WTCC

MULLER AND HUFF ON EQUAL POINTS AFTER USA… WTCC drivers treated American fans to a breathtaking show on the occasion of the championship’s first visit to Sonoma and the United States.

Both races were eventful. Yvan Muller and Rob Huff shared the victory honours and their results also made the fight for the world championship as hot as ever. The two Chevrolet drivers are now on equal points with only six races to go.
It is easy to predict that the battle will go to the wire at Macau once again.
If Huff was the happiest man in the paddock for having matched Muller’s point tally on top of the Drivers’ Championship, Norbert Michelisz too had reasons to rejoice. The young Hungarian was a pain in the neck for the Chevrolet cars in both races and eventually claimed two podium results and stretched his leadership in the Yokohama Trophy.
Gabriele Tarquini and Alain Menu tried their best and never gave up. However, their hopes of achieving great results vanished when they collided at the start of the first race. The Italian had the consolation of a podium in Race 2, while the Swiss saw his hopes of staying in contention for the title fight seriously jeopardized.
Among those who contributed to entertain the Californian fans a few deserve to be mentioned: Tom Coronel completed two great recoveries from twentieth on the grids to eight and fifth; Alex MacDowall chased the top drivers in both races; Tiago Monteiro finished twice in the points on his last appearance with Sunred before switching to Honda; Tom Boardman scored points in both races; Franz Engstler lulled into the dream of winning Race 2 before Muller brusquely woke him up…
The championship takes a one month break, while cars and parts are being shipped to Japan. Rounds 19 and 20 will take place at Suzuka on October 21.

BTCC

SHEDDEN TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AFTER
SHARING WINS AT ROCKINGHAM WITH PLATO-

Jason Plato and Gordon Shedden shared the wins in today’s three exhilarating Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham circuit. Two of the wins went the way of Scotsman Shedden who has now taken over the championship lead as the title race stays in the county for its penultimate three races of the season at Silverstone in a fortnight (6/7 October).
Plato had taken pole position with a new qualifying lap record on Saturday in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6. He duly went on to dominate today’s first race, held in dry conditions, and set a new race lap record en route. Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan and Honda Yuasa Racing Team star Shedden were second and third in their Honda Civics.

But then conditions changed dramatically as heavy rain settled in for the rest of the day, this enabling Shedden and Neal to take a pair of dream 1-2 results for their team in both the second and third races. Plato finished behind them on each occasion in third.

As a result Shedden leaves Rockingham with a three-point lead over Neal. Plato is a further 29 behind with a maximum of 134 still available from the season’s final six races – three each at Silverstone in two weeks and Brands Hatch, Kent a fortnight later (Sun 21 Oct).
Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, who has now won eight times in 2012, commented: “I’m delighted – it seems ages since we won a race so to score a pair of 1-2s is just great for everyone in our team. The rain certainly helped us today as Jason had been looking very strong if it had stayed dry. Importantly we’ve maintained a decent gap to him as we’re expecting him to have the upper hand at Silverstone.”

Worcestershire’s Neal, the reigning Champion who has driven this weekend in pain from a broken hand, said: “I’m just pleased to get through the weekend. Gordon was unstoppable in those conditions but a pair of seconds and a sixth are probably better than I thought was possible. We’re expecting Silverstone to be tough but this really helps thinking ahead to Brands Hatch.”

Oxford’s Plato added: “We’ve managed to hold the gap to the Honda drivers, even take a little nibble out of them, at what is one of the strongest circuits for their car so I’m satisfied with that. Silverstone is going to be all-important, though – ultimately I want us to go to the final round so there’s a proper showdown for the people watching.”
Meanwhile Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team continue to dominate the Manufacturer/Constructor and outright HiQ Teams championships respectively. Jordan has moved further clear at the top of the Independent Drivers Championship. And his Pirtek Racing squad has also regained the Independent Teams Trophy lead.
Elsewhere several drivers were punished by officials for on-track indiscretions today. Race 1: Jeff Smith, fined £500 and three penalty points on his competition licence following an incident with Aron Smith. Race 1: Matt Neal, verbal warning following an incident with Rob Austin. Race 2, Jason Plato, verbal warning for performing practice starts.

THE POINT by Minardi

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX

The fight of Alonso and Ferrari against McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus is the leitmotiv of this year racing season. One by one, the rivals of Ferrari aim at going off with points. Reliability plays the main role again and today bad luck has been at Hamilton ’s side, while in Monza was at Vettel’s side.

It’s so positive to escape unharmed from a race such as the Singapore Gp, which was featured by many accidents . It’s positive especially if you get a third position after spending an uneasy weekend start. Maranello has to seek after some tenth to support Alonso, as the Italian team can’t always rely on miracles. We still have four contenders to the world title and Ferrari is on 29 points over Vettel, so, positioning could be enough, even if they have to improve performances and research.

Talking about feelings, the Singapore Gp didn’t keep up with the racing season we’ve been experiencing, even if we saw some fights concerning tyres changing and accidents, especially the one involving Schumacher. The weekend was in Hamilton ‘ hands, the only driver who was able to tackle the overwhelming power of the Red Bull’s German driver. After tackling Vettel’s supremacy, driving an amazing lap in qualifying, the Englishman was leading the race. If he hadn’t had a hydraulic problem, he surely would have won the race. To keep up with the English driver, Vettel was risking a lot. Massa handled a good race. Unfortunately, if a driver starts from a bottom row, he is likely to run into a car clash. After getting back on track in the last position and changing strategy, he was able to get up to the 8th position, making good passes , as well . The Brazilian driver is probably getting back to his old self again.

I would have expected something more from Lotus running on soft and super-soft tyres, but maybe the car’ performances are better when on medium. The team saw its two drivers positioning in the top 10. Grosjean was Raikkonen’s second guide. The Finnish driver holds the world standing’s third position although he hasn’t score a win yet. We have many outsiders such as Di Resta and Maldonado who, relying on competitive cars, may act as a balance for points distribution. The Sauber has got us used to its ups and downs. The Swiss team showed to be more competitive on hard and medium tyres. Using that kind of tyres you can even afford to deploy more risky strategies which sometimes can pay off with good performances.

A honest race for Rosberg who leads Mercedes towards the 5th place. This fact should give us pause. If the team had “two Rosberg”, it could strive for the first four places. The reaction of Technicians toward Schumacher’ mistake was meaningful, so I think It’s time to change, even If Hamilton shift to Mercedes will be so difficult. Over the last three years, the McLaren team has been the one who got the greatest number of successes. If the three-pointed star team wants to improve, it will have to support Rosberg with a promising young driver ( i.e. Di Resta) or take a look around.