the series, with success ballast last being used in 2017.

Not connected to the new technical regulation, but another aspect to be taken into consideration is the end of the contract with Hankook, with the DTM which will have a new tyre supplier in Michelin.

The format of two 55-minute (+1 lap) races per weekend remains in place, with at the moment the sole exception of the first round at Monza, where due to fuel concerns both races will last 50 minutes (+1 lap) each.

One aspect which makes the series unique is that, unlike other GT racing series, there won´t be any driver changes during the race. Which means every driver will race for himself.

The entries

The entry list is a mix between the DTM and GT3 Championships with many entries from the previous incarnations of the DTM, but also many teams and drivers making the switch from ADAC GT Masters or GT World Challenge.

19 cars will take on the track this weekend at Monza.

Audi and BMW, the two manufacturer involved in DTM until last season, will still be represented.

Five Audi R8 LMS Evo will be on the grid prepared by two different teams, Abt Sportsline and Team Rosberg.

Abt Sportsline will enter three cars for 2012 Champion Mike Rockenfeller and rookies Kelvin van der Linde and Sophia Flörsch. Team Rosberg will have 2019 and 2020 series runner-up Nico Müller and another newcomer, the American Dev Gore.

Three BMW M6 GT3 will represent the Munich manufacturer with ROWE Racing entering two cars for Timo Glock and Sheldon van der Linde, both race winners in the last few seasons of Class 1, while an additional car will be fielded by Walkenhorst Motorsport with 2014 and 2016 champion Marco Wittmann.

Mercedes, who raced in the series until 2018, is making its comeback in the DTM and it is the most represented manufacturer in the grid with 7 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo on the grid.

Team HRT will enter two cars for series returnee Maximilian Götz and one of the most interesting GT driver, the Monegasque Vincent Abril. Team Winward from the United States will field two cars for Lucas Auer, who is making his return to the Stuttgart outfit after a single year at BMW, and rookie Philip Ellis.

Three more teams will field one car each, with GruppeM Racing entering Daniel Juncadella, recently involved in GT World Challenge, but also a former member of the official Mercedes team in the DTM, Team GetSpeed fielding former F2 driver Arjun Maini from India, while at Team Space Drive the 2005 and 2018 champion Gary Paffett will share the car with rookie Maximilian Buhk, when he is on duty in Formula E.

The total number of manufacturer represented is six, with Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren making their debut in the series.

Two Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 will be entered jointly by Red Bull and AF Corse, official Ferrari partner in GT racing. Drivers will be Formula 2 driver Liam Lawson and former Formula 1 and official Red Bull diver Alexander Albon, with Nick Cassidy as a substitute driver when the Thai driver is needed by Red Bull Formula 1 team for tests or reserve functions.

German team T3 Motorsport has been confirmed recently with two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo for Esteban Muth and Esmee Hawkey, the second female driver in the grid.

One single McLaren is entered for this season but it will not be on the grid at Monza. The 720S GT3 prepared by JP Motorsport will enter only three events of the year with another ex-Formula 1 driver at the wheel, Christian Klien.

During the pre-season tests run at the Lausitzring, Mercedes has shown great potential with best time for Maxmilian Götz and 5 cars completing the entire top 5. The car was also ahead in long runs, but on the other side it was lacking top speed, a deficit that could be very important in a track like Monza.

Audi instead looked very fast on the straights, but coudn´t set competitive times with Kelvin van der Linde best of the roster in eight almost one second from Götz´s time. There are doubts about the real performance of the car, with many sure it will be better than what tests say.

Lamborghini was not present at the pre-season tests but looked very strong in private tests at Monza just two weeks ago, while there are no doubts about Ferrari being at the front thanks to the experience of teams like AF Corse and Red Bull Racing.

For BMW the first season of the M6 will be already its last, as the new model, the M4, will probably be used from 2022 (if not earlier). The three drivers in any case are all top-drives, so we can expect them to be in the fight at the front.

Timetable DTM

Friday 18
13:00-13:45 Practice 1
16:10-16:55 Practice 2
Saturday 19
10:30-10:50 Qualifying 1
13:30-15:00 Race 1 (50 minutes + 1 lap)
Sunday 20
10:10-10:30 Qualifying 2
13:30-15:00 Race 2 (50 minutes + 1 lap)

Formula Regional at Zandvoort

Fifth round of the season for the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine at the Circuit of Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

Grégoire Saucy has lost many points between the two races at Monaco and the first one at Paul Ricard, where he crossed the line as first only to be later disqualified. He made up for the disappointment by winning the second race in France and continues to lead the standings with 110 points, 23 more than his main rival, Zane Maloney.

The driver from Barbados is the one who has improved the most since the start of the season, with an almost perfect weekend at Monaco and two solid race results at Le Castellet.

Third placed in the standings, only 2 points behind Maloney and 25 from the leader, is Isack Hadjar. The French rookie has been recently contracted by Red Bull as their new junior driver and will like to thank the team with a top result in Zandvoort.

Hadrien David has finally taken his first win of the season in race 1 at Le Castellet thanks to Saucy´s disqualification, but we all expect him to start winning without external helps. He lies fourth in the standings, 29 points behind Saucy.

Still with a chance of fighting for the title are Alex Quinn and Paul Aron, fifth and sixth respectively, but still looking for their first win of the season. The Estonian driver, who was second in the standings after the first round at Monaco, comes from three races where he finished outside the points and wants to put an end to that draught.

Timetable Formula Regional

Saturday 19
9:30 Qualifying 1
15:00 Race 1
Sunday 20
9:30 Qualifying 2
16:00 Race 2

GT World Challenge at Zandvoort

Fourth round of the season for the GT World Challenge Europe and second for the Sprint Cup.

The entry list shows a total amount of 28 cars entered, with many teams having changes in the driver line-up.

The most important at WRT, where Kelvin van der Linde is absent because he is making his debut in the DTM at Monza. His place will be taken by experienced driver Markus Winkelhock, who will be sharing the #30 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with Benjamin Goethe.

Audi and Mercedes shared the wins in the first round at Magny Cours, with Audi´s drivers Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts occupying the lead of the standings in the Sprint Cup after winning race 1 and finishing second in race 2.

Engel-Stolz were the winners in the second race, after they couldn´t finish race 1 in the points. They are now second with a gap of 12 points from the lead.

The other Mercedes of Boguslavskiy-Marciello and the two Emil Frey Lamborghini were also very strong in the first event and are looking to repeat their performance in te Netherlands.

Timetable GT Challenge

Friday 18
14:10-15:30 Pre-Qualifying
Saturday 19
9:00-9:20 Qualifying 1
13:30-14:30 Race 1
Sunday 20
9:00-9:20 Qualifying 2
14:30-15:30 Race 2

TCR Europe at Zandvoort

Zandvoort will host the third round of the season for TCR Europe.

Championship leader Mikel Azcona (Cupra) will not be on the grid this weekend due to his commitment to PURE ETRC in Vallelunga, where the championship will have its inaugural race. His absence from Zandvoort represents a great opportunity for all his rivals.

Azcona has in fact a very wealthy margin of 51 points after the first four races of the season. However the fact that he is missing both races at Zandvoort won´t represent an handicap for the Spanish driver, as the series has adopted dropped scores for this season. Of the 14 races that are planned, only the best twelve scores will count for the championship, which means the other drivers will also need to drop their two worst results of the season.

Defending series champion Mehdi Bennani (Hyundai) is second in the standings, but only 5 points ahead of Jimmy Clairet (Peugeot), who has had an almost perfect weekend in France and wants to build up momentum. The French driver is 56 points adrift from Azcona.

Franco Girolami (Honda), Felice Jelmini (Hyundai) and Tom Coronel (Audi) are also still in the mix, while Nicolas Baert (Audi), following in 7th, will need to make amends for his lack of pace at Le Castellet.

The series has already visited the track in the past, last time in 2018, but the venue has received some updates since the last time, with banking now present at turn 4 and on the last bend before the start/finish line.

Compensation weight will be on place this weekend with three of the four Hyundais (Bennani, Taoufik and Jelmini) carrying maximum ballast – 60 kg. The same amount of weight will be added to the Peugeot 308 of Teddy Clairet, winner of the first race after clinching pole at the most recent event at Paul Ricard.

After a difficult event in France, all Audis will race in the Netherlands with no compensation weight, making them the favourites this weekend. This is a good news especially for Tom Coronel, home hero, who is looking to take his first win of the season.

Coronel is not the only driver racing on home soil this weekend, with Niels Langeveld another possible protagonist as he drives the lighter Hyundai Elantra on the grid.

Dániel Nagy is scheduled to return to drive his CUPRA León prepared by Zengo Motorsport, after he was forced to withdraw from the previous race in France due to sponsorship issues.

The series will see the addition of a new team, Brianmadsen Sport, with Gustav Birch at the wheel of a Peugeot 308. The Dane is competing in his home country in TCR Denmark, but has decided to come to Zandvoort to make his first event at international level.

Track actions will start on Friday with two 30-minutes practice sessions. Qualifying will take place on Saturday at 11:25, while the first race will start at 17:20 on the same day. Sunday will see the final race of the weekend, beginning at 13:10.

Timetable TCR Europe

Saturday 18
11:25 Qualifying
17:20 Race 1
Sunday 19
13:10 Race 2

TCR Russia at the NRing

The Russian Circuit Racing Series returns this weekend for the second round of the year at the N-Ring in Nizhny Novgorod.

2020 Champion Kirill Ladygin (Lada) has started the season in the best possible way by winning the first race of the season opener in Smolensk and leads the standings by 14 points over his teammate Mikhail Mityaev.

The first weekend of the season was one to remember for Lada, as privateer Egor Fokin was able to win the second race with the same car run by AMG Motorsport.

Lada occupies first, second and fourth places in the standings, while best of the rest is Andrej Maslennikov in his Hyundai i30 N entered by Lukoil Racing Team, placed third and 16 points behind Ladygin.

Timetable TCR Russia

Sunday 20
11:45 local time (10:45 CEST) – Race 1
16:15 local time (15:15 CEST) – Race 2

STCC at Skellefteå 

Skellefteå will host the second round of the year for STCC, just two weeks after the season debut in Ljungbyhed.

Robert Dahlgren looked dominant in the first round of the season, taking two wins in the first two races and a third place in the last one, despite having to start from the back of the grid.

He leads now the standings by 17 points over Oliver Söderström and Tobias Brink, but he will have to race with maximum ballast this weekend, although it means only 5 kg more than his rivals.

Söderström and Brink was involved in fierce battles in Ljungbyhed, but they were not able to challenge the Cupra of Dahlgren, despite promising speed from Brink in qualifying.

One driver to watch is Mattias Anderson. In his first round with the Lynk & Co 03, the series veteran was able to take one race win in the last race of the weekend and is looking forward to even more confidence in the next round of the season.

Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky will want to take revenge after she was eliminated while battling for the win in the third race.

