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Webber Eyes Podium Finish In Penultimate Race

WEBBER

Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber says a mixture of the Texan countryside, hard training and the hospitality of old Texan friends from his time spent there during his amateur cycling days has inspired positivity for his penultimate race at the US Grand Prix.

Writing in his exclusive blog on the sport social network, Sportlobster.com, keen amateur cyclist Webber, who used to visit Austin and cycle with former friend – disgraced cyclist, Lance Armstrong – says meeting old friends and training in the Texan countryside has helped preparations.

“I’d love a couple of podium finishes in my final two races and being here among friends and family will only help me achieve this. Of course receiving the champagne is always a nice feeling and it would be incredibly rewarding to get a win before the year’s out. I just want to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves in Austin and Brazil and get the best out of myself before it’s all over and if that means me wearing a cowboy hat on the Austin podium I’ll be happy.

“I arrived in Texas on Monday having flown from the UK. It’s been nice to catch-up with loads of great people this week and I’m fortunate to have some very good friends who I used to cycle with in Austin so we’re staying with them.

“We’re based on a ranch far removed from the track so I’ve been able to train and also chill out. It’s the kind of place you go riding and see very little else in two hours – which is amazing. I’m not into shooting but there’s a lot of wildlife to enjoy, such as game and deer. It’s a vast and beautiful area to train in, but also relax in prior to the race – although I have been surprised with how cold it’s been – as low as zero degrees overnight, which has been a real surprise.”

However, the countryside did provide a shock for Webber when a dog returned to the ranch having been bitten by a snake.

“I was happy to have been reacquainted with Inga, a German wirehaired pointer who belongs to a friend of mine. She’s a hunting dog so she has a GPS tracker on her and she came back to the ranch with blood on her mouth the other day. It turned out she’d been bitten by a rattlesnake and we had to rush her to the vet. It was a bit of a shock to all – she’s just a bit swollen now but she’s raring to get back out there.”

Webber was upbeat about the race: “I really like the Austin circuit – it’s quick and demanding, especially the first sector. We’ve only had one race here before, which saw a really good battle between Lewis [Hamilton] and Seb [Vettel]. The temperature is going to be a lot warmer on race day but I don’t think it will have much of an effect to be honest.

“F1 is never going to be able to replace American football or NASCAR for the majority of Americans, but there’s certainly a strong community of people who enjoy coming to the race – you get a good crowd over here.

“An additional motivation is the fact I’ve a lot of friends and family over here visiting from Australia who don’t get to see me race very often. My mum is one of them, which is unusual because she’s not a massive fan of my races. Her priority is that I finish every race safe and sound and she has learnt to trust me on this – even though I’ve told her she shouldn’t,” he laughs.

“I think my form in the last few months has been pretty solid and I’m happy with it. It’s nice to finish my career driving well and not end things too frustrated with myself. I don’t think I’ll leave with any regrets but you always want more on your CV. If you win five races suddenly you want ten, then you want 20. You want World Championships, but I’ve certainly been dealt a good hand and I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved. I’ve been through lots of different regulations in Formula One and I’ve survived and lasted 213 races so I’m very proud.”

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au

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