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Phuket Sports: F1 – A quick look back

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Sports: F1 – A quick look back | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The next race will be at the Hockenheimring and will mark the half way point of the F1 season, so it’s a good time to sit back and review where everyone is.

At the start of the season, McLaren looked unbeatable except by error. They seemed exhausted by Silverstone.

Why? Because Ferrari and Red Bull had upgraded their aerodynamics, and the sheer power of the Mercedes engine was not enough for McLaren. It’s about down-force, and Silverstone is one of the fastest tracks of the year, and notoriously destructive of tyres, which is why Pirelli brought their new hard tyres to the GP.

Red Bull introduced refinements at Valencia, and at Silverstone had a new exhaust pipe mantle, while Ferrari had a whole new wing design. Some say that McLaren erred in designing a car with a lower nose than their rivals, as the higher chassis give more opportunity for aerodynamic development.

And, while Lotus, Red Bull and Ferrari seem to have tamed the neurotic Pirelli tyres, McLaren is still struggling. Jenson Button, in particular, cannot get his front tyres to temperature.

The drivers’ title looks likely to be between the Red Bulls and Fernando Alonso.

For McLaren to challenge they need to show real development and soon.

They have an upgrade for Hockenheim. Let’s hope, because McLaren has a mountain to climb.

Red Bull is on a roll, but they desperately want their golden haired Sebastian Vettel to win, not dispensable Mark Webber with his annual contracts. The team just announced that Webber’s contract has been extended for yet another year, and rumor says he drove an irritatingly hard bargain.

Ferrari is looking much better, and Massa seems to have recovered form. Lotus is the ‘nearly’ team. They came 5th and 6th at Silverstone, and are now third in the Constructors Championship. We are still waiting for them to win.

McLaren is down to the realm where it is only just possible to recover. Mercedes cannot be happy with their showing.

Sauber has been unlucky, and Kamui Kobayashi mowing down his Silverstone pit crew was a poor moment.

Williams is having mixed fortunes; Pastor Maldonado keeps hitting other drivers, but Bruno Senna is racking up a few points.

Force India is stronger than their unlucky Silverstone result shows, and they probably feel good.

Toro Rosso is going nowhere.

None of the other teams have scored any points yet. Silverstone showed how slow the Caterham is, but HRT is at least creative, putting Pedro de la Rosa on a one stop strategy at Silverstone .

But our hearts must go out to Marussia who did admirably at Silverstone after their test driver Maria de Villota’s awful accident. Maria had what seems to be a horrible freak accident in routine testing. She has lost her right eye, and is undergoing extensive reconstructive surgery.

Hockenheimring is next. It is a technical track. The surface is slippery, making tyre choice important. Depending on the weather, it can be treacherous. There are good straights, so teams will opt for a medium down-force setting. Overtaking is difficult, with the best opportunities at the first corner and the hairpin turn.

That first corner is notorious for ending drivers’ races at the start.

— The Digby

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Crime

Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Newshawk Phuket

Drugs valued at 15 million baht have been seized in a drug crackdown in Phuket. On October 22, Phuket police, along with Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat, reported to the media about a drug crackdown that ended up with a total seizure valued around 15 million baht.

Earlier, the police received a report from an undercover agent that a woman named ‘Ying’ or ‘Suthicha Thirawut’ was a local drug dealer trading drugs in Phuket area, so police planned to purchase drugs from the woman. They contacted Ying through another woman named ‘Noina’, Ying’s close friend. Around 10pm on October 20, police bought 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine from Noina before arresting Ying and another man, Thanet Thongtan, at the Naka Condominium.

The two confessed that they receive the drug from a man who they weren’t able to name, in order to sell in Phuket. They were paid 40,000 – 50,000 baht per time and admitted to police that they have done this for the man three times already. This time, the drugs hadn’t been sold to customers as they were arrested before being able to make a sale.

Apart from 2.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued around 4.8 million baht, the police also discovered 76,800 methamphetamine pills, worth around 11 million baht.

The three are now assisting Phuket police with their enquires related to the case.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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