Green Dragon hits snag at start of gruelling transatlantic voyage

THE Volvo Ocean Race fleet is winging its way towards Ireland in a gruelling transatlantic leg of the voyage.

But dense fog and light winds created a difficult start for the seven boats as they began their long journey to Galway after leaving Boston at the weekend.

And Ireland's Green Dragon is trailing in last place after becoming entangled in three lobster pots while trying to navigate around Nova Scotia. Last night saw three members of the crew battling to repair damage to the retractable keel, known as the daggerboard.


But skipper Ian Walker remained confident about keeping up with the competition.

"This is a big disappointment as we were in sight of five boats and sailing well. We can only hope we don't lose touch with the fleet and live to fight another day," he said.

Now in the open ocean, the seven boats face a mammoth 2,550-mile Leg 7 before they are expected to reach Galway this Saturday or Sunday.

They will know they are close when they first see the hundreds of bonfires which will be lit along the west coast. But that exact point largely depends on the weather conditions in the mid-Atlantic.

Out there the teams can expect gale-force conditions that could deliver a new 24-hour speed sailing record. However, such conditions carry potential penalties of the worst kind.

Nobody in the sailing community will forget the tragic loss of Hans Horrevoets, the father of two who was swept overboard just 300 miles from land in the last race three years ago.

Last night, Ericsson 3, PUMA and Telefonica Blue were leading the way as the fleet faced into icy territory off Newfoundland.

While trailing yesterday, Green Dragon put on a good show before the thousands of spectators in Boston for Saturday's start off Fan Pier, holding third place on the short demonstration course.

Galway is set to receive a €60m economic boost from the Volvo Ocean Race, as one of only 12 host ports for the competition.

The race started in October 2008 from the Spanish port of Alicante.

By the time it gets to Galway, it will be on the home stretch, before heading for the finishing line in St Petersburg via Sweden.

Just three legs of the 39,000-mile race remain after the Galway stopover.

Meanwhile, photography enthusiasts are being urged to take part in a competition to highlight the West as a hub for creative industry. The Western Development Commission is running the contest in association with

To take part, people have to upload a photo taken during the Galway Volvo Ocean Race Festival, which runs from May 23 to June 6.

Competitors (left to right) Telefonica Blue, Green Dragon, Ericsson 4, Delta Lloyd and PUMA, position themselves at the start of Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race in Boston

Prizes include top-of-the-range digital cameras to a total value of €1,500.

Dragon due at weekend

A weekend finish is back on the cards for the Volvo Ocean Race following a wind change in the North Atlantic yesterday that has seen the fleet gain speed and race directly for Galway. A daytime finish on Sunday is currently expected.

The stage seven lead was last night jointly held by overall race leader Torben Grael on Ericsson 4 and the second Spanish entry, Telefonica Black, skippered by Fernando Eschavarri.

Ireland's Green Dragon was in sixth place with a 12-mile advantage over Ericsson 3. The Nordic-crewed boat lost part of its keel fairing on Monday to hinder its boat-speed.

One of their two daggerboards was also damaged but the team were able to repair it. The seven boats are almost clear of the ice exclusion zone south-east of Newfoundland.

Delta Lloyd takes control

The Ger O'Rourke-owned Delta Lloyd took over the lead of stage seven in the Volvo Ocean Race last night as the seven-boats began their approach to the Galway finishing line.

The fleet is currently expected on Sunday.

Official race standings are in a state of flux as the seven boats are split into two groups across a west-east axis with Roberto Bermudez's Delta Lloyd team narrowly holding off Kenny Read on Puma in the west.

Delta Lloyd heads out of the harbor to start the seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean race May 16, 2009 in Boston. Photo: AFP, Getty Images

On the opposite side of the course, last-placed Ericsson 3 is jousting with Ireland's Green Dragon, which was 10 miles ahead last night.

The fleet is expecting conditions to change today from sunny and fresh to wet and windy as they make fast progress towards Ireland's west coast.

Dragon all fired up after West welcome

OUR arrival into Galway for the finish of leg seven at 3.0am on Sunday was, without doubt, the best we've experienced so far.

And the fact we finished the leg into our home port in third place, gaining crucial extra points over Ericsson 3, and managed to keep Telefonica Black behind, added to the sense of satisfaction.

It was totally overwhelming to see so many spectator boats out into the bay to greet us. The harbour was also packed with boats, while the Aran Islands were lit by blazing beacons.

As we sailed closer and closer into the bay, there were more and more boats -- so many in fact it became quite tricky getting to the finish line, close reaching with the kite up. Trying to drop the kite safely was also quite interesting.

It's been a long time since I last sailed into Galway and this was the first time I've raced into Ireland in a race of this scale, and on an Irish boat, so it was all fairly emotional.

The race village was so alive for that hour of the morning. We were really shocked to see just how many people had made such a special effort to come to the dockside to greet us. It was truly amazing.

As far as the racing went, it was probably one of our most enjoyable and strongest performances so far.

After a fairly difficult first section from Boston, where the visibility was so bad it was very easy to lose touch with the fleet and probably contributed to us losing a few miles on Telefonica Black, we stepped up a pace.

In the breezy conditions after the ice gate, we really came into our own as a team. We felt we could really push the boat hard and I think ultimately that's what made a difference.

Ian's (Walker) decision to slip in a few really good gybes on the way across was pretty crucial in giving us the leverage we needed to get ahead of Telefonica Blue and have a really good battle into Galway with Puma.

We were neck and neck with Puma for the last section, swapping second and third constantly but they eventually pipped us to the post.

We managed to wreck our Code Zero (heavy air downwind sail) so I suppose you could say that contributed to not being able to really hold off Puma, but who really knows? Puma had their own problems when they had to replace a rudder in the Atlantic so, it's really difficult to pinpoint any particular reason.

