Start, NASCAR, Talladega, 2015

WRC, NASCAR and Moto GP dramas while new FE season starts

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Crashes and controversies were a theme last weekend as many championships head into the latter stages of the season.

For Formula E, however, the 2015-16 campaign kicked off in China and saw a dominant winner as the formula has opened up its technical regulations.

World Rally Championship

Round 12: Spain

Midway through the opening day on Friday, it looked as though Rally Spain would see an unusual order and a mammoth scrap in the top ten, as former F1 driver Robert Kubica headed the table. But all hopes of that fell apart in the afternoon and by the end of Saturday, Sebastien Ogier led a now familiar Volkswagen one-two-three.

But there was another twist on Sunday: Ogier threw away his shot at victory with an uncharacteristic crash on the final stage, handing a maiden victory to Andreas Mikkelsel.

Next race: Wales – Season finale (13th-15th November)

Formula E

Round 1: Beijing, China

Sebastien Buemi dominated the first weekend of the 2015/16 Formula E season. The Renault-backed eDams team stole a march on the competition now the championship has been opened up for power train development.

However his team mate Nicolas Prost slipped back after qualifying on the front row of the grid, eventually retiring with rear wing damage. Lucas di Grassi (Abt) and Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra) completed the podium having been chased by Dragon pair Loic Duval and Jerome d’Ambrosio.

Next race: Putrajaya, Malaysia (7th November)

V8 Supercars

Round 11: Surfers Paradise, Australia

James Courtney scored an emotional comeback victory in the second leg of the Gold Coast 600. The former Jaguar F1 tester returned to the series for the first time since sustaining injuries at Sydney Motorsport Park when a low-flying helicopter blew a pit lane sign into him.

He and co-driver Jack Perkins were only fifth after the first race on Saturday, but a smart fuel strategy helped them to the win. Shane van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb took the first leg win.

Next race: Pukekohe, New Zealand (6th-8th November)


Round 32: Talladega Superspeedway

Gene Haas’s NASCAR team was at the centre of the post-race controversy at Talladega as his driver Kevin Harvick was accused of deliberately causing a multi-car crash at the end of the race in order to ensure he progressed to the next phase of the Chase for the Cup.

Championship leader Joey Logano took his third win in a row ahead of title outsider Dale Earnhardt Jnr and Jeff Gordon. Second in the championship – Denny Hamlin – had to make an unscheduled pit stop to fix a loose roof hatch and finished 37th, four laps down, knocking him out of contention.

Along with Logano and Harvick the remaining drivers in the hunt for the title are Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jnr, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch.

Next race: Martinsville Speedway (1st November)

Guest Series: Moto GP

Round 17: Sepang, Malaysia

Dani Pedrosa took a fairly comfortable win in Malaysia, but the big story of the weekend was the late collision between out-going champion Marc Marquez and title hopeful Valentino Rossi. As the pair rounded turn 14, Rossi swept up the inside of Marquez, the two made contact and Marquez fell.

Replays appeared to show Rossi had kicked out at his opponent. The stewards held Rossi responsible for the collision but he was allowed to keep his third place in the race which keeps him on top of the championship standings with one race to go. He was given three points on his licence and will have to start the final race at Valencia from the back of the grid. Rossi leads team mate Jorge Lorenzo by seven points with twenty-five available for the win.

Next race: Valencia, Spain – Season finale (8th November)

Also last weekend

Lewis Hamilton clinched his third world championship after winning a thrilling United States Grand Prix, from Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

Over to you

Which of these races did you watch, and what are your thoughts on the weekend’s dramas? Let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend Shanghai hosts the penultimate round of the World Endurance Championship, Thailand hosts it’s first ever World Touring Car round, NASCAR’s eliminator round begins and the EuroFormula Open season ends at Barcelona.

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  • 59 comments on “WRC, NASCAR and Moto GP dramas while new FE season starts”

    1. Turvey, Berthon, and Frijns had mammoth starts to their first full seasons of Formula E, and Buemi’s well on his way to proving that he might be the best young driver out of Formula 1 if he hasn’t done so already.

