Weekend Motorsport Preview: F1, WRC and more
Start from the top: F1′s are back again. And whether you love or hate it, Valencia will again host the European GP on its street circuit. Overtaking is not usually associated with this track, so it’ll be interesting to see if someone emulates Mark Webber in Monaco and take it easy late in the race. Meanwhile, GP2 and GP3 are back as well, giving the Canadian GP weekend a miss. Close racing is almost certain somewhere in the pack, but similar to their big brothers, they may have some difficulty passing. But probably not as much.
Travels to the other ‘Down Under’, and the Rally New Zealand. Not seen last year due to alternating with Rally Australia, the rally will surely make some noise and take some scalps. Whether Sebastian Loeb can take a further lead in the championship, who knows, but Mikko Hirvonen is lurking for another victory, and the Ford boys aren’t happy losing either. Note out to reigning Production World Champ Haydon Paddon, taking on his true home rally leading the Super 2000 World Championship, and surely out to take on the WRC boys too.
NOTE: At time of publication, 8 stages have been completed, with Loeb leading Hirvonen by 4 seconds while Evgeny Novikov holds third.
Yet another weekend in a row, and yet again an oval. This week we move to Iowa, and a very interesting qualifying format. Practice 2 dictated which qualifying race you took part in. Top 8 in practice race for the top 8 grid positions in the 3rd qualifying race. After that, the odd numbered racers from practice race for odd numbered positions in race 2, and the even numbers in race 1. In the final 20 seconds of pracitce, Dario Franchitti took second place, bumping down Rubens Barrichello to 9th. So, interesting qualifying should lead into an interesting race.
Do not fear! Sonoma is on the schedual, and it does turn both ways in 1 lap. The first road course event of the year promises a good race with cars that are made for ovals. This is where the drivers with experience of other catogories of motorsport will really shine through: Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose even Scott Speed. With almost a certainty that the championship leaderboard will be shaken up, this will be a good race to watch, namely, those not so strong on road courses trying to beat those around them on the table.
The best touring cars that Britain has to offer will once again smash around this weekend, this time at Croft. With Gordon Sheddon leading the championship, he will be public enemy no.1 for many competitors, namely his teammate Matt Neal and MG driver Jason Plato. Also look out for the BMW of Rob Collard, who has been pushing the envelope to the Manufacturer drivers this season.
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