Raikkonen hopeful of strong result in China

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Kimi Raikkonen is hopeful of a strong result at the Chinese Grand Prix next weekend following a good start to the 2013 Formula One season.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t go well there,” explained Raikkonen in a team statement. “We have some new parts for the E21 and the last upgrades we had seemed to help so it will be interesting to see what will happen if it doesn’t rain.”

Raikkonen has a good record in China, and he spoke of his wish to extend this.

“I have been first, second and third in Shanghai in previous years so it would be nice to add to that list.”

However, the Finn did admit that until he had some lap time in the E21 at the Shanghai International Circuit, it would be hard to make any predictions.

“It’s always difficult to predict what will happen in the next race as we haven’t been there yet with this car. Every car reacts differently to each circuit.

“If we get the car working as well as we did on Friday at Sepang, we should do well in Shanghai too.”

Raikkonen won the opening race of the season in Australia, but he had a difficult weekend in Malaysia that saw him finish P7. Lotus do appear to be working well with the new Pirelli tires, and the Iceman will be hopeful of a good showing in China to underline his championship credentials.

Former 5-time ALMS and Le Mans-winning team owner Dave Maraj killed in accident

Photo courtesy Dave Maraj Facebook page
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Well-known sports car team owner and automobile dealership owner Dave Maraj was killed Saturday night in a boating accident in Florida, according to SportsCar365.com.

Maraj’s Champion Racing teams won five consecutive American Le Mans Series championships from 2004 through 2008, and also captured the overall win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005, the last American team to do so in the iconic sports car race.

IMSA President Scott Atherton released the following statement mourning Maraj’s passing:

Dave Maraj. Photo courtesy IMSA.

“All of us at IMSA are shocked and saddened by the news of Dave Maraj’s passing. As a team owner in the American Le Mans Series, Dave and his Champion Racing organization were the epitome of professionalism and excellence, as their five series championships and 24 Hours of Le Mans victory will attest.

“Dave was a tremendous competitor and a great friend to all in the paddock throughout his time in our sport. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dave’s family and friends and to all of his associates at Champion Motors.”

Maraj was a very successful automobile dealership owner, most notably Champion Motors and Champion Porsche in Pompano Beach, Florida, the latter considered the No. 1 Porsche dealer in the U.S.

Details of how Maraj died have not been released.

Maraj sold his racing operation after the 2008 season and devoted himself to his Porsche and Audi auto dealerships, as well as competitive sailing.