Welcome to week 33 – four races again this weekend. F1 is in Marina Bay in Singapore; NASCAR is in New Hampshire; and WEC and ALMS are together (but on different days) in Texas at the new F1 track, Circuit of the Americas. Sebastian has the links you need to make your picks at http://themotorracinggame.wordpress.com/2013-week-thirty-three-guide-and-links/. Picks can be made at: http://www.roadracetracks.com/motorracinggame.shtml.
Scores from week 32:
WRC Australia, MotoGP Italy, NASCAR Chicago, DTM Oschersleben:
Sebastien Ogier won rally Australia, but was unable to win the world title after Mikko Hirvonen got an unexplained flat tire on the final stage, allowing Thierry Neuville to take second place in the rally and hold off Ogier’s world title by one point. Hirvonen held on to third, and Jari-Matti Latvala took fourth. It actually wasn’t a very exciting event with everyone looking at the season points and nobody taking any risks. The exception (to risk taking) was Kris Meeke who was instructed by Citroen to get as many points as possible, and after winning Qualifying and starting strong, he looked to be following instructions. But he threw it away on Saturday pushing too hard, and then crashed again Sunday, meaning no finish (I had picked him). This seriously hurts his chance of any kind of works drive next year.
In MotoGP Jorge Lorenzo got his second win in a row. Marc Marquez did not have it easy at Misano and had to battle from fourth through Valentino Rosso and then Dani Pedrosa to claim second place. He never challenged Pedrosa, so it seems it’s a two horse race now for the championship between the rookie Marquez, and Pedrosa. Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow had a race-long battle for fifth place with Bradl coming out just ahead of Crutchlow by just 0.244 seconds.
NASCAR started their “Chase for the Cup” at Chicagoland Raceway. The big news coming into the event was the surprising penalties NASCAR handed out earlier in the week – pulling Martin Truex Jr. out of the contenders and putting Ryan Newman in. Although a surprisingly harsh penalty for Truex and Michael Waltrip Racing, I think most people felt it was justified following the shenanigans last week. Then at the end of the week they put Jeff Gordon into the Chase saying he’d been an unfair victim – again probably a fair decision. At Chicago, there were two significant rain delays that took the race late into the night. In the final stint Jeff Gordon ironically had the lead and was looking strong for the win when he had a tire go down dropping him to 27th place. But he had a strong car and with the help of a couple of late cautions finished 6th. Ahead of him Matt Kenseth got the best of the field, followed by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and greased lightning’s pick of Kurt Busch, then Jimmie Johnson in fifth.
In DTM we all picked championship leader Mike Rockenfeller, and he duly delivered a second place finish at Oschersleben. Augusto Farfus won the race, with the difference between him and Rockenfeller apparently being the strategy of starting on soft tires versus Rockenfeller on hard tires. Many of our picks struggled, with the exception being Gary Paffett who finished sixth. But Bruno Spengler and Robert Wickens got together and that doomed them to the bottom of the field in 21st and 22nd place respectively. Christian Vietoris simply struggled all weekend and finished the race in 18th place.
Congratulations to Drewe and his second win in a row, and third win of the year with one tie. I was just one point behind in second place and feeling a bit miffed that Kris Meeke scored me no points at all by going out of the rally on the final day – but that’s rallying. As usual, no changes in the standings …