Cookstown 100 set to launch 2015 Irish Road Racing season

Following the first road race of the year in Scarborough the action continues in Cookstown this weekend.

The likes of Michael and William Dunlop, Jamie Hamilton, and Dean Harrison will be in action along with Guy Martin, Derek McGee and Derek Sheils. Martin took overall Spring Cup victory in Scarborough, beating Ivan Lintin and Harrison. Hamilton and Sheils were both victorious over the Easter weekend as the Irish Short Circuit Championship kicked off at Bishopscourt and Kirkistown. Other riders who will be in attendance include Sandor Bitter, Davy Morgan, Maria Costello, James Cowton and Connor Behan.

It will be M Dunlop’s first road racing appearance on the Yamaha R1. Likewise, W Dunlop will be getting his first taste of Tyco’s BMWs on the roads. He will no doubt be hoping to claim victory having been cruelly robbed of the win in the Cookstown 100 feature race last year on corrected time. He was beaten by Dan Kneen, while M Dunlop and Sheils also took wins. While many riders have been in action in various places throughout the month it will be their first time racing on the Irish roads in 2015. As well as there being plenty of riders on new machinery there will also be established riders on proven packages. Hamilton has made the switch to B.E. Racing while McGee fills his vacant bikes at Wilson Craig Racing.

The KDM Cookstown 100 will take place over two days. Roads will close from 12 noon on Friday 24th April and reopen at 9.30pm. On Saturday roads will close at 10am and are due to reopen at 7.30pm.

Trio of winners at Donington Park

Matt Neal maintained his championship lead following an eventful three races at Donington Park.

Team BMR took two out of three victories with the third going to Neal. Reigning champion Colin Turkington – who now lies second in the championship – took pole position on Saturday by just under a tenth of a second from Gordon Shedden. It was team-mate Jason Plato, however, who took the spoils in the opening race, wasting no time in taking the lead from third on the grid.

In race one Aron Smith failed to make the grid due to car issues while Mike Bushell was slow on the parade lap. He failed to complete any laps while Dan Welch, Simon Belcher, and Andy Wilmot retired after just three laps. In the opening laps Shedden took second from Turkington although following a lock-up for the former, the BMR driver took the position back before swiftly losing it again. Elsewhere Rob Collard enjoyed a feisty run, passing both Jack Goff and Adam Morgan in one move. Goff got his own back on the last lap – however – when he got into a drag race with Collard on the pit straight. Goff got seventh position by under a tenth of a second. Up at the front Plato beat Shedden and Turkington.

Shedden set the fastest lap in race one, giving him pole position for the second race of the day. Turkington wasted no time in getting ahead and went on to take an impressive victory by 2.5 seconds from Neal. The safety car was deployed on the second lap due to an incident involving Warren Scott and Alex Morgan. Racing quickly resumed on lap five and the fight for the final two podium spots intensified as Turkington pulled away. Adam Morgan, Neal, and Andrew Jordan were all fighting with Neal making contact with Morgan who then sent Jordan into a slide. It was eventually Neal and Morgan who secured the podium positions with fourth going to Jordan ahead of race one winner Plato.

The reverse grid meant that rookie Josh Cook would be starting on pole position for the first time. He didn’t last long in P1 as Collard made another of the rear wheel drive BMWs fast starts and took the lead. Neal once again found himself in the thick of the action, hitting Jordan as he passed and going on to win the race. MG appealed the decision to allow Neal to keep his win following the contact between the two drivers. That wasn’t the only fighting going on however. A safety car was deployed on lap seven after Goff and Sam Tordoff ended up in the tyre wall and beached in the gravel following the final chicane. This was as a result of a tap from Morgan for Goff who then collected Tordoff. On lap 11 racing resumed and excitement ensued. A. Smith found himself going wheel-to-wheel with Josh Cook who was impressing by sticking with the more experienced BTCC drivers. The pair both went off track and across the grass, narrowly avoiding contact with other cars as they returned. Aiden Moffat also got involved, with the young driver setting the fastest lap on his way to fifth having started right down the order. At the front Collard – who was running the soft tyre – struggled to hold on and dropped to fourth, while Neal and Jordan battled for the lead. Neal held on and took his second win of the season – the first driver to do so this year – with Jordan second and Shedden third. Smith and Cook eventually finished sixth and seventh, separated by just two tenths of a second.

The action continues in two weeks when the championship travels to Thruxton on 9th and 10th of May.

