Weekend In Review: 29 – 31 January 2022
Some of Britain’s brightest stars in disciplines as varied as single-seaters, sportscar racing and rallycross shone on an action-packed weekend.
British drivers were well represented at the Daytona 24 Hours, FIA Rally Star Continental Final and the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship’s season-opening double header in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Here’s everything you need to get clued up from the weekend past:
ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
The FIA’s all-electric single-seater series kicked off Season 8 in typical competitive fashion, with Nyck De Vries (Mercedes EQ) and Eduardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) splitting the victories one apiece.
It would be De Vries’ team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne who triumphed in the category’s first-ever ‘Champions League’ qualifying shootout over Motorsport UK Academy graduate Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti).
But, after missing his marks in trying to take ‘Attack Mode’ for the second time during the race, the Belgian dropped back behind a fast-starting De Vries, who started the defence of his title by leading a 1-2 finish for Mercedes in the Middle East, with Dennis third.
De Vries was on pole for the second contest on Saturday, pipping Mortara to the post by 0.005 seconds, but fell back during the race as the Swiss driver comfortably led home an otherwise-frenetic battle with Robin Frijns (Jaguar) and new team-mate Lucas Di Grassi after a late safety car intervention.
Mortara takes over the lead in the standings by four points from De Vries, whilst Britain’s Sam Bird (Jaguar) and Oliver Rowland (Mahindra) also got their campaigns off the mark in amongst the points. Oliver Turvey, Alexander Sims, and Dan Ticktum complete the six Brits on the 22-car grid, which heads next to Mexico in mid-February.
Rolex 24 at Daytona – Daytona Beach, Florida
Britain’s Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis were victorious in the 60th edition of Daytona’s world-famous 24-hour race alongside team-mates Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves.
A decade on from Meyer Shank Racing’s last victory at Daytona, the quartet led home a 1-2 finish for the Acura ARX-05 prototype, with Britain’s Will Stevens and Richard Westbrook part of the crews that finished second and third respectively to round out the rostrum.
In total, 20 British competitors headed ‘across the Pond’ for the latest running of the ‘Rolex 24h at Daytona’, cementing the UK’s status for producing world-class endurance racing drivers.
FIA Rally Star Continental Final – Estering, Germany
Britain’s Katie Milner advanced to the Women’s Final of the FIA Rally Star global talent detection programme after sharing the spoils with Sweden’s Maja Hallen Fellenius at the Continental Final in Estering, Germany last weekend.
Milner was one of four representatives from the UK bound for Germany alongside Rob Wilson, George Lepley and #RaceAtHome digital challenge winner John Bebnowicz-Harris, with support provided by Katie Baldwin on behalf of Motorsport UK Academy, the governing body’s performance pathway.
Up against stern competition in the form of 85 other competitors drawn from regions across Europe, Wilson, Lepley and Milner successfully cleared the first of three stages set on the rallycross venue.
An unfortunate lock-up for Milner in tricky conditions invalidated her time, but she was able to re-group and was admitted to the Women’s Final, keeping her dream of progressing on the #RoadToWRC alive.
From there, Milner delivered, and was adjudged the joint winner alongside Maja Hallen Fellenius by an expert judging panel that included Robert Reid, FIA Vice-President for Sport and 2001 World Rally Championship-winning co-driver.
“I’m over the moon. It’s been a very challenging weekend with a lot of pressure. I’m looking forward to getting my head into gear and training for North America,” said Milner.
A technical issue hampered Lepley’s best efforts in Stage 2, with Wilson progressing to the final twelve in the competition before his journey too came to an end.