Motorsport: Dixon the high point of week

By Eric Thompson

It was a mixed bag for all the Kiwis in action, reports Eric Thompson

Scott Dixon racked up his third IndyCar championship, after wins in 2003 and 2008.Picture / Getty Images
Scott Dixon racked up his third IndyCar championship, after wins in 2003 and 2008.Picture / Getty Images

It was a great weekend for young motorcycle racer Jake Lewis and IndyCar driver Scott Dixon, while other Kiwis competing overseas weren't so successful.

Dixon won his third IRL championship after one of the most bizarre races seen in a long time with only a handful of cars finishing.

However, Richie Stanaway, in the World Endurance Championship six-hour race in Japan, and Nick Cassidy in the last round of the European Formula Three championship, were hit by bad luck.

Stanaway qualified his Aston Martin in second at Fuji but came unstuck early in the atrocious conditions, hitting a wall. He and co-driver Pedro Lamy rejoined a lap down but the race was eventually called off due to the torrential rain.

Cassidy was given a one-off chance to race in the Euro F3 as a replacement for Daniil Kvyat. The Kiwi qualified well in sixth but could only finish 24th, 21st and 16th.

Dixon seals title
For the fourth year in a row, the title fight for the IndyCar championship came down to the last race of the season. This year, it was between two-time champ Dixon and Penske pilot Helio Castroneves.

The night race at Fontana, California, ended up hammering the field and the winner was almost going to be the last man standing.

Dixon drove a shrewd and measured race and didn't let anything fluster him even with Castroneves leading at one stage and the Kiwi back in 14th. While the pressure got to many of the drivers, and there were accidents galore, Dixon went about his business and collected one of the biggest prizes in American motorsport.

His race wasn't without drama though. In the final stanza, his crew had to pull him in for a pit stop after his car started to overheat due to debris in his radiator pods. Lady luck smiled with a safety car incident, which allowed him back out still on the lead lap.

Castroneves luck didn't hold and he had to pit late in the race with a damaged front wing that put him a lap down.

The race saw just eight cars running at the end, of which only five were on the lead lap. There were 28 lead changes spread among 11 cars.

"That was a crazy day," said a relieved Dixon straight after the race. "We started way back and we had to work on the car during the race quite a bit. I can't believe we've won the championship. It's fantastic and there are so many people to thank. Everyone is so competitive this year in the series and, after all our trials and tribulations this year, it's great to come out on top."

Lewis is champion
Jake Lewis put on a clinical display of riding to take out the 2013 PATA European Junior Cup in Jerez, Spain, over the weekend.

After a difficult qualifying session, Lewis started from 14th on the grid, but the Kiwi was soon in the leading bunch. The eight riders swapped position on numerous occasions over the opening laps and, by the end of lap two, Lewis had muscled his way to the front.

Lewis controlled the race with a maturity that far outweighs his 18 years as he responded immediately to any challenge made at the front.

The group behind kept the pressure on but as they streamed across the line Lewis led the pack by just 0.036s ahead of local hero Augusto Fernandez, who claimed second position overall in the championship standings as well.

"I can't believe it. I knew I had to give it my all from the word go and that's what I did," said Lewis. "I'd like to thank everyone who helped me this year, especially my Dad as I wouldn't be here without him."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 28 May 2017 21:36:12 Processing Time: 665ms