RC Enerson confirmed for Indy Lights with Schmidt Peterson

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Photo: SPM

USF2000 veteran R.C. Enerson will move up to Indy Lights in 2015, and do so with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

The young American is the team’s second confirmed driver, along with previously announced Ethan Ringel.

Enerson had his first Indy Lights test at Palm Beach International Raceway earlier this week.

“SPM is a great organization,” Enerson said in a team release. “Surrounding myself with experienced team members, where there is chance to advance up to the Verizon IndyCar Series within the team, is ideal. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

He moves up after three seasons in USF2000. This past year, he had a breakout season with the single-car, family-run Team E (led by father Neil Enerson) where he won the preseason Cooper Tires Winterfest and came second in the full-season championship to Florian Latorre.

“I’m sure people will be very surprised at how different this new car is from the previous Indy Lights car,” Enerson said. “It’s easier to drive but harder to handle. It will take more patience, as there is less throwing the car around and more smooth driving to keep the car calm.”

After this announcement, expect SPM to have at least one and potentially two more driver announcements for the 2015 Indy Lights season.

Sebastien Ogier in driver’s seat for sixth straight World Rally Championship title

Sebastien Ogier leads the way in the WRC title chase. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) — Thierry Neuville finished the sixth stage of Rally Australia on Friday without a rear left tire, damaging his chances of catching five-time defending champion Sebastien Ogier for the World Rally Championship title.

The Belgian driver entered the rally just three points behind Ogier in the closest title fight in 15 years.

He held the upper hand on his French rival, building a near-10 second gap through the first five stages at Coffs Harbour before hitting a chicane and finishing the stage with only three tires on his Hyundai.

Neuville was fortunate the puncture occurred late enough in the day to finish all six forestry stages and avoid a retirement. But the mistake cost him 40 seconds and gave Ogier, who is 33 seconds ahead of him, a clear run at his sixth straight championship.

In his last start with Ford before a move to Citroen next year, Ogier struggled as the first to drive the dusty, slippery forest routes.

“I pushed like crazy, I was on the limit over the jump and everywhere, I can’t do (any) more,” Ogier said. “I was on the limit.”

With Ogier on sweeping duties the back markers flourished, and Mads Ostberg took the lead in his return to the series.

Ostberg was forced to miss the previous round in Spain to make way for rally winner and nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb, who was making the last of his three guest appearances for Citroen.

Now back in the seat, Ostberg leads Jari-Matti Latvala by 6.8 seconds in the Australian rally, with sixth-stage winner Craig Breen in third.

Ogier was seventh, 38.2 seconds off the pace, but only needs to finish ahead of Neuville to claim the championship title. Neuville is in 10th place after six stages.

Roles will reverse on Saturday, with Ogier to start further back in the field and do his best on cleaner roads to make up the day-one deficit before Sunday’s final stages.

Andreas Mikkelsen, the 2016 Rally Australia champion, was an early dropout after rolling into a ditch in his Hyundai. Mikkelsen had only just avoided a tractor that had found its way onto the course.

Former winner Molly Taylor and co-driver Malcolm Read were also forced out of their event when their Subaru hit a hay bale at high speed on the morning’s second stage. Both reported soreness but suffered no serious injuries.

The 24-stage rally totals 319 kilometers (197 miles). Ten stages are scheduled Saturday with the final six on Sunday, most of them through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.