All I can say is that it was one of the most amazing finishes and we finished where we had hoped we would on this leg -- given the fast downwind conditions.

Having stepped ashore on Sunday morning, the first thing we did was head off for a pint of Guinness and a good Irish breakfast in celebration of the fact that we'd completed a circumnavigation and to reflect on the time we've spent together as a crew aboard Green Dragon. What a great group of guys.

I think the fact that we are all still happy to be sailing together after being away for such a long time proves how strong we are as a team. We wouldn't change it for the world and, if we had to, we'd do it all over again.

Relaxed and exhausted, we then managed to catch up with a few hours of valuable sleep before getting straight into boat preparation mode once again for the Galway in-port race on Saturday. There could be a fair amount of breeze next weekend and that would make for really good racing here in Galway Bay. The extra breeze in the bay could create handling difficulties and, hopefully, that will be to our advantage.

There's a lot going on here in the Race Village and it's really worth popping along to see all the action. See you down there.

For more information visit and

- Damian Foxall - Volvo Ocean RaceShanghai International F1 Circuit

Shanghai International F1 Circuit
Yining Road 2000
Jiading District
Shanghai 201814

Circuit history:
The Shanghai International Circuit is situated in the district of Jiading near Shanghai. In common with many other new
Formula One circuits, it was designed by Hermann Tilke, and also features his trademark track feature: a long back straight
followed by a hairpin turn. Current-generation F1 cars can easily surpass 300 km/h (186 mph) on the long straight between
corners 13 and 14. The track layout also resembles the Chinese character shang (上) the first word in the name of the city
Shanghai, meaning "above" or "ascend". One lap lasts 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles). The whole circuit plus seating areas and
other areas for spectators, covers a total area of 5.3 km².

Zhuhai International Circuit
Circuit history:
The Zhuhai International Circuit [ZIC] was completed in November 1996. This 4.3kms long course offers challenging corners
for spectacular overtaking maneuvers. The clockwise direction circuit has 4 left turns, 10 right turns, and 2 straights of 900m
and 500m each. The 900 metre long main straight, as well as another straight in excess of 500 metres followed by sweeping
corners offers a top speed of over 300 kph for certain cars. The main grandstand offers 12,000 covered seats and 50,000
additional seats for general admission. It is equipped with a press centre where it can accommodate up to 200 journalists.
Location: Tangjiawan Town, Northern Region of Zhuhai City
Direction: ZIC is less than a 1.5 hour drive from Guangzhou, a one hour drive from Zhuhai Airport, 30 minute drive from
Macau, or a 30 minute drive from the Jiuzhou Port ferry terminal, where ferry service goes to and from Hong Kong [45
minute ferry from Hong Kong to Zhuhai].

Beijing International Circuit

Goldenport Motor Park
No.1 Goldenport Avenue
Chaoyang District
Beijing 100018
Circuit history:
Goldenport Park Circuit is a permanent circuit located at Chaoyang District, Beijing, People's Republic of China. The circuit is
3.3km (2.06mi) long in distance with the width between 12m – 20m. It is an FIA Class 4 Homologated Circuit with 2
Grandstands and 25 Pit garages. It holds a round of China Superbike Championship (CSBK) and China Circuit
Championship (CCC) for touring cars each race season.

Chengdu International Circuit

Circuit history:
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan, in the southwest of China. This ‘City of Abundance’ is the fifth most populous city in China,
with over 100 million residents. It is a city that is known for its magnificent historical features and for being the most important
economic, transportation and communications hub in China. One of the most recognized features of Chengdu has to be its
delectable, spicy hot pot Sichuan food,one of the most outstanding in Chinese cuisines. The Chengdu Goldenport Circuit is
built on farmland and is surrounded by lush green vistas, a perfect setting for the mid-season battle for the Championships.
According to circuit officials, the long front straight (830m) was built on an old runway. With its long straight, wide corners,
and combinations and elevation changes it provides very exciting races. Total circuit length:3.367km.

Track Map [PDF]

Guangdong International Circuit

Circuit history:
The Guangdong International Circuit , the newest professional race track in China, is currently under construction and will
be completed in October 2009.

Track Map

Giving women drivers a good name is child's play for Sarah

'I wanted to get to F1 but it doesn't look as exciting as touring cars,' says teenage star Sarah Moore

david ashdown

'I wanted to get to F1 but it doesn't look as exciting as touring cars,' says teenage star Sarah Moore

Sarah Moore has been described as an "angel outside the car and a Yorkshire Terrier inside it". These words were not spoken by her driving instructor: she is two years shy of sitting her test. They come from the boss of Ginetta Juniors, the motor racing championship in which Moore has made history by claiming three wins from six rounds.

When the 15-year-old stood on the top step of the podium at Hampshire's ultra-fast Thruxton circuit last month, she became the only female to win a race on the TOCA package – home to the country's biggest motor racing series, the British Touring Car Championship. Some of her male competitors said it was a fluke: she silenced them by taking victory again the following day. Having added a further win and podium at Donington Park, she is comfortably leading the points standings in the series created for 14 to 16-year-olds, and is destined to become the first female to ever win a mixed-sex motorsport championship.

"She's fast, she's aggressive and out of the car she's perfect – good in front of the camera and really sweet," says Richard Dean, managing director of Ginetta Cars and a sportscar racer himself. "That said, I'm not sure I'd like to go wheel to wheel with her! After her first win you could just see the confidence in her. I'd love to see her in touring cars – it needs a good, fast female driver to mix it up."

