Meet the drivers who will battle for glory at the 2022 Diriyah E-Prix

Meet the drivers who will battle for glory at the 2022 Diriyah E-Prix
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Updated 28 January 2022

Meet the drivers who will battle for glory at the 2022 Diriyah E-Prix

Meet the drivers who will battle for glory at the 2022 Diriyah E-Prix
  • 22 drivers from 11 teams will fight for the win at the launch of Formula E season 8 in Riyadh

RIYADH: The all-electric championship is back. The Diriyah E-Prix returns in the historic desert surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage site for its season-opening double-header on Jan. 28-29.

Twenty-two of the best drivers in the world will race for eleven teams and only one trophy in season eight of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

Here are the heroes behind the helmets:

Mercedes EQ

Reigning team world champions Mercedes-EQ return for their final season in Formula E with another stellar lineup, bringing back season seven champion Nyck de Vries and Belgian star Stoffel Vandoorne.

The flying Dutchman De Vries qualified on pole for the first race of last season’s opening Diriyah E-Prix, leading every lap thereafter en route to his first-ever victory in the series.

His second victory came soon after, in Valencia. De Vries ended the campaign with two wins, four podiums and 99 points, becoming the first official FIA Formula E World Champion, following the series’ long-awaited FIA sanctioning. Vandoorne heads into his fourth season on the circuit, having finished ninth in last season’s championship with victory in the Berlin finale, three poles and three podiums to his name.

Jaguar TCS Racing

Jaguar race into season eight off the back of their best year yet, and led by a duo of strong, proven race winners: Kiwi Mitch Evans, and Britain’s Sam Bird. With two wins and 10 podiums last season, Evans returns as a serious challenger in 2022. A race winner in every season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to date, Bird bagged first place in both Diriyah and New York last year.

Avalanche Andretti Formula E

It’s a new look for the Andretti team in 2021, as Avalanche replaces BMWi as title partner. On the driving side, Jake Dennis returns alongside the rookie US driver Oliver Askew.

Dennis had a spectacular start to his Formula E career last year, becoming the most successful rookie in championship history, in terms of podium visits, with victories in Valencia and London.

Dragon / Penske Autosport

Dragon showed real signs of improvement last season, and have now added the Italian Antonio Giovinazzi from Formula 1’s Alfa Romeo. He joins forces with teammate Sergio Sette Camara, who had his best drive in Diriyah last year — finishing fourth in the opening race.

TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team

The German team return to battle in season eight with Andre Lotterer once again alongside Pascal Wehrlein. Both Wehrlein and Lotterer — the latter a three-time Le Mans winner and five-year Formula E veteran — scored consistently through a strong second half of the season last year.

Mahindra Racing

A stunning victory in London on home soil for driver Alex Lynn was the highlight, but he departed at the end of the season. Fellow Brit Oliver Rowland replaces him, racing alongside another British driver, Alexander Sims, for 2021-22.

Sims has a race win and podiums to his name in Formula E, and Rowland joins the team having made the move from Nissan e.dams.

Nissan e.dams

Nissan e.dams are heading into season eight with one of the most promising talents on the grid, Maximilian Guenther, who proved himself with a win in New York last year. He joins one of the most experienced drivers on the grid in 2015-16 champion, Sebastian Buemi, a multiple winner at Le Mans and in sportscar racing.

Envision Racing

Envision kick off season eight with a striking new green design for their cars, while retaining their driver pairing of Nick Cassidy and Robin Frijns.

After returning to Formula E in 2018-19, Frijns is now embarking on his fourth season with Envision, while Japanese Super Formula and Super GT champion Cassidy joined the Envision team last year and recorded two podium finishes in Mexico and New York.

NIO 333 Racing

NIO 333 retain veteran Oliver Turvey, who joined them just before the 2014-15 season finale in London, and add rookie Dan Ticktum for season eight.

Ticktum was a successful Formula 2 racer, winning his home event at Silverstone in his rookie season, and securing three further podiums.

ROKiT Venturi Racing

After three podium finishes, including two wins, last year, the 2016-17 champion Lucas di Grassi, who spent seven years with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, has joined Venturi. Edoardo Mortara finished second in the standings last year — his fourth campaign with Venturi, narrowly missing out to Nyck De Vries in dramatic fashion in the finale in Berlin.

