WRC: Latvala claims first win of 2015 at Rally Portugal

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Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala claimed his first win of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship season in Portugal last weekend, ending a barren run of form that had seen him fail to score any points since the first event of the year.

The Volkswagen driver finished 8.2 seconds clear of teammate Sebastien Ogier to clinch his 13th career rally victory and lift himself up to fifth place in the drivers’ championship.

“After the last three rallies some people were doubting if I would come back,” Latvala told wrc.com.

“It was one of the worst situations in my rally career so to come and win here is unique. I really appreciate this victory feeling.”

Defending world champion Ogier did mount a challenge to Latvala on the final day of running, and although he failed to catch the Finn, the Frenchman did enough to extend his lead at the top of the standings to 42 points.

Completing a Volkswagen one-two-three was Andreas Mikkelsen in third place, whilst Rally Mexico winner Kris Meeke continued his strong start to the season by finishing the rally in fourth place.

After missing the last round in Mexico, former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica picked up his first points of the 2015 season by finishing in ninth place for Ford.

The WRC now has a three-week break before Rally Italy, which is another gravel course in Sardinia.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).