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Monthly Archives: August 2019

What a difference to road cars a day in Le Mans can make

Written on August 22, 2019 at 11:18, by

As well as being the world’s biggest and longest-running sports car race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year stands as a fascinating alternative power showcase as well a shootout for outright honours between the dominant brand of recent times, Audi, and yet-to-win Toyota.
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Audi has won 11 of the past 13 Le Mans classics, only allowing Bentley (2003) and Peugeot (2009) a tidbit apiece. The race should be a fight between two makes next weekend. The 90th anniversary Le Mans pitches three factory Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 prototypes, with V6 turbocharged diesel/hybrid power, against two Toyota TS030 Hybrids using naturally aspirated petrol engines. Endurance sports car racing today is about blue-sky road-car-relevant thinking, especially fuel efficiency. All entrants in the prototype LMP1 class have been subjected to a ”Balance of Performance”, effectively a handicapping system intended to give all makes a chance. It uses air restrictor size and fuel capacity to inhibit speed and efficiency.

This led to accusations from Toyota that Audi ”sandbagged” in a lead-up race at Spa. Toyota’s technical director Pascal Vasselon estimated the Audi R18 e-tron quattro enjoyed a power advantage over his cars of up to 80 horsepower. In a subsequent handicapping review at the end of May, his petrol-engined cars were allowed an additional three litres of fuel capacity. Toyota, in particular, is desperate to crunch a win this year, to break its duck and also to post a score before Porsche, with its stunning Le Mans record of 16 victories, returns next year. ”Leading Le Mans last year and winning three World Endurance Championship races has given us a taste for success,” team chief Yoshiaki Kinoshita said.

Audi and Toyota offer advanced technologies afforded by the regulations. The three Audi prototypes, the most recent species of part-time electric all-wheel drive, have a blown diffuser, which uses exhaust gases for aerodynamic advantage, not dissimilar to those once used in formula one. While there’s some secrecy about the aid, a rival engineer told Autosport Audi uses the exhaust to create ”virtual skirts” to direct airflow under the car and through the diffuser. Toyota experimented with a blown diffuser but decided against running the system partly due to the effect of hot exhaust gases on tyre wear. But like the Audis, the Toyotas do have the F1-like extra power of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system).

Fifty-six cars will likely meet the starter next Saturday. Ten former winners feature, including defending champions Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer.

Eighteen former F1 drivers are on the grid, including manic overtaker Kamui Kobayashi, making his debut, joining Bruno Senna, Nick Heidfeld, Allan McNish, Marc Gene, Alexander Wurz, Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin, Sebastien Buemi, Jan Magnussen, Olivier Beretta, Giancarlo Fisichella and Pedro Lamy. Three Australians will race – Ryan Briscoe (HPD ARX-03b LMP2), Jason Bright (Ferrari 458 GT) and John Martin (Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2), plus honorary Aussie Allan Simonsen (Aston Martin Vantage).


The grapevine is buzzing with sufficient ferocity to suggest there must be some truth to Volvo entering V8 Supercars in some capacity with Garry Rogers Motorsport next year. Though there doesn’t appear to be a suitable 5.0-litre V8, Volvo can use the US-made Chevrolet or Ford from the Commodores and Falcons in the four-door S60 sedan.


Strange times. Steven Johnson has never raced anything but a Dick Johnson Racing Falcon in the V8 Supercars series. But this year ”Junior”, now out of full-time driving as general manager of his father’s team, will be at the wheel of the rival SP Tools AMG E-Class of Maro Engel in the endurance events, the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600. Cash-strapped DJR has been forced to recruit young enduro drivers who bring money – Dale Wood will be teamed with Chaz Mostert in the No.12 Falcon, while Tim Blanchard will share No.17 with Dunlop Series leader Ash Walsh.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Neill leans on Hiddink for calm ways

Written on August 22, 2019 at 11:18, by

Socceroos captain Lucas Neill has drawn upon the image he’d stored in his memory of former national coach Guus Hiddink during Australia’s historic 2005 victory over Uruguay to ensure Australia enter Tuesday night’s must-win match against Iraq cool, calm and collected.
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Neill, who hopes Australia will secure automatic qualification to a fourth World Cup, said the sight of Hiddink leaning casually against the team’s substitute bench despite the nervous energy that engulfed the Sydney Olympic Park stadium that November night set the tone for how he handled pressure situations.