      1. @rjoconnell I tweeted it before the race. The field is full of so-so drivers and Buémi is no doubt the man of the field and will win this champiosnhip with two fingers in his nose if he does not run into to much bad luck.

    2. Motogp! Man o man! That was a huge controversy and it was the end to a better feud all weekend between Marquez and Rossi. In Thursday’s rider conference, it got ugly and they were at war all weekend on track.

      Marquez used to hero worshworship Rossi with posters in his bedroom. Now I won’t be surprised if that poster has a few darts on them!

      1. Don’t get why everyone’s acting like Rossi kicked him on purpose. He didn’t even made the contact first, it was Marquez who touched Rossi’s knee, it was very much like a knee-jerk reaction, albeit a painful one for Marquez.

        1. Nonsense. It is a disgrace people go around accepting this kind of behaviour. Rossi clearly kicked out at Marquez, whether it was with the intention to take him down or not these kind of actions on bikes going this fast is completley unacceptable.

          His comments afterwards about losing the title because of Marquez are nothing more than the actions of a man who knows he is losing his last chance on a title to Lorenzo. His entire drama about the Spaniards fighting against him is one of the biggest random speculations I’ve heard in quite some time. Marquez simply overtook Lorenzo in Phillip Island and just did not have the pace here.

          People are saying he let Lorenzo by and didn’t even fight him, well maybe they should have looked at Rossi too because he did the very same whilst it is his champtionship rival, not Marquez’. Rossi should praise himself he is this legend because it is thanks to that he got away with this and was able to keep his 16 points from his podium finish in Malaysia.

          I respected this man deeply but he has lost a whole lot of that on raceday. Since Marquez had no chance to win this years title I was very happy it would be Rossi who would win it but now I bitterly hope he fails to reach the podium in Valencia, and lose the title because this is not the way.

          1. I am no biker but according to those who ride, it is really hard, if nit impossible to make someone fall by kicking the bike while being on a bike and on an angle.
            Rossi’s kick seems far to light and gentle to make a +200kg bike/rider fall.
            For sure, rossi’s behaviour was a step to far. The way he pushed outside looking at Marquez wasn’t a nice move at all.
            But marquez was clearly working to annoy rossi. He was ridiculously slowing down on fast corners and tangled with rossi a couple of time, making moves as if he was fighting for the title. Rossi lost the front a couple of times and could have settled and followed marquez. But that would have meant he gave up on any chances to catch up 2nd place.
            I’m convinced by looking at the first laps that marquez wanted to play with rossi instead of managing his tyres and trying to catch the other two.

        2. ColdFly F1 (@)
          26th October 2015, 15:49

          Don’t get why everyone’s acting like Rossi kicked him on purpose.

          Because it was blatently obvious from the video replays (and I’m saying that as a Rossi fan!).

          I can accept Hamilton’s ‘not intentional’ explanation when his ‘knee’ hit Rosberg in turn 1, but Rossi should better keep quiet and thank Whoever he believes in that he can keep his points!

          1. @ColdFly there are plenty of gifs and videos at the point that slow it down that show that, Rossi was expecting another cut in from MM or across that he’d been doing up to that point. Also in these slowed down versions you can see that Marquez has his head tucked and directed toward Rossi’s leg and actually bumps him, only to have Rossi react back in defense. In doing so Rossi seems to have caused Marquez to dump the bike (hitting MM’s hand). Point being is Race director agreed that Marquez was deliberately trying to ruin Rossi’s race and time charts show that Marquez has a fluxuation in lap times compared to that of Lorenzo passing and then his racing with that of Rossi.

            Also taking into consideration that he supposedly had no front end grip, and at times felt the bike was washing out, to all of a sudden coming alive against Rossi…call it what you will. I fell Marquez is guilty and had Rossi not reacted and was dumped, this would clearly be a head hunt for MM. All in all maybe Rossi shouldn’t have said anything to begin with against Marquez.

            1. @magillagorilla You’re a real believer are you? I have never seen a racer watch around him so often as Rossi did during those sequence of corners. Marquez was simply on the outside and accelerated, yes his head hit Rossi but that hardly allowed the second one to take a lunge.

