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Bahrain Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from Bahrain International Circuit…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Both the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia and No. 47 KCMG Oreca 03 Nissan have been repaired following its accident in Shanghai. The Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander-driven Ferrari sustained heavy front-end damage, which required an engine change, while the LMP2 contender had heavy damage in the rear.

***While the AF Corse crew arrived in Bahrain on Monday to begin the extensive repair job, KCMG just recently received its shipment of bodywork and spent the afternoon putting the final touches on its car. Both are expected to be on track for tomorrow afternoon’s Free Practice 1.

***AF Corse’s two GTE-Am Ferraris have returned, although the No. 61 car is now orange, as it was swapped for the No. 90 8Star Motorsports car prior to Shanghai. Jeff Segal, who missed the Chinese round due to coaching commitments in Ferrari Challenge at COTA, is in the No. 61 Ferrari this weekend with Alessandro Pier Guidi and Alexander Talkanitsa.

***Segal has a busy few weeks ahead, as he flies to England for business meetings, then having further Ferrari Challenge coaching commitments in America, before going to Sao Paulo for the FIA WEC season finale, then straight to the Ferrari Challenge World Finals in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 3-6.

***Jenson Button has tweeted that his 2015 plan should be announced shortly. The F1 star has been rumored to make a move to the FIA WEC next year, likely with one of the four LMP1 factory teams. Porsche’s Mark Webber tweeted in response to Button’s first message. Button, however, is unlikely to be with Porsche, as the German manufacturer announced its full-season lineup earlier this week.

***With alcohol advertising banned in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the pair of Rebellion R-One Toyotas are sporting Rebellion watch graphics in place of its regular backing from Arctic Velvet vodka. Le Mans (France) and Bahrain are the only two venues on the FIA WEC calendar that prohibit alcohol advertising.

***Toyota’s Kazuki Nakajima was crowned 2014 Super Formula Champion last weekend in Suzuka. The 29-year-old Japanese star outpaced a host of top-flight open-wheel drivers, including Audi factory drivers Andre Lotterer and Loic Duval, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the championship. Nakajima is absent this weekend in Bahrain due to his Super GT commitments.

***Stephane Sarrazin is fresh off victory in last weekend’s FIA European Rally Championship season finale in Corsica. It was the Frenchman’s first major rally win, having piloted a Ford Fiesta WRC backed by 8Star Motorsports and Fellow FIA WEC LMP1 pilot Romain Dumas finished fifth, at the wheel of a specially equipped Porsche 997 GT3 car.

***OAK Racing’s David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung won the Forza Motorsport Triple Crown last week during the Chinese launch event of the Xbox One in Shanghai. The duo outpaced 21 other virtual gamer teams from around China, who took part in races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Yas Marina Circuit and Le Mans.

***Cheng makes his second consecutive FIA WEC start this weekend in the No. 35 OAK Morgan-Judd with co-drivers Mark Patterson and Keiko Ihara. It is expected to be the final outing of the year for the car. Cheng, meanwhile, is working on his racing plans for 2015, which could include FIA WEC, TUDOR Championship and races in Asia.

***Prior to arriving at Bahrain International Circuit, Lucas Di Grassi took part in the Dubai International Triathlon on Friday. The Audi factory driver completed the 1.2-mile swim, 13.1-mile run and 56-mile cycle in 5 hours and 37 minutes.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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