2015: The Bahrain Grand Prix in Numbers

Statistics from the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend

Total number of laps completed (by driver)

Valtteri Bottas 150
Felipe Massa 143
Nico Rosberg 143
Lewis Hamilton 141
Marcus Ericsson 137
Pastor Maldonado 134
Nico Hulkenberg 134
Sergio Perez 130
Kimi Raikkonen 128
Felipe Nasr 127
Romain Grosjean 125
Daniel Ricciardo 124
Sebastian Vettel 121
Fernando Alonso 117
Roberto Merhi 115
Daniil Kvyat 109
Carlos Sainz 107
Max Verstappen 107
Will Stevens 106
Jenson Button 32
Jolyon Palmer 31

Total number of laps completed (by team)

Williams 293
Lotus 290
Mercedes 284
Sauber 264
Force India 264
Ferrari 245
Red Bull 233
Manor 221
Toro Rosso 214
McLaren 149

Total number of laps completed (by engine manufacturer)

Mercedes (4 teams) 1131
Ferrari (3 teams) 730
Renault (2 teams) 447
Honda (1 team) 149

Number of race laps: 57
Number of safety cars: 0
Number of race starters: 19
Number of times race lead changed hands (includes pole sitter): 5
Number of different race leaders (excludes pole sitter if lead changes off the line): 3
Number of classified drivers: 17
Number of retirements: 2
Number of drivers on lead lap at chequered flag: 7
Number of teams scoring points: 6
Most places gained: Felipe Massa 9 (19th – 10th)
Number of visits to pit-lane: 44
…of which were pit-stops: 43
Stop/go penalties (added to pit-stop): 2
Drive through penalties: 0
Retirements in pit-lane: 1
Fastest lap: Kimi Raikkonen 1:36.311

2015: BTCC – Donington Park Results

Names in bold indicate fastest lap

Race 1

  1. Jason Plato
  2. Gordon Shedden
  3. Colin Turkington
  4. Andrew Jordan
  5. Sam Tordoff
  6. Dave Newsham
  7. Jack Goff
  8. Rob Collard
  9. Adam Morgan
  10. Rob Austin
  11. Warren Scott
  12. Andy Priaulx
  13. Josh Cook
  14. Jeff Smith
  15. Martin Depper
  16. Tom Ingram
  17. Matt Neal
  18. Aiden Moffat
  19. Hunter Abbott
  20. Alex Martin
  21. Kieran Gallagher
  22. Derek Palmer
  23. Richard Hawken

Not classified

Andy Wilmot
Simon Belcher
Dan Welch
Mike Bushell

Race 2

  1. Colin Turkington
  2. Matt Neal
  3. Adam Morgan
  4. Andrew Jordan
  5. Jason Plato
  6. Rob Collard
  7. Josh Cook
  8. Jack Goff
  9. Sam Tordoff
  10. Andy Priaulx
  11. Dave Newsham
  12. Aron Smith
  13. Tom Ingram
  14. Gordon Shedden
  15. Jeff Smith
  16. Aiden Moffat
  17. Hunter Abbott
  18. Rob Austin
  19. Martin Depper
  20. Kieran Gallagher
  21. Simon Belcher
  22. Stewart Lines
  23. Alex Martin
  24. Richard Haken

Not Classified

Mike Bushell
Dan Welch
Warren Scott

Race 3

  1. Matt Neal
  2. Andrew Jordan
  3. Gordon Shedden
  4. Rob Collard
  5. Aiden Moffat 
  6. Aron Smith
  7. Josh Cook
  8. Jason Plato
  9. Martin Depper
  10. Tom Ingram
  11. Colin Turkington
  12. Adam Morgan
  13. Jeff Smith
  14. Hunter Abbott
  15. Warren Scott
  16. Simon Belcher
  17. Stewart Lines
  18. Kieran Gallagher
  19. Alex Martin
  20. Richard Hawken

Not classified 

Mike Bushell
Rob Austin
Dave Newsham
Andy Priaulx
Sam Tordoff
Jack Goff

Lewis Hamilton holds on to win Bahrain Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton notched up his third win of the year by taking the chequered flag first at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

It was a nervy final 20 laps for the team as Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen mounted a charge and eventually passed Nico Rosberg. Both Silver Arrows cars limped across the line with brake issues and, had the race been a few laps longer, it could have been Raikkonen on the top step of the podium.

