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It was announced today that Lee McKenzie will host the BBC's coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix while regular anchor Jake Humphrey is covering the Commonwealth Games. This got me thinking: what if motor racing was a Commonwealth Games sport? Well here are the lineups, with a maximum of two drivers per nation, and F1 drivers not participating:

Australia – Will Power, Ryan Briscoe
Canada – Rob Wickens, Alex Tagliani
Cyprus – Eftihios Ellinas (won twice in FFord GB this year)
England – Justin Wilson, Oliver Turvey
Gibraltar – Tom Gladdis (lived on the Island during his childhood)
Guernsey – Andy Priaulx
India – Armaan Ebrahim, Narain Karthikeyan
Isle of Man – Greg Mansell, Alex Lloyd
Jersey – James Walker
Malaysia – Jazeman Jaafar, Fairuz Fauzy
New Zealand – Scott Dixon, Brendon Hartley
Northern Ireland – Adam Carroll, Will Buller
Pakistan – Adam Khan, Nur Ali
Scotland – Dario Franchitti, Paul di Resta
Singapore – Richard Bradley, Suriya Balakerisnan (both FBMW Pacific)
South Africa – Adrian Zaugg, Tomas Scheckter
Wales – Hywel Lloyd, Andy Meyrick

It's fair to say that Australia has the strongest lineup, with Scotland, England and New Zealand not too far behind.

Is there anybody I've missed? Perhaps someone with dual nationality that I didn't know about? Just drop me a comment.
 
 
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McRae with American rallying's big stars, Pastrana and Block
American Ken Block will make his World Rally Championship debut for the Monster World Rally Team this weekend at Rally Mexico. He is one of the leading lights of the emerging American rallying scene.

The majority of United States appears to have dismissed Formula One, instead preffering its own NASCAR series. Rallying however is gaining a new following, thanks to its marketing as an action sport.

This in itself is due to multiple motocross champion Travis Pastrana's move to the sport in 2004, having competed at the Race of Champions in 2003, the last year of it being held as a rally event on Gran Canaria. He has won the Rally America series for Subaru Team USA every year since 2006. He raced in three P-WRC rounds in 2007.

Rallying has become part of the annual X Games competition. It is present as a superspecial-style stage, which not only takes place inside the stadium but also on the access roads outside the stadium, with big jumps to wow the extreme sports fans.

Colin McRae was invited to compete in X Games in 2006, where he was beaten by Pastrana, having rolled his car near the finish. Pastrana used McRae's former co-driver Derek Ringer during the 2007 season. McRae's popularity in the USA was helped by his video game series, of which the latest edition is heavily focused around the emerging US rally scene, and is fronted by Block and Pastrana. It highlights the legacy of McRae, who helped to make rallying accessible and full-on.

Pastrana is joined in Rally America by Block, known for his gymkhana stunt videos, drifter Tanner Foust and BMX rider Dave Mirra. On ESPN's website, rallying is not found alongside other motorsports such as Nascar and Indycar, but with the other action sports found at X Games.

Other forms of off-road racing are also gaining in popularity, thanks to NASCAR's Robby Gordon's exploits in the Dakar Rally driving a Hummer. While Formula One is struggling to gain popularity in the States, it is becoming an emerging market for rallying, thanks to a new action sport spin.

What do you think? Is the action-style refreshing for rallying, or is it taking away the traditional values of the sport?

Photo Credit: Carolyn