MAY 7, 2007
Here and there
It was a quiet weekend for single-seater racing with much of the action being with touring and sports cars. At Indianapolis the first running began for the 500 with rookie and refresher tests led by Michael Andretti lapping the track at 219.871mph ahead of Ryan Briscoe (218.215mph), Davey Hamilton (218.022mph), Jacques Lazier (216.467mph) and Milka Duno (214.128 mph).
At the Nurburgring the Renault World Series runners were back in action with victory on Saturday going to Carlin Motorsport's Sebastian Vettel with Ben Hanley (Prema Power Team) second and Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) third. On Sunday, with the top 10 finishers reversed, it was the Epsilon Euskadi team which dominated with a 1-2 for Davide Valsecchi and Filipe Albuquerque as the better runners found themselves trapped in the pack.
At Oschersleben the DTM troops were in action with victory going to Gary Paffett ahead of Paul di Resta. There was a fierce fight for third place between Mika Hakkinen with the AMG Mercedes C-Class and Audi newcomer Mike Rockenfeller, in only his second DTM race. The two men tangled on the penultimate lap but the 23-year-old German took third as Hakkinen headed for the pits for repairs.
In Richmond, Virginia, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson scored his fourth win in 10 races in his Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet. The race, using the NASCAR Car of Tomorrow, was dominated by Hendrick cars with Kyle Busch second ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin and Hendrick's Jeff Gordon, who still leads the championship. The Hendrick team has yet to be beaten in a Car of Tomorrow race.
The World Touring Car Championship race at Zandvoort saw victory go to Chevrolet's Alain Menu. followed home by team mate Nicola Larini while the second race was won by SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini ahead of BMW drivers Augusto Farfus and Jorg Muller.
At Silverstone the FIA GT teams were fighting for the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy, with victory going for the second consecutive year to the Vitaphone Racing Maserati, this time with drivers Mika Salo and Thomas Biagi. Former F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell was seventh in a Ferrari.
The Le Mans Series was at Valencia for the Valencia 1000km, which was dominated by the Peugeot team with victory going to Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin. The performance underlined that Peugeot will have a strong challenge at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
In Japan Nissan dominated the SuperGT race at Mount Fuji with victory going to Satoshi Motoyama and Richard Lyons, ahead of a similar car raced by Michael Krumm and Tsugio Matsuda with a Toyota SC430 driven by Tatsuya Kataoka and Bjorn Wirdheim third. Fourth place went to former Champ Car driver Sebastien Philippe and Masataka Yanagida in another Nissan.
In Argentina Sebastien Loeb won his fourth victory of the year (in six events) for Citroen to increase his lead in the championship. Ford leads the Manufacturers' Championship. There was bad news for rallying, however, as a woman spectator was killed on the 14th stage after being hit by the Subaru Impreza of local driver Gonzalo Alenaz. Two boys with her suffered minor injuries. The trio were crossing the road when Alenaz arrived.
The behaviour of competitors in the Gumball 3000 Rally - a 3000 mile trip from London to Athens and back - has brought the sport into disrepute in Macedonia. Nicholas Morley and Matthew McConville were competing in the event in a Porsche 911 when they had a head-on collision with a car driven by locals Vladimir and Margarita Cepulyoski, both of whom died as a result of the accident. Morley was charged with endangering traffic and abandoning an accident victim and was released from custody after posting bail of $33,900. The local police say that they then stopped him at an airport a few hours later as he was preparing to leave the country in a private jet, despite being told not to leave the country. The rally has been called off.
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