Breaking the Silence

Quick glances upward do not reveal a sky looking its prettiest.

Amidst battleship grey buildings, a sombre sheet of clouds stretch along a bleak skyline. While no precipitation is imminent, the look above reveals an ominous threat.

It could be so much worse of course. Only last Monday evening, this same skyline was tainted by fires of violence and greed. In a week of sheer madness, we saw some of the worst in people — and the best.

Amongst a thrashed East London (and all other affected parts of the UK), communities gathered together to clean up the mess left behind, undeterred by further threats of rioting, that – thankfully – did not blossom.
The scattered remains of the riots and the rolling twenty-four news was enough to keep my mind off of all things motor racing and also left me shattered by the week’s end.

Thankfully, much of the motorsport world has been on a long deserved holiday of late. Little of note has developed on the European side of things in recent weeks – indeed, beyond Dallara announcing their new for 2012 Formula 3 chassis, life has been relatively quiet.
At Zandvoort, Robert Mehri secured the inaugural FIA Formula 3 International Trophy; however disqualification from the opening race soured the celebrations somewhat. Also at the Dutch circuit, Scott Malvern took another two British Formula Ford race wins, making it twelve victories from fifteen races. Malvern had been on a run of eleven straight wins, before Joey van Splunteren stepped in. Surely now the Briton cannot lose the Formula Ford title honours.

Of course, there have been several happenings of note in the US. At Mid-Ohio last week Scott Dixon took a well deserved IndyCar victory, as the circuit celebrates its 50th anniversary and at the weekend, Ryan Hunter-Reay scored a controversial victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
It was a race that also saw Penske pilot Will Power lose the plot with race control following a late race incident. In a confused mess, Power was one of several drivers that spun in damp conditions on the oval – Power still came away with 5th, leaving him 47 points adrift of the non-finishing Dario Franchitti – with only five rounds remaining, the title game is once again on.
Tony Kanaan, too, went out with a smash – Tomas Scheckter, Marco Andretti and several others; however Kanaan made the matter more spectacular by taking out a portable toilet and landing upside down.

Pippa Mann became another injured member of the IndyCar community at New Hampshire’s 1-mile oval. The Briton spun exiting turn two, missing the SAFER barrier and clouting the concrete hard, sustaining heavy bruising and a nasty concussion in the process. Mann is due to race again for Rahal-Letterman Racing at Kentucky – best wishes to her in her recovery.

Meanwhile, former GP3 competitor Josef Newgarden took his fifth Indy Lights victory to bring him closer to the 2011 crown. The American lapped the entire field in a shocking display of dominance that left all others scratching their heads.

For Newgarden and Malvern, it is simply a matter of time. For others, the struggle continues – and the European season will soon be ready to wake again.

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