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RACE RAP: MONDAY, OCTOBER 4

McLAUGHLIN OUT OF BATHURST

Scott McLaughlin is the newest victim of Australia’s Covid-19 travel restrictions and will not be suiting-up with Shell V-Power Racing Team at Mount Panorama in December.

The former race winner and three-time Supercars champion cannot find the free time needed to travel to Bathurst because of his commitments and preparation to his second season of IndyCar racing with Team Penske.

The loss of McLaughlin is a win for Alex Davison, who will join his brother Will in the #17 Shell Mustang, while Tony D’Alberto will pair with Anton De Pasquale in the #11.

“We knew from the beginning of the season that Scott’s availability to race with us this year would rest on a number of factors, including the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic along with the INDYCAR schedule. Unfortunately, the timing just hasn’t aligned how we’d hoped,” says team boss, Dr Ryan Story.

GOAT WILL BE A DAD

Jamie Whincup will celebrate his retirement from full-time Supercars driving with the arrival of his first child next February.

“Finish up at the end of this year, start a family the start of next year. The timing couldn’t be more perfect,” says Whincup, who is staying private on the name of his partner and the baby’s mother, as well as the sex of the child.

“Always in the back of my mind I wanted kids, but the timing was never right. If the timing is right, it’s probably now.”

FALL AT COTA HURTS GARDNER

Remy Gardner saw his Moto2 championship lead shrink to nine points when he fell at the Circuit of the Americas.

The American race was not a good one for Gardner, whose team mate Raul Fernandez took pole position and went on to win as he continues a successful streak in Moto2.

The big prize at the US Grand Prix went to Marc Marquez, who scored his seventh victory at Austin in Texas and his second of the 2021 season.

WALLACE HAS LANDMARK NASCAR WIN

Bubba Wallace, driving for a team that includes basketball superstar Michael Jordan, has become only the second African-American driver to win a Cup Series race in NASCAR.

His win is the first since Wendell Scott in 1963 for a black racer.

Wallace was ahead when the race at Talladega was stopped because of rain.

EVANS UPSETS THE FINNS

Hometown hero and birthday boy Kalle Rovanpera was the biggest loser in Rally Finland as Elfyn Evans scored a shock win for Toyota at the event known as the Finnish Grand Prix.

Evans’ victory keeps him alive in the World Rally Championship battle with his Yaris team mate Sebastian Ogier, in an event where Ott Tanak and Craig Breen took the minor places for Hyundai.

Molly Taylor, the Australian Extreme-E star, finished 20th in Finland in the final start in a three-rally program with a Ford Fiesta for the factory-backed M-Sport team with a prototype Rally3 car.

INDY 500 TEMPTS ROOKIE RIVALS

NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson and former grand prix racer Romain Grosjean are both aiming to race at the Indianapolis 500 in 2022.

The pair, who battled against Scott McLaughlin for Rookie of the Year honours in IndyCar this year, are both going through the rookie licensing program for the historic race at The Brickyard.

Johnson and Grosjean both avoided Indy this year but are showing enthusiasm about joining the field next year.

AUSSIE YOUNGSTERS JOIN FERRARI

Young karters Jesse Lacey and Costa Toparis have been chosen to compete for a place in the Ferrari Driver Academy.

The pair will travel to Italy for a global shootout at Ferrari’s home in Fiorano as representatives of the Asia-Pacific and Oceania.

Their selection by Motorsport Australia and Ferrari is recognition of their success as karters and also their future potential in single-seater racing.

TARGA RETURNS TO APRIL

The 30th anniversary running of Targa Tasmania will take place in the final week of April in 2022 under a revised plan to avoid any threat from Covid-19.

Targa was originally targeted at an earlier date in March but has been switched to Tuesday, April 26 to Sunday, May 1.

“Our competitors and tour participants come from all over Australia, and people need certainty in planning their travel and confidence that the event will take place. This new schedule buys everyone an additional seven weeks and in our early survey of competitors this was welcomed, seen as a real plus,” says Mark Perry, the CEO of Targa Australia.

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