Dubai Rally



Defending champion dominates first leg as punctures shatter Sheikh Khalid’s victory hopes

Dubai, UAE, 30th November 2012: Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah refuses to relax his grip on the Dubai International Rally, although the UAE’s hopes of a home victory are still alive at the half way point in the final and deciding round of the 2012 FIA Middle East Championship.

Aiming for his sixth straight win in the event and an eighth Middle East title, Al Attiyah completed today’s first leg seemingly in control, leading by 1min 29.2 secs from the UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi.

Another Emirati, Rashid Al Ketbi, was just 12.4 seconds further away in third place as Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Cars monopolised the leading positions in the 34th edition of the Dubai International Rally, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority

The Qatari trio of Khalid Al-Suwaidi, Abdulaziz Al Kuwari and 2010 Middle East champion Misfer Al Marri completed the top six at the end of the leg.

On a day when persistent rain made visibility difficult at times for the drivers, Al Attiyah was dominant throughout, setting fastest times on each of the six special stages alongside Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini.

With six more special stages remaining on tomorrow’s (Saturday) second leg, however, he knows he cannot afford to relax, and must avoid the kind of problems which ruined the victory hopes of one UAE challenger.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi, winner of the event in 2005 and 2006, was forced to retire after his Ford Fiesta RRC suffered two punctures on stage three while lying third.

The only consolation for the Emirati and British co-driver Scott Martin is that they can take advantage of the super rally regulation which allows them to re-start on the second leg, but well down the field as a result of time penalties.

It was a relatively trouble-free day for Al Attiyah, who needs only a top-five finish in Dubai to retain his FIA Middle East crown. “The rain made it difficult to see the route at times but it didn’t really affect my driving and we did a good job,” he said.

Sheikh Abdullah, who has been trying to win his home event since 1983, said: “I almost rolled the car on the third stage when we went on two wheels for about 50 metres, but otherwise everything was ok.”

Both he and Al Ketbi will battle on throughout the second leg knowing the uncertainties of rallying can bring dramatic changes in fortunes, although Al Attiyah has the unmistakable look of a champion in Dubai, and the Middle East, once again.

The rally is staged with the full support of the Dubai Ruler’s Court, and is backed by Emarat, Dubai Police, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, and Dubai Civil Defence.

Another six special stages on Leg 2 will run in the Al Dhaid area and are easily located from the Sharjah-Kalba Road or the Al Dhaid Road. The survivors reach the finish on Emaar Boulevard,

Old Town Dubai, at 4.30pm on Saturday.


Provisional positions at end of 1st Leg


Nasser Al-Attiyah / Giovanni (QAT / ITA) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2                     1:09:52.3

Abdulla Al Qassimi / Steve Lancaster (ARE / GBR) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2      1:11:21.5

Rashid Al Ketbi / Khalid Al Kendi (ARE / ARE) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2           1:11:33.9

Khalid Al-Suwaidi / Nick Beech (QAT / GBR) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2              1:11:44.3

Abdulaziz Alkuwari / Killian Duffy (QAT / IRL) / Mini / JCWRRC / GP2             1:11:49.8

Misfer Almarri / Nicola Arena (QAT / ITA) / Mini / JCWRRC / GP2                     1:17:42.4

Alaa Rasheed / Joseph Matar (JOR / LBN) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2                     1:18:54.9

Burcu Cetinkaya / Cicek Guney (TUR / TUR) / Mitsubishi Evo IX / GPN4             1:22:22.3

Nassib Nassar / Rony Maroun (LBN / LBN) / Mitsubishi / Evo III / GPN4              1:30:49.6

Dinesh Deheragoda / Sanjaya Roshan (LKA / LKA) Mitsubishi Evo / GPN4           1:31:27.7



Triple Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will show off one of his title-winning Red Bull Racing cars at the 2012 Race Of Champions Vettel will take 2011’s dominant Red Bull Racing RB7 on demonstration runs round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium at ROC 2012 next month Other highlights of the show include Chris Pfeiffer Streetbike Freestyle Rider, stunt driver Terry Grant, rally legend Stig Blomqvist in the Audi S1 and 2012 MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo on his Yamaha bike
Newly-crowned triple Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will provide a thrill for fans in Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium as one of his victorious Red Bull Racing F1 cars headlines the array of shows at ROC 2012 on December 14-16.Vettel became the youngest man in history to win three F1 world championships in Sunday’s incident-packed Brazilian Grand Prix. Despite suffering an early spin and being sent to the back of the field, the German staged a great recovery in the rain to sixth place, enough to pip title rival Fernando Alonso by just three points.

