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Phuket sports: F1 – 6 races, 6 winners

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Phuket sports: F1 – 6 races, 6 winners | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Jackie Stewart famously said, “…qualify on pole and make no mistakes, and Monaco is not a difficult race to win”.

Mark Webber qualified on pole, thanks to Michael Schumacher’s five place demotion; he made no mistakes, and he won. This is Webber’s strength – he is infuriatingly calm and does not make mistakes. He got a clean launch while behind him, thanks to a gyrating Romain Grosjean, turn 1 was turned into bedlam. That called for the “safety car”, and Webber contentedly headed a queue.

Red Bull shadowed Nico Rosberg’s second place strategy and Webber held everyone back for a classic one stopper. At the end 10 cars had ceased racing and there was only 1.3 seconds between the top three cars, (only 6.1 seconds between the top six). That shows how much Webber could hold up faster cars. Webber is now equal second to Sebastian Vettel in the Driver Championship (DC). It is the first time in F1 that the first six races have produced six unique winners winners.

Vettel sat-out Q3 to save tyres, and then ran a very long first stint on a one stop strategy, which allowed him to climb from 9th to 4th. But he no longer leads the DC.

Ferrari had a good race. Felipe Massa finally found form, and got to 5th from a grid position of 9th, but was overtaken by Vettel in the pits. Fernando Alonso qualified 5th and overtook Lewis Hamilton in the pits to run 3rd for the rest of the race. That’s enough to put Alsonso at the head of the DC, about which he will be chortling.

The McLaren pit team now seems to be on the same side as the drivers, and that is the good news. But Hamilton was held up by Webber and Nico Rosberg, and leapfrogged in the pits by Vettel and Alonso. He then stayed 5th, which will not bring a smile to his face. But Jenson Button had a horrible weekend ; qualifying a pitiful 12th, and he could not get past Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham. He eventually made contact trying too hard to pass on the second Swimming Pool chicane, and parked his car. Button is now 7th in the DC, and Hamilton is 4th.

Rosberg started and finished 2nd. He had no way to pass a faultless Webber, but still he is now 5th in the DC. His Mercedes teammate Schumacher qualified on pole, and was demoted to sixth for a Catalunya shunt. He never recovered from this, and was typically voluble in his criticism of the penalty. No one has ever faulted Schumie for being too sporting. He drove an aggressive race which shunted Grosjean out on the first lap. Finally he retired with a fuel pressure problem which robbed him of a likely 7th.

Kimi Räikkönen did at least finish with points for Lotus. He started 8th and ended 9th. He lost places staying out too long on worn tyres waiting for rain to allow him to change to wets and not lose a pit stop. It didn’t rain, disappointingly. His teammate Grosjean qualified 4th, but his race only lasted 100 yards before he parked after the incident with Schumacher. Räikkönen is now 6th in the DC, but the more interesting thing about Räikkönen is that he wore a James Hunt tribute helmet. This is not his first homage; he entered and won a snowmobile race in his native Finland under the name James Hunt.

Does Räikkönen admire the lifestyles of 1970s drivers like Hunt the Shunt? The impossibly handsome James Hunt was the life and soul of the party, notorious for his behavior on and off the track, having drugs and sex often minutes before a race. This epitome of the unruly playboy driver was celebrated for his English eccentricity. He was a great womanizer, allegedly delighting over 5,000. One of his cunning stunts was to infest hotels where airline stewardesses spent a stopover. Hunt met them as they checked in and invited them to his suite for a party. It seems it wasn’t unusual for him and his second wife to have sex with all of the women, often together. Hunt’s first wife was model Suzy Miller, who tired of being married to a heavy drinking womanizer, so she left him for Richard Burton.

For the thirteen years before his death at 45, the mercurial Hunt was a BBC television F1 commentator, as a protagonist with the gentlemanly Murray Walker.

Kimi has either had a sense of humor bypass, or he has such a keenly dry wit that it is missed by most people. I think his James Hunt accolade proves the former.

Meanwhile, back in 2012, Force India scored their second set of double points this year, and Paul di Resta is now 11th in the DC. The team may be doing better than the Kingfisher Airline which promoted them.

Williams had a poor weekend. Pastor Maldonado is not a Monaco Man. He is too aggressive as he has shown before. Starting from the back of the grid, he damaged his car in the first lap, and crashed into the hairpin. Bruno Senna started 13th and finished 10th. He was the last car in the points and only 44 seconds behind the winner.

Heikki Kovalainen kept Caterham still holding 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship, the lowest qualifying for a share of the prize money, which is critical for the smaller teams. Kovalainen qualified 17th and finished 13th, successfully keeping Button at bay. His team mate Petrov retired from damage sustained in the first corner.

Sauber, Toro Rosso, HRT and Marussia did not trouble the point scorers.

The next GP is at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River. It is named after the only Canadian to win the DC, and possibly the greatest F1 driver ever. It was named after him when he was killed in qualifying in the 1982 Belgian GP. It was James Hunt who discovered Gilles Villeneuve, when he was soundly beaten by him in a Formula Atlantic race in 1976. Hunt arranged for Gilles to make his F1 debut with McLaren in 1977, although he is best known as a Ferrari driver.

A particularly famous part of the Montreal circuit is the wall on the outside of the exit of the final chicane before the start/finish straight. The wall has been nicknamed “The Wall of Champions”. Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel have all fallen victim to its magnetic charms. More on that next week.

All F1 races are shown at the Greenman, Chalong, click here for more information.

— 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.

Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

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Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island from last Thursday through to yesterday.

Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, reports that the average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. She also noted that random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels remain closed.

Nanthasiri also says that many of the tourists concentrated themselves in the Phuket Old Town area, especially around Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Dibuk Road in order to enjoy at the Sino-Portuguese shophouse architecture and historical locations. In fact much of Phuket Town, including its many markets and alley eateries, were doing roaring business, The Thaiger can vouch for the heavy traffic, on the roads and footpaths, over the past 4 days.

“This special holiday made Phuket tourism livelier, even though it was not as same as the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In fact, despite the welcome surge of visitors, it was still a long, long way from its previous tourist levels with much of the west coast, which has largely catered for the international tourist traffic, was still very quiet in places like Patong, Kata and Karon.

Phuket wasnt the only destination that has profited off of the long weekend as Chiang Mai saw droves of Thai tourists visiting its Royal Park Rajapruek as well as the northern city’s other nearby national parks and tourist areas. Visitors came from all over to see the blossoming of flowers in a beautiful display at the park as well as enjoying the air-purifying flowers as they relaxed. Tourists were able to rent a bicycle for 60 baht if they wanted to exercise while taking in the scenery and could also pay a visit to the orchid greenhouse, which hosts a variety of orchids in bloom. TripAdvisor recommends to set aside 2 hours to visit the park.

Next holiday weekend, on November 27 and 28, Pattaya is expected to get a tourism boost as its annual fireworks festivalis set to bring in travellers who have taken advantage of package deals offered by some beachside hotels. Such packages were offered for advance bookings, where holidaymakers could view the firework shows on the rooftops of their hotels. The firework displays are said to be long with breaks of entertainment-packed shows, featuring live music and student bands amongst others.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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