Moore lives at Tockwith airfield, near York, which gives its name to the family-run team. Younger brother David also competes in Ginetta Juniors while older brother Nigel is a champion of the more senior Ginetta G50 series and will, at 17, become one of the youngest-ever drivers to compete in the Le Mans 24hr race this summer. Former racer Simon Moore, the trio's father, runs the team. "Sarah's a thinker and she's as hard as nails," he says. "And she does listen: it's an awful thing to say, but a lot of the lads do not. She'll go and try something with the car, come back and tell us what she thinks. Her driving style is very smooth."

Like most drivers, Sarah started out karting, but says she did not do very well: "I did get a few good finishes, but no podiums." With some coaching from Nigel and a circuit in her backyard to practice on, her move to car racing has been a success. She competed at 14 last year, winning a race in the winter series, and is now the favourite for 2009 honours. "I want a career in motorsport," she says. "Hopefully I'll race at Le Mans, and possibly touring cars. I wanted to get to F1 but it does not look as exciting as touring cars – that looks like a great place to be. To be one of the girls going up against the boys would be great."

Fitting racing and testing in around her studies is not easy. She sometimes arrives home at 2am on a Monday but says her technology school, King James in Knaresborough, is supportive. She also has an interest in the technical side of the sport. "I'm doing work experience at Ginetta. I help the mechanics with my car, especially if there are any problems. But most of the time I keep out of the work and leave it up to them in case I make a mistake!"

Being a female – especially one who is winning – is not easy, but Moore takes it in her stride. "The boys make you feel a bit out of place but I'm not bothered anymore," she says. "When I was new I was scared they might bully me, but they've realised I've come on and got fast. They will not try taking me off the track or anything silly." She receives no special treatment as a female and was docked 10 points at Donington Park for robustly taking the lead from a fellow driver. Her comeback-drives are already gaining notice: at Oulton Park yesterday she dropped to 15th after an incident but worked her way back to third – the podium finish allowing her to maintain her title lead with 183 points.

When Moore stood on the podium after her first win at Thruxton, a woman in the crowd asked her husband: "Have they put her on the top step because she's so small?" He replied: "Don't be daft, it's because she's won!" Seeing a female in racing overalls is still a novelty – especially when she is spraying champagne. Yet there are two other girls on the Ginetta Juniors grid, and another female racing in Formula Renault on the same weekends. With those yet to win, Moore is the brightest hope in the current crop of females. "Girls come up to me now and ask how to get into motorsport. In the future there will be a lot more doing it. The other girls on the grid are not up to where I am, but I want them to beat the boys!"

Milwaukee: Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing qualifying report


Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "The McDonald's car felt pretty good but I had a big snap and a big moment on the last lap and our fourth lap time was three-tenths slower than the previous one. If that hadn't happened I think we would have had pole. We sat on pole so many times this year that we are a little bit spoiled. At the end of the day the McDonald's boys are doing a great job. Pretty much we showed up today exactly how we ended last year because we are pretty competitive. We worked on race trim in the morning and the car was pretty quick. We're going to put on the set up we had for the race last year. The car was good but I made a mistake. If there was a race from last year that still bothers me it was this one. The McDonald's boys practiced stops this morning. If I hit my marks, all our stops go well and get to the end we should be able to have a good finish and be a contender. We have a shot at it tomorrow."

Robert Doornbos, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "We were a bit too risky on the gearing. Our gear was definitely too long and you don't want to be shifting at this place. Unfortunately it didn't work out. I go from one surprise to another on these ovals because they have all been different so far. I want to invite all my mates from Europe, in F1 or whatever series, to try this because it is so different from what I am used to. Every weekend is a new surprise. I got dizzy actually this morning after the first couple of laps. The car changes every lap in the race. I wish everyone had an on-board camera

to show how much work we do on every lap during the race -- especially here. I'm going to be a busy man in the race. People in the US love the oval racing and I am starting to enjoy it as well. We had a good run in Kansas. At this one, we have struggled a little bit more but we should be fine tomorrow in the race."

coming grand prixes in 2009


Jun 7


Jun 21


Jul 12


Jul 26


Aug 23


Aug 30


Sep 13


Sep 27


Oct 4


Oct 18

Abu Dhabi

Nov 1

U.I.M. F1 H2O Worlds: Team Abu Dhabi aims to keep streak alive in Northern Europe

The history of the U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship dates all the way back 28 years ago. During this time, the series has been known for its many challenging and difficult race circuits that make these Grand Prix events the most daring in all of water sports.

A few examples of the “rough and tough” circuits these catamaran boats have raced on during their history include the open large expanse of Lake Como in Italy. The mountain lake was the setting for the original Grand Prix back in summer of 1981 and with its turbulent winds coming from the foothills of the Alps combined with ferry boat traffic makes this one of the most difficult to master.

The exposed race circuit of the open ocean along the waterfront in downtown Doha and the Grand Prix of Qatar mixes the swells with the sublime of the almost mill pond inner harbor feeling at the other end of the two kilometer lap. Get it right and you’ve earned pole position, get it wrong and you quickly go airborne like a Boeing 777. If you don’t believe it check the pole position qualifying action of two years ago that saw two recent World Champions fly and then stall into the water at over 220 kilometers or 130 miles per hour.

As the 2009 campaign rolls into the lovely setting of Lahti, Finland being the host city for the second straight year and the back to back races on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of June, the large and looming expanse of Lake Vesijarvi has in just one year become the signature event for daring driving. As this circuit awaits ready to swallow up the non-suspecting drivers that don’t appreciate the lakes personality that is non-forgiving.

