Stories you can't miss

Motorsport is dangerous, and it proved to be true when a spectator passed away following Hyundais Hayden Paddon accident on the very first stage of an icy Rally Monte Carlo, the season-opner of WRC 2017. You can watch the footage of how it happened here: https://goo.gl/6Ff9X4 (footage may be disturbing to some).

Paddon withdrew from the race subsequently, but his teammate Thierry Neuville managed the tricky conditions better and is leading the rally by 45 seconds after the end of action on Friday. He will be chased hard by reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier in his new Fiesta and Ott Tänak (also in a Fiesta) occupying third. Conditions are treacherous and anything can still happen in the next two days.

countersteer.my added 6 new photos.

Motorsport is dangerous, and it proved to be true when a spectator passed away following Hyundai's Hayden Paddon accident on the very first stage of an icy Rally Monte Carlo, the season-opner of WRC 2017. You can watch the footage of how it happened here: goo.gl/6Ff9X4 (footage may be disturbing to some).

Paddon withdrew from the race subsequently, but his teammate Thierry Neuville managed the tricky conditions better and is leading the rally by 45 seconds after the end of action on Friday. He will be chased hard by reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier in his new Fiesta and Ott Tänak (also in a Fiesta) occupying third. Conditions are treacherous and anything can still happen in the next two days.
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Marquez goes 'skiing' in his MotoGP bike!
“It was really difficult to keep the bike under control, but I’m young and it’s good fun to try some crazy things! We enjoyed it, and we could see after a few runs everything that was possible. The piste was really well prepared. I could really get going and I had a great feeling out there. The grip was unbelievable, even for a wheelie!”

The audacity of youth on show as reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez tackles the famous Alpine ski slope of Hahnenkamm in Austria. Hint: It's the same slope that Max Verstappen conquered in a Formula 1 car last year. Mad.
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Germanys leading automobile publication, auto motor und sport is reporting that Karim Habib, the head of BMW design, has parted ways with the Munich-based premium carmaker. Habib, who has been with BMW since 1998, bar a brief two-year sojourn at Mercedes-Benz from 2009 to 2010, took over the reins from Adrian van Hooydonk as head of design in 2012. With the departures of Anders Warming (head of design for Mini) and Benoit Jacob (head of design for BMW i division) in 2016, BMW has the unenviable task of finding suitable replacements for three design chiefs, or have they already? Whichever the case, it will be a space well worth watching.

(Souce: https://goo.gl/NyPsP7)

Germany's leading automobile publication, auto motor und sport is reporting that Karim Habib, the head of BMW design, has parted ways with the Munich-based premium carmaker. Habib, who has been with BMW since 1998, bar a brief two-year sojourn at Mercedes-Benz from 2009 to 2010, took over the reins from Adrian van Hooydonk as head of design in 2012. With the departures of Anders Warming (head of design for Mini) and Benoit Jacob (head of design for BMW i division) in 2016, BMW has the unenviable task of finding suitable replacements for three design chiefs, or have they already? Whichever the case, it will be a space well worth watching.

(Souce: goo.gl/NyPsP7)
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With a record total of 232,778 Porsches sold last year (a 6% increase over 2015), you’d think that Porsche would perhaps take their eyes off racing and focus more on selling road cars. But if the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport is of any indication, then the answer is ‘no’.

Before you saunter over to your Porsche dealer to order one of these, do note that the Clubsport, let alone the Cayman GT4, are highly limited in numbers as it is a race car that can only be used on track, developed for customers whod want to go racing in it, such as the 2017 Blancpain GT Asia series. Budding race teams will have the better chance of acquiring one over a collector who would otherwise stash it in a garage or warehouse.

If you really need to know, the estimated price for a base specification GT4 Clubsport – Porsche’s new entry level race car – is a cool €111,000, this is before duties are tallied and most certainly before options boxes are ticked.

countersteer.my added 7 new photos.

With a record total of 232,778 Porsches sold last year (a 6% increase over 2015), you’d think that Porsche would perhaps take their eyes off racing and focus more on selling road cars. But if the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport is of any indication, then the answer is ‘no’.

Before you saunter over to your Porsche dealer to order one of these, do note that the Clubsport, let alone the Cayman GT4, are highly limited in numbers as it is a race car that can only be used on track, developed for customers who'd want to go racing in it, such as the 2017 Blancpain GT Asia series. Budding race teams will have the better chance of acquiring one over a collector who would otherwise stash it in a garage or warehouse.

If you really need to know, the estimated price for a base specification GT4 Clubsport – Porsche’s new entry level race car – is a cool €111,000, this is before duties are tallied and most certainly before options boxes are ticked.
... See MoreSee Less

The worst kept secret is now confirmed. Valtteri Bottas will start 2017 as a Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver after completing his move from Williams. With only 70 days to go before the new Formula 1 season kicks off in Melbourne, the usually unflappable Finn (with nine podiums over four seasons) will need more than just a new haircut to keep pace with the ever-fast Lewis Hamilton. Bottas move means ex-teammate Felipe Massa will rejoin Williams.
https://youtu.be/iXRBBhJ-SuQ

The worst kept secret is now confirmed. Valtteri Bottas will start 2017 as a Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver after completing his move from Williams. With only 70 days to go before the new Formula 1 season kicks off in Melbourne, the usually unflappable Finn (with nine podiums over four seasons) will need more than just a new haircut to keep pace with the ever-fast Lewis Hamilton. Bottas' move means ex-teammate Felipe Massa will rejoin Williams.
youtu.be/iXRBBhJ-SuQ
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Stephane Peterhansel wins 13th Dakar title!

