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Toyota turns to BMW to power European rebound against VW
Toyota Motor Corp., which was overtaken by Volkswagen AG in sales last year, is striking back on the German automaker's home turf.

Toyota is rolling out Europe's first hybrid subcompact and the image-boosting GT86 sports coupe this year in a bid to claw back market share in the region after sales plunged 41 percent since 2007. The Toyota City, Japan-based company will further bolster its European business by outfitting its vehicles with diesel engines from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG from 2014.

"It's unacceptable for Toyota to be at this volume level in Europe," Didier Leroy, Toyota's European chief, said in an interview. By cutting management layers to streamline decision- making over the past two years, "we made ourselves much leaner, much more agile. We strongly went for the fighting spirit in everything we do."

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Baltimore Grand Prix group in turmoil
IndyCar executives met with Baltimore officials Monday to discuss the future of the company planning the city's Grand Prix — and whether the leader of the group should depart.

Downforce Racing LLC, which took over the troubled event earlier this year, has been thrown into tumult as Indianapolis contractor Dale Dillon has clashed with two local business partners. The Labor Day weekend event is less than five months away, and the group has yet to launch a marketing campaign or sell tickets.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said two of his top deputies traveled to Baltimore to discuss, among other topics, Dillon's fate.

Bernard acknowledged questions about Dillon's future role in leading the race, and said Monday he would know "by the end of this week" whether Dillon would remain with Downforce Racing. Dillon, who has worked on races in other cities, was hand-picked by IndyCar and city officials to take over the Baltimore race.

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Racing News

Granatelli family member hurt at LVMS
A member of the Granatelli Motor Sports family was seriously injured Thursday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, according to Metro Police. J.R. Granatelli was unloading a vehicle from a trailer at 1:16 p.m. when it flipped over on him, police said.

Granatelli was transported to University Medical Center, police said. He is the founder of Granatelli Motor Sports.

A representative who answered the phone at Granatelli Motor Sports said no one from the company would be commenting today on the incident.

According to the company’s Facebook page, however, J.R. Granatelli was in critical condition but was expected to “be fine and back to work in no time.”


IndyCar making a comeback
New engines, new chassis, new tires, new rules, new life.

Welcome to the new IndyCar racing series.

Gone are the days of cars that sound like trash compactors. Gone are the day-long parades where passing an opponent is tougher than passing a kidney stone. Gone is the dominance of the Big Race Teams, at least in perspective to the past.

The 38th Long Beach Grand Prix was one of the most interesting since the days of the powerful Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), the era of the Unsers, Mario Andretti, Fittipaldi - when competition was stiff and the cars truly impressive beasts.

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Porsche buys the Nardo Test Track in Italy
Porsche bought the famous 12.5 Km/7.8 miles oval and 6.2 km/3.9 miles road course called the Nardo Test Track in Italy occupying over 700 hectares. Porsche wants to upgrade the various testing facilities at Nardo and will also allow its customers to use them.

Malte Radmann, CEO of Porsche Engineering said, “With its rich array of facilities, from dynamic surfaces to acoustic and off-road sections coupled with the numerous workshops, our clients can continue to make extensive use of Nardò for their vehicle trials in the future as well.”


New 'F1-style' overboost system produces thrilling F2 season opener
Last weekend's opening rounds of the 2012 FIA Formula Two Championship at Silverstone saw the introduction of an innovative new overboost system, leading to some of the series' closest racing.

The new 'F1-style' system shares similarities with the DRS feature used in Formula One. Each driver has up to eight shots of overboost available to them - increasing power output of the F2 car from 425bhp to 500bhp for a period of six seconds - but can only use them if they're within one second of the car ahead.

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Andretti and Rahal stage war of words on crash
Contact between Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal in Long Beach sent Andretti's car sailing over Rahal's in an early race accident at the Izod IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Andretti was behind Rahal when he ran into the back of him. Andretti's car briefly went airborne before he landed and spun hard into the wall.

