Sport in Brief: 13/06/2009


Audi star McNish fears power shift at Le Mans


They may not be ringing the changes as dramatically as in Formula One, but Audi could be the victims of a power shift at Le Mans this weekend.

Audi have won the 24-hour classic eight times in the last nine years and are convinced their new diesel-powered car, the R15, has the potential to carry the team another step forward. Victory first time out, at Sebring in March, reinforced that belief.

However, Audi admit concern that they are underprepared for the supreme sportscar endurance challenge this year. The cancellation of the official test day has denied them valuable time to hone the car, leaving them vulnerable.

The Audi driver Allan McNish, who won at Le Mans last year, estimates that as many as a dozen finely-tuned cars are capable of threatening Audi's trio. Derick Allsop

Alinghi and Oracle set aside differences to discuss America's Cup

While the America's Cup holder, Alinghi, and its would-be predator, BMW Oracle, are at legal daggers drawn and prepare to go head-to-head on the water in February, the Swiss and San Francisco teams are also sitting at the same table in a series of meetings – the latest here yesterday – to put the other frozen teams back in the business of racing. Leading the discussions are Grand Dalton for Emirates Team New Zealand and that redoubtable sailing impresario, Bruno Trouble.

Hot round-table air was matched by a great racing wind as the 11 yachts in the Audi MedCup completed a 39-mile coastal race in near-perfect conditions. Emirates Team New Zealand had looked to be back in control, but slipped to fifth before pulling back to finish third. They lead overall. Stuart Alexander in Marseilles

Rossi fastest in practice ahead of Catalonia GP

Valentino Rossi edged out his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in the first practice session for the MotoGP World Championship race in Barcelona yesterday. Rossi topped the first free practice timesheets at the Montmelo circuit with a time of 1min 43.038sec ahead of tomorrow's Catalonia Grand Prix, with his team-mate Lorenzo second quickest with a time of 1:43.340. Second was a marked improvement for Lorenzo who crashed in practice at the same venue last year and missed the race. Casey Stoner was third quickest.

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