Saturday 24 March 2018

Vettel in pole at Abu Dhabi

Formula One: World champion Sebastian Vettel took pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yesterday, matching Nigel Mansell's record of 14 poles in a season.

The German driver clocked 1 min 38.481 secs at the Yas Marina circuit, 0.14 seconds quicker than McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton who had dominated the final practice session.

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button will start today's race third alongside Vettel's teammate Mark Webber on the second row. Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa continued to struggle, and will start on the third row in fifth and sixth.

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Rallying: Waterford's Craig Breen won the World Rally Championship Academy title after a dramatic day at Rally Great Britain yesterday.

Breen won the title following victory in five of yesterday's six stages in Wales, claiming the title and the €500,000 winner cheque.

The 21-year-old went into the last day knowing that he would have to win four of the six stages to be in with a chance of victory with Championship rival Egon Kaur winning the first stage, the pressure was increased on Breen meaning he had to win five stages.

However, he responded with a flawless last five stages to finish fastest on each and win by 4 mins 36 secs from Kaur.

This left both drivers on 111 points for the season but on a count-back of stage wins across the Championship, Breen was declared the winner with more stage victories than the Estonian.

The former Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year won 14 out of 17 stages across the weekend to secure the Championship.

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ATHLETICS: High jumper Deidre Ryan won the Tipperary Crystal Athlete of the Year at the AAI Awards last night.

Earlier this year the 29-year- old finished sixth in the World Championships in Daegu and also qualified for the London 2012 Olympics.

Waterford's Kate Veale took the Emerging Athlete of the Year award, Ciara Mageehan won the Junior Athlete of the Year and the U-23 award went to Brian Gregan.

Meanwhile, Brother Dooley was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award and Teresa McDaid won Coach of the Year.

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CYCLING: Alejandro Valverde will ride for the Movistar team next season when he makes his return from a doping-related ban, the Spanish outfit said.

Spaniard Valverde, the 2009 Vuelta champion, was suspended for two years until 2012 after being implicated in the blood doping scandal Operation Puerto.

Movistar reported yesterday that "Alejandro Valverde will be introduced as a Movistar rider for the 2012 season next Tuesday, November 15."

Valverde (31) rode for the Caisse d'Epargne team before his suspension and Movistar took over from Caisse d'Epargne as main sponsor in 2011.

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EQUESTRIAN: Vienna's €85,000 show jumping Grand Prix takes place tomorrow, where riders had a series of top-five places at the four-star indoor show on Friday.

Tipperary's Shane Breen took a third in the night's feature class, the Vienna Masters, riding his own bay mare Luikka, with fellow Tipperary-born rider Denis Lynch finishing in tenth on the eight year-old stallion Contifex.

The Masters was won by Italy's Emanuele Gaudiano and the Cornet Obolensky mare Cocoshynsky.

Earlier, Lynch also claimed a third place in the two-phase competition aboard Thomas Straumann's gelding Crocant.

In the three-star dressage, meanwhile, Ireland's Anna Merveldt took the Grand Prix runner-up spot on her own 15 year-old gelding Coryolano, with Germany's Anja Plönzke claiming first place with the 12 year-old Le Mont d'Or.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, Canada, Co. Down's Dermott Lennon placed fifth in the Top Score competition with Judith Sossick's Irish-bred Limerick mare Loughview Lou Lou.

Closer to home Meath-based Cian O'Connor won Friday night's feature class at the Cavan International Show with the 11 year-old Carpe Diem.

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TENNIS: Roger Federer eased past Tomas Berdych to secure a place in the Paris Masters final today at Bercy.

Czech Berdych was powerless to prevent the Swiss star from winning 6-4, 6-3, in 81 minutes. The No 3 seed Federer, broke early for a 2-0 lead and held on to the advantage to claim the opening set.

Federer is looking to become only the second player after Andre Agassi to win titles at Roland Garros and Bercy. The former World No 1 will face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who beat John Isner in 3-6 7-6 7-6 in the other semi-final.

Federer became the first player to reach the final of all nine Masters tournaments, but this year is his first since 2002 without claiming a Grand Slam title.

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GOLF: The Singapore Open has been reduced to 54 holes after there was no play yesterday due to lightning.

The tournament was suspended for almost three hours on Friday, due to thunderstorms, so some players had to return yesterday morning to finish their second rounds.

Play will resume early this morning with Fernandez-Castano firm favourite to claim the title. The Spaniard took a three-shot lead after posting a second round of 61 yesterday.

Fernandez-Castano carded five birdies coming home on the Tanjong Course to move clear of Edoardo Molinari and James Morrison.

Molinari was unable to make much headway into Fernandez-Castano's lead, picking up a birdie at the 12th as the Italian resumed on the Serapong Course before eventually signing for a 68 to join Morrison on 12-under-par.

Michael Hoey (-9) is best of the Irish, after he followed up an opening round 67 with an impressive 66.

Ireland's Shane Lowry (-5), Peter Lawrie (-4), Graeme McDowell (-3) and Paul Cutler (-3) all made the cut but Padraig Harrington missed out, as did Paul McGinley, Gareth Maybin, Damien McGrane and Niall Turner.

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TIGER WOODS suffered a disappointing third round at the Australian Open, shooting a three-over-par 75 to trail leader John Senden by six shots.

Woods, without a win in nearly two years and 58th in the world rankings, could not replicate the form which saw him lead at the half-way mark.

Woods, who began the day ahead by one stroke on nine- under-par bemoaned some poor putting.

"I played the par-fives awful and I made nothing," he said.

Senden shot a 63 in a blemish-free round that included an eagle at the sixth, and seven birdies to finish on 12-under-par one ahead of Jason Day .

"I kicked off well with the birdie at five and holing at six and then tried to stay relaxed on the back nine," the 2006 champion said.

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swimming: Australian great Ian Thorpe flopped again in his comeback bid, failing to reach the final of the 100m freestyle at a World Cup meet in Tokyo yesterday.

Winner of five Olympic gold medals, Thorpe clocked 49.45 seconds at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre to finish 12th in the heats and miss out on the final.

It was Thorpe's second successive setback in an event he once dominated.

The Australian -- who hopes to qualify for London 2012 -- has withdrawn from the heats for the 100m individual medley.

Sunday Indo Sport

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