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from F1 Racing Live

Formula One set for Turkey showdown

Raikkonen gunning for victory at Istanbul Park

World championship challengers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will renew their head-to-head battle for the world title here this weekend when Turkey hosts its inaugural Grand Prix.

After years of planning the new Istanbul Park circuit is ready to welcome the Formula One circus back from it's summer break and Raikkonen is hoping to continue where he left off having won in Hungary three weeks ago.

"I hope we can put on a good race for the Turkish fans," said Raikkonen. "There are six races left and a maximum of 60 points for a driver so there is all to play for."

This year's title battle has been a roller-coaster ride for Raikkonen, who counted himself out before the last race but declared himself back in it after taking ten points from Alonso in Budapest at the start of August.

McLaren have the fastest car on the grid but Raikkonen is still 26 points behind and Spaniard Alonso is confident racing on a new circuit will improve his chances of beating the Finn.

"I am looking at the races one by one and it is nice to arrive in Turkey in this position," said Alonso, who drove his Renault on a demonstration run in Istanbul city centre before visiting the circuit earlier this year. "We are strong and we have a good chance of being successful in the first ever race there. The temperatures will be very hot, so managing the tyres and the brakes will be important and it will tough for the drivers in the cockpit. We need to be in top physical form as well as getting the car to perform to its best level but I am refreshed after the break and I am ready to attack the final races of the year."

The undulating 5.34km circuit, which has been finished just in time for Turkey's arrival on the Formula One map, will provide a challenge to drivers and teams as it is one of the few that run anti- clockwise.

The layout has drawn praise from most of the drivers who have visited the venue so far and Briton Jenson Button, who is also expected to be in the fight for victory with BAR, is confident it will provide plenty of excitement.

"The design is very interesting and I was really impressed," said Button. "I think it's going to make for some very good racing and the undulations that are part of the circuit make it very exciting from the driver's point of view. "It will be especially good when it comes to overtaking and in qualifying when you are pushing to the limit trying to find braking points for the corners when you can hardly see the corners."

The teams are well prepared and Renault technical director Pat Symonds said: "We relish the challenge presented by a new circuit and our engineering preparations began many months before the race with lap simulations."

While the top teams will have been preparing their cars using complex mathematical equations many of the drivers have enjoyed a more entertaining way of familiarising themselves with the new circuit.

Sauber's Felipe Massa said: "I already won there for Sauber because I did the race on my PlayStation - and I did it on the difficult level against all the other championship runners! Usually these computer games are very accurate in the way they depict the circuits and there are some quick corners, elevation changes and long straights, a bit like the Nurburgring in Germany."

World champion Michael Schumacher, who has won on all the other tracks except China, is hoping to add Turkey to his list following a strong showing at the last race in Hungary. His Ferrari team's tyre manufacturers Bridgestone appear to have come up with a solution to their combined early season problems and Schumacher is ready to step up even further and secure his second win of the year.

"I'm trusting in the fact that I usually adapt well to new circuits," said the seven-time world champion, who spent the break relaxing with friends. "The race in Istanbul is going to be very interesting for all of us. I am really eager to start driving again after a break. Many of the others may have needed this short break but if it had been up to me, I could have done without it. I'm happy to continue now."

The break may have given the drivers some time off but there has been plenty going on behind the scenes since the Hungarian race with several crucial driver moves secured for 2006.

Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello returns knowing he will be a BAR- Honda driver next year while Massa will appear for the first time as Ferrari's new hope having signed to join them in 2006. Williams, too, have made some significant changes for next year that could affect their performances this season after announcing a split with BMW and a deal with Cosworth for next season.

But the focus will be back on Alonso and Raikkonen this weekend and the closely matched duo are ready to recommence battle in what should be a fascinating first foray into Turkey for Formula One.

Source AFP

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it seems that some Turkish businessmen, had the brains to realise that F1 brings money and tourism! it's a shame that Greece can't see that too! :(

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Qualifying Results

Pos. Driver Team Time

1 K. Raikkonen McLaren 1:26.797

2 G. Fisichella Renault 1:27.039

3 F. Alonso Renault 1:27.050

4 JP. Montoya McLaren 1:27.352

5 J. Trulli Toyota 1:27.501

6 N. Heidfeld Williams 1:27.929

7 M. Webber Williams 1:27.944

8 F. Massa Sauber 1:28.419

9 R. Schumacher Toyota 1:28.594

10 C. Klien Red Bull 1:28.963

11 R. Barrichello Ferrari 1:29.369

12 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:29.764

13 J. Button BAR 1:30.063

14 T. Sato BAR 1:30.175

15 T. Monteiro Jordan 1:30.710

16 C. Albers Minardi 1:32.186

17 R. Doornbos Minardi no time

18 J. Villeneuve Sauber no time

19 N. Karthikeyan Jordan no time

20 M. Schumacher Ferrari no time

and some breaking news!

Massa gets Michelin 'ban'

NTOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!

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McLaren Mercedes’ Finnish driver Kimi Raikonnen wins Turkish Grand Prix in a time of 1.24.34.454.