The race will take place in northern Sweden and the event is called “Midnight Sun Race”, as it takes place during the longest weekend of the year with Sunlight. Qualifying will take place on Friday evening at 20:20, while the three races will be run on Saturday at 14:50, 16:40 and 20:40.

Timetable STCC

Friday 18/6
11:40 – Test 1
15:00 – Test 2
20:20 – Qualifying
Saturday 19/6
14:50 – Race 1
16:40 – Race 2
20:40 – Race 3

FIA ERC Rally Poland

The 8-round 2021 season of the ERC is ready to kick off this weekend in Poland, with a gravel rally around the town of Mikolajki, three hours north from Warsaw.

A total of 76 cars is entered for the first round with no less than 39 cars only in the main class, which includes R5 (or Rally2 in the new nomenclature) cars.

The entry list is topped by defending champion Aleksey Lukyanuk, back with his usual co-driver Aleksey Arnautov and with the Citroen C3 which took him to the title last year.

The car will be prepared by Sainteloc Junior Team, while a second car will be fielded by the team for Estonial Roland Poom.

Lukyanuk main opponents will be WRC regulars Andreas Mikkelsen in his Skoda Fabia Evo from team Toksport WRT and Craig Breen in a Hyundai i20 prepared by Team MRF.

With a season with the new MRF tyres under his belt, the Irishman will try to put to test all he has learnt last year. He will have Simone Campedelli as a teammate, although in a different car, the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Spanish drivers Efrén Llarenna and Nil Solans will form up a unique team in Rallye Team Spain at the wheel of two Skoda Fabia Evo.

Nikolay Gryazin, a very fast driver, but sometimes too prone to make mistakes, is also in the entry list with another VW Polo GTI.

Campedelli is not the only Italian in Portugal, with Umberto Scandola also on the entry list driving a Hyundai i20.

But the list of important names does not end here, with Grégoire Munster entering Rally Poland in a Hyundai i20, Fabian Kreim in a VW Polo and Yoann Bonato in a Citroen C3, while Ford will be represented by Erik Cais in a Fiesta MkII.

Lokal drivers Miko Marczyk (Skoda), Tomasz Kasperczyk (Volkswagen) and Grzegorz Grzyb (Skoda) are also men to watch, as they know better the rally.

The rally will start on Friday afternoon with the Qualifying Stage at 15:00. The 3,26 km stage will decide the starting order for the first day of competition.

The real actions will kick off in the evening with the first stage, a Superstage around the city of Mikolajki, which is the base of the rally.

Saturday will see a morning loop of 64 km which will be repeated in the afternoon before the return to Mikolajki for a repeat of the Superstage. The third stage of the loop will be the longest of the rally, with a total of more than 28 km of competition.

Sunday will be the last day of the rally with two stages repeated twice during the morning, and another two to be run only once and with the last another Superstage which will be taking place in the evening.

This year Rally Poland enjoys its 100th anniversary since its first edition in 1921, making it the second oldest rally in the world behind only Rallye Monte Carlo.

For more information about the rally, the itinerary and the full entry list, go visit the official website of the series.

The races of the weekend (11-13 June 2021)

The main event of the weekend is the Detroit Grand Prix at the Raceway of Belle Isle with IndyCar, Indy Lights and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship racing.

FIA WEC returns after one month and half from the first race with the 8 Hours of Portimao, while touring car racing is also in the program of the weekend with the second round for both BTCC and TCR Germany.

Truck racing is also on display this weekend with the 2021 season of the FIA ETRC kicking off at the Hungaroring.

IndyCar and IMSA at Detroit

WEC 8 Hours of Portimao

BTCC at Snetterton

TCR Germany at Spielberg

FIA ETRC at Hungaroring

IndyCar and IMSA at Detroit

Battle resumes in IndyCar with the second doubleheader of the season at the Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit for round 7 and 8 of the season.

After the postponement of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, it is only the second round of the season to be run in a street circuit, with the race at St Petersburg back in April having seen a dominating win by Colton Herta in his Dallara-Honda prepared by Andretti Autosport.

For the team it has been a difficult year. Despite showing good speed in all events, results have not come, with Herta´s win in St Petersburg the only podium of the year so far. There is high hope however, the return to a street circuit, will see a change of direction in the second part of the season.

The winner of the most recent Indianapolis 500, Hélio Castroneves, now a record tying 4-time winner of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is not in the entry list for the two races in Michigan. The Brazilian driver will have the opportunity to race the second Dallara for Meyer Shank Racing in five of the last six events of the season, starting with the new Nashville Street Circuit in August.

Alex Palou, thanks to his second place in Indy, has gone back into the lead of the standings with a good gap of 36 points over his teammate Scott Dixon.

The New Zealander was once again unlucky in the Indy 500, but we are sure he will close the gap to his younger teammate.

Paticio O´Ward, another of the protagonists of the most important race of the year (also giving double points in the championship) , follows in third, just one point behind the six time champion.

Simon Pagenaud is the best of the Penske squad, fourth and 47 points behind Palou. The French driver came back from Indy with a great performance and great result for the team, which didn´t look competitive during the event.

Penske however has yet to win a race this season. Its second best driver in the standings is Josef Newgarden, sixth with a gap of 64 points from the overall leader.

In fifth place we have Rinus VeeKay, protagonist of a great month of May, having taken his first win in IndyCar at the GMR GP at Indianapolis.

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, returning after a one-year hiatus, will have as usual two IndyCar races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, with a qualifying session to decide the grid for each race.

Indy Lights

Almost one month from the last race in Indianapolis, the Indy Lights are back this weekend for two more races in Detroit, as a support for the IndyCar event.

After six races, the championship sees two drivers battling for the title, David Malukas and Linus Lundqvist, both very consistent and separated by 11 points.

Kyle Kirkwood, in third with a gap of 27 points from the leader, wants to close the gap and has his say in the title fight.

Other protagonists have been Toby Sowery, Alex Peroni, who have taken their first podium in the category last time at Indianapolis, and Devlin DeFrancesco.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

IMSA is also in the package for this weekend´s Detroit GP, as always it is the case since 2012, with the sole exception of last year, when the event was cancelled for Coronavirus.

Prototypes (DPis) and GTD will battle for points during the 100-minute event, but the race will see the presence of two Corvette C8R from the GTLM class. The two cars will not compete for points but only for glory in their home event.

In the main category, the fight for the championship and for single wins is quite interesting with all three manufacturers very close on pace.

Acura seems to be slighter ahead thanks to WTR´s two wins in the first three events of the year. Ricky Taylor and Albuquerque lead the standings with 1070 points, 55 more than the best of the rest. But both wins came after fiery battles against Cadillac and Mazda.

For Cadillac and their mother company General Motors, Detroit is the home event so they want to celebrate it with a win, as they seek confirmation about their future projects in the series with the upcoming LMDh category from 2023.

Mazda, which has already confirmed to be in its last season in the championship, wants to finish on a high. Stripped of a win at Mid-Ohio after leading for most of the race, they have been very consistent at the top, with three podiums in the first three races for their sole car driven by Jarvis and Tincknell. The two British drivers are second in the standings, 55 points behind Albuquerque and Taylor and it´s not impossible to think they can achieve the first title for Mazda since 2011 and in the last season in the category.

In GTD they fight is also wide open, in this case with all seven manufacturers battling for class honours. The first three rounds have seen three different winners, with Mercedes winning the 24 Hours of Daytona, Porsche the 12 Hours of Sebring and BMW winning the last event in Mid-Ohio. While Acura and Lexus, the favourites at the start of the season, are still seeking their first win of the year.

Lexus has the most important change on the line-up with Zach Veach forced to miss the race after testing positive for Coronavirus. His place in the #12 RC F GT3 has been taken by the endurance driver Townsend Bell, which will once again join Frankie Montecalvo like in the past few years.

A total of 20 cars are entered for this round, 6 prototypes in the main category, the 2 Corvette GTLM and the rest of the field is made up by GTD.

As always you can download the spotter guide for the IMSA race here.

Timetable Detroit GP

ET Times
Friday 11
2:30pm-3:00pm IndyLights – Qualifying 1
3:30pm-4:45pm IMSA – Qualifying
5:00pm-6:15pm IndyCar – Practice
Saturday 12
9:30am-9:50am IndyLights – Qualifying 2
11:00am-12:00pm IndyCar – Qualifying 1
12:00pm-1:00pm Indy Lights – race 1 (30 laps)
2:00pm-4:00pm IndyCar – race 1 (70 laps)
5:10pm-6:50pm IMSA – Race (1h40)
Sunday 13
9:00am-10:00am IndyCar – Qualifying 2
10:20am-11:45am Indy Lights – race 2 (35 laps)
12:00pm-3:00pm IndyCar – Race 2 (70 laps)
CET Times
Friday 11
20:30-21:00 IndyLights – Qualifying 1
21:30-22:45 IMSA – Qualifying
23:00-00:15 IndyCar – Practise
Saturday 12
15:30-15:50 IndyLights – Qualifying 2
17:00-18:00 IndyCar – Qualifying 1
18:00-19:00 Indy Lights – race 1
20:00-22:00 IndyCar – race 1
23:10-24:50 IMSA – Race (1h40)
Sunday 13
15:00-16:00 IndyCar – Qualifying 2
16:20-17:45 Indy Lights – race 2
18:00-21:00 IndyCar – Race 2

WEC 8 Hours of Portimao

Portugal hosts for the first time a round of the World Endurance Championship this weekend, with the Circuit of Portimao awaiting 33 cars divided in four different classes.

The main class, the Hypercar, has four cars entered, one more than the first round at Spa: the two official Toyotas, the manufacturer enjoying its 100th race, the single Alpine and the much awaited Glickenhaus, which makes its race debut with the new 007 LMH driven by Ryan Briscoe, Romain Dumas and Richard Westbrook.

LMP2 is as always wide open with a total of 11 cars entered. The Orecas of teams Jota, WRT, DragonSpeed and United Autosports, the latter winners of the first round at Spa, are amongst the favourite for the win.

Porsche and Ferrari are the only manufacturers left in the LMGTE Pro category and will battle for the win in the class with two cars entered from each team, while LMGTE Am will be the most represented class with 13 cars entered from Porsche, Ferrari and also Aston Martin.

More information about the race with full entry list, spotter guide and timetable are available here.

Timetable

Friday 11
15:15-16:45 Practice 1 – 16:15 CET
Saturday 12
9:35-11:05 Practice 2 – 10:35 CET
14:00-15:00 Practice 3 – 15:00 CET
18:00-18:30 Qualifying – 19:00 CET
Sunday 13
11:00-19:00 Race (8 hours) – 12:00 CET

BTCC at Snetterton

One month after the season opener at Thruxton, the BTCC moves to Snetterton for the second round of the year with high uncertainty and an unexpected championship leader.