“It was surreal,” said Neill. “The place was electric and after 25 minutes I looked over and Guus had his arms folded and he was leaning with his right shoulder against the bench as if he was waiting for a bus. He was stone-faced and ice veins.

“So, here I am out on the pitch and 80,000 people going crazy. Everyone is tense and nervous and I’m very composed and calm because I look over and see my manager is leaning up against the sub’s bench like the coolest man in the world despite overseeing the most important game in Australia’s history.”

Neill said that image also reinforced his belief that Tuesday night’s match against Iraq – which is expected to be played in front of a full house at ANZ Stadium – needed to be treated as nothing more than a game. “My message to the fans is to express your passion and express your emotions, but to my players it is to play the game and not the occasion,” he said.

“We just need to remember no game is an easy game. We have to keep our feet on the ground and remain relaxed and do the things we’ve done the last two weeks, the things that put us into this position.

“We have to keep things as calm and composed and, then, let’s hope we have a rich, strong, positive start like we’ve had the intention of doing in the last two games [against Japan and Jordan].” While the Socceroos received overwhelming public support at appearances throughout Sydney in the build-up to the match Neill said the “quiet and calm” of the squad pleased him.

“No-one is talking about Brazil, no-one is talking about winning, everybody is just talking about preparing and getting that feeling in training that we’re 100 per cent prepared and ready and going into the game,” he said.

“There’s a good feeling in Sydney – and Australia – but it’s more important the senior players and myself as captain to ensure no-one gets caught up in that wave of excitement. It does go in peaks and troughs. This is coming towards our peak. We just have to concentrate on one win, one game and we’ll ride the crest of a wave for another year, maybe two, because of the Asian Cup. We’re in the moment but we have to make sure we maximise the moment.”

Neill was adamant that despite their having no chance of qualifying for the World Cup, Iraq possessed a brand of pride and passion that commanded respect.

“Iraq is a very passionate nationality and they have experienced very adverse moments in their lives and they always seem to be playing for, I don’t know if you say a better life or a better experience in life,” he said. “Their players are very loyal, very passionate. We know whoever travels and plays for Iraq will be very committed to their team, their flag and trying to win the game.

“And Iraq is a bit of a bogey team for Australia, we have to be very careful. It’s not an easy game.

”They have the mentality that they won’t lie down easily, they won’t be intimidated easily because they’ve had different upbringings and they’re fighters.

“We always respect our opposition but we should respect them more so. I think some of these guys will see a big crowd and see a big opportunity to perform and showcase themselves and we have to counter that.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Lions face nervous wait over fancied centre

Written on August 22, 2019 at 11:18, by

After notching their best performance yet on Saturday, the fly in the ointment for the British and Irish Lions might yet be a hamstring injury to in-form centre Jamie Roberts.
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The Lions are blessed with depth in their midfield but a possible tear in Roberts’ right hamstring, which occurred in the 68th minute of the tourists’ 47-17 win against the Waratahs, will send a shiver down the spine of head coach Warren Gatland, who has consistently backed the powerful Welsh runner this tour.

After initial examinations pointed to a tear, Gatland backed away from the worst case scenario, saying post-match that nothing definitive would be known until the 26-year-old underwent scans on the leg on Sunday.

“The medics thought it might have been a hamstring but he says he’s never pulled a hamstring before so he’s not quite sure,” Gatland said.

“Fingers crossed that it may not be that, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

What the game takes away with one hand, it gives back with the other, with Roberts’ midfield partner Jonathan Davies putting in an outstanding performance to storm his way to the front of the line, especially should Roberts be ruled out.

“Given the quality of our midfield and the pressure he was under to respond, I thought it was one of the best games that I’d seen him play,” Gatland said.

“I thought it was an outstanding performance from Jonathan. It’s quite nice to come into the change rooms and see someone like [Ireland centre] Brian O’Driscoll say ‘How good was Jonathan Davies’. It’s almost the endorsement rather than the coaches saying it.”

Gatland indicated he would have no trouble using Davies at inside centre should Roberts be unavailable.

