Weekend in Review: 26 – 27 February 2022
As preparations for the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship marked another milestone with winter testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a thrilling second chapter was written in the World Rally Championship in the frozen forests of Sweden.
Here’s our round-up of the headlines:
World Rally Championship – Rally Sweden
Misfortune for Britain’s Elfyn Evans left the way clear for Kalle Rovanpera to claim victory at Rally Sweden, and with it inject life into his World Rally Championship title bid.
The pair broke clear out front after a hard-fought start to the event, but an uncharacteristic error from Evans across the finish on Saturday evening netted him a 10-second time penalty, before a further problem with the hybrid system on his Toyota GR Yaris Rally 1 left him on the sidelines.
Rovanpera’s eventual margin of victory over Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 N was some 22 seconds, the Finn triumphing in Scandanavia to take out a 14-point lead atop the standings from Neuville.
Gus Greensmith piloted M-Sport’s Ford Puma Rally 1 to fifth spot for the second consecutive event, whilst there was further success to celebrate in Junior WRC as Britain’s Jon Armstrong kicked off his title bid in perfect fashion with victory alongside Ireland’s Brian Hoy.
The next round of the World Rally Championship will be held in Croatia over the 21 – 24 April.
Hamilton and Mercedes top Formula 1 testing
Having agonisingly missed out during last season’s dramatic Abu Dhabi finale, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes kicked off preparations for the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship in fine style with the fastest time in pre-season testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Brackley team kept a relatively low profile throughout the three-day event in Spain, but both Hamilton and new team-mate George Russell bolted on the C5 Pirelli tyre on the final day, clocking a 1:19.138 and 1:19.233 respectively to head up the field.
Lando Norris’ opening-day benchmark was enough to put the McLaren star fourth overall, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen sixth fastest for Red Bull.
The teams will now gather data and re-group before the circus moves on to the second and final pre-season test at Bahrain’s Sakhir International Circuit on 10-12 March, before the same venue hosts the opening round of the 2022 season a week later.