Neuville wins Tour of Corsica rally as Ogier finishes second

Getty Images
0 Comments

BASTIA, Corsica (AP) Belgian driver Thierry Neuville extended his overnight lead to comfortably win the Tour of Corsica rally on Sunday, with world champion Sebastien Ogier finishing nearly one minute behind in second place.

Neuville became the fourth driver to win in as many races this season, suggesting an unpredictable campaign to come after years of dominance from Ogier and his predecessor Sebastien Loeb.

Neuville had won three of Saturday’s four stages to lead Ogier by 38.9 seconds overnight and padded out that advantage to win by 54.7. Spaniard Dani Sordo was 56 behind Neuville in third.

Sunday’s ninth and penultimate stage – a long 54-kilometer (33-mile) trek from Antisanti to Poggio di Nazza – gave Ogier an opportunity to close the gap on Neuville.

Instead, he lost more time due to an electrical problem, finishing in seventh. Neuville won stage 9 to extend his lead, while Sordo leapfrogged Ogier.

Neuville was in a comfortable position heading into the 10th and final special of the race, and did not need to push hard over the 10.4-kilometer (6.5-mile) power stage from Porto-Vecchio to Palombaggia offering five bonus points.

Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala narrowly won it ahead of Ogier, who moved back in front of Sordo.

Overall, it was a frustrating race for Ogier, who left Volkswagen to drive the Ford Fiesta for M-Sport this season. Even though he won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, he is still getting accustomed to the car.

Ogier has won the past four world titles and is looking to become only the second driver to win five. Countryman Loeb holds the record with nine, all won consecutively.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media
0 Comments

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.