Jake Hill, driving for Motorbase Performance in its first season after management changes, was unable to win any of the three races at Thruxton, but thanks to his very consistent run (three third places) he is leading the standings with 46 points, just one over Josh Cook, who instead was able to win two races, the first two of the weekend, but finished outside of the points in race 3.

Both are amongst the drivers who will have to “fight” against success ballast at Snetterton. Jake Hill will go into Qualifying and the first the race of the weekend with 75 kg added to his normal weight. Cook will be only 9 kilos lighter.

The fight at the front is open with Ford, Honda, BMW, Toyota, Hyundai and Infiniti all capable of winning races and battilng for the title.

Last year´s race was held in October and witnessed to an almost perfect weekend for Colin Turkington, who won the first two races in his BMW and scored a podium with third place in the last one. He hopes for a repeat this year after a difficult first weekend at Thruxton. The Northern Irish is seventh in the standings after achieving 25 points in the three races, with a best result of sixth in Race 3. Results that don´t live up to his standards.

The round at Snetterton, which is the longer track on calendar, will see the return of the option tyre, with the teams having to use the softer compound in one of the races, and the top-10 shootout to decide the pole, at the end of a 25 minutes qualifying session.

The driver who impressed the most in the first event of the year was Jason Plato. The veteran driver was involved in a quarrel with team Motorbase, after he held up their driver Jake Hill during qualifying only to then enter the pit-lane. The rest of the weekend however was very positive with three consistent runs and a second place in the last race which put him up to third in the standings. His success ballast is 57 kg.

Dan Cammish was one of the protagonists at Thruxton, but unfortunately he will not be back this season. His place at BTC Racing will be taken by Senna Proctor, who makes his return to the series and will drive one of the team´s three Honda Civics for the rest of the season. Being Cammish classified fifth in the overall standings, his replacement Proctor will be racing with a success ballast of 39 kg, despite being at his first race of the year.

Drivers who need to bounce back from a difficult start are, besides TUrkington, Shedden involved in two crashes, but showing good pace in his return to Honda, Butcher and Ollye Jackson, winner here last year in the last race, who hopes to repeat himself.

Another driver´s change has happened at Motorbase, with Andy Neate deciding to step back from next round for personal reasons. His seat will be taken by Jessica Hawkins, who made her debut last year at the same track. She finished all three races with a best result of 20th in the last race, driving for Power Maxed Racing in their Vauxhall Astra.

Neate is supposed to retake his seat at the next round of the series at Brands Hatch.

Timetable

Saturday 12
14:35-15:20 Qualifying – 15:35 CET
Sunday 13
11:35-12:10 Race 1 (12 laps) – 12:35 CET
14:30-15:05 Race 2 (12 laps) – 15:30 CET
17:20-17:55 Race 3 (12 laps) – 18:20 CET

TCR Germany at Spielberg

Luca Engstler will try to continue his run in the championship after taking two wins in the first two races of the year at Oschersleben.

Of course Engstler leads the championship with 68 points. The nearest rival is Dominik Fugel, very consistent in the first round with two podiums, but he will need to watch out for his teammates Nicolas Gruber and Martin Andersen, as he tries to secure his first title in the series.

The second round of the German championship will take place in Austria at the Red Bull Ring and will see the addition of local driver Sandro Soubek in his Audi RS3 and two more Opel Astra from Lubner Motorsport driven by Mario Klammer and Andreas Höfler, for a total of 20 cars entered.

The complete entry list can be found here.

Timetable

Saturday 12
8:30-8:50 Qualifying 1
12:10-12:40 Race 1
Sunday 13
9:30-9:50 Qualifying 2
15.05-15:35 Race 2

FIA ETRC at Hungaroring

Finally the FIA European Track Racing Championship is returning this weekend to start the 2021 season, after 2020 had to be cancelled due to the Covid19 pandemic, with only two rounds run.

There has been no major changes in the entry list since last year, with Jochen Hahn going for his seventh title in the series in his IVECO.

Main competitors are once again Norbert Kiss, who made his return to MAN last year after four years driving for Mercedes, and was leading the standings when the season became a write off, Adam Lacko, in his seventh season with the Freightliner, and veteran Antonio Albacete, also driving for MAN.

But there are many other drivers who want to climb up the order and fight at the front: Sascha Lenz in his MAN, Andre Kursim, Rene Reinert and Stephie Halm for IVECO and Steffen Faas, in the only Scania in the field.

A total of 15 trucks is expected to make it to the track at the Hungaroring. The full entry list and the timetable for the weekend can be found here.

Timetable

Saturday 12
8:50 Practice 1
10:05 Practice 2
11:35 Qualifying 1
13:50 Race 1
15:50 Race 2
Sunday 13
10:20 Qualifying 2
12:40 Race 3
14:40 Race 4

The races of the weekend (4-6 June 2021)

After the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago and the Indy 500 last week it´s time for another iconic race this weekend: the ADAC Total 24 at the Nürburgring.

During the same days, Formula 1 drivers will take on the challenge of another street circuit the Baku Street Circuit for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with also Formula 2 in the support package.

WRC is back this weekend with Rally d´Italia Sardinia, while the Nürburgring will also host the season opener of the World Touring Car Cup in the same event of the 24 Hour race.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix (F1, F2)

WRC Rally d´Italia-Sardinia

WTCR Race of Germany

24 Stunden von Nürburgring

TCR Italy at Misano

Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Formula 1 returns this weekend for the sixth round of the season, the second in a row in a street circuit, after the Monaco GP just two weeks ago.

Baku is a complete different circuit from Monaco. The venue does not have the same prestige and history of Monaco, but the track is way quicker and, thanks to its many straights and 90 degree curves, offers better possibility to overtake. That should improve spectacle, which was missed in the last round at Monaco.

At the Principality we have seen a turn of events in the overall standings, with Max Verstappen now leading the championship thanks to his second win of the year, after he had lost the fight with Hamilton in the two previous rounds.

Hamilton and Mercedes had a terrible weekend in Monaco, with the team unable to find the right strategy to recover from a difficult qualifying session and Hamilton finished for the first time out of the top-two.

His teammate Bottas instead was running well and in a podium position, until he remained stuck in the pitbox when the team were unable to remove the right front tire, forcing him to retire.

But Monaco has always been one of the places where Mercedes has struggled the most in the past, so that should not worry too much the team, which can hope to come back with a stronger result at Baku.

For the first time since Silverstone 2018 Mercedes doesn´t lead any championship, with Verstappen ahead of Hamilton by 4 points, while Red Bull has a slender advantage of a single point against the team from Brackley.

At Baku we will probably see another chapter of the Flexi-wings saga between Red Bull and Mercedes. A flexible rear wing can help the team, in this case Red Bull according to Mercedes´ claims, gain an advantage of at least 3 tenths in the straight, thanks to a better top speed. The advantage can be even bigger at Baku which has the longest straights in the calendar.

Stricter rules will be implemented by the FIA after Baku, but Mercedes´ Toto Wolff has already confirmed there could be potential for a protest after the end of the next race.

McLaren and Ferrari continue their fight for third place in the constructors´ championship. Both teams finished in the podium at Monaco, although with different emotions. Ferrari in fact could have fought for the win, if Leclerc hadn´t crashed during the last qualifying session. But the Monegasque driver was fantastic in his pole lap and he will forget quickly his first mistake of the year.

His teammate Sainz showed what could have been with a consistent run, which was rewarded with a second place at the finish.

At McLaren, the third place from Norris was unexpected, but it confirmed once again how much the English driver has improved this year and his result was awesome considering it was only his second F1 race at Monaco. Norris now is back in third in the drivers ´standings thanks to Bottas´ woes.

His teammate Ricciardo instead endured a difficult weekend at Monaco, a track where it´s important to find the right confidence with the car. Something he doesn´t have yet, as shown by the fact he was running out of the points during the whole race and had to see his faster teammate lap him before the end of the race.

Ferrari has been the strongest of the two in the two recent events, but things can change rapidly, as the next track should suit more the car from Woking.

One driver who made a resurrection after a terrible start to the season is Sebastian Vettel. The Aston Martin driver finally took his first points of the season thanks to a great performance, which earned him a fifth place.

Alfa Romeo has taken the first points of the season thanks to Antonio Giovinazzi, leaving now only Williams and Haas still to earn their first points in 2021.

Like Monaco, Baku makes its return in Formula 1 after a one year hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Formula 2

Formula 2 follows the main series at Baku for its third round of the season.

The championship is quite open with only one driver able to win more than one race so far.

Guagnyu Zhou took his second victory of the year in the first race at Monaco and leads the standings with a margin of 16 points over his nearest rival, Oscar Piastri, best of the rookies and protagonist of a very consistent run in Monaco with two second places.

But the protagonist of the last event was without doubt Theo Pourchaire. At the age of 17, not enough to drive a car on the road, the Frenchman was able to put his Dallara on pole for the main race at Monaco and, after two intelligent races finished in the points, he didn´t make any mistakes in the last one, where he could made use of his pole position to take his first win in the series. He is now third in the standings, 21 points behind Zhou.

One driver who would love to forget Monaco is Liam Lawson, winner of the second race, but later disqualified for a mistake of the team.

After two rounds and a total of six races, there are two drivers who are having a disappointing start of the season: Robert Shwartzman and Christian Lundgaard, both considered the favourite in the championship fight at the start of the season, but now way behind in the standings (the Russian is 8th, the Dane 12th).

If Lundgaard was very unlucky in race 1 at Monaco, where he had to retire due to an engine problem while he was running second, Shwartzman crashed out of the race after losing control of the car putting a prematurely end to his race. It was already his second accident of the year.

Both drivers will have to face a big challenge to recover the gap from the top of the standings and will have to handle a fast teammate inside the garage, Piastri at Prema and Pourchaire at ART, who can change the equilibrium in the team.

The Azerbaijan round will see the surprising return of Matteo Nannini, who started the season with Team HWA Racelab, but had to withdraw from the series after the first round, due to sponsorship issues.

The Italian, nephew of former F1 driver Alessandro Nannini, will instead return at Baku with team Campos to substitute for Gianluca Petecof, who has also fell victim to budget constraints.

It is unclear at the moment, if Nannini will drive in this round only or for the remainder of the season.

Timetable (CET)

Friday 4
8:25-9:10 F2 – Free Practice
10:30-11:30 F1 – Free Practice 1
12:30-13:00 F2 – Qualifying
14:00-15:00 F1 – Free Practice 2
Saturday 5
9:25-10:15 F2 – Race 1 (21 laps)
11:00-12:00 F1 – Free Practice 3
14:00-15:00 F1 – Qualifying
15:40-16:30 F2 – Race 2 (21 laps)
Sunday 6
10:45-11:50 F2 – Race 3 (29 laps)
14:00-16:00 F1 – Race (51 laps)

WRC Rally d´Italia-Sardinia

The WRC returns to Italy for the 18th edition of the Rally Italia Sardegna, only two weeks after the most recent adventure in Portugal. Sardinia will host the gravel round with base in Alghero.

