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Sebastien Loeb wins Rally Argentina

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb came through to take the victory on Rally Argentina today, the fifth round in the 2012 World Rally Championship.

Loeb moved into the lead in SS5 on Friday afternoon and then enjoyed a great scrap with team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen on Saturday morning. However following the mid-day service, with a 1.5 minute gap back to third, Citroen instructed both drivers' to hold position, thereby ending the fight. After that the two works Citroen men paced themselves to the finish, Loeb eventually taking the spoils by 12.5 seconds.

Dani Sordo meanwhile ran in third virtually from the off, but heartbreakingly was forced out at the start of the very final stage with a suspected alternator failure – a bitter blow for the Spaniard on his guest outing with the Ford WRT.

Mads Ostberg thus inherited third, ahead of Martin Prokop and Thierry Neuville, who rolled on Friday, but who still managed to take fifth thanks to the Rally 2 regulations.

Petter Solberg recovered to finish sixth after the disappointment in SS4 on Friday, when he went out, while leading by 20 seconds. He also took the Power Stage win, which was some consolation for Ford after seeing Sordo retire so late on.

Sebastien Ogier was seventh in his VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000, while Evgeny Novikov, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Ott Tanak took advantage of the Rally 2 regulations to come home in positions 8 through to 10.

1. Sebastien Loeb    Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC     5hours 34mins 38.8secs M
2. Mikko Hirvonen    Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC     +00mins 15.2secs M
3. Mads Ostberg    Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC     +03mins 10.4secs M
4. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta RS WRC     +09mins 45.3secs
5. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC     +11mins 17.6secs M
6. Petter Solberg    Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC     +12mins 02.2secs M
7. Sebastien Ogier    VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000    +12mins 25.3secs
8. Evgeny Novikov    M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC    +21mins 10.2secs M
9. Nasser Al-Attiyah    Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC     +28mins 22.6secs M
10. Ott Tanak     M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC    +37mins 19.5secs M

MINI Cooper Swindon Roof Top Tent

2013 Audi Q5 Facelift Officially Revealed

As expected, the 2013 Audi Q5 features the updated hexagonal grille, a revised front bumper with larger air intakes and chrome accents and updated headlights featuring LED daytime running lights. The rear gets an updated apron on the bumper and tweaked taillights.
But what we didn’t see before is the interior, which actually received very minor changes. It appears that the more premium trim levels will get minor upgrades, but the Q5 does sport a new steering wheel design.
The 2013 Q5 will ride on an updated chassis that also see’s changes to its suspension to enhance its ride quality. A more fuel-efficient engine lineup will also find its way under the Q5 hood and will include the popular, supercharged 3.0-liter TFSI.

Vettel wins Bahrain Grand Prix

Vettel claimed his first victory of the season and the 22nd of his career with a near-flawless drive from pole position to the chequered flag to come home ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, and his Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean.

It was Grosjean’s first podium finish in Formula One and Raikkonen’s fifth and Vettel’s first win since the Indian Grand Prix last year.

Australian Mark Webber finished fourth in the second Red Bull, confirming their return to form after a lacklustre start to the year.

Vettel’s win lifted him to the top of the drivers’ standings with 53 points ahead of Hamilton on 49 and Webber one point behind. He was the fourth different winner in four races so far in the 2012 season.

German Nico Rosberg, who claimed his maiden victory for the Mercedes team at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, finished fifth ahead of Briton Paul Di Resta of Force India and two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton, who led the championship before Bahrain, came home eighth after a troubled race for McLaren, ahead of Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari and, amazingly, seven-times champion ichael Schumacher in the second Mercedes. Schumacher had started from 22nd on the grid.

Race results
1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1hour 35min 10.990sec
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Finlnad) Lotus +3.333sec
3 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus +10.194sec
4 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull +38.788sec
5 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +55.460sec
6 Paul di Resta (Great Britain) Force India +57.543sec
7 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari +57.803sec
8 Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) McLaren +58.984sec
9 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari +1:04.999sec
10 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes +1:11.490sec
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber +1:12.702sec
12 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India +1:16.539sec
13 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber +1:30.334sec
14 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso +1:33.723sec
15 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso) +1 lap
16 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham +1 lap
17 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham +1 lap
18 Jenson Button (Great Britain) McLaren +2 laps
19 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia +2 laps
20 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT +2 laps
21 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT +2 laps
22 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams +3 laps

Mercedes Concept Style Coupe unveiled

Here’s another car to be unveiled at next week’s Beijing Motor Show, and another one that is going to become reality. Mercedes is calling this the CSC or ‘Concept Style Coupe’,  but you should call it CLA as that’s what it will likely be badged when you see it in your local showroom next year, or early the year after.

A little longer than a current C-class and a lot more sexy, this is the third variant on the new A-class (the first being the new B-class, which of course was launched before the A in Mercedes’ slightly dyslexic new model programme). All three cars share what Benz calls the ‘MFA’ structure for ‘medium front-drive architecture.

The CSC will roll onto the stage in China powered by a 208-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that also sees duty in the new
A-Class hatchback. Like the A-Class five-door that debuted in Geneva, the CSC is expected to ride atop Mercedes' new MFA platform.

We're also expecting Mercedes to unveil a related concept in North America very shortly at the Transmission LA: AV Club music and media festival that begins in LA on April 20, so keep your eyes peeled for that vehicle as well.

Rosberg wins F1 2012 Chinese GP

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday for his first career Formula One victory after starting from pole.

Rosberg won by a massive 20.6 seconds over McLaren’s Jenson Button after making just two pits stops and managing to hold off the rest of the field on worn tires.

