APRIL 23, 2007
Here and there
The Formula 1 circus might have been having the weekend off but there was plenty of racing going on around the world with the Indy Racing League in Japan, Champ Car and ALMS in Houston and the DTM kicking off in Germany.
Tony Kanaan won the IRL race of the year at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on Saturday. It was the Brazilian's first win since Kansas in July 2005, as he held off Dan Wheldon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) in the closing laps of the race. Kanaan's Andretti Green Racing team mate Dario Franchitti was third. In Houston Sebastien Bourdais won his second victory of the year while his team mate Graham Rahal became the youngest podium finisher in Champ Car history, having finished second. Robert Doornbos gave Team Minardi USA third.
Also in Houston Raphael Matos of Brazil scored his third consecutive victory in the Atlantic Series. The 25-year-old is the first driver in 17 years to win the first three events of a season but needs two more wins to equal Mark Dismore's record of five straight wins. In the ALMS event Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard gave Penske Racing another win with the Porsche RS Spyder, beating the Andretti Green Acura of Bryan Herta and Marino Franchitti and the Audi R10 of Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish.
At Hockenheim Audi kicked off the DTM season with a win for Mattias Ekstrom in his Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline entry, ahead of Martin Tomczyk in a similar car and Mercedes driver Bruno Spengler. Spengler was later penalised for an accident which put Timo Scheider's Audi out of action. The event was overshadowed however by a big crash on the opening lap involving Tom Kristensen, Alexandre Premat, Adam Carroll and Susie Stoddart. Kristensen was spun after making contact with Scheider and was then hit at high speed by Carroll, Premat and Stoddart. Kristensen and Premat were both taken to hospital where the Dane was found to have only bruising while the Frenchman suffered a rupture of a lumbar vertebrae and so will be out of action for some weeks.
In the supporting Formula 3 Eurocup races Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi (Mucke Motorsport) won the first ahead of ASM's Nico Hülkenberg (ASM Formule 3) with Manor's Franck Mailleux the best rookie in third place. In the second race Romain Grosjean gave ASM victory from Manor's Yelmer Buurman and Buemi.
There were also British F3 races at Donington with Hitech Racing dominating both events with Estonian Marko Asmer. In the first race he finished ahead of Stephen Jelley (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) and Greg Mansell (Fortec), while in the second Niall Breen (Carlin Motorsport) and Jonathan Kennard (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) were on the podium with him.
And over in Zolder New Zealander Brendon Hartley kicked off his Eurocup Formula Renault Series campaign with two wins for the Red Bull Epsilon team.
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