“This had to be one of the most punishing places I’ve ever raced on,” said current World Champion Jay Price of the Qatar Team. “I personally had a great day coming from almost last in18th position to finish less than two seconds from victory in 2nd place. This all happened despite a drive by penalty I had to accomplish as well. I attribute my years of experience in being able to read the water and I look forward to another challenge that the lake will throw at me again. I’m psyched.”

Last years Grand Prix winner Guido Cappellini of the Zepter Team captured his only victory of the season in Lahti eventually finishing a career worst 10th in the championship with 27 points. The Grand Prix in Finland also marks the last race he has actually finished as he enters the race in Finland looking for his first points of the season as he continues to dream of winning his 10th World Championship title before he retires.

The 2009 campaign has all been about Team Abu Dhabi as the 4-time World Champion and now Team Manager Scott Gillman has led his two talented drivers Ahmad Al Hameli and Thani Al Qamzi to victories in the first two races at the Grand Prix of Portugal in Portimao back in early April.

Ahmad, second in the championship with 20 points, reached the podium with a fine 3rd place in Lahti last season. Thani, who leads the current championship with 29 points after a fourth place and a win in Portimao, a year ago in Finland, pushed for the lead before crashing out for the only time during the season on the lake.

The pressure cooker will once again be squarely placed on local hero and 2007 World Champion Sami Selio of the Mad Croc F1 Team Woodstock group. The Helsinki driver hopes for better things this time around after qualifying 7th last season and dropping out in 14th position in the race leaving with no points in only two of his eight races in last years championship which he finished 2nd at seasons end with 69 points. After the first two rounds of this campaign the 34 year-old is hoping to earn his first points after failing to finish both two races in Portugal.

A driver who is having a “rebirth” of sorts to his career is Italian Francesco Cantando as the Milanese driver of the Singha F1 Racing Team comes in tied for 3rd in the championship with Jay Price at 15 points on the strength of a 2nd place in race two in Portugal. Last year he crashed out spectacularly while fighting with Cappellini for the early lead in the race for his only mishap of the season on his way to 11th in the overall driver’s championship.

A few Scandinavian pilots of note are in full swing for the title this season with 14 more races to go before the final lap in early December in the United Arab Emirates. Swedish native Jonas Andersson of the F1 Team Azerbaijan effort is sitting with 12 points in the championship coming off a 3rd at the opening race. In Lahti a year ago, having a weekend he’d love to forget qualifying 22nd and dropping out in the 13th position, Jonas went on to finish a fine 3rd in the championship with a pair of wins in 2008 and gaining 62 points in the process.

Norway’s Marit Stromoy is having a better start to her 2nd full season as Jonas’s teammate, having placed in the top-10 in both races this season thus far with a seventh and an eighth. This is a far cry from last season when she failed to complete any of her four starts including a pair of crashes with one being in Lahti that was a signature of her season a year ago.

So, with the 5th Grand Prix of Finland less than two weeks away, will the beautiful peaceful setting that is the city of Lahti bring back the roar of its Lake Vesijarvi? A special challenge where daring and dash is the signature to success with caution thrown out the window as every driver is asked to ride on the edge for not one but two Grand Prix’s on the weekend of the 12th and 13th of June. The early championship leaders may start to separate the “haves from the have not’s” when the weekend is completed.

NEXT RACE - 7th June Grand Prix of Turkey


Length : 5.338

Profile :
Time difference: GMT +3
No of Laps: 58
Race Distance: 309.396 km
Lap Record: 1:24.770 - JP Montoya (2005)

Directions :
The Istanbul Racing Circuit is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, 6 km from the junction of Kurtkoy on the north side of TEM Motorway, linking Istanbul to Ankara.
The Istanbul Racing Circuit is close to the newly-constructed Sabiha Gokcen Istanbul Airport.

Address :
Motor Sports and Organization
Resadiye Cad. ITO Ek Binasi Kat:1
Eminonu - Istanbul

History :
Turkey is one of the newer countries on the F1 calendar with its spectacular all-purpose 5.338km track at the Otodrom.

The track is the brainchild of Herman Tilke, also responsible for Sepang, Bahrain and Shanghai.

The circuit features 14 turns and cars reach speeds of up to 320 km.

The race is one of the few on the calendar where the lap runs anti-clockwise.

The circuit should have plenty of character as it's built on four different ground levels.

French PM pushing for F1 return Sunday 31st May 2009

French prime minister Francois Fillon has said he wants the country's grand prix can be restored to the Formula One calendar as soon as possible.

Race organisers announced last October that they had cancelled the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours for financial reasons, leaving the country that invented grand prix motor racing without a race.

However, speaking on Friday, Fillon said he hoped that France's absence would be for one year only.

"The government will do everything so that there can be a Grand Prix in France as soon as possible, that is to say from 2010 (or) 2011," he told Europe 1 radio.

"We are in the process of looking at which circuit (would be used), if we need to build a new one...this is would undoubtedly take some time."

Magny-Cours, situated in the heart of rural France, has proven unpopular with teams and sponsors alike because of its poor accommodation facilities and difficult access.

Formula One commercial rights controller Bernie Ecclestone has said he would rather stage the race at a track near Paris.

Even so, Fillon said that Magny-Cours would likely be used again if France was to take a place on the calendar as soon as he hoped.

He added: "I think this will be necessary because the time it would take to build a circuit would take us up until 2012 and I don't think we can accept that there isn't a Grand Prix in France before (then)."

Disneyland Paris had been mentioned as an option but that appeared to be ruled out in November.

France has failed to stage a grand prix only once, in 1955, following the establishment of the formula one world championship five years earlier.

