The top 20 motorsport stories of 2009

AUTOSPORT has published thousands of news stories during 2009, here we list the 20 most-read motorsport articles of the year

The top 20 motorsport stories of 2009

20. Ericsson fastest, Loeb slowest at Jerez
October 8

While Sebastien Loeb's move to Formula 1 was still a genuine possibility, he joined an official GP2 test at Jerez. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he was slowest - more than two seconds off the pace, which was set by Marcus Ericsson who would go on to test for Brawn at the end of the season.

19. Senna rules out GP2 return
February 4

Bruno Senna was hoping to make his Formula 1 debut with Honda in 2009, before the Japanese manufacturer quit the sport. Shortly afterwards, we revealed that his expected return to GP2 with iSport would not happen and he would focus on trying to land a drive with either Toro Rosso or what would later become Brawn GP.

18. BMW hints at DTM comeback
August 7

After BMW announced its withdrawal from Formula 1, AUTOSPORT revealed that it was also looking into alternatives to the World Touring Car Championship. Both Mario Theissen and the BMW board hinted that the DTM is a possible destination.

17. Aston Martin set to sit out 2010 season
December 21

David Richards had indicated that there might not be a works sportscar programme from Aston Martin in 2010, as his Prodrive company focuses on a new car for 2011, and that was all but confirmed by Signature's announcement that it will run customer Lola-Aston Martin's next year.

16. A1GP cancels Surfers opener
October 17

The struggling A1GP series was forced to cancel the opening round of its 2009/10 season in Australia. Although denied at the time by its boss Tony Teixeira, it was the first solid proof that A1GP was on the way out after months of speculation.

15. Audi wins Sebring on R15's debut
March 22

Audi's new R15 TDi locked horns with Peugeot's 908 HDi for the first time in the American Le Mans Series' blue-riband event. The 12-hour race was close throughout and Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Dindo Capello beat Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Bourdais by just 22 seconds.

14. Audi tactics to be investigated
July 19

The results of the DTM race at Zandvoort remained provisional while Audi was investigated after several of its cars slowed to allow title contenders Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider to make up places in the closing laps.

13. Le Mans invites F1 manufacturers
June 11

While Formula 1's manufacturers were locked in battle with the FIA, and refusing to confirm their entries for 2010, the organisers of Le Mans took advantage of senior Ferrari personnel visiting the 24 Hours to extend an invite for F1 car makers to make proposals for future regulations and entries.

12. Williams hails new Formula 2 car
March 2

Two months before the start of the F2 season, the new car unveiled by its designers - the Williams Formula 1 team. Frank Williams explained his reasons for getting involved in the project, which resulted in champion Andy Soucek setting the fastest time of the day in his Williams test at the end of the year.

11. Seven fans hurt in Talladega crash
April 27

NASCAR Sprint Cup's first visit to Talladega this year is best remembered for the spectacular last lap crash when Carl Edwards tangled with Brad Keselowski and flew into the catch fencing. Seven fans were treated for injuries caused by flying debris.

10. Peugeot finally wins Le Mans with 908
June 14

After two years of frustration at not winning the 24 Hours despite having the quickest car, Peugeot finally realised its potential and grasped victory in 2009 with David Brabham, Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz leading home a 1-2 for the French manufacturer.

9. Hirvonen: Raikkonen would need time
November 25

Shortly before Kimi Raikkonen's decision to switch to the WRC was confirmed, factory Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen gave his thoughts on the challenges that would face his countryman should he go through with it.

8. Peugeot protests Audi bodywork
June 10

This year's Le Mans week began with Peugeot lodging a protest against the front bodywork of the Audi R15, the beginning of an issue that would run for the rest of the year.

7. JTR's Joe Tandy killed in car crash
May 14

British team boss Joe Tandy and his fiancee's brother Luke Temple were killed in a car crash near his Bedfordshire home. Tandy ran the JTR team in both British Formula 3 and Formula Ford. His brother, Nick Tandy, scored the team's maiden F3 victory at Rockingham just two weeks later.

6. Rivals query Audi R15 legality
April 9

Two months before the Le Mans protest, Peugeot - along with Aston Martin and ORECA - questioned the legality of the Audi R15's aerodynamics, shortly after its Sebring victory. Audi countered that the car was homologated before Sebring and refused to make any changes.

5. Aston Martin unveils works LMP1 plan
January 27

Early in the year, Prodrive announced its plans to field a factory Aston Martin team in the LMP1 class at Le Mans. The team went on to win the Le Mans Series and finish fourth overall in the 24 Hours, just nine laps behind the winning Peugeot.

4. Audi's new Le Mans racer revealed
February 11

New sportscars were big news in 2009. Just two weeks after Aston Martin, Audi unveiled its new challenger, the R15 TDi. AUTOSPORT exclusively revealed the first image of the car from testing at Vallelunga.

3. Raikkonen: WRC may be permanent
December 18

Two weeks after his World Rally move with Citroen was confirmed, Raikkonen played down suggestions that the deal, put together by Citroen-backer Red Bull, would lead to an F1 drive with the energy drinks firm in 2011. Instead, Raikkonen says, he could stay in the WRC indefinitely.

2. Raikkonen's WRC switch deal done
December 3

Speculation had been growing that Raikkonen had concluded a deal with Citroen, and AUTOSPORT revealed on December 3rd that his contract was to be announced later that day.

1. Henry Surtees dies after F2 crash
July 19

The most-read motorsport story of 2009 was the tragic news that 18-year-old Henry Surtees had died from the head injuries he sustained when he was struck by a flying wheel and tyre in a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch.

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