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Alexander Rossi survives rollover in Baja 1000

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Alexander Rossi rolled over his Honda Ridgeline Off-Road truck while leading Saturday’s Baja 1000 in Mexico.  Rossi’s Honda approached a 90-degree left over a hill and did not have the vehicle at the proper angle, sending it rolling over on its side followed by an end-over-end rolled before landing in a ditch on its roof around the 95-mile mark.

With the help of some locals from the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, Rossi and his co-driver were pulled out of the vehicle. The truck was eventually rolled over and made it out of the ditch, but had lost valuable time and was no longer in the lead.

Rossi and the team were able to continue for another 100 miles or so before the mechanically damaged truck was retired from the race. This came after co-driver Jeff Proctor and Rossi got it back into contention.

“Too many variables weren’t in our favor this year so we had to call it,” Rossi said after the team retired from the contest. “Jeff (Proctor) evaluated the situation, and ultimately decided that the safety of the team was being compromised.

“It isn’t just the driver and co-driver to consider, but the crew for repairs and recovery in sketchy conditions.

“But the Ridgeline race truck is so fast and capable. I can’t thank the team enough for all they do to prepare for this legendary event.”

Rossi is an NTT IndyCar Series star for Andretti Autosport and won the 100th Indianapolis 500 in 2016.

It was the second straight year that Rossi has endured a memorable moment in the race. Last year, Rossi’s truck was flying over the top of a blind hill when a passenger SUV driving in the wrong direction was in the way. Rossi’s truck narrowly missed a head-on collision, clipping the passenger sideview mirror off the SUV.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.