2016 has been an amazing season in the world of motorsport and today I’ll talk to you about a few drivers who won World Championships in their respective series and the story of their season.
Formula One – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
After finishing second in the points table for two consecutive years, Nico Rosberg hit the ground running in 2016, dominating the first four races of the season. Things changed in Spain as he collided with his teammate and main championship rival Lewis Hamilton, handing the victory to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. After the catastrophic incident, Hamilton went on a run of strong results, winning six out of the next seven races. Momentum swinged back into Rosberg’s favor as he won the upcoming three races. At Malaysia, Rosberg was recovering from a collision with Vettel at the start and Lewis was comfortable in the lead when Hamilton’s engine burst into flames , creating one of the most iconic moments is recent F1 history. This presented the win to Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull scored their first one-two finish since Brazil 2013. Rosberg succeeded in Japan and then Hamilton won the following four races on the trot, including the finale at Abu Dhabi. Rosberg won nine races on his way to the title with his closest rival Lewis Hamilton finishing in second, just 5 points behind him. Hamilton created the record for winning the most races in a season without clinching the world title; his ten race wins weren’t enough to match Rosberg’s consistency.
World Rally Championship – Sebastian Ogier (Volkswagen)
Defending champion Sebastian Ogier kicked off the season with a bang, winning the Rally Monte Carlo and the Rally Sweden in succession. The next five rallies saw five different winners! In Mexico, Jari-Matti Latvala beat Ogier with a small margin of just 1.05 seconds. Hayden Paddon triumphed in Argentina, Kris Meeke achieved victory in Portugal, Thierry Neuville won in Italy while Andreas Mikkelsen prevailed in Poland. At the upcoming rally which took place in Finland, Kris Meeke became the second double winner of the season following Sebastian Ogier. The Rally Of China was cancelled due to the floods that occurred there and WRC returned to action in France. Sebastian Ogier won in front of his home crowd and pulled out a great run of form, winning the next two rallies in succession. His win in Spain sealed his fourth consecutive WRC Drivers Championship, and he now lies a joint second on the list of most WRC Drivers Championships. His former teammate Sebastian Loeb is currently ranked first with 9 WRC Drivers Championships. Andreas Mikkelsen won his second rally of the year in Australia as an outstanding season of rallying came to an unfortunate end.
World Rallycross Championship – Mattias Ekström (Audi)
Rallycross, one of the most exciting sports in the world, returned to action in Portugal where defending World Champion Petter Solberg got off to a winning start. Mattias Ekström in his Audi won three consecutive RX at Hockenheim, Belgium and Great Britain respectively. Next up was Hell, a town in Norway where local hero Andreas Bakkerud scored his 4th career win and delighted the fans. The fifth soon followed in Sweden and it looked as if he would be a strong contender for the title. Swedes Timmy Hansen and Johan Kristoffersson won the next two RX at Canada and France respectively. At the next RX which took place in Catalunya, Ekström returned to winning ways and was close to sealing the Drivers Championship. The next round took place at Latvia, a new addition into the calendar and 9-time WRC Champion Sebastian Loeb won his first ever RX at the new circuit. Kevin Eriksson tasted victory at Estering, Germany where he made a breathtaking move over two cars around the outside of Turn 1. That surely was the highlight of the season! Ekström wrapped up the Drivers Championship here and the battle for second place was now on. In Argentina, Petter Solberg crashed in the Semi-Finals; his hopes for second in the championship were lost. Eventually Bakkerud won the RX but Kristoffersson finished second in the standings. What an amazing season it was!
World Endurance Championship LMP1 – Neel Jani, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas (Porsche #2)
The season started off superbly for Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas in the Porsche #2 car as they tasted victory in the opening round at Silverstone. At Spa, the Audi #8 of Loïc Duval, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas Di Grassi finished first with the Porsche #2 finishing one place behind them. Then it was time for the grand spectacle, the 24 Heures Du Mans. The race was thrilling and with just 3 minutes to spare, the #5 Toyota of Sebastian Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson which was leading the race, halted at the pit straight due to mechanical problems. The Toyota mechanics and pretty much the whole motorsport world was stunned as they watched the #2 Porsche snatch victory from their grasps. Their victory at Le Mans earned them 50 points and a secure lead in the points table. The next three races which were held at Nurburgring, Mexico and Austin respectively were won by the Porsche #1 car of Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Mark Webber. Toyota enjoyed victory for the first time since Bahrain 2014 with the #6 car of Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi winning at the team’s home race in Fuji which was a truly joyful moment for the team. In Shanghai the Porsche #1 returned to winning ways but they were well away from winning the Drivers World Title for a second year running. The championship battle between the Porsche #2 and the departing Audi team’s car #8 went down the line to Bahrain. The #8 Audi won the race but a sixth place finish for #2 Porsche was enough to hand them the World Title.
I wish all the World Champions of the 2016 a massive congratulations and hopefully we can see even better racing in 2017!
Credits to whomsoever these images belong to. None of the images used in this article belong to me.