“I'm lucky I didn't get upside down. I could have been killed,” Andretti said.

Andretti was adamant that Rahal “chopped” him to prevent Andretti from making the pass. Rahal disagreed.

“What's Marco's last name?” Rahal asked. “I've said enough.”

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Long Beach win changes Power's outlook

Power takes the checkered flag
For the second time this month, Will Power came into an IZOD IndyCar Series race expecting nothing more than a top-five finish to secure valuable points in the championship.

But with two victories in the young season - from starting ninth at Barber and 12th at Long Beach - the hard-charging Aussie might be changing his outlook. Pole starts - of which he has 10 over the past 20 races, including one this year - might not be the automatic ticket to Victory Circle.

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Firestone Indy Lights drivers prepare for ovals with Fontana test
With more than month before racing again, Firestone Indy Lights drivers and teams have turned their attention to ovals, which make up the next three races on the schedule.

With that in mind, as many as 14 cars are expected to attend an Open Test at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on April 17.

"I know we have to focus on the ovals," said rookie Tristan Vautier, who stands second in the series standings, just one point behind Sebastian Saavedra. "I have a lot to learn and it starts at Fontana on Tuesday. It's going to be my first laps in Indy Lights (car) on an oval. It's going to be very interesting. And it's going to be a lot of work."

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A new chapter in the history of the Silver Arrows
Norbert Haug and Nico Rosberg celebrate
In motorsport, there are days when the stars simply seem to align and everything comes together perfectly. Sunday in Shanghai was one of those days. Nico Rosberg won his first Grand Prix at his 111th attempt - 111 years (and three weeks) after the first ever Mercedes took victory at the 1901 Nice Speed Weeks. What's more, this year marks exactly three decades since Nico's father Keke became world champion - in a season that, just like 2012, saw three different winners of the first three races (on the road, at least, before the first two finishers in Brazil were disqualified for technical irregularities...)

Yesterday, Nico also became a member of a very select club: drivers who have won a Grand Prix in a Silver Arrow. The story of the silver Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix cars stretches back to June 1934, and the debut of the Mercedes-Benz W 25 at the Eifelrennen, held on the Nürburgring. The winner that day was Manfred von Brauchitsch, and Nico has now written a new chapter in that proud 78-year tradition.

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Video: Highlights of Toyota GP of Long Beach
Highlights from the action-packed 2012 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.


Latest F1 news in brief - Monday UPDATE #2 More updates in red below.

04/16/12 Updates shown in red below.

Fernando Alonso
  • Alonso expecting more Ferrari misery in Bahrain
  • Schumacher could be Mercedes' next winner
  • Mercedes reaches F1 summit with 'small budget' - Haug
  • Winning 'easier now' for Rosberg - Lauda, Tambay
  • Alguersuari unsure of 2013 F1 grid return
  • No one in F1 wants to go to Bahrain - journalist
  • Massa 'only wasting petrol' slams journalist
  • Bahrain committed to Grand Prix
  • F1 touches down in Bahrain for controversial race
  • Fry delivers stark assessment of Ferrari shortcomings New
  • Ferrari among teams exploring Mercedes-style DDRS New

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Ford all-electric car to pace NASCAR field
Ford Motor Company is again making NASCAR history this month as the all-new Focus Electric becomes the first all-electric pace car to ever lead the field for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Richmond 400.

The all-new Focus Electric will perform all pace care duties at Richmond International Raceway on April 28.

"Ford research shows the majority of Americans would consider buying an electrified vehicle but do not yet understand the different technologies," said Mark Fields, president of The Americas. "Highlighting the Focus Electric as a pace car is a fun way to educate consumers about the kinds of benefits our electrified vehicles deliver and show people our commitment to provide Ford customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy in the vehicle that best meets their needs – from EcoBoost®-powered gasoline vehicles and hybrids to plug-in hybrids and full electrics."

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IndyCar Sunday Long Beach Notebook
Does James Hinchcliffe even own a razor? We'll find out in Brazil in two weeks.

