Crash is unveiling its top 100 from across the motorsport globe from 2017 with a countdown on each day until New Year’s Eve! Check back tomorrow for the top 20-1 entries and let us know if we’ve made the right choices.

Check out Crash's Top 100 for 2017: Part 3 (60-41)


40. Dani Pedrosa – MotoGP, 4th

The Repsol Honda rider produced his strongest season since 2014 by finishing fourth in the riders’ championship with two race wins (Jerez and Valencia) and three pole positions (Jerez, Catalunya and Malaysia) to his name in 2017.

Pedrosa ultimately played second fiddle to team-mate Marc Marquez again this year but played a vital role in securing the teams’ world championship even if a riders’ title charge looked out of reach for large stretches of the season.

39. Glenn Irwin – BSB (12th), North West 200 and Macau Grand Prix

Irwin’s start and finish to 2017 ensured it was a standout campaign for the Northern Irish rider despite a nasty injury at Knockhill curtailing his efforts during the summer months. Two rostrums from the opening three rounds in BSB for Be Wiser Ducati was then followed up by a scintillating victory in the North West 200 Superbike race at his first attempt.

After bouncing back from injury, Irwin tasted victory for the first time in BSB with a storming win at Silverstone to see him round of the season 12th overall. Irwin claimed victory for a third time this year with a maiden triumph at the Macau Grand Prix albeit under tragic circumstances after the race was red flagged due to Dan Hegarty’s fatal crash.

38. Michael Dunlop – Isle of Man TT, North West 200

Dunlop’s switch from BMW to Suzuki machinery in the 1000cc categories appeared a bold move but paid off with a spectacular win in the Isle of Man Senior TT race which was restarted after Ian Hutchinson’s crash. A win in the opening Supersport TT race saw Dunlop add another two victories to his tally to move above Mike Hailwood and into fifth on the overall records. A somewhat underwhelming North West 200 offered just one podium finish.

37. Ott Tanak - World Rally Championship, 3rd

Perhaps best known for his lucky escape from a crash into a lake at Rally Mexico in 2015, Ott Tanak stepped up to the top table in the WRC this year upon joining the Ford-backed M-Sport team, partnering Sebastien Ogier.

Despite the pressure of being alongside a four-time world champion, Tanak held his own early, taking P3 on debut for M-Sport at the Rallye Monte Carlo. Further podiums followed in Sweden and Argentina before his maiden WRC victory arrived in Italy. A second win was captured in Germany after a faultless display, marking a first win in the rally for either Ford or M-Sport since it became a WRC event in 2002, and he capped off the year with a run to second in Australia.

For a year of change with a new team and a new co-driver, Tanak firmly established himself as part of the furniture in the WRC. A move to Toyota beckons for 2018. Could it catapult him to the very top?

36. Alex Lynn - FIA WEC LMP2, 15th; Formula E, 23rd

For a driver who entered just seven races this year to rank so highly in our end-of-season list proves just how good Alex Lynn was when he got the chance to display his colossal talent.

Lynn teamed up with the Taylor brothers to win the 12 Hours of Sebring at the first attempt before joining G-Drive Racing for the opening three races of the WEC season. Pole at Silverstone was followed by pole and victory at Spa, with Lynn then producing a new LMP2 lap record en route to pole for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team was the red-hot favourite heading into the race, only for a clash with a Porsche GT early on to eliminate them and end their win hopes.

Lynn was drafted in for his Formula E debut with DS Virgin Racing in New York, deputising for Jose Maria Lopez, and duly stuck the car on pole for his very first race. He would ultimately retire from both races that weekend, but made enough of an impression to secure a full-time drive for season four with the team.

35. Chaz Davies – World Superbikes, 2nd

Despite being unable to match the unrelenting domination achieved by Jonathan Rea in 2017, Davies was another standout rider in World Superbikes as he battled to the runner-up spot for the second time in three years.

A trio of second places gave Davies a handy start to the year but was denied a double victory at Aragon after crashing while in the lead in the closing stages of the opening race. Davies faced up to Rea in a heated spat after qualifying at Assen and was cruelly denied victory by a technical issue on the final lap of the opening race again while leading. A double at Imola got his season back on track but a scary final lap crash in which he was accidently run over by Rea at Misano forced him to miss the second race.

Three wins from four races in the USA and Germany kick-started his World Superbike season, albeit with Rea largely out of reach, but Davies held his nerve to reel in Tom Sykes to take the runner-up place in the championship in Qatar.

34. Leon Haslam – BSB (3rd), WSBK and Suzuka 8 Hours

Haslam painfully saw a first title of his professional career slip out of his grasp at the BSB season finale at Brands Hatch when his points lead was slashed away by Shane Byrne, before brake failure in the final race allowed Byrne to skate to the championship. Haslam showed immense sportsmanship in defeat by making his way to a jubilant Byrne despite a broken ankle to congratulate him.