Renault’s Spanish driver Fernando Alonso takes second place and Colombian Juan Pablo Montaya of McLaren Mercedes takes third place.

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Well...I guess I can admit now that Ferrari has lost both titles :( :( My only hope is that Kimi Raikkonen will beat that damn Spanniard and win the championship!

Other than that, wtf was Webber thinking trying to overtake M.Schumacher, being 1 lap behind????????????????????? and Monteiro....being overtaken by JPM, he didn't leave enough room for Montoya to brake, so bye-bye front wing downforce and of course then he locks up and smashes Montoya's diffuser, which caused the 2nd spin of the Colombian and the kolofardos-Alonso was there to take 2nd position :angry:

The Turks did a fantastic job inside the circuit, but the traffic jam outside it was horrible and some spectators spent 4 hours to get in the track! :wacko:

full race report from f1racing.net

Raikkonen takes dominant Turkish victory

Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a slow start to take an easy win in the Turkish Grand Prix while championship leader Fernando Alonso passed Montoya on the penultimate lap to take second place and reduce the damage to his championship lead to just two points.

Raikkonen had a poor start and was passed into the first corner by Giancarlo Fisichella. Alonso had a look at passing but the Finn closed the door. Raikkonen was not about to take it lying down and muscled his way back past Fisichella as the Italian ran wide. As Raikkonen began to pull away and Montoya closed right up on Alonso Renault ordered the championship leader past his Italian team mate.

Further down the grid Felipe Massa touched the rear of Nick Heidfeld's Williams and lost his front wing in the process while Michael Schumacher had cruised up from the back of the grid to eleventh.

With Fisichella out of the way Alonso was able to keep pace with race leader Raikkonen - keeping the gap steady at around one second. Behind them Jenson Button was carving his way up the field passing both Red Bulls to take sixth place by lap ten.

Fernando Alonso made his first pit stop surprisingly early on lap 13 and Giancarlo Fisichella pitted on the next lap but had a very long pit stop with a refuelling rig problem. Drama in the pit lane was mirrored on track as Michael Schumacher's charge through the field was sent into a spin when Mark Webber hit the back of the Ferrari. They both pitted and after some confusion with tyre replacement Ferrari sent Schumacher back out on track. The reigning champion completed just one lap before pulling back into the pit lane to retire.

At the front Raikkonen continued to set fastest laps and Montoya was setting personal bests as they worked to pull out an advantage over the Renaults. The Colombian pitted on lap 21 and pulled off from his pit stop, but the mechanic holding the fuel hose got pulled to the ground. Montoya stopped before being sent out. There were fortunately no injuries and despite the stutter Montoya rejoined the race ahead of Alonso.

McLaren mechanics reset and received Raikkonen on the next lap and after an altogether smoother refuelling the Finn rejoined in the lead. In the meantime Button had also pitted from third and Mark Webber suffered a new rear right tyre problem before deciding to retire.

Ferrari continued to work on Michael Schumacher's car and on lap 34 sent the German back out on track wanting the German to make it to the finish and so obtain a later qualifying slot for the next race in Monza. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso made his second pit stop from third position.

There was very little change at the front in the remaining laps. Raikkonen cruised away in the lead with Montoya a comfortable second. There was a fright for the Colombian just three laps from the flag when Monteiro hit the rear of his McLaren and sent him into a spin. Montoya recovered and was then just 1.5s ahead of Alonso but then in turn eight Montoya ran wide and let Alonso squeeze through into second place.

Raikkonen cruised home to his fifth win of the season ahead of Fernando Alonso. Montoya's mistake means that Raikkonen has closed the championship gap by only two points. Montoya crept home in third ahead of Fisichella who resisted a late charge from Jenson Button in fifth. Jarno Trulli brought his Toyota home in sixth ahead of the two Red Bulls of Coulthard and Klien.

Drivers' Championship after 14/19 races

Pos. Driver Team Points

1 F. Alonso Renault 95

2 K. Raikkonen McLaren 71

3 M. Schumacher Ferrari 55

4 JP. Montoya McLaren 40

5 J. Trulli Toyota 39

6 G. Fisichella Renault 35

7 R. Schumacher Toyota 32

8 R. Barrichello Ferrari 31

9 N. Heidfeld Williams 28

10 M. Webber Williams 24

11 J. Button BAR 23

12 D. Coulthard Red Bull 21

13 F. Massa Sauber 8

14 A. Wurz McLaren 6

= J. Villeneuve Sauber 6

= T. Monteiro Jordan 6

17 C. Klien Red Bull 5

= N. Karthikeyan Jordan 5

19 P. de la Rosa McLaren 4

= C. Albers Minardi 4

21 P. Friesacher Minardi 3

22 T. Sato BAR 1

= V. Liuzzi Red Bull 1

Constructors' Championship after 14/19 races

Pos. Team Tires Points

1 Renault M 130

2 McLaren M 121

3 Ferrari B 86

4 Toyota M 71

5 Williams M 52

6 Red Bull M 27

7 BAR M 24

8 Sauber M 14

9 Jordan B 11

10 Minardi B 7

Next race in 2 weeks at Monza, Italy!

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