              Point being is Race director agreed that Marquez was deliberately trying to ruin Rossi’s race and time charts show that Marquez has a fluxuation in lap times compared to that of Lorenzo passing and then his racing with that of Rossi.

              Yes, that happens when you race each other. Rossi himself let Lorenzo through as easy as possible, maybe he is helping Lorenzo too now?

              So from what we saw it would appear to be a deliberate move on Rossi’s part to push Marquez off the track, or push him wide.

              Despite what Marquez said we think he was deliberately trying to affect the pace of Valentino. However he didn’t actually break any rules. Whatever we think about the spirit of the championship, according to the rule book he didn’t make contact. His passes were clean. He rode within the rules.

              Or was we non-biased people call racing for a freaking podium position.

              Valentino reacted to what he saw as provocation from Marquez and unfortunately his reaction was a manoeuvre that was against the rules. It’s irresponsible riding, causing a crash. So he’s been penalised for that. We believe the contact was deliberate.

              Race director acknowledges the deliberate action and the penalty is still very lean.

              When deciding on the penalty, Race Direction also took into account some ‘provocation’ from Marquez.

              An other rider received five penalty points because he admitted, so Rossi has all to gain by keeping to his ridiculous story. Maybe they should give Lorenzo penalty points too for his riding in Valencia last year where he tried to back up Marquez into the pack.

        3. Both of them are guilty.
          End of case.

          1. @ernietheracefan
            Yeah,Rossi is guilty of taking Marquez out of the race and Marquez was guilty of trying to race

            1. But I think it would be exciting if Marc doing his mind games in the last laps. (Well, Rossi himself is famous for his mind games)

      2. Would love to hear everyone’s opinion on that one! It’s so divided, everywhere I look.

        For me, Rossi won the position legally and kept going to the outside as everyone does, to slow the competitor down, but Marquez just headbutted Rossi anyway. Rossi might have kicked him, tho for me it looks like he was just trying to get Marquez away from him, but it was Marquez who made that crucial first contact, and had no real chance of doing anything to Rossi’s race position.

        1. @fer-no65 Read my comments above.

          In any motorsport a contact happens and if you’re passing each other five times a lap it’s bound to go wrong sometime. Marquez passed Rossi time and time again completely withing the regulations as stated by the race director. However even when there is a contact there is really no reason whatsoever to use your leg to hit the brake of another bike. If anything Rossi should have known better and took it to the stewards after the race, not take matters into his own hands and kicked Marquez out of the race. Simply unacceptable behaviour from a 9 times champion who should be an example for every rider in the sport.

          1. I completely agree with @xtwl however I have a different observation on this; upon looking at the footage and applying a racing mindset to it, I believe that Rossi slowed down a lot, looked for Marquez’s bike to block, while Marquez just used his racing instinct to accelerate. The issue happened is that Rossi was straightening his bike while Marc was turning which resulted in a contact between Marc’s head and Rossi’s foot.

            I really doubt that it was a kick. Maybe I am wrong but I thought it was that way.

        2. @fer-no65

          The debate reminds me of the arguments fans had after Ham-Alo Hungary 2007. They act like the wrongdoings of one person could justify the wrongdoings of another person, when just both showed inacceptable behaviour.

          1. So racing for a podium position is unacceptable then

            1. When it results in actually trying to cause a wreck and take each other out over comments made before the race, and tension built over a season, yes ….yes it does.

            2. So Marc did nothing unacceptable in fact, it was his intentions wich were unacceptable. And you are able to get into his head and know them. Well, congrats to you.

      3. FlyingLobster27
        26th October 2015, 15:41

        Weirdest interaction I’ve seen in motorcycling since Johann Zarco (this year’s Moto2 champion) inexplicably threw away his first 125cc win by getting out of his bubble on the dash to the line, looking back persistently and… I don’t know, was he trying to stare off Nico Terol?!
        I’ve read a bit about it too, including the Race Director’s report on the MotoGP site, and it feels like Scheider vs Wicklein at Spielberg in the DTM. Marquez may have been a nuisance, blocking, whatever, but in the end, it was Rossi who made an unnatural move by slowing and looking back instead of completing the pass, prompting the contact, however reckless Marquez was or wasn’t, and Rossi deserves the penalty, like Scheider did.
        And like Scheider vs Mercedes, that doesn’t mean I have sympathy for either.