The Kawasaki rider did taste success in BSB with six race wins to his name, plus a second-place podium at the Suzuka 8 Hours and another podium on his WSBK wildcard for Puccetti Kawasaki at Donington Park but the hunt for a title goes on.

33. Nico Hulkenberg - F1, 10th

A fresh start as Renault’s lead driver during his development charge gave Nico Hulkenberg fresh motivation despite effectively dropping down from the heights of Force India in its hunt for fourth place in the F1 teams’ standings.

A steady flow of points finishes ensured a positive reflection on 2017 for Hulkenberg, eight points finishes from 20 races, with a quartet of sixth places (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium and Abu Dhabi) teasing the progress expected for 2018. The German’s 10th place in the final F1 drivers’ championship ensures a fifth consecutive top ten end to a season for Hulkenberg but he did pick up the unwanted record of most F1 race starts without a podium result.

32. Martin Truex Jr. - NASCAR, champion

After being eliminated in the play-offs last year, Martin Truex Jr. roared his way to the NASCAR Cup title in 2017 with what was easily his strongest and most dominant season in stock-car racing to date.

Truex hit Victory Lane at just the second race of the year in Las Vegas, and followed this up with further wins at Kansas, Kentucky and Watkins Glen to capture the regular season championship. Truex kicked off the play-offs in style with a win at Chicagoland, but did not rest there, following it up with victories at Charlotte and Kansas for a second time to enter the championship showdown riding high.

Truex was able to keep a charging Kyle Busch at bay at the season finale at Homestead to take his eighth win of the year and secure the title, having led nearly a fifth of all the in-race ‘stages’ through the season.

31. Carlos Sainz Jr - F1, 9th

Toro Rosso’s outstanding driver of the season reeled off six points finishes from the opening eight rounds to deliver the Italian team it’s promising start to 2017. Eager to progress up the Red Bull programme ladder, Sainz applied pressure to his bosses who came down equally hard on the Spanish driver who was hunting a faster drive for 2018.

With Sainz still delivering despite off-track turbulence, the Spanish driver enjoyed his best career result with fourth place coming in the crazy Singapore Grand Prix race. An engine issue in Malaysia followed by a first lap off during his final hurrah for Toro Rosso saw Sainz wave goodbye to Toro Rosso to join Renault for the final four races of 2017 and scored points on his debut with seventh place in Austin.

A low key final three races didn’t deny Sainz his best season to date in F1 as he broke into the top ten ending the year above experienced campaigners Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa.

30. Lucas di Grassi - Formula E, champion

Lucas di Grassi’s path to his long-awaited Formula E title was by no means an easy one, staring down the barrel of perennial rival Sebastien Buemi’s faster Renault e.dams car.

Alas, di Grassi toiled his way to success. His victory in Mexico after nearly being lapped was remarkable, having been forced into an early pit stop due to rear wing damage. But even with Buemi missing the New York double-header due to clashing WEC commitments, di Grassi entered the season finale still behind on points.

Things turned around quickly, though. A meltdown for Buemi opened the door for di Grassi, who took a solid victory on Saturday in Montreal before clinching the crown with a run to seventh in the final race of the year. It wasn’t pretty, but at last, he was champion.

29. Franco Morbidelli – Moto2 World Championship, champion

Morbidelli produced a near-faultless Moto2 campaign to seal the world title with two races to spare coupled with nearest rival Thomas Luthi’s qualifying crash in Malaysia. But it takes nothing away from Morbidelli’s domination of the intermediate class in 2017 with eight race wins, six pole positions and four additional rostrums alongside just two DNFs all season. The new Moto2 champion has been duly rewarded with a MotoGP debut in 2018 at Marc VDS Honda alongside Luthi.

28. Thierry Neuville - World Rally Championship, 2nd

2017 looked like the year for Thierry Neuville to step out of the shadows and mount a proper charge for the WRC title, and started so promisingly in Monte Carlo as he took control of the rally early on. However, a crash meant he would ultimately finish 15th, with a similar turnaround in fortunes leaving him P13 in Sweden. Two possible rally wins had been lost.

They would prove costly come the end of the season as Neuville finished only 24 points shy of Sebastien Ogier in the final standings, leaving him to dream of what could have been had it not been for a handful of errors across the course of the season. Nevertheless, four wins comfortably made it his most successful year to date.

27. George Russell - GP3, champion

After joining up with Mercedes’ young driver programme at the start of the year, the pressure was on George Russell to take the GP3 Series by the throat and win the title at the first attempt upon stepping up from Formula 3.

