THE MOTORSPORT LAP
Hamilton victorious as Kyalami gets good news
The Hungarian Grand Prix this past weekend gave Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton a further lead in the championship
The Hungarian Grand Prix is one that is particularly memorable for Lewis Hamilton as this was the race that he first won at the helm of the Mercedes-AMG in 2013 having switched from McLaren.
It was jubilation once again for the Brit as he managed to lead from pole to finish in top podium spot, this following the previous weekend’s emphatic victory at the German circuit where he started in 14th position to ultimately win the race.
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) finished second ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton leads the championship with 218 points, followed by Vettel and Raikkonen. As the season goes on a break, the jostle for the championship will continue on August 26 at the Belgian Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
It was also the World Rally Championship in Finland this past weekend. A masterful drive by Ott Tanak resulted in an impressive victory for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team. Tanak sealed the Rally Finland win in emphatic style by claiming his 12th stage win of the weekend on the final Power Stage, gaining five bonus points.
Second position was clinched by the team of Mads Ostberg and navigator, Torsten Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC), while Jari-Matti Latvala and navigator, Mikka Anttila (Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC) finished third overall. The next race will be the Rally of Germany from August 16 to 19.
Meanwhile, the Intercontinental GT Challenge 24-Hours took place at in Belgium where BMW scored a one-two win, with Tom Blomqvist in the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 winning from pole in the 70th edition of the race, but it is Audi leading the 2018 Challenge, of which the Belgian endurance was the second round.
This follows a superb third place in the race for South African drivers Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde (Audi Sport R8) as well as fourth for Bathurst-winner Robin Frijns (Audi Sport Team) who remains on top in the drivers’ standings.
Still on the Intercontinental GT Challenge, great news emerged this past weekend at the Spa-Franchorchamps race that the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit in SA will host the 9-Hour race finale of the 2019 season, on November 1 and 2.
The last 9-Hour race was held at the circuit in 1973 and although there have been a variety of other endurance races thereafter, such as the 1,000km and 6-Hours races, this is the actual return to form of the 9-Hour format.
Explaining how the return to SA occurred, Stephane Ratel, of SRO Motorsports, which organises the Intercontinental GT Challenge, said at the recent Spa announcement: "I was with an old friend from SA and told him I would love to go to the new Kyalami and he said I should call Toby Venter, the owner of the track, which is what I did. I went to meet with Toby and saw the superb new circuit. I said it would be sad to have such a tool and no major international event and the deal was done!"
Says Venter: "We are delighted that the completely rebuilt Kyalami facility has been so well received by people in the top echelons of global motor racing and I am pleased that the first major international race will see a return of the 9-Hour endurance race that was such a favourite with fans and drivers in the past."