Now fans attending next month’s Race Of Champions can sample Formula 1’s noise and spectacle from as close as it gets as Vettel shows off the mighty Red Bull Racing RB7 that powered him to the second of his three titles.

ROC race organiser Fredrik Johnsson said: “Congratulations to Sebastian for taking his third Formula 1 world championship in one of the most dramatic finales ever seen in the sport. Now our Bangkok audience can watch Seb’s Red Bull Racing car, hear the deafening noise from its engine and even smell the smoke from its tyres.”

Another reigning world champion who will be performing in front of the lucky crowd will be 2012 MotoGP king Jorge Lorenzo, who will parade his Yamaha bike. Fans of classic machinery will also get to see 1984 world rally champion Stig Blomqvist take the Audi S1 Group B rally car for a spin.

Chris Pfeiffer Streetbike Freestyle Rider – four-time world stunt riding champion – will provide his own brand of two-wheeled stunts as he returns with his daredevil moves. And there will even be a world record attempt as stunt driver and ROC regular Terry Grant aims to set a new mark for the most consecutive donuts while standing on the roof of his car. To ensure there is never a break in the action there will also be DJs, cheerleaders and much more.

“We always treat our crowds to a non-stop feast of entertainment and this year is no exception,” added Johnsson. “Alongside the reigning world champions on both two wheels and four, Chris Pfeiffer and Terry Grant will show just what can be achieved when you don’t bother to keep all those wheels on the ground. We guarantee action, spectacle and noise galore – and that’s not even to mention the main event.”

The shows all support the Race Of Champions, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012. The competition brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, MotoGP, IndyCar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.

ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 15 December, ahead of the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday 16 December.


Formula 1

Q: You’ve been part of Williams since joining the team as a test driver in 2010, how does it feel to finally be race driver for the team?
VB: It feels incredible to be driving in Formula One next season and to be with a team like Williams, with all its pedigree, is even more special. I’ve worked hard to get here ever since I started karting at six years old, but the real work starts now as I prepare myself for the biggest challenge of my career. The fact that I’ve been with Williams since 2010 will help a lot though because I know the engineers really well and have a good working relationship with them.

Q: What are your objectives for the 2013 season?
VB: It’s difficult to set objectives before the season starts, so I’m just trying to make the most of this opportunity to prove the team has been right to promote me to a race seat. I want to look back on 2013 and feel that I’ve improved as a driver and helped the team improve its performance on the track.

Q: After being GP3 Champion in 2011, you spent last season out of racing focusing on your Reserve Driver role at Williams, how much will that effect you?
VB: I’m a naturally very competitive person and I’ve been competing in triathlons throughout 2012 to keep fit and keep my mind sharp. Obviously I’ve missed racing a great deal so can’t wait to get back onto a starting grid, but I’ve been racing constantly since a very young age so when the lights go out in Australia It will be business as usual.

Q: What do you make of your now team mate, Pastor Maldonado?
VB: Pastor showed at a number of tracks in 2012 that he’s very quick and the win in Barcelona showed that he can cope well with pressure. We get on well off the track as we’ve spent a lot of time together travelling to the various races, and I’ll certainly benefit and learn from his greater experience.

Q: How much of an advantage is it to know the engineers, team and Williams procedures so well already?
VB: I’ve been part of the Williams family since the start of 2010 and feel very at home both at Grove and at the track. I know my engineers very well so we already know how to get the best performance from each other. I also live in the UK and last year moved just down the road from the factory so I am there quite a lot and know everyone well. Because of that we can focus immediately on the 2013 season and what we can achieve together.