F1 stars at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009 Jenson Button, Brawn GP’s BGP001, fighter jets and classic cars among attractions at the annual West Susse

Jaguar XJR12

The Jaguar XJR12 that came second at Le Mans in 1991

The car that has turned the world of Formula One on its head will be the star attraction at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed — complete with its driver, Jenson Button. Brawn GP’s BGP001 may not be emblazoned with sponsors’ logos, but its distinctive fluorescent paint-job will mark it out. But don’t expect it to be the car Button will power up the tarmac driveway that doubles as a racetrack for the weekend.

The event, which kicks off in just over a month’s time, has played host to many great cars in the past, but bagging the machine that is leading the F1 championship — especially one as revolutionary as the Brawn — is a bit of a coup for the organisers. And Button, who has had a dream start to the championship — winning five out of six races so far — will no doubt be afforded a hero’s welcome by the crowd that lines the 1.16-mile route.

For the uninitiated, the Festival of Speed takes place in the grounds of Goodwood estate, West Sussex, and is billed as the biggest celebration of motoring in Britain. It sees hundreds of exotic cars, from classic 1950s racers to modern-day monsters such as the Bugatti Veyron, take turns to race up Goodwood hill against the clock. The spectacle gives visitors the chance to catch a rare glimpse of some of the most famous machines in racing.

Since its inaugural year in 1993, the festival has run to a theme, and this year’s, True Grit — Epic Feats of Endurance, will speak especially clearly to the other F1 star who will be in action: Lewis Hamilton. Britain’s reigning F1 world champion has had a torrid start to the season, and perhaps pointedly, he won’t be driving his current F1 car, but will instead be at the wheel of Ayrton Senna’s 1988 McLaren MP4/4 turbo.

Hamilton maintains that Senna, whose brilliant F1 career was tragically cut short when he was killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994, was his inspiration. “I’ve always felt I had a connection with him, that we’re somehow similar,” Hamilton said last year. “He was always looking for perfection and, yeah, he was a warrior — and that was what I loved about him.”

For a trip down F1’s memory lane, great names from years gone by will be driving classic machinery up the hill. Richard Attwood, winner of the 1970 Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, and factory driver for F1 teams such as BRM, Cooper and Lotus, is expected to drive a Porsche 917 — the fastest car ever to lap Le Mans. For motorcyclists, there will be appearances from Mick Doohan and Troy Corser, respectively five-time 500cc world champion and two-time superbike world champion.

Away from the hillclimb, rally stars will be putting some historic and current machines through their paces on a specially constructed “rally stage” in the woods around Goodwood estate. Sébastien Loeb, the reigning and five-time world rally champion is expected to be driving his Citroën C4 rally car; Hannu Mikkola, the 1983 champion, will be driving an Audi quattro; and Bjorn Waldegaard, the 1979 champion, will pilot a rare Lancia Stratos.

There will also be the chance to see Rauno Aaltonen, who won the RAC Rally in 1965 and Monte Carlo in 1967, driving a 1960s Mini Cooper S.

The festival’s global appeal isn’t exclusive to motor sport drivers and riders. Peter Fonda, the Hollywood actor, will be making a guest appearance. He plans to breeze up the hill on a replica of the chopper he rode in Easy Rider.

Watch out also for an ear-shattering display from the RAF’s Typhoon display team on the Sunday — a rare chance to see the much-maligned Eurofighter in action. The festival will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mini — complete with Swinging Sixties-style models draped over the various incarnations of Britain’s much-loved car.

Most importantly, don’t forget the Sunday Times Supercar Paddock, where visitors can get up close to rare road-going supercars before they tackle the hill climb. And by close, we mean touch-and-feel close; car spotters can reach out and touch the machinery, shake hands with the drivers and leave feeling very satisfied.

Dates and tickets

When July 3-5

Prices Adults and teenagers, single day tickets from £33; children aged 12 and under go free; weekend tickets from £103

Booking Tickets only sold in advance. By phone: 01243 755 055 or

Florida Travel Calendar for June

June 1-20: Sarasota Music Festival, Sarasota. For three weeks each June, internationally recognized guest artists and student musicians come together to study and perform chamber music. Nearly 500 students from top music programs at colleges and conservatories worldwide audition to participate, but only 58 are accepted. These exceptional students work side-by-side with a group of 40 music masters, which comprise the guest faculty. The public can hear these artists rehearse or perform together at theThursday afternoon Artist Showcase Concerts, the Friday and Saturday evening Chamber Concerts, and the Festival Orchestra Concerts. Festival Passes, which allow access to master classes and rehearsals, may be purchased, and eight student concerts are free and open to the public. At Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. 941-953-3434, 953-4252.

June 5: International Festival, Titusville. Celebrate many different cultures with live entertainment, demonstrations and food. At Sand Point Park, 6-10 p.m. 321-267-3036.

June 5-7: Silver Spurs Rodeo, Kissimmee. Sixty of professional rodeo's top cowboys leverage razor-sharp reflexes and brainy brawn atop the country's top and most unpredictable livestock. 123rd annual. At Silver Spurs Arena at Osceola Heritage Park. Admission $15. 321-697-3495.

June 6: Third Annual Pepper Fest, Pinellas Park. Hot and spicy foods and sauces to sample and purchase. Also pepper plants, barbecue, crafts. At The England Brothers Bandshell Park, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission, free parking. 727-423-8433.

June 6: First Saturday Jam, Barberville. On the first Saturday of every month, Pioneer Settlement for the Arts offers informal music jams, free workshops, food, and a barn-style dance. Admission $6 adult, $4 ages 5-12. 386-749-2959.

June 6: Pancake Breakfast, St. Petersburg. The Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society welcomes everyone to its monthly breakfast. At Albert Whitted Airport. $10. 727-822-1532.

