It was another great weekend for Motegi Racing wheels teams around the globe by scoring two major event victories and finishing second in a major championship.
Fredrik Aasbo finished second in the season finale at Irwindale in his Papadakis Racing Hankook Scion tC and narrowly missed capturing the Formula Drift championship.
Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST driver Andreas Bakkerud won the FIA World Rallycross race in Turkey.
FIA World Endurance Championship
Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni may have had their streak of four straight pole positions broken in the 6 Hours of Fuji but they drove their No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia equipped with Motegi Racing wheels to their third FIA World Endurance Championship victory of the season. They finished 2.9 seconds ahead of the team No. 71 Ferrari 458 Italia of Davide Rigon and James Calado.
Vilander and Bruni increased their Drivers championship lead to 50 points, and their victory strengthened the No. 51 car’s hold on the Team Championship lead and Ferrari’s lead over Porsche in the GTE Manufacturers standings, 200-171.
AF Corse dedicated the victory to injured Formula One driver Jules Bianchi. “This is a deserved victory that we would like to dedicate to Jules,” Bruni said. “It was a very hard race. We took some risks at the start and despite a 30-second penalty we managed to make it back up to the front of the pack and stay there.”
Three races remain on the WEC calendar. Next is the 6 Hours of Shanghai Nov. 2 in China.
Aasbo Is Runner-up in Formula Drift at Irwindale
Driving the Motegi Racing wheels equipped Hankook Scion tC prepared by Papadakis Racing, Fredrik Aasbo beat points leader Chris Forsberg for the fourth time this season and finished as runner-up in both the season finale event at Irwindale, California, and in the Formula Drift championships.
Entering the event, Forsberg led Aasbo in the championship chase by 26 points. Aasbo and Forsberg would meet in the Top 4 to control their championship destiny and Aasbo won one of the tightest battles of the evening, but he needed to win the entire event to win the championship. But Aasbo lost the Irwindale finale to Daigo Saito, and finished 11.5 points behind Forsberg in the season championship standings.
“Taking the win in Long Beach and holding the lead throughout the season to the Finals only to basically lose to Aasbo every time we went up against him. He was our kryptonite all season long,” Forsberg said. “We were able to hold him off just enough to take the championship home.”
One of the key moments of the Formula Drift season came in the season-opener at Long Beach, Forsberg won and Aasbo got beat in the Round of 16. Aasbo was unable to overcome that early point deficit despite winning at New Jersey and Texas Motor Speedway.
“We are disappointed at not winning the championship this year,” Aasbo said, “but now we’re even more motivated for next year.”
FIA World Rallycross
Olsbergs MSE driver Andreas Bakkerud was back on top this weekend, scoring a win in his Motegi Racing wheels equipped Ford Fiesta ST at the penultimate round of the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship in Turkey.
Bakkerud, who celebrated his 23rd birthday at the circuit on Friday, put in a consistently strong performance on the technical track as he advanced through the heats to the final. There, he battled hard to move from third to first and take the checkered flag.
"Winning here in Turkey was very good birthday present," said Bakkerud. "To come back with victory after struggling for a few races feels really good for the whole Olsbergs MSE Ford team."
The team has scored 11 World RX Supercar podiums so far this year, including three overall wins. Bakkerud scored his first victory of the year in May at the World RX of Great Britain, while teammate Reinis Nitiss earned his first career win just a few weeks later in Norway. Bakkerud and rival Petter Solberg are the only two drivers this season who have achieved multiple event wins.
FIA Formula One
Sahara Force India scored only one point in the Grand Prix of Russia and fell from fifth to sixth in the FIA Formula One Constructors championship standings. Sergio Perez finished 10th and earned the final point awarded in the race while Niko Hulkenberg finished 12th.
McLaren Mercedes earned 22 points to climb past Sahara Force India to fifth in the Constructors championship 143-123, and Kevin Magnussen, who finished fifth in one of the McLaren Mercedes, jumped past Perez to 10th in the Drivers championship. Hulkenberg is eighth with 76 points and Perez is now 11th with 47 points, two points behind Magnussen.