Web­ber con­fi­dent

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

MARK Web­ber’s chances of stand­ing on the podium fol­low­ing to­mor­row’s Monaco F1 GP in Monte Carlo have been en­hanced fol­low­ing his fine third place in the Span­ish GP two weeks ago. Iron­i­cally, Web­ber stood on the podium in Spain two weeks ago, 50 years to the day since his racing idol, Aus­tralia’s Sir Jack Brab­ham, won his first For­mula 1 GP.

Red Bull de­sign chief Adrian Newey said the team were racing to have a new dou­ble-decker dif­fuser ready this week­end in an ef­fort to close the gap be­tween the all-con­quer­ing Brawn Mercedes Team. Brawn is one of three teams, along with Toy­ota and Wil­liams, who started the sea­son with the con­tro­ver­sial split-level dou­ble-decker dif­fuser which gives greater aero­dy­namic down force and thus more speed.

Newey said: “It’s not easy for us to put a dou­ble dif­fuser on our car as it’s not de­signed for that in the first place with pull­rod in­stead of pushrod rear sus­pen­sion.

“How­ever, we have a so­lu­tion which I be­lieve we may be able to use this week­end.”

Af­ter fin­ish­ing third at Barcelona, Web­ber is qui­etly con­fi­dent. He was fourth at Monaco last year and makes no se­cret of the fact the Monte Carlo street cir­cuit is his favourite track, how­ever with pass­ing be­ing dif­fi­cult he will need to qual­ify well.

AUSSIES AT INDY

AUS­TRALIA is well rep­re­sented in this week­end’s 94th run­ning of the iconic Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Mo­tor Speed­way in the aptly named sub­urb of Speed­way in down­town Indianapolis.

“The Brick­yard”, as it is com­monly known, is cel­e­brat­ing its 100th an­niver­sary this year and al­most 400,000 peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend.

Ryan Briscoe is the high­est ever Aus­tralian qual­i­fier at Indy and is lin­ing up be­side his Penske team­mate and pole sit­ter He­lio Cas­tron­eves on the front row of the grid in sec­ond.

Fel­low Aussie, Queens­land’s Will Power, is two rows fur­ther back af­ter hav­ing qual­i­fied a bril­liant ninth in only his sec­ond ever in Indy 500.

Af­ter los­ing his drive in the cash strapped KV Team last year, Power was handed a life­line by Roger Penske to re­place Cas­tron­eves who has been bat­tling for seven months to prove his in­no­cence in a tax eva­sion charge, in which he was suc­cess­ful.

How­ever, team owner Penske promised Power a drive in the Indy 500, re­gard­less of whether Cas­tron­eves re­turned to the team or not. Power’s fu­ture in the IRL (Indy Racing League) will be de­ter­mined by his per­for­mance, in what is known as “the great­est one-day sport­ing event in the world” to­mor­row.

NASCAR LONG­EST RACE

NASCAR’s long­est race, the World at 600, over 965km, also is to­mor­row in NASCAR’s heart­land at Lowes Mo­tor Speed­way in Char­lotte.

Af­ter fi­nally mas­ter­ing the Su­per­speed­way ovals, Aus­tralia’s Mar­cus Am­brose sits in 20th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Cham­pi­onship fol­low­ing his best ever fin­ish on an oval, fourth place at Tal­ladega a month ago.

He now has new­found con­fi­dence and the re­spect of his op­po­nents on the 300km/h-plus high banked Su­per­speed­way ovals of NASCAR.

STONER BOUNCES BACK

FOL­LOW­ING an in­dif­fer­ent start to the World Moto GP cham­pi­onship, Aus­tralia’s Casey Stoner, with lack a front end grip on a dry­ing track in Spain, has bounced back into con­tention af­ter fin­ish­ing fifth.

Cham­pi­onship leader and five­time world cham­pion Valentino Rossi suc­cumbed to the dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, crash­ing out of con­tention in the clos­ing stages of the race. Stoner’s gutsy per­for­mance has el­e­vated him into sec­ond place in the cham­pi­onship only one point be­hind Rossi’s Yamaha team mate Jorge Lorenzo. Fel­low Aussie Chris Ver­mue­len is in eighth place.

IRL team­mates: He­lio Cas­tron­eves (left), of Brazil, and Ryan Briscoe, of Aus­tralia.

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