Sport in Brief: Rossi reigns in the rain to claim pole position

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The Independent Online

Valentino Rossi blitzed the opposition with a last-gasp effort to claim pole position for today's motorcycling German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring. The Italian MotoGP World Championship leader mastered the wet conditions to take top spot by just over 0.6seconds from his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

The Spaniard looked about to claim pole, leading the way as the 60-minute session expired, but Rossi delivered spectacularly on his final lap, posting a time of 1min 32.520sec to outpace the third-placed Casey Stoner by 1.2sec.

"It was a great battle with Lorenzo," Rossi said. "I tried to push a little more in the last lap because the pole will be crucial. There was a lot of water on the track, it was risky."

Stoner qualified just ahead of his Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden. Alex de Angelis and LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet complete the second row alongside Hayden, who suffered a nasty collision with Niccolo Canepa in the dying minutes of the session. Britain's James Toseland will start 14th.

Local know-how puts Swiss bid on Menu

Alain Menu led home Rob Huff in a Chevrolet one-two in qualifying for today's round of the World Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.

Menu is a specialist at the Kent circuit, having won there the last three years, and he showed his class again as Chevrolet produced a late charge to overhaul the BMWs, who had dominated the earlier practice sessions. Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus led the way in the final minutes of qualifying but the Chevrolets raised the bar on their final runs.

Clean sweep of nines helps Couch to eighth

Britain's Tonia Couch finished eighth in the 10 metre platform on the second day of diving at the World Championships in Rome. The 20-year-old performed a superb final dive, which saw her awarded a clean sweep of nines, but it did little to raise her in the standings. Eighth place was an improvement on her two previous World Championship appearances, where she finished 25th both times. The event was won by Mexico's Olympic bronze medallist Paola Espinosa, who edged out Ruolin Chen. Rough seas forced organisers to rearrange the open water swimming events. Today's scheduled men's and women's 5km races will be held on Tuesday, the 10km races on Thursday and the 25km events on Saturday.

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