Stoner leads the charge

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

WITH the 2009 racing sea­son heat­ing up over­seas, Mo­toGP rider Casey Stoner is lead­ing the Aussie charge af­ter winning round one for the Du­cati team at Qatar.

He fin­ished fourth in Ja­pan and third in Spain last week­end. Af­ter his victory in Spain Valentino Rossi ( Yamaha) leads the cham­pi­onship 11 points ahead of Stoner. Fel­low Aussie Chris Ver­mue­len (Suzuki) is in­side the top 10 in ninth place.

Fol­low­ing a less than sat­is­fac­tory re­sult in front of his home crowd in the first round of the World For­mula 1 Cham­pi­onship where he fin­ished 12th, Mark Web­ber bounced back in Malaysia fin­ish­ing sixth.

Team Red Bull Re­nault had its best ever re­sult with Se­bas­tian Vet­tell winning in a wet Chi­nese GP in Shang­hai ahead of team­mate Web­ber. Af­ter qual­i­fy­ing sec­ond in Bahrain, Vet­tell looked set to carry on his winning way. How­ever when on his fast qual­i­fy­ing lap Web­ber was de­lib­er­ately blocked by Adrian Sir­til to take out 19th on the start­ing grid.

Vet­tell fin­ished in sec­ond place with Web­ber bat­tling gamely to fin­ish 11th. Vet­tell is now sec­ond in the stand­ings, with Web­ber sixth go­ing into to­mor­row’s fifth round, the Span­ish GP at Catalunya.

AM­BROSE CLAWS BACK

ON the other side of the pond, for­mer V8 Su­per­car Cham­pion Mar­cus Am­brose is mak­ing his pres­ence felt in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup divi­sion. Af­ter fin­ish­ing the open­ing round, the Day­tona 500, in the top 20 in 17th place, he had some or­di­nary re­sults at Fon­tana, Las Ve­gas and At­lanta be­fore fi­nally get­ting “the oval mon­key” off his back when he fin­ished 10th at the very tight onek­ilo­me­tre Bris­tol Speed­way.

He fin­ished out­side the top 10 at Martinsville and Phoenix in 14th place, but rel­e­gated to 41st in Texas fol­low­ing an en­gine fail­ure.

On one of the fastest Su­per speed­ways of them all at Tal­ladega, where cars reach speeds of 320km/h, Am­brose stayed well within the top 20 as he dodged nu­mer­ous high speed crashes, in­clud­ing one on the last lap where are car som­er­saulted into the catch fence just ahead of him. Am­brose went on to fin­ish a ca­reer best fourth.

Last week­end at Rich­mond af­ter be­ing spun with less than 100 of 400 laps re­main­ing, he re­cov­ered from 23rd to fin­ish 11th. Af­ter 10 of 36 rounds Am­brose is now the in­side the top 20 in the stand­ings in 19th only one spot be­hind sec­ond gen­er­a­tion leg­endary NASCAR racer Dale Earn­hardt Jr.

MUM GIVES THE WORD

THIS week­end, Jeff Gor­don, Kurt Busch and Tony Ste­wart are atop the leader board as NASCAR races the South­ern 500 on an­other high speed Su­per­speed­way in Dar­ling­ton.

The 2km egg shaped oval, known as “the track that’s too hard to tame” is cel­e­brat­ing its 60th an­niver­sary on this tra­di­tional Mother’s Day week­end where a driver’s mother will give the or­der; “Gen­tle­men start your en­gines”.

COSTLY PIT­STOP ER­ROR

V8 Su­per­car driver Jamie Whin­cup’s winning streak came to an end at Win­ton Race­way in Vic­to­ria last Sun­day when his 888 team mate Craig Lown­des won race two fol­low­ing Whin­cup’s victory in race one. A pit­stop er­ror cost Whin­cup dearly, when both 888 Fal­cons pit­ted at the same time, with Whin­cup hav­ing to wait for Lown­des to va­cate the pit box.

How­ever he still leads the cham­pi­onship 104 points ahead of HRT driver Will Dav­i­son with Queens­land’s Steven John­son in third place in his DJR Fal­con.

In a spin: Mar­cos Am­brose in the No. 47 Bush’s Best Baked Beans/Kings­ford/Clorox Toy­ota crashes at Rich­mond Speed­way, Vir­ginia, but re­cov­ers to fin­ish 11th.

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