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The summer starts at Lacháza

The third round of the Hungarian National Slalom Championship held again at Kiskulacháza,

replacing the cancelled Eger city race. After 5 weeks the drivers returned to the same track but the weather was completely different: this time there was no rain and wet track but hot and sunny weather to bear.

Szabolcs and Zsolt Sződy prepared for the summer weather with parasol and sun cream. “This would be a long and hot race but this time we will drive on a dry surface with good adhesion, which really needs for the bends.” – said the brothers.

Opel Tigra was well prepared for the race and they hope to reach a good result, even a podium can be a possibility this time.

Race

Szabolcs started with number 20 but he did many mistake on his first lap. “I did not manage to memorise the trach enough and I started the first buoy from the wrong side and did the same in case of the last buoys. However, the speed was okay but it is evident that this lap will be eliminated out of 4 due to the 40 sec penalty I got” – was a little angry Szabolcs (current lap time: 2:04:367. The final time 2:44:367).

Next one was Zsolt with number 40. “I felt that the tires were a little bit unstable when I braked but I did it very hard, maybe that was the reason. It was a test lap for me as well (02:03,894), three more chance.” – said Zsolt.

The times of the second laps were: Szabolcs: 2:03:806; Zsolt 2:01:422.

The third laps were hold early afternoon and they seem to be the hottest ones which also reflected on the lap times. Szabolcs reached 2:02:093 while Zsolt further improved to 2:00:683. These were the quickest laps for both of them, the fourth round times were just below these ones.

“After the test round and the mistakes in the first lap I put together the track and the following laps were good for me, I started to enjoy the race and getting more speed. The fourth lap time was nearly the same as the third” – Szabolcs said (2:02:149).

The last lap time for Zsolt was 2:00:987, nearly the same as the previous one without any mistake. “It was the same drived as the third lap but the time was slower a little. Maybe the track was even better in the previous round. Nevertheless the lap was good and I am looking forward to the final results” – said Zsolt after his last lap

Results

Zsolt finished fourth while Szabolcs fifth at the end in S3 series. These are their current positions in the championship as well. This is the order of this category, very tight at the top:

Series S3 (1401 – 1600 ccm)

  1. Kaposznyák Mihály,  Citroen Saxo VTS  29 points
  2. Ildzsa Dávid,  Suzuki Ignis                       28 points
  3. Taczman Zsolt,  Citroen Saxo VTS          18 points
  4. Sződy Zsolt,  Opel Tigra                         14 points
  5. Sződy Szabolcs,  Opel Tigra                   10 points
  6. Kovács Viktor,  Renault Twingo RS           5 points
  7. Juhász Ádám,  Citroen Saxo VTS               3 points
  8. Csiszár Alexandra,  Opel Corsa                 1 points
  9. Hajdú Eszter,  BMW                                   0 points

Summary of the day:

“We are over a hard day. It was difficult sitting in the car because it was extremely hot before and after the laps, luckily during the race we do not feel it, only we concentrated to do a clear lap. We are expected this result but hope for a podium position – it did not happen this time, the gap between the cars was too big. The car was okay, the tires worked well and we were satisfied with the adhesion on such a hot surface. We are also checked the lubricant during the day and it was also good. We reached our limit, we can not be even faster, we are so close to the buoys. The next races will be the favourites at Kalocsa and Nagyatád so we hope to reach a podium again.” – said the brothers.

Now there will be 7 weeks summer break, the next race will be 27th July at Kalocsa.

Photos: Track Racing

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Rainy race on the airport

There is a say in Hungary that every drop of the May rain worths gold – definitelly for the agriculture – but what about cars?

The Hungarian Car Slalom Championship 67 drivers faced a drizzling or havily rainy weather on 4th of May at Kiskulachaza. The situation seems to be equal for all but there were some differences….

Tyres choice

The type of the tyres is really important, said Sződy brothers before the race.

“It seems there will be raining today so we have to face wet conditions. We arrived with our racing tyres but we also bought another rainy set to be sure. This is a test for us because we did not try them in wet surface but we will during the practise lap and we will decide afterwards.”

