For most of its history, the Volkswagen Jetta was the three-box version of the two-box Golf hatchback, which also meant that the performance-oriented Jetta GLI was simply the sedan version of the coveted 10Best-winning GTI. The Jetta’s sixth-generation makeover, however, included plopping the four-door onto new underpinnings. The idea was to give it a bigger back seat, a larger trunk, and reduced complexity to better compete with the likes of the Honda Civic, the Ford Focus, and the Toyota Corolla. (The Golf will move to VW’s new MQB architecture.) (more…)
vrijdag 25 mei 2012
donderdag 24 mei 2012
Kimi Raikkonen will not be allowed to take part in Rally Finland later this year, AUTOSPORT has learned, with his team bosses unwilling to release him from his commitments to the Lotus Formula 1 team.
The former world champion had sought clearance to make a one-off return to the WRC, even though it is understood his F1 contract forbids him from taking part in rallying.
However, following talks between Raikkonen and his boss Eric Boullier in Monaco, he was informed that the memory Robert Kubica’s rally crash last year meant the team was not prepared to allow him to compete.
Boullier told AUTOSPORT: “I sat down with Kimi earlier today and we talked about it.
“His contract does not allow him to go rallying and, after what happened with Robert, this team could not let him do it.
“He fully understands the situation, so the matter is closed now.”
Kubica was badly injured in an Italian rally crash in February last year, shortly after the first pre-season F1 test. His injuries forced him out for the season and there remain doubts about whether or not he will be able to make an F1 return.
Raikkonen competed in the WRC in 2010 and ’11 before deciding to come back to F1 for this season.
Jenson Button is convinced that McLaren has a better car than its results so far indicate.
After starting the season as the pace-setters – having locked out the front row in both Australia and Malaysia – Button and team-mate Lewis Hamilton have scored just 10 points between them in the last two races.
But despite that run of form, Button thinks that McLaren’s true pace is not being exploited yet – because it is struggling to understand the intricacies of Pirelli’s 2012 tyres.
“I think we have a strong car, and aerodynamically it is strong, but I don’t think we are able to show it sometimes,” explained Button, ahead of the Monaco GP. “When we do, I think the car is very quick.
“If you look at Lewis’ lap in qualifying [in Spain] and if you look at our race pace in China and Australia, it [the speed] is there, but it is extracting it which is quite difficult sometimes.”
Button reckons that the biggest issue facing himself and his team was trying to get to grips with why the speed of cars is fluctuating so much this year.
“The thing we don’t understand with the tyres is the difference of pace up and down the grid,” he said. “Pastor [Maldonado] qualified 17th in Bahrain, then qualified second in Spain, which got turned into pole. That is what is difficult to understand.
“I don’t think Williams had a massive upgrade compared to everyone else. Understanding why the car works sometimes and doesn’t other times is very difficult to understand. We can do as much set-up work as we like, but engineering wise certain things are supposed to work and they don’t work, which is quite difficult to understand.”
Although the up-and-down season was not what Button had hoped for coming into the campaign, he did admit that the mixed up order this year meant it was not hurting his title challenge too much.
“When different people keep winning and the championship leader finishes fifth it is not such a problem,” he said. “To be fair I’ve only finished three races in the points, and the last one wasn’t really in the points.
“I’ve had a first, a second and a ninth, and that puts me 16 points off the lead, which is nothing. It is amazing how little points everyone is getting this year.
“I think there have been 125 points up for grabs and the leader has 61. So it shows you how mixed up this season is. Obviously we want to be as consistent as possible, but the people who understand the tyres and consistently score good points are going to be there at the end, and we have got to get that consistency.
“Of course we want to be consistently winning but I don’t think anyone is going to be doing that for a while yet.”
After a calm week in the British Isles to start the season, the iRacing.com Star Mazda Championship took to tight and twisty Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Week Two. While it was again Tony Repussard emerging with the points lead, a wild and chaotic week of online racing unfolded in his wake. He emerged from the week with a season-high 206 points for winning the 18:30 GMT Sunday race.
Repussard found himself starting from pole for the week’s highest SOF race, a familiar position for the French sim-racer. Alongside Repussard on the front row was Kevin Korjus, the only other driver to qualify in the 1:18 range in the race. Off the line Korjus and seventh qualifier Rafal Mroz battled massive wheelspin that put them back into the pack. Mroz wouldn’t make it past the start/finish line before he was caught up in a four-wide accident that also involved Nenad Matijevic.
