Meeting of champions: Kurt Busch, Lewis Hamilton take part in Monza rally show (PHOTOS)

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Normally the home of Formula One’s Italian Grand Prix, La Pista Magica – Monza – played host to something a bit different this weekend.

The non-championship Monza Rally Show took place over three days, and the event attracted an assortment of top-flight talent from multiple disciplines. One of those drivers was former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, who finished 32nd in his rallying debut.

But while the Outlaw couldn’t find the top of the leaderboard, he was able to meet up with newly-crowned Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton, who did not compete in the main rally but in a special ‘masters show’ on Sunday:

As for Busch’s thoughts on the event, he said in a release from sponsor Monster Energy: “It’s a blast to race in a foreign country and race against some of the world’s best. In the Masters’ Show, I surprised myself in it and I think I closed out my Sunday very strong.”

Hamilton also said that he had a great time, adding that he wanted to “work with my guys to get a car together so I can come back and compete next year – to do some rallying would be great.”

Also among the main rally competitors at Monza were MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi and Red Bull Global Rallycross star/Gymkhana creator Ken Block:

In the end, former F1 pilot Robert Kubica won the rally over Rossi in come from behind fashion. He was down 5.1 seconds to “The Doctor” entering the final stage, but Kubica finished with a flourish and ultimately beat Rossi by 12.5 seconds.

“We took the same tires but I knew already after the first loop that I was quicker than him, for some reason he did not have the same pace as before,” Kubica said in a team release. “I’m very pleased to win, especially for all the guys at the A Style team.

“Yesterday we took the wrong tire choice, which was too hard, but today it was just right. Throughout this rally, the tire choice was very complicated because of the mixed conditions but we managed to get it right most of the time and enjoy a really good fight against a fantastic driver like Valentino, so I am very happy.”

Some more photos from the event:

source: Getty Images
Kurt Busch puts his Ford Fiesta through its paces at Monza. Photo: Getty Images.
source: Getty Images
Kurt Busch tackles one of the old Monza’s legendary banked turns. Photo: Getty Images.
source: Getty Images
New F1 champ Lewis Hamilton greets the Monza fans. Photo: Getty Images.
source: Getty Images
Ken Block, Head Hoonigan in Charge, coming through. Photo: Getty Images.
source: Getty Images
Valentino Rossi – he’s not bad on four wheels, either. Photo: Getty Images.
source: Getty Images
Your winner of the Monza Rally Show, Robert Kubica. Photo: Getty Images.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.