Vettel able to clinch world championship in Japan

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After winning the Korean Grand Prix today, Sebastian Vettel has given himself the chance to clinch his fourth world title at next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Vettel dominated proceedings in Korea despite two safety car periods bunching the field and giving Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean a chance of catching the Red Bull. Crucially for Vettel, his success coincided with Fernando Alonso’s worst result since the Monaco Grand Prix back in May as the Ferrari driver could only finish sixth.

As a result, Vettel’s lead in the drivers’ championship has been extended to 77 points with just 125 left to play for. Therefore, for the championship to be decided at Suzuka:

  • Vettel must win the Japanese Grand Prix to stand any chance of clinching his fourth title at Suzuka.
  • Alonso must finish no higher than ninth.

This would see Vettel’s lead break the 100 point mark and give him a fourth championship, joining an exclusive club of drivers with four or more titles that currently has just three members: Alain Prost (4), Juan Manuel Fangio (5) and Michael Schumacher (7).

Should Alonso finish higher than ninth, the championship race will continue to India (the race that we have predicted Vettel will be crowned champion). However, it is becoming more and more of an inevitability that the German driver will once again be celebrating come the end of the season and he will proudly wear the number ‘1’ on his car as Formula One enters a new era in 2014 with the introduction of new engines and new regulations.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.