"Well, I may or may not have foolishly made a bet with Wade Cunningham and the bet was my first podium I had to show up to the next race with a completely clean-shaven face, and that's not happened since about 2004," said Hinchcliffe, who recorded his first IZOD IndyCar Series podium finish in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

"So I guess in Brazil you're going to be seeing baby face Hinch show up, and I'm not thrilled about that."

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Despite rain Long Beach draws over 170K
Despite rain that washed away most of Friday’s activities, the 38th Annual Toyota Grand Prix has to be rated a positive event, according to Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.

“Our total weekend attendance was in excess of 170,000,” Michaelian said, “and the ‘down’ numbers caused by Friday rain were made up with an extraordinary Saturday crowd, as well as our usual strong Sunday attendance.

“Coupled with some great racing, we’re proud with the overall results of the 38th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.”


Todt finally breaks silence on Bahrain
(GMM) Jean Todt has broken his long and conspicuous silence over the Bahrain controversy.

Until now, the ultra-low-profile FIA president had been reluctant to speak on the issue, despite deciding that the sport should push ahead with this weekend's race in the troubled island Kingdom.

So unremarkable was Frenchman Todt's visit to Shanghai last weekend that most reporters believed he in fact left China on Saturday.

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Guerrieri defeats Saavedra in Long Beach
Picking up two bonus points for leading the most laps, Guerrieri heads to the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway three points behind Saavedra (130) in the championship standings. Tristan Vautier, the points leader entering the race, was credited with third place and has 128 points.

Vautier joined the duo in Victory Circle because of a 30-second penalty assessed the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling car driven by Gustavo Yacaman for ignoring the instructions of Race Control. The car lost one of its mirrors with about 15 laps left in the 45-lap race, and the driver was called to pit lane to replace it (a rule). However, the team didn't have a replacement mirror and he continued.

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Pobst and Cunningham Take Pirelli World Challenge Poles at Long Beach
In qualifying for this afternoon's third round of a 12-race Pirelli World Challenge Championships schedule for the GT and GTS classes, Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., and Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., took their respective class pole positions at the Pirelli World Challenge Long Beach Grand Prix presented by StopTech. The race goes off from a standing start at 4:15 p.m. PT.
It is 36th time in Pobst's World Challenge career that he was the fastest qualifier, moving him into a tie for second place with Pierre Kleinubing on the all-time World Challenge fastest qualifiers list. Cunningham extended his fastest qualifier record by earning his 46th career pole.

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Chevy to drop Avalanche pickup in 2013
The Chevrolet Avalanche, the truck that helped launch the boom in crew cab pickups, is ending its run a decade after its U.S. sales hit their high level.

Chevrolet confirmed today the 2013 Avalanche will be the final year for the crew cab, which it will send off with the 2013 Black Diamond edition.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said Avalanche sales peaked in 2003 with 93,482 units, but were only 20,088 for 2011.

“As the crew cab pickup became an increasing part of the light duty market, Avalanche sales have really been tapering off,” Wilkinson said. “We have a very passionate following but unfortunately it’s not large enough to make a strong enough business case to do a next generation Avalanche as part of the next generation full-size truck program.”


Hunter-Reay tops IndyCar Warm-ups
Polesitter Dario Franchitti stuffed his Dallara into the tire barrier during morning warm-ups and a few other had spins.