        1. FlyingLobster27
          26th October 2015, 16:16

          I’ve seen a video with the whole sequence of Rossi-Marquez duels in that race, and yeah, I think my assessment’s correct.
          It reminded me of why I don’t like Marquez. The guy rides without any conscience of other riders, he just constantly barges into them. Still Rossi’s fault for this one, and no doubt he will distastefully reference this in one of his sketches with his mates if he wins the title in Valencia.
          Like I said, no sympathy for either. I’m going down that route a lot this year.

      4. I wonder if we’ll see a combination of Suzuka 1989/1990, Adelaide 1994, and 1997 Jerez drama in Valencia..?

        Valentino Rossi = Senna & Schumi fusion..??

      5. i wish this site included moto gp more often its great

        1. +100

          I’d request @keithcollantine in the past on this as well. It’s the best series in the world in terms of drama and action. Not artificially created like some other series.

        2. +1000, then I might have realized MotoGP was happening on the same weekend!

      6. @neelv27 I think the most controversial aspect of the Sepang aftermath is that Motogp hasn’t issued Marquez a penalty.
        At Philip Island Marc let Lorenzo get back to the lead then dropped back to mingle with Rossi and then rushed to first to win the race whilst suspiciously posting the fastest lap. Now, Sepang for those who watched the whole thing, it was obvious that Marc let Lorenzo past and then tried to held Rossi back, Marc was very slow at parts of the race track and then often went for extremely risky moves. Rossi almost lost the bike several times until he lost it figuratively that said after intense reviewing, I think Marc hit Rossi and Rossi nudged him, unfortunately for Rossi Marc fell down and strangely retired right away. It’s sport fixing, cricket and snooker players get life bans from it.

        1. @peartree Well Marquez could be playing games with Rossi and we have seen that in the past in many sports. The thing is that he wasn’t breaching it. Unfortunately for Rossi, his stinging remark in the conference irked him more and also somewhere I felt that Rossi was a bit rattled with Lorenzo’s outright pace and in the heat of the moment, he ended his championship with a penalty.

          Can’t wait when we see Rossi vs Marquez on track again. Just hope it doesn’t get this ugly however it’s safe to say that Rossi and Marquez will never get along great like those great moments inin 2013 & 2014.

          1. Can’t wait when we see Rossi vs Marquez on track again

            I understand that the MotoGP organization are invested in keeping it to the wire but I find it totally unacceptable that they didn’t blackflag Valentino on the spot and allowed him to keep his 16 points after deliberately kicking Marc out.

            I can’t wait either, I do not know what thay will do but this is what I would like to see in Valencia:

            Last lap, Marc ahead, Jorge second, Valentino third. Just before the line, Marc brakes and in a very obvious fashion (à la Barrichello, Austrian 2002 GP) gifts the victory to Jorge and comes in second, just if front of Valentino.

            Would serve Valentino right, after moronically accusing Marc of trying to favour Jorge in Phillip Island (why would Marc then have passed Jorge in the last turn? with those extra 5 points Jorge would have it a lot easier). If they slander you… prove them right.

          2. I understand that the MotoGP organization are invested in keeping it to the wire but I find it totally unacceptable that they didn’t blackflag Valentino on the spot and allowed him to keep his 16 points after deliberately kicking Marc out.

            I can’t wait either, I do not know what they will do but this is what I would like to see in Valencia:

            Last lap, Marc ahead, Jorge second, Valentino third. Just before the line, Marc brakes and in a very obvious fashion (à la Barrichello, Austrian 2002 GP) gifts the victory to Jorge and comes in second, just in front of Valentino.

            Would serve Valentino right, after obtusely accusing Marc of trying to favour Jorge in Phillip Island (why would Marc then have passed Jorge in the last turn? with those extra 5 points Jorge would have it a lot easier). If they slander you… prove them right.

