WORLD FIRST FOR YARIS IN CANBERRA
Harry and Lewis Bates gave Toyota a landmark result in their home event, the National Capital Rally, in Canberra.
They finished 1-2 in the worldwide debut of the Toyota Yaris AP4 after a trouble-free run in the all-new three-cylinder rally weapon.
Older brother Harry was never headed in the two-day contest and Lewis backed him up, with their co-drivers John McCarthy and Anthony McLaughlin, and the winning margin was more than 40 seconds.
Third place went to former Australian champion Nathan Quinn in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo but it was not a totally trouble-free event for Toyota, as Richie Dalton crashed in the Yaris that was previously run by the factory Neal Bates Motorsport team.
MCLAUGHLIN SETTLES IN AT INDY
Scott McLaughlin ran laps at more than 220 miles-an-hour – 350km/h – as he settled into the challenge of the Indianapolis 500.
During pre-season testing at The Brickyard he was towards the bottom of the top 20 overall but recorded one of the fastest laps without a tow from another car.
“I love this place. The sensation of speed, hearing the wind, setting up for the corners and the way it funnels down going into Turn 1. There’s no place like it and I’m so excited to be part of it,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin’s team mate at Team Penske, Josef Newgarden, was quickest during the two-day test.
ROME RACE PRODUCES E-PRIX VARIETY
DS Techcheetah and Mercedes-EQ split the wins in the Rome E-Prix double-header on the streets of the Italian capital.
Jean-Eric Vergne was the first winner, ahead of Sam Bird and Mitch Evans from Jaguar, while Stoffel Vandoorne rebounded from a first-race crash to win the second event ahead of Alexander Sims of Mahindra and Pascal Wehrlein of Porsche.
The Rome results mean Bird and Evans are sitting 1-2 at the top of the Season 7 standings for Formula E, in front of Robin Frijns of Envision Virgin Racing.
HULKENBERG COULD BE RACING FOR ASTON MARTIN
Sebastian Vettel is facing even more pressure at Aston Martin as grand prix super-sub Nico Hulkenberg has arrived as the team’s reserve driver.
Vettel was underwhelming in pre-season testing and was clearly out-performed by his team mate Lance Stroll at the F1 season opener in Bahrain.
Now Aston has a proven performer it can slot into the car as Hulkenberg was a stand-out during three guest drives at Aston – then called Racing Point – during the 2020 season.
PRODUCTION CARS BACK TO BATHURST
The grand final of this year’s national production car series will be at Mount Panorama.
The five-round series will open at Sydney Motorsport Park on May 1-2 before moving to Morgan Park (June 25-27), Sandown (September 10-12) and The Bend (October 15-17) before the grand final at the Bathurst International (November 26-28).
The APC decider is part of the program for the Australian Racing Group that will include the Bathurst 500 – likely to be a pair of two-driver races over 250 kilometres – at the end of this year’s SuperCheap Auto TCR Australia Series.