Then into Turn 2, Korjus found himself turning into a pinball, first running into the back of Joshua Chin under braking, then the side of Joao Rodrigues exiting the turn. Rodrigues collected the concrete barrier while Korjus continued on track only to be hit by Antonio Montes and Aniket Patel before they could make it to Turn 3. Korjus, Rodrigues and Patel would all retire from the race in addition to Matijevic and Mroz after the start accident.
After the mess in the opening turns, it was Repussard leading over Michele Mancusi . But Repussard’s lead proved short-lived as he suffered from low tire pressures and went off entering Turn 2 after the first lap. Mancusi shot to the race lead and attempted to stretch the margin to Repussard, still struggling with tires that weren’t yet up to pressure. Meanwhile, Joshua Chin running in fourth place had a large shunt in Turn 3 after hitting the dirt and spinning into the tire barrier, ruining his day.
Although Mancusi enjoyed a dozen laps in the lead, Repussard regained first place going into Turn 2 on Lap ? and never looked back. The gap to Mancusi grew with each passing lap until the defending series champion held a 12 second lead over Mancusi at the finish, winning the 3286 SOF race. The runner-up finish paid 193 points to Mancusi, who continues to hold second in the standings. Finishing-out the podium, Fredric Evers rebounded from a disappointing week at the Silverstone circuit to finish third and collected 181 points for a relatively calm drive with only one incident in the race.
Taking home top honors in qualifying for the week was Lawrence Smyth, who won the overall pole with a lap of 1:18.405, translating to 102.758 mph or 165.37 km/h. Repussard, Nicolas Bihan, Korjus and Richie Stanaway finished out the week’s top five qualifiers. With the most wins for the week was Fernando M Seixas who took home five victories wins in nine starts at the California course. After the week was said and done, the points emerged as follows:
1.) Tony Repussard 386
2.) Michele Mancusi 344
3.) Joshua Chin 305
4.) Fredric Evers 291
5.) Mark Ursel 291
woensdag 23 mei 2012
Valentino Rossi reckons the wet weather which is forecast for tomorrow’s French Grand Prix could favour Ducati.
Having qualified a year-best seventh at Le Mans, Rossi said he was happy with both his showing and the competitiveness of the Ducati – but said he could potentially fare even better if Sunday’s race runs, as expected, in the wet.
“Today was a bit more positive: we put together yesterday’s settings with a few modifications and I improved,” Rossi explained. “I’m a bit sorry not to have made the second row, which was pretty close, but the fact remains that seventh place is not so bad, and that this is our best qualifying session of the season.
“The session was very difficult because the condition of the track changed so quickly, but for me we were more competitive on the wet at the beginning.
“Now the conditions are very bad, [it is] raining very hard and the forecast for tomorrow is wet. I think on the wet we can be a bit more competitive so maybe try to do a better position in the race. But anyway we have to try and I hope if it is wet it will be wet in the morning to get some laps in the warm up and better understand our potential.”
Rossi said the inclement conditions seemed to work in Ducati’s favour because it helped improve the feel of the GP12 and also eased ongoing concerns about acceleration on corner exits.
“In the wet, the bike gives a better feel, and you can ride it in a better way,” he explained. “And with less power used in the wet, we have less problem putting the horsepower on the ground.”
Rossi said that working on the settings of the GP12 had allowed the team to take another step forward in France even if major performance upgrades are still some time away.
“I think we are able to do another small step from Portugal because we can work more on the setting of the bike,” he said.
“This afternoon we did a good job of adapting to the track conditions, which changed quite quickly, and every exit I found myself on the track at the right time. We made another small step forward compared to Estoril, and we worked well.”
Helio Castroneves set out his bid for a fifth Indianapolis 500 pole position by setting the best lap of the month so far in the Pole Day morning practice session.
The Penske driver produced a lap of 39.5181 seconds at an average speed of 227.744mph early in the two-hour practice, which saw the field split into two groups for half an hour of running each before all cars were allowed to take to the track for the final hour.
Chevrolet-powered cars filled the top three positions, with Ana Beatriz second in Andretti Autosport and Conquest Racing’s joint entry, followed by Castroneves’ team-mate Ryan Briscoe.
Honda’s leading contenders were Dario Franchitti (Ganassi) and consistently impressive rookie Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman) in sixth, split by Andretti driver James Hinchcliffe.
