Di Resta back

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: LAT

For­mer F1 racer Paul di Resta will re­turn to the pad­dock this year af­ter be­ing named as Wil­liams’ re­serve driver. Di Resta con­tested three world cham­pi­onship sea­sons with the Force In­dia team, scor­ing 121 points be­fore los­ing his seat and re­turn­ing to the DTM. Di Resta re­places Adrian Su­til, and will split his du­ties with his DTM cam­paign with Mercedes. “It’s go­ing to be a busy sea­son com­bin­ing both F1 and DTM,” said the Scot. “I will give my full sup­port to both.”

Juan Pablo Mon­toya won the open­ing race of the Indycar sea­son at St Peters­burg last week­end.

Si­mon Pa­ge­naud led in the early stages, but Mon­toya snuck ahead mid-race and held on to the flag to give Team Penske a 1-2 as the squad cel­e­brated its 50th an­niver­sary with a spe­cial liv­ery.

“It was good,” said Mon­toya, who was se­cond in the ta­ble last year on a wins tiebreak with Scott Dixon. “The Chevy was good all day. It was ex­cit­ing to have a new paint scheme and come out and win with it. It’s just awe­some. We started the year last year like this. I felt this morn­ing [in the warm-up prac­tice] we had a re­ally good car and it paid off.”

Mon­toya’s path to vic­tory was made eas­ier by pole­man Will Power be­ing forced to with­draw. He suf­fered mild con­cus­sion from a crash in Fri­day prac­tice and was un­able to race due to nau­sea.

Penske’s Tim Cin­dric said: “Ob­vi­ously this is a very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to make in the first race of the sea­son, but Will’s health and safety is the most im­por­tant thing to con­sider.”

Be­hind Mon­toya and Pa­ge­naud, Ryan Hunter-reay pre­vented a Penske podium lock­out. The An­dretti Au­tosport driver made a late move on He­lio Cas­tro­venes to take third. Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato com­pleted the top six, with reign­ing cham­pion Dixon sev­enth.

An al­ter­na­tive pit strat­egy had put Conor Daly in con­tention but a front wing fail­ure near the end dropped him down to 13th.

For­mer Manor For­mula 1 driver Alexan­der Rossi was high­est of the rook­ies, fin­ish­ing 12th.

Mon­toya led a Penske 1-2 Mon­toya took big win

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