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NOVEMBER 27, 2006

Here and there

World Champion Fernando Alonso was married on Saturday in a private ceremony in the Maldives to his fiancee Raquel del Rosario, a Spanish singer.

Elsewhere, the A1 Grand Prix teams were in action in Malaysia where A1 Team Switzerland's Neel Jani won the first race from pole position beating Germany's Nico Hulkenberg and New Zealand's Jonny Reid.

In the main event, however, there was rain before the start and the race began behind a Safety Car. Hulkenberg then grabbed the lead from Jani with a move at Turn 4. Hulkenberg then stormed away to a dominant victory, despite stalling during his pit stop. Britain's Robbie Kerr fought through from fifth on the grid to second, passing Alex Yoong and Jonny Reid and was helped when Jani spun while Kerr was making his stop which meant that the Englishman was ahead when he rejoined. Third place went to France's Nicolas Lapierre. Germany's win puts the team back at the head of the championship, six points ahead of Great Britain.

In Bahrain, the Australian V8 Series held its penultimate meeting of the season with a three-race event. The first heat was won by Jason Bright in his Ford Falcon, run by David Richards's Ford Performance Racing, which held off a determined attack from the Toll Holden Dealer Team of Garth Tander. The second race reversed the positions with Tander beating Bright. But it was the battle for the championship that provided the most excitement with Tander's teammate and championship leader Rick Kelly crashing into James Courtney on the first lap, which allowed Craig Lowndes (Triple Eight Ford) to get back into contention for the title.

In the third race Todd Kelly (Holden Racing Team) held off Bright while Lowndes improved his championship chances still further by finishing third. Bright's victory won Ford the V8 manufacturer's title but the drivers' title will remain open until the final race at Philip Island on December 10. Rick Kelly goes into the final with a seven-point lead over Lowndes after driving from the back of the grid to fifth in the third of the three heats.

Meanwhile in Spain Willi Weber's latest protege Christian Vietoris won the BMW World Final, chased throughout by Austrian Josef Kral. Finn Mika Maki was a comfortable third, with Stefano Coletti fourth.