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F1: Charles Leclerc quickest in rain-soaked 3rd practice for German GP

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HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — Charles Leclerc led a rain-soaked final practice session at the German Grand Prix ahead of qualifying later Saturday.

The 20-year-old from Monaco was about 0.4 seconds quicker than his Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson. Only nine cars set times on a drenched Hockenheim track, with most leading drivers preferring to wait for qualifying.

Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel went out briefly toward the end, with heavy rain bouncing off his Ferrari, and was fourth behind the Williams car of Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin.

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas did not set times. Neither did Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, the quickest drivers in first and second practice on a sunny Friday.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly span his Toro Rosso car in treacherous conditions.

F1’s Valtteri Bottas to compete in first-ever rally race in his native Finland

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Formula One’s “Flying Finn” is going back home for the first time.

More precisely, Valtteri Bottas is returning to his Finland homeland to compete in his first career rally race in the Finnish Rally Championship season opener.

Bottas, teammates on the F1 Mercedes team with five-time champ Lewis Hamilton, will compete in the World Rally Championships’ Arctic Lapland Rally from January 24-26.

He’ll team with two-time World Rally champion Timo Rautiainen in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC on rally roads of the Finnish Arctic Circle.

“This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying,” Bottas told Finnish rallying website Rallism.f1. “I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.

“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”

Added Rautiainen, “In my life, I’ve sat in a rally car with only three drivers, but this is such an interesting mission that I just had to accept the challenge. I believe that for a talented wheelman like Valtteri, we’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing.”

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