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NST Online: Sports


F1: Team Lotus optimistic

Posted: 12 Apr 2011 04:50 PM PDT

2011/04/13
By Arnaz M. Khairul
arnaz@nstp.com.my


Team Lotus’ Jarno Trulli suffered an early retirement in the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend.

Team Lotus' Jarno Trulli suffered an early retirement in the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend.

HEADING for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai this weekend, Team Lotus look to build on pace before they believe they can make an impact.

Half a second behind the established teams like Toro Rosso, Force India, Williams and Sauber, the Malaysian outfit will pin their hopes on updates prior to the Spanish GP in Barcelona on May 20-22 to push them right into the mix.

That will be five rounds after they began with the current spec on the T128s which have shown promise, but still leave Team Lotus in the position they were at the end of last season, above Virgin Racing and HRT, but still clearly behind the rest.


The opening two rounds saw Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen suffer a retirement each, while Trulli produced a 13th place finish at the Australian GP and Kovalainen, the sole Team Lotus finisher at 15th in their home race, the Malaysian GP last weekend.

"We head to China after taking a good step forward in Malaysia, but we are all focused on the reality of where we are now and know that we have a lot of work ahead of us," said team principal Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

"The main aim for me now is to improve our reliability and make sure both cars cross the finish line on Sunday.


"We have shown there is pace in the car, and there will be more to come when we start putting the updates on in Europe.

"But now we have to make sure we give the drivers the time they need on track to optimise the setup and the only way to do that is to avoid reliability issues."

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne confirmed that test drivers, Luiz Razia of Brazil and Davide Valsecchi of Italy, both from Team Lotus sister outfit in GP2, Team AirAsia, will be taking on duties onboard both cars in the first practice session on Friday.


"I think Shanghai will be another interesting weekend for us, especially as we have had two races so far in such different conditions," said Gascoyne.

"In Melbourne the tyres lasted longer than I think everyone expected and then in Malaysia there was much higher drop-off and multiple stops as a result.

"In China we will all be in slightly unknown territory with the tyres and the cooler temperatures will mean the most important goal for us will be to maximise our track time on Friday and Saturday morning, getting the cars set up properly for qualifying and bridging the gap to make it into Q2."

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Golf / Maybank Malaysian Open: Champion Seung Yul tees off in elite company

Posted: 12 Apr 2011 04:47 PM PDT

2011/04/13
Reports by Jugjet Singh
jugjetsingh@nst.com.my


(from left) Lian Wen Chong, Noh Seung Yul, Mardan Mamat and Wang Ter Chang  sharing a light moment yesterday. — Picture by Osman Adnan

(from left) Lian Wen Chong, Noh Seung Yul, Mardan Mamat and Wang Ter Chang sharing a light moment yesterday. — Picture by Osman Adnan

SOUTH Korea's defending champion Noh Seung Yul will be in the company of US Masters champions Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, both of South Africa, for the first two rounds of the Maybank Malaysian Open starting tomorrow at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

The 19-year-old, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit last year, faces a tough challenge in his title defence with Schwartzel starting as firm favourite after his stunning victory at the US Masters on Sunday.

Oosthuizen, who claimed his first major at the British Open at St Andrews last year, is expected to be in contention come Sunday.


The trio will tee off the first round at 8.10am tomorrow and the second round at 1pm on Friday.

Two-time Maybank Malaysian Open champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand will play his opening two rounds with World No 1 and PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer of Germany and Irish star Rory McIlroy, the World No 9.

Kaymer will be eager to bounce back from missing the halfway cut at Augusta National last week while McIlroy will be on a mission to erase the bitter memory of losing the US Masters with a closing 80 after leading the event for three rounds.


Thongchai, Kaymer and McIlroy will tee off at 1pm tomorrow and 8.10am on Friday.

India's Jeev Milkha Singh, a two-time Asian Tour No 1, talented Italian Matteo Manassero and big-hitting Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who recently won the SAIL Open in India on March 25 for his first Asian Tour win, will be another trio to follow.

They will play the first round at 8.20am tomorrow and Friday's second round at 1.10pm.


Malaysia's Danny Chia, seen as the best local hope to end the host's title drought, will tee off the first two rounds with Welshman Rhys Davies and South African James Kingston at 8.20am tomorrow and 1.20pm on Friday.

The Maybank Malaysian Open is celebrating its 50th edition this week.

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