In Brief: South Korea allay track safety fears
SOUTH Korean officials insisted yesterday that their Formula One circuit would be ready in time for the country's first Grand Prix next month after Bernie Ecclestone condemned the preparations as "dangerous".
The F1 commercial rights-holder flagged up the possible cancellation of the event scheduled for October 24 after a planned final inspection of the track in Yeongam, 200 miles south of Seoul, a month before the race was not carried out because of a national holiday.
Charlie Whiting, the FIA race director, will visit the circuit on October 11, one day after the Japanese Grand Prix.
Ecclestone cast doubt on Sunday over whether the race would go ahead, a decision that would have far-reaching consequences for the drivers' championship, especially for the McLaren team.
Korean officials promised yesterday that the track would be ready, with a spokesman adding: "We take Ecclestone's remarks seriously as a message that we have to step up preparations for the race."
Ireland's sole dressage representative at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, Judy Reynolds, scored 61.021pc in the opening qualifier in Kentucky yesterday.
The 29-year-old, who hails from Kilteel in Kildare and is based in Dusseldorf, Germany, was hoping to make it into the second round of the competition tomorrow.
But her score was well short of her mid-60s target due to mistakes during her test with her 12-year-old gelding, Remember, and it seems unlikely she will make the cut.
As the competition was drawing to a close yesterday, Holland's Imke Schellekens-Bartels was holding the lead and the much-fancied Dutch were already well ahead in the team rankings.
An Post has been revealed as the new sponsor of the 'Ras' after agreeing a sponsorship deal for at least three years. The race will be known as the 'An Post Ras' from next year.
At yesterday's announcement were An Post Sean Kelly team member Paidi O'Brien, county rider Stephen O'Sullivan (Engraveit.ie/ jade.ie/Dunboyne CC) and Neil Delahaye (Irish National Team).
"The Ras is a very special event; there isn't a rider out there in Ireland who would not want to take part in this race," said O'Brien. "I was gutted to miss the 2010 Ras through injury, nothing beats it for atmosphere.
"I have taken part in the Ras six times and the support you get riding through towns and villages across the country is unbelievable; it's an experience that certainly keeps me motivated."
The 2011 An Post Ras -- the only UCI-recognised Irish race in the world cycling calendar -- will take place from May 22-29 with full route details to be announced in the new year.