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Classic Velocity Blog

Motorsports PreSeason 2010

Classic Velocity

The new season is underway in F1, MotoGP, WRC, LeMans/Grand-Am/ALMS, WSBK, and elsewhere. Although only Grand-Am has had an actual race with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the activity level is high. Here is a summary of all my favorite series' preseason carnivals :

Dakar. Yes, I know it is not a series, and if it was it would be post-season, not pre-season. But it is a brilliant event that should become a series. It could have the one crown jewel event, followed by a series of other lesser events throughout the season. Sort of like LeMans, only better. This year's event had a post already, so I'll sum up the results. Despres won on the bike after Coma was severely penalized early on. KTM continues to dominate in the absence of BMW factory efforts. Carlos Sainz (former WRC champ) finally won a well-deserved victory in the car category in a VW sweep of the podium. One of the Patronelli brothers won on the Quads, and his brother came second. It was a Kamaz one-two in trucks with the Czar Chagin taking another title.

WRC. Hirvonen came out of the chute in strong form winning the IRC Monte Carlo rally and putting Sebastian Loeb on notice. The Fiesta looked great as well. Ex-F1 star Raikonnen crashed on day one, but was characteristically cool and went on to finish the rally. Petter Solberg likes his new car and his new backing. US rally star Ken Block will campaign a Focus when the WRC comes to Mexico in March, so we should see how he mixes it up with the big boys. Rally Sweden starts the WRC season on Feb 14th.

Grand-Am/ALMS/LeMans. Porsche grabs another Rolex 24 overall victory, and Riley was the chassis to have under you this year. However, this was not the big name Porsche effort so it proved that a quality effort can still prevail over the big boys. Similarly, Mazda beat the armada of Porsche GT3s to win the GT class. Lots of folks are not happy with the management of the series, but there was some good racing on the track. ALMS opens at Sebring next month, so we will see an interesting comparison of the two series.

WSBK. Philip Island down under opens the series at the end of this month. American Ben Spies cleaned up in his rookie year and promptly got promoted to MotoGP. The revelation of last year though was the Aprilia RSV4. Biaggi was 4th on it, and could do even better this year. The new BMW was not quite the sensation we all expected (and I hoped), but they came on stronger as the season progressed and should be in the hunt in 2010.

F1. Well, tis the season of launches and reveals and soap opera episodes. So far, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Sauber, Mercedes, and Toro Rosso have launched their cars. The Renault livery looks startling, but I applaud them for a bold move. However everyone wants to see what the new teams will put forth. Virgin and Lotus are coming up. In the soap opera department, inquiring minds want to know whether Jensen and Lewis will be best friends and whether Jedi master Schumacher will take Rosberg as his padawan. Meanwhile, back in the US of A, USF1 is rumored to be planning a late start to the season. They have signed Argentine driver Jose Maria Lopez, but things seem a bit mysterious. Fortunately for them, Schumacher is dominating the news with every step and every word. Can't wait for them to get on the grid and stop the gossip.

MotoGP. Will Rossi jump to F1, will Rossi jump to the WRC, will Rossi become my personal track day coach? Rossi is the Schumacher of MotoGP (without the questionable ruthless tactics), and he is the headline when there is not something more substantive to report. This could go on until April, so buckle up. Meanwhile wunderkind Ben Spies will attempt to put an american back on top as Hayden struggles a bit. John Hopkins loses his ride to Grandpa Gary McCoy ! On the technical front, this will be the first full year of the new six-engines-all-season rule. This might bring some new teams to the front. Stay tuned.....