Rank Car Driver Engine Time Diff. Gap
1 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Chevy 1:09.4724 0.0000s 0.0000s
2 9 Scott Dixon Honda 1:10.3754 0.9030 0.9030
3 8 Rubens Barrichello Chevy 1:10.4945 1.0221 0.1191
4 12 Will Power Chevy 1:10.5937 1.1213 0.0992
5 5 EJ Viso Chevy 1:10.6448 1.1724 0.0511
6 2 Ryan Briscoe Chevy 1:10.7304 1.2580 0.0856
7 11 Tony Kanaan Chevy 1:10.7882 1.3158 0.0578
8 19 James Jakes Honda 1:10.8012 1.3288 0.0130
9 83 Charlie Kimball Honda 1:10.8349 1.3625 0.0337
10 77 Simon Pagenaud Honda 1:10.8492 1.3768 0.0143
11 10 Dario Franchitti Honda 1:10.8882 1.4158 0.0390
12 18 Justin Wilson Honda 1:10.8892 1.4168 0.0010
13 67 Josef Newgarden Honda 1:11.0404 1.5680 0.1512
14 4 JR Hildebrand Chevy 1:11.1277 1.6553 0.0873
15 26 Marco Andretti Chevy 1:11.2738 1.8014 0.1461
16 3 Helio Castroneves Chevy 1:11.2967 1.8243 0.0229
17 38 Graham Rahal Honda 1:11.6092 2.1368 0.3125
18 14 Mike Conway Honda 1:11.6999 2.2275 0.0907
19 27 James Hinchcliffe Chevy 1:11.7011 2.2287 0.0012
20 22 Oriol Servia Lotus 1:12.4225 2.9501 0.7214
21 20 Ed Carpenter Chevy 1:12.5132 3.0408 0.0907
22 15 Takuma Sato Honda 1:12.6491 3.1767 0.1359
23 7 Sebastien Bourdais Lotus 1:13.1743 3.7019 0.5252
24 98 Alex Tagliani Lotus 1:13.3129 3.8405 0.1386
25 6 Katherine Legge Lotus 1:13.6374 4.1650 0.3245
26 78 Simona de Silvestro Lotus 1:14.8752 5.4028 1.2378


Guerrieri tops Indy Lights warm-up
Rank Car Driver Time Diff. Gap
1 11 Esteban Guerrieri 1:15.1199 0.0000s 0.0000s
2 3 Victor Carbone 1:15.4600 0.3401 0.3401
3 26 Carlos Munoz 1:15.5716 0.4517 0.1116
4 7 Oliver Webb 1:15.7261 0.6062 0.1545
5 11 Tristan Vautier 1:15.7416 0.6217 0.0155
6 27 Sebastian Saavedra 1:15.7882 0.6683 0.0466
7 9 Alon Day 1:16.1632 1.0433 0.3750
8 2 Gustavo Yacaman 1:16.7184 1.5985 0.5552
9 4 Jorge Goncalvez 1:17.2836 2.1637 0.5652
10 22 David Ostella 1:17.3253 2.2054 0.0417
11 8 Alex Jones 1:17.5029 2.3830 0.1776
12 76 Juan Pablo Garcia 1:17.5551 2.4352 0.0522
13 28 Nick Andries 1:17.5847 2.4648 0.0296
14 24 Armaan Ebrahim 1:17.6621 2.5422 0.0774
15 20 Darryl Wills 1:18.1485 3.0286 0.4864


Sunday's Starting Grid at Long Beach
After all the grid penalties, and assuming there are no more engine changes this morning after warm-ups, here is the starting grid for today's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IndyCar race:

