Racing catchup for the weekend 7-9 November


In this week’s racing catchup, we take a look at the ERC with the Tour de Corse, APRC from China, F1 from Brazil, MotoGP from Valencia and the Australian GT from New Zealand.

FIA ERC – Tour de Corse

There were celebrations aplenty on the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship finale in Corsica when Stéphane Sarrazin became the ninth winner from 11 rounds following a thrilling battle for top spot with fellow French Ford Fiesta RRC driver Bryan Bouffier. While a crash on Friday’s final test meant Esapekka Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm were unable to tackle Saturday’s closing five stages, the ŠKODA Motorsport crew will head home to their native Finland as the new European champions* having scored sufficient points earlier in their hugely impressive campaign, which included three wins and 25 fastest stage times. Sarrazin, who was racing in the Six Hours of Shanghai World Endurance Championship event last weekend, started Saturday’s final leg 1.7s in front of Bouffier but wasted little time in pulling clear of his compatriot with a hat-trick of stage bests. His performance on the damp sections of stage eight was particularly noteworthy after he went 7.5s quicker than Bouffier. And Sarrazin’s victory was all but assured when Bouffier spun into a ditch on the penultimate test. Results

Stephane Sarrazin: “It’s amazing to win this rally. Since I was young I wanted to win this rally and to have my name on this trophy is just amazing. This rally is very special like Monte-Carlo for a racing driver. We did our best this weekend and had a good fight with Bryan, we were able to increase our pace and made the difference.”


Asia Pacific Rally Championship – China Rally


The ŠKODA champions are on course for victory in the grand final of the current FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) season in China. The ŠKODA duo Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ) overcame challenging track conditions caused by rain at the “China Rally Longyou” and now have a comfortable lead overall at the halfway point of the final event of the season. ŠKODA has already won the title in the manufacturers’ standings in the APRC* for the third time in a row. Jan Kopecký is also the first ever driver to have won both the drivers’ championship title in the European Rally Championship (ERC) and the APRC* in consecutive years.

Formula 1 – Brazilian GP

Nico Rosberg kept himself in play for the 2014 world championship title decider by dominating a dramatic and nail-biting Grand Prix in Brazil on Sunday, despite race-long pressure from Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg is now just 17 points behind Hamilton, with 50 up for grabs in the title decider in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight. Should Rosberg prevail there, Hamilton would have to finish second in order to clinch the title. Rosberg had held his advantage away from the start and led through the first round of pit stops, but Hamilton was closing fast as Rosberg pitted for a second time. The Briton set a new fastest lap of the race, but rather than pit immediately he stayed out and was caught out – on tyres that were finished he locked the rear wheels going into Turn 4 and half spun. Though he recovered quickly, he emerged with a 7.4s gap to work on. He did so in brilliant style, relentlessly closing that down to less than two seconds by the time of their third and final stops on the 50th and 51st laps, but thereafter Rosberg was able to withstand every attack, avenging his defeat in Austin last weekend. Results

Nico Rosberg: “That was a fantastic weekend and I felt very comfortable over the whole three days. I had to learn from Austin, which was a big disappointment, and I think I achieved that. I was able to control the pace a bit better and didn’t let Lewis come too close. He drove really well and was always right there pushing me. When he spun I had a bit of time to relax and was able to save some life in the tyres for the end of the stint. That worked out perfectly and it was a great day with another one-two for the team. I was also happy for Felipe to be on the podium with us at his home race. The Brazilian people have been so great to us throughout this the whole weekend so it was also a good day for them. Now we have a great finale to look forward to in Abu Dhabi. I’m still believing 100 per cent that I can make it but, of course, I will need some help from Felipe or Valtteri or Lewis himself.”


MotoGP – Valencia


Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) set a new record for most victories in a single campaign in the top class, having equaled Mick Doohan’s total of 12 wins in 1997 last time out in Sepang.

The race saw light rain fall, with Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone electing to move onto bikes set up for the wet on lap 20, a decision which would prove costly for both.

Crossing the line in second place Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) notched up the 13th rostrum result of a remarkable season for him too and the Italian also clinches second in this year’s championship. Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) was third in the Valencia contest, registering his tenth podium result of 2014.

Australian GT – Highlands Park


After race one, Muscat held the edge.

The second race would see Garth Tander get the jump. Muscat would give chase, knowing he doesn’t need to beat the Tander/Quinn car to win the Championship.

The first 10 minutes saw a brief safety car to recover the Ross Lilly/Paul Kelly Lamborghini. Otherwise it was a clean race when the pit window opened.

Of note was a charge through the field for Lowndes who started 19th and was 5th by the time he pitted and Tander set a lap record – a 1:32.357 before his pitstop and driver change.

On lap 12, Tander pits and Muscat assumes the lead. Muscat pits soon after and he would soon take up the fight to his Championship rival.

Muscat took the lead just before a safety car came out as Jono Lester suffers a mechanical issue with his Ferrari.

The race and the Championship would come down to a four minute shootout. Muscat would hold his nerve as the green flag came out to win the race and Championship from Quinn, John Bowe and the repaired van Gisbergen/Klark Quinn McLaren.

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