DS TECHEETAH

DS TECHEETAH had their streak of back-to-back teams and drivers’ championships halted last season when they finished third by just a single point.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa return and could arguably be regarded as the strongest pairing on the grid. Both are past title winners — Vergne twice — with seven seasons of Formula E experience to their names.


Trilogy: Canelo aims to finish Golovkin rivalry with a KO

Trilogy: Canelo aims to finish Golovkin rivalry with a KO
Updated 29 June 2022

Trilogy: Canelo aims to finish Golovkin rivalry with a KO

Trilogy: Canelo aims to finish Golovkin rivalry with a KO
  • For Alvarez, this fight is “personal” for him because Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) kept dismissing him while seeking a third matchup after their September 2018 bout

NEW YORK: A split draw in the first fight and then a majority decision in favor of Canelo Alvarez in the second.

So, how about a knockout in the third chapter to settle once and for all the fierce rivalry between the Mexican superstar and Gennady Golovkin?

“From the first round I’m gonna go for the knockout. I know I’m gonna risk a lot,” Álvarez said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. “I have to. I aim at greatness.”

Golovkin bets on Alvarez being vulnerable as they complete their trilogy on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas.

“Prefer not to think about knockdowns. That’s not the right approach,” he told the AP. “Boxing is a dangerous sport. Defend yourself properly,“

Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) is coming off his first loss in nearly nine years, a lopsided defeat when he moved up in weight to challenge light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May.

Golovkin, who will be fighting at 168 pounds for the first time, said he only watched the highlights from Bivol’s win, but believes Álvarez just wasn’t totally ready to fight at 175 pounds.

“I saw Canelo didn’t show the best of him,” Golovkin said. “Probably he didn’t take that fight seriously, didn’t prepare mentally for that fight. This one would be different.”

Alvarez acknowledges the loss “hurt me a lot.” He also he said his preparation was not ideal, but avoided getting into details of what tired him in the later rounds.

“I have to move forward. I’m more dangerous right now. I’m more angry and I will use it in my favor,” he said

And there’s all the animosity they keep since their first bout in September 2017.

It was on display during intense staredowns in Los Angeles and New York the past week — including one in Yankee Stadium, where they threw out ceremonial first pitches.

For Alvarez, this fight is “personal” for him because Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) kept dismissing him while seeking a third matchup after their September 2018 bout.

Golovkin also threw shade at Álvarez for his golf hobby, which some blamed for his defeat in May.

“When you lose, everybody starts making excuses,” Álvarez said. “It’s because of this or if I am golfing too much. I was golfing when I won the (super middleweight) title three years ago.”

Now, he wants to knock out the 40-year-old from Kazakhstan for the first time and send him into retirement.

“I’m gonna end his career,” he said.

Golovkin has reacted dismissively, saying Álvarez postures too much.

“It’s hard for me to say why he’s saying all that,” he said. “I don’t think about him, I forgot about him. He has lost track of reality.”

What motivates him is completing the trilogy, joining other ones such as Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier or Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran.

“Even rematches are not happening all the time. It would be a historic event,” Golovkin said.


Accor recruiting 12,000 temporary workers to help accommodate Qatar’s World Cup fans

Accor recruiting 12,000 temporary workers to help accommodate Qatar’s World Cup fans
Updated 29 June 2022

Accor recruiting 12,000 temporary workers to help accommodate Qatar’s World Cup fans

Accor recruiting 12,000 temporary workers to help accommodate Qatar’s World Cup fans
  • Qatar hopes to attract 1.2 million visitors, nearly half of its population, during the 28-day tournament in November and December