1. Dario Franchitti, Ganassi Racing, Honda, 1:09.0327
2. Josef Newgarden, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Honda, 1:09.0697
3. Justin Wilson, Dale Coyne Racing, Honda, 1:09.0910
4. Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Hamilton Racing, Honda, 1:09.2078
5. Scott Dixon, Ganassi Racing, Honda, 1:09.3658
6. Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Honda, 1:09.9000
7. Mike Conway, A.J. Foyt Racing, Honda, 1:09.8868
8. Graham Rahal, Ganassi Racing, Honda, 1:09.9796
9. Charlie Kimball, Ganassi Racing, Honda, 1:10.0188
10. Alex Tagliani, Bryan Herta Autosport, Lotus, 1:10.8168
11. x-Ryan Briscoe, Team Penske, Chevrolet, 1:08.6089
12. x-Will Power, Team Penske, Chevrolet, 1:08.7073
13. x-Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport, Chevrolet, 1:08.7163
14. James Jakes, Dale Coyne Racing, Honda, 1:10.7579
15. x-E.J. Viso, KV Racing Technology, Chevrolet, 1:09.0634
16. x-James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport, Chevrolet, 1:09.2109
17. Simona De Silvestro, HVM Racing, Lotus, 1:12.0590
18. x-Helio Castroneves, Team Penske, Chevrolet, 1:09.0846
19. x-Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology, Chevrolet, 1:09.1987
20. x-JR Hildebrand, Panther Racing, Chevrolet, 1:10.3794
21. x-Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport, Chevrolet, 1:10.5939
22. x-Rubens Barrichello, KV Racing Technology, Chevrolet, 1:10.0651
23. x-Oriol Servia, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Lotus, 1:10.7579
24. x-Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing, Chevrolet, 1:11.4519
25. x-Sebastien Bourdais, Dragon Racing, Lotus, 1:10.8154
26. x-Katherine Legge, Dragon Racing, Lotus, 1:12.1142
x-Team made unapproved engine change, docked 10 starting positions


Week of protests planned ahead of Bahrain GP
Pro-democracy protestors in Bahrain are hoping to capitalize on the extra media attention surrounding next week's Bahrain Grand Prix with a week of demonstrations ahead of the race.
On Sunday Bahrain's largest Shiite opposition party, Al-Wefaq, told AFP that it is organising protests over the next seven days to "take advantage of this week's race to highlight our political and democratic demands." Although Al-Wefaq is planning peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins away from the circuit, the "Revolution of February 14" youth group has called for "three days of rage" from April 20 to 22 to coincide with the race.

The news follows more reports of violence in Bahrain over the weekend, including the shooting of a 15-year-old youth by anti-riot police at a funeral on Saturday. The Daily Telegraph reported that opposition activists said the youth was hit in the chest when police fired tear gas and live rounds at mourners.

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British F3

Sainz and Serralles master the Monza monsoons
The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series is shaping up to be the most competitive seen in recent years with the championship lead now having changed hands at every race of the season. Spain’s Carlos Sainz is now on top of the points tables having this afternoon sailed to his second win of a wet weekend at Monza.

The Carlin man is hotly pursued by Puerto Rico’s Felix Serralles, the rapid rookie adding a Monza race win and a second-place finish to the victory he scored for Fortec Motorsport at Oulton Park last weekend.

In the National class, Australians Duvashen Padayachee and Spike Goddard shared the class honors in today’s races on the Italian Grand Prix circuit.

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Button rues slow pit stop
Jenson Button
Jenson Button said he didn't know if he could have won the Chinese Grand Prix but said his slow final pit stop cost him the opportunity.

Having started fifth Button made a strong start up to third place and inherited second when Michael Schumacher retired after his own pit stop problem. However, when Button pitted from the lead for his final pit stop he suffered an issue with his left rear tire and was dropped back in to a large fight for second place behind Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean.

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Mercedes fined after pitstop blunder
Mercedes have been slapped with a fine by race stewards after Michael Schumacher's pit stop woes at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The seven-time World Champion was looking good for a podium finish after running P2 behind his team-mate Nico Rosberg during the early stages of the race. However, he was hit by bad luck on lap 13 as he was forced to retire after his front right tire was not properly attached during his one and only pit stop.

Although the German made it back onto the track he picked up the problem at Turn 3 and "already by Turn 6 there was quite a bit of smoke and damage" and he decided "it was better to stop before I did some serious damage to the car".