Button’s McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton was third, followed by Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Defending champion Vettel started 11th on the grid and at one stage moved up to second, but couldn’t hold off Button, Hamilton and Webber in the closing stages.

Rosberg’s teammate, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, had started second, but retired from the race on lap 13 after his right front wheel wasn't fitted properly during his first pit stop.

McLaren leads the constructor standings with 88 points, followed by Red Bull in second with 64 and Ferrari on 37.

Results from the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix: 
1. Nico Rosberg, Germany, Mercedes, 1 hour, 36 minutes, 26.929 seconds, 56 laps.
2. Jenson Button, Britain, McLaren, 1:36:47.555, 56.
3. Lewis Hamilton, Britain, McLaren, 1:36:52.941, 56. 
4. Mark Webber, Australia, Red Bull, 1:36:54.853, 56.
5. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Red Bull, 1:36:57.412, 56.
6. Romain Grosjean, France, Lotus, 1:36:58.420, 56.
7. Bruno Senna, Brazil, Williams, 1:37:01:526, 56.
8. Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela, Williams, 1:37:02.572, 56.
9. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Ferrari, 1:37:04.185, 56.
10. Kamui Kobayashi, Japan, Sauber, 1:37:05.649, 56. 

Drivers' Championship
1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 45
2. Jenson Button, McLaren, 43
3. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 37
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 36
5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 28
6. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 25
7. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 22
8. Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, 16
9. Bruno Senna, Williams, 14
10. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 9

Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse

This is the most powerful production roadster ever. Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse was launched in February and now you can see it in motion.

Which is precisely as spectacular as it sounds. And almost as spectacular as the Veyron's armada of confounding statistics: the GSV's got 1200 horsepowers and 1500 torques. That's 197bhp and 183lb ft up from a standard Veyron thanks to larger turbochargers (four in total) and new intercoolers. It's got new fuel pumps (four of those, too), borrowed from the SS, to handle the GSV's thirst.

Drivetrain components have been beefed up, too - the guts of the DSG box have been reinforced, and the brakes and brake cooling improved. There are new dampers and the ESP stability management system's been adjusted to intervene a little later than before. According to VW engineers, that means it can generate lateral acceleration of up to 1.4g.

Toyota Avalon exclusively for the U.S. market

Toyota has recently unveiled the 2013 Avalon at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

According to the Japanese carmaker, the redesigned model is slightly smaller than its predecessor. It features a redesigned front fascia with HID headlights, steeply raked windshield, a massive air intake and a wider grille. There's also an integrated trunk spoiler, a dual exhaust system, LED combination tail lamps and 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels.

The 2013 Avalon brings more space for the passengers, both in the front and the back. Toyota also says they’ve improved the ride comfort and the handling of the sedan. It now features three distinctive driving modes (Normal, Eco and Sport) that change throttle and steering feel.
Toyota declined to release engine specifications.

Avalon will be produced at Toyota's plant Georgetown and is scheduled to go on sale later this year.

Revealed: the Fisker Atlantic

Fisker Automotive, has revealed the next chapter in its quest to move from a start-up producer of swoopy supercars into a mainstream manufacturer.

Called the Atlantic, the stunning all-new four-door saloon developed under the codename of Nina will go head to head with the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 when it goes on sale ‘sometime in 2013’. It will cost around £40,000 after tax rebates, according to the company.

Powered by a similar electric drivetrain with petrol engined generator set up as the Karma, the Atlantic ditches the occasionally rough-edged GM-sourced four-cylinder turbo in favour of a shiny, new 240bhp/260lbft BMW unit. Codenamed the N20, the slick twin-turbo engine will be also be used by BMW in the entry level Z4, 328i and 528i.

No official details have yet been released about the Atlantic’s chassis, but the company has confirmed that the car will be offered in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive layouts. Performance versions echoing BMW’s M Sport models will be added to the range after launch, as will a convertible.

The Atlantic’s production debut will be followed by the launch of the Fisker Surf sportbreak, but no date has yet been set for the Karma’s convertible cousin, the Sunset. 

Hirvonen wins in Portugal

Mikko Hirvonen has taken the victory on Rally de Portugal,  the fourth round in the 2012 WRC.

Hirvonen began today's leg comfortably out front and in the end he took the victory by almost 2 minutes. It is his first win with Citroen and comes after a dramatic event, in which his team-mate, Sebastien Loeb went out on Thursday night and both Ford works drivers, Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg went off on Friday, when heavy rain, fog and mud made conditions extremely treacherous.

Mads Ostberg came through to take the runners-up spot, with Evgeny Novikov third despite a problem with his throttle cable on the final loop.

Solberg fought back from his day two woe to take fourth with Nasser Al-Attiyah and Martin Prokop completing the top six.

Dani Sordo meanwhile took the honours in the event ending Power Stage, ahead of Latvala and Ott Tanak.

1. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 4hours 19mins 24.3secs M
2. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 51.8secs
3. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 25.0secs M
4. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 47.4secs M
5. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +07mins 57.6secs M
6. Martin Prokop Czech Ford National Team Fiesta RS WRC +08mins 01.0secs
7. Dennis Kuipers M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +08mins 39.1secs
8. Sebastien Ogier VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +09mins 00.8secs
9. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC +10mins 29.7secs M
10. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta RS WRC +11mins 44.6secs

UPDATE: Mikko Hirvonen’s Citro├źn DS3 WRC/Michelin has been disqualified from the results of the 2012 Rally de Portugal for a technical infringement. The decision provides Mads Ostberg with the first WRC win of his young career.