Racing laps

They decided to keep the racing tyres because they worked well.

Szabolcs started first with number 18.

“In my first lap only slightly rained but the track was really wet. However the car did not slide at all. I have no idea about the possibility of a good lap time but this one is an optimal starting point.” (01:59,421)

Zsolt did his first lap in more heavily conditions.

“I was surprised how good the car was in such conditions. Only it slipped a little but overall everything worked fine. The track is good for us, let’s see what can we reach on wet.” His first lap time was 01:55,705.

Szabolcs missed the correct order of the bouy resulted to get 30mp penalty and ended with 02:20,194. This lap would be the one to be eliminated from the final result.

While Zsolt further progressed and the clock stopped at 01:52,703, with a chance to reach the podium.

Thanks to the weather conditions and the several delay to rescue other cars the organisers decided to reduce the lap number from four to three.

Szabolcs concentrated for a clear last lap.

“Although I did it without mistake when I started the rain falled heavily and the water stopped on the ground. This was not that bad but the visibility conditions bothered me more. Overall it was a good lap, the car worked well but this was the realistic time I managed to do under these circumstances.” Time was 02:01,686.

Zsolt, who started 20 cars later only faced with the water in the track. “There was no raining when I went, but only wet. That why I had a better time a little. If I calculate correctly this lap time (01:52,351) worth the fourth position.And I worked a lot to get it.”

Results

Zsolt finished fourth and Szabolcs finished fifth on the second race of the seven races championship so they just missed the podium. They are currently also on the fourth and fifth place in serie 3 category out of nine drivers.

Daily summary

“We prepared that it would not be an easy day, it rained nearly continuously and the track was wet all day. We got used to it but it was not easy. As for the tyres worked really well we got a small chance to reach podium but it would come next time, now at the end we had to accept this fourth and fifth position. It worth a lot of points for us. We hope the next race will be warm and dry on 8th June at the same place.” – said the guys.

280 km on two wheels

Sportseconds.com:

Please can you give us some words about your last week competition. Or was it a journey rather?

Zsolt:

“Yes, rather. In the last couple of years I have participated in a bike circle tour around lake Balaton. This year after the total circle, which was 206km I put an additional small 75km one on the following day.

I really like this sport and I also use my bike as transporting vehicle. I realised on the slalom race how lucky we were with the weather there, no rain at all!”

Sportseconds.com:

Do you think on racing by bike or that is already left behind?

Zsolt:

“No, I do not think anymore to race against the clock. I prefer to take long tours on asphalt. Beside the beautiful scenery it is good to be on fresh air, I just recommend this to everyone!”

Photos: Track Racing

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The season started in Kakucs

