Section: Motorsport

WRC: Ogier’s hopes dashed on Rally Argentina

Two-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier’s quest to win his first Rally Argentina is already over on just the second stage of the event.

Ogier, who led the rally after Thursday’s brief superspecial, retired on the first proper stage with a technical problem.

His car will be brought back to the service park for analysis – with early reports suggesting an engine problem which stranded him 5km short of the stage’s finish – and will rejoin under Rally2 rules tomorrow.

Despite this, he will have no chance of winning the event, which is now led by Citroen’s Kris Meeke.

Ogier had won every round of the championship so far this year, with victories in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico.

Read more at motorsport.com

Clio 182 Championship: Season promises full grids

With the start of the Clio 182 Championship only a few days away, we have a quick round up of some the new entrants and liveries you can look forward to in 2015.

The Clio 182 Series has been given Championship status for 2015 and with 36 drivers currently registered, the first race of the year at Brands Hatch already has a full grid of 32 drivers.

This year promises full grids and lots of close racing.

A familiar name in motorsport, Mark Fish makes his competitive return.

Mark Fish returns to racing in the Clio 182 Championship
Mark Fish returns to racing in the Clio 182 Championship

Mark Fish said “After 3 years of trying to get something together, it looks like I will finally be back out racing.  Very excited at the prospect of racing again, but with some trepidation.  There is a huge amount I need to reacquaint myself with, having only done 4 races since the Clio Cup in 1993 – I am interested to see if I can become competitive again”

New to the championship is Daniel Gibson.  Although not new to racing, Daniel has swapped his Fiesta for a Clio.

Daniel Gibson testing at Brands Hatch (Photo: Joshua Barrett Photography)
Daniel Gibson testing at Brands Hatch (Photo: Joshua Barrett Photography)

Another new face for this this year is James Bark.

James Bark testing at Cadwell
James Bark testing at Cadwell

James will be one to watch, particularly at Cadwell Park.  During testing he beat the Clio 2014 lap record by 0.2 seconds.

Able Heath Motorsport have two cars out this year:

Able Heath Motorsport 2015 line up
Able Heath Motorsport 2015 line up

These cars will be driven by Matt Holtom in his second year and Damien Heath who is new to the championship.

Finally, a few pictures from some returning drivers, but with new liveries for 2015.

Mat Pewsey testing at Brands Hatch (Photo: Renaultsport UK)
Mat Pewsey testing at Brands Hatch (Photo: Renaultsport UK)

 

Martin Bentley testing at Brands Hatch (Photo: Joshua Barrett Photography)
Martin Bentley testing at Brands Hatch (Photo: Joshua Barrett Photography)

 

Read more  at clio182championship.com

MotoGP: Rossi wins in Argentina after clashing with Marquez

Valentino Rossi takes a sensational victory after a masterful ride at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la República Argentina.

The sun had come out and track temperatures had risen to 37 degrees for the start of the MotoGP™ race at the Termas de Rio Hondo. The reigning MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez, along with CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, decided to switch to the hard rear tyre on the grid, unlike Rossi and Lorenzo who both decided to use the extra hard compound rear.

Aleix Espargaro led into the first corner, but Marquez passed the Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR almost immediately and used his hard tyre to create a four-second gap at the front. At about mid-race distance Marquez’s tyres appeared to start to lose performance meaning that the chasing pack, led at this point by Valentino Rossi, started to close in on the leader. “The Doctor” had worked his way through the pack from 8th on the grid and could sense victory, as he was lapping almost a second quicker than Marquez.

The nine-time World Champion eventually caught Marquez with just 2 laps to go with the two riders touching, before Marquez clipped the back of Rossi’s bike and crashed out of the race. Rossi went on to take the race win by over 5 seconds ahead of Andrea Dovizioso in 2nd, with Cal Crutchlow stealing the final podium spot from Andrea Iannone on the very last corner.

Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo finished in 5th ahead of Bradley Smith on the Satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike. Aleix Espargaro ended the race in 7th, ahead of his brother Pol, with Scott Redding and Maverick Viñales completing the top ten.

CWW LCR Honda’s Jack Miller took the Open class victory as he finished in 12th, just 0.075s ahead of Hector Barbera on the Avintia Ducati.

Rossi now has a six-point lead over Dovizioso in the MotoGP™ World Championship standings, and is 30 points ahead of Marquez.

Read more at MotoGP

BTCC: Champion trio delivers at Donington Park

The three most successful drivers in the British Touring Car Championship field took a win apiece in a thrilling triple-header at Donington Park.

With seven drivers’ championships between them it was the class of Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Matt Neal that rose to the surface on a brilliant day of racing in Leicestershire.