June 6: Living History Day at Fort Matanzas, Marineland. Take the National Park Service's ferry to Rattlesnake Island and experience daily military life at Fort Matanzas, the 18th century Spanish fort that guarded the southern approach to St. Augustine. From 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. authentically clad re-enactors will demonstrate Spanish muskets and cannons at the fort. Admission is free. 904-471-0116.

June 6-7: Corey Avenue Craft Festival, St. Petersburg Beach. Howard Alan open air craft fair featuring handmade jewelry, ceramics, pottery items and more. Along Corey Avenue. Free. 954-472-3755.

June 12: Cajun Crawfish Festival, St. Cloud. Everyone is invited to join the fun with "All You Can Eat Crawfish" at a monthly street festival that includes live entertainment, crafters, children's play area, food vendors and more. Downtown. Free admission. 407-498-0008.

June 12-14: John Levique Days, Madeira Beach. Three-day pirate themed event celebrating the discovery of John's Pass by John Levique after the hurricane of September 1848. Includes a Hurricane Expo, Pirates' Ball, Pirates and Wenches Auction, costume contests for children and adults, pirate ship battle and invasion of the Pass, street parade, story telling and a village-wide treasure hunt. Various strolling entertainment and artisans within the Village will provide merriment for attendees of all ages. At Johns Pass Village and Boardwalk. Free. 727-393-8230.

June 12-14: Harvest Festival, Clermont. Arts and crafts, live music, wine, food, grape stomping. At Lakeridge Winery and Vineyard 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $2 donation. 800-768-WINE.

June 12-14: Soccer on the Beach Tournament, Daytona Beach. "Soccer on the Beach" is a family oriented boys, girls and coed soccer tournament held on the beaches of Daytona (June 12-14), Clearwater (July 10-12) and Fort Myers (Aug. 7-9). 727-372-2232.

June 13: Walking Tour of Downtown St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg Preservation members tell the history of St. Petersburg during walking tours to historic buildings, beginning at Detroit Hotel corner. Held monthly on the second Saturday, 10 a.m.-12 noon. At Central Avenue and 2nd Street North. 727-824-7802.

June 13-14: Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival, St. Petersburg. Enjoy the sights, sounds, culture and food of the islands. Event includes steel band performances, an international salsa performer, a costume contest, arts and crafts, exhibits, live Caribbean music, children's area and food vendors. At Vinoy Park. Admission $10. 727-327-1277.

June 13-14: St. Armands Circle Craft Festival, Sarasota. Craft fair featuring paintings, jewelry, pet and spa products and more. At St. Armands Circle, a popular shopping area. Free. 954-472-3755.

June 18: Seaside Fiesta, New Smyrna Beach. Four blocks of games, food and entertainment for all ages. On historic Flagler Avenue on the beachside. Free. 386-424-2175.

June 20: Hot Rods on the Hill, Holly Hill. Car show and swap meet on Father's Day Weekend; rain date June 21. Also includes classic car parade, people's choice awards, entertainment and food vendors. At Hollyland Park. 386-248-9460.

June 27: Art Walk on Flagler Avenue, New Smyrna Beach. Display of art works by resident and visiting artists , along with entertainment, demonstrations and a free prize drawing. Held fourth Saturday each month January through June. In the five blocks between the Indian River and the ocean. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. 386-428-1770.

June 27-28: Florida International Reptile Show, Tampa. After three years in alternate venues the show returns to its original longtime home at Tampa's Florida State Fairground. Vendors offer reptile pets, supplies, feeders, cages and merchandise. Admission $8 adults, $5 ages 5-12. 863-268-4273.

June 27-29: Caribbean Heritage Festival of Palm Coast, Palm Coast. Enjoy the best of Caribbean-American rhythms and dances, arts and crafts, painters, exhibits, children's rides, and the aromas and flavors of international cuisine. Sponsored by United Caribbean Cultural Assn. Of Palm Coast.. At Palm Coast Town Center. Free. 386-437-0106.

June 27-July 5: Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix Festival, Sarasota. Festive activities leading up to offshore race by million-dollar cigarette boats, with race day on July 5. You don't need a ticket and you can come as you are. Events include golf tournament and Festival Kickoff Party, June 27; Festival Car Show and Expo at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, June 28; Parade of Boats downtown followed by Block Party, July 2; Meet and Greet Who's in the Driver's Seat, World's Largest Offshore Party at Hyatt Regency ballroom, plus motorcycle events, all July 3; and Powerboats by the Bay at Centennial Park, July 3-4, culminating in a fireworks display. On race day, July 5, enjoy live race coverage on a JumboTron under the big tent at Centennial Park. Free admission; food and beverages available for purchase. 941-371-8820 x1800.

Lola confirm 2010 bid

LolaLola have confirmed that they have submitted an entry for the 2010

The company last appeared in F1 in 1997, but with the announcement of proposed cost-cutting measures, the Huntingdon-based outfit expressed their interest in rejoining the sport.

"The Lola Group believes that the WMSC decisions relating to cost-capping and the provision of revised technical regulations to facilitate the entry of new teams into Formula One should be embraced," the company said in a statement.

"This is not only prudent considering the backdrop of global economics but also taking into account the need for new teams to be able to compete credibly against long established entrants."

Lola together with Prodrive, USF1 and Campos Racing, and nine current F1 all announced their entry on Friday, the deadline for submissions. Williams had already confirmed their entry on

Longtze Premier at the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale

'Longtze Premiers at Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale, Brest' Longtze Premier
??The Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale 2009 proved to be a highly tactical regatta, and the Longtze Premier fleet, very much a level playing field, produced some very engaging battles. “The game is decidedly very open in Longtze”, commented Arian Provost, helmswoman of Longtze Premier de l’Ecole Navale, and 3rd placed at the end of the event. “Anyone can win in this class, but the smallest error is punished harshly. It is an exceptional experience!”

