Juan Pablo Montoya would be welcomed back by IndyCar drivers

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SONOMA, Calif. — If Juan Pablo Montoya returns to IndyCar next year, he’ll get a warm welcome from the drivers he’ll have to beat.

Michael Andretti is looking for sponsors for an IndyCar ride for Montoya, who is leaving Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR team. Montoya says he hasn’t decided where he’s going next, but several drivers at Sonoma Raceway think he belongs back in open-wheel racing, which left in 2001 for Formula One, followed by an underwhelming foray into NASCAR.

“It would be nice to see him with a smile on his face,” said Dario Franchitti, a longtime teammate who drives for Ganassi’s IndyCar team.

Franchitti has been racing against Montoya since even before their days in CART more than a decade ago, and the Scot has teamed with Montoya at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

“I think it would be great for the series, and I think it would be great for Juan Pablo, if he wants to do it,” said Franchitti, who is on the pole for today’s IndyCar race.

FORMULA ONE: In Spa, Belgium, Lewis Hamilton surprised even himself after beating both Red Bull cars to secure his fourth consecutive pole position in a rain-soaked qualifying session at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Mercedes driver is the first Brit since Damon Hill in 1995 to get four consecutive poles and has set himself up perfectly to keep the pressure on championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who starts today’s race from second ahead of teammate Mark Webber.

RALLY CAR: In Trier, Germany, The Rally of Germany was halted Saturday after the death of a driver and co-driver in another unrelated event.

Race organizers say a Dutch duo died after their vintage car crashed off the track in a demonstration event not connected to the championship.

No other people were involved in the accident. The identities of the men were not released.

The last three of Saturday’s stages were canceled, with the rally to continue as per the original schedule on Sunday.

Dani Sordo of Spain was leading in his Citroen after 13 stages, 0.8 seconds ahead of Belgium’s Thierry Neuville in a Ford Fiesta.

Mikko Hirvonen of Finland was third in another Citroen, 1 minute 27.6 seconds behind Sordo, who trails championship leader Sebastien Ogier by 112 points in the overall standings.


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