Monday Motor Sport Report

Josef Newgarden

INDYCAR: New face wins but great Alabama comeback for Power

YOUNG American Josef Newgarden finally confirmed his talent on Sunday with a breakthrough win in a dramatic Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

The popular 24-year-old, the fourth winner in the first four races of the 2015 series, clung on to his lead as the laps ran down with Graham Rahal charging hard, taking second place from Scott Dixon on the final lap.

“I was so nervous [in the last few laps],” said Newgarden afterwards. “I’m normally not nervous when I’m racing.” But then he was staring at his first win in Indy cars.

Defending champion Will Power can rue a lost opportunity, the Queenslander hit with a drive-through penalty after he hit Takuma Sato exiting the pits.

Though clearly the guilty party, Power perhaps disingenuously asked his team over the radio: “What was the drive-through for?”

“Avoidable contact,” came the response.

“Typical!” commented Power, a gent with no great love of officials.

The green flag drive-through penalty dropped Power way back in the field, but he steadily pushed forward to take a points-gathering fourth.

It was a good result on the back of his disastrous weekend at the previous race in Long Beach.

Power’s Penske team-mates, Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves, first and second in the standings before this race, finished 14th and 15th respectively. Montoya nevertheless maintained the series lead by three points over Castroneves.

WORLD CHALLENGE: Aussie on top in GT

AUSTRALIAN James – now known as JD – Davison scored a flag-to-flag victory in the sixth round of the Pirelli World Challenge GT class of the MOMO Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park, driving a Nismo Nissan GT-R GT3.

It was Davison’s first career Pirelli World Challenge win and the first win for Nissan in the GT class in the American sports car series.

Melbourne-born Davison, son of former racer Jon and cousin of Will and Alex, moved to the US a decade ago when he was 18 and has carved out an impressive career since.

Highlights include a runner-up finish in the 2007 Pro Mazda and 2009 Indy Lights Championships. In 2013 he made an impressive Indycar debut and last year finished 16th in the Indianapolis 500 on debut.

This year he has a hectic schedule driving for TRG-Aston Martin Racing in the United Sportscar Challenge, and the AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy team in the Pirelli World Challenge, debuting the Nissan GT-R GT3 in North America.

Saturday’s 50-minute race at Barber ended in a green-white-chequered finish with Davison holding off a late lunge from Nick Catsburg in a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3. Third was claimed by Mike Skeen in an Audi R8 LMS Ultra.

"I qualified on pole and won the race, so it was a pretty good day," said Davison. "It doesn't get much better.

“I'm just really pleased for the whole team. When you get a big opportunity like this with a manufacturer as a driver, when you're expected to perform, you have to perform. A win and a pole six races into the year adds some confidence."

WRC: Brutal Rally Argentina to Kris Meeke

AFTER seven wins and 20 podiums on the trot, Volkswagen’s stunning run of successes in world rallying ended during a brutal Rally Argentina, which brought an emotional first-ever World Rally Championship victory to Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke driving a Citroen.

The toughest rally of the year saw a podium bereft of a Volkswagen driver for the first time since Rally Australia in 2013. And reigning champ Sebastien Ogier has still not won in Argentina, the only round that has escaped his trophy hunt, his rally ending with a fuel-supply problem on stage two.

So the podium took on a different look with Meeke joined by Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg and M-Sport-Ford driver Elfyn Evans.

Meeke’s win was the first for a British driver in the WRC since the late Colin McRae triumphed in Kenya in 2002. McRae, who died in a helicopter crash in 2007, helped Meeke financially during the early days of his rally career.

Meeke, 35, led from stage two until the end, driving cautiously yet fast enough to take an 18.1sec victory.

Martin Prokop was fourth in his Czech national team Fiesta while Hyundai Motorsport salvaged a top-five finish with Dani Sordo taking fifth.

VW’s Andreas Mikkelsen crashed after hitting a rock and Jari-Matti Latvala went out late, retiring from third with engine issues on the penultimate stage.

Joey Mawson (left) with Team Owner Fritz van Amersfoort and team-mate Mick Schumacher

GERMAN F4: Maiden victory for Mick Schumacher; Aussie Mawson second

MICK Schumacher – the son of F1 legend Michael – has won on his car racing debut, taking the third of three races on the opening weekend of the German Formula 4 Series in Oschersleben.

And Australian driver Joey Mawson showed his credentials with a splendid second place.

After enjoying success in karting, 16-year-old Schumacher is contesting his first season in car racing this year.

Schumacher's team-mate, 19-year-old Mawson, crossed the finish line behind him in second place, making it a one-two in the final for the well-established Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing.

Schumacher, who finished ninth and 12th in the first two races of the weekend, laid the foundations for victory in the final at the start, pulling out a lead of over a second on Tim Zimmermann.

Then Mawson, who started fifth, got by Zimmerman to take second and began to hunt down Schumacher towards the middle of the race.

The Australian gained ground on his team-mate with every lap and was close enough to make an attempt at overtaking. But he didn’t get another chance, the race ending under the safety car.

"I'm very satisfied,” Mawson said. “A podium on my first weekend in the ADAC Formula 4 is perfect.

“I got off to a really good start, and overtaking during the race was great fun. At the end of the race, I was getting closer and closer to my team-mate Mick."

Over in Aragon, Spain, the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup debut for Anton de Pasquale from Werribee South in south-west Melbourne didn’t go so well.

The 2014 Formula Renault 1.6 North European champion felt the heat of stepping up to the hotly contested 2.0 Eurocup, finishing 21st, 16th and 20th in the three races in his Aussie-flag liveried Team Koiranen car.

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