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Dixon’s Texas victory gives him points lead for the first time in 2018

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As the Verizon IndyCar Series enters an off weekend after a busy stretch that included activity for no fewer than five consecutive weekends, the championship standings see a familiar face at the top.

Four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon surged to the top of the championship after winning Saturday’s night’s DXC Technology 600, his second in three races – he won Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit as well – which helped propel him to his first championship lead of 2018.

Dixon’s start to the 2018 season is actually similar in multiple areas to the start of his 2015 season, the year of his most recent title. That year, Dixon left the Indianapolis 500 with two podiums (a win in Long Beach, and third place at Barber Motorsports Park) to his name through six races, placing him third in the championship.

The 2018 season also saw Dixon leave the Indy 500 with two podiums to his name (second at the INDYCAR Grand Prix, and third at the Indy 500), which left him fourth in the standings.

Like in 2015, his Texas Motor Speedway triumph was his second win of the season. And in 2015, it helped spark a title run. Given that his 2018 victory vaulted him into the championship lead for the first time this year, another title run could be beckoning.

Still, the always understated Dixon isn’t nearly ready to talk championship yet.

“It’s not bad. But it’s going to be hard to hold onto,” he said of leading the points standings at this stage of the season. “We’ll see how the next races go. The car has had good speed all season and we’ll try to keep it going.”

Dixon, with 357 points, leads Alexander Rossi by 33. Will Power, who crashed with Zachary Claman De Melo on Saturday night, fell to third, 36 points behind Dixon. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden sit fourth and fifth, 49 and 68 points back respectively.

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F1’s Valtteri Bottas to compete in first-ever rally race in his native Finland

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Formula One’s “Flying Finn” is going back home for the first time.

More precisely, Valtteri Bottas is returning to his Finland homeland to compete in his first career rally race in the Finnish Rally Championship season opener.

Bottas, teammates on the F1 Mercedes team with five-time champ Lewis Hamilton, will compete in the World Rally Championships’ Arctic Lapland Rally from January 24-26.

He’ll team with two-time World Rally champion Timo Rautiainen in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC on rally roads of the Finnish Arctic Circle.

“This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying,” Bottas told Finnish rallying website Rallism.f1. “I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.

“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”

Added Rautiainen, “In my life, I’ve sat in a rally car with only three drivers, but this is such an interesting mission that I just had to accept the challenge. I believe that for a talented wheelman like Valtteri, we’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing.”

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