Motorsport: Flames and Lames Tue Aug 23

By Dale Budge

Sebastien Ogier during the Shakedown of the WRC Germany. Photo / Getty Images
Sebastien Ogier during the Shakedown of the WRC Germany. Photo / Getty Images


Sebastien Ogier
The three-time world champion avoided having to sweep the roads clean on the hard tarmac of Germany and promptly found himself back in the winner's circle over the weekend. The Volkswagen driver has not been able to stand on the top of the podium since the second round of the championship in Sweden way back in February. After months of moaning about the disadvantage of being first on the road on gravel events, Ogier had the benefit of the hard surface and he made the most of it.

Highlands Motorsport
The picturesque South Island race track was voted the best race track in the world by Kiwi V8 Supercars ace Shane Van Gisbergen. Set below a stunning backdrop of the hills surrounding Cromwell and just 45 minutes from Queenstown - Highlands Motorsport Park is ideally located to capture New Zealand's natural beauty. But on top of that Van Gisbergen nominates the track as the best he's raced on because it has been modelled on the best circuits in the world - taking corners from the Nurburgring in Germany, Suzuka in Japan and Watkins Glen in the USA.

Cal Crutchlow
The 30-year-old Brit completed a stunning fairytale story to win the latest round of the MotoGP championship in the Czech Republic over the weekend. The veteran rider became the first Brit in 35 years to win a round of the championship - stunning high profile rivals Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Crutchlow, took advantage of selecting two hard tyres, called his rivals wimps as he powered his non-works bike to the top step on the podium.


Holden Racing Team
The iconic V8 Supercars team will be re-named and re-branded next year after Holden opted to axe its funding of the outfit at the end of the year and instead offer manufacturer support to the rival Red Bull Racing team. Owner Ryan Walkinshaw is vowing to continue the team in 2017 but will have to do so with significant change including the name and look to the team. Both drivers - James Courtney and Garth Tander - are off-contract and the future looks uncertain for the most successful team in the history of the sport.

Jari-Matti Latvala
The Volkswagen driver just can't seem to take a trick in this year's world championship. Latvala has suffered a range of misfortune this year from driver error to mechanical problems and hasn't been able to capitalize on teammate Sebastien Ogier's road sweeping on the gravel events. He suffered a gearbox at the weekend's Rally Germany - his rally over on the opening day. The Finn now lies fifth in the world championship and will once again been concentrating on trying to salvage a top three finish in the championship rather than gunning for the title.

Rally China
Next month's Rally China was canceled due to road damage caused by severe flooding in the region where the event was planned to take place. With not enough time to fix it before the staging of the rally WRC organisers were forced to cancel the event. It was supposed to be China's return to the world championship after nearly two decades out of the sport. Rumours of financial problems also contributing to the event's demise continue to swirl and there must be a big question mark about whether it will appear on the 2017 calendar.

- NZ Herald

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