Left slightly disappointed that he couldn’t convert his superior free practice pace into pole position, Team BMR’s Plato wasted little time in reaching the race one summit.

He immediately blasted by Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R off the line and had enough grunt in his VW CC to be nudging the sister car of Turkington into the first corner. Reigning champ Turkington held on for much of the opening lap but eventually had to give way to Plato on the run to the final chicane. Plato powered away by more than a second before sustaining the gap for the remainder of the race.

Attention turned to the battle for second which resulted in some epic mid-race action. After trading places, Shedden’s Honda slid slightly wide at Redgate on lap seven and Turkington promptly angled his VW down the inside of the Japanese machine. The Ulsterman only held the position for a split second, however, as his Honda rival fought back brilliantly by returning the favour on the run to the Craner Curves.

The Scotsman managed to keep the #1 car at a relative arm’s length until the finish and celebrated second by also setting the fastest lap. The new lap record holder would now start race two from pole position ahead of Turkington.

Team BMR’s Turkington made it by the pole-sitting machine of Shedden on lap one, and although the pair scrapped ruthlessly early on, the VW eventually pulled away to take a comfortable victory. WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan took his first podium of the season to complete the rostrum.

Such has been the competitiveness to the start of the 2015 BTCC season that Turkington became the fifth different driver to win in the opening five rounds.

It was to be Matt Neal who earned bragging rights as the first double victor of the year after he came out on top of a relentless multi-car battle in the final bout.

Power Maxed Racing’s impressive rookie Josh Cook started the race from pole position and despite losing out off the line to Rob Collard’s BMW, he soon re-passed and did an absolutely stellar job at the front for the first few laps, but his hard work was soon to be undone.

The race was neutralised on lap six when Sam Tordoff’s BMW and Jack Goff’s MG had a coming together at the final chicane. Both cars were fired off into the gravel and out of the race with the Safety Car being deployed to allow marshals to retrieve both stricken vehicles. This eroded Cook’s lead and set up a spectacular end to the day.

There were changes aplenty behind as Plato’s VW, Jordan’s MG and the Mercedes of Morgan tussled in the early stages.

Aron Smith had already blazed a trail from 12th on the grid up to third prior to the incident and was into second shortly after the restart. He immediately reeled in the race-leading Chevrolet of Cook ahead of him which led to a pulsating scrap over the following few tours. The pair touched through the ultra fast Craner Curves and both cars bounced across the grass in dramatic fashion. The wild sliding VW of Smith made it back onto the track right amongst the chasing pack while Cook rejoined behind them. It was an incredible escape for both drivers but the episode left Collard out front.

Neal, who had already clashed with Jordan’s MG at the Old Hairpin, hauled in the WSR car and squeezed his Honda into the lead with just two laps to go. Jordan made it through too and he was eventually sandwiched between two Hondas as Shedden made the last step on the podium after his own stellar drive from 14th on the grid.

Collard claimed fourth ahead of an incredible drive from teenager Aiden Moffat. Not only did the Mercedes youngster make the most of the incidents ahead of him but he also made impressive late moves by previous race leaders Smith and Cook. Despite his dramas, Cook takes the lead in the Jack Sears Trophy table.

Neal leads the standings by two points from Turkington, with Shedden a further five points adrift in third. Honda takes the lead in the manufacturer/constructor standings, while Team BMR head the teams’ table.

The championship now heads to Thruxton in Hampshire on 9/10 May.

Read more at BTCC.net

F1: Lewis Hamilton cruises to Bahrain GP win, Raikkonen second

Lewis Hamilton took a controlled win in the Bahrain Grand Prix as team-mate Nico Rosberg was beaten to second by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton led from the start and was always in control as he took his third victory in four races this season.

Rosberg battled the Ferraris throughout and lost second to Raikkonen with a braking problem with two laps to go.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel wrecked his podium chances by going off track and damaging his car while racing Rosberg.

Raikkonen, who nipped past Rosberg at the start of the penultimate lap when the German ran too deep into Turn One, put in an impressive drive on an alternative tyre strategy to move up from fourth place on the grid.

But Hamilton was out of reach at the front under the lights at the Sakhir track on a windy desert night.

Mercedes had expected a challenge from Ferrari during the race but Hamilton, after converting pole position into a lead at the first corner, was always in control as he set about building a lead while also protecting his tyres.

Read more at BBC Sport

Moto3: Kent runs away with victory at #ArgentinaGP

Danny Kent becomes the first British rider to take back-to-back wins in the lightweight-class since Barry Sheene in 1971.

Circuit conditions had changed from qualifying at the Termas de Rio Hondo, with grey clouds replacing the sunshine and a much lower track temp of 30 degrees, but not even this could stop Kent from claiming his second win of the season.

