Vettel not thinking about championship permutations

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He may only need to finish the race in fifth tomorrow to secure his fourth world championship, but Sebastian Vettel is refusing to think about anything less than winning tomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix after dominating qualifying today to secure his third consecutive pole position at Buddh International Circuit.

The German driver outqualified the rest of the field by over three-quarters of a second, easing to his forty-third career pole and his eighth of the season, and he was quick to praise his car for being so suited to the track in India.

“The car felt good all weekend and it just got better as the track improved,” Vettel said. “The car was amazing; it’s a great circuit, I really like the flow of it, especially around the middle sector with the high speed corners. If the car behaves the way you want it to through that section then you’re always then going to enjoy it, as we did today.”

However, he refused to pass comment on the championship situation, suggesting that Red Bull will take a pragmatic approach to the race tomorrow and make a decision whether to push or ease off to secure the championship when the time was right.

“We have been getting a lot of questions about the championship this weekend, but we’ll keep doing what we’ve done in the past, just focusing on every single step – we won’t change that for tomorrow, or the next couple of races,” he explained. “We’ve worked hard to get here and tomorrow is a long race.”

With the tire allocation in India creating a variety of different strategies, Vettel may find himself under threat from teammate Mark Webber during the race, but so long as the German driver keeps it on track and finishes in the top five, he will be crowned world champion for a fourth time on Sunday.

Video highlights from Stage 12 of Dakar Rally, 2 stages remain

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Thursday’s Stage 12 of the 40th Dakar Rally not only closed the overall standings gap in at least two classes (cars and trucks), two other classes (bikes and quads) failed to get going due to weather conditions.

The full video highlights of Stage 12 will air on NBCSN on Friday at 7 pm ET, but here are some of the highlights from Thursday’s action:

CARS

2018 Dakar Rally: Nasser Al-Attiyah wins Stage 12 of cars

BIKES

 Stage 12 cancelled due to weather conditions

 

TRUCKS

Ton van Genugten edged out Martin Kolomy in Stage of, while Federico Villagra and Eduard Nikolaev both faced an uphill battle to finish fourth and third respectively.

QUADS

Even though the Quads were also impacted by weather issues on Thursday, Ignacio Casale, the 2014 Dakar winner, continues to make his case for a second overall victory in the quads.