A moment can change a race, decide a winner or even a champion. Or they can be seemingly incidental moments that some strike a chord and lodge in the memory. Of course the 2012 racing seasons have been full of these magical moments. Here the regular team of contributors for theCheckeredFlag.co.uk recount their selections for their ‘moment’ of the year.
Peter Allen – D’Aste wins in Austria
The trio of factory Chevrolets had been even more dominant at the Salzburgring than usual, and Yvan Muller and Rob Huff were heading for another one-two finish in race two. Teammate Alain Menu had already crashed out with a puncture, and he was joined by a number of other front-wheel drive contenders, raising tensions at Chevrolet as the race neared its end. A few corners from the end it seemed they had got away with it, but then Muller understeered off into the gravel. Huff then slowed through the final couple of turns, hounded by the BMWs of Tom Coronel and Stefano D’Aste. Coronel went for the inside but was blocked by Huff, as D’Aste went around the outside of both of them and claimed a popular maiden WTCC win.
Read the TCF race report for D’aste’s first WTCC win – HERE
…..and watch the frantic last yew corners as the last two Chevys succumb to punctures here – HERE
David Bean – Kimi takes a wrong turn
An intense, nail-biting race, such as the Brazilian Grand Prix always needs a bit of light relief, and who do we call on for such a thing? Why, Kimi Räikkönen of course. An regular off-track excursion saw the Finn dive down an escape road, past a whole load of surprised marshals and agog fans, before finding a gate blocking his way. The 2007 world champion probably just shrugged his shoulders at this point (missed by the on-board camera, obviously), and executed a perfect 180-degree turn in the tightest of spots, and re-traced his steps. Oh, and Katy Perry post-race in Singapore wasn’t bad either…
Follow Kimi down the dead end – HERE
James Broomhead – Toyota leads at Le Mans
When Peugeot pulled the plug on their LMP1 team responsibility to challenging Audi in the first FIA World Endurance Championship season fell to Toyota and with the new team missing Sebring then forced to cancel a planned debut at Spa after testing crash wrecked one of the new TS030 tubs chances of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the rest of the WEC being anything other than a Audi parade looked disappointingly slim. A surprise third on the grid at Le Mans did little to allay these fears – qualifying and racing at Le Mans being such different beasts. However at the very end of the fifth hour Toyota’s Nicolas Lapierre and Benoit Treluyer in the leading Audi battled wheel to wheel through Mulsanne corner, Lapierre took two wheels to the grass to take the lead around slower cars, only for Treluyer to take back the the under braking into Arnage. Out of the corner Lapierre puts his foot down, the hybrid boost kicks the Toyota forward and he out drags around Treluyer to slid in front to take the line for the first of the Porsche Curves. Yes, Toyota’s world was about to be turned upside down back at Mulsanne Corner, but Lapierre’s taking the lead was a taste of what was to come later in the year.
Watch Lapierre and Treluyer battle for the lead – HERE
Andy Champness – Carnage on the Gold Coast
There have been a number of big moments in V8 Supercars in 2012. Off the track there was the announcement that Nissan is to return to the series in 2013 after an absence of 20 years. There was also the news that V8 Supercars’ executive chairman Tony Cochrane was to retire. Cochrane has been largely responsible for transforming the sport into the success it is today. On track, the Gold Coast 600 gave us one of the scariest moments. With most teams commencing with the international co-driver on board, many of whom were not used to standing starts, the race took three attempts to get underway after two huge start-line crashes. It was the first start though that made the headlines. American Grand-Am driver Ricky Taylor was lucky to escape unharmed after a five-car collision saw his Holden Commodore come to a halt on its roof after clipping the front wheel of Vitantonio Liuzzi’s car and launching into the air going over twice before sliding upside down on the front straight.
….and watch the start line accident unfold – HERE
Alex Goldschmidt – Josh Brookes, Tommy Hill and Shakey Byrne: BSB Brands Podium
As a fan of racing on both 2 and 4 wheels, I watched the entire day’s racing at Brands Hatch, as a spectator, for the final day of the BSB “Showdown”, which was exciting on all aspects from the first race start, to the final chequered flag of the day. But it was the final podium that really was hilarious from start to finish, as both Tommy and “Shakey” threw their knee sliders and boots into the crowds below, but Josh was the clear winner in that respect, as his Tyco Suzuki leathers came off the Aussie’s back, before being flung in the general direction of the fans. So Brookesy was standing in his Pirelli Hat, Red Torpedo boxer shorts and socks… Classic motorsport comedy moment I’ve ever witnessed first hand.
Chris Gurton – Endurance domination
There have been a number of great moments this year and I am grateful to have experienced some personally. There are too many to mention and it is difficult to pick out one in particular, but personally, my first visit to the Nurburgring for the 24 hour race is a stand out moment and one that bought many memories I will never forget. But I also think the 40th running of the Nurburgring 24 hour race produced my moment of the year in terms of the overall result. Finally Audi had conquered the Green Hell and took their first victory in the notoriously gruelling race. This contributed to a remarkable chain of results this year for the German car giants as 2012 saw them also take wins in the Bathurst 12hr, the Spa 24hr, the Zolder 24hr And of course a 1,2,3 and 4 at Le Mans. It just underlines the true extent of German efficiency and reliability.