Q: How much will the 15 FP1 sessions you drove in 2012 help you moving forward?
VB: This will be a big help as it means there are only a handful of circuits on the 2013 calendar that I have never driven, in Australia, Monaco, Valencia, Austin and Singapore. There will still be a lot of work to do but it means that I do have some knowledge to work from heading to most races next season.

Q: Williams Executive Director, Toto Wolff is part of your management team. How much was he involved in the decision to promote you to race driver?
VB: Toto is part of my management team and has always supported by career, but because of his involvement with Williams he wasn’t part of the negotiations for my contract with the team. As with all decisions at Williams, Sir Frank and the Board of Directors get to make the final decision. I’m grateful to Toto for helping introduce me to the Williams F1 Team, but it has been up to me to prove to Frank and the rest of the team that I have the talent and commitment to deliver the results they desire.

Q: What do you think it means for Finland to have another F1 driver on the grid?
VB: Hopefully they are proud to have another Finnish driver in Formula One and I hope to get a lot of support from the Finnish fans who have always been very good to me. To have another Finnish flag on the car next year will be very special.

Q: You have considerable support from Finland, can you tell us about that?
VB: I’ve had a lot of support from back home, starting way back in karting and since then I have been lucky to have been supported by some great Finnish companies. Without this sort of backing I would not be where I am today, so I’m very grateful and hopefully I can taste success with Williams and pay back those who have helped me get to Formula One.

Q: Fast forward to this time next year, what achievements would you be happy with?
VB: As a team I think we should be aiming to score more points than this year and really get the most out of the car. Personally I hope to look back and feel that I have learnt a lot and developed as a driver over the course of the season, having scored a lot of points for the team.

Formula 1


28 November 2012. Grove, UK. The Williams F1 Team is pleased to announce that Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas will be the team’s race drivers for the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season.

2013 will be Pastor’s third season with the team and comes on the back of a successful 2012 that saw him win the Spanish Grand Prix in commanding style. Valtteri has been the Williams F1 Team’s test driver since 2010. In his role as reserve driver Valtteri has taken part in a number of this season’s Friday practice sessions, impressing with his pace and maturity from the outset. The GP3 champion in 2011, 2013 will see Valtteri compete in the Formula One World Championship for the first time.

Commenting on his contract renewal for 2013, Pastor said; ‘’I’m really enjoying my time with Williams and I was obviously very happy when I was told that I would be continuing with the team in 2013. 2012 was a memorable year for me with the win in Barcelona and we made a big step forward in terms of performance. I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success.’’

Speaking about his new role, Valtteri commented: ‘’It has always been my life-long dream to compete in the Formula One World Championship. To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special. I’ve really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat. I’m looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams.’’

Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal, said; ‘’In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing and I am especially excited about what 2013 can bring for Williams. Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and this year has seen him mature as a racing driver. Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our departing driver Bruno Senna for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best of luck going forward.’’

The POINT by Minardi

F.1 – Brazilian GP: THE POINT…by Gian Carlo  Minardi

FAENZA – One of the most enthralling World Championship of the last three years came to an end. The Brazilian track hosted an exciting race, which was so difficult to run from a technical point of view.

When weather changes so quickly, sport and technical staff are always put to the test. No doubt we have to praise Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for winning the third World Championship. Three world titles are never won by chance. It was a pity, because, besides the value that no one wants to deny, luck played a key role again. Even yesterday, those drivers who were involved in the accident at the beginning, had to quit the race, while Vettel was able to restart and cross the line despite a little damage occurred.

As we pointed out several times, McLaren and Lotus played the role of Championship arbiters, even if their roles were so different. Considering the final result, the zero points scored by a “guiltless” Alonso at Spa and Suzuka, had a heavy impact on the Spaniard’s racing season. In a 20- races-Championship, 3 points advantage can be as many as nothing. Ferrari had many technical issues; anyway the team was able to handle each race in a very good way, managing to bring both racers on the podium, fighting against the dominance of Red Bull and McLaren. Until the Safety Car got on track, the gap between Button and Alonso was so big, this proves that Ferrari still has so much work to do, especially with the 2013 racing season nearly around the corner. The gap with the World Champions is so big and McLaren will be fighting for the World title until the final race next year. Massa’ good performance should also be noticed. Thanks to his last three good races, the trust put in the Brazilian driver by the “Scuderia”, was finally rewarded. He’s the racer Ferrari needs to have to win the Constructors’ Championship again. He finally succeeded in leaving the fear behind and, in my opinion, he found himself again. Having regard to his good shape, it’s a pity that the racing season came to an end, however, when a driver find the right path again, it is difficult for him to make the same mistakes.

