Ed Jones is confident he has “a good race car” underneath him as he prepares to tackle the biggest event on his 2018 calendar, after safely qualifying for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ – the legendary Indianapolis 500.
The talented young UAE-born ace, 23, is currently five races into his sophomore season in the fiercely-disputed IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing, sitting 14th in the standings among the 28 high-calibre contenders, with a brace of top-ten finishes to his credit including a breakthrough maiden podium around the Streets of Long Beach last month.
While that marked Jones’ first visit to the IndyCar rostrum, it was not his first top-three result – that came this time last year on his Indy 500 debut, as he grabbed headlines with a mature, composed and phenomenally impressive performance that belied his comparative lack of experience at the pinnacle of US open-wheel competition.
Fast forward 12 months, and the 2016 Indy Lights Champion and 2017 IndyCar ‘Rookie of the Year’ is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s main event.
In second qualifying last Sunday, a small error on his third lap restricted Jones to a frustrated 29th on the grid behind the wheel of his 720bhp Dallara-Honda single-seater. But he remains upbeat about his prospects of moving forward in the 102nd edition of what is the largest single-day sporting event in the world.
“I went into Turn One and just lost the front of the car,” explained the former European F3 Open Champion. “I was heading for the wall on the exit so had to lift, which destroyed my momentum.
“That lap really hurt my average and it was very disappointing to have that happen, especially after having a solid car on Saturday.
“I felt so bad letting the team down, but we have a good race car that drafts up very well to the other cars – maybe even better than the one I had last year.”
Abu Dhabi Racing driver Mohamed Al Mutawaa is looking forward to his next challenge following the Rallye d’An3bes, round two of the seven-round Peugeot 208 Rally Cup, on tarmac, which was held from May 17-20.
Aaron Johnston was Al Mutawaa’s co-driver who was behind the wheel of a Peugeot 208 R2.
Al Mutawaa made the most of the prevailing difficult conditions at his second outing at the event in France, coming home 83rd overall in the Ivory Coast.
The ADR junior driver was happy to have finished his first tarmac rally behind the wheel of an R2, saying: “The rally was tough but we learnt a lot both as a team and individually.
“There were plenty of variations in the corners with plenty of consecutive corners posing more challenges. We are now looking forward to the next event, Rallye Vosges, from June 9-10 .”
Al Mutawaa thanked Abu Dhabi Racing chairman Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi for his unflinching support for him over the years.
The 2018 Peugeot 208 Rally Cup is Peugeot Sport’s one-make trophy organised within the framework of the FFSA French Rally Championship. Based on the Peugeot 208 R2, the series is open to experienced, new drivers and teams alike.
Drivers aged less than 27 are eligible for the top prize which will be a high-profile programme in a four-wheel drive car if they come first in the overall standings.
2018 CALENDAR – 2018 PEUGEOT RALLY CUP
June 9-10 Rallye Vosges (asphalt)
July 5-7 Rallye du Rouergue (asphalt)
September 6-8 Rallye du Mont Blanc (asphalt)
October 12-14 Rallye Terre des Cardabelles (gravel)
November 22- 25 Rallye du Var (asphalt)
The 36th edition of, “La corsa la più bella del mondo” started under a clear blue sky as over 400 classic cars set off from Viale Venezia, Brescia and passed through more than 30 Italian cities and towns. San Marino, Roma, Siena, Parma, Milan and Bergamo were all en route before drivers headed back to the starting point. The first car, a BMW 328 from 1938, departed from the famous ramp on Viale Venezia, leading hundreds of classic cars for an incredible event through the greatest landscapes of Italy.
Designed exclusively for classic and vintage cars, the event is one of the world’s oldest motoring events. Mille Miglia began in 1927, taking place 24 times until 1957 and bringing international fame to luxury sports cars such as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati and Porsche. The 1,743km trip has been a regularity race since 1977, meaning it’s now more of a rally than a race, with drivers maintaining average speeds throughout. The event is only open to cars produced before 1957 and selected from the models, which took part in the original rally.
Thousands of spectators lined the streets of Brescia to catch a glimpse of the drivers in this year’s rally, which welcomed drivers from 40 different nationalities, from five continents. The legendary driver Jacky Ickx drove alongside Karl-Friedrich Scheufele in a stunning classic Porsche 550A Spyder RS – on loan from the Porsche Museum. The car was specially created in 1956 and was destined to make its mark on the history of motorsports.
The Mille Miglia is a family story of passion for the Scheufeles, all the members of the family have taken part or attended the rally under the Maison Chopard flag. The annual meeting is a demanding mistress that requires constant attention and concentration in order to lead a car to victory.
Since 1988, Chopard has been the historic partner and official timekeeper of the legendary classic car event. 2018 saw Chopard celebrate its 30th partnership with the Mille Miglia. Several friends of the brand attended the 2018 race including actor Adrian Brody, who partnered the Porsche driver Timo Bernhard in position 301 on the ramp of Viale Venezia in a Porsche 356 from 1955. In total, Chopard took no fewer than five cars to the starting line. Albert Carreras, son of the famous tenor José Carreras drove the race with his co-pilot Jordi Pascual in a Mercedes Benz 300 SL, owned by the Scheufele family.
The close ties between Chopard and the Mille Miglia stem from a shared history that began 30 years ago. The initial connection was born from a personal passion for classic cars by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Under his leadership Chopard became the main sponsor of the Mille Miglia in 1988 and the watchmaker was one of the first brands to associate its name with the automobile world. For Scheufele, the links are entirely natural, “Lovers of fine cars often have a great weakness for precious timepieces and vice versa. Extreme precision and sporting elegance are important in both these fields,” he said at the event. The roar of well-tuned engines, the smells of rubber on hot tarmac are certainly in contrast to watchmaking, where atmospherically controlled rooms and deafly silence reigns supreme. However, closer inspection reveals a number of common factors between the two worlds, including the relationship with time, the passion for fine mechanical engineering, and the need for sustained concentration.
On Saturday, fans cheered as the first cars crossed the finish line in Viale Venezia, the winning team of Juan Tonconogy and Barbara Ruffini, ended the rally with 74,108 points. The Argentinian team started in 85th position driving an Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 GS “Testa Fissa” from 1933. Second place went to Giovanni Moceri and Daniele Bonetti from Italy in an Alfa Romeo 65 1500 SS from 1928 with 73,714 points. The third duo to reach the podium was Andrea Vesco and Andrea Guerini at the wheel of a beautiful 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Zagato, with a total score of 73,327 points. The most represented carmaker at the event was Fiat with 49 cars, followed by Alfa Romeo with 48, Jaguar with 35 and Mercedes-Benz with 33 cars.
The Chopard collection
This year’s rally saw Chopard launch a number of special Mille Miglia watch models, each with rubber lining inspired by 1960s Dunlop tyres.
The Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition
The stylish 42mm watch in stainless steel, equipped with a mechanical chronograph movement with automatic winding. The timepiece is presented on a black calfskin bracelet with red stitching and black rubber lining. Limited to 1,000 pieces.
The Mille Miglia Racing Colours
A stunning limited edition 42mm watch in stainless steel featuring a lacquered (British Racing Green) dial. It’s presented on a black calfskin bracelet with green stitching and black rubber lining. Just 300 pieces available.
The Mille Miglia GTS Power Control Grigio Speciale
43mm watch in titanium featuring a stippled anthracite grey ruthenium dial and equipped with a mechanical movement with automatic winding. The watch is presented on a grey Cordura fabric bracelet. Limited to 1,000 pieces.