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TMS installs new circuit breakers after outage
After the lights went out on the third turn of Friday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300, Texas Motor Speedway officials decided to replace all of the circuit breakers for the Samsung Mobile 500. An outage caused two cautions during the O'Reilly 300, including a 10-minute red flag to replace the broken breaker. Maintenance crews replaced the rest of the breakers overnight. The breakers could have overheated, causing them to shut off to avoid further problems. The circuit breakers were 15 years old, according to the report. This is the second year that the O'Reilly 300 and Samsung Mobile 500 races took place at night. ESPN Dallas


Amanda Beard slams former boyfriend Carl Edwards in memoir UPDATE #2 Carl Edwards took the high road Friday when asked about the critical comments former girlfriend Amanda Beard wrote about him in her new book. "I'm not going to bash her or say bad things about her," Edwards said in the Texas Motor Speedway media center. "She's a mother, she's a wife and someone I cared about." Beard, a former Olympic gold medal swimmer, describes Edwards as self-absorbed, insanely jealous and controlling in their two-year relationship from 2005 and 2006. Sixteen pages of the 256-page book titled, "In the Water, They Can't See You Cry," are devoted to their times together. The book also details Beard's previous problems with drug use and bulimia. "I considered us friends and I didn't realize she had all those problems," Edwards said. "I would have done anything in the world to help her with those. Regardless of what she writes in a book, if she ever needs something from me, I'd be there to help her out." But Edwards said he's still dumbfounded by some of the things Beard wrote in her book. "I don't know where to start," he said, "whether it's the psychology of feelings about a relationship that doesn't work out or the strategy to sell book. To be honest, it's just weird. I don't know how to address things that I don't remember happening." Edwards married Dr. Kate Downey in 2009. They have two children; two-year-old Anne and Michael, 11 months ESPN

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Schumacher hopes Mercedes can keep up pace
Michael Schumacher ran 2nd to Mercedes teammate Rosberg until his pit crew ruined his day by not securing his wheel during his first stop
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher hopes Mercedes can keep up its new-found winning pace at forthcoming races.

Despite always qualifying strongly with its 'double-DRS', the German squad struggled markedly in the races with the degradation of Pirelli's tricky 2012 tire generation.

But Nico Rosberg broke through with a dominant pole and win in China.

Asked if Mercedes can now keep it up, his teammate Michael Schumacher said in Shanghai: "I hope so.

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Chinese GP: Race-day update - Buemi, Sauber, Mercedes, and Vettel 'crisis'
Buemi picks Hamilton to win in Shanghai
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi has allowed himself only a modest dig at Toro Rosso's new drivers, after Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo slumped to 16th and 17th places in qualifying for the Chinese grand prix.

The deposed Swiss Buemi, who is now the senior team Red Bull's reserve driver, told Blick newspaper: "Last year Alguersuari and I were in Q3 ..."

He said no more on that topic, but he did pick a likely winner for Sunday: "Hamilton," said Buemi.

Indeed, McLaren's 2008 world champion has been quick all weekend in China, but in qualifying was sandwiched by the two 'double-DRS'-assisted Mercedes.

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Todt leaves China without commenting on Bahrain
(GMM)  Jean Todt's visit to the Shanghai circuit on Saturday went almost completely unnoticed.

With the Bahrain controversy still the hottest topic in the F1 paddock, The Times correspondent Kevin Eason described the FIA president's absolute public silence as he flew in and out of China as "peculiar".

Todt "refused to answer questions or even acknowledge the presence of reporters", revealed Eason, although the former Ferrari team boss "did meet team principals".

One of them was Martin Whitmarsh, who leads the partly Bahrain-owned McLaren team.

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Saavedra wins Indy Lights pole in Long Beach
Rank Car Driver Time Diff. Gap BL#
1 27 Sebastian Saavedra 1:14.6143 0 0 21
2 77 Tristan Vautier 1:14.7007 0.0864 0.0864 15
3 11 Esteban Guerrieri 1:14.7757 0.1614 0.0750 20
4 7 Oliver Webb 1:14.8661 0.2518 0.0904 22
5 26 Carlos Munoz 1:14.9430 0.3287 0.0769 22
6 2 Gustavo Yacaman 1:15.1221 0.5078 0.1791 23
7 3 Victor Carbone 1:15.1889 0.5746 0.0668 21
8 76 Juan Pablo Garcia 1:16.0498 1.4355 0.8609 21
9 22 David Ostella 1:16.1165 1.5022 0.0667 22
10 28 Nick Andries 1:16.3997 1.7854 0.2832 21
11 4 Jorge Goncalvez 1:16.5124 1.8981 0.1127 16
12 20 Darryl Wills 1:16.8070 2.1927 0.2946 17
13 24 Armaan Ebrahim 1:16.9871 2.3728 0.1801 19
14 8 Alex Jones 1:17.3217 2.7074 0.3346 11
15 9 Alon Day 1:17.9107 3.2964 0.5890 4


