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Jari-Matti Latvala continued his fine run of World Rally Championship form by topping shakedown for Rally Germany, while Thierry Neuville heavily rolled his Hyundai i20 WRC.Shakedown was halted after Neuville crashed heavily on his third run at the stage. The car is believed to have rolled as many as six times in the accident after the Belgian lost control of the car on a left-hander.FIA scrutineers and Hyundai Motorsport will now inspect the damage to the car before deciding whether last year’s runner-up can take the start in the centre of Trier tonight.Latvala headed a Volkswagen one-two-three, with the Rally Finland winner half a second up on championship leader Sebastien Ogier.
Helio Castroneves boosted his title hopes by securing pole for Fontana’s IndyCar finale, while a catastrophic session for Will Power leaves the points leader at the rear of the field.Castroneves was the last driver to make his qualifying run and delivered a 218.540mph two-lap average to give himself the top starting spot for Saturday night’s title-deciding race.Juan Pablo Montoya’s early run of 217.621mph was enough to secure a Team Penske 1-2 on the grid.”This certainly helps,” Castroneves said. “But it’s not everything
The World Rally Championship will forge ahead with radical format changes for next season, despite the current proposal being rejected by last week’s World Motor Sport Council.WRC Promoter’s Oliver Ciesla and Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito – the two main players in the new plans – have both told AUTOSPORT they still believe the revisions to the Powerstage will be introduced for next season.
Stefano Coletti recorded the fastest time in free practice at a scorchingly-hot Hockenheim in GP2 free practice, outpacing McLaren Formula 1 junior Stoffel Vandoorne by a tenth of a second.Racing Engineering driver Coletti and ART’s Vandoorne swapped the top spot on a couple of occasions, with the Italian ending the session in front with his 1m24.771s.He then sat-out the last 10 minutes of the session, and watched his rivals fail to beat his time.Coletti’s team-mate Raffaele Marciello was third fastest, having starred in recent races without quite getting the results his pace has deserved.Caterham refugee Alexander Rossi was fourth quickest on his first run for Campos Racing, while his replacement at Caterham, Tom Dillmann, could only manage 21st.Conor Daly was a late improver, going P5 for Lazarus having spent most of the session near the bottom of the times.Series dominator Jolyon Palmer was down in 12th after the 45-minute session, with nearest rival Felipe Nasr in eighth.Nasr’s Carlin team-mate Julian Leal stopped at the Parabolika during the session, while MP’s Marco Sorensen did likewise at the entrance to the pitlane, as did Campos’s Arthur Pic.Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1m24.771s 2
Factory rider Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac’s Andrea Iannone will give Ducati’s ‘evolution’ MotoGP bike its debut in this weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix.Designated the GP14.2, the revised bike is the biggest step so far in Ducati’s rebuilding effort, as it works to get back to the front of the MotoGP pack after a win drought now approaching four years.The new bike ran for the first time in a shakedown test with Dovizioso and Iannone at Mugello on Tuesday.Satellite rider Iannone, who has been receiving increasing amounts of works assistance through 2014, gets the second evolution bike rather than Dovizioso’s current team-mate Cal Crutchlow, as the Italian is moving up to the factory team next year, when Crutchlow leaves for LCR Honda.Ducati is currently engaged in a lengthy recovery process under new owner Audi and new team boss Gigi Dall’Igna, who joined from Aprilia this season.The team last won a MotoGP race at Philip Island with Casey Stoner in late 2010, but has gained ground this year, with Dovizioso qualifying on the front row four times and taking two podium finishes, and Iannone twice starting second.”We are now becoming a more competitive reality and I am very happy with our progress,” said Dovizioso.Ducati controversially chose to run under Open regulations for 2014, meaning it had to use control electronics, but giving it more freedom for engine development, among other rules breaks.It will also increase its presence on the grid to six bikes in 2015, having agreed to supply the Avintia team as a second customer alongside Pramac.Avintia has so far run FTR-Kawasaki-based CRT/Open machinery in its three years at the top level.
Dani Pedrosa will race with the Honda MotoGP team at least until the end of the 2016 season after extending his current deal.The Spaniard’s future had been the subject of speculation amid team-mate Marc Marquez’s incredible form, as the reigning champion won the first eight races of the year while Pedrosa was left tied with Valentino Rossi for a distant second in the standings.Honda had announced a new contract with Marquez in May, but there had been no news about Pedrosa’s new deal.On Wednesday, however, the speculation came to an end, with the Japanese team announcing a new two-year deal for Pedrosa.
