Up to Speed: 26 – 27 March 2022

Friday 25 March 2022

One week on from Charles Leclerc and Ferrari’s resounding 1-2 finish in Bahrain, the FIA Formula 1 World Championship moves on to the streets of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for another thrilling weekend – including FIA Formula 2 – under the floodlights.

On domestic shores, fans of circuit racing, rallying and rallycross have an equally jam-packed schedule to choose from, including the opening rounds of the Welsh Rally and BTRDA Rallycross championships, the first racing action of 2022 at Kirkistown and national club racing at Silverstone’s International circuit, courtesy of the BARC.

Here are all the major talking points to get across ahead of the weekend:

FIA Formula 1 World Championship – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

After delivering a statement victory to kick off a new era in Formula 1, Ferrari and Charles Leclerc head to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this weekend looking to build on a perfect start to the 2022 campaign.

The Scuderia were almost peerless in the Sakhir desert; Max Verstappen (Red Bull) twice briefly took the top spot away from Leclerc into Turn 1, but the favour was quickly returned on both occasions with the help of DRS into Turn 4, and from there the Monegasque enjoyed a comfortable run to his third career win ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz.

That victory was aided in part by Red Bull’s late-race implosion, with mechanical problems sidelining both Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the closing laps. That promoted Lewis Hamilton and George Russell into an unexpected third and fourth respectively for Mercedes, but the Brackley-based team remain under no illusions about the work ahead to catch Ferrari.

Away from the likely title protagonists, a wealth of stories are well worth keeping an eye on this weekend. Can Haas continue their stellar start to the season? Will Alfa Romeo continue to mix it with the front-runners? And how will McLaren bounce back from a frustrating, point-less start to the sport’s new chapter?

Coverage of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is available live on Sky Sports F1, with highlights available free-to-air on Channel 4.

FIA Formula 2 – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Victory for Theo Pourchaire, combined with a double podium for Liam Lawson in the sands of Bahrain, ensures the pair arrive in Saudi Arabia separated by a single point in the FIA Formula 2 standings.

After Richard Verschoor visited the winner’s circle during the Sprint Race, Sauber Academy racer Pourchaire took centre-stage in the Feature contest as he looks to put together a title challenge in his sophomore campaign in Formula 1’s feeder category.

It would be Red Bull junior Juri Vips who made the best start to seize the lead, and from there the Estonian seemed the likely race winner, until a slow pit stop dropped him back into the midfield.

Pole-sitter Jack Doohan briefly re-took top spot but damaged his front wing after coming together with Pourchaire at Turn 1; the Australian fell back via another trip to the pits, but an undamaged Pourchaire escaped unharmed, then held off a charging Lawson to round out the opening double-header in style.

How a host of the sport’s rising stars, among them the likes of Jehan Daruvala, Logan Sargeant, Dennis Hauger, Ayumu Iwasa, Doohan, and many more respond to that early benchmark from Pourchaire will prove fascinating as F2 lights up the streets of Jeddah this weekend.

Live coverage of FIA Formula 2 is available in the UK this weekend on Sky Sports F1.

Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship – Rally North Wales

A superb blend of former champions, new challengers, and rising stars within the sport headline the entry list for the WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales, the opening round of the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship.

Based in Dolgellau and making use of the Dyfi and Pantperthog forests, the event organised by the Wolverhampton & South Staffordshire Car Club features 45 miles of competitive action, going twice around four stages.

A bumper entry list of over 130 competitors will participate, among them 2019 champion Matthew Hirst, now sharing a Ford Fiesta R5+ with co-driver Declan Dear. 2018 winner Dylan Davies’ Skoda Fabia R5+ with Mark Glennerster will be one to watch, as will one of rallying’s rising stars in Tom Llewellin and Dale Bowen.

The championship will be live-streaming all the action across the four stages with Howard Davies on the microphone. Catch the action on their YouTube and Facebook channels.

BARC – Silverstone (International), UK

A fortnight after Silverstone raised the curtain on the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC)’s 2022 season, the Northamptonshire venue plays host once again to a bumper programme of tin-top action on the International circuit.

Fans of the British Touring Car Championship will be treated to a trip down memory lane as the Classic Touring Car Club descends on Silverstone with saloon cars from down the years, including 1995 champion John Cleland (Vauxhall Vectra) and contemporary star Colin Turkington (MG ZS).

The search for tin-top racing’s next stars begins anew with a double-header of Junior Saloon Car Championship action. Expect action aplenty in the Caterham Graduates and Kumho BMW championships as they kick off another nail-biting season on-track.

Last, but certainly by no means least, is the popular Mini 7 Racing Club, with crowds at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’ set to be treated to a superb display of wheel-to-wheel action by the ‘pocket rockets’.

A livestream of the action from both days can be found on the BARC’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZf3wEugCbSW3GX9HvjPmRQ

BTRDA Rallycross – Blyton Park, Yorkshire

Blyton Rallycross serves as the opening round of the 2022 BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross season, with eight different categories including Production 4x4s, Super Modifieds, BMW Minis, Modifieds, Production cars, Classics, Juniors, and FIA Cross Cars set to descend on the North Yorkshire venue.

For more information, visit: https://clubmansrallycross.weebly.com/r1-march-27th-blyton.html

500 MCRI Meeting – Kirkistown, Northern Ireland

Kirkistown hosts the first of seven race meetings at the popular Northern Irish venue this season, with a bill boasting a diverse range of machinery, but no shortage of thrills and spills on track.

Spectators will be treated to action from Formula Vee, Legends, Saloon GTs, Superkarts, Roadsports and Ford Fiestas across 16 races on the 1.53-mile circuit, based in County Down.