This was an opinion confirmed by Christophe Espagnon, coming directly from the French Tornado team and tactician on board Longtze Premier Lufthansa – “it is a new boat, so everyone is learning, and there isn't a single dominant leader. The game is completely open. The boat is lively, physical and technical, which means giving 100% of your effort all the time! In this game, Athema sailed very well.”

One team that ‘threaded the needle of experience’ in to order to get to their objective was the Athema crew of Erwan Tabarly, ably backed up by Vincent Biarnes and Gilles Favennec (both match-racing specialists), Yannick (Erwan's brother) and Erwan Liees. “I let myself be guided by Gilles and Vincent” said Tabarly. “The team sailed very well together. I am very happy with this victory, it motivates us for the next! The boat is somewhat complex, but we have started to understand a little better how it works, it is very satisfying.”? Another high-profile entry in the Grand Prix was Guillaume Florent (Bronze Medallist in the Qingdao Olympic Regatta) with a Naval School team, who won the last two races in order to step up to 3rd place on the winners podium. After the first two events of the Longtze Premier European Tour, there are now only four points separating the first seven competitors - and there are four paired scores among the total 10 Longtzes!

Athema _ Longtze Premier - Longtze Premier

This Grand Prix will leave an excellent memory to all of the competitors. “This is what is great about the Longtze Premier”, recounts Ariane Provost “It is sailing at a very high level, but that doesn’t stop us from a having a good time. Despite the big age differences and the individual abilities in the fleet, there have been many opportunities to interact within the group.”

“We had exceptional conditions during the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale!”, explains Thierry Arnould, French Lufthansa Marketing Director. “We have been enormously surprised by the Longtze European Tour! Erwan stands well in the rankings in this regatta: in Monaco, it was Nicolas Bérenger... Each time, there are newcomers, the mix is rich and very interesting. It is one of the most powerful elements of the circuit! It is much more than a competition; it is a very good atmosphere and a true exchange of values between us.”

Gwénégan Le Bourhis, Communication Director for the Ecole Navale, said, “The Grand Prix de ‘l'Ecole Naval is an opportunity to open doors. Each evening, the students can mix with professional skippers and experienced sailing crews coming from completely different experiences. For our students, this has been an excellent opportunity.

The next event is the Deauville International week (4-7 June), where 10-15 Longtzes are expected.

Results of the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale:
1. Erwan TABARLY (France) – ATHEMA – FRA 822 ?
2. Guillaume FLORENT (France) – LONGTZE RACING – FRA 806
?3. Ariane PROVOST / Stéphane CHRISTIDIS (France) – ECOLE NAVALE – FRA 805
?4. Luc GELLUSSEAU (France) – LUFTHANSA – FRA 818
?5. Andreas Beinz (Germany) – BROKER LINE – SUI 812
?6. Eckhard KALLER (Switzerland) – BROKER LINE 3 – SUI 815
?8. Nicolas BERENGER (France) – KONE MONOSPACE – FRA 820
?9. Arthur LEVAILLANT (France) – KONE MAXISPACE – FRA 821
?10. Jacques VAN DEN HEUVEL (Holland) – ANCRE DE CHINE – NED 808

Overall standings on the Longtze European Tour:

5 Eckhard KALLER (SUI) – BROKER LINE 3 16
7 Andreas Beinz (GER) – BROKER LINE 15
11 Heiko FALCH (GER) - LA JAUNE 3
12 Jacques Van Der HEUVEL (NED) – ANCRE DE CHINE 2

F1: McLaren boss disappointed at leaving Monaco Grand Prix empty-handed

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren  garage [Pictures courtesy of]
Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren garage [Pictures courtesy of]
LEAVING Monaco empty-handed wasn't good enough for Lewis Hamilton's team boss at McLaren.

World champion Hamilton crossed the line outside the points in 12th spot on Sunday and McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen didn't even finish the Monte Carlo race.

Martin Whitmarsh, the team principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, was frustrated at the outfit's failure to pick up a single point around the twisty street circuit, a track that should have suited the MP4-24.

"To leave Monaco without having scored world championship points is clearly disappointing, especially since our car was very competitive here," said Whitmarsh.

"Our pace in both sessions on Thursday, and on Saturday morning, demonstrated that very clearly.

"Even so, after Lewis's troubled qualifying, there was little he could do from the back of the grid.

"Monaco is a notoriously difficult circuit on which to overtake, even with a decent performance advantage over the cars ahead.

"Nonetheless, Lewis drove very hard all afternoon, which is typical of his never-give-up attitude."

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
Whitmarsh added: "As for Heikki, he was driving a strong race that would have netted him a very welcome points finish, when he entered the Swimming Pool just a little too fast, unloaded his car's rear-end and couldn't quite catch it.

"But that's Monaco: when you're pushing hard, it's very unforgiving, as Lewis also showed [in qualifying]."

The McLaren chief tried to find a plus points to take to Istanbul for the Turkish Grand Prix after a disappointing Sunday on the Mediterranean coast.

"Overall, then, the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix was a race that could and should have gone a lot better for us," said Whitmarsh.

"But the reality is that both our cars showed genuine pace, so there are also plenty of positives for us to take forward from here.

Saint Minerva Races Home To Win Grand Prix Stakes

Saturday, 30 May 2009: Connections of promising filly Saint Minerva will be wondering what could have been after she won the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) in impressive fashion at Eagle Farm today.

Saint Minerva's trainer Alan Bailey
Saint Minerva's trainer Alan Bailey
Photo by Racing and Sports

Also nominated for the Group 1 Queensland Oaks this afternoon, the Alan Bailey-trained filly was balloted out of the feature where she was a co-favourite in pre-post markets alongside Miss Darcey who also didn't accept for the race.