DOHA: Hotel operator Accor is recruiting 12,000 temporary overseas employees to operate 65,000 empty rooms in apartments and homes in Qatar as temporary fan housing for the 2022 soccer World Cup, its chairman and CEO Sebastien Bazin told Reuters.
Qatar is working to avoid an accommodation shortage during the tournament and has hired Accor, Europe’s largest hotel operator, to manage the temporary operation.
“65,000 rooms is like opening 600 hotels, so we committed to hire enough people to serve it,” Bazin said, adding that a drive is under way in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and South America to recruit housekeepers, front-desk staff, logistics experts and others.
“All that is going to be dismantled at the end of December,” he said.
Qatar’s official World Cup accommodation website has received around 25,000 bookings so far, and will offer more than 100,000 rooms, Omar Al Jaber, executive director of accommodation for tournament organizers the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy told reporters on Tuesday.
“We will be under pressure until the first match has started. This is normal and we are ready,” Al Jaber said.
Qatar hopes to attract 1.2 million visitors, nearly half of its population, during the 28-day tournament in November and December.
But the tiny Gulf Arab state has fewer than 30,000 hotel rooms, according estimates by Qatar Tourism, and 80 percent of those rooms have been block booked by world soccer’s governing body FIFA, for official guests, World Cup organizers said.
Qatar is also offering 4,000 rooms on two cruise ships moored at Doha Port, 1,000 Bedouin-style desert tents and rooms in pre-fabricated fan village cabins. Pre-booked accommodation is mandatory for ticketed fans who plan to stay overnight in Qatar during the World Cup, Al Jaber said. Without accommodation, most fans won’t be issued a mandatory fan ID, which doubles as a visa to Qatar.
To operate hotel-style rooms in homes and apartments will be a massive logistical challenge for Accor, Bazin said.
The hotel operator is shipping 500 containers from China, filled with furnishings, from sofas to silverware. Accor will redeploy its fleet of trucks, busses and cars from Makkah in neighboring Saudi Arabia to overcome an expected shortage of available vehicles in Qatar during the tournament, he said. It has also sourced a local company to launder the 150 tons of dirty linen the operation will generate each day.


Serena loses in Wimbledon comeback, Nadal digs deep to advance

Serena loses in Wimbledon comeback, Nadal digs deep to advance
Updated 29 June 2022

Serena loses in Wimbledon comeback, Nadal digs deep to advance

Serena loses in Wimbledon comeback, Nadal digs deep to advance
  • Title contender Matteo Berrettini was forced to pull out with coronavirus while women’s top seed Iga Swiatek extended her winning streak to 36 matches

LONDON: Serena Williams tasted bitter defeat on her return to singles tennis at Wimbledon on Tuesday as Rafael Nadal overcame a huge scare to progress to the second round.
Elsewhere on day two of the Championships, title contender Matteo Berrettini was forced to pull out with coronavirus while women’s top seed Iga Swiatek extended her winning streak to 36 matches.
Seven-time champion Williams went down to unseeded Harmony Tan of France 7-5, 1-6, 7/6 (10/7 in her first singles encounter since an injury forced her out of her first-round match at Wimbledon last year.
Williams, 40, won the last of her Wimbledon singles titles six years ago but reached the final in 2018 and 2019.
“I’m so emotional now,” said Tan. “She’s a superstar. When I was young, I was watching her so many times on the TV.
“For my first Wimbledon it’s wow — just wow.
“When I saw the draw, I was really scared. She’s such a legend. I thought if I can win one game, two games, that would be really good for me.”
Williams was far below her imperious best on Tuesday, struggling from the start with her form and fitness.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, cheered by the crowd as she made her entrance, lost the first set but broke early in the second set and went on to level the match.
But she faltered while serving for the match and faded badly in the third-set tie-break after taking a 4-0 lead.
She finished with 61 winners but 54 unforced errors the 3-hour, 11-minute evening match.
Earlier, an off-key Nadal, already halfway to a calendar Grand Slam after winning the Australian Open and French Open, dug deep to beat Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
The two-time Wimbledon champion, who has not played at the tournament since 2019, thanked the crowd for their wholehearted support.
“It’s not a surface that we play very often, and especially in my case, for different reasons, the past three years I didn’t put any foot on a grass court, so it always takes a while,” said Nadal, 36.
“It was my first match and as I know, every day is a test and today was one of these important tests.”
The Spaniard appeared to be coasting to victory when he took a two-set lead but his Argentine opponent found a new level, winning the third set and going a break up early in the fourth.
But from 4-2 down the second seed found an extra gear, winning the next four games to seal the match in a little over three and a half hours, roared on by the Center Court crowd.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion played the entire French Open with his troublesome left foot anaesthetised but he has received treatment since then and was moving well on Tuesday.
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, who took Nadal to five sets at the French Open, crashed out of the tournament at the hands of American Maxime Cressy.
The sixth seed lost 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-6 (11/9), 7-6 (7/5), removing another potential obstacle in the path of Nadal, who next faces Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis.
Men’s fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard in four sets.

The early action at the All England Club was overshadowed by the announcement from Berrettini — last year’s runner-up — that coronavirus had forced him out of the tournament.
“I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from @wimbledon due to a positive COVID-19 test result,” the 26-year-old Italian wrote on Instagram.
Berrettini was widely regarded as one of the biggest threats to defending champion Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, having captured back-to-back grass-court titles in Stuttgart and Queen’s.
He is the second man to withdraw from Wimbledon with Covid in two days after 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic of Croatia also tested positive.
The Italian was a potential semifinal opponent for Nadal.
It is business as usual at the Grand Slam this year after the tournament was canceled due to Covid in 2020 and last year was played in front of reduced crowds.
The All England Club said in a statement that protocols remained in place to minimize the risk of infection.
Poland’s world number one Swiatek, who has won her past six tournaments — coasted into the second round with a routine 6-0, 6-3 victory against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett.
There were also straightforward wins in the women’s draw for 2019 champion Simona Halep and fourth seed Paula Badosa.
Beaten French Open finalist Coco Gauff, the 11th seed, recovered from losing the first set against Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse to win 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.


Al-Hilal’s winning DNA: 5 things learned as Riyadh giants claimed 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title

Al-Hilal’s winning DNA: 5 things learned as Riyadh giants claimed 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title
Updated 28 June 2022

Al-Hilal’s winning DNA: 5 things learned as Riyadh giants claimed 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title

Al-Hilal’s winning DNA: 5 things learned as Riyadh giants claimed 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title
  • Asian champions have completed remarkable turnaround since February to wipe away 16-point deficit on an Al-Ittihad team now left to rue season after looking certainties for championship

RIYADH: Al-Hilal are champions of Saudi Arabia once again, having at one point looked dead and buried as Jeddah rivals Al-Ittihad held a seemingly insurmountable 16-point lead over them.

But the Riyadh giants are not champions of Asia and the Kingdom for nothing and proved that they remain the country’s worthy champions.

The 2021-22 Saudi Professional League season ended on Monday night, and here are five things — and there could be many, many more — learned from the final action of the campaign.

1. Winning is in Al-Hilal’s DNA

Three successive title wins make it 18 in total. Love them or hate them – and there are plenty in both groups – there is no denying that Al-Hilal know how to win games, and titles.

Eleven victories out of the last 12 is an amazing run, especially when it came after a demanding season with FIFA Club World Cup and Asian Champions League commitments. They usually find a way to find a way.

The 2-1 victory over Al-Faisaly summed up what has been a dramatic campaign. There has been so much action in injury time this season, so many late winning goals and controversies, and Monday was no different.

Al-Hilal may win but they do not always make it easy. There was a goal in each half from Odion Ighalo, who was razor sharp and showed why he finished as the league’s leading goalscorer, but the men from Dammam grabbed a goal back and then there were plenty of nerves for Al-Hilal’s fans.

The game, and the season, ended after 100 minutes with the referee standing by the pitchside monitor looking at a possible penalty for Al-Faisaly. It was not given and that was that. It was a fitting way to end an amazing season.

2. Al-Ittihad will never forget this

This fact will be repeated for years to come; Al-Ittihad were 16 points clear of Al-Hilal in February and they ended up two points behind when it mattered.

Nobody could have predicted that Al-Hilal would take 33 points from the last 36 available but even so, the Tigers had it in the bag. Then they went and dropped 13 points from the last eight games and that is not the form of champions. The 0-0 draw with struggling Al-Batin in the final game of the season summed it all up.

They had so much attacking talent in Igor Coronado, Abderrazak Hamdallah, and Romarinho but they just could not make it happen and the game, similar to the season, petered out with disappointment. As well as the two recent defeats against the champions, coach Cosmin Contra will look back at that 4-4 draw with Al-Feiha in May, when the team threw away a 3-1 lead, as a turning point. It meant there were just five points from the final five games.

The wait for the title now stretches back to 2009. That hurts, as was demonstrated by the tears of goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe at the end, and this does too but, in football, there is always next season.

3. Al-Ahli make unthinkable history

A 0-0 draw at Al-Shabab resulted in Al-Ahli being relegated for the first time in their history. It is truly shocking that the three-time champions, the latest triumph coming just six years ago, and two-time Asian runners-up are now in the second tier.

Two years ago, they were third, then eighth, and now 15th – the drift has been coming. There were reports of dressing room unrest in the past, coaches coming and going, and then injuries at unfortunate times, and when you throw in a poor start with five points from the first seven games then maybe ultimate relegation should not come as such a big shock.

Had they won one of the four games they drew in the final five, things would have been different. This time even the reliable Omar Al-Somah could not save them despite a talented supporting cast that included Ezgjan Alioski, Carlos Eduardo, Abdulrahman Ghareeb, and many others.

For a club that has been drifting, it could be that relegation is the wake-up call they need, but maybe not. The next few weeks will be tough.

4. The relegation battle was quietly dramatic

Going into the final round of games there were seven teams who were genuinely threatened by relegation. It was an amazing position for the league to be in and there were so many twists and turns.

It was not quite the explosive last day that the neutrals had been hoping for as there were not that many goals, with only 14 scored over the eight games.

But there was quiet drama and tension. At any time, had Al-Ahli scored, they would have climbed out of the bottom three. If Al-Faisaly had managed one more, then they would have done the same. If Ettifaq had conceded just once against Al-Feiha then they would have gone down. Had Al-Ittihad scored then it would have meant the end for Al-Batin.

Rarely has there been so much at stake for so many teams going into the final seconds of the season. It has been a long season, more than 10 months, but it was alive right until the end.

5. Al-Nassr and Al-Shabab not far away

For much of the season, the two Riyadh teams were in touch at the top and it was only the amazing winning streaks, first from Al-Ittihad and then from Al-Hilal, that took them out of the hunt.

In the end though, Al-Nassr finished just four points behind the runners-up from Jeddah and six points behind the champions. With the club ready to appoint French coach Rudi Garcia, next season should be an interesting one, and there will be a lot of fans looking to see if the club can keep hold of Talisca, who scored 20 goals in his first season in Saudi Arabia. Recovering from injury, Pity Martinez has started to show the talents that made him a big-money signing back in 2020.

Al-Shabab know what it is like to lose big players after top scorer Odion Ighalo left for Al-Hilal at the end of January and a fourth-place finish seems about right as they lacked a little consistency. These third- and fourth-place teams need to keep their biggest talents and recruit well in the coming weeks. Then they should be ready for a title challenge next time around. This year, they were not far away.


WHO: Qatar World Cup pandemic risks being well run

WHO: Qatar World Cup pandemic risks being well run
Updated 28 June 2022

WHO: Qatar World Cup pandemic risks being well run

WHO: Qatar World Cup pandemic risks being well run
  • There was no reason to think the pandemic risks would be higher at the November-December tournament, WHO's emergencies director said
  • Overall, the risks are being very carefully managed

GENEVA: The WHO voiced confidence Tuesday that hosts Qatar would successfully manage the Covid-19 risks at the 2022 football World Cup.
There was no reason to think the pandemic risks would be higher at the November-December tournament than at other major events which have passed off safely, the World Health Organization’s emergencies director Michael Ryan said.
“Properly managed mass gatherings that have the proper planning can be run very safely,” he told a live interaction on the WHO’s Facebook page.
“We’ve been working very closely with the authorities in Qatar on that as WHO, and providing advice as needed to them on how to run a safe World Cup.
“The public health authorities in Qatar have been very engaged... on the public health risk management of the World Cup.
“Overall, the risks are being very carefully managed.”
Two million tickets will be sold in total, with another one million reserved for sponsors and the sport’s global governing body FIFA.
The Qatari capital Doha, with a population of about 2.4 million, is bracing itself for the huge influx of visitors.
“I don’t perceive there’s any more risk with the World Cup than there’s been with any other mass gatherings,” said Ryan.
“I have every faith that they will be able to run a successful World Cup and that it will be a spectacle for the world to enjoy.”
The 32-team tournament — set to be the most geographically-concentrated World Cup in history — kicks off on November 21.