Alonso: We will struggle this weekend

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Fernando Alonso has said that his performance during Friday practice for this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix was “usual”, with the Spaniard struggling to challenge both Mercedes and Red Bull drivers on the first day of running in Yeongam.

Alonso could only finish P6 in FP1 and FP2 whilst Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber all laid down a scintillating pace at the top of the timesheets. However, the winner of the inaugural race in Korea is still confident that he can continue his run of three straight podium finishes in 2013.

“The impressions are the usual Friday ones and to say more, we will have to wait until tomorrow and see how qualifying goes,” Alonso said. “The timesheet follows the order that continues to be more or less the same seen in previous weekends and there is every probability that, again here, we can expect to struggle in the race.”

Alonso conceded that the pace of the F138 car would probably see Ferrari play catch-up to their rivals once again, but as he showed in Singapore, a good start and a good strategy can often make up for these shortcomings.

“It won’t be easy for us in performance terms, but we know that apart from that, we can do well on Sunday,” he explained. “Now, we must try and get the most out of what we have available and put everything together tomorrow and in the race.”

Ferrari have confirmed that they are running prototype 2014 parts on the car this weekend, suggesting that the team may have thrown in the towel in the pursuit to catch Vettel and Red Bull at the top of both championships.

Al Unser Jr. to race Pikes Peak Hill Climb for first time in 29 years

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Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is coming out of retirement to race again.

Unser Jr., who turns 56 on April 19, will compete in the 96th Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 24. It will be the first time Unser has raced at Pikes Peak in 29 years, since the 1989 event.

Unser won the Hill Climb and was named “King of the Mountain” in the 1983 event.

Unser said in 2007 that he was retiring from racing and had no plans to race in the future. However, he has taken part since then in some selected vintage racing events.

Speaking of vintage cars, Unser is slated to drive a 1936 Chevrolet Sedan in this year’s Hill Climb, according to race organizers.

He’ll compete with a number of luminaries including eight-time Hill Climb winner Paul Dallenbach; Layne Schranz, who will be competing in his 25th “Race to the Clouds”; 23-time champion Clint Vahsholtz; 25-time Hill Climb competitor David Schmidt II and three-time Climb winner Spencer Steele.

Unser recently returned to IndyCar racing as a consultant with Harding Racing, which is beginning its first full season in the series with Gabby Chaves behind the wheel.