Manu Tuilagi is back training but is still reporting “soreness” in his shoulder, leaving the likely Test combination for next week’s series opener in Brisbane, should Roberts be ruled out, as Davies and O’Driscoll.

Late tour call-up Billy Twelvetrees is also available.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Doctor who treated Earl tracked down as peptide row rumbles on

Written on August 22, 2019 at 11:18, by

Dr Ijaz Khan has emerged as the mystery medico who treated Sandor Earl following the winger’s shoulder surgeries. The Canberra flyer was the subject of claims he took peptides to aid his recovery following injuries he suffered while at Penrith in 2011.
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Sin Bin can reveal Earl, who recently signed to play rugby union in France, was referred to Injury Care, a private clinic at Cabramatta. It’s understood he was treated by Khan. It is unclear whether he has treated any other NRL players and attempts to contact the doctor were unsuccessful. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Earl or Khan. In a statement released on Friday, Earl said he was ”shocked” by revelations on the Nine Network he had taken peptides at a clinic without the knowledge of the club. News Ltd reported last month that Cronulla was sent a bill for $2764.80 from Injury Care for blood tests allegedly arranged at the clinic.The hunger games

We read, with a mixture of horror and amusement, recent claims that Sam Kasiano is capable of demolishing seven kebabs in a single sitting. We thought the allegations were worthy of  investigation and headed to Diane’s Cafe in Belmore,  home of the ‘‘Barry Ward special’’ and a favourite haunt of the players. ‘‘Sam is actually one of the healthiest in the club,’’ said Steven  Francis, who is a part owner of Diane’s along with  father  Andrew, and Kiwi international Frank Pritchard. ‘‘He’s always looking for the healthy option, so it upsets you when you read he’s overweight when he’s  actually losing weight. His favourite is wholemeal bread with grilled chicken, cheese and avocado, toasted, maybe with some chilli mayo. He might have one after training, otherwise one-and-a-half to two. He’s not as big an eater as everyone makes him out to be.’’ So who is the biggest eater? ‘‘Kris Inu. He puts a few of them in the back pocket.’’Shining example

Here’s your chance to own the blingiest Origin jersey ever … while raising money for a great cause. More than 35,000 Swarovski crystals worth more than $15,000 have been used to embellish this NSW jumper, and a Queensland one, with both being auctioned off for Origin II. A range of mental-health service providers are combining for the ”What’s Your State of Mind” campaign to help breakdown stereotypes and stigmas. Help the cause and shine like a diamond by bidding at nrlauctions上海夜生活m before the auction ends on June 26. Also, check out nrlstateofmind上海夜生活m.auRoad to defeat

When it comes to moving games, there’s a fair chance you could be moving down the ladder as well. South Sydney are the latest team to shift a home game away from home, with Sunday’s clash against the Gold Coast moved to Barlow Park in Cairns. History has shown NRL clubs who have shifted games are less likely to get a win. During the NRL era, which started in 1997, the Rabbitohs have moved 21 games and lost 13 (one draw). During that same period, NRL clubs have shifted 121 games and won only 56 (three draws). There are plenty of compelling reasons to shift matches – the chance to improve the bottom line, sell additional memberships and spread a club’s brand to a new audience. But, as Parramatta will attest when they were walloped by the Titans at Mudgee in round 11, it often goes pear-shaped. The Roosters’ decision to take a game to Darwin last year – the Cowboys put 50 points on them – resulted in a loss from which they took weeks to recover. But there are also plenty of success stories, such as Canterbury’s hugely successful sojourn to Mackay. It will be interesting to see how the Rabbitohs’ ”Rumble in the Reef” plays out.Pioneer

Deborah Healey has made history as the first woman to be appointed to the NSW Rugby League board. The respected solicitor is no stranger to league, first delivering lectures to coaches more than 25 years ago. A specialist in sports law and doping issues, she has acted for individuals and organisations before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. With the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s investigations into the NRL in full swing, her appointment is timely.On the mend

Wishing a speedy recovery to Mark Rowan. The respected player manager, who has overseen the career of Roy Asotasi, has undergone triple heart-bypass surgery. After experiencing shortness of breath during his daily walks, he checked himself out – and just in the nick in time. ”The doc said ‘you’re a walking time bomb and at some stage you’re going to drop – and you’re not going to get up.” Thankfully, the operation appears to be a success.Hayne nicks it

