The Sport Matrix: Monday 26 January 2015

 

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The Independent Online

Possum death overshadows 24 Hours race

Team owner Chip Ganassi celebrated victory at the Daytona 24 Hours in the first round of the Tudor United Sportscar Championship last night, but the race was somewhat marred when a possum was hit, killed and found hours later in the back of one of the 911 Porsches running in the GT class.

The discovery was made when the No 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Andy Lally, John Potter, Marco Seefried and Martin Ragginger was brought into the pits by Lally early Saturday morning with an oil leak.

But upon closer inspection, the team found the dead possum in the boot of the Porsche. Lally felt a bump around 5am that caused significant damage to the car, but the team did not realise that the possum, posthumously named “ballast”, had torn through the cockpit and into the rear of the 911.

Lally, an animal rights activist and vegan, said: “It came through the front end of my car, through the tub, ripped through the rivets and ended up in the trunk.

“What a weird way to end the race,” Lally added after failing to finish the race for the first time   in 15 years. “I guess it’s ironic   that it happened to me. Sad day for the possum, sad day for Magnus Racing.”

Supersub Sakho saves Hammers

Diafra Sakho came off the bench to head West Ham United into the fifth round of the FA Cup as they beat Bristol City 1-0 at Ashton Gate. The in-form League One hosts began well but were unable to trouble the scorers before Sakho’s late intervention. The final match of the fourth round takes place at Spotland tonight, League Two Rochdale hosting top-flight Stoke, after the draw for the last sixteen.

Fly swoops for fifth Irish Champion

Hurricane Fly blew away the field to take a historic fifth Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown yesterday. The 11-year-old, ridden by Ruby Walsh, beat Jezki with a better jump on the last and has now won 22 Grade One wins and all 10 of his races on the course.

Ennis-Hill ‘making good progress’

Jessica Ennis-Hill is “making good progress” as she prepares to return to competitive sport since taking time off for the birth of her son last summer. The Olympic champion returns in the heptathlon at the Gotzis Hypo meeting in May. “She certainly knows it is not going to be easy,” UK Athletics performance director Neil Black said. “But I think there is a genuine desire to go back.”

Saracens stumble into Cup last eight

Saracens secured their place in the last eight of the Champions Cup, despite going down to an 18-6 defeat at Clermont Auvergne in the final Pool One match yesterday. The victory came at a cost, however, with Owen Farrell leaving the field in the opening quarter at Stade Marcel Michelin. Sarries, for whom Charlie Hodgson scored two penalties, travel to Racing Metro in the quarter-finals.

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