With only $18,000 in career earnings to her credit from six starts, doubts on whether she would gain a start were always with Bailey who was forced to go to plan B, run her against the boys in the Grand Prix Stakes.

The only filly in today's Grand Prix Stakes, Saint Minerva was caught as much as four deep in the early stages.

Her situation barely improved in the middle stages, despite this, the Galileo filly had plenty of fuel in the tank as they straightened for home.

The second favourite Markus Maximus received a charmed run fourth on the rail and had pinched a 2 1/2 length lead. However Saint Minerva made quick work of gobbling up the topweight by putting in a long sustained run to hit the lead at the 200m. She then galloped away to win by four lengths.

Markus Maximus held out The Grococh for second.

Today's Group 3 win further stamps Saint Minerva as an exciting prospect following two wins earlier this campaign in lesser company.

Now with approximately $100,000 in prizemoney to her credit, being balloted out of races should no longer be an issue.

After Saint Minerva's convincing win against the boys today, trainer Alan Bailey said he will consider backing her up in the BMW Queensland Derby next Saturday, but suggested a start in the Group 1 event was unlikely.

F1: McLaren hero Hamilton looking forward to Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul

Last year
Last year's Turkish Grand Prix
WORLD F1 champion Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to next Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix.

The Hermann Tilke designed Istanbul circuit is a real challenge for man and machine.

Turkey is really all about Turn Eight - the high-speed, four-apex left-hander.

On a good day in qualifying, drivers take it flat-out.

Lewis Hamilton in Istanbul [Pictures courtesy of]
Lewis Hamilton in Istanbul [Pictures courtesy of]
But racers need to take care of their tyres through the section, particularly the fronts.

Although the high-speed corner won't particularly suit Hamilton's McLaren, Lewis enjoys driving the circuit.

"I love racing in Turkey," said the 24-year-old from Tewin, in Herts.

"It's a real challenge because you need to attack the lap to get a good time, but you also need to be careful with your tyres.

Lewis Hamilton on the podium after finishing second last year in Turkey
Lewis Hamilton on the podium after finishing second last year in Turkey
"If you push too much, particularly through Turn Eight, then your tyres are going to suffer."

Hamilton added: "It's all about finding the perfect balance in practice and being disciplined in the race so you don't overdo it."

The best place to overtake in Turkey is into turn 12, the corner at the end of the back straight.

Here drivers can get a good tow and slipstream past,

This is one part of the track that Hamilton could use his KERS booster to good effect to gain a few extra seconds.

Sun Shines on British Grand Prix 30 May 2009

he huge crowds that flocked to Mallory Park for today's practice and qualifying sessions ahead of tomorrow's Motocross Grand Prix of Great Britain were treated to a fantastic display by the world championship protagonists, as well as some glorious weather.

With a packed programme of Motocross and Supermoto action running from nine in the morning until eight at night, spectators had plenty of opportunity to enjoy the on track activities, while soaking up the rays at the Leicestershire track.

In the MX1 motocross class it was reigning World Champion, David Philippaerts, who took the qualifying heat win to gain the best gate slot for tomorrow's Grand Prix races. The Italian was closely followed by Mickael Pichon, who rejoined the championship with the Martin Honda team this weekend, as a replacement for the injured Marc De Reuver.

British wildcard entries, Kristian Whatley and Carl Nunn, enjoyed strong showings in their qualifying heat, finishing in top ten positions, while current British Champion, Billy Mackenzie collided with another rider off the start and rode from the back of the pack through to twelfth place without the use of his front brake.

In the MX2 series Marvin Musquin, riding a KTM for the first time following his controversial mid-season switch from Honda power, took the top spot. British aces Stephen Sword, Mel Pocock, Scott Elderfield and Graeme Irwin will need some support for tomorrow's races, after finishing outside the top 15 in today's qualifying.

Tomorrow's weather forecast is looking promising with perfect conditions predicted for round seven of the 15-round World Motocross Championship races. It's certainly expected to be a scorcher, as a host of British riders look for support at their home race in both classes.

Tickets are available on the gate, so make sure you don’t miss out on the biggest off-road event on the British motocross calendar, and make sure you bring your air horns to cheer on the home favourites.

Toyota F1 team puts Grand Prix hardware up for sale

Toyota F1 team puts Grand Prix hardware up for sale.

Uptill now, Formula 1 fanatics were only capable of buying merchandise like caps, tee's, key chains and all other kinds of apparel.

Toyota F1 team puts Grand Prix hardware up for sale.

Toyota has gone not one but atleast a hundred steps further by putting a host of high tech parts from its past racing cars up for sale. Yes you read right. The high tech parts include Carbon fibre wings, brakes and light alloy wheels all of which you can have at the click of a mouse button at the Toyota formula one website

Toyota F1 team puts Grand Prix hardware up for sale.

Imagine having an original F1 car steering wheel or a nose cone as a display at ones home. It's sure to make any F1 fan go weak in the knees. Prices range from Rs.13,000 to Rs.3,34,000. Towards the cheaper end, if you can call it that way you have the wheels, brake discs and suspension parts for less than Rs. 15,000, while the front and rear wing assemblies can be had for between Rs. 53,000 to Rs. 1,52,000.

Toyota F1 team puts Grand Prix hardware up for sale.

But if you want something like a complete rear wing, engine cover and the underbody section which is virtually half the car, the price skyrockets to a whopping Rs. 3,34,000. The rare opportunity will only be available till stocks last is what Toyota says. So if you're an F1 fan with the requisite dough, don't miss snapping up this rare bargain.