IndyCar Driver Preview: James Jakes

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#16 James Jakes

  • Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
  • Engine: Honda
  • Sponsors: Acorn Stairlifts
  • 2012: 22nd place, No Top Fives

2012 WRAP: Like his rookie campaign, 2012 was about gathering more top-level experience for the Englishman. His results were decidedly mid-pack (average finish of 16.7) and five DNFs along the way didn’t help his cause, but he did have a couple of really solid efforts at Texas (where he rose from 21st at the start to finish 10th) and at Toronto (where he soared from 24th to come away eighth).

2013 OUTLOOK: Jakes made a big jump two years ago from GP3 to the IZOD IndyCar Series, and has had to undergo an extended learning process. Now, he’ll try to make those lessons pay off with RLL, which was competitive last season and should give Jakes a solid opportunity. A big key to 2013 success could be how he meshes with veteran engineer Eddie Jones, who comes over from KV Racing Technology and engineered the late Dan Wheldon’s Indianapolis 500 and series championship victories in 2005.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”