Leopard Racing’s British rider disappeared off into the distance after taking the lead on the 3rd lap, lapping almost a second faster than the rest of the pack to take the race win by over 11 seconds, in a repeat of his dominant performance from Austin.

This meant that everyone else was battling it out for the remaining two podium places, with Kent’s teammate Efren Vazquez making it a Leopard Racing 1-2 in Argentina, after an excellent final lap scrap with the Husqvarna Factory Laglisse of Isaac Viñales.

Pole-man Miguel Oliveira on the Red Bull KTM Ajo machine was 4th, ahead of his teammate Brad Binder, and the Estrella Galicia 0,0 rookie Fabio Quartararo in 6th.

Karel Hanika finished in 7th, with Romano Fenati having to come from the back of the grid after an incident during Warm Up to claim 8th. Enea Bastianini and Niklas Ajo rounded out the top ten in 9th and 10th respectively.

Danny Kent now has a seventeen-point lead over his teammate Vazquez after just three races in the Moto3™ World Championship standings.

Read more at MotoGP

MotoGP: Marc Marquez cruises to impressive victory in Austin

Marc Marquez stamped his authority on the MotoGP World Championship by winning in Austin by more than 2.3 seconds.

The reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez sent a message out to the rest of the paddock that he was back after his mishap in Qatar, as he dominated the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, at one point leading by over 5 seconds.

Marquez took the lead on lap 5, and didn’t look back as he went on to leave the rest of the field behind to maintain his 100% record at CoTA, before relaxing towards the end of the race.

Andrea Dovizioso made it another podium for the resurgent Ducati Team, as he won the fight for 2nd ahead of the Movistar Yamaha of Valentino Rossi, who leads the Championship standings.

Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo left it late, overtaking the Ducati GP15 of Andrea Iannone with only 3 laps to go to snatch 4th place from the Italian, with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith rounding out the top 6.

Read more at MotoGP

Moto2: Sam Lowes claims heroic maiden win

Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes rode through the pain to claim his first ever Moto2 victory at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas.

British rider Lowes bided his time throughout the race, overtaking Ajo Motorsport’s Johann Zarco to lead with just 6 laps remaining. As Zarco and Xavier Simeon tried to reel him back in, they made contact, with the latter crashing out in an incident that is being investigated by Race Direction.

This left Lowes to take the win, despite having to ride through the pain barrier after a number of huge crashes in Practice and Qualifying. Zarco regained his composure to finish in 2nd, ahead of the rookie Alex Rins on the Paginas Amarillas HP40 Kalex, who now leads the World Championship standings.

The reigning Moto2™ Champion Tito Rabat finished in 4th on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing machine, ahead of the Italtrans Racing Team Kalex of Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syarin, who claimed a fantastic 6th place for his Petronas Raceline Malaysia Team.

Read more at MotoGP

Moto3: Peerless Danny Kent takes #AmericasGP Moto3 win

Danny Kent took his first win of the 2015 Moto3 season, and 3rd in his career, as he left the rest of the field for dead in Austin.

A drying track led to an incident packed Moto3 race, as Leopard Racing’s Danny Kent went on to take a faultless win at the Circuit of The Americas. The British rider, who was over half a second quicker than the rest of the field in Qualifying, got swallowed up by the pack from the start dropping back to 5th.

He then set about making his way to the front, taking the lead on the 4th lap, before breaking away unchallenged for the rest of the race to win by over 8.5 seconds.

15-year-old Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (+8.532s) on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda won the battle for second as Alexis Masbou fell at the last corner. Kent’s teammate Efren Vazquez took 3rd ahead of the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 bike of Enea Bastianini, with Honda securing a lock out of the top 4 places.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder finished in 5th, with Scotsman John McPhee on the SAXOPRINT RTG Honda rounding out the top 6.

A number of riders crashed as they appeared to be caught out by track conditions, with Bagnaia, Loi, Oliveira, Ono, Antonelli and Navarro amongst those hitting the deck.

Read more at MotoGP

F1: Dominant Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg in China

Lewis Hamilton turned in a faultless drive as he and Mercedes returned to winning ways at the Chinese Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton led away from pole and won the race during a perfectly-managed middle stint, where he appeared to drive conservatively despite calls from Mercedes to speed up in order to give team-mate Rosberg some breathing room ahead of Vettel. Hamilton then showed the true pace of the Mercedes by turning up the wick in the laps before his final pit stop.

His seven second lead was nullified at the end by the race finishing under the safety car but it was still a perfect weekend for the world champion, collecting pole, the fastest lap and the race victory. Rosberg and Mercedes managed to do enough to secure the one-two, though Ferrari kept the world champions honest through the first two stints. Williams spent much of the race a distant fifth and sixth, confirming the fact it has fallen behind Ferrari in the pecking order.

Read more at ESPN