Ford vic­tory

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE “blue oval brigade” came to life in Ade­laide last Sun­day when FPR Fal­con teammates Will Dav­i­son and Mark Win­ter­bot­tom dom­i­nated race two of the Clip­sal 500, tak­ing the as­cen­dency early in the V8 Su­per­car race.

The pair recorded Ford’s first “one-two” fin­ish in four years, though James Courtney won the 2010 Cham­pi­onship in a “nail biter” in the final round in Syd­ney, driv­ing a Dick John­son Rac­ing Fal­con.

Fuel man­age­ment played a big part in this year’s Clip­sal 500, with many teams af­fected by high fuel con­sump­tion. Jamie Whin­cup coura­geously won Satur­day’s race de­spite be­ing dev­as­tated by his fa­ther’s death from ill­ness early in the week.

Will Dav­i­son (FPR Fal­con) was sec­ond af­ter al­most run­ning out of fuel on the last lap. Garth Tan­der (HRT Com­modore) took the mi­nor plac­ing. Tan­der also fin­ished a con­sis­tent third on Sun­day, with Whin­cup and Lown­des fourth and fifth af­ter both had to con­serve fuel.

The round was won by Dav­i­son, who has an 18-point buf­fer over Whin­cup, with Tan­der a fur­ther 12 points adrift of Whin­cup. James Courtney is out of his mil­lion-dol­lar con­tract with HRT at the end of the sea­son and, un­less he im­proves dra­mat­i­cally, it is un­der­stood the con­tract will not be re­newed.

His per­for­mances in 2011 and at the Clip­sal 500 have been dis­mal and he has in­vari­ably crashed out or fin­ished mid-field, while his team­mate Tan­der has usu­ally been up at the “pointy end”.

Fol­low­ing “non-cham­pi­onship” races at the F1 GP on the Al­bert Park road course next week­end, round two of the cham­pi­onship is at Sym­mons Plains in Tas­ma­nia at month’s end. One-two Ford: Clip­sal 500 win­ner Will Dav­i­son (right) cel­e­brates with Mark Win­ter­bot­tom.

BARICHELLO JOINS INDY LEAGUE

AF­TER con­test­ing a record-break­ing 322 For­mula One races in a ca­reer span­ning 18 years, Brazil­ian Rubens Barichello has con­firmed he will drive in the Indy Rac­ing League in 2012. Fol­low­ing sev­eral weeks of test­ing and dis­cus­sions with Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven, own­ers of KV Rac­ing, in Florida, Barichello has signed to drive for them this sea­son.

Barichello’s F1 con­tract was not re­newed at the end of last sea­son and though he never won an F1 World Cham­pi­onship, he was run­ner-up in 2001 and 2004. In an en­dur­ing F1 ca­reer, he raced with six dif­fer­ent teams, won 11 races, scored 68 top-three plac­ings, 106 top fives and 172 top-10 plac­ings. The af­fa­ble Brazil­ian was as­sisted in his early years in F1 by his good friend and fel­low Brazil­ian, Ayr­ton Senna.

Af­ter con­firm­ing his drive with KV Rac­ing, a de­lighted Barichello said: “I’m over the moon. I went to test at Se­bring. We had no ex­pec­ta­tions. It was just a test. I got to the track and re­ceived a fan­tas­tic re­cep­tion. I felt that I wanted to do it straight away.

“I love the sport. I love the speed. I’m so my­self be­hind the steer­ing wheel, I just feel at home.”

LOEB LEADS RALLY INTO MEX­ICO

SE­BAS­TIAN Loeb (Citroen) takes a seven-point lead in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship go­ing into this week­end’s third round, Rally Mex­ico, which be­gins in the his­toric town of Gua­na­juarto.

The an­cient city is a UNESCO World Her­itage site. The for­mer French gym­nas­tics cham­pion is shoot­ing for an un­prece­dented ninth con­sec­u­tive WRC Cham­pi­onship.

His new Citroen team­mate Mikko Hir­vo­nen sits in sec­ond with 32 points, ahead of the very pop­u­lar, al­ways-smil­ing Pet­ter Sol­berg on 29 points.

Sol­berg, who is adored by mil­lions, has been a pri­va­teer for sev­eral sea­sons but is now driv­ing for the Ford Fac­tory Team. He is ex­pected to do well in 2012.

Australia’s Chris Atkinson, who drove for the Subaru Team, has been out of the WRC for sev­eral years af­ter Subaru with­drew from the WRC.

He has se­cured a “one-off” drive with Ken Block’s Mon­ster Team in a Ford Fi­esta in Mex­ico.

“I’ll be in the same (spec­i­fi­ca­tion) car that won the last round in Swe­den,” said Atkinson, who hails from the Sun­shine Coast.

“I’m stoked to be back in the WRC and team­ing up with Ken.”

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