Korean GP to be spared brunt of tropical storm

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The progress of Tropical Storm Fitow has occupied the attention of F1 weather-watchers in recent days as it originally looked to be on course to interfere with this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix.

However the latest weather models indicate the storm will veer to the west of South Korea, missing the area where the Korea International Circuit, venue of this weekend’s race, is situated.

The storm is expected to bring winds in excess of 75 knots (86mph) by Sunday which could have jeopardized the running of the race.

The first Korean Grand Prix in 2010 was affected by a heavy rain storm which soaked the circuit and forced the race to be suspended for over an hour. It eventually finished in darkness as the sun had set before the chequered flag fell.

Formula One has already been disrupted by rain this year which forced the partial postponement of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

Tropical cyclones are most common in this part of the world. Severe weather has twice affected the running of the nearby Japanese Grand Prix in the last decade. Track activity was cancelled on the Saturday of the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix due to the approaching Typhoon Ma-on, and heavy rain caused qualifying to be postponed in 2010.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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