Korea form gives Mercedes optimism for Japan

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Mercedes say their car’s performance in the twisty middle sector in Korea raises their hopes they should be competitive in Japan this weekend.

“Our car was possibly the quickest of all in sector two last weekend, which contained all the medium and high-speed corners,” said executive director Toto Wolff.

“This is promising for Suzuka, where nearly two thirds of the corners are taken in fourth gear or higher, and should see our car perform well on this fantastic track.”

Lewis Hamilton posted the best middle sector time during qualifying in Korea, covering it in 42.599s. However Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and both Red Bulls were within a tenth of a second of him.

“Qualifying showed the pace that we had in the car but we were not able to use it at the right moments of the race,” said Wolff. “We also lost points because of a problem on Nico [Rosberg’s] car and everybody in the team is working hard to get on top of reliability issues like this one.”

However Wolff said he drew a positive from the fast Mercedes “closed the points gap to Ferrari in the constructors’ championship, and it now stands at just a single point”.

Video highlights from Sunday’s Dakar Rally Stage 8: Bikes, Cars, Quads, Trucks

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Sunday’s Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally brought the race into the final country it will compete in, Argentina.

Monday’s Stage 9 was cancelled after bad weather made course conditions impassible for racing. Stage 10 picks up Tuesday morning. The overall Rally ends Saturday.

Here’s some of Sunday’s key video highlights:

BIKES

Antoine Meo wins Stage 8.

QUADS 

Simon Vitse wins Stage 8.

CARS

Stephane Peterhansel wins Stage 8.

TRUCKS

Dmitry Sotnikov wins Stage 8.