Read the race report for Audi’s first overall Nurburgring 24 Hours victory – HERE
Scott Mitchell – Shedden’s Rockingham Save
For me, Gordon Shedden at Rockingham. Specifically, race three. More specifically, somehow keeping control of a sideways Honda Civic at 120mph through the notoriouslly tricky turn one banking, in torrential rain, and incredibly going on to win his second of two races. It turned the day well and truly on its head after title rival Jason Plato had threatened to walk race day having dominated in the dry. And it was made all the more poignant a lap later, when Jeff Smith failed to keep hold of a similar slide, and crashed hard into the concrete wall, destroying his car. A pivotal moment in every sense, and arguably won Shedden the championship.
Watch Gordon Shedden’s save again – HERE
James Newbold – Davison’s Barbagallo Defence
There are several that I’d like to nominate for this one. Bucky Laseck’s rail-grinding antics in the Global Rallycross Championship at Texas made for memorable viewing, while Cale Gale’s debut win in the Camping World Truck Series finale at Homestead – achieved by banging door panels with Kyle Busch on the run to the flag – was quite extraordinary. Maxime Martin’s miraculous stint behind the wheel of the Valmont Aston in the FIA GT1 Series at Zolder also deserves a mention, while James Buescher’s ‘Steven Bradbury’ moment, when he took advantage of the top-11 cars crashing into each other to steal the win when the Nationwide series visited Daytona back in February and. However, the V8 Supercars unquestionably provided some of the highlights of the year; Shane van Gisbergen’s unbelievable save at Philip Island, Ricky Taylor’s dramatic barrel roll at Surfers Paradise and the hard luck stories of David Reynolds – well, everywhere – are contenders, but for me, the third race of the Barbagallo V8 Supercars race really stands out in the mind; the heroic defence of Will Davison in the closing laps on absolutely shot tyres as the rain began to fall, with the series’ most lethal combination of a charging Triple 8 Holden on fresh tyres piloted by a fired-up Jamie Whincup loomed large in his mirrors. In the end, Davison somehow managed to hold him off, and his team-mate Mark Winterbottom managed to mug Whincup for second at the final corner! Simply fantastic racing.
Read the race report from Davison’s win – HERE
Simon Paice – Aron Smith’s debut BTCC win
Brands Hatch. 21st October 2012. Round 29 of the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. This race will go down in the history books as the time Gordon Shedden wrapped up his maiden BTCC crown. But alongside, there will be another name, that of first time BTCC race-winner Aron Smith. The popular Irishman was a revelation this season, mixing it with the experienced pro’s in his maiden campaign, fighting hard all season and improving throughout. All his hard work was rewarded at Brands. In the S2000 Focus, Smith drove superbly in terrible conditions to work his way past Tom Onslow-Cole, before showing skill and composure to bring the car home and secure the first of what I’m sure will be many BTCC wins. It was a special moment and the confirmation that Aron is a BTCC star of the future.
Read the TCF race report from that wet Brands Hatch day – HERE
….and read Aron’s post Brands blog for theCheckeredFlag.co.uk, complete with unlikely lucky charms – HERE
James Singleton – F1 goes to Bahrain
For me, the moment of the year happened towards the start of the year, and given how controversial it was many people have since forgotten about it. The 2011 race had been cancelled due to the unrest in the country, and F1 surprised most people by declaring they would race there this year, despite criticism from the likes of David Cameron, Ed Miliband and several human rights organisations. Even internet “tough guys” Anonymous got involved, taking down several F1 websites as the sport took a pasting in the national press. Thankfully, aside from a couple of very minor incidents, the weekend passed without incident, but the track was like a ghost-town. The sorry debacle doesn’t appear to have done any major damage to the image of F1, but you have to wonder whether given the lack of progress being made in the country currently, whether it will be a similar story in 2013 and beyond. I hope not.
Louis Suddaby – Casey Stoner’s retirement
Despite it being obvious Stoner wasn’t happy with the future direction of the sport, the world of motorcycle racing was stunned when he announced his retirement from MotoGP in the build-up to the French GP. A broken ankle sustained in qualifying at Le Mans denied him the chance to bow out as champion but his last hurrah at Phillip Island, where he destroyed the opposition from Friday morning to the chequered flag on Sunday showed us what we’ll be missing.
Read TCF’s news article covering Stoner’s announcement back in May – HERE
Mike Trusler – Dario Franchitti’s Indy win
Boy, it was emotional. After a fantastic race, Dario triumphed to win his third 500. He made no real attempt to hide his emotions after the race for his friend, and 2011 500 winner, Dan Wheldon. “I think D-Dub would be proud of that one. … This means the world. This is Indianapolis. To be on this trophy on either side of Dan, that means more than anything,” he said after the race.
Those are our choices. Agree? Disagree? Let us know with your own picks for our favourite moments of the 2012 racing season.
Tomorrow – the first day of 2013 – the TCF Team give their choices for what to look out for in the year ahead.
Lead photo credits: Photo Credit: (top to bottom, left to right) Chris Gurton Photography; motogp.com; Team Vodafone; Chris Gurton Photography; Paul Gilham/Getty Images; Chris Gurton Photography; Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR; Chris Gurton Photography; Chris Gurton Photography; Chris Gurton Photography; Citroen Racing Media; Jakob Ebrey Photography