Supercars: Auckland Supersprint
Circuit: Pukekohe Park
With the year’s development battle already down the toilet, Holden somehow got more changes approved without the Supercars commission ticking them off, which led to Todd Kelly and Neil Crompton getting fed up and resigning from the Supercars Commission.
This is of course happening because they simply couldn’t admit they monumentally screwed up not checking the development of the Mustang, and are now continually shifting the goalposts to correct their own error.
Race 23 (70 Laps)
After the Mustangs dominated Practice, it was none other than Shane Van Gisbergen who managed to pull the rug out and score pole in front of the loyal Kiwi crowd, and amazingly, he was the only Holden to Qualify inside the Top 6.
McLaughlin was at the end of that Mustang train in 6th, his first start outside the Top 5 since The Bend last year… Which does put into context how good he’s been.
From the start, The Giz retained his lead, while in the midfield, Nick Percat was put into a spin by Jamie Whincup at the hairpin, an incident that was immediately put under investigation by race control, but not actually resolved until after the race.
After the field settled down and some drivers went for the undercut in the pits (With all cars needing to take on 120L of fuel), the Safety Car was brought out on Lap 14, after Frosty Winterbottom stopped at the hairpin, thanks to the Irwin crew failing to put enough fuel in Car #18 to start the race.
Yep, that happened.
T8 short-filled Whincup, moving him up the order, which was now headed by Fabian Coulthard and Anton De Pasquale, and the very quick Red Bull was able to jump into the lead and start building a gap in clear air, while The Giz moved up to 2nd, and eventually claimed the lead when Whincup pitted mid-race.
There was drama to come at Tickford, as Waters emerged from the pits on Lap 40 and immediately found himself in a fight with Mostert, and after going side-by-side into Turn 5, neither drived wanted to yield, they predictably made contact, and although Waters was able to carry on, Mostert was out of the running due to steering damage, costing Tickford at least 2 cars in the Top 5.
Tickford’s woes continued, after Will Davison took his stop and emerged just behind Waters in 4th, the Milwaukee car would be slapped with a 15 second time penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit.
Ultimately, there was no denying The Giz, and he led home Whincup for a glorious Red Bull 1-2, although it was only fleeting, as Jamie would be slapped with a 15-second time penalty for the Percat incident, dropping him to 6th, promoting Waters to 2nd, and putting David Reynolds on the podium, with McLaughlin 4th after a race-long battle.
It does beg the question as to how it took race control the entire damn afternoon to make a decision for something that should’ve resulted in a drive through or a stop-go within a few laps… which would’ve been wiped out by the Safety Car anyway.
As you can see, while Nick did recover to finish 12th, Jamie did of course apologise to the South Aussie for a “Pretty shit” 31st birthday present.
Race 24 (70 laps)
In what seems to be a Pukekohe tradition, Scotty McLaughlin became the latest in a long line of drivers to understeer out of the Dunlop Corner and go off onto the grass, and somehow miss the wall through good luck and good car control.
He eventually started 5th, while Whincup qualified fastest and backed it up in the shootout to start on Pole from a glut of Mustangs led by Lee Holdsworth, his first front row start since 2011.
At the jump, Whincup got away cleanly to gain control of the race from Holdsworth, who pitted on Lap 5 to get the undercut,
On Lap 14, Reynolds lost the clutch and rolled to a stop on track, bringing out the Safety Car, which led to some utterly stupid scenes…. especially with Dave managing to get his car back to the pits by the time the SC was actually on track.
The SC wrongly assumed that Whincup, who had pitted, was the on-track leader (It was McLaughlin, who promptly pitted), which led to Jamie mistakenly passing the SC without the green lights flashing (Bathurst 2015 all over) to catch up, which completely screwed up the running order after Holdsworth and company weren’t waved past by the SC, which waited to pick up Whincup after he came around again, putting them all effectively a lap down.
Whincup got hit with a drive-through, while the Tickford crew of Holdsworth, Waters and Davison were dumped from the Top 10 and left to struggle in the midfield through no fault of their own, which royally pissed off team boss Tim Edwards.
This compilation by /u/GoressenGlover (If you can actually read it) might explain what happened.
The biggest stuff-up since that race at Symmons Plains in 2004 which somehow gave WPS Racing a win.
So as a result of all the calamities, McLaughlin was now in the lead, with the Giz moving up to 2nd, and Mostert to 3rd.
Nick Percat played his hand nicely and had a long second stint, which thanks to clear air, saw him rejoin in 4th, and with 8 laps remaining, the BJR car on fresh rubber was mowing down Mostert, and Gizzy was mowing down Scotty, setting up for a decent finish.
Ultimately, neither driver could find a way past.
It was a classic benefitting from circumstance, but regardless, Scotty took full advantage to bring up a new record of 17 wins in an ATCC season, while The Giz took 2nd to cap off a great afternoon for the record Auckland crowd, also giving him the Jason Richards Trophy, and Mostert picked up his fifth podium at Pukekohe (All of them 3rd placings), which he dedicated to his jibbed teammate Holdsworth.
An absolute shitshow won by McLaughlin- A perfect summary of 2019.
So, Scotty leads by a massive 598 points heading into the Enduro Cup, meaning he can afford one DNF and still be a mile clear, while the big change is that The Giz has jumped from 4th to 2nd, Mostert drops to 3rd, and Coulthard to 4th.
Next Up: THE GREAT RACE- THE BATHURST 1000 in a month!
MotoGP: San Marino and Rimini’s Coast Motorcycle Grand Prix
Circuit: Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
The 350th Grand Prix to be held in Italy since 1949, and as they love doing, the Sea of Yellow swarmed inland and flooded the Adriatic Coast in support of The Doctor for his home race, and he wore a special helmet featuring an Italian flag watermelon and some local pidania flatbread to mark the occasion.
