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Race Wrap: Tuesday, March 30

PIASTRI IS AN F2 CONTENDER

Oscar Piastri is a solid fourth in the fight for the FIA Formula 2 championship after an up-and-down weekend in Bahrain.

The Melbourne youngster was fifth in the first of two sprints, broke through for a fantastic win in the second, but was punted out of the Feature.

Piastri looked safe and comfortable as he led the Feature for Prema, moving up into the lead with some of his signature overtakes, but when he switched from soft to hard-compound Pirelli tyres everything changed.

The F2 rookie was forced to fight a defensive position but was still on course for third until an aggressive overtake by British driver Dan Ticktum led to contact and a spin for Piastri. When he could not keep his engine running he was out.

“Tough race in the end. Until the contact with Ticktum, it had been an awesome race, with mega pace on the softs,” Piastri says.

“Even with the hards, we were sticking in there. I could see that the two drivers in front were starting to fall back towards me and, at the same time, the people behind were catching up. I was trying to stay in third to try and fight for the win at the end, but just wasn’t meant to be today.”.

MILLER FLAWED IN QATAR

Some costly mistakes left Jack Miller only ninth in the MotoGP season opener in Qatar.

Despite his impressive pre-season pace during his first rides as a factory Ducati racer, and fifth place in qualifying, he was not able to convert in Qatar.

He was only fifth in qualifying after a crash and trailed home ninth in the race and admitted he “hit a wall” with a lack of rear-tyre grip.

Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales won the race.

SVG GO FOR EASTER BATHURST

A broken collarbone did not stop Shane van Gisbergen sweeping all three Supercars races at Sandown and it will not stop him racing at Bathurst over Easter.

He has been cleared to start his Mercedes GT campaign in the GT World Challenge Australia series after Jamie Whincup substituted for him in the season opener at Phillip Island.

SvG will be sharing again with Prince Jefri Ibrahim in the GT3 Benz, and the Malaysian royal already has experience at Mount Panorama after racing a Toyota 86 in supporting events at the Bathurst 1000 meeting for Supercars.

The field for the Easter meeting is slightly smaller than Phillip Island, down from 20 cars to 18, but first-round winners Garth Tander and Yasser Shahin will be back for more in their Audi R8.

NISSAN STAYING PLUGGED IN

Others are leaving but Nissan has renewed its commitment to Formula E.

While Audi and BMW have signalled their withdrawal from the battery electric single-seater series, the Japanese company is locked-in until 2026.

It’s commitment includes the 2025-2026 season, which will be the 12th time the championship is contested.

Nissan is already working on its car for the Gen 3 era in Formula E, which will bring faster and more powerful cars for the season starting in late 2022.

It says it is already seeing a pay-off in technology transfer from racing to road cars, headlined by its fully-electric Leaf.

GREECE IS BACK IN WRC

The loss of Rally Chile to the pandemic means one of the most charismatic events in the history of the World Rally Championship is back on the 2021 calendar.

The famed Acropolis Rally in Greece, regarded as one of the toughest on the calendar with hot weather and rough roads, is returning after an eight-year absence.

It is one of the oldest events in the WRC and was first run as a title event in 1973.

The most successful driver in the history of the Acropolis, which runs from September 9-12, is the late Colin McRae, who won it five times despite his reputation as a crasher and car breaker.

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