Qualifying begins at 11am local time, with positions 10 to 24 set during the first five hours of running. The fastest nine drivers then return to the track to shoot for pole position.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevy 39.5181s
2. Ana Beatriz Andretti/Conquest DW12-Chevy 39.7901s + 0.2720s
3. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevy 39.9914s + 0.3002s
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda 39.8640s + 0.3321s
5. James Hinchcliffe Andretti DW12-Chevy 39.8611s + 0.3430s
6. Josef Newgarden Fisher DW12-Honda 39.8796s + 0.3615s
7. JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevy 39.9141s + 0.3960s
8. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda 39.9309s + 0.4128s
9. Wade Cunningham Foyt DW12-Honda 39.9337s + 0.4156s
10. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevy 39.9354s + 0.4173s
11. Sebastian Saavedra AFS/Andretti DW12-Chevy 39.9450s + 0.4269s
12. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevy 39.9533s + 0.4352s
13. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevy 40.0454s + 0.5273s
14. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda 40.1054s + 0.5873s
15. Alex Tagliani Herta DW12-Honda 40.1150s + 0.5969s
16. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 40.1400s + 0.6219s
17. Bryan Clauson Fisher DW12-Honda 40.1403s + 0.6222s
18. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevy 40.1661s + 0.6480s
19. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevy 40.1670s + 0.6489s
20. James Jakes Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 40.1734s + 0.6553s
21. Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 40.1762s + 0.6581s
22. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon DW12-Chevy 40.1814s + 0.6633s
23. Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda 40.2380s + 0.7199s
24. Katherine Legge Dragon DW12-Chevy 40.2684s + 0.7503s
25. Michel Jourdain Jr Rahal DW12-Honda 40.3716s + 0.8535s
26. Townsend Bell Schmidt DW12-Honda 40.4197s + 0.9016s
27. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR DW12-Chevy 40.5192s + 1.0011s
28. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt DW12-Honda 40.6647s + 1.1466s
29. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 40.6655s + 1.1474s
30. Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus 41.8724s + 2.3543s
Maverick Vinales secured his first Moto3 pole position on a Le Mans circuit made extremely treacherous by a pre-session rain storm.
The wet, cold conditions led to a multitude of fallers including championship leader Sandro Cortese (Ajo KTM) and Monlau Honda’s Miguel Oliveira, who was on provisional pole when he lost the bike at the Turn 10 chicane halfway into the session.
Maverick Vinales (Avintia FTR-Honda) had been battling with Oliveira until the latter’s fall, but moved into a class of his own as the session progressed and conditions gradually improved.
The 17-year-old Spaniard lowered his own personal best mercilessly, dipping down into the 1m55s to eventually finish the session almost one second clear of the field.
Despite being unable to get going following his crash – and therefore missing out on the optimum conditions – Oliveira remained second right up until the chequered flag, when Laglisse Honda’s Efren Vazquez did enough to demote him to the final spot on the front row.
Jakub Kornfeil (Ongetta FTR-Honda) deprived Alexis Masbou (Caretta Honda) a fourth-place start for his home grand prix.
After his early fall, Cortese meanwhile pushed his bike back to the pits and was able to rejoin the action in the final minutes. He got himself up into sixth, finishing as the highest non-Honda rider.
Kalex KTMs locked out the third row, with Alberto Moncayo, Hector Faubel (both Aspar) and Luis Salom (RW) in seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
The tough conditions impacted hard on the Mahindra team, with both Danny Webb and Marcel Schrotter falling and qualifying outside the 107 per cent mark. Ioda Team Italia’s Luigi Morciano was also outside the mark.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Maverick Vinales Avintia FTR-Honda 1m55.865s
2. Efren Vazquez Laglisse Honda 1m56.847s + 0.982s
3. Miguel Oliveira Monlau Honda 1m57.114s + 1.249s
4. Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta FTR-Honda 1m57.392s + 1.527s
5. Alexis Masbou Caretta Honda 1m57.673s + 1.808s
6. Sandro Cortese Ajo KTM 1m57.801s + 1.936s
7. Alberto Moncayo Aspar Kalex-KTM 1m57.846s + 1.981s
8. Hector Faubel Aspar Kalex-KTM 1m57.899s + 2.034s
9. Luis Salom RW Kalex-KTM 1m58.000s + 2.135s
