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GM exec who crashed Corvette before IndyCar race issues apology

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The General Motors executive who inadvertently wrecked a $120,000 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 leading the field to the green in Sunday’s Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit issued a statement about the incident on Monday morning.

Mark Reuss, the executive who was piloting the car at the time, took to his Facebook page to explain what happened when he lost control of the 755-horsepower sports car, spun and piled head-on into a retaining wall, causing extensive damage to the car and causing a nearly 30-minute delay to the start of the race while debris was cleaned up.

“I want to thank you all for your well wishes today,” Reuss wrote. “I am ok. I have driven this course many many many times. I have paced this race in the wet, cold, hot, and calm. On Z06’s, Grand Sports, and other things.

“It is never a casual thing for me, but an honor to be asked. Today I let down my friends, my family, IndyCar, our city and my company. Sorry does not describe it. I want to thank our engineers for providing me the safety I know is the best in the world.”

Reuss is Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain at General Motors. He was chosen to drive the ZR1, which had been tabbed as the pace car for Sunday’s race.

Reuss and passenger Mark Sand, a Verizon IndyCar Series official, were uninjured in the mishap.

GM issued a statement shortly after the incident, saying: “It is unfortunate that this incident happened. Many factors contributed, including weather and track conditions. The car’s safety systems performed as expected.”

Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern found a silver lining in the incident, saying in a tweet that even though Chevrolet had a heavily damaged car and an embarrassed executive, it gained some strong exposure from the televised incident.

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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.