Hulkenberg handled an excellent race, too. He left the team in the best way. I think Sauber made a good choice as Nico is a young emerging driver, but he was a little too aggressive and impetuous during the race. He was very performing at the beginning, just like Button, when he decided to keep on running on slick tyres, instead of switching to medium like other drivers. I do not agree with the penalty imposed to him. More and more passes are requested and more and more means are invented to facilitate them, but, as soon as someone try to make passes in hard condition, he’s  penalised because he causes a car clash.

Last GP for Michael Schumacher who greeted the world of F.1 after handling a very good race and showing his great talent by scoring the last points of his career. We have to praise Kimi Raikkonen who finished third ahead of Hamilton, completing all races. At the beginning of the racing season this result was almost unpredictable for Lotus.


Gian Carlo Minardi

Motorsports Mondial



Bastian delivers third consecutive knock-out in Brasil

The season ending Samba is over, and when the music stopped Sebastian Vettel had the Champion’s chair. The 25-year-old German has now joined fellow countryman, Michael Schumacher, and the Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio, to have taken three successive titles.

Schumacher scored five in a row with Ferrari, one better than the “Maestro.”

Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos started with Lewis Hamilton on pole with McLaren teammate Jenson Button alongside. Vettel started fourth and the race and championship looked almost over on the fourth corner of the opening lap.

Local driver Bruno Senna tried to play Pastor Maldonado and crashed into Vettel; spinning the RedBull but amazingly Vettel kept the engine running and was able to continue, albeit with some bodywork and exhaust damage.

The changing wet/dry conditions made the track slippery. Star of the race could have been another German, Nico Hulkenberg. “The Hulk” passed Button on lap 19 to grab the lead and looked very strong to give Force India their first F1 victory in his last outing for the Indian owned Silverstone based team.

A slight mistake by Hulkenberg allowed Hamilton to slip by and take the lead on lap 49. Five laps later it all went wrong for the German driver but Hamilton paid the price. Trying to pass Hamilton, Hulkenberg lost traction and made contact with his Mclaren, forcing it into retirement. The Force India driver was able to continue.

Button ended the season the same way he started; on top of the podium after a drama-free and smooth driving in changing conditions.

Fernando Alonso did what he has been doing all season long, racing and placing his Ferrari above its potential. Despite some scary moments in slippery conditions he climbed as high as second. The dnf he and Scuderia Ferrari were hoping in the closing laps from race leader Button and Vettel was denied.

Vettel, despite a wrong call for tires and damage to his exhaust, was able to soldier on to a sixth place finish, giving him a three-point advantage in the final championship standings over Alonso.

In a post-race interview with Andrew Benson of the BBC, the new triple world champion said, “It is difficult to imagine what goes through my head now even for myself. I am full of adrenaline and if you poke me now I wouldn’t feel it.”

In an emotionally charged and chaotic race Felipe Massa made it to the podium for  only the second time this season in front of his home crowd.

Mark Webber survived a spin but came in fourth.

Hulkenberg, after serving a drive-thru penalty, came back to finish fifth.

Vettel was sixth. Behind him in seventh was the past dominator of grand prix racing, Michael Schumacher. The seven time world champion made his second and final retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the race.

Rookie Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was eighth for Toro Rosso. Kamui Kobayashi was ninth in his final drive for Sauber. The Swiss team will replace him with Mexican Esteban Gutierrez next season.

The final point was collected by Kimi Raikkonen.

The race ended behind safety car after Paul di Resta crashed his Force India.

In the constructors’ championship, Ferrari finished second behind Red Bull after both their drivers finished in the top three and helped by Hamilton’s retirement.


– – Nasir Hameed