As previous years the motorsport season also started in spring, including the Hungarian Slalom championship.
82 drivers attended on 7th April in Kakucsring on a cloudy and muggy morning to this well-known track. The first race is also part of the CEZ (Middle-East European Slalom championship).
Season Opening
Szabolcs and Zsolt Sződy (Track Racing team) arrived to the depo with their Opel Tigra. “We prepared the car until Saturday night yet but it was ready for the race. The decoration of the car is even more spectacular this year, the rest will be seen on the race. We are really looking forward to this season and happy to get back behind the wheel.” – said the brothers.
The preparation and the morning track visit was still under wet condition but for the practice the sunshine arrived. However the track was still slippery thanks to the low temperature, the lack of grabbing on the track and also to the brand new tyres.
First laps
Zsolt started with 60 racing number but the temperature still was not good enough to change the main circumstances. The car slipped twice. “I did struggle a lot with the adhesion, I hit a buoy as well and at the back side of the track the back of the car also sliding out but I managed to catch it. This was only a testing lap (02:10,522 with 2mp penalty) but three more to go.”
Szabolcs took a more relaxed lap. “The car was also unstable for me but the tyres was hotter so I am satisfied with the time, currently (02:10,800)” – said shortly.
The other laps 
For the second laps the conditions are improved further so the lap times were even better for everyone. Zsolt had 02:05,020 while Szabolcs 02:07,012 was for them.
“Maybe the conditions were the optimist for the third round, we were even faster but furthermore we also enjoyed the driving.” – said Zsolt.
“For me this was the most enjoyable lap for me, I think I did not make any mistake. It is evident that the result will be not enough for the podium but this race the target is not that high.” – summarized Szabolcs.
For the last round Zsolt did a slightly worse than his best one, finished with 02:04,793 but Szabolcs was even faster and the time stop at 02:05,921. The car worked really well.
Results
In the S3 category the Sződy brothers collected valuable points on their first race, finishing fifth and seventh, Szabolcs only missed the sixth place with 0.023. But that is also part of the car racing and surely next time it would be his favour.
Daily Summary
“After so many days and work finally we can sit back behind the steering wheel and race again, This is really missed for us. The car worked well, the mechanisers did an excellent job to prepare the car for the race, great appreciation to them. The adhesion was a problem this time due to the lower temperature conditions but it is sure that it would be okay for the following races and we can reach even more. The car was prepared for the summer season rather as for more races that’s why we selected a medium tyres for this year. We are not disappointed about the result, we know that more interesting races will come. This overal time does not favour for Szabolcs now: 0.023 seconds was needed for the 6th place. But this time but we will focus for the following races.”
The next race will be on 4th May at Kiskulacháza.
Photos: Track Racing
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Demare opens Giro account after Ackermann crash

Arnaud Demare sprinted to his first career victory at the Giro d’Italia after a dramatic crash involving Pascal Ackermann at the finish of stage 10.

Ackermann, holder of the points jersey, was left battered and bruised after he was involved in a significant accident involving multiple riders at the front of the peloton inside the final kilometre, with the German unable to contest the sprint.

As the finish unfolded from there, Demare surged through on the left to beat Elia Viviani, Rudiger Selig and Caleb Ewan for his first win in this year’s race.

Ackermann slowly made his way to the finish line with a group of team-mates as Demare celebrated.

The flat 145-kilometre stage from Ravenna to Modena, which came after a rest day, was the penultimate chance for sprinters prior to the mountain stages.

Groupama – FDJ’s Demare, 27, also has two Tour de France stage victories to his name, making this his third Grand Tour triumph. He has closed the gap to Ackermann in the points standings to just one.

A frustrated Viviani had to settle for second place for the third time in the race.

After the breakaway of Luca Covili and Sho Hatsuyama was caught with 30km to go, shortly after a crash for Enrico Battaglin, the peloton was largely in control aside from a solo attack from Fran Ventoso with 2.5km, which the sprinting teams were able to haul in.

There was no change at the top of the GC standings, with Valerio Conti retaining a lead of one minute and 50 seconds from Primoz Roglic.

DEMARE DELIGHTED TO MAKE BREAKTHROUGH

He had to wait until the 10th stage to taste victory, but it was worth it for Demare.

“We came to the Giro for this,” he said after the win. “I really wanted a stage win and I got it. I avoided the crash because we, as a team, were very well positioned. I’m super happy.”

Conti, meanwhile, was relieved to stay out of the way amid the chaotic crash as he retained the pink jersey.

“I hope nothing bad happened to my team mate Simone Consonni in the crash,” he said. “I have been well protected by my team the whole day. I thank them for giving me one more day in the Maglia Rosa.”

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama – FDJ) – 3:36:07
2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick Step) + same time
3. Rudiger Selig (Bora – Hansgrohe) + ”
4. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) + ”
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Dimension Data) + ”

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS  

General Classification  

1. Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) 39:44:39
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) + 1:50
3. Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) + 2:21

Points Classification  

1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 155
2. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 154
3. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 109

King of the Mountains   

1. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 32
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 22
3. Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 18

NEXT UP

Wednesday’s stage 11 from Carpi to Novi Ligure is another flat day. The 221km course will likely be the sprinters’ last opportunity for a stage win until the final week of the race, and some of the quicks will be expected to drop out after the finish.

