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Stars of Formula 1 unite for Zoom charity auction

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The likes of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso may be best known for their accomplishments behind the wheel in Formula 1, but they have all moved behind the camera to raise funds at the upcoming Zoom charity auction.

Drivers, team principals and other notable figures in F1 were all asked to submit a photo they had taken across the course of the 2015 season.

All of the photos have been signed and will be auctioned off at an event in London on February 5 in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Lewis Hamilton has submitted a picture of his beloved dog, Roscoe, sat outside the iconic colosseum in Rome.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg took a selfie with nine-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

“Like every year, I visited the Earl of March in Goodwood,” Rosberg said. “It was the morning after my 30th birthday, but the celebrations had not been too wild because my wife was pregnant at the time. I really love the Festival because I very much like oldtimers.

“I was sitting in the library when Valentino Rossi joined me and we ate lunch together. Before I had to get to my F1 car, we took this spontaneous selfie. We get along very well and it is rare to have time to chat in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Nico Hulkenberg poses with his trophy from the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

“I took this photo at my house. It sums up my season in Formula One and with Porsche,” Hulkenberg said. “The Le Mans winner’s trophy is obviously very special to me and winning that race is probably the greatest achievement of my career so far. In the background you can see one of my Force India racesuits.”

NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton has also submitted a photo for the auction, taking a snap from a shoot with Max Verstappen last February.

“I’d told everyone who would listen that I believed this guy was going to change everything,” Buxton said. “None of us, however, could have forseen the impact he would make on the sport in his debut F1 season in 2015. The question now seems not of whether Max Verstappen will win a Formula 1 World Championship, but when… and how many.”

For more information regarding the Zoom auction on February 5, visit zoom-auction.com and follow @ZoomAuction on Twitter.

Sebastien Ogier in driver’s seat for sixth straight World Rally Championship title

Sebastien Ogier leads the way in the WRC title chase. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) — Thierry Neuville finished the sixth stage of Rally Australia on Friday without a rear left tire, damaging his chances of catching five-time defending champion Sebastien Ogier for the World Rally Championship title.

The Belgian driver entered the rally just three points behind Ogier in the closest title fight in 15 years.

He held the upper hand on his French rival, building a near-10 second gap through the first five stages at Coffs Harbour before hitting a chicane and finishing the stage with only three tires on his Hyundai.

Neuville was fortunate the puncture occurred late enough in the day to finish all six forestry stages and avoid a retirement. But the mistake cost him 40 seconds and gave Ogier, who is 33 seconds ahead of him, a clear run at his sixth straight championship.

In his last start with Ford before a move to Citroen next year, Ogier struggled as the first to drive the dusty, slippery forest routes.

“I pushed like crazy, I was on the limit over the jump and everywhere, I can’t do (any) more,” Ogier said. “I was on the limit.”

With Ogier on sweeping duties the back markers flourished, and Mads Ostberg took the lead in his return to the series.

Ostberg was forced to miss the previous round in Spain to make way for rally winner and nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb, who was making the last of his three guest appearances for Citroen.

Now back in the seat, Ostberg leads Jari-Matti Latvala by 6.8 seconds in the Australian rally, with sixth-stage winner Craig Breen in third.

Ogier was seventh, 38.2 seconds off the pace, but only needs to finish ahead of Neuville to claim the championship title. Neuville is in 10th place after six stages.

Roles will reverse on Saturday, with Ogier to start further back in the field and do his best on cleaner roads to make up the day-one deficit before Sunday’s final stages.

Andreas Mikkelsen, the 2016 Rally Australia champion, was an early dropout after rolling into a ditch in his Hyundai. Mikkelsen had only just avoided a tractor that had found its way onto the course.

Former winner Molly Taylor and co-driver Malcolm Read were also forced out of their event when their Subaru hit a hay bale at high speed on the morning’s second stage. Both reported soreness but suffered no serious injuries.

The 24-stage rally totals 319 kilometers (197 miles). Ten stages are scheduled Saturday with the final six on Sunday, most of them through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.