Power leads Chevy 1-2-3-4-5 in final IndyCar practice
The sun is shining again in Long Beach and IndyCar teams scrambled to get in as much practice as possible ahead of this afternoon's qualifying.  Will Power led a Chevy sweep of the top five positions in his Verizon Chevy, edging Ryan Hunter-Reay by just 0.017sec.


Rank Car Driver Engine Time Diff. Gap Laps
1 12 Will Power Chevy 1:10.7553 0.0000s 0.0000s 19
2 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Chevy 1:10.7723 0.0170 0.0170 15
3 3 Helio Castroneves Chevy 1:10.9687 0.2134 0.1964 17
4 5 EJ Viso Chevy 1:11.0087 0.2534 0.0400 18
5 26 Marco Andretti Chevy 1:11.0258 0.2705 0.0171 14
6 9 Scott Dixon Honda 1:11.1032 0.3479 0.0774 18
7 38 Graham Rahal Honda 1:11.1045 0.3492 0.0013 20
8 11 Tony Kanaan Chevy 1:11.1162 0.3609 0.0117 7
9 15 Takuma Sato Honda 1:11.2987 0.5434 0.1825 18
10 2 Ryan Briscoe Chevy 1:11.3683 0.6130 0.0696 13
11 27 James Hinchcliffe Chevy 1:11.4196 0.6643 0.0513 16
12 4 JR Hildebrand Chevy 1:11.6523 0.8970 0.2327 18
13 8 Rubens Barrichello Chevy 1:11.6598 0.9045 0.0075 22
14 77 Simon Pagenaud Honda 1:11.8648 1.1095 0.2050 15
15 83 Charlie Kimball Honda 1:11.9944 1.2391 0.1296 14
16 67 Josef Newgarden Honda 1:12.0616 1.3063 0.0672 14
17 18 Justin Wilson Honda 1:12.2033 1.4480 0.1417 16
18 14 Mike Conway Honda 1:12.3602 1.6049 0.1569 16
19 7 Sebastien Bourdais Lotus 1:12.3886 1.6333 0.0284 17
20 10 Dario Franchitti Honda 1:12.3955 1.6402 0.0069 13
21 98 Alex Tagliani Lotus 1:12.4704 1.7151 0.0749 16
22 22 Oriol Servia Lotus 1:13.3741 2.6188 0.9037 16
23 19 James Jakes Honda 1:13.5937 2.8384 0.2196 16
24 20 Ed Carpenter Chevy 1:13.7486 2.9933 0.1549 17
25 6 Katherine Legge Lotus 1:16.5889 5.8336 2.8403 13
26 78 Simona de Silvestro Lotus 0 0.0000 0 0


De Silvestro Hosts Burn Survivor at Long Beach
Simona De Silvestro
Bob Heathcote/AR1.com
Simona De Silvestro and the Lotus HVM Racing team's return to Long Beach heralded the beginning of a new relationship with The Children's Burn Foundation of Sherman Oaks. Having scored her first Atlantic Championship Series win here, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is already a special place for the Swiss Driver and now even more so.

"I'm pretty excited to be back in Long Beach. It's a pretty fun place and has a lot of history to it. I won my first Atlantic race there, so that's pretty special. I'm really excited to have the Children's Burn Foundation with me at the race track this weekend. It's going to be fun for the kids to come out."