Hamilton started the race on pole position ahead of Sebastian Vettel while Rosberg and Raikkonen lined up on the second row. Before the race McLaren confirmed that Jenson Button would not be taking part due to an ERS problem. He had already endured a difficult weekend, completing minimal laps in practice and breaking down on his out lap in qualifying. He instead took to live tweeting during the race. Felipe Massa nearly failed to make the start after stalling on the grid but the team were able to get him fired up in the pit-lane and as a result he started at the back of the pack.

Prior to the race even starting Carlos Sainz was handed a five second stop/go penalty for exceeding the time limit for his reconnaissance lap. Pastor Maldonado also picked up the same penalty for being out of position on the grid. When the lights went out Raikkonen moved up to third ahead of Rosberg. It did not take long for the Mercedes driver to move back ahead, however, and he soon set off on pursuit of Vettel. He overtook his fellow countryman but throughout the race he had to pass him twice more. Vettel pitted twice attempting to make the undercut work – which it did – but Rosberg found a way through each time. It was an uncharacteristically scruffy race for the four time world champion who locked up and ran deep a number of times. On one occasion he ran wide and picked up some damage to his front wing meaning he had to add an extra pit-stop. His advantage, however, was enough that he was able to hold on to fifth position.

While most of the front runners took on the soft tyres again – leaving a stint on the medium tyres on the end – while Raikkonen went in the opposite direction. He pitted for the final time on lap 40 and started reeling the leaders in at a rate of about two seconds a lap. He continued to put the pressure on and Rosberg ran wide at Turn 1 allowing him through. It later transpired that Rosberg had brake issues as did race leader Hamilton but Raikkonen ran out of laps to catch him. It was Raikkonen’s first visit to the podium since the latter half of 2013.

Elsewhere it was an eventful end to the race for Daniel Ricciardo whose engine gave up at the final corner. He limped across the line giving Red Bull a double points finish. In total contrast both Toro Rosso drivers failed to finish – Sainz at the side of the track and Max Verstappen retiring in the garage. Maldonado nearly became a third retirement as he suffered with engine problems during his pit-stop but he managed to keep going. Also in the points were Valterri Bottas in fourth for Williams, Romain Grosjean in seventh for Lotus, Sergio Perez eighth, Daniil Kvyat ninth and Felipe Massa in tenth. Massa’s tyres started to go off towards the end of the race and Fernando Alonso started closing the gap rapidly. When they crossed the line at the end of the race Alonso was just around four seconds behind the Williams driver while he had been 15 seconds back. Alonso had had a battle with the front runners earlier in the race – unlapping himself when they started to catch him.

The next race signals the start of the European season with the Spanish Grand Prix.

2015: BTCC – Donington Park Grid and Tyre Choices

Here is the grid for race one at Donington Park along with the tyre choices for each driver:

  1. Colin Turkington – 1:09.483 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  2. Gordon Shedden – 1:09.539 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  3. Jason Plato – 1:09.552 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  4. Adam Morgan – 1:10.029 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  5. Andrew Jordan – 1:10.029 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  6. Josh Cook – 1:10.119 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  7. Matt Neal – 1:10.179 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  8. Sam Tordoff – 1:10.193 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  9. Aiden Moffat – 1:10.288 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  10. Dave Newsham – 1:10.337 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  11. Aron Smith – 1:10.365 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  12. Rob Austin – 1:10.378 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  13. Jack Goff – 1:10.378 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  14. Mike Bushell – 1:10.527 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  15. Warren Scott – 1:10.543 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  16. Tom Ingram – 1:10.580 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  17. Jeff Smith – 1:10.614 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  18. Martin Depper – 1:10.652 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  19. Rob Collard – 1:10.823 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  20. Alex Martin – 1:10.978 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  21. Hunter Abbott – 1:11.013 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  22. Simon Belcher – 1:11.374 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  23. Andy Priaulx – 1:11.535 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  24. Derek Palmer – 1:11.930 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  25. Kieran Gallagher – 1:12.065 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  26. Andy Wilmot – 1:12.508 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  27. Stewart Lines – 1:12.896 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  28. Richard Hawken – 1:15.799 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  29. Dan Welch – No Time Set – Soft – Medium – Medium

2015: Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying Report

Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton all topped a practice session ahead of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Raikkonen led the way in Free Practice 1 ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, while Mercedes concentrated on heavy fuel runs. Rosberg was fastest in Free Practice 2 while Hamilton was ahead in Free Practice 3. Going into qualifying it looks once again like Mercedes have the upper hand but Ferrari are not close behind. Behind them the midfield looks close – especially the gap between getting through to the pole position shoot-out.