Sebastien Ogier will once again start as first on the road, due to his championship lead, with his teammate Evans following him as second.

Hyundai and its drivers have to make amends for their mistakes in the last two events, which cost them at least a probable win in Portugal, where both Neuville and Tänak were leading, only to then damage their right rear tire in separate accidents which forced them to retire.

At the moment Neuville is third in the points but already 22 points behind Ogier, while Tänak is even further behind in fourth, with a gap of 34 points from the lead.

But with both Toyotas having to sweep the road in Italy and probably in the next round as well, don´t discount Hyundai off yet. The season is long and what happened to Hyundai could happen to Toyota.

In fact, with gravel rallies – where the championship leaders are at disadvantage – being scheduled in the first part of the season, losing points in this phase has a smaller impact on the season.

Despite the issue endured by Tänak (not directly caused by a mistake of the driver it seems) in the last rally, the Estonian looked back at his usual performance of the Toyota years and this should be an alarm for his competitors and a good news for Hyundai.

In the manufacturers´ standings Toyota has now a good gap of 27 points over Hyundai.

The Japanese manufacturer has had a great start of the season, with Ogier´s crash in Finland the only setback so far.

Ogier leads the standings thanks to his two wins in Monte Carlo and Croatia, while Evans, having won recently in Portugal, is now second only 2 points adrift.

While Hyundai has to win in Italy, taking advantage of the better starting position, for both Toyota drivers the target is to finish in the top 5. That is something that Evans was able to do last year, when he finished fourth after having to sweep the road for the whole first day.

Kalle Rovanperä also needs to turn his season around after the first two positive rounds were followed by two retirements in the last two events, with a crash in the very first stage in Croatia and mechanical issues in Portugal, after showing a not convincing performance.

Sordo, coming from a second place in Portugal, has been confirmed for Sardinia in the third official Hyundai and seems to have found the necessarily confidence with his new codriver. He is also the winner of last year´s edition of Rally Italia and will benefit from a better starting position, thanks to his seventh place in the standings.

Pierre-Louis Loubet continues his learning process the hard way, after crashing out in the early phases of Rally Portugal. The crash wasted a good opportunity to earn confidence with his new co-driver. We hope for a clean run for the French driver in Italy, with the hope he can achieve the first points of the year.

Oliver Solberg should have run alongside him in a second i20 Coupe for Hyundai 2C Competition, but was ruled out of the rally after his father Petter was tested positve for Covid. Hyundai hopes it can reschedule his next drive in one of the rallies of the season.

At M Sport Teemu Suninen will be back driving the Ford Fiesta WRC after Adrien Fourmaux drove it with success in the last two events.

The team has made huge progress with the car, especially after the updates before Rally Croatia. Considering Fourmaux´s and Greensmith´s inexperience, it will be interesting to see what the car can do in the hands of Suninen, already very fast here in Italy last year.

Greensmith has also made great progress since being joined by his new codriver, the very experienced Chris Patterson, but for this round he will share the front row of the car with a third different co-driver for this year, Stuart Loudon.

The Rally will start as usual on Thursday with a shakedown in the morning, just before the ceremonial start in Alghero.

Friday, the first day of real competition, will consist of two stages, each to be run twice in the morning, with a service point in between. The afternoon will consist of two more stages, also to be run twice.

The same format will be used on Saturday, with two stages repeated twice in the morning and two different ones repeated twice in the afternoon.

Sunday, the final day, will have two more stages, also to be run twice, with the last one which will count as the rally´s Power Stage.

The complete itinerary of the Rally can be found here. The full entry list here.

WTCR Race of Germany and season preview

The 2021 season of the World Touring Car Cup starts in the best possible way, at the most fascinating but at the same time most scaring circuit in the world, the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Coined the “Green Hell” by the three time World Champion Jacky Stewart, with its 22 km of turns, up- and downhill sections, it is in fact one of the biggest challenges in Motorsport and it is a unique experience for all the drivers who will make it into the grid.

The two races feature on the same weekend of the annual 24 hour endurance event.

This season it will be the fourth one for the WTCR and the 17th at world stage for a touring car series, with its first year dating back to 2005 when the World Touring Car Championship was born.

The Format

At the end of 2019 the series had decided to return to the format of two races per weekend in order to reduce costs, while the previous format in use since WTCR inception in 2018 has seen three races per event. But Coronavirus forced the series to return to triple headers for 2020 to make up for the reduced number of rounds made possible by the pandemic, with a late start of the season and the travel restrictions across the world.

If everything goes like planned, this season should mark the definitive return to a two-race per weekend format like it was used in the former WTCC, with only one qualifying session to decide the grid for the second race (the longer one), while the first race of the weekend will see the grid formed as usual by reversing the top 10 from qualifying.

Qualifying will continue to be divided into three knockout phases, with the last being a shootout between the fastest five of the second phase.

However at the Nürburgring, due to the length of the circuit, there will be just a single 40-minute session without interruptions and without elimination of any drivers.

The Championship

Nothing changes compared to last year, when the WTCR Trophy and the WTCR Rookie Award were implemented alongside the drivers´ and teams´ championships.

The WTCR Trophy, reserved to drivers not in connection with any manufacturers, will have five competitors: Gilles Magnus and Tom Coronel for Comtoyou, the only drivers in the team being not considered Audi official drivers, Bence Boldisz from team Zengo Motorsport in his CUPRA León and the two siblings Jessica and Andreas Bäckmann from Target Competition, both driving the new Hyundai Elantra.

The WTCR Rookie Award has been renamed to FIA Junior Drivers´ Title for this year and is reserved to drivers not older than 24 at the start of the season and without WTCC or WTCR experience before 2019.

In that class there are only four drivers at the moment: Luca Engstler from team Engstler, Jessica Bäckman for team Target, both running the Hyundai Elantra, Gilles Magnus for Comtoyou in his Audi and Bence Boldizs in the Cupra from Zengo Motorsport, which means the last three will be competing in both categories.

Point system

Position1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th11th12th13th14th15th
Each qualif.54321          
Nürburgring108642          
Each race252016131110987654321

The point system will follow that of 2020 with points awarded to the first 15 in each race and to the top 5 from phase one and phase three of qualifying.

Only exception in this case being the round at the Nürburgring where there will be a single session and the fastest five qualifiers will score points on scale of 10-8-6-4-2.

The calendar

The 2020 season was run solely in Europe because of the Coronavirus outbreak. This year, after a first leg of five rounds in Europe, the championship should finally return to Asia for the second part of the season.

The calendar consists of 8 rounds, five in Europe and three in Asia.

The Race of Germany at the Nürburgring will be followed by Portugal, with the debut of Estoril replacing Villa Real, as Covid restrictions made the return to the street circuit impossible.

The series will stay in the Iberian Peninsula for the third round of the year at Motorland Aragón in Spain. The circuit hosted the final two rounds of the season last year and has become rapidly a fan-loved event thanks to the entertaining races during both weekends.

Italy is making its comeback to the series, with a first event in the new layout of the circuit in Adria. The recently rebuild raceway should have hosted the final event of the championship last year.

The Hungaroring, wich also hosts the Hungarian GP of Formula 1, will complete the European leg of the season before the teams will hopefully travel to South Korea and to the new Autodrome of Inje Speedium for the first round outside Europe since the end of 2019.

The season will then end with Ningbo Speedpark in China and the iconic Macau Guia Circuit in November, unless there are further tweaks to the calendar caused by the pandemic.

In fact, there are question marks regarding the possibility of travelling to countries where long periods of quarantine are required, something that could prove very costly for the teams and the organisations.

The full calendar of the 2021 season

RndDateRace NameCircuitLaps
Race 1
Laps
Race 2
15 JuneRace of GermanyNürburgring Nordschleife33
227 JuneRace of PortugalCircuito do Estoril1315
311 JulyRace of SpainCiudad del Motor de Aragón1012
41 AugustRace of ItalyAdria International RacewayTBD TBD
522 AugustRace of HungaryHungaroring1215
617 OctoberRace of South KoreaInje Speedium1416
77 NovemberRace of ChinaNingbo International Circuit1316
821 NovemberRace of MacauGuia Circuit, Macau811

Balance of Perfomance and Success Ballast

The World Touring Car Cup will continue to use its double system, Balance of Performance and Success Ballast, to prevent a team from dominating the season.

The last Balance of Performance has been issued at the end of April just before the season start, while from the third round of the season Success Ballast will also come into consideration.

All cars start from a basis weight of 1265 kg, but the Lynk & Co 03 will start the season as the heaviest car, because of its additional weight of 60 kg caused by the BoP, for a total of 1325 kg.

The new model of the Audi RS3, with a total weight of 1305 kg, is 20 kg lighter than the Lynk & C.

Honda Civic and Cupra León Competición follow in the order with 1295 and 1285 kg respectively, while Hyundai with its new Elantra N will start the season with no additional weight, which means at the minimum weight of 1265 kg, something that has left its rivals surprised.

Compared to the Hyundai i30 N run last year, the new model will run 40 kg lighter, with a ride height that is 10 mm lower than last year and with an increase in engine power of 2.5 %.

The new model has already raced in a TCR championship this year, in the two rounds at the Slovakia Ring and at Paul Ricard in TCR Europe, with Bennani already taking one win in one of those races, but the car didn´t show any advantage compared to its rivals.

Success Ballast will in any case intervene later in the season if any of the cars turn out to be way quicker than the others.

All cars will run with a ride height of 80 mm, apart from the CUPRA León and the Honda Civic which will benefit from a reduction of 10 mm.

ModelMin. weightBoP weightRunning weightRide heightEngine CalibrationEngine power
Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021126540130580C5100,00 %
CUPRA León Competición TCR126520128570C5100,00 %
Honda Civic Type-R FK7126530129570C5100,00 %
Hyundai Elantra N TCR12650126580C5100,00 %
Lynk & Co 03 TCR126560132580C497,50 %

The entries

22 cars from five different manufacturers are entered for the full season. All five have the same chance of taking the title with at least one driver per manufacturer able to fight for overall honours.

Defending Champions Lynk & Co. are back with the same car and the same line-up from last year, with Yann Ehrlacher leading the offence and aiming to confirm himself at the top of series. But his teammates, his uncle Yvan Muller included, will try to do anything to dethrone him.

Honda also looks very strong and the team hope it can finally take the championship it has been slipping away in both the last two seasons. Guerrieri is without doubt one of the best drivers in the field, but he is still missing the title in his curriculum.

Honda and Lynk & Co are the only teams returning without particular changes from last year.

Audi instead is back in 2021 with a reinforced package. A new Audi RS3 LMS TCR, to proof the major involvement of the manufacturer, and a fourth car for returning driver Frédéric Vervisch, to add up to a very interesting line-up for team Comtoyou, with last year´s Rookie of the Year Gilles Magnus, the driver who tok the most number of poles in 2020 Nathanael Berthon and the veteran Tom Coronel.