Peugeot swept Dakar 2017 by taking the overall top three places of the car category. Dakar legend Peterhansel, at the age of 51, won his 13th title (six on bikes, seven on four wheels). He edged teammate and WRC legend Sebastien Loeb by a margin of only five minutes and 13 seconds over the 9,000km route that saw a couple of stages cancelled due to flooding. Cyril Despres, also on a 3008 DKR finished third, some 30 minutes behind.

“We were fighting with six or seven drivers at the beginning of the race and after a while, they were only four,” said Peterhansel at the finish line. “And during the last week, we were only two – just Seb and I. We fought really strongly and I am the winner in the end – but it’s a small detail. This is the victory of experience.

countersteer.my added 6 new photos.

Stephane Peterhansel wins 13th Dakar title!

Peugeot swept Dakar 2017 by taking the overall top three places of the car category. Dakar legend Peterhansel, at the age of 51, won his 13th title (six on bikes, seven on four wheels). He edged teammate and WRC legend Sebastien Loeb by a margin of only five minutes and 13 seconds over the 9,000km route that saw a couple of stages cancelled due to flooding. Cyril Despres, also on a 3008 DKR finished third, some 30 minutes behind.

“We were fighting with six or seven drivers at the beginning of the race and after a while, they were only four,” said Peterhansel at the finish line. “And during the last week, we were only two – just Seb and I. We fought really strongly and I am the winner in the end – but it’s a small detail. This is the victory of experience."
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Audi Q8 Concept
It has been a long time coming, but Audi appears to have finally shaken off its lethargic design language with the stunning Q8 Concept. While still bearing the 'Concept' moniker, this hunk of an SUV is no wet dream as it has already been confirmed as a 2018 model. The behemoth four-seater will presumably fight in the space where the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe currently occupy, but shades its German rivals for size – how about a wheelbase that measures three metres and a width of over two metres. The Q8 is a plug-in hybrid and will be powered by a 3.0L V6 petrol engine and 17.9kWh worth of electric power, good for a combined system output of 443hp/700Nm and a 0-100km/h time of 5.4 second, with EV range rated at 60km per full charge.
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Despite managing only slightly over 1,700 units of sales for 2016, Nasim Sdn Bhd - the official distributor of Peugeot vehicles in Malaysia - has started 2017 on the front foot with the refreshed 208 hatchback and 2008 crossover, both having undergone mid-life facelifts and are now powered by a new drivetrain - a 1.2-litre turbocharged Puretech three-cylinder engine with 112hp/205Nm mated to a new six-speed automatic manufactured by Aisin.

Peugeot claims an eye-opening fuel efficiency of 23.8km/l (4.2L/100km) from this new powertrain, though we think the prices of RM89,888 and RM109,888 for the 208 and 2008 are pretty staggering too with the new hardware and features, plus five-year warranties and a three-year free maintenance package (for first 100 buyers only). Nasims sales target for 2017 is 2,500 cars, with 44% (1,100 units) coming from the 208 and 2008.

countersteer.my added 3 new photos.

Despite managing only slightly over 1,700 units of sales for 2016, Nasim Sdn Bhd - the official distributor of Peugeot vehicles in Malaysia - has started 2017 on the front foot with the refreshed 208 hatchback and 2008 crossover, both having undergone mid-life facelifts and are now powered by a new drivetrain - a 1.2-litre turbocharged 'Puretech' three-cylinder engine with 112hp/205Nm mated to a new six-speed automatic manufactured by Aisin.

Peugeot claims an eye-opening fuel efficiency of 23.8km/l (4.2L/100km) from this new powertrain, though we think the prices of RM89,888 and RM109,888 for the 208 and 2008 are pretty staggering too with the new hardware and features, plus five-year warranties and a three-year free maintenance package (for first 100 buyers only). Nasim's sales target for 2017 is 2,500 cars, with 44% (1,100 units) coming from the 208 and 2008.
... See MoreSee Less

BMW may not be the sales leader in the luxury segment anymore, but BMW Group Malaysia, which includes Mini and Motorad brands, still managed a healthy gain over previous years achievement with a combined total of 10,906 units sold in 2016 - BMW (9000), Mini (902) and Motorad (1004) - constituting a 16% increase. BMW and Mini registered gains of 20% and 19% respectively, this despite stiff competition in a market that saw fewer cars sold overall. Well done.

BMW may not be the sales leader in the luxury segment anymore, but BMW Group Malaysia, which includes Mini and Motorad brands, still managed a healthy gain over previous year's achievement with a combined total of 10,906 units sold in 2016 - BMW (9000), Mini (902) and Motorad (1004) - constituting a 16% increase. BMW and Mini registered gains of 20% and 19% respectively, this despite stiff competition in a market that saw fewer cars sold overall. Well done. ... See MoreSee Less

Signs of life at Proton

Any event that ends with Bill Withers’ Lovely Day can’t be all bad. Proton launches fourth model in five months.

Ambassadorship done right