Whincup, Lowndes lead V8 Supercar title battle to Sydney

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Australia’s V8 Supercars championship will go down to the final race of the season in two weeks at Sydney.

This weekend at Phillip Island, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup split victories in the penultimate round of 2013. But with one race to go, Whincup (pictured) holds a 20-point edge over Lowndes. Bathurst 1000 winner Mark Winterbottom (-124 points) and Will Davison (-223 points) are still in contention for the title as well.

In Race 1, Lowndes took the lead from teammate Whincup with six laps to go and went on to win by one second. But in Race 2, Whincup charged from fifth on the starting grid to the point on Lap 2 and then endured multiple safety car periods before hanging on for the victory.

“It’s all going to come down to the last race,” Whincup said of the championship according to the Supercars’ official web site. “I think it’s a good script and it’s going to be a good battle. It’s not just going to be…us out doing it easy, the other guys will all be in for a scrap.

“There’s no margin really, we have all got an opportunity. It is so easy in Sydney to DNF or have a bad run. The three of us have got equal opportunity.”

The final battleground for Whincup, Lowndes, Winterbottom and Davison will be the Sydney 500 from Dec. 6-8 on a 2.2-mile street circuit that winds through Sydney’s Olympic Park.

Whincup, the defending series champion, will be gunning for his fifth Supercar title, Lowndes his fourth, and Winterbottom and Davison each, their first. It bears noting that Lowndes and Davison split wins in last year’s season-finale at Sydney.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”