CUPRA with its team Zengo Motorsport is also coming back stronger, with 2012 WTCC Champion Rob Huff and former SEAT official driver Jordi Gené making their return in the series alongside the confirmed drivers Bence Boldisz and Mikel Azcona, the latter one of the most promising stars of the future.

The team which needs to bounce back from a difficult 2020 is for sure Hyundai. The Korean manufacturer has switched cars from the i30 N TCR to the new Elantra N TCR for this season. The car has already made its racing debut in TCR Europe where ist has already won one race and thanks to a favourable balance of performance it should return to battle at the front.

Hyundai will also be the most represented manufacturer in the grid with six cars entered for the full season split in three different teams, BRC, Engstler and the independent team Target Competition, which makes its full season debut in WTCR.

Nicola Baldan will also field the new model from Hyundai but only for selected events.

Timetable Race of Germany

Thursday 3
14:30-15:10 1st free practice session
19:00-19:40 2nd free practice session

Friday 4
14:05-14:45 Qualifying

Saturday 5
09:00-09:35 Race 1 (3 laps)
09:45-10:05 refuelling and repair phase
10:20-10:55 Race 2 (3 laps)

ADAC TOTAL 24h Race at the Nürburgring

The time for the annual 24-hour race in the Green Hell has come.

125 cars divided in 24 different classes will battle in the most iconic and difficult track in the world. The number of entries is a better result for the organisers compared to last year (around 20 more), but it is not at the same level of the pre-Covid era when there were around 155 cars entered per year.

34 cars are entered in the main class (SP9) with two more in the SPX also competing for the overall win. German manufacturers Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Porsche are represented by numerous teams and look the favourites for the win.

In particular Porsche seems to be a cut above the rest after winning the preparatory race thanks to team Frikadelli Racing, winner of the 24h Qualifying race.

But with BMW, Audi and Mercedes very close on performance, all the teams will require a mistake-free run to win the 24 hour race.

BMW is once again in the mix with the last official participation of the M6 GT3, which won last season thanks to Team Rowe and for that reason cannot be count off in 2021. The car will be replaced by the new M4 GT3, which will be making its race debut at the end of June in the German VLN.

Porsche is the most represented manufacturer at the Nürburgring with eight cars in the main class. The already mentioned Team Frikadelli is entering two 911 that can be counted amongst the favourites thanks to its line up of Jaminet-Tandy-Bamber-Campbell in one car and Pilet-Makowiecki-Martin-Olsen in the other. But the two cars from Falken Motorsports (with Bachler in double duties in both cars) and Team Manthey are also very competitive. The latter team is making its return to the classic race, after being forced to withdrawn last year due to Coronavirus. The local team has taken both of the last two wins for Porsche and has an interesting line-up made by Cairoli-Christensen-Estre-Kern.

For Frikadelli it will be an emotional 24 hour, since it´s the first after the death earlier this year of Sabine Schmidt, the “Ring-Königin”, who was part of the team.

One car each from Huber Motorsport, KCMG and debutant Rutronik Racing (with an impressive line up of Dumas-Andlauer-Sven Müller and Laurens Vanthoor) complete the line-up for the Zuffenhausen manufacturer.

Their main rivals, BMW, Audi and Mercedes, will start each with seven cars.

Rowe Racing, winners last year with the ageing M6 GT3, are coming back with two cars. Two of the winners from last year, Catsburg and Yelloly, are back in the #1 joined by IMSA driver John Edwards and former DTM driver Phlilipp Eng.

Team Walkenhorst enters a trio of cars, while the remaining two M6 will be entered by Team Schubert, with 2020 winner Alex Sims in its line-up, and BMW Junior Team, leaded by Augusto Farfus.

Race fans will miss Schnitzer-Motorsport, the German racing team having to cease all racing activities following the end of BMW support.

Audi, five time winner since the start of GT3-era in 2012, is back with three R8 LMS GT3 each for Phoenix Racing and Car Collection, while another model will be raced by 2019 winners Land-Motorsport (with probably the best line up for the manufacturer consisting of Mies, Kelvin van der Linde, Rast and Vervisch).

Mercedes is trying to return to the top step of the podium at the Nürburgring, after their last victory came in 2016. Three AMG GT3 are entered by Team GetSpeed, two by Hubert Haupt Racing, while two more models will be run by two different teams, CP Racing and 10Q Racing.

If the German manufacturers are probably the favourites, nothing excludes that other manufacturers can also win, with Italian Lamborghini and Ferrari as well as Amercan Glickenhaus also present in the main class.

Lamborghini is represented by Konrad Motorsport and Hankook FFF Racing Team with a Huracán GT3 for each of the team, while Ferrari will have three 488 GT3 in the grid from teams octane 126, racing one and WTM Powered by Phoenix.

Finally Glickenhaus will be once again in the grid with the new SCG 004c in the special class SPX together with a Mercedes AMG GT3 with Steer-by-Wire for team Space Drive Racing.

Thanks to the improving situation with coronavirus in Europe, public will be allowed to enjoy the race live on site, with stands that can be occupied at the level of 50% and up to 10.000, with only the stands in the GP-Circuit open to the public.

Rain

The full entry list can be found here.

Timetable

Thursday, 3 June 2021
12:30-14:00 Qualifying 1
20:30-23:30 Qualifying 2

Friday, 4 June 2021
15:30-16:30 Qualifying 3
18:30-20:50 Top Qualifying 1 + 2

Saturday, 5 June 2021
11:30-12:30 Warm-up
14:15-15:00 Starting grid
15:10 Introductory lap
15:30 Start Race

Sunday, 6 June 2021
15:30 Chequered FLAG

TCR Italy at Misano

Second round of the year for TCR Italy one month after the season opener in Monza, which saw Salvatore Tavano taking a clean sweep of wins in the two races in his CUPRA León Competición.

Brigliadori (Audi) and Ceccon (Hyundai) finished second and third respectively in both races and will try to improve their scores at Misano.

The grid will also be joined by two regular TCR Europe drivers, Jack Young and Franco Girolami. They will both drive the same model of the Honda Civic TCR they race in Europe.

Both cars will be entered by MM Motorsport, which makes its return to the series.

The two drivers are not the only TCR Europe competitors in the series, with Evgenii Leonov also racing in TCR Italy for the second time this year with his CUPRA.

The races of the weekend (28-30 May 2021)

This Sunday it is time for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, the 500 Miles of Indianapolis, one of the most important races of the year.

But the Indy 500 is not the only event of the weekend with GT World Challenge Europe, TCR Europe and Formula Regional by Alpine all racing at Paul Ricard.

Indianapolis 500

Paul Ricard 1000 km

Formula Regional at Paul Ricard

TCR Europe at Paul Ricard

Indianapolis 500

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing is back to its normal slot, the last weekend of May, after last year the pandemic forced the series to move the race to September.

Not everything is back to normal yet, since only 40% of the public is allowed to enter the Speedway and watch the race from the stands.

Qualifying have already taken place last week, so the grid is already set and we only have to wait for the race to start on Sunday at 12:45 pm ET (in Central Europe it will be at 18:45).

Scott Dixon has taken the pole last Sunday, by a slender margin of 3 hundreds of a second, and will start on the inside of the front row with alongside him two young and very fast drivers: Colton Herta and the recent winner of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis Rinus VeeKay.

The second row sees two veterans of the event, Ed Carpenter and Tony Kanaan, alongside another youngster, Alex Palou, emphasising the battle between experience and youth that we have this season in IndyCar.

Among the rest, 2016 winner Alexander Rossi and the most recent winner on an oval, Pato O´Ward, are both in the fourth row, while last year winner Takuma Sato will start from the fifth row.

Terrible start at Indy for Team Penske, with the first car only starting from the sixth row. Incredibly the best performance in qualifying was set by the rookie, Scott McLaughlin, in his first participation at Indy, while his most experienced teammates could do no better than him and will line up in the seventh row with Newgarden, in the ninth with Pagenaud and in the last with Will Power, who had to wait until the last session to be able to qualify for the race.

The championship is very open. In five races we have had five different winners, three of them (O´Ward, Palou and VeeKay) were first time winners.

If, from one side, we are assisting to a new generation of drivers (Herta, VeeKay, Palou, O´Ward) making their mark at the top, on the other side there is a driver who, despite being 41 years old, he is still beating them, leading the overall standings and starting from pole at the Indy 500.

But Dixon is not the only veteran at the front, with also Carpenter, Kanaan, Hunter Reay and Castroneves all starting from the first three rows, trying to take advantage from their experience to beat the new generation.

But the Indy 500 is a lottery, like the Monaco Grand Prix, it´s the event with all its unpredictability that picks up the winner. And with all the drivers entering with the same package (apart from the engine) anyone has a chance of winning the race.

In the battle between the engines, Chevrolet has closed the gap to Honda compared to last year, but the Japanese manufacturer maintains a certain advantage, like shown in practice and in qualifying, where only the two Chevrolet-engined cars from Ed Carpenter Racing were able to make it into the final Fast Nine session.

The 500 Miles is the most important race in the United States and everyone wants to win it, but there is also a championship.

Scott Dixon maintains the lead in the standings with a margin of 13 points over his teammate Álex Palou, both drivers racing for Chip Ganassi.

Newgarden, still waiting for his first win of the year, follows in third 28 points adrift and just 2 ahead of Pato O´Ward.

There is still a final practice session to be run, the Carb Day, on Friday a sort of warm-up to the race.

Fuel window is normally between 30 and 35 laps, but you will see many drivers go off-sequence especially if yellows come out.

The full grid can be found on the official website of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Timetable

ET Time
Friday 28
11 am-1 pm Carb Day – Final Practice
Sunday 30
12:45 pm Race (200 laps)
CET Time
Friday 28
17:00-19:00 Carb Day – Final Practice
Sunday 30
18:45 Race (200 laps)

Team by team preview

Chip Ganassi Racing
Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Tony Kanaan – Engine: Honda

The team is the favourite for the race win after showing great performance during the whole week of practice and qualifying. All 4 cars made it to the Final Nine and Dixon took his fourth career pole in Indiana. If he wins Sunday it will be his second career win at Indy and he is determined to take the win he could not fight for last year because of a final yellow.
Álex Palou has had a great start to the season, having taken his first win in IndyCar at the season opener and sitting second in the standings behind the 6-time champion Scott Dixon. He will start the race from the outside of the second row without any pressure. Something that can make up for the lack of experience on the track, being this one only his second Indy 500 after last season he finished into the wall during the race and had to retire early. He was showing a good performance, so there is high hope for this year.
Marcus Ericsson has positively impressed during qualifying having set the 9th time overall and he will start from the outside of the third row. He enters his third Indy 500, where he hasn´t had much luck so far.
Tony Kanaan, despite being the oldest man on the entry list, has shown that he is still in form and will start the race from the middle of the second row. This could be his last Indy, so he will like to end his career on a high.

