SH Rallycross/DRR extends WIX Filters partnership

Photo: SH Rallycross
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Longtime SH Rallycross/DRR partner WIX Filters continues with the team in 2016, the team announced Thursday.

A full release is below:

SH Rallycross/DRR is excited to announce WIX® Filters as a primary sponsor for three races during the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercar championship series. The No. 07 SH Racing Ford Fiesta, driven by Jeff Ward, will sport WIX livery in Daytona on June 19, Seattle on September 17 and during the final weekend of the season in Los Angeles.

In addition, WIX, a sponsor of the team since its debut at the 2013 Los Angeles X Games, will serve as a major associate sponsor for the remaining races, providing filters to the team and branding for the Ford Fiesta.

“We’re thrilled to have WIX Filters back with us for a third season in Red Bull Global Rallycross,” said Dennis Reinbold, co-owner of SH Rallycross/DRR. “WIX has been and will continue to be a tremendously valued partner to our entire Rallycross operation. We are looking forward to competing all season in 2016 and want express our deepest gratitude to the entire team at WIX Filters for their trust and commitment to our Red Bull Global Rallycross programs.”

WIX Filters’ products include oil, air and fuel filters that have been track tested and proven in all levels of stock car, dirt track, off-road and drag racing. WIX uses motorsports as a grueling testing ground for scenarios involving high temperatures, fluctuations in pressure and rapid breakdown of engine oil.

“Ward is a seasoned driver with remarkable racing experience, making him a perfect fit for WIX,” said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. “We’re excited to see his legacy and fan base grow as part of this series, and look forward to another season partnering with SH Rallycross/DRR.”

Ward was recently announced as the driver of the No. 07 Ford Fiesta ST for the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season and is a member of both the Motorsports Hall of Fame and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. He is a three-time X Games medalist (two gold), has four top-five Indianapolis 500 finishes, two Super Moto championships and seven AMA Motocross championships. The 2016 season will be Ward’s first full-time Red Bull Global Rallycross season after making his series debut in 2015 with three starts.

“I am honored to be representing WIX for the 2016 season,” said Ward. “I look forward to continuing the success they have enjoyed with the team the last two seasons and competing for the championship this year.”

SH Rallycross/DRR is entering its fourth season of competition and third full season (ran one race, the X Games Los Angeles in 2013). The team finished fourth in the championship standings the last two seasons. Last year, the team had its best season with four podium performances, including a win in Washington D.C. It was also the only supercar team to make every main (final) event.

SH Rallycross/DRR previously announced that the No. 07 car will have primary sponsorship from MET-Rx at eight of twelve Red Bull GRC races this year and major associate backing from 360-degree video camera, 360fly Inc., for all twelve races.

The 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season opens May 21 in Phoenix, AZ.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.