Welcome to Motorsports Monday, a recap of the thrills and spills from the weekend of racing. Today we cover the 6 Hours of Silverstone, Grand Prix of Sonoma, Irwin Tools Night Race, Rally Deutschland and much more for the weekend of August 25-26, 2012. Watch out for that air hose.
World Endurance Challenge – 6 Hours of Silverstone: The Le Mans-winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro picked up another merit badge over the weekend, winning the 6 Hours of Silverstone and clinching the World Endurance Championship. You can geek out over some very cool race footage here. The R18 faced tough competition, though, from the Toyota TS030 that even led the race briefly. We featured both cars in a special Pop The Hood back in June, and you’ll remember that the Audi uses diesel fuel while the Toyota runs on gas. That ultimately proved to be the difference as Audi needed only seven pit stops compared to eight for Toyota. It pays to be green. In the LMP1 class, the Lotus Rebellion team running their bloody gorgeous Lola-Toyota finished fourth overall and increased their points lead over the Honda ARX-03a of Strakka Racing.
IndyCar – GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma: Ryan Briscoe stole a sure win from his Chevrolet teammate Will Power in a frantic race as drivers are desperate for points position. Power led the first 65 laps from pole, but unlucky caution flag timing and a poor pitstop allowed Briscoe to take control with good strategy. Power has a right to be upset, but not as much as Ryan Hunter-Reay, who ran in third position when Alex Tagliani slammed into him (video here) and forced an 18th place finish. That allowed Power to expand his points lead over Hunter-Reay to 36 points, and may have locked up the title. Defending champion Dario Franchitti finished third and sits behind Briscoe in ninth. Former F1 star and IndyCar rookie Rubens Barrichello posted his best finish of the season in fourth place.
DTM – Zandvoort: What happened to parity? Audi thoroughly dominated the entire weekend, putting the Audi A5 DTM in the top five qualifying positions and capturing a 1-2-3 race victory. Watch the last twenty minutes of the race here. Edoardo Mortara won his second race of the season and catapulted Audi to within just five points of Mercedes-Benz for the manufacturer championship. Meanwhile, BMW seems to be falling behind with their best driver finishing sixth. So was this the arrival of a new DTM superpower, or a bit of bad luck? Probably the latter as points leader Gary Paffett drove his AMG C-Coupe up to the lead only to be spun and knocked into twelfth. Meanwhile, tragedy was narrowly avoided when Ralf Schumacher left his pit lane and struck an air hose (video here) that sent four crew members to the hospital with minor injuries. Audi is riding high but the Gods were against Mercedes this weekend.
NASCAR Sprint Cup – Irwin Tools Night Race: It was a typical weekend for NASCAR, as big-name crashes and heated tempers overshadowed any actual racing on the track and the Toyota of Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway. A lot is being made of the duel between Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth; a battle for the lead on Lap 345 that ended with their respective Chevrolet and Ford hitting the wall. Stewart waited for Kenseth to come through pit lane and then chucked his helmet at the car. Whatever. It's kind of a tired display of faux anger when most NASCAR drivers wake up and throw three helmets before breakfast. The real news is that four drivers clinched a spot in the Chase: Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. If NASCAR drivers can focus on racing and not pluming for the fans, we might have some great competition in store.
WRC – Rally Deutschland: Sebastian Loeb won the 2012 Rallye Deutschland beause of course he did, dominating the scenic countryside. The win is Loeb’s fifth in a row and seventh of the season; he has also won Deutschland nine times in its ten years of existence. Jari-Matti Latvala brought his Ford Fiesta RS WRC to second place ahead of Mikko Hirvonen in third. Chris Atkinson took fifth in a MINI while Sebastien Ogier finished sixth for Volkswagen. This video of Loeb is so stunning we had to embed it here, particularly the twitch-and-go at 1:30. Enjoy.