Raikkonen upbeat despite large crash in practice

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Kimi Raikkonen has remained upbeat about his chances in this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix despite having a large crash during the first practice session that caused a great deal of damage to the front and rear of his Lotus E21 car.

The Finnish driver made a mistake coming out of the final corner that saw him lose the rear end of the car and spear into the wall that divides the pit entry and the race track. Raikkonen admitted that this was down to driver error alone, and thanked his team for reacting so quickly and getting him back out for the second session on Friday afternoon.

“Obviously it didn’t help that I destroyed part of the car this morning; maybe I ran out of talent there!” Raikkonen joked. “It didn’t cause too much damage and the car was fine for the second practice, even if the guys had quite a hurry to fix it. They did a good job and we managed to complete everything we wanted today.”

In terms of pace, Raikkonen is feeling good for the race on Sunday despite finishing eighth in both sessions around one second behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton.

“The car feels quite strong – especially on the long runs – so that’s good news for the race. On the short runs it wasn’t exactly as I wanted, but we still have some time to make improvements there.”

Raikkonen had said that he would assess his back injury during practice before making a final decision on whether or not to race this weekend. However, he appears to be back to full fitness as he enters his final six races with Lotus ahead of a move to Ferrari in 2014.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.