Honda Motorsports Round-Up: June 24-25

By - Honda F1 Formula One MotoGP PWC Pirelli World Challenge IndyCar Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Honda Racing has been busy this past weekend.

It was a relatively slow prior weekend fro Honda, with the 24 Hours of Le mans being the big news. However, this weekend saw a burst of big-time racing for Honda. Let’s look at the action, from Formula 1 to the World Touring Car Championships.

Formula 1 at Baku, Azerbaijan

Fernando Alonso and McLaren-Honda finally put points on the board in 2017! Despite running as high as fifth place in a bizarre attrition-filled race, Alonso had to settle for ninth place and two points. That amounts to a solid result after starting 19th on the grid. Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne finished 12th of 13 starters.

McLaren-Honda now sits three points behind Sauber-Ferrari at the bottom of the F1 standings. Alonso has the fewest points scored of any full-season driver. Although, Jolyon Palmer, Marcus Ericsson, and Vandoorne have yet to score in 2017. Honda F1 Formula One MotoGP PWC Pirelli World Challenge IndyCar Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

For the third time since 2014, Honda powered the overall winner at Pikes Peak. The brand also took the second-place finisher to the race’s summit. Romain Dumas in his heavily modified Norma M20 clocked an impressive 9:05.672, taking take back-to-back wins and his third overall to go with a 2014 victory.

RealTime Racing boss Peter Cunningham made his rookie debut at PPIHC in the ex-Pirelli World Challenge RealTime Acura TLX GT. The all-wheel drive monster qualified second and took a Pikes Peak Open class victory with a 9:33.797 run. That was good enough for second place overall.

Hondas also took home podiums in Time Attack 1 (3rd – James Robinson, 2017 Acura NSX), Lightweight Motorcycle (3rd – Darryl Lujan, 2013 Honda CFR450R), and Quad (2nd – Jeremy Harbison, 2005 Honda TRX450).

Verizon IndyCar Series at Road America

Despite Team Penske-Chevy qualifying in the top four slots at Road America, Scott Dixon took home the win for Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing. The victory marked the first for the Kiwi driver since his horrific crash at the Indianapolis 500 a month ago.

Good fuel saving early in the race put Dixon into second place on a restart after the races halfway point. From there, Dixon made a brilliant outside pass on Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden into Turn 1. He then held off Newgarden for the remaining 24 laps to take his first victory of 2017. That also puts the Ganassi driver in the championship lead with 379 points over Penske-Chevy drivers Simon Pagenaud (345) and Helio Castronves (342).

MotoGP at Assen TT

While Marc Marquez took home a hard-fought third-place finish for Repsol Honda at the famed Dutch motorbike circuit, “The Doctor” Valentino Rossi won for Yamaha in dramatic fashion. The race included a bit of everything from a spectacular crash by championship leader Maverick Vinales to rain on the final lap. In the end, Rossi won his 115th motorcycle grand prix more than 20 years after his first victory.

Marquez fended off LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso by mere hundredths of a second at the stripe for the final podium spot.

Pirelli World Challenge at Road America

While team boss Cunningham was racing at Pikes Peak, RealTime Racing were racing at their home track, Road America, in NSX GT3s. Driver Ryan Eversley swept the weekend in 2016 with the TLX GT. However, some tough luck meant no repeat for Eversley or teammate Peter Kox this year.

Kox finished 5th in Race 1 after early running in a podium position. Eversley meanwhile engaged in some fantastically close racing with Bryan Sellers (K-Pax McLaren 650S) and Johnny O’Connell (Cadillac ATS-V) and came home 9th.

Race 2 unfortunately saw Kox taken out in an incident involved Jon Fogarty in the GAINSCO Porsche 911 along with Eversley. The crash tore up Kox’s NSX GT3 and Fogarty’s Porsche, although Eversley continued on to finish 8th place.

World Touring Car Championship at Vila Real

Norbert Michelisz took his first WTCC win at the Portuguese street circuit in Race 2 of the weekend in his Honda Civic. Additionally, championship leader Tiago Monteiro scored a pair of podiums in front of his countryman. This marked the first use of a “joker lap,” like that used in rallycross, for the WTCC. Monteiro credited an advantageous use of the joker lap for passing two cars on the way to second place in Race 1.

[Sources: McLaren F1, RealTime Racing]

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