Still doesn’t beat his Donkey helmet.
On track, several riders notably struggled in Friday Practice, especially Jack Miller, who finished in 15th and 16th in both sessions, which meant that for the first time since Catalunya, he would have to take part in Q1 .
If practice wasn’t hard enough, Jack was absolutely nowhere in Q1, and could only qualify 16th, alongside some notable company on the 9th row, in Danillo Petrucci and Jorge Lorenzo.
In Q2, the Top Gun Maverick put his Yamaha on pole for the first time since Qatar, but the big shock was Pol Espargaro recording KTM’s best Quali result for the year (And their best at a dry event) to start from 2nd, with Rookie of the Year moral Fabio Quartararo in 3rd.
After falling in Practice, Marc Marquez could only start from 5th, his worst start of the season… which is like being disappointed that Steve Smith only scored 80.
Even still, Marc gave us some more great entertainment as he once again clashed with The Doctor, as they decided to drag each other down and go racing on their last flying laps, which was started by Marquez passing Rossi on his lap after trying to get a tow, only for the Honda to exceed the track limits, which led to the Doctor getting back at him with a revenge block pass.
Just imagine the Bunga Bunga would have thrown if Marquez had have fallen off.
Despite qualifying 6th, Dovi said post-Saturday that the Bologna Bullets expected to struggle in Misano after a recent test at the track, but looking at the results, it was a bit more than a struggle.
Race (27 laps)
At the start, Vinales got a clean getaway as the Yamahas swamped the KTM, Dovi nearly clipped Rossi after taking a tight line in to Turn 2, and Marquez bought in to the fight for the lead by passing Morbidelli for 3rd.
Further down, Jack made a superb start, jumping up 7 spots to 9th!
The next lap, Vinales made a slight wobble, which allowed Quartararo to make a daring move on the factory Yamaha at the very fast Curvone to take the lead on Lap 3, and the next lap, Marquez kept the passing coming by taking Vinales for 2nd, and the polesitter was soon struggling to keep pace with the leaders, but was comfortably faster than Franco Morbidelli and company in 4th.
Marquez soon began to close in on ‘El Diablo’, who, despite being on an older bike, was comfortably faster than the other Yamahas, further showcasing his rather undeniable talent.
At the halfway mark, Rossi was pressuring Morbidelli, and Alex Rins was pressuring Espargaro for 7th with the Jackass watching them both, but just as Rins got past on Lap 15, his good work undone with a long lap penalty, and then seconds later, the Spaniard fell off his Suzuki, and after that epic win at Silverstone, he had nothing… despite his best efforts to keep going.
With 10 laps to go, The Doctor got past the satellite Yamaha, and considering there was no chance of a podium and no other bike able to catch him, 4th was looking very good.
Marquez continued to stalk the Yamaha for what felt like most of the race, and he looked like he was simply biding his time and saving tyre, but Quartararo, even with the unstoppable force behind him, hardly flinched all afternoon.
On the last lap, No.93 made his move, striking into Turn 1, but Quartararo fought back and regained the lead at Turn 4, only for Marquez to go again and succeed at Turn 6, and this time, the Spaniard was able to cover the Frenchman’s final lunge at Turn 14, which nearly rear-ended the Honda and spark a flash flood of tears.
And that was that, after being nutted on the last lap twice in a row, Marquez learned from his defeats, and got the job done in Valentino’s backyard.
El Diablo sent his stocks skyrocketing with an eye-catching ride, his fourth podium of 2019, and after being so quick all weekend, Vinales scored his fourth podium in 6 races, but it was that 7 lap period where he fell off the pace that came back to cruel his chances of victory.
4 Yamahas in the Top 5, and yet none of them were the winner.
On another note, 9th was the best finish for Jack in any session this weekend, and given the circumstances and struggle for speed, I suppose it’s better than nothing.
It seems that the more entertaining races this season have been the ones where Marquez has actually been thrown a decent challenge- Qatar, Austria, Silverstone, and now San Marino, which is the odd one out, in that Marc held on to win.
That was also the Spaniard’s 77th Grand Prix victory, passing Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood in to 4th on the all-time list, and he lapped up the glorious boos from the sea of yellow below, especially sweet after the events of Saturday.
So as Marquez edges ever closer to title No.6, our Jackass has now passed 100 points on the season for the first time ever!
NEXT RACE: The quick backup- Aragon this weekend!
Moto2: The Remy Rollercoaster
Remy Gardner backed up his good showing in Britain with a promising showing in Qualifying, starting on the second row in 4th, as Fabio Di Giannantonio surprised everyone and scored his first pole in Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
At the start, Gardner held on to 4th spot as Di Giannantonio bolted from pole and led into Turn 1, with Fernandez slotting into 2nd, as Alex Marquez was mugged and dropped to 5th.
Gardner took Thomas Luthi for 3rd on Lap 2, but he nearly lost the front end a few corners later, allowing Luthi back through, but Marquez seized the moment and moved ahead of them both.
The hot conditions in Misano seemingly affected the grip and handling on the SAG Kalex especially (Possibly a chassis problem), as Gardner battled to maintain control putting down the power out of the Tramonto, he spent the rest of the race slowly going backwards, as the action out in front was fantastic, as Marquez took Fernandez to go into 2nd.
On Lap 10, any hopes of consistent results for Remy were shattered once again, when he fell at Turn 1 after losing the rear.
Christ it’s frustrating watching Remy- The ability is clearly there, but he just can’t get anything together race after race.
Anyway, the fun continued on until the last lap, as Augusto Fernandez exceeded track limits and then nutted Di Giannantonio with a block pass to take the lead at Turn 14, and crossed the line to take his third win of the year… but race control investigated the move… before giving it the all clear!