Hinchcliffe vaults, tangos into DWTS finals as Burgess returns to action

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On a night when past “Dancing with the Stars” champion Helio Castroneves was in attendance, his Verizon IndyCar Series contemporary James Hinchcliffe made his entrance into next week’s finals.

Hinchcliffe and dance partner Sharna Burgess, who made a welcome return to competition this week after being sidelined for two weeks with a knee injury, will be among four teams still active ahead of next week’s two-night season finale.

Other contestants still with a shot at the Mirror Ball Trophy include past Detroit Lions star wideout Calvin Johnson, Gold-medal winning Olympian Laurie Hernandez and actress and country music singer Jana Kramer. Terra Jole was eliminated from the competition on Monday.

Hinchcliffe’s “Team Stop and Go” returned to full strength this weekend with Burgess back after a two-week hiatus. So naturally, for her return, she choreographed a crazy first dance where she’d be blindfolded and trust Hinchcliffe to guide her through.

Rehearsal didn’t entirely go according to plan, as you’ll see from the below video Hinchcliffe posted on Facebook:

But when it came time for the two to perform their Argentine Tango, Hinchcliffe and Burgess were back on form as they have been most of this season. The pair got a 29/30 from the judges for their score, with Bruno Tonioli saying they’d “turned the Argentine tango into the Argentine Grand Prix.”

Then, the opportunity arose for Burgess’ fill-in dancer – Jenna Johnson – to reunite with Hinchcliffe as part of a jive trio number.

This one even showcased the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in all its glory (albeit in base 2014 Dallara DW12 show car form, rather than with full Honda aero kit adorning, but that’s a particular) on the dance floor.

And all three members of “Team Stop and Go” – Hinchcliffe inadvertently led off the intro to the dance calling them a “threesome” – rocked the jive for a perfect 30/30 score.

Here’s some still takes from the first ever race car on DWTS performance, which as Castroneves’ then-dance partner and current judge Julianne Hough joked Monday night, “seriously increased the budget” compared to when she was on the show.

The finals are next week.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.