Motorsport: Flames and Lames Tue Aug 2

By Dale Budge

British driver Kris Meeke during the fourth day of the WRC Finland. Photo / AP
British driver Kris Meeke during the fourth day of the WRC Finland. Photo / AP

Flames

Citroen WRC
What a weekend it was for Citroen in Finland. This year is a stepping stone season for the French manufacturer as it prepares for a full-blooded attack on the World Rally Championship next year. By only entering select events in 2016 the chances of drivers Kris Meeke and co to fight for a title are impossible. Despite all that the Citroens of Meeke and Irishman Craig Breen dominated Rally Finland - something usually reserved for Scandinavian drivers. A third WRC win for Meeke and a maiden podium finish for Breen indicates Citroen will be a genuine threat in 2017.

Simon Pagenaud
The Frenchman cruised to another IndyCar victory this time on the road course at Mid-Ohio. The stack of points the Penske driver collected for his efforts basically ensures the season championship will effectively be a two-horse race during the final four races between himself and Penske teammate Will Power. Pagenaud was signed as a support driver behind Power and former champ Juan Pablo Montoya but the Frenchman has been the standout driver, upstaging his two more highly regarded rivals this year.

Daniel Ricciardo
A second place at the German Grand Prix was a solid achievement for the Australian Formula 1 star but his post-race celebration really gets him on the Flames list this week. The Red Bull driver drank champagne from his boot to celebrate his podium much to the delight of fans. His performance in the post-race press conference wasn't so good when he mistook a Scottish journalist for being Irish. The good performance on track ensures he goes into the mid-year break with a hold on third place in the championship in what is essentially the battle between non-Mercedes drivers.

Lames

Scott Dixon
Dixon's horror year continued at Mid-Ohio on Monday as he was forced to retire and all but hand over his IndyCar crown. The 2015 champion is now 127 points behind series leader Simon Pagenaud with four races remaining. Dixon has suffered from bad luck and a car that just can't seem to compete with the Penske crew. He damaged suspension in Mid-Ohio after contact with Helio Castroneves and that saw him pit and drop 30 laps as a consequence. It was also confirmed during the week that long-time sponsor Target was to leave the championship at the end of the season.

Mitch Evans
Evans was another Kiwi to suffer from a pretty ordinary weekend. The GP2 star failed to finish the feature race on Sunday after suffering brake issues. He lacked genuine speed at Hockenheim in the sprint race but managed to salvage a 10th place finish that sees him hold down eighth place in the championship standings. Evans has the ability to be a title contender but his Campos team just hasn't figured out the car at this point and he is leaking points to his rivals.

Sebastien Ogier
The three-time defending World Rally Champion has been moaning all year about running first on the road in gravel events and sweeping the road clean for the following runners. His mood won't have improved after he made a rare error and slid his Volkswagen Polo into a ditch, which cost him 16 minutes and any chance of fighting for championship points in Finland. He still holds a solid lead in the overall standings and will be looking forward to a number of tarmac rallies coming up where road position will be irrelevant but Finland is the spiritual home of rallying and the Frenchman will be frustrated with his result there.

- NZ Herald

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