Team Penske
Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott McLaughlin (R)
– Engine: Chevrolet
Qualifying was a disaster for Team Penske, but all the drivers are sure the race will be a different story. Last year the team performed better in the race compared to qualifying, but it was not enough to fight for the win.
The rookie Scott McLaughlin was incredibly the fastest of Penske´s roster in qualifying and will start from position 17, ahead of all his more experienced teammates. Sign that he continues to show confidence in the ovals. The fact that he finished second in only his second ever race on an oval, showed he is a fast learner, as he tackle for the first time the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Amongst the rookies in this year´s edition, the New Zealander is the one to watch if he can replicate what Alexander Rossi achieved in 2016, the last driver to win in his debut year.
Newgarden has the strongest race pace in the team if we consider his performance during practice. The road is long having to start from P21, but we know he is capable of great results thanks to his consistency.
Simon Pagenaud is probably the most similar driver to Dixon. Just doing his race, staying out of trouble and staying in contact with the lead until the end has brought him a couple of podiums in various occasions even when he was not competitive. And if a win at the Indy can look a long shot, settling for a good top 5 result could be a good strategy in the driver´s championship.
More problematic it looks for Will Power, who almost didn´t even made it to the race and will start only from 32nd, the last row. But in 2015 his then teammate Juan Pablo Montoya won the race after starting 33rd, so he is in the right team to bounce back from a difficult week.

Andretti Autosport
Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Stefan Wilson – Engine: Honda
Andretti as always is the most represented team in the race with no less than six cars entered (up to eight if we consider their connection with Meyer Shank Racing).
The four full time entries have all been strong and very consistent during practice.
Colton Herta went so close to take pole after an incredible 4-lap time which ended just 3 hundreds adrift from pole and will lead the group between Dixon and VeeKey on the front row.
The entire team is determined to bounce back after another difficult start to the season, especially for three of its drivers, Rossi, Hunter Reay and Hinchcliffe.
Hunter Reay will start from P7 after a good run in qualifying and wants to forget the first part of the season, while Rossi, who was the first of the drivers who didn´t make it into the Fast Nine, will start from P10.
Hinchcliffe was also running at the front but he had to settle for 16th in the grid, in the seventh row.
Marco Andretti, in pole last year, but this year relegated to an Indy-only program, was only 25th in qualifying but if he finds the confidence back, he can be running at the front and take a good result.

McLaren SP
Pato O´Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Juan Pablo Montoya – Engine: Chevrolet
Like in 2020 the team was there within inches of reaching the Final Nine, but ended with a fourth and fifth row for the two full time entries.
Pato O´Ward already looks like an experienced guy in IndyCar, but he is only in his second Indy 500 ever, after he couldn´t qualify in 2019, while he finished a good sixth after a competitive run last year.
If he can confirm the consistency he has showcased in his first two full-time season in IndyCar and the speed he has displayed in Texas, a podium can be within reach.
A podium would also give us a curious comparison with Lando Norris, driving in F1 for the same outfit, who was racing at Monaco last weekend for only the second time in his career, but still managed to finish third.
Felix Rosenqvist had his best qualifying result at Indy last week and was not too far from his teammate, as he will start only one row behind O´Ward in 14th place.
A lot of work needs to be done with Montoya´s car. The Colombian has made his IndyCar return two weeks ago with the GP of Indianapolis, but he didn´t look at ease during the weekend. His return to the oval went far better, but, starting from 24th, he will have a lot of work to do to climb up the order.

Team RLL
Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Santino Ferrucci – Engine: Honda

Someone may object that both Sato´s wins were partly down to luck (in 2016 all his teammates were faster than him but they retired for technical issues and last year a yellow prevented Dixon from making a late attack for the win) but you don´t become a two time winner at Indianapolis only by luck.
His all or nothing attitude has made him no friends both inside and outside the series, but it has paid off so far. This year he could become a three time winner and in the current grid only Castroneves has won so many races at Indy. The Japanese will start from P15.
His teammate Graham Rahal will try to use his consistency to bring home a good result or maybe be the man who takes a second win in a row. He will start from P18, in the sixth row, just behind his teammate.
Santino Ferrucci in the third car has not impressed in his qualifying run and will start only 23rd, but he has always been very competitive on ovals and in his two previous Indy 500.

Dale Coyne Racing
Ed Jones, Pietro Fittipaldi – Engine: Honda

This year Dale Coyne will focus only on the two full time entries after an agreement for a third car with Rick Ware as a driver could not be completed.
Both cars looked strong during the weekend and there is high hope the drivers can deliver a good result.
Ed Jones, who finished third in his debut race at Indy, will start from the fourth row (P11) while Pietro Fittipaldi, making his debut in the Indy 500, was the best rookie in qualifying and will start from the fifth row (P13).

Ed Carpenter Racing
Ed Carpenter, Rinus VeeKay, Conor Daly – Engine: Chevrolet

The team which most impressed during qualifying was without doubt Ed Carpenter Racing.
Only Chevrolet team to enter the final Fast Nine session, it will start from the first row thanks to a great run from Rinus VeeKay, recent winner of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis two weeks ago. That win probably has galvanised him even more, but we must not forget that last year the Dutchman was already the fastest Chevrolet man on qualifying, although he ended the race one lap behind in 20th. He will use the experience learned in his first Indy race last year to transform his qualifying speed into race pace and achieve a better result.
Ed Carpenter has all the experience needed to succeed at Indy. He will start from the inside of the second row, from P4, and wants to finally take his first Indy 500 win after having taken three poles in the past.
Conor Daly stays at ECR for Indy and will start from P19. Compared to his teammates he was not very competitive in qualifying, but we are sure he will cut the gap and run nearer the front during the race.

AJ Foyt Enterprises
Sébastien Bourdais, Dalton Kellett, JR Hildebrand – Engine: Chevrolet

Teamleader Sebastien Bourdais has never liked the Indy 500, his best result being a seventh place in 2014, while he hasn´t seen the chequered flag since 2016.
His more recent event on an oval, at Fort Worth, was a disaster, with accidents ending each of the two races in Texas. But he was competitive and there is hope he can deliver a good result for the team. His starting position for this year´s Indy 500 race is 27th.
Dalton Kellett surprised everyone last weekend when he was able to qualify 30th, enough to not have to come back the second day in order to qualify for the race.
JR Hildebrand looks the driver most in form at Indy for the team. Starting with #1 in honour to AJ Foyt´s first win at the Speedway in 1961, he will start from P22. His results at Indy have gone backwards after his almost win in his rookie season in 2011. Racing for Foyt for the first time, he will try to turn his results at Indy around.

Meyer Shank Racing
Jack Harvey, Hélio Castroneves – Engine: Honda

Jack Harvey has become one of the most unluckiest drivers in IndyCar, after having issues in both previous races while occupying front positions.
His pace in Texas shows that he can be very fast on ovals, so there is high expectations of him despite starting only from P20.
The qualifying session has shown that Castroneves has lost none of his speed at Indy, despite his last two efforts with Team Penske were not remarkable. His Final Nine participation and the fact he will start from the third row (P8) show there is a good possibility he can take a fourth Indy 500 win. It remains to be seen if he can be so competitive on the full distance.

Carlin
Max Chilton – Engine: Chevrolet

Compared to the struggles of two years ago when three of the four cars entered for the race were not qualified, this year it has been a good improvement for the team. The single entry of Max Chilton was able to set a time on Saturday that was good enough to stay in the top 30 and not requiring to come back on Sunday for the final session.
He will start from the penultimate row (P29) and will hope to stay out of trouble during the race, find the correct strategy and finish with a good top 10 result.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Sage Karam – Engine: Chevrolet

Karam has had better qualifying sessions at Indy in the past, as he had to wait until Sunday to see if he could make it into the race. He will start from the last row (P31) and will fight to stay in touch with the field and achieve a good result.

Paretta Autosport
Simona de Silvestro – Engine: Chevrolet

It didn´t look easy on Saturday for the first majority-female team in IndyCar, with de Silversto needing to come back the next day to be able to qualify for the race. In the end she made it into the grid and will start from the last possible position, the 33rd. But the performance of the car is a question mark and it will be difficult for de Silvestro, who makes her return to Indy after six years of absence, to be competitive in the field.

Paul Ricard 1000 km

Starting on Saturday at 18:00 CET, the 1000 km of Le Castellet makes its return as a preparation for the 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July. Last year the race was in fact postponed to mid November, three weeks after the classic Spa 24.

The race in reality will last 6 hours, as it is a timed race and does not go necessarily to the distance of 1000 km. The race, which starts with daylight, will finish in the dark at midnight.

The round is the third event of the year for the GT World Challenge Europe and the second for the Endurance Cup.

47 cars are entered.

Porsche, winner of the season opener in March, the 3 Hours of Monza, is back with four cars in the main class, two for the Italian team Dinamic Motorsport, who finished first in Monza, thanks to Engelhart, Cairoli and Bachler, and one for GPX Racing. In all three cars there are official Porsche drivers and will be surely battling at the front.

Audi and Mercedes will try to confirm their performance in the long run, after their win in the recent round of the Sprint Cup at Magny Cours.

Audi will be represented by three different teams, Saintéloc with two R8s, Attempto and WRT with one car each.

Mercedes, second in Monza with Marciello, Gounon and Juncadella for AKKA ASP Team, also looks very strong this season in the Pro class. Alongside AKKA ASP, the other car will be run by the BWT Haupt Racing Team.

Lamborghini is as always well represented with three cars entered, two from Emil Frey Racing, which ended on the podium with Costa, Siedler and Altoé at Monza, and one from Orange 1 FFF Racing Team, who set the pace in qualifying in the first event of the year, but lost any chance of winning due to a technical problem.

Ferrari, fourth and fifth in Monza, is also back with the same two cars for team Iron Lynx.

The main class is completed by two BMWs for Walkenhorst Motorsport and two McLarens for two different teams, Jota Sport and JP Motorsports, which makes its debut in the series.

Timetable

Friday 28
9:00-10:00 Practice (only bronze)
15:00-16:30 Practice
20:40-22:10 Pre-Qualifying
Saturday 29
10:45 Qualifying
18:00-00:00 Race (6 hours)

Formula Regional by Alpine at Paul Ricard

Fourth round of the year for Formula Regional, for the first time in 2021 not part of a Formula 1 weekend, but running as a support for the GT World Challenge at Paul Ricard.

A record 35 cars will be entered for this round, with the return of Belén García in a third car from G4 Racing and Mikhael Belov in the third car from JD Motorsport.

The last round at Monaco has been a complete disaster for championship leader Grégore Saucy (ART), who couldn´t take any point from the two races.