10. Zulfahmi Khairuddin Ajo KTM 1m58.133s + 2.268s
11. Jonas Folger Ioda 1m58.304s + 2.439s
12. Adrian Martin Laglisse Honda 1m58.315s + 2.450s
13. Niklas Ajo TT Motion KTM 1m58.563s + 2.698s
14. Arthur Sissis Ajo KTM 1m58.570s + 2.705s
15. Louis Rossi Germany FTR-Honda 1m58.576s + 2.711s
16. Brad Binder RW Kalex-KTM 1m58.590s + 2.725s
17. Danny Kent Ajo KTM 1m58.673s + 2.808s
18. Alan Techer Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda 1m58.679s + 2.814s
19. Giulian Pedone Ambrogio Oral 1m58.932s + 3.067s
20. Isaac Vinales Ongetta FTR-Honda 1m58.938s + 3.073s
21. Romano Fenati Italia FMI FTR-Honda 1m58.978s + 3.113s
22. Jack Miller Caretta Honda 1m59.233s + 3.368s
23. Alessandro Tonucci Italia FMI FTR-Honda 1m59.251s + 3.386s
24. Simone Giorgi Amborgio Suter Honda 1m59.335s + 3.470s
25. Jasper Iwema FGR-Honda 1m59.539s + 3.674s
26. Alex Rins Monlau Honda 1m59.888s + 4.023s
27. Niccolo Antonelli Gresini Honda 2m00.129s + 4.264s
28. Kenta Fujii Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda 2m00.903s + 5.038s
29. Ivan Moreno Laglisse FTR-Honda 2m02.379s + 6.514s
30. Toni Finsterbusch MZ-Honda 2m03.240s + 7.375s
31. Kevin Hanus Thomas Sabo Honda 2m03.626s + 7.761s
32. Danny Webb Mahindra 2m04.144s + 8.279s
33. Marcel Schrotter Mahindra 2m05.206s + 9.341s
34. Luigi Morciano Ioda Team Italia 2m05.565s + 9.700s
dinsdag 15 mei 2012
We've heard for years that Chinese automakers hoped one day to export their wares to the United States. Ironically, the global economic slowdown could be what gives the Chinese incentive to finally make it happen.
Chinese automakers ramped up production capacity to meet surging demand at home only to see the local economic conditions slow from 30 percent growth in 2010 to just 2.5 percent in 2011. On top of that, the Chinese auto marketplace has now become crowded with foreign and domestic competitors.
"The rapid growth phase of China's auto market is coming to an end, and we see exports as one possible outlet for all the capacity we have built up," Xing Wenlin, Great Wall Motor vice president in charge of overseas markets, tells Reuters. Great Wall's Phenom concept (pictured above) was shown a few years ago as a possible export model.
While most Chinese-made cars aren't up to American quality expectations, developing automotive markets like Egypt, Ukraine, Brazil and Indonesia are clamoring for cheap, reliable transportation. Chinese automaker Chery said earlier this year it would be selling cars in Europe by 2015.
Geely's purchase of Volvo in 2010 has boosted the Chinese company's automotive technology expertise and could help it achieve its goal of doubling exports to 70,000 units this year. While the U.S. is still out of reach for most Chinese automakers, Geely may begin selling a Chinese-made car in the UK by the end of this year. If successful there, a logical next market would be North America.Permalink | Email this | Comments
maandag 14 mei 2012
woensdag 9 mei 2012
dinsdag 8 mei 2012
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vrijdag 4 mei 2012
Sidewalk Extensions, Ped Plazas Coming to Financial District’s Whitehall and State Streets (DNAinfo)
First Phase of Queens Greenway, From LIC to Astoria, to Open This Fall (News)
Cuomo Won’t Tell New Yorkers How He Hopes to Pay for Tappan Zee (Transpo Nation)
Transpo Nation Previews Lower [...]
If the idea of building a four-seat hard-top convertible supercar in Holland strikes you as off-the-wall, then its racing counterpart should blow your mind. We're talking about Savage Rivale, the markers of the Roadyacht GTS and the competition-spec GTR model it just unveiled at the Top Marques show in Monaco.
Packing upwards of 700 horsepower from a turbocharged 6.2-liter V8, the Savage Rivale GTR is said to be good for 2.8-second sprint to 62 miles per hour and a 360-km/h (234-mph) top speed. With those capabilities, the race-ready Savage is earmarked to tackle the Nürburgring Norschleife lap record for four-door automobiles, a distinction which (to the best of our understanding, anyway) currently belongs to a Subaru Impreza WRX STI driven by rally ace Tommi Mäkinen for Car and Driver in 2010 to a 7:55 lap time, edging out Pikes Peak legend Walter Röhrl in the Porsche Panamera Turbo at 7:56 the previous year.
Only 69 examples are slated for production. We're still waiting on final specifications to be released, but in the meantime you can check out the gallery of high-resolution images from its unveiling in Monte Carlo in the gallery above.Permalink | Email this | Comments