Hamil­ton vic­to­ri­ous as Kyalami gets good news

THE MOTORPORT LAP/ The Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix this past week­end gave Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamil­ton a fur­ther lead in the cham­pi­onship

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

The Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix is one that is par­tic­u­larly mem­o­rable for Lewis Hamil­ton as this was the race that he first won at the helm of the Mercedes-AMG in 2013 hav­ing switched from McLaren.

It was ju­bi­la­tion once again for the Brit as he man­aged to lead from pole to fin­ish in top podium spot, this fol­low­ing the pre­vi­ous week­end’s em­phatic vic­tory at the Ger­man cir­cuit where he started in 14th po­si­tion to ul­ti­mately win the race.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel (Fer­rari) fin­ished sec­ond ahead of team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen.

Hamil­ton leads the cham­pi­onship with 218 points, fol­lowed by Vet­tel and Raikko­nen. As the sea­son goes on a break, the jos­tle for the cham­pi­onship will con­tinue on Au­gust 26 at the Bel­gian Grand Prix at the SpaFran­cor­champs cir­cuit.

It was also the World Rally Cham­pi­onship in Fin­land this past week­end. A mas­ter­ful drive by Ott Tanak re­sulted in an im­pres­sive vic­tory for the Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing World Rally Team. Tanak sealed the Rally Fin­land win in em­phatic style by claim­ing his 12th stage win of the week­end on the fi­nal Power Stage, gain­ing five bonus points.

Sec­ond po­si­tion was clinched by the team of Mads Ost­berg and nav­i­ga­tor, Torsten Erik­sen (Citroen C3 WRC), while Jari-Matti Lat­vala and nav­i­ga­tor, Mikka Ant­tila (Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing Yaris WRC) fin­ished third over­all. The next race will be the Rally of Ger­many from Au­gust 16 to 19. Mean­while, the In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal GT Chal­lenge 24-Hours took place at in Bel­gium where BMW scored a one-two win, with Tom Blomqvist in the Walken­horst Mo­tor­sport BMW M6 GT3 win­ning from pole in the 70th edi­tion of the race, but it is Audi lead­ing the 2018 Chal­lenge, of which the Bel­gian en­durance was the sec­ond round.

This fol­lows a su­perb third place in the race for South African driv­ers Kelvin and Shel­don van der Linde (Audi Sport R8) as well as fourth for Bathurst-win­ner Robin Fri­jns (Audi Sport Team) who re­mains on top in the driv­ers’ stand­ings.

Still on the In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal GT Chal­lenge, great news emerged this past week­end at the Spa-Fran­chor­champs race that the Kyalami Grand Prix cir­cuit in SA will host the 9-Hour race fi­nale of the 2019 sea­son, on Novem­ber 1 and 2.

The last 9-Hour race was held at the cir­cuit in 1973 and although there have been a va­ri­ety of other en­durance races there­after, such as the 1,000km and 6-Hours races, this is the ac­tual re­turn to form of the 9-Hour for­mat.

Ex­plain­ing how the re­turn to SA oc­curred, Stephane Ra­tel, of SRO Motorsports, which or­gan­ises the In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal GT Chal­lenge, said at the re­cent Spa an­nounce­ment: “I was with an old friend from SA and told him I would love to go to the new Kyalami and he said I should call Toby Ven­ter, the owner of the track, which is what I did. I went to meet with Toby and saw the su­perb new cir­cuit. I said it would be sad to have such a tool and no ma­jor in­ter­na­tional event and the deal was done!”

Says Ven­ter: “We are de­lighted that the com­pletely re­built Kyalami fa­cil­ity has been so well re­ceived by peo­ple in the top ech­e­lons of global mo­tor rac­ing and I am pleased that the first ma­jor in­ter­na­tional race will see a re­turn of the 9-Hour en­durance race that was such a favourite with fans and driv­ers in the past.”

Kelvin and Shel­don van der Linde took third at the 24-Hours of Spa.

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