Russell did exactly that, with feature race wins at the Red Bull Ring and on home soil at Silverstone putting him in control of the championship. The British youngster followed this up with further successes at Spa and Monza, making up for a point-less weekend in Hungary, and sewed things up at Jerez with one round to spare.

Russell was handed F1 practice opportunities with Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, and was impressive on both occasions, finishing not too far off the pace. Can he repeat such an excellent year upon a move up to Formula 2 in 2017, though?

26. Earl Bamber - FIA WEC LMP1, champion; 24 Hours of Le Mans winner

Earl Bamber’s first full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship proved to be a memorable one. Best known for his debut Le Mans victory alongside Nick Tandy and Nico Hulkenberg in 2015, Bamber returned to the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car for 2017 as part of the German marque’s shaken-up line-up.

Bamber played a key role in the fightback to victory at Le Mans alongside Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, but perhaps lacked the edge of his co-drivers. Nevertheless, he ended the year with four wins, four further podiums, a WEC title and a second Le Mans win. He’s now back off to IMSA for 2018 following Porsche’s departure from LMP1.

25. Timo Bernhard - FIA WEC LMP1, champion; 24 Hours of Le Mans winner

Timo Bernhard was his usual quick, competent and, most crucially, consistent self through 2017, playing a key role in Porsche’s charge to both WEC LMP1 titles and his second drivers’ championship win.

Bernhard left nothing in the tank during the fightback at Le Mans as he took a second overall win and first with Porsche, putting him and co-drivers Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley in charge of the drivers’ championship. Three victories followed at the Nurburgring, Mexico and Austin before the trio completed the job in Shanghai with one race to spare.

Bernhard will return to Le Mans next year in the GTE-Pro class, acting as an additional driver to Porsche’s regular season line-up, as he focuses his interests on his own team in the ADAC GT Masters.

24. Valentino Rossi – MotoGP, 5th

2017 began so brightly for Rossi with three consecutive rostrums to grab an early lead in the MotoGP riders’ standings but a combination of injuries and Yamaha’s lack of development saw his season stutter against his Honda and Ducati rivals. A cruel last-lap fall at Le Mans when fighting for victory against team-mate Maverick Vinales put him on the back foot but the Italian made amends three races later with victory at Assen.

Rossi was forced to miss his home round at Misano after breaking a leg in a training accident but bravely battled back at Aragon just under a month after undergoing surgery. Fifth place in the final MotoGP riders’ championship marks Rossi’s worst result since returning to Yamaha at the end of 2012.

23. Kenan Sofuoglu – World Supersport, 2nd

A rollercoaster 2017 for Sofuoglu began when he was forced to sit out the opening two rounds due to a pre-season training injury, before his comeback at Aragon was prematurely ended by being taken out by another rider.

Sofuoglu finally got his season going with victory at Assen which sparked a run of four straight wins backed up by second place at the Lausitzring and another win at Portimao to take the championship lead. But his season was stalled by injury for a second time when he broke a hip in a qualifying crash at Magny-Cours which ruled him out of two rounds.

With a slim chance of retaining his World Supersport title, Sofuoglu made an impressive comeback in Qatar with third place but it wasn’t enough to stop Lucas Mahias sealing the crown.

22. Valtteri Bottas - F1, 3rd

Stepping up as reigning F1 world champion Nico Rosberg’s replacement at Mercedes always meant big shoes to fill alongside Lewis Hamilton and the Finnish driver got off to a promising start with two podiums, a win and a pole position over the opening four rounds – thoroughly out-performing his new team-mate in Russia.

Promising pace continue from Bottas with a run of five consecutive rostrum results between Canada to Hungary, with another win in Austria, but a mid-season dip followed as the Finnish driver lost pace with Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in the title race.

Bottas produced a positive end to his maiden Mercedes campaign with two pole positions, a win and two second places over the final three races but with Hamilton having wrapped up the F1 world title he was left 58 points off Hamilton’s haul.

21. Lando Norris - FIA European Formula 3, champion

Lando Norris faced his toughest task to date in 2017. Following three title wins in two years, he moved up to the highly-competitive FIA European Formula 3 series - one that no team besides Prema Powerteam had won a championship in since its formation.

And yet Norris and Carlin were able to upstage the more experienced hats in the field such as Callum Ilott and Maximilian Gunther (both at Prema), winning in his debut weekend before hitting his stride through the middle part of the season. The title was wrapped up at Hockenheim with two races to spare.

Norris was also hugely impressive during his maiden F1 test outing for McLaren in Hungary, and followed this up with another solid display in Abu Dhabi. He’ll be racing in Formula 2 next year, and the expectation is a fifth title in four years that would surely make F1 the next stop.

Crash is unveiling its top 100 from across the motorsport globe from 2017 with a countdown on each day until New Year’s Eve! Check back tomorrow for the top 20-1 entries and let us know if we’ve made the right choices.


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