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A world champion with Ferrari and McLaren – Lauda´s Formula One career in numbers

Three-time world champion Niki Lauda died at the age of 70 on Tuesday, leading to numerous figures in Formula One and beyond paying tribute to the Austrian.

Lauda won world titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984 – the latter two successes coming after he returned to the sport following a near-fatal crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix.

Fellow former world champions Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg, Oscar-winning director Ron Howard and compatriot Arnold Schwarzenegger all spoke of Lauda as an inspiration in posts on social media.

We take a look at the Opta numbers following Lauda’s passing.

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171 – Lauda took part in 171 F1 races, winning 25 of those, finishing on the podium on 54 occasions and starting on pole 24 times.

14 – He won at 14 different Grands Prix, claiming three victories apiece in the Netherlands, Great Britain and South Africa.

5 – Just five drivers have claimed more world titles than Lauda did: Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Lewis Hamilton, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel.

11 – There were 11 years and three months between Lauda’s first and last F1 race victories. Only four drivers – Kimi Raikkonen, Schumacher, Prost and Hamilton – had longer such gaps between triumphs.

0.5 – The narrowest ever margin in the final drivers’ standings occurred in 1984 when Lauda pipped Prost by half a point.

1 – Having won the championship with both Ferrari and McLaren, Lauda remains the only man to have achieved the feat with those two teams.

7 – The seven-year gap between Lauda’s titles in 1977 and 1984 remains the longest period between championships in the sport’s history.

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Inspirational athlete and entrepreneur Lauda leaves lasting legacy

Niki Lauda was hailed for his “unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur” after the Formula One legend died at the age of 70.

Lauda’s family announced on Tuesday that the three-time F1 world champion had passed away nine months after undergoing a lung transplant.

Possessing endless amounts of courage is a necessity in motorsport and they did not come any braver than Lauda.

The Austrian great produced one of the most astonishing comebacks in sporting history after he was seriously injured in a fiery crash at the Nurburgring in 1976.

Lauda was rescued from his Ferrari, which was engulfed in flames  after ploughing into a wall at high speed.

Left with severe burns and scorched lungs after inhaling toxic fumes, Lauda’s life hung in the balance as a priest delivered the last rites.

“But I did not want to die. I wanted to go on living.” Lauda recalled

Just six weeks after that horrific smash, he was back in the cockpit at Monza and finished a remarkable fourth, with his unhealed wounds covered by a balaclava that was soaked in blood.

Lauda regained his title the following year and again in 1984, before going on to become a successful aviation entrepreneur – also taking a hands-on approach as a licensed commercial pilot.

He took up management roles in F1 – with Ferrari, Jaguar and most recently with Mercedes – and continued to have a big influence in the sport over four decades after suffering life-changing injuries.

Known for his forthright opinions and a relentless desire to succeed with huge passion and determination, Lauda made a big impact in F1 and beyond long after his driving career came to an end.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: “We haven’t just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula One. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense.

“Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light. As a team-mate over the past six-and-a-half years, Niki was always brutally honest – and utterly loyal. It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team’s success.

“Whenever he walked the floor in Brackley and Brixworth, or delivered one of his famous motivational speeches, he brought an energy that nobody else could replicate.

“Niki, you are quite simple irreplaceable, there will never be another like you.” 

Tributes continue to pour in for Lauda, who has left a lasting legacy in his sport.

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Rosberg ´strongly inspired´ by Lauda

Nico Rosberg expressed his gratitude for the influence Niki Lauda had on his career after the three-time Formula One champion died at the age of 70.

Lauda’s family on Tuesday announced that the Austrian great had passed away nine months after he underwent a lung transplant.

Rosberg quit after winning his maiden F1 title in 2016, having benefited from Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda’s expertise and advice.

The German driver paid tribute to the inspirational Lauda – who made an astonishing comeback in 1976 only six weeks after suffering serious injuries in a crash at Nurburgring – on social media.

“Dear Niki. Thank you for everything that you did for me.” he posted on Twitter and Instagram.

“I learned so much from you. Your passion, your fighting spirit, to never give up, your belief that you always meet twice in life, and even your patience with us youngsters.