Strong of his three wins in the previous two events of the season, he still leads the standings with a gap of 13 points over Paul Aaron (Prema), who was not able to make use of his rival´s misfortunes and could only manage a podium in the first race, while he retired from the second one. Aaron is also looking for his first win of the year.

The drivers who made the most from last week´s races in Monaco were without doubt R-ace GP drivers Isack Hadjar and Zane Maloney.

Hadjar, thanks to his win in the first race and the second place in the second, is now third only 2 points behind Aaron and 15 behind the leader. His teammate Maloney took exactly the same points in Monaco by winning the second race after finishing second in the first one and sits now fifth in the standings, 23 points from Saucy.

Other protagonists of the first part of the season were Quinn (Arden), like Aaron consistent but needing his first win of the season, David (R-ace), the most experienced in the team, but still not performing at his level so far, Vidales (Prema), who has not confirmed the potential shown in the first race of the year, and Minì (ART), who had a setback in Monaco after a great start of the season. But at the age of 16, he has all the time to bounce back.

Track actions will start on Friday with two practice sessions of 50 minutes each.

The series will go back to its standard qualifying format with two different sessions of 20 minutes deciding the grid for the two races.

Timetable

Friday 28
12:00-12:50 Collective Test 1
17:20-18:10 Collective Test 2
Saturday 29
8:30-8:50 Qualifying 1
14:20-14:52 Race 1 (30 min. + 1 lap)
Sunday 30
9:00-9:20 Qualifying 2
14:30-15:02 Race 2 (30 min. + 1 lap)

TCR Europe at Paul Ricard

Mikel Azcona started the season in Slovakia with an almost perfect weekend. Winner in Race 1, he finished second in Race 2 and leads the standings by 22 points.

He is the man to beat this year and, amongst the favourite to stop him from taking the title, there is for sure Mehdi Bennani, the man who prevented Azcona from taking a clean sweep in the first round of the year.

Bennani took also the first win for the new Hyundai Elentra in race 2, a good news for Hyundai, which will run the same car in the WTCR later in the year.

Other drivers to watch are the three from Comtoyou with their Audi RS3: Tom Coronel, fastest in qualifying in the first event, but still looking for a better setup during the race, Dusan Borkovich and Nicolas Baert.

The long straights of the Paul Ricard should suit the speed of the Audis.

Many teams will need to improve from a difficult first round, in particular Brutal Fish and Team Clairet.

Timetable

Friday, 28
10:10-10:40 Free Practice 1
16:40-17:10 Free Practice 2
Saturday, 29
10:00-10:40 Qualifying (Q1 20 min + Q2 10 min)
16:45 Race 1 (10 laps)
Sunday, 30
12:40 Race 2 (10 laps)

The races of the weekend (20-23 May)

Formula 1 finally returns to Monaco for the first time since the Pandemic. Intense program for the Monaco Grand Prix with support categories like Formula 2, Formula Regional by Alpine and Porsche Supercup.

The World Rally Championship is also back this weekend with the Rally de Portugal, while at Indianapolis the second week of actions has already started with qualifying for the 500 Miles of next week taking place during the weekend.

Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix

WRC Rally de Portugal

Qualifying for the 500 Miles of Indianapolis

Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix

Finally, after a one year hiatus caused by the pandemic, Formula 1 can make its return to the fascinating and historic location of Monaco, which will host the 78th edition of the race and the fifth round of the season.

Hamilton has stretched his advantage thanks to his last two wins in Portimao and Barcelona. The wins count is now 3-1 for the Englishman and Verstappen and Red Bull urge to up their game and reverse the trend. The gap between the two drivers is gone up to 14 points in favour of the 7-time World Champion.

The Monaco Circuit should suit the Red Bull, because of the car´s advantage when more downforce is needed. The Dutchman however doesn´t have a great record on the principality, as he has never stand on the podium in the five races he has done.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton instead has already won three times the event, included the last edition in 2019, and loves the venue.

In the first four rounds no one has been able to beat or even split the two major protagonists, as they finished 1 an 2 in every single race so far.

Bottas has tried to have his say in the last two events, especially at Portimao where he was running in front after the start, but in the end he finished both races quite far behind. He got the third place in the overall standings back, but he has now only 47 points, exactly the half of his teammate Hamilton.

As always Monaco is completely different from every other round of the calendar, so we could see a different running order from what we are used to.

It is also a lottery, because traffic during qualifying could have determinant effect, especially during the first session when everyone is on the track at the same time. Then the timing of a caution during the race can quickly change things, considering it is difficult to overtake.

So a good qualifying position and be prepared to pit at the right moment will be crucial in Monaco.

If we have to name someone who can surprise the teams in front, it could be Daniel Ricciardo, winner here in 2018 in his last season at Red Bull and always very competitive at Monaco. He has made good steps since the first races with the new team and he is ready to build on the form showed in Spain as he continues to improve his confidence with the car.

His teammate Lando Norris, fresh from his multi-year contract extension with McLaren, has only raced once at Monaco in 2019, his debut season, so he probably won´t find the confidence in time to attack from the off.

In Spain McLaren has made a small step back compared to the first three events of the season. For the first time the team has been beaten by Ferrari, their rival for third in the standings, and has now seen its margin in the standings cut to only 3 points.

McLaren will display a new one-off livery for the Monaco round, with the return of the iconic blue and orange colors, made famous in the sixties and the seventies thanks to the Gulf Oil company which currently sponsors the team.

Leclerc, racing in his home country, could be the other man to watch if something happens during the race. The Monegasque has made a great start of the season and he wants to change his luck on his home track, after a retirement while in the lead with a good margin prevented him from winning in F2 in 2017 and his only participation with Ferrari in 2019 ended prematurely after a disastrous qualifying.

The race could be an important opportunity for Alpine, who have made great progress since pre-season tests, especially on qualifying. Ocon, together with Norris, is one of the drivers who most impressed this year and is very determined to bring home a good result at Monaco. He has beaten his teammate, the two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, in all the last three races and has finished a solid sixth for Racing Points in his last race at Monaco in 2018.

Both he and Alonso, winner of the Monaco GP two times in the past, have missed from Monaco for two years in a row, having sat out the 2019 season, with their last Monaco GP having been in 2018.

Another past Monaco winner is Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, but the German driver at the moment is more interested in taking his first points of the season, as he struggles to find back the confidence he needs.

The race is a great opportunity to bring home the first points of the year for three teams, Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas. For the latter, having two rookies in the line up, it could be more problematic as they both race at Monaco in Formula 1 for the first time and Monaco doesn´t forgive even the smallest mistake.

They have both made huge progress recently, having finally had their first clean race in Spain but Monaco is another thing, although they both have previous experience from F2, where they raced in 2019.

The only driver who has never raced at Monaco is Alpha Tauri´s Yuki Tsunoda, who after a great debut in Bahrain with a point finish, has been quite nervous and erratic in the most recent races. The streets of Monaco could be not the ideal place to regain confidence for a rookie but he doesn´t have any pressure at the moment.

Another driver who will race for the first time between the walls with a F1 car is Nicholas Latifi for Williams. The Canadian has made his debut in F1 last year when the Monaco round didn´t take place. He has never had much fortunes in Monte Carlo in his F2 days, with just two top10 finishes in the six races entered.

It is also a return for F1 in a street circuit after the Pandemic made it impossible to organise events in the middle of a city last year.

The program of the weekend doesn´t have big changes apart from the usual first day of practice taking place on Thursday instead of Friday, but that´s not new for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Both qualifying and Race will start at 15:00 CET.

Formula 2

Battle resumes for F1´s second tier after a long pause of almost two months from the first round in Bahrain.

There are good news for the two drivers who were still looking to complete their sponsorship in order to continue their season. Both Dutch drivers Viscaal and Verschoor have in fact been confirmed by their respective teams – Trident and MP Motorsport – for the remained of the season.

On the other hand, another driver has lost his sponsorship in Formula 2. Matteo Nannini was due to contest a double program in F2 and F3 this year (the two championships running alongside F1 but on different weekends) with HWA, but one of his sponsor has pull the plug and he has decided to focus solely on F3 for 2021.

His place at HWA Racelab will be taken by a familiar name, Jack Aitken, who raced in the series in the last three seasons. Aitken this year was racing in GT World Championship with a Lamborghini Huracán for Emil Frey Racing. He is supposed to continue his involvement with the Swiss team in GT, while at the moment he is only confirmed in Formula 2 for Monaco and the next round at Baku.

With 67 races done in Formula 2, he is by far the most experienced guy in the field and the only with a double participation at Monaco, where he raced in 2018 and 2019 for a total of four races, although with only a seventh place in the only race he could finish.

The first round of the year in Bahrain has seen for the first time the new format take place, with three races per weekend and qualifying deciding the grid for the last race, the longest, which takes place on Sunday morning.

The most difficult part is to get used to the fact that the fastest driver on qualifying will have to wait until Sunday to take advantage of starting from pole (and at Monaco qualifying will be held on Thursday!), but the format seems to be working.

Guanyu Zhou, fastest during qualifying and winner of the main race on Sunday, is in fact in the lead of the championship, already with a good gap, 11 points, over second placed Liam Lawson, winner of the opening race.

Together with Zhou, Daruvala was the only other driver to be able to finish all three races inside the points and is now 13 points behind the leader in third.

Oscar Piastri, the other winner of the weekend follows in fourth, albeit 20 points behind Zhou. His teammate at Prema, Robert Shwartzman, has had a terrible start of the season, after a difficult qualifying session relegated him to only 11th in qualifying. He could finish two races in the points, but the driver who started the season as the favourite for the championship is only seventh in the points.

The weekend didn´t go much better for one of his main rival, Christian Lundgaard. The ART driver finished a high second in the second race despite a time-penalty, but couldn´t finish in the points in the most important last race and lies only seventh in the standings on par with Shwartzman.

Qualifying will take place already on Thursday after a quick session in the morning. As usual at Monaco the group will be divided in two parts contesting in two different qualifying sessions. The fastest of both sessions will start from pole.

Race 1 will take place on Friday morning at 11:45, the other two on Saturday, Race 2 early at 8:20 and the final race at 17:15.

Formula Regional

For the third time in a row, Formula Regional is part of the Formula 1 Grand Prix program, after Imola and Catalunya.

After three wins in the first four races, Grégoire Saucy is strongly in the lead of the standings with 85 points, 28 more than Paul Aron, who had two consistent weekends with two podiums and two fourth places, but still seeking his first win.

Other protagonists of the first part of the season were Alex Quinn, third in the standings, Gabriele Miní, a rookie but already able to battle for the lead in Catalunya, where he took his first podium, and William Alatalo, very consistent with a fifth, two sixth and a seventh place in the first four races.

David Vidales and Hadrien David were strong at the season opener in Imola, with the former winning the first race, but in Spain they both had a difficult weekend, with Vidales crashing in both races and David hampered by not taking part in one of the qualifying session and having to start from the back. Time to bounce back for them this weekend if they want to stay in touch with the leader.

