One racer's rain-off is another's boost as crews set off on cross-Atlantic contest

Fast, fast, fast was the prediction from all five skippers as they left New York for the Krys ocean race across the Atlantic to Brittany as sailors were set to profit from the same, basic meteorological factors that were causing such problems for Formula One drivers at Silverstone on today.

Five-minute memoir: Adrian McKinty recalls a scary school run during the Troubles

Each weekday my brother and I would walk over to the major's house and wait with his son, a boy at our school, while he went outside and looked under his Ford Granada for a block of Semtex. When he was satisfied that there was no bomb, he would tell us to come outside and then he'd drive us all to school. This went on for several months until one particular snowy morning in January 1982 when the major muttered that it was too cold for that nonsense and we were all just to get in the car.

With records in mind, Giovanni Soldini will be relying on the sail power of a beefed up 70-foot yacht, rather than V8 power of a Maserati GranCabrio Sport

Giovanni Soldini talks up Class 40

He’s raced around the world alone, crossed the Atlantic umpteen times, and is currently chasing records in a supercharged beast of a Volvo 70, but Giovanni Soldini, highly critical of the current state of ocean racing, is telling everyone who will listen that a much smaller yacht, the Class 40, is today’s best bet for the next few years.

Canada, By Richard Ford

In the lonely wilderness of America, the dreams of childhood, and of parenthood, come to grief.

Tourist's car blown up by terror police

A tourist had his car blown up by anti-terrorist police after it broke down – and he also got a parking ticket.

Ford Focus ST

Ford Focus ST - First Drive

An outstanding effort that easily matches or exceeds the standard set by its predecessor. David Wilkins delivers one of the earliest reviews

Jens Gram-Hansen (second from left) at the helm of SAP in the Extreme Sailing Series off Istanbul

Extreme Sailing Series director predicts fewer events

South coast gales in an English summer were in stark contrast to the race track off Istanbul, between the Aegean and the Bosphorus, as the founder and organiser of the Extreme Sailing Series, Mark Turner predicted: “There will be less professional sailing events in the next three to five years.”

Work at the Hams Hall plant

BMW produces three-millionth engine at UK plant

BMW has now produced three million four-cylinder petrol engines at its plant at Hams Hall in the UK Midlands. The factory has supplied engines for the Mini since 2006, when the company started phasing out the Chrysler-sourced power units that had previously been used, and it has been producing engines for BMW-badged cars such as the 1-Series, 3-Series and X1 for over a decade.

Rallying: Loeb stretches his advantage after testing rally in Greece

Sébastien Loeb extended his World Rally Championship lead to 31 points after he clinched his fourth victory from this year's six rallies in Greece yesterday.

The Peugeot 301, a compact saloon, is the first of a range of “01” badged cars

301 saloon heralds new chapter for Peugeot

A new Peugeot, the 301, promises to be one of the most significant models in the venerable French car-maker's history. It is the first of a separate range of cars designed to meet the specific requirements of customers in emerging economies but also marks a big change in the system of model names Peugeot has used for over eighty years.

The appliance of science: Bill Williams hopes to train young people in technical skills

UTCs aim to give teenagers the technical expertise they need for apprenticeships

Richard Garner hears about plans for a ground-breaking new college.

Ford regains its credit rating and famous logo

Ford has reclaimed control over its famous blue oval, six years after it mortgaged the logo and a host of other assets in a desperate attempt to avert bankruptcy.

Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost

How Ford has cut its Focus's CO2 output without compromising power

The 1.0 Ecoboost has three cylinders, turns out 123 brake horsepower of work and 125lb of torque

Small but mighty

Bigger means more power. Right? Wrong. A new generation of compact petrol engines could help transform the car industry, and help the environment too. Jamie Merrill reports

Under starter's orders: Shelby gives the command to start a Nascar race at the Las Vegas Speedway in 2009

Carroll Shelby: Racing driver who won at Le Mans for Aston Martin

Carroll Shelby," the great American racing driver Dan Gurney said, "was an automotive visionary and leader. His West Texas down-home bib overalls style had a huge emotional impact on me and when he launched his now legendary Ford-powered Cobra team, I found myself a very willing volunteer to lend my driving ability to his quest to take on the established European teams on their home turf."

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect