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RACE RAP: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

GARDNER HANGS TOUGH AT MISANO

A fighting second place in Italy allowed Remy Gardner to protect his Moto2 series lead despite another win by his team mate and title rival Raul Fernandez.

Starting from the second row, while Fernandoz was off pole, Gardner rode strongly and only a mistake in the final laps prevented him mounting a serious threat at a track which is far from a favourite.

Fellow Aussie Jack Miller was only fifth in the MotoGP main event as his Ducati team mate, Pecco Bagnaia scored back-to-back wins after his breakthrough first win at Aragon in Spain.

ASTON GOES AGAIN

It’s no surprise to see Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll renewed for another year together at the Aston Martin Formula One Team.

The veteran has showed increasing pace and confidence through 2021 after being dumped by Ferrari, while Stroll has been more than speedy enough to satisfy the team’s owner – and his father – Lawrence.

The driver confirmation comes as Aston Martin announces plans for a giant new F1 team base in Britain that will include its own wind tunnel for the first time, across the road from the main gate to the Silverstone grand prix circuit.

MONZA BACK IN THE WRC

The cancellation of Rally Japan, for the second year, means Monza in Italy will again become the grand final of this year’s World Rally Championship.

The first running of a WRC event at Monza was surprisingly good, with a long snowy loop into the nearby Alps as well as predictable short sprints around the giant park in Milan that surrounds the Formula One circuit.

There are two unchanged WRC events before Monza from November 19-21, the classic Rally Finland and then the mixed bitumen-gravel challenge of Rally Spain.

A BIG YEAR FOR INDYCAR

Laguna Seca will host the IndyCar grand final in 2022 at the end of a season which promises an earlier start and better mainstream NBC television coverage with Australia’s Leigh Diffey continuing as the lead commentator.

Scott McLaughlin’s second IndyCar season with Team Penske will include 17 races, starting earlier than usual on the streets of St. Petersburg on February 27 and featuring the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

The full calendar is: February 27, St. Petersburg; March 20, Texas; April 10, Long Beach; May 1, Barber Motorsport Park; May 14, Indianapolis road course; May 29, Indianapolis 500; June 5, Detroit; June 12, Road America; July 3, Mid-Ohio; July 17, Toronto; July 23-23, Iowa double-header; July 30, Indianapolis road course; August 7, Nashville; August 20, St. Louis; September 4, Portland; September 11, Laguna Seca.

FRENCH GRIP FOR MOTOGP

Michelin will continue as the single tyre supplier in MotoGP racing for at least the next three years.

It will complete a decade-long deal with Dorna Sports, the MotoGP promoter, as Michelin extends a deal that began in 2016.

The French tyre maker boasts its rubber has helped produced some of the closest finishes in the history of top-level motorcycle racing, with 10 of the closest 15 finishes of all time since 2018 including four in 2021.

AUDI READY FOR TCR AUSTRALIA IN 2022

The all-new Audi RS3 LMS TCR is an early entry for the 2022 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia series.

The local Audi race base, Melbourne Performance Centre, will land the car ahead of the new season after dominating this year’s TCR championship with Chaz Mostert in the previous generation of RS3.

The good looking newcomer has a range of upgrades including a new safety seat for the driver and an F1-style steering wheel, as Audi extends a program that has seen it build 180 TCR racers since 2016 for more than 300 individual race wins and 55 championship titles worldwide.

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