Four times World rally champion Sebastien Loeb got his first taste of Formula One machinery at Paul Ricard in France on Wednesday during a promotional event with sponsor Total-Elf.
The Frenchman, who clinched his fourth WRC crown in Britain last weekend, experienced Renault's title-winning R26 car - with Renault F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen also getting the opportunity to drive Loeb's Citroen C4. Loeb's teammate Dani Sordo also tried out the Renault F1 car.
Speaking about his run in the car, Loeb said: "Today has been a fantastic experience; if I'm honest, it's a little bit like Christmas come early! I have just become a father for the first time, I won my fourth world title last weekend, and now a dream has come true: driving a Formula One car for the first time.
"I was very impressed with the grip generated by the aerodynamics, which is radically different from what we are used to in rallying. I already knew Paul Ricard well from my testing before Le Mans last year, so it meant I could really make the most of today's opportunity. It was a truly exceptional day."
Kovalainen, who was co-driven in the Citroen by Loeb, added: "This was a wonderful day, and I had a great time driving Sebastien's car. I had previously been in this type of car as a co- driver, but this was miles better!
"I felt quite comfortable, even though the sensations are extremely different to what you feel in an F1 car. I talked a lot with Sebastien and Dani, and it was interesting to see how they controlled the car in the slow and high-speed corners, and learn from it.
"In return, I was able to give them some advice about the R26, and I hope they both enjoyed the experience."
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64399Narain Karthikeyan has taken India's maiden A1GP victory in the Zhuhai Feature race on Sunday.
The former Formula One driver held off a fierce challenge from New Zealand's Jonny Reid for the final 15 laps, and he eventually won by just 0.5 seconds.
Karthikeyan ran third in the early stages as he held his position at the start, but he moved ahead of Great Britain and Switzerland as the leaders struggled with their pit stops.
The Indian car had good pace though, as during the middle of the race Karthikeyan had been catching Neel Jani before the second round of pit stops.
Reid settled for second after working his way up from 10th on the grid. He passed several cars on track during the early laps, and then took advantage as other cars had slow pit stops.
Adrian Zaugg took third for South Africa, but he had to work hard to keep Sprint race winner Michael Ammermuller at bay in the final laps. The German driver did well to make it back to the front, after he went off track on the opening lap.
Oliver Jarvis recovered from two slow pit stops to take fifth position after he led the early laps, and the British driver also gained the point for fastest lap.
Championship leaders Switzerland were leading the race comfortably before the second round of pit stops, but they lost a lot of time in the pits and eventually had to settle for sixth.
France were another team to fall down the order, as Loic Duval was given a drive through penalty for running over an air hose from Team USA, which knocked one of the American mechanics over.
Duval recovered to finish eighth ahead of Tomas Enge, while Franky Cheng finished ninth for China after serving a drive through for speeding in the pit lane.
Cheng grabbed ninth from Jonathan Summerton in the closing laps, as the American went off track while trying to defend his position.
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64401Sebastian Vettel spared Michael Schumacher's blushes by winning both of his heats to take Germany to Race of Champions Nations Cup glory at Wembley.
Vettel defeated Finland's Marcus Gronholm and Heikki Kovalainen in the final, after Schumacher had lost the opening heat.
The seven-time Formula One world champion, who was famously beaten in the individual competition by Kovalainen in 2004, was haunted by the young Finn again, as he stalled at the start of their race this time.
The pair then ran around very closely in the same lane of the track together, with Kovalainen eventually passing Schumacher into the long first corner.
Vettel then pulled off a shock by beating two-time World Rally Champion Gronholm in the Ford Focus that the Finn has competed in for the past two years, and the 20-year-old then beat Kovalainen in the RoC buggies in the third heat to seal the title.
The German team upset the Wembley crowd by beating England in the semi-finals, where Schumacher and Vettel triumphed over Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx respectively, despite the English drivers leading at the halfway stage of both heats.
Finland got to the final after beating their local rivals Team Scandinavia and Team Norway in the two previous rounds, while Vettel's only defeat in the competition came in the opening round to American Travis Pastrana.
Schumacher saved his young countryman in that round by beating first Jimmie Johnson and then Pastrana, but it was Vettel who did the winning in the final.
Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais had the biggest crash of the competition when his throttle stuck open in the RoC Buggies against Norway, while England at least had something to shout about as they defeated Scotland in the quarter finals.
The drivers will now prepare for the individual Race of Champions event, where DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom will be aiming to retain his 2006 crown.
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64638Ferrari define Schumacher's role
Michael Schumacher says he and Ferrari have finally decided what his role at the Italian squad will be following his retirement from racing.
The seven-time world champion, who stopped racing at the end of 2006, will be in charge of developing cars for Gestione Sportiva - Ferrari's motor racing division.
Schumacher has tested for Ferrari a few times since he retired, and the German says he will do it again in order to help the Italian squad with their new F1 car.
"It took us a bit of time to establish, but now my role inside Ferrari is clear: we had to understand where my presence would be most useful," Schumacher was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I deal with the development of the car inside Gestione Sportiva.
"We haven't yet scheduled the days when I'll drive the car, nothing's decided. We'll evaluate depending on the situations: if the team need me to, I'd like to drive, but not too often.
"The F2008? The car is promising, but it is not yet in its definitive configuration. To give a more grounded opinion we'll have to see what our rivals have done."