Jarryd Hayne has emerged as the man who ”stole” Michael Jennings’s Origin jersey. Jennings sparked Jerseygate when he went public to reveal the keepsake went missing after the opening game. Hayne fessed up as the culprit on Twitter on Saturday: ”found @M_Jennings_03 jersey. Whoops !!! Took the wrong 1 from the game. Sorry roomy.” Hayne was upset about being in the dark regarding the 12 Eels player sackings and it appears he’s still out of the loop at Parramatta. According to the club’s Twitter feed: ”@jarrydhayne_1 will be answering the #blueandgold Q&A at the game tomorrow, so send us your questions for him now!” It was news to the man himself, who responded: ”@TheParraEels is that right. When is jarryd getting told about this ??”SBW twist

There is plenty of gibber on the internet but there is gold in them thar hills as well, if you have a good look. If you’re after the latter, check out Brian Smith’s new website, briansmithspeaks上海夜生活 In one of his columns, the veteran coach predicts we could see Sonny Bill Williams in the No.6 jersey. ”I reckon all footy fans could be in for a treat in round 15,” Smith wrote. ”Not only is it Bulldogs v Roosters homecoming for Sonny Bill but I reckon we might all get to see SBW in a fantastic new role – at five-eighth, with [James] Maloney and [Mitchell] Pearce in Origin. During 2012, when the prospect of SBW joining the Roosters was raised, Peter O’Sullivan [Roosters recruitment manager] and I discussed the possibility of playing SBW at five-eighth … What he can bring to that key position in RL could be ground-breaking … SBW might just get the opportunity to show us what could be – and our brand of footy might change as a result.” Given that Tongan international Samisoni Langi has a shoulder injury, the move is even more likely to come to fruition.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Waller closes on training record

Written on August 22, 2019 at 11:18, by

Chris Waller is getting better at coping with his record quest, but he is drawing on the experience of rival trainers Peter Snowden and Gai Waterhouse as the mark gets closer.
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Victories by Relaxed And Happy, Titbit and Said Com at Rosehill on Saturday took Waller to 152½ wins for the season in Sydney, setting him up to break the record of 156 wins jointly held by Tommy Smith (1975-76) and Waterhouse (2002-03).

”I have been talking to Peter Snowden and Gai about it because they have been through it before,” Waller said on Saturday. ”It is hard because you set yourself goals and this one is getting closer all the time.

”They have told me to sit back and enjoy it because you work so hard to get to this place. They also talked to me about quality of life, that sitting back 5 per cent can give you a 50 per cent better life.”

Snowden, who produced Sessions for a devastating first-up success, took time to have a quiet word with Waller after another treble.

”It is a bit about self-belief and not putting extra pressure on yourself,” Snowden said. ”He is under different pressure than me but I have talked to him about it. I said to him well done about today and to enjoy it.”

Relaxed And Happy gave Waller win No.150 early in the day, but winners continued to flow as Clever Boy and Son Of Ross won at Newcastle to make it five for the day. ”It [150] is a big number and just counting down to these last few wins hasn’t been easy,” Waller said. ”It is just one at a time throughout a long season.”

One of Waller’s great strengths has been to improve each year but he realised with the reduction in city meetings next season this might have been his only chance to break the record.

”I was aware of that, but the record doesn’t really drive me,” he said. ”It is there but I wanted to improve as a trainer. For the past three years I thought there was a lot of improvement left. I’m still getting better as a trainer. Our systems are getting better and our horses are getting better. Our strike rate is up this year, which is a great indicator that things are getting better.”

Waller was quick to point out after Titbit’s victory that it was important to place horses in the right races.

”She wins that race and gives the owner some more confidence and there might be another horse that comes into the stable,” Waller said. Waller needs four wins in Sydney next week to break the record. He admits to having a couple of chances at Canterbury on Wednesday, so the moment might come at Randwick next Saturday.

He will also be chasing his ninth group 1 winner for the season in the Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm next Saturday, with Red Tracer and She’s Clean spearheading his challenge. There is a chance he could win the Sydney premiership, group 1 title and most winners Australia-wide, where he is in battle with Snowden’s powerful Darley operation.

”I don’t think about those things,” Waller said. ”I’ll just try to keep placing my horses well.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.