          3. @neelv27 Rossi has buckled under pressure. I’m sure that he could have finished both Philip Island in front of Lorenzo and I have no doubts that Rossi would have finished Sepang above Lorenzo, but never Valencia, the track does not suit Rossi and both Vale and Jorge know this. Anyway considering Rossi’s lenient penalty anything can happen still. Rossi unfortunately has dropped his arms already and has blamed the whole thing on Marquez. I agree with you when you say Rossi irked Marquez but ultimately Rossi is right about Marquez, he has “breached” the sporting regulations, he’s not just fighting as you should for position Marquez has targeted Rossi and favoured lorenzo, obviously he didn’t gifted a race victory to Lorenzo.

            @keithcollantine I think Marquez is fuelled by greed not nationalism. Rossi fell for the taunts and I agree he should have been black flagged and issued a suspended sentence. Marquez should have been looked for result manipulation for his actions in philip island and Sepang and ultimately if found guilty, excluded from the 2015 standings. @melchior watch the last 2 races in full. Sport fixing is subject to criminal action, don’t forget that. Hyoko Materazzi got 2 games for being head-butted by Zidane who incidently only got that fateful match (*he retired)

        2. @peartree
          Why should Marquez be penalised??
          What did he do apart from try to race,which is what he is there for amyway ??

          1. anyway

      7. There is an element of ‘they’re both as bad as each other’ about this, but ultimately I do think Rossi crossed a line and deliberately initiated contact.

        But Moto GP’s reaction is every bit as cynical. By refusing to black flag Rossi and instead give him a penalty for the next race they are trying to milk the publicity for all it’s worth instead of acting like regulators. The collision happened on lap eight – there is no reason at all why a penalty for the next race should have been applied instead of one for the race in which the incident occurred.

        Instead of throwing his toys out of the pram and threatening not to race in Valencia, Rossi should be thanking Moto GP for handing him an opportunity to bolster his living legend status by grabbing the title by racing to a mid-points finish from the back of the field. Away from the cameras I’m certain he’s thanking his lucky stars they’ve done just that.

        That’s the slightly longer version of my three-word verdict from Sunday morning

        1. >Rossi should be thanking Moto GP for handing him an opportunity to bolster his living legend status by grabbing the title by racing to a mid-points finish from the back of the field.

          If Lorenzo wins the race Rossi needs to be second to win the title, if Lorenzo is second he needs third, so he’s most likely going to need much more than a mid-points finish to get the title. Should be an exiting final race.

        2. Nice 3-word summary but I would have used “Valentino Ayrtons Marc”

          1. If you’re going back that far it would have to be “Rossi Prosts Marquez”!

    3. I’m excited about FE, or better said, what it may be in 3-4 seasons. When they get rid of nonsensical gimmicks like fanboost and the pitstops aren’t that ridiculous (changing cars, seriously?), it will be a nice little series.

      1. I just caught up with that, and they kept banging on about the manufacturers, but apart from Renault, where are they?

        1. Audi with Team Abt and Citroen/DS Automobiles with Virgin, and Venturi supplying themselves and Dragon Racing. That’s four reputable automakers.

    4. Formula E – Thunder in Beijing . . . . Thunder . . . . really?

      1. A very… erm… quiet Thunder.

      2. @ahxshades Lightning, yes. Thunder, no.

    5. Guess everyone was to busy with the Motogp controversy, to even notice the NASCAR controversy of equal magnitude. Then again I don’t recall to many NASCAR fans on F1fanatic.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        26th October 2015, 18:32

        It’s happened before (Bowyer two years ago), and I remember, I think it was on the forums here, people predicting that the Playoff Chase format would only invite more gamesmanship, punches and polemics. I guess no-one’s surprised.

      2. The Nascar brass completely and inexplicably cleared Harvick before they even got around to announcing the finishing order of the race. No way they’ll change tone now, it’s up to the other drivers if they want to do anything about it (they won’t, that sort of thing just doesn’t happen no matter what the media and fans clamor for).

        It’s an even more lenient stance than the MotoGP situation, where IMO Rossi had a right to be upset about Marquez messing with him after letting Lorenzo breeze past, but the way he choose to handle it should have seen Vale disqualified.

