Weekend Preview: 19/20 May 2018

Some of the many things happening this weekend.

Times are approximate and in British Summer Time.


Formula E: Berlin ePrix

Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany

Race at 5pm UK Channel 5 and Eurosport (6pm Germany).

The historic former airport in the middle of Berlin is the host of this round. The track layouts used here in the past weren’t great, being just a load of barriers among open concrete and it really shows the lack of top speed. There is a Shanghai-style tightening first turn to cause chaos. At least it has a funky tunnel with a viewing area inside!

JEV and Techeetah have a commanding lead in both championships after combining good results with more race finishes than their rivals. It isn’t all over though – fortunes change incredibly quickly in this series and I wouldn’t bet against a late points run from Sam Bird.

Points
Drivers:
147  Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah);
116  Sam Bird (DS Virgin);
86  Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra);
70  Sebastien Buemi (Renault DAMS);
58  Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt);
56  Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt);

Teams:
185  Techeetah;
134  DS Virgin Racing;
113  Audi Sport ABT;
107  Mahindra Racing;
88  Panasonic Jaguar Racing;


MotoGP:  French Grand Prix

Le Mans (Bugatti Circuit), La Sarthe, France

1pm BT Sport 2 (2pm in France)

I always say this is a rubbish track not a patch on the full 24-hour circuit and yet I often get engrossed by the race here. It sort of creeps up on you until you realise you’re enjoying it. Just like the big track it can throw a surprise, especially when it rains.

Preceded by Moto2 and Moto3 on the same channel.

Points:
Riders:
70  Marc Marquez (Honda);
58  Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha);
50  Maverick Vinales (Yamaha);
47  Andrea Iannone (Suzuki);
46  Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati);

Teams:
90  Yamaha;
88  Honda;
70  Pramac;
67  Tech 3;
63  Suzuki;


IndyCar:  Qualifications for the Indy 500

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Oval), Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

UK TV:
Saturday, 9pm BT Sport 2
Sunday, 9pm BT Sport ESPN

Assuming the weather is good, Saturday will set the field. For the first time in a few years there will be “bumping” so we can call it Bump Day again. This means there are more entries than there are spots in the 33-car field – this year there are 35 entries so two will go home.

Then on Sunday the 33 remaining cars get a guaranteed run to get into the ‘Fast 9’ run at the end of the day. The fastest 9 drivers have one final shootout for pole.

Though this is in keeping with road courses and F1 knockout qualifying, it is backwards to an Indy 500 fan. It used to be that Pole Day was early and the pole-sitter locked in early, winning the advantage of more PR time, more practice time. The drama switched to who could make the field and who would go home, with people making multiple runs. Unfortunately now they can’t come back the next day to try again.

UK TV coverage is a nice bonus and a fairly recent addition thanks to BT Sport, give them credit where it is due.

In the meantime there are practice sessions this week and some of next week live streamed on IndyCar Race Control.


Elsewhere

If you thought this was a quiet week, think again!

I wish I had time to include more, Blancpain and BTCC in particular, I just haven’t had the chance to do the research.

NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte;
Blancpain GT Endurance at Silverstone;
BTCC at the scary-fast Thruxton;
Super GT at Suzuka;
DTM season-opener at Hockenheimring;
Australian Supercars at Winton;
PWC at Mosport;
WTCR on Monday at Zandvoort;
WRC Rally Portugal;

Whatever you watch this weekend enjoy the racing!

And remember next time it’ll be Monaco GP, Indy 500 and Coke 600 weekend already. Where has the time gone?

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