a round up of who, what and when
The race is on
We always love the start of the motorsport season. New drivers, new teams so much potential and so many surprises waiting to happen. As ever NGK sponsored teams are right in the thick of it and pushing for titles.
For M-Sport the season got off to a blinding start with a win in the most famous rally of all, the Monte Carlo. Newboy (not sure if we can really call him a new boy) Sebastien Ogier proving why he and M-Sport are a force to be reckoned with. With five rallies completed Sebastien still leads the drivers table with 102 points in his WRC Fiesta, and M-sport the team stands with a 22 point lead over Hyundai. Can they maintain the momentum? Will the old adage prove true – to finish first, first you have to finish? Rallye Portugal in a few weeks time marks pretty much the half way stage of the season so it will be interesting to see the drivers and teams relative positions as they head into the second half of the season, but who would be bold enough to bet against Sebastien taking another title to add to his four?
Another Sebastian has been setting the world of F1 alight as Ferrari caught out just about everyone, including of course Mercedes, with a storming start to a season which many thought might be a one horse race with the Silver Arrows tripping over each other as they race for another title. But no. The Prancing Horses have stormed out of their stable already netting Vettel two wins with his Mercedes opponents sharing a victory each. With four races down the season isn’t even through the first quarter so it’s a long way to go, but with Bottas showing his mettle in no uncertain terms, the Stuttgart team might find their own drivers battle could allow Vettel to deliver a long awaited championship to the men from Modena.
Possibly the hardest fought motorsport series in the world, BTCC has started as usual with a bang and with honours being spread fairly evenly among the drivers and teams. But NGK sparked BMW/WSR are at the moment leading the pack with two races gone and driver Colin Turkington is holding second place in the drivers’ table.With another nine rounds to go it really is anyone’s guess who might take the title though it has to be said that the BMWs of Turkington and Rob Collard and are looking pretty mighty at the moment with several podium finishes between them.
Three races into the season and current champion Marquez has claimed one win to Viñales’ two, yet the Doctor, Valentino Rossi is at the top of table with 56 points. With the Spanish Grand Prix looming large Rossi will be looking to repeat his win last year so must be reckoning his name could be in the frame yet again. Marquez will obviously have something to say about that in front of his home crowd, but Maverick Viñales is sure to be there or thereabouts too so it feels like any of the front three could take the top step of the podium. As ever the racing in MotoGP is as close as it can get.
After a race to the wire finish last year, four times World Champion Greg Hancock takes to the track to defend his title and aim for a fifth which would firmly cement his name in the pantheon of the greats who have ridden the cinders. With 2017 declared to be his speedway swansong, all eyes will be on the much loved and highly respected American to see if he does indeed have one more title left in him. Alongside Greg there are another two riders we’ve got a close eye on. First up is Russian Emil Sayfutdinov. Emil who is the youngest ever rider to win a Grand Prix, was forced to pull out of the World Championship due to an injury in August 2013. 2017 will mark a long-awaited return of this precious talent to the championship. Next up is Matej Zagar who will certainly have all eyes on him as he is the local lad and will doubtless be looking to open his account at the opening event of the season in his homeland Slovenia.
Shane ‘Shakey Byrne’ is defending his fifth title and aiming to add to his record breaking tally but it won’t be easy. The JG Speedfit Kawasakis of Haslam and Ellison have started the season on a roll with wins in the first three rounds at Outlon Park, Donnington and Brands so Shakey and his Ducati have got some catching up to do. Taking a win at Oulton Park has allowed him to open his account in earnest so the race is well and truly on in BSB Superbikes.
Andy ‘Gus” Robinson, winner of last year’s Pro Mod Championship has as usual set his sights on one thing. Winning. The first meeting of the season saw a strong performance at the opening meet, the 2017 Festival of Power at Santa Pod. Andy’s NGK Sparked orange Camaro, a great favourite with the fans, is changing colour this season and will soon be sporting a new red wrap which will hopefully be worth a tenth or two through the traps.
So that’s a quick round up of just some of the action part way into what promises to be a great season of motorsport. If we missed you out just let us know and we’ll try to include you in the next racing update in a few months time.