news: BRIEFS

Motorsport I

•Norway’s Petter Solberg kept his slim world title chances alive by winning the Rally Italia Sardinia ahead of rival and championship leader Sebastien Loeb. The defending champion has three races left in the series, in Corsica, Spain and Australia, to catch Loeb.

•Silverstone has not yet admitted defeat in its struggle to retain the British 2005 Grand Prix. The Racing Drivers’ Club and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone are only around two million euros apart in their negotiations, but finding the money will be difficult in the face of no further government funding. A final decision will be taken at a meeting on October 13, although a consortium including Nigel Mansell looks likely to rescue the situation.

•Closest MotoGP Rossi-pursuer Sete Gibernau is out of contract for the 2005 season and there is no lack of suitors. Numbers and offers have come in from all directions with Honda, Yamaha and Ducati – the principal rivals for the Catalan’s services.


Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova reached her second successive WTA final with a 6-2, 6-3 semi-final victory over Tamanne Tanasugarm at the Japan Open last weekend. The Russian teenager is the defending champion and also won the Korean Open the previous week. She faced 28-year-old world number 61, Mashuna Washington, in the final, readily disposing of the American 6-0, 6-1. Lleyton Hewitt reached the final of the men’s event to enhance his position in the world rankings while the remainder of the tour were in action in Filderstadt, Germany and Lyon in France.