“Myself and all of your 100 million fans around the world, whom you also so strongly inspired to never give up in the hardest of times, are thinking of you and your family and wish that you rest in peace.”

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Wolff: Mercedes has lost a guiding light in legendary Lauda

Toto Wolff says Mercedes has lost a “guiding light” and “one of the greatest legends” in Formula One after Niki Lauda died at the age of 70.

Three-time F1 champion Lauda’s family announced on Tuesday that he had passed away, having undergone a lung transplant last August.

Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda staged one of the most astonishing comebacks in sporting history when he resumed his racing career just six weeks after being seriously injured in a crash in Germany in 1976, going on to win the second of his world championships the following season.

The Austrian continued to have a big influence in the sport in management roles after ending his driving career in 1985 and Mercedes team principal Wolff paid a glowing tribute to his former colleague.

“First of all, on behalf of the team and all at Mercedes, I wish to send our deepest condolences to Birgit, Niki’s children, his family and close friends.” Wolff said in a statement released by Mercedes.

“Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport – he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit.

“His passing leaves a void in Formula One. We haven’t just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula One. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense.

“Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light. As a team-mate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest – and utterly loyal.

“It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team’s success. Whenever he walked the floor in Brackley and Brixworth, or delivered one of his famous motivational speeches, he brought an energy that nobody else could replicate.

“Niki, you are quite simple irreplaceable, there will never be another like you. It was our honour to call you our chairman – and my privilege to call you my friend.”

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Three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda dies aged 70

Former Formula One driver and three-time world champion Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70.

F1 legend Lauda – who won world titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984 – died “peacefully” on Monday, his family confirmed.

Considered to be one of the greatest F1 drivers in history, Lauda won two championships with Ferrari and one during his time at McLaren.

“With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday,” his family said in a statement.

“His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain.

“A role model and a benchmark for all of us, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather away from the public, and he will be missed.”

Lauda survived a near-fatal crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix at Nurburgring, where his Ferrari burst into flames.

The Austrian was left with serve burns to his face, body and lungs, however, he returned to win the title the following year.

Lauda also worked in senior management roles within F1, including as non-executive chairman of Mercedes since 2012 and he played a key role in signing Lewis Hamilton.

“All at McLaren are deeply saddened to learn that our friend, colleague and 1984 Formula 1 World Champion, Niki Lauda, has passed away. Niki will forever be in our hearts and enshrined in our history,” McLaren said via Twitter.

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Niki Lauda: Hill mourns ´remarkable´ three-time F1 champion

Niki Lauda was a remarkable individual who had a positive impact on all who knew him, says Damon Hill.

Three-time Formula One world champion Lauda died “peacefully” on Monday at the age of 70, his family confirmed.

Lauda survived a near-fatal crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix at Nurburgring but, despite suffering severe burns and being administered the last rites, he returned to the sport six weeks later and won the title the following year.

He also worked in various management roles within the F1, including as non-executive chairman of Mercedes since 2012, and Hill paid tribute to a sporting great.

“Everyone who was in Formula One knew Niki’s personality as one of the most potent individuals in the sport,” 1996 world champion Hill told Sky Sports.

“He was highly intellectual, stoic, someone who didn’t have any time for any of the BS in the business at all. He was eminently quotable all the time.

“It’s very sad to hear that we’ve lost Niki but so many people have been affected positively by having known him.

“There are so many stories about Niki Lauda. He was involved in the drivers’ strike in South Africa.

“He was one of the few men who could sit down with Bernie Ecclestone and Enzo Ferrari and they knew that he meant business.

“He was a remarkable individual in every way.”

View image on Twitter
 

Hill said Lauda’s career was marked by the respect other drivers in the paddock had for him.

“I certainly was one person who looked at Niki and thought I’ll never would be half the man he was.

“His career was stylised and characterised by his intelligent approach. When he came up against Alain Prost he knew he couldn’t beat him on speed, so he beat him on tactics.

“He wasn’t Machiavellian at all. He was thoughtful, he was intelligent, he was pragmatic and he just got the job done.”