Q1

Kimi Raikkonen was the first driver out on track for the start of qualifying, using the medium compound tyres. His first flying lap was compromised by a lock-up at turn one resulting in a 1:36.731. This was beaten by Valtteri Bottas with a 1:36.268 and then Nico Rosberg with a 1:35.657. Jenson Button compounded what has already been a difficult weekend by pulling off at the side of the track on his out-lap, revealing everything had shut down and there was a “loud bang”. His team-mate Fernando Alonso went straight out on the soft tyres and his first flying lap was good enough for ninth. Sebastian Vettel came out with just six minutes of the session remaining on the soft tyres. His first flying lap was a 1:34.919. At the end of the session, in the dropzone were Pastor Maldonado who encountered an engine problem in his Lotus, Daniil Kvyat, Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi and Button.

  1. Lewis Hamilton 1:33.928
  2. Valtteri Bottas 1:34.161
  3. Nico Rosberg 1:34.398
  4. Felipe Massa 1:34.488
  5. Kimi Raikkonen 1:34.568
  6. Daniel Ricciardo 1:34.691
  7. Sebastian Vettel 1:34.919
  8. Romain Grosjean 1:35.007
  9. Fernando Alonso 1:35.205
  10. Felipe Nasr 1:35.310
  11. Carlos Sainz 1:35.371
  12. Marcus Ericsson 1:35.438
  13. Sergio Perez 1:35.451
  14. Max Verstappen 1:35.611
  15. Nico Hulkenberg 1:35.653
  16. Pastor Maldonado 1:35.677
  17. Daniil Kvyat 1:35.800
  18. Will Stevens 1:38.713
  19. Roberto Merhi 1:39.722
  20. Jenson Button No Time Set

Q2

The Mercedes duo and Sergio Perez were the first drivers out for the start of Q2. Nico Rosberg’s initial time was a 1:33.878 which was quickly smashed by Lewis Hamilton who went 1.2 seconds faster. Rosberg was warned to save his tyres because they would be the tyres he would start the race on. Felipe Massa slotted into second between the two Mercedes while Ferrari went 2nd and 4th on their first runs, Kimi Raikkonen leading Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso ventured out onto track with two and a half minutes remaining in McLaren’s first Q2 appearance of 2015. He set a lap-time of 1:35.039 going 12th, before being dropped down to 14th. Nico Hulkenberg crept into the top ten going ninth, and was nearly joined by team-mate Perez who was knocked down by Carlos Sainz.

  1. Lewis Hamilton 1:32.669
  2. Kimi Raikkonen 1:33.540
  3. Felipe Massa 1:33.551
  4. Sebastian Vettel 1:33.623
  5. Nico Rosberg 1:33.878
  6. Valtteri Bottas 1:33.897
  7. Romain Grosjean 1:34.123
  8. Daniel Ricciardo 1:34.403
  9. Nico Hulkenberg 1:34.613
  10. Carlos Sainz 1:34.641
  11. Sergio Perez 1:34.704
  12. Felipe Nasr 1:34.737
  13. Marcus Ericsson 1:35.034
  14. Fernando Alonso 1:35.039
  15. Max Verstappen 1:35.103

Q3

Going through to the pole position shoot-out were two Mercedes, two Williams, two Ferraris, a Lotus, a Red Bull, a Force India and a Toro Rosso. The Ferrari pair were first out on track and were soon joined by Daniel Ricciardo. Sebastian Vettel’s first effort was a 1:34.552 which was 0.013s better than Kimi Raikkonen’s time. Ricciardo’s first flying lap was a 1:33.850 while Nico Rosberg completed a 1:33.854. Lewis Hamilton took provisional pole with a 1:33.522 – three tenths faster than Ricciardo. Vettel improved his time by six tenths to take pole position with Valtteri Bottas going second. Raikkonen then took second before losing it to Rosberg. Ultimately it was Hamilton who secured pole position, going four tenths faster than his provisional pole time.

  1. Lewis Hamilton 1:32.571
  2. Sebastian Vettel 1:32.982
  3. Nico Rosberg 1:33.129
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 1:33.227
  5. Valtteri Bottas 1:33.381
  6. Felipe Massa 1:33.744
  7. Daniel Ricciardo 1:33.832
  8. Nico Hulkenberg 1:34.450
  9. Carlos Sainz 1:34.462
  10. Romain Grosjean 1:34.484