Motorsport: Dixon agonisingly close at Indy

By Eric Thompson

Kiwi IndyCar driver Scott Dixon again just missed winning his second Indianapolis 500 crown pipped at the post by team-mate, and now three-time race winner, Dario Franchitti.

Dixon was in the box seat on the last lap just behind Franchitti, and inside Takuma Sato, setting himself up for a slingshot that would have enabled him to snatch the lead down the home straight.

The lead had changed hands over 30 times during the race, an Indy 500 record, because of the new cars and the large hole they punched in the air.

All during the race the lead car was always susceptible to a passing manoeuvre so Dixon had positioned himself nicely.

However, the Japanese driver had been pushing the envelope all race long and lunged down the inside of Franchitti with two laps to go.

Every time a car had crossed the white lines on the inside of the track disaster followed and so it was in this case. Franchitti moved over to give Sato room but Sato moved up into the Scot then shot across the track plunging into the wall.

Dixon, who was right behind the pair, had nowhere to go so hauled on the anchors to avoid Sato but, by the time he was back in control and on the power, Franchitti had jumped to enough of a lead to finish the race under the yellow flag. It's Franchitti's third Indy 500 win under a caution.

"We were so close," says Dixon. "We had the car to do it and huge credit [to] Team Target, they did a hell of job, and Honda, to get these cars back up to speed and get the fuel mileage we needed.

"I wasn't expecting Sato to dive in there and when he did with two to go I had to give him room.

"We were in a pretty good position, to be honest, towards the end and I was in a pretty good place to get a run on both of them."

Dixon picked up a bag of points to move up to fourth in the championship closing on leader Will Power who yet again couldn't finish the race.

Evans still fourth

A fourth place finish in the second Monaco GP3 race last Saturday has young Aucklander Mitch Evans retaining second place overall in the standings. Evans started fourth in the reverse top eight race having finished fifth in the Friday feature race.

The Saturday race was red flagged after 13 of the 18 laps because of damage to the debris fencing caused by a spectacular crash involving Connor Daly and Dmitry Suranovich at the harbourside chicane.

The first 18-lap race quickly developed into a typical follow the leader Monaco affair with none of the first 18 cars changing position after the first corner.

Aaro Vainio leads the series on 54 points with Evans second on 43pts and Marlon Stockinger is on 39pts.

Stanaway's struggles New Zealand Renault 3.5 litre racer Richie Stanaway's debut in Monaco will be a weekend for him to forget.

The normally clean and precise driver couldn't quite come to grips on the streets of the principality careening into the barriers in practice and then only qualifying in 15th.

Struggling on the tight streets to make up ground on the leaders, Stanaway met more misfortune when his car's throttle jammed open at the exit of Piscine corner firing him into the wall on lap 18.

Rally win for MasonsRichard and Sara Mason led from start to finish at last weekend's Drivesouth Rally Otago and take the lead in the 2012 New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) after three rounds.

Richard Mason took an early lead of 35 seconds on Friday over Sloan and Tarryn Cox. On Saturday, he extended his lead to 53 seconds and by the end of Sunday he'd made it home with a comfortable margin of two minutes 13.7 seconds over West, while Emma Gilmour wrapped up the event third overall.

"We've ticked another one up - the second in a row for the year," said Richard Mason.

"So we're very happy with that."

Mason leads the overall NZRC drivers' championship on 90 points, 20 ahead of Gilmour in second with Alex Kelsey dropping back to third.

- NZ Herald

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