For this special round on the streets of Monaco, the series will have a different qualifying format. With 33 cars entered in the short Monaco circuit, it´s impossible to think the drivers can stay away from each other during the session, so the organisers have decided to follow Formula 2 format and split the entire field in two groups, which will contest qualifying in two different sessions. The first group (Group A) will be made by the drivers who lies in even-numbered positions in the drivers´ standings, while the other group (Group B) will have the drivers in odd-numbered positions.

Group A will run just before Group B on Friday morning. This means a probable advantage for the second group, as the drivers will have more grip with more rubber on track. For this reason the fastest driver among both sessions will start from pole only for the final race on Sunday morning, while the driver who set the fastest lap in the other session will instead start from pole for the first race of the weekend on Saturday. This also means we will have two different drivers starting from pole for the two races.

The other drivers from the group in which the overall fastest time was set will start from even positions in race 1 (1-3-5-…) and odd positions (2-4-6-…) in race 2. The opposite for the other group.

There is also a limitation in the number of cars allowed to race, as only 28 cars will be permitted to align on the grid, although every driver will contest at least one race. The ten slowest qualifiers will be divided in two groups. The last 5 will race on Saturday, the fastest five of this group will race on Sunday. Needless to say, the 23 fastest cars from qualifying will dispute both races.

The series will be the first one to enter the track on Thursday morning with a 50 minute practice session, but the qualifying sessions will take place only in the early morning of Friday, with Race 1 on Saturday at 10:15 and race 2 on Sunday at 11:50, the last race before the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Porsche Supercup

Finally Porsche Supercup makes its season debut for the first round of the season.

The 29th season for the series starts for the first time in the history of the series from Monaco and will see the debut of the latest generation of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 992). This change will mean an increase in engine power from 485 to 510 BHP.

Team GP Elite was finally able to stop the domination of Lechner Racing in 2020, with the Austrian team, which has unfortunately lost its founder Walter Lechner at the end of last season, winner of the previous six championships in a row.

Larry ten Voorde returns to defend his crown with Team GP Elite. The Dutch team will enter no less than five cars this year: alongside ten Voorde, Max Van Splunteren, Daan and Jesse van Kuijk (all from Netherlands) and the Belgian Lucas Groneveld.

BWT Lechner Racing responds with exactly the same number of cars for returning driver Dylan Pereira, runner-up last year, Tío Ellinas, who makes his return in the series after a one year break following his promising debut in 2019, young Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer, rookie Nicolas Misslin and Ayhancan Güven, one of the main protagonists in the last few seasons and we are sure one to watch carefully as he will get more competitive driving in the most winning team of the series.

Outsiders could come from the Alméras roster, which is headed by former Lechner Racing driver Jaxon Evans, past F2 driver Dorian Boccolacci, Clément Mateu, Aaron Mason and Stéphane Denoual.

Italian squad Dinamic Motorsport remains in the series with Philipp Sager, joined by two italians drivers Lodovico Laurini and Simone Iaquinta, while Fach Auto Racing returns with three cars for Christopher Zöchling, Marius Nakken and Maxime Boulin.

Come Ledogar returns but only with his team and not as a driver for now. Two Porsche will be entered for expert Florian Latorre and Steven Palette.

There are a couple of new teams joining the series: Team Parker Racing which will field two cars for Harry King, only 20 years of age but already champion in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB last year, and former BTCC driver Michael Crees, and Huber Racing entering three cars for series returnee Roar Lindland, Leon Köhler and rookie Laurin Heinrich.

First track activity for the Porsche Supercup will happen on Friday afternoon with a 45-minute practice session. Qualifying will take place on Friday at 10:00, with the race on Sunday at 10:20.

Full timetable of the Monaco GP

 THURSDAY 20th MAY 
08:30 – 09:20FIA Formula Regional by AlpinePractice Session
09:45 – 10:30FIA Formula 2Practice Session
11:30 – 12:30Formula 1First Practice Session
13:20 – 13:36FIA Formula 2Qualifying Session (Group A)
13:44 – 14:00FIA Formula 2Qualifying Session (Group B)
15:00 – 16:00Formula 1Second Practice Session
17:15 – 18:00Porsche Mobil 1 SupercupPractice Session
 FRIDAY 21st MAY 
07:55 – 08:25FIA Formula Regional by AlpineQualifying Session (Group A)
08:33 – 09:03FIA Formula Regional by AlpineQualifying Session (Group B)
10:00 – 10:30Porsche Mobil 1 SupercupQualifying Session
11:45 – 12:35FIA Formula 2First Race (30 Laps or 45 Mins)
13:05 – 13:35FIA Formula 2Press Conference
 SATURDAY 22nd MAY 
08:20 – 09:10FIA Formula 2Second Race (30 Laps or 45 Mins)
10:15 – 10:50FIA Formula Regional by AlpineFirst Race (30 Min + 1 Lap)
12:00 – 13:00Formula 1Third Practice Session
15:00 – 16:00Formula 1Qualifying Session
17:15 – 18:20FIA Formula 2Third Race (42 Laps or 60 Mins)
 SUNDAY 23rd MAY 
10:20 – 10:55Porsche Mobil 1 SupercupRace (17 Laps or 30 Mins)
11:50 – 12:25FIA Formula Regional by Alpine Second Race (30 Mins + 1 Lap)
15:00 – 17:00Formula 1Grand Prix (78 Laps or 120 Mins)
from http://www.formula1.com

WRC Rally de Portugal

Vodafone Rally de Portugal is the fourth event of the season for the World Rally Championship, the first of the year to be run on gravel.

In the past the rally is remembered for being very hard on tires, with punctures easy to get while passing over the rocks.

The route follows the one that should have been used in 2020, when it was cancelled by the pandemic, with just a couple of updates consisting in new stages, two in the forest and one on the center of Porto. The longest day will be Saturday, with 165 km of competition.

The Shakedown is scheduled for Thursday, while the competition will start on Friday morning with three stages in the area around Coimbra. There will be no midday service but only a remote tyre zone before the repeat of the loop on early afternoon. Another stage and a Super Special Stage around the Lousada rallycross circuit will follow before the end of the first day which will have a total of 8 stages.

Saturday will have the three longest stages of the rally, two just above 20 kilometres of length and the last of the loop of almost 38. Of course, managing tyres will be crucial. The second day will then end with the street stage in the city of Porto at the sea shore.

Sunday, the final day, has five stages, with the most iconic Fafe serving as the Power Stage and the final stage of the rally.

Sébastien Ogier, leader of the championship, will be the first car on the road for the entire first day. He will have to clean the road for the other competitors, which is quite an important factor in Portugal.

However dust could also pay a big part, especially if conditions are dry, and turn over the advantage of the cars that are following. This is what happened in 2017 when Ogier won the rally despite being first on the road for the first full day.

The Frenchman will be followed on the road by Thierry Neuville, who sits second in the standings only 8 points adrift, after a very consistent start of the season, having finished third in all three rallies so far. He is still building the confidence with his new co-driver Martin Wydaeghe and it will be the first gravel rally for the two together, but their early results are promising.

Elfyn Evans (Toyota) follows in third 10 points behind Ogier, while both Ott Tänak (Hyundai) and Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) need to find more consistency having had alternating results in the first three rallies.

The Estonian, despite winning in Finland, is already 21 points behind Ogier, while the Finn just one more point adrift.

Sordo will make his come-back at Hyundai in the third car, making his return after Monte Carlo this year. He has taken four podiums in his previous participation in Portugal, although he has never been close to victory. He will benefit from a better starting position, being tenth in the standings.

Pierre-Louis Loubet returns in his Hyundai prepared by team 2C Competition, but after three difficult rallies marred by crashes, he needs to start to deliver results.

MSport will have the same line-up of the last event with Adrien Fourmaux alongside Gus Greensmith. The French driver impressed in the last round in Croatia in his first event on a WRC car, the best performance for a rookie since a long time. He has become another opportunity from the team to show what he is capable of, but Portugal is completely different from the asphalt in Croatia.

The confirmation of Fourmaux for another rally comes at Teemu Suninen´s expence, as the Finnish driver will have to contest the second rally in a row in the WRC2 Fiesta.

WRC2 will miss one of the protagonists and leader of the championship Andreas Mikkelsen, who has unfortunately tested positive for Covid.

The rally will see the return of Esapekka Lappi, winner in Finland, and Mads Ostberg, who has won the last event in Croatia, showing he has lost no confidence after having to miss the first two events of the year.

For both drivers an opportunity to take advantage from the leader´s misfortunes.

Timetable Rally de Portugal

PSNameLength (Km)Schedule
Thursday 20
ShakedownWalls4,610:01
Friday 21
PS1Chalkboard 112,359:08
PS2Gois 119,5110:08
PS3Arganil 118,8211:08
PS4Chalkboard 212,3513:31
PS5Gois 219,5114:31
PS6Arganil 218,8215:38
PS7Mortagua18,1617:05
PS8Lousada3,3620:03
Saturday 22
PS9Vieira do Minho 120,6409:08
PS10Headboards by Basto 122,3710:08
PS11Almarante 137,9211:24
SERVICE
PS12Vieira do Minho 220,6415:38
PS13Headboards by Basto 222,3716:38
PS14Almarante 237,9217:54
PS15Porto – Foz3,320:03
Sunday 23
PS16Felgueiras 19,1808:08
PS17fitting8,8508:53
PS18Fafe 111,1809:38
PS19Felgueiras 29,1811:04
PS20Fafe 211,1813:18
from http://www.ruetir.com

Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500

Only one week left before the 500 Miles of Indianapolis. The drivers are already busy with track activities since Tuesday of this week. Practice sessions will continue until Friday, while qualifying for the most important race of the year will last two days.

Saturday will decide starting positions 10 through 30 and, more importantly, the 9 drivers who will be in the Fast Nine shootout for the pole on Sunday. The last five cars from Saturday´s qualifying session will also need to come back on Sunday in the Last Chace Qualifying to fight out for the last three grid slots.

Timetable (all time ET)

Tuesday 18
10.00am-12.00pm – oval veterans practice
12.00-2.00pm – Rookie Orientation and Refreshers
3.00-6.00pm – all cars practice
Wednesday 19
12.00-6.00pm – all cars practice
Thursday 20
12.00-6.00pm – all cars practice
Friday 21, Fast Friday
12.00-6.00pm – all cars practice
‘Fast Friday’ with cars at qualifying turbo boost (1.4-bar)
Saturday 22, Qualifications Day 1
9.30-10.00am – practice, Group 1
10.00-10.30am – practice, Group 2
12.00-5.50pm – Qualifying
Sunday 23, Qualifications Day 2
11.00-11.30am – Last Chance practice
11.30am-12.00pm – Fast Nine practice
1.15-2.30pm – Last Chance Qualifying
3.00-3.45pm – Fast Nine Qualifying

5.00-7.00pm – practice for all 33 qualified cars