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INTERNATIONAL WRAP: F1 RUSSIA, WRC ARGENTINA AND MORE

Valtteri Bottas claims first F1 victory in Russia - Photo: LAT

Valtteri Bottas claims first F1 victory in Russia – Photo: LAT

FORMULA 1 – RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX

Valtteri Bottas withstood a late charge from Sebastian Vettel to claim his first Formula 1 victory in Russia.

After making a sensational start in his Mercedes from the second row of the grid, Bottas had easily passed the Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel on race to the second corner.

It wasn’t a clean start however for Jolyon Palmer and Romain Grosjean. The pair made contact at turn two before crashing out of the race. The incident would trigger the first and only appearance of the safety car prior to the completion of the opening lap.

On the restart, Bottas steadily built up a four second lead over Vettel prior to his pit stop on lap 27.

Vettel stayed out for another seven laps, then used the advantage of fresher tyres towards the end of the race to close the gap to Bottas.

Bottas held off the challenge to take the win over the two Ferrari’s, with Vettel second and Raikkonen third.

After the race, Bottas reflected on his maiden win “Amazing. It took quite a while, more than 80 races for me, but definitely worth the wait, worth the learning curve. This strange opportunity came to me in the winter to join this team and they made it possible today, so I really want to thank to the team, without them it wouldn’t be possible, so feels amazing.”

Aussie, Daniel Riccardo, stuck brake issues with his Red Bull on lap 5 and retired from the race.

WRC – RALLY ARGENTINA

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville steals Rally Argentina victory on the final stage - Photo: LAT

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville steals Rally Argentina victory on the final stage – Photo: LAT

Thierry Neuville has clawed back an 11 second deficient from the start of the final day of Rally Argentina to take the win on the final Power Stage of the rally for Hyundai.

Elfyn Evans, who in the early stages of the rally had extended his lead to over a minute, was on track for his first WRC victory when he struck brake issues with his Ford on the final day. As a result, his lead had been reduced to just 0.6 seconds prior to the final stage.

Both Evans and Neuville threw caution to the wind on the final stage setting a thrilling pace on the rough mountain tracks of the famous El Condor stage.

A small mistake by Evans, swiping a bridge, ended up being the difference. Neuville taking out the Power Stage by over a second, just enough to claim the win for Hyundai with a 0.7 second lead after the final stage. Evans fell back to second finishing in front of fellow M-Sport Ford driver Ott Tanak.

“Watching that was the worst time in my life,” said Neuville, after viewing Evans’ run from the finish. “I gave it everything I had but I didn’t have the best tyres because I had been pushing hard for two stages already.”

Kiwi, Hayden Paddon, recovered from a roll over on the second day to finish sixth, seven minutes behind the leaders.

WORLD SUPERBIKES – ASSEN

Jonathan Rea leads World Superbikes in Assen - Photo: Supplied

Jonathan Rea leads World Superbikes in Assen – Photo: Supplied

Jonathan Rea extended his lead in the World Superbike Championship, after winning both races at round four in Assen, The Netherlands, over the weekend.

The Kawasaki Racing Team rider, Rea, battled with Ducati’s Chaz Davies for the lead of the opening race of the weekend. While Rea did pass Davies on the track, technical issues halted the Ducati rider attempts at reclaiming the lead. His race ending in a DNF.

Rea ultimately took the victory with comfortable 4 second lead over team mate Tom Sykes, with Ducati’s Marco Melandri in third.

The second race, however, was much closer. The two Kawasaki Racing Team riders challenged each other from outset. Rea getting the upper hand and narrowly claiming the victory with a 0.025 second margin over Sykes.

Davies rebounded from his issues in the opening race to claim the final spot on the podium in the second race.

INDYCAR – PHOENIX

Simon Pagenaud wins IndyCar series race at Phoenix International Raceway - Photo: LAT

Simon Pagenaud wins IndyCar series race at Phoenix International Raceway – Photo: LAT

Simon Pagenaud has claimed his first oval victory during the fourth round of the Verizon IndyCar series at Phoenix International Raceway.

The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, who’s previous nine victories were all on street courses, took lead in Phoenix after the fortunate timing of Takuma Sato’s crash on lap 137. The crash at Turn 4 during the pit stop cycle lead to Pagenaud getting waved around the safety car, gaining almost a full lap on his competitors. Even after his own pitstop.

Pagenaud then held on to take the win with a nine second buffer over fellow Team Penske driver Will Power, who struggled to get through lap traffic in the closing laps of the race. JR Hildebrand completed the podium for Ed Carpenter Racing.

“It was an incredible day. It’s been fun. This is just incredible. This is my best win. It’s so strategic to win on an oval. Today was a perfect day; I couldn’t be any happier. It’s a long time coming.” said Pagenaud after the race.

NASCAR – RICHMOND

Joey Lagano wins in Richmond - Photo: LAT

Joey Lagano wins in Richmond – Photo: LAT

Joey Lagano continued Penske’s winning ways over the weekend, taking the NASCAR Cup Series victory at Richmond International Raceway.

After starting last, the Ford driver worked his way through the field during his milestone 300th NASCAR race. Putting himself into a position to challenge for the lead, with just 19 laps left to run, after the final caution period.

With 15 to go, Lagano took the lead and stormed away from the field. Only his team mate Brad Keselowski had the pace to match Lagano in the final stage of the race. Keselowski would finish second with Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Kevin Harvick to closing out the top five

Get the full run down on all weekend’s motorsport action in the next issue of Auto Action in stores Thursday.