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International News Round-up, July 1, 2007.


Massa takes French GP pole

France. French Grand Prix pole-winner Felipe Massa says he hopes that the run of wins obtained by drivers starting from pole will continue this weekend.

"It is great to be back fighting at the front.

"Already at the Silverstone test last week, we saw that the car had improved, had more grip even on the opening lap and here we have found a good balance from the start of the weekend.

"In free practice and in the first two qualifying sessions, I never put together a clean lap, but I did manage it in Q3 (the third qualifying session)."

His teammate Kimi Raikkonen starts from third on the grid.

"Of course I would have preferred to be in front of everyone, but third place is not so bad," said the Finn. "(Going into the race) I am confident, because I know I have a car that is competitive over a race distance. On my final run in Q3, I made a mistake that probably cost me a place on the front row."

Raikkonen shares Row 2 with Polish driver Robert Kubica (BMW).

Hamilton just misses out

France. Braking late for a corner and running wide cost McLaren's Lewis Hamilton (pictured above right) pole position for the French Grand Prix which runs at Magny Cours overnight (NZ time).

He ran a lap of one minute 15.104 seconds, to put his McLaren-Mercedes on the outside of the front row.

The rookie phenomenon was seven hundredths of a second slower than pole-winner Felipe Massa (Ferrari).

"On my final lap, I braked a bit late into Turn 15 and ran wide," Hamilton said.

"Without this mistake the pole position would have been possible for me today - I had it there.

"With our strategy we should be in good shape and I'm looking forward to the race."

His teammate Fernando Alonso said he had "a brake sensor issue in this morning's practice which cost me some time, and then a gearbox problem in the final qualifying.

"It's a relatively new experience for me as I have had no problems for such a long time." Alonso will start 10th on the grid.

Toyota's first NASCAR pole

USA. Dave Blaney gave the new-for-2007 Toyota Camry its first NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole starting position for Sunday's series counter at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.

"It feels good to get the first pole for Toyota and hopefully this is the first step in many successful days of poles and wins," he said. "We've been good all day and been getting a lot of speed out of the car."

Penske Racing's Kurt Busch just missed the pole by 0.058 seconds in his Dodge Avenger.

Lining up third is Reed Sorenson in his Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge.

Rain washes out IRL qualifying

USA. Andretti-Green drivers start from the front row of the grid for the Richmond International Raceway round of the Indy Racing League (IRL) after rain washed out timed qualifying.

IRL officials set the grid by entrants’ points standing.

That put Dario Franchitti on pole and teammate Tony Kanaan alongside him.

Kiwi Scott Dixon starts on Row 2, with his Chip Ganassi teammate Dan Wheldon alongside him.

Gommendy has Champ Car pole

Canada. Frenchman Tristan Gommendy starts from pole in the Champ Car counter at Mont-Tremblant in Canada.

Australian Will Power and multiple champion Sebastien Bourdais are second and third.




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