Kevin Harvick continued his strong 2014 qualifying form at Dover, where he secured pole for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race.The Stewart-Haas driver was quickest in the opening qualifying phase and carried that speed through to the final round, putting himself into P1 for the seventh time this season with a 22.095-second lap at 162.933mph.”It’s been amazing year for everybody on the team,” he said.”They put a lot of effort into qualifying and it has translated into a lot of good finishes.”We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing, and track position is huge here.”Kyle Busch came closest to unseating him, but his best effort came up 0.5mph short.Denny Hamlin rebounded from a poor race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend to claim a spot on the second row, where he will be joined by Brad Keselowski.Four drivers will be eliminated from the Chase after Sunday’s race, and fortunes for those who are still in contention were mixed.Keselowski’s Chicagoland win has already secured his progression to the next round, and other Chase contenders who survived the opening qualifying round included Jeff Gordon (P6), Jimmie Johnson (P8), and Kasey Kahne (P12).Some of those who were cut in the opening round missed by fractions of a second: Matt Kenseth only fell short by a couple of places, and Joey Logano, whose ongoing role in the Chase was secured by his victory at New Hampshire last weekend, will line up on the row behind him.”We just couldn’t find the speed out of the car,” said the Penske driver.”We didn’t unload very well, which put us behind the eight-ball for qualifying, and I thought we were alright when we were sixth in practice, but it didn’t transfer to game time.”Carl Edwards left it until late in the session to make the run that put him 18th on the grid, but he believed that he’d have been even further back had he gone onto the track earlier.”We thought we’d have the best opportunity to crack the top 12 if we waited,” he sad. “I think the team made the right call – if we’d gone early we’d have been 25th or 26th.”Of the other drivers still eligible for the title, Ryan Newman, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch will start from positions 20 through to 22, Dale Earnhardt Jr will line up 25th, Greg Biffle 27th, and AJ Allmendinger 28th.QUALIFYING POSITIONS:PosDriverTeamCarTimeGap1Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingChevrolet22.095s-2Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota22.167s0.072s3Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota22.188s0.093s4Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord22.203s0.108s5Jamie McMurrayChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet22.231s0.136s6Jeff GordonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet22.281s0.186s7Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet22.297s0.202s8Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet22.319s0.224s9Clint BowyerMichael Waltrip RacingToyota22.410s0.315s10Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet22.429s0.334s11Brian VickersMichael Waltrip RacingToyota22.431s0.336s12Kasey KahneHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet22.473s0.378s13Danica PatrickStewart-Haas RacingChevrolet22.333s-14Matt KensethJoe Gibbs RacingToyota22.342s-15Tony StewartStewart-Haas RacingChevrolet22.358s-16Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord22.377s-17Marcos AmbroseRichard Petty MotorsportsFord22.387s-18Carl EdwardsRoush Fenway RacingFord22.401s-19Paul MenardRichard Childress RacingChevrolet22.411s-20Ryan NewmanRichard Childress RacingChevrolet22.413s-21Aric AlmirolaRichard Petty MotorsportsFord22.418s-22Kurt BuschStewart-Haas RacingChevrolet22.426s-23Justin AllgaierHScott MotorsportsChevrolet22.437s-24Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Roush Fenway RacingFord22.441s-25Dale Earnhardt Jr.Hendrick MotorsportsChevrolet22.444s-26Martin Truex Jr.Furniture Row RacingChevrolet22.480s-27Greg BiffleRoush Fenway RacingFord22.510s-28A.J. AllmendingerJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet22.519s-29Cole WhittSwan RacingToyota22.540s-30Casey MearsGermain RacingChevrolet22.613s-31David GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord22.624s-32Josh WisePhil Parsons RacingChevrolet22.749s-33Reed SorensonTommy Baldwin RacingChevrolet22.760s-34Alex BowmanBK RacingToyota22.772s-35Michael AnnettTommy Baldwin RacingChevrolet22.789s-36Landon CassillCircle SportChevrolet22.910s-37David RaganFront Row MotorsportsFord22.922s-38David StremmeCircle SportChevrolet23.024s-39J.J.
Rally Finland winner Jari-Matti Latvala is adamant he has the pace to challenge his Volkswagen World Rally Championship team-mate Sebastien Ogier on asphalt in Germany this week.Although Latvala’s WRC wins have all come on gravel or snow so far, he believes he has shown he can outpace reigning champion Ogier on asphalt in the past, and with momentum from his home victory behind him, he thinks aiming for another win in Germany is realistic.”I want and I hope to challenge [Ogier],” Latvala told AUTOSPORT.”Last year I managed to do that in Catalunya and in France also, so it’s not impossible.”I led in Germany last year before I made a mistake and hit one of the standing stones. Obviously, I cannot afford to do this again.”I want to follow on from where I finished in Finland and, if it’s dry, then I might have a chance.”HIRVONEN 2011 INSPIRATIONDespite the 44-point gap between himself and Ogier, Latvala says he will not give up on taking his first championship at the end of the season.He says his countryman Mikko Hirvonen’s late 2011 title bid revival serves as inspiration.”I remember in 2011, when it looked like Sebastien Loeb was going to win the championship quite easily,” added Latvala.”Then suddenly he crashed in Australia and then the engine broke in France and Mikko was with him in the fight going to Wales.”You never know.