The new motor racing season revs in to life with the first round of the WRC at Monte Carlo, and it seems not much has changed from 2015, or indeed 2014, with reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier taking the win for the third consecutive time. However it was far from easy for the Frenchman.
Kris Meeke battled all the way, trading first position several times with Ogier, demonstrating a very strong pace throughout the rally. Unfortunately Meeke’s Citroen suffered a damaged gearbox following a run-in with a rock, which ultimately lead to his challenge’s demise.
More drama unfolded with Jari-Matti Latvala colliding with a spectator when he lost control of his Volkswagen which then skidded into a ditch. Fortunately, by the time the car hit the spectator it was traveling at very low speed and no injuries were sustained. However, Latvala was penalized with a suspended ban and a 5000€ fine as he failed to stop and check the spectator as per regulations.
F1 drivers have called for closed cockpits to be added to their cars to improve head protection, following the deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson. The ‘halo’ design concept suggested by Mercedes seems to have been favoured by the drivers with it’s reduced impact on visibility. With extensive research conducted by FIA experts, followed by tests, GPDA chairman Alex Wurzand says “there is no reason for its implementation to be held back.”
It maybe downtime for MotoGP but there’s still drama involving last seasons Valentino Rossi – Marc Marquez clash. Honda and the FIM have announced a joint decision to not release telemetry data from the clash between the two riders during the Sepang round of the 2015 season. The clash which resulted in Marquez crashing out during a dramatic battle with title contender Rossi, lead to Rossi being penalised three penalty points. As a result the Italian superstar was forced to start the final Valencia race form the back of the grid putting the 8-time MotoGP Champion at a severe disadvantage to his title rival Jorge Lozenzo. Although Rossi managed to catchup with Lorenzo and Marquez who were leading the race, many believe this clash cost him the championship.
Honda and FIM justified their position to not release the data “so as not to fuel further polemics”. Surely this only serves to further controversy about what really happened during this pivotal moment of the season.
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