In the round-up: The Hanoi Street Circuit, which was built to host the Vietnam Grand Prix in 2020 before the event was cancelled, finally hosted its first races yesterday
Vietnam’s abandoned F1 circuit hosts first racing action
The Hanoi circuit was intended to be a 5.6-kilometre circuit that ran through a mixture of city streets and a permanent sequence of corners in the final sector. However, the inaugural race in 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic and then failed to return to the calendar following a series of problems, including the arrest of Hanoi People’s Committee chairman Duc Chung, who was closely involved in the running of the race.
Construction of the permanent section of the track was completed but remained unused. That is until Honda Vietnam hosted its Honda Thanks Day new year’s celebration event at the venue yesterday. A series of motorcycle races were held around an abridged version of the circuit, with the first corner cutting across to the S-bends in what would have made up the third sector of the grand prix circuit.
Ekstrom leads Loeb as Dakar Rally begins
Former DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom will have first pick of his starting position for the opening main stage of the 2023 Dakar Rally after setting the fastest time for the car category in the prologue stage in Saudi Arabia yesterday.
Ekstrom was fastest in the 13km prologue, a second faster than nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb. Reigning World Rally Raid champion and 2022 Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah was fourth-fastest, with Carlos Sainz Snr taking sixth place in the stage.
The first actual stage will take place today with a 367km loop which passes the city of Yanbu.
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Motor racing links of interest:
Coulthard unsure about Red Bull’s chances of launching era of F1 dominance (Mirror)
“It feels like, if Ferrari get on top of their reliability and operational mistakes, then they’re there. The transition of what these cars are going to become next year will be a lot easier. Mercedes clearly have a quick car and look like they’re going to be there. When Mercedes arrived at the beginning of the Hybrid Era, they had such a pace advantage. They really unleashed a great power unit and that allowed them to run more dirty downforce – the car didn’t need to be so efficient in the beginning because they could just power their way through.”
F1 in Africa: South Africa’s own F1 Championship (BBC)
“The final F1 race of 2022 was back in November at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – but 59 years ago, the South Africa Grand Prix ended not just the F1 season but the sporting calendar as a whole, taking place on 28 December 1963. It was at a time when excitement for the sport in the country was at fever pitch. This is the story of both that race and the separate domestic F1 championship that sustained it.”
The story behind Alex Albon’s support for the Wat Sakraeo Orphanage (Williams)
“Although Alex’s connection to the country is obvious – he races under the Thai flag – there’s a further link, thanks to his former Williams Racing Team Principal, Jost Capito. Jost’s brother, Volker Capito, has lived in Bangkok since the early 2000s, and he made it his life’s mission to help the children of the Wat Sakraeo Orphanage by founding the Iceman Charity. Alex took the opportunity to visit the orphanage that thousands of children call home to see Volker’s hard work for himself.”
No. 1 of 2022: Power Charts Steady Course to Second Title (IndyCar)
“The driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet won only one race this year – on June 5 in Detroit – but he seemed to always be in the frame. He opened the season with five consecutive top-four finishes and finished out of the top six only four times in 17 races. Power ended the season with a pair of podium finishes to edge teammate Josef Newgarden by 16 points in the final standings. But proof of his consistency was the fact there were no blemishes. He completed every lap of every race. He called it ‘playing the long game.'”
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Happy birthday to Dsob and Michael Hu!
On this day in motorsport
- 55 years ago today Jim Clark scored what turned out to be the final victory of his Formula 1 career in the season-opening race at Kyalami, leading a one-two for Lotus with new team mate Graham Hill. He died before the next race, held four months later.