Having received 3rd degree burns on her hands as a result of her crash during practice last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Simona understands the physical and mental trauma associated with burn injuries. She has chosen to become an advocate for the Children's Burn Foundation, supporting their work with child burn survivors across the globe. Simona's goal is to raise awareness and assist in fundraising efforts through the use of her celebrity. She will serve as a role model for the children, demonstrating that it is possible to be successful after a burn.

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Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday UPDATE #2 More updates shown in red below.

04/14/12 Updates shown in red below.

Mark Webber coping better than teammate
  • Webber coping better than Vettel in 2012 - engineer
  • F1 TV broadcasters pull out of Bahrain
  • Slow return to top not possible for Ferrari - boss
  • Karthikeyan denies apologizing to Vettel
  • Lotus backs Sauber over budget cap proposal
  • Raikkonen disappointed with pace  
  • F1 track selling seats for as much as $6,750 New
  • Button I left pits too late New
  • Vettel: Just not quick enough New

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Marks and Cunningham Top Opening World Challenge Practice in Long Beach
On an uncharacteristic weather day at Long Beach, Justin Marks, of Davidson, N.C., and Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., topped their class time charts in opening practice for Sunday's Pirelli World Challenge Long Beach Grand Prix presented by StopTech.

Steady rains for much of the day produced wet track conditions for Pirelli World Challenge Championships practice, despite the fact that the sun made its first appearance of the day shortly before the session started and shone brightly throughout the 30 minutes. As a result of the conditions, many drivers elected to forego the session.

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British F3

Sainz takes pole for Carlin in Monza
Carlos Sainz Jr has stormed to his first British F3 pole position in a tense qualifying session in Monza this morning.  The Red Bull Junior was competitive throughout the session, but waited until the final minutes to post a time that could not be beaten.  Team mate Pietro Fantin was the next highest Carlin runner in sixth, with Harry Tincknell seventh, Jazeman Jaafar eighth and Jack Harvey ninth. 

Following mixed conditions in free practice yesterday, conditions were damp as the second qualifying session of the season got underway in Monza this morning.  The track soon began to dry however, as the F3 cars began the fight for pole position.

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Tuscher secures superb pole for opening Silverstone race
Matheo Tuscher
Matheo Tuscher will start from pole for today's (Saturday) opening FIA Formula Two race at Silverstone following a closely fought qualifying session which saw the top four drivers covered by just three tenths of a second.

The Swiss teenager put in a blistering lap with just five minutes to go in the session to break into the 1:46s - showing the increased pace of the upgraded F2 car - to secure his maiden F2 pole. Luciano Bacheta was the best of the Brits to finish second with 2011 F2 runner-up Christopher Zanella in third. Romanian's Mihai Marinescu and Alex Fontana completed the top five.

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Ashley Judd rips Hollywood media - Franchitti lauds her UPDATE
Dario Franchitti at Long Beach Friday
Bob Heathcote/AR1.com
IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti applauded wife Ashley Judd on Friday for standing up to accusations she's had plastic surgery.

Franchitti said he was angered by media speculation that the actress had altered her face and gave her the phone number of an attorney he's used in Scotland.

"I had read something about these comments on her face, and I got really (mad) and I said to her, 'This is outrageous. This has gone too far,'" he told the Associated Press. "But that's all I did. My reaction to it got her thinking, and then she did everything else. She's the one who had the courage to go out there, and I am really proud of her for doing it."

Judd on Monday released an essay called "The Conversation" on The Daily Beast that decried the speculation about her appearance. She said the puffiness in her face was caused by steroids she was taking to treat a sinus infection.

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Chinese GP: Hamilton tops final practice in Shanghai
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton topped the final free practice for the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai.

The McLaren driver must serve a five-place grid penalty because of a gearbox change, so he needs to qualify as far up on the grid as possible.

Hamilton's fastest time came during a qualifying simulation on the soft Pirelli rubber late in the session, the 2008 world champion beating his teammate Jenson Button by just over a tenth of a second.

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