Motorsport: Flying run from pole position

By Eric Thompson

Richie Stanaway on the way to winning race in the German F3 championship at Zolder, Holland. Photo / Supplied
Richie Stanaway on the way to winning race in the German F3 championship at Zolder, Holland. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand German F3 driver Richie Stanaway was again in masterful form over the weekend, extending his lead in the championship to 18 points over Marco Sorensen with fellow Kiwi Tom Blomqvist hanging in there in fourth.

On Saturday, on a cold Zolder track in the Netherlands, he took pole position by 0.3sec.

The race started immediately after a heavy rainstorm and the stewards declared it a wet race.

From pole, Stanaway hooked up well and launched into a 4sec lead by the first corner, which he extended to 15sec during the race before being held up by lapped tail-enders.

Despite this, he still finished more than 13sec clear of second-placed Klaus Bachler, with his main rival, Sorensen, in third.

Race two on Sunday didn't pan out quite as Stanaway would have liked and, in fact, extended his championship lead by one point.

Qualifying was going to plan until he came out to do his final laps and was caught by a string of yellow flags that halted his flying run. This resulted in an earlier time, giving him second place behind Blomqvist.

His normal good starting form let him down and he was passed by Sorensen into the first corner, and was pushed wider through the next couple of turns before finally settling into fifth.

Because of the heavy aerodynamics of these race cars, it's difficult to pass and, when entering the slipstream of another, the front end loses all grip, making it virtually impossible to pass. With discretion being the better part of valour, Stanaway kept his nose clean and came home in fifth.

After seven wins (the most for so long that no one can remember the name of the guy who had more), Stanaway is halfway through his season but there is now a two-month gap before his next race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

In the meantime, Stanaway has some testing lined up in a Euro F3 car. If that goes well, he may be given a shot at a race in another of his sponsor Gravity's car to keep race fit.

He also has an FIA Academy to attend and may be involved in some development car testing for Reno.

It is unconfirmed at this point but there are suggestions that, if he continues to be successful, Gravity may fund him to the F3 World Championships in Macau later this year.

Ben Townley misses Portuguese MX1 Grand PrixCLS Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki racer, New Zealander Ben Townley, did not start the Portuguese GP last weekend in Agueda at round six of the FIM Motocross World Championship.

He's been battling to find form physically and mentally after a series of injuries earlier this year delayed his comeback to racing.

"This is a tough decision to make but I've accepted that I'm not in a position to race at a competitive level, physically and mentally," said Townley.

"I'm so thankful to the team for understanding my situation and for supporting me in every way possible.

"It is clear to me that I need to be 100 per cent prepared both on the physical side and on the mental side.

"At this stage I am not, and I don't want to put myself at risk until I can race without having any doubts."

- NZ Herald

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