        1. it’s up to the other drivers if they want to do anything about it

          Nascar never listens to the drivers & if a driver speaks out publicly they get fined.

          One such example is that the drivers have been calling for an end to pack racing on the 2 plate tracks for well over a decade but because in Nascar’s eye’s ‘its a good show’ they refuse to look at options to change it.
          I remember Rusty Wallace once said behind closed door’s that when he started in Nascar Daytona & Talladega used to be fun, But over the years the racing at those tracks just became a big lottery that he stopped enjoying… More recently Jeff Gordon has said similar.

          In terms of the chase format, I know from talking to some people I know who work on Nascar’s TV coverage that most (If not all) the drivers think its artificial & hate it & that they have done since the initial chase format was introduced about a decade ago… You hear the odd driven half complain but there all under the thumb of Nascar officials so never want to go too far in there complaints to the media.

          I get the feeling from talking to people who are around Nascar a lot that many are growing increasingly frustrated to how far Nascar officials seem willing to go for the show to the point where the word ‘sport’ is almost considered a dirty word now.

    6. Vale & Marc debate has reached F1Fanatic..xD
      Expecting some storm..

    7. Marquez is behaving like a spoiled brat. Riding slowly on purpose to favour Lorenzo is ridiculous. And it’s not me that is saying that he did that, the race director said that he was intentionally getting on Rossi way, but as Marquez didn’t break any rule there was nothing race direction could do.
      Rossi didn’t kick anyone, he moved across Marquez to give him a warning (he waved earlier to Marquez), no intention to knock him down, but he did, so measures had to be taken.
      Marquez was a pathetic loser, but Rossi should have hold it together. Now the title is in the hands of the big whinner.

      1. he kicked him

    8. It was a disgrace Rossi was penalised for that incident. There is no way he was trying to kick him of his bike. Marquez is racing like a child, no gameplan whatsoever.

      1. Must have been watching a different race to me.

    9. I see in the Dorna are now stopping people from embedding their videos so this may well be the first and last time Moto GP features in Weekend Racing Wrap.

      1. @keithcollantine That’s disappointing. Dorna should be happy that MotoGP is talked around globally. I am sure I haven’t seen as many Lewis Hamilton’s title winning articles as much I’ve seen Rossi vs Marquez.

        I just hope that MotoGP becomes a regular feature here with exclusive articles rather than featuring in Weekend Racing Wrap.

        1. I agree, but maybe in a different section so that I can browse F1 free of MotoGP spoilers when I have to wait for the ITV4 highlights in a Monday due to not having BT Sport :-(

    10. Sepang 2016 MotoGP. Both Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi fell down.

      But in quite a different fashion.

      Valentino’s fall was much, much harder.

      So hard, he will never stand up again.

    11. About Marquez vs Rossi in Sepang…

      The problem here is that undoubtedly Marquez is currently the fastest rider in the field. He’s really the “new Rossi” in terms of talent. His campaign this year was cut short by a lot of falls and the new Honda not being as ridable as the previous year’s model. He did lose some races in direct confrontation from Rossi, but it was on the edge fair racing between two of the best ever riders that graced the sport. Marquez is faster than Pedrosa, we can, I believe, all agree to that. So with Pedrosa so far ahead, what was Marquez doing back there?

      I’m all against conspiracy theories and on that thursday press conference, I raised my eyebrows with Rossi comments. But I did review the Australian race and what I saw in Sepang was disgusting from Marquez.

      Did Rossi lose his head? I believe so. I think he lost his head because he knew there was no way the Yamaha had the pace to beat the end of season Honda, has we can attest by Pedrosa’s performance. And he lost his head because Marquez was really spoiling his fight with Lorenzo. Did he do a “Zidane”? Yes, but there was contact by Marquez first.

      As someone with Spanish blood, I am really, really disappointed with Marc. A bit with Lorenzo on his statement, he should’ve been out of it. His podium attitude by thumbing down Rossi was also not nice.

      Marc Marquez will win many more Moto GP championships. I think Rossi’s time is up after this chance. But man am I disappointed with him.

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