Marcus Gronholm has inked a deal to become a test driver with Volkswagen, it has been announced. Gronholm joins VW as test driver

The Finn, who won the World Rally Championship with Peugeot in 2000 and 2002, will now “support the works team at test sessions with the Polo R WRC” providing “invaluable assistance when it comes to testing and further developing the [Polo R] World Rally Car.” 

The 46-year-old last competed full-time in the WRC in 2007 with Ford, and during his career he took in 150 WRC events in total, winning 30 rallies as well as taking 60 podiums and 540 stage wins. 

“To get behind the wheel for the World Championship winning team from Wolfsburg is obviously a great opportunity for me,” said Gronholm, who made his WRC debut back in 1989. 

“I am really looking forward to testing and having the chance to work on the further development of what is currently the best rally car out there – the Polo R WRC.” 

Gronholm took his place at the wheel of the Polo R WRC for the first time during the gravel tests in Fontjoncouse, southern France, earlier this month. He will now “assist at selected tests” in the future working alongside current drivers, Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. 

“We are delighted to have Marcus Gronholm on board as test driver for our WRC project,” said Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito. 

“Marcus is one of the most successful and talented rally drivers around, and will support us with the further development of the Polo R WRC. 

“Thanks to his in-depth understanding of technical aspects and his analytical skills, he will be able to provide our engineers with valuable input.” 

Jose Maria Lopez completed a stunning double victory in Argentina to extend his lead in the World Touring Car Championship drivers’ standings to 60 points over Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller.Jose Maria Lopez completed a stunning double victory in Argentina to extend his lead in the World Touring Car Championship drivers' standings to 60 points over Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller.

The local hero denied Rob Huff, who delivered Lada’s highest finish since entering the WTCC in second.

From pole, Huff led until four laps from the finish when Lopez calmly outbraked the former champion into the Turn 5 hairpin. A second home win in one day left Lopez fighting back tears of joy in the post-race press conference.

Yvan Muller’s progress through the field was delayed when he was forced to engage in a lengthy tussle with former team-mate Tom Chilton when disputing fifth on laps six and seven, but the Frenchman eventually escaped and was able to negotiate the Hondas to claim final place on the podium.

Chilton would later retire after being squeezed onto the grass by the third Citroen of Sebastien Loeb.

Lead Honda honours went to Gabriele Tarquini in fourth, as he edged out team-mate Tiago Monteiro by half a second.

Sebastien Loeb completed the top Read the rest of this entry »

Vettel will bounce back.

Posted: 14th August 2014 by admin in Formula 1
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Mario Andretti is “betting” on Sebastian Vettel getting on top of the new rules and believes Daniel Ricciardo is “one of the special talents.”Mario Gabriele Andretti (born February 28, 1940) is a retired Italian American world champion racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport. He is one of only two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR (the other being Dan Gurney).

This year’s switch from V8s to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines arguably hit Red Bull the hardest as their engine supplier Renault lost out to Mercedes.

Added to that, other regulation changes have affected the downforce of the cars, a move that Andretti feels has played a large role in Vettel’s struggles.

Unlike last season when he won 13 grands prix on his way to a fourth successive World title, this year the German has only achieved two podium results in 11 starts, neither of which has been a victory.

“It’s really interesting to see that,” Andretti said of Vettel’s struggles. “Sebastian would probably admit himself that he’s had a tough time adjusting to this big change.

“He was so tuned in with more downforce and all that. He’s missing that considerably and up to now it has shown. But I think it’s getting better and I have no doubt that he will totally embrace it because his talent is enormous. But it’s probably taken more time than he thought it would.

“He’s a champion and that Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes chiefs are heading into the month-long summer break scratching their heads at how to deal with an escalating driver battle.rosberg!

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo may have won in Hungary, but Toto Wolff admits that it was Nico Rosberg who probably should have held the biggest trophy aloft — if only Lewis Hamilton had obeyed a clear and repeated team order.

German media sources report that even though German Rosberg is determined to play cool, calm and controversy-free, he ‘poked his tongue out’ at the outcome of Sunday’s race by uncharacteristically wearing his cap backwards in his post-race meeting with reporters.

He was asked if Wolff is right to say the defiant Hamilton spoiled his victory in Budapest.

“That’s so theoretical. I don’t know,” said Rosberg, before changing his mind.

“Ah, no, no — let’s go with what Toto said. He’s looked at all the data — let’s go with his opinion. He’s the best person to know that.”

It’s as close as the controversy-dodging Rosberg will come to accusing Hamilton of ruining his race.

But he did admit that he thinks Hamilton should have obeyed the order.

“Lewis didn’t let me by although he was ordered to,” said Rosberg, “so that’s obviously not good.”

Beyond that, he closed the door on the topic.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t want to say anything on the subject. I don’t know what Lewis said.

“You all saw what happened,” Rosberg added. “It’s pretty obvious, it was all on the radio, but it’s better if we discuss everything behind closed doors.”

Nicky Hayden’s recovery is ‘on course’ – despite the announcement that he will be replaced by Leon Camier at the Drive M7 Aspar team for the next two MotoGP rounds. Nicky Hayden's recovery is 'on course' - despite the announcement that he will be replaced by Leon Camier at the Drive M7 Aspar team for the next two MotoGP rounds.

After struggling with his right wrist since early May and undergoing surgery at the start of June, the former world champion required a second operation last Wednesday. Hayden returned for a check-up earlier this week.

According to Dr. James Chao, the physician in charge of the surgery, ‘the procedure was a success and his recovery is on track. The American rider will gradually regain movement in his wrist’.

However the need for adequate recovery time has forced Hayden to miss the upcoming MotoGP rounds at Indianapolis (August 10) and the Czech Republic (August 17), meaning a possible return at Silverstone on August 31.

“Although undergoing surgery is not usually a positive thing – not least because you lose a lot of time – I’m happy with how the operation went last week. Sometimes it is difficult, but we know that injuries are part of our sport and we must learn to manage them,” said Hayden.

“Everyone knows that my wrist has been causing me problems, especially at recent races. I underwent an operation in June, which helped me to complete the first half of the season, but the truth is I’ve been riding with a lot of discomfort, and have been unable to perform at my best.

“So, together with the team, we decided to make an important decision and undergo a larger operation to treat an injury that comes from three years ago – when I broke my scaphoid and did not heal well. According to Dr. Chao the operation was a success and I am very happy, and focusing on my recovery.

“My right wrist Read the rest of this entry »