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Track to be named Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in 2019

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Beginning in 2019, Road Atlanta will officially become Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta as the tire company becomes the first entitlement partner of the track.

The entitlement sponsorship builds on a current agreement that has made Michelin the official tire partner of the track.

“Michelin has been racing for more than 125 years as a way to improve tire performance, discover new technologies and bring the highest quality tires to our vehicle manufacturer partners and consumers,” said Scott Clark, chairman and president of Michelin North America in a press release on the IMSA web site. “This is the first time globally that Michelin will have naming rights with a race circuit. Road Atlanta, as an iconic race track with a rich history and a natural link to the Michelin heritage of global endurance racing, provides us with a tremendous opportunity to engage with our partners and consumers.”

As part of their enhanced presence at the track, Michelin will also sponsor a four-story control tower and media center that will be known as the Michelin Tower.

The building will house an event space on the main floor, broadcast booths as part of the second-floor media center, hospitality suites on the third and fourth floors and race control on the fourth floor. A rooftop viewing center will be added.

Demolition of the current control tower will begin immediately following this week’s Motul Petit Le Mans.

“Michelin’s legacy at Road Atlanta runs deep, and these moves will, without question, drive that legacy even further,” said Geoff Lee, president and general manager at Road Atlanta. “Michelin and Road Atlanta’s histories intersect at so many points that it would be impossible to separate them, and this partnership will solidify that bond.”

In 2019, the Weathertech Sports Car Championship will be broadcast on the NBC family of networks.

Three in position to capture World Rally Championship title at Rally Australia

Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Defending champion Sebastien Ogier goes into this weekend’s Rally Australia with a chance to clinch his sixth World Rally Championship in a row. Thierry Neuville, a runner-up four times but never a champion, hopes to change the world order.

Neuville led the series for much of the season but Ogier’s win in Britain and a second place in Spain has given the Frenchman 204 points, three ahead of Neuville, heading into the final rally of the championship.

“We are not the best friends but we are rivals and respect each other for our performances,” Neuville said Wednesday. “I’ve been second many times in the championship now, we are so close to the main goal.”

“If we need to take more risks because we need to pass Sebastien we’re going to try,” the Belgian driver added, “we’ll take the maximum risks.”

Ogier says the feeling is mutual when it comes to his main rival.

“We are different, definitely, but most important we’re in a great fight together and respect each other for that,” Ogier said. “It’s about trying to beat each other and do it with respect.”

Ott Tanak of Estonia sits 23 points behind and with 30 points for a win in Australia, and other results going his way, he could also capture the world title.

Ogier will be hoping for some Friday morning rain to settle the dust and gravel before he sets off first on what will be more than 300 kilometers (180 miles) of timed racing through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast, about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports