Vettel keeps Ferrari on top in final Russian Grand Prix practise

By Alan Baldwin
| SOCHI, Russia

SOCHI, Russia Formula One frontrunner Sebastian Vettel kept Ferrari ahead of champions Mercedes in final Russian Grand Prix practise on Saturday.

The German, who is seven points clear of Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton after winning two of the first three races, lapped the Sochi street circuit with a fastest time of one minute 34.001 seconds on the ultrasoft tyres.

Rugby - All Black fullback Smith to miss Highlanders' Africa tour

MELBOURNE All Blacks fullback Ben Smith has been ruled out of the Otago Highlanders' South Africa tour after suffering an ankle strain in the 57-14 trouncing of the Stormers on Friday.

The Highlanders captain will miss next week's match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein and the following game against the twice champion Bulls in Pretoria, local media reported, citing a team spokesman.

Smith will target a return for the May 20 match against Western Force in Perth.

Doping - WADA reinstates Madrid anti-doping laboratory

MONTREAL Madrid's Anti-Doping Laboratory was reinstated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Friday, more than a year after it was suspended.

The suspension, which followed WADA's declaration last March that the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (AEPSAD) was non-compliant, prohibited the lab from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities.

AEPSAD, which had missed a deadline for required changes to its drug-testing procedures, was removed from the non-compliant list early last month and an inspection of the Madrid lab followed on March 23-24.

Golf - Nomura leads Texas Shootout by one shot

(The Sports Xchange) - Haru Nomura bogeyed her final hole Friday but maintained a one-shot lead after two rounds of the LPGA Texas Shootout in Irving, Texas.

Nomura finished with a 6-under 65 at Los Colinas Country Club and was at 8-under 133 after 36 holes.

Ariya Jutanugarn was alone in second place at 134 after firing a second consecutive 67. Suzann Pettersen was in third at 135 after a sizzling 65.

Tied for fourth at 136 were Ariya's older sister, Moriya Jutanugarn, two-time tournament champion Inbee Park and Marina Alex.

Baldwin takes road less travelled to winner's circle

By Steve Keating

In a sport that takes the road less travelled, BJ Baldwin knows his way to the winner's circle better than anyone.

A two-time Baja 1000 winner, the most extreme off road test of man-and-car this side of the Paris Dakar Rally (which he has also challenged), Baldwin's motor racing life is one of dust, dirt and danger.

Baldwin is the 'King of the Desert' and rules over a strange motorsport world of off-road racing that at first glance appears to have inspired the "Mad Max" movie franchise.

Soccer - Basel canter to another Swiss title win

BERNE FC Basel predictably won the Swiss Super League for the eighth time in a row on Friday, cantering home with six games to spare after a 2-1 win at FC Lucerne.

Ivorian forward Seydou Doumbia gave Basel the lead in the third minute, finishing off an exchange of passes which sliced apart the home defence, and Renato Steffen ensured the three points in style with a long-range effort.

Marco Schneuwly scored Lucerne's consolation goal.

Soccer-Defensive mix-up costs Juventus in draw at Atalanta

MILAN Juventus were held to a 2-2 draw at Atalanta on Friday after a rare defensive mix-up by the Serie A leaders allowed the hosts to snatch a late equaliser.

Dani Alves appeared to have won the game for Juventus when he headed them in front in the 83rd minute but Remo Freuler pounced to equalise six minutes later as he punished some sloppy defending.

Juventus, who moved nine points clear of AS Roma, have one of the strongest defences in Europe and have conceded only 22 goals in the league all season in 34 games.

Newcastle keep up Championship title chase with win over Cardiff

LONDON Newcastle United kept alive their slender hopes of winning England's Championship (second division) title on Friday when two goals in 10 minutes from Christian Atsu and Isaac Hayden gave them a 2-0 win at Cardiff in their penultimate game of the season.

The win put already-promoted Newcastle one point behind leaders Brighton & Hove Albion. The south-coast club can snatch the crown with a game to spare if they win at home to Bristol City on Saturday.

Motor racing - Honda talking to 'various teams' about Formula One engine supply

By Alan Baldwin
| SOCHI, Russia

SOCHI, Russia McLaren's beleaguered engine partners Honda are talking to several teams about a possible supply for next season, the Japanese manufacturer's Formula One chief Yusuke Hasegawa said on Friday.

"We are talking to various teams but at this moment unfortunately we have nothing to say here," he told reporters at the Russian Grand Prix.

Revived Massa in no hurry to leave F1 again

By Alan Baldwin
| SOCHI, Russia

SOCHI, Russia Felipe Massa's reluctant retirement from Formula One at the end of 2016 lasted a matter of weeks and now, given a new lease of life at Williams, the popular Brazilian is in no hurry to hang up his helmet again.

The only South American on the starting grid, from a nation of multiple championship winners, Massa is already daring to look beyond 2017.