The 2019 motor racing season is about to enter the home straight. In the run-up to the Japanese Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas was meanwhile competing in a very special race...
This is what happened: Results and facts
Suzuka, here we come: Next weekend, Formula One will be visiting Japan for the 35th time. Apart from the four occasions when the Japanese Grand Prix was staged at Fuji, the regular host for the event is now Suzuka, the only circuit on the current Formula One itinerary with a figure-of-eight layout. It has been a favourable venue for Mercedes in recent years: since the beginning of the hybrid era in 2014, there has always been a Silver Arrow on pole position and a Mercedes driver on the top spot of the podium. Four of these wins went to Lewis Hamilton and one to Nico Rosberg (2016). Lewis’s grand total of five victories in Japan puts him just behind Michael Schumacher (six wins) as the second-most successful driver in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Running for a good cause: Between race weekends in Russia and Japan, Valtteri Bottas fitted in a trip to Kuala Lumpur where he attended the annual Orchid Run & Ride. The event, which was held last Sunday, is organised by PETRONITA, an association of women employees and wives of male employees at PETRONAS. The Orchid Run & Ride is actually three races: a 12km half marathon, a 5km fun run and a 5km ‘Fun Ride’. Valtteri not only fired the starting gun for the half marathon and distributed orchids to the participants at the finish, he also put on his running shoes and competed in the 5km Fun Run: “Each year, the event gets bigger and bigger, which is fantastic to see,” said Valtteri. “PETRONAS have been a great support to me and the team, so helping out with the Orchid Run & Ride is a really good way of giving back to them, while also raising money and supporting some great causes”. This year’s event raised 500,000 RM (approx 108,650 EUR) for charitable purposes.
First contest: The opening fixture of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship on the weekend of 22nd/23rd November in Diriyah is rapidly approaching. Following the first track outing and the team presentation, the next milestone on the way to the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team race debut comes next week (15th - 18th October) when the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 joins the eleven other teams for the official tests at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. There will be two sessions (09:00 ‑ 12:00 and 14:00 - 17:00 CEST) on the 15th, 16th and 18th. Thursday 17th October will be a rest day. Occupying the cockpit in Valencia will be the two regular drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries.
Titles, class victories, podiums and vital championship points in Italy and Belgium: Francesca Linossi and Stefano Colombo (both ITA) have won the Pro-Am Endurance Championship title in the Italian GT Championship. At the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello last weekend, the two drivers together with Daniel Zampieri (ITA) in the number 21 Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished third in the general classification and first in the GT3A class. This result in the last Endurance race of the season was enough to clinch the Pro-Am title for the Antonelli Motorsport duo. Their team-mates Ricardo Agostini, Alessio Rovera (both ITA) and Alexander Moiseev (RUS) in the number 22 sister car were fourth overall. There was also a P4 in class for the number 208 Mercedes-AMG GT4 driven by Luca Magnoni (ITA) and Aleksander Schjerpen (NOR). Magnoni and Schjerpen complete the Endurance season of the Italian GT Championship as runners-up in the GT4 classification.
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also celebrated a class victory in the Belcar Endurance Championship: after 125 minutes of racing at the Zolder Circuit, Michael Cool (BEL) crossed the finish line in his Mercedes-AMG GT4 as first in class and sixth overall. The VEIDEC Silver Eagle Racing by GetSpeed driver scored vital points towards the championship. He and team-mate Bart Van Samang (BEL) are currently second in the Belcar 4 class on 137 points behind the Mercedes-AMG GT4 pairing of Wim Spinoy (BEL) and Kenneth Heyer (GER) on 140 points. After five races, there is just one weekend left, the grand finale at Assen.
The performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach was also represented in the last race event of this year’s GT4 Scandinavia season, Victor Bouveng and Mats Ek Tidstrand (both SWE) in the number 71 Mercedes-AMG GT4 finished the first race in seventh place. In Race 2, they narrowly missed out on a podium in P4. The Eken Motorsport duo end the campaign in fifth place on 131 points.
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