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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Scottish Championship

Colin Cameron resigns as manager of Cowdenbeath

November 27 2013

Colin Cameron has resigned as Cowdenbeath manager after a run of four successive defeats which leaves the Fife club in second bottom spot in the Championship. The 41-year-old former Scottish international midfield star, who had been in the Central Park hot seat for almost two and a half years, stood down on Tuesday evening after meeting club chairman Donald Findlay QC and chief executive officer Alex Anderson following their latest defeat, 4-0 to Falkirk on Saturday. Anderson said: “It is with deep regret that Cowdenbeath FC announce the departure of manager Colin Cameron with immediate effect.” In a statement, Cameron said that, in the interests of the club, he had asked to be allowed to step aside “in order to allow the club to look elsewhere for a manager to secure a position in the Championship.” He added: “I have great faith in my own ability and in my team. However, results have not been what I would have wished.” Findlay, who praised Cameron for a “huge contribution” to the development of the club, said: “It is with sadness that I have accepted Colin’s resignation. “It is a measure of the man that he put the interests of the club before his own interests. “I have nothing but respect and admiration for him as a player and coach. He has a long and successful career ahead of him.” Assistant boss Lee Makel will take charge of the first team until a new manager is appointed. Cameron’s successful playing career took him to 10 clubs including Raith Rovers, Hearts, Wolves and Dundee and saw him gain 28 international caps. He joined Cowdenbeath as player/assistant manager to former Manchester United and Rangers star Jimmy Nicholl in 2010, becoming manager the following year when Nicholl moved to Kilmarnock as assistant manager. Cameron led the Fifers to the Division Two title in his first season in charge and retained First Division status with a final-day victory last season.

Football

Jimmy Nicholl expects Colin Cameron to make return to management

December 4 2013

Jimmy Nicholl is confident it will only be a matter of time before Cowdenbeath predecessor Colin Cameron is back in management. Nicholl took up the reins at Central Park at the weekend following Cameron’s departure with the team stuck in second-bottom place in the Championship. Cameron joined the Blue Brazil in 2010 as Nicholl’s assistant and succeeded his old Raith Rovers boss as manager a year later following relegation to the Second Division. The 41-year-old won the title and promotion back to the second-tier in his first season in charge and kept the Fife outfit in the league last term, but left last week having won just three of 14 league matches this season. However, Nicholl, who consulted his former number two before agreeing to take over at Cowdenbeath, believes ‘Mickey’ will not be out of work for long. He said: “As far as I’m concerned, once another opportunity comes up, Mickey will be back in there straight away. “He’s got the appetite and the enthusiasm and knowledge to become a very good manager and I’m sure that will happen for him. “He was just having a bad time of it recently. They were starting off well in matches and creating chances but were then slipping away when they lost a goal and accepting defeat. “If things change under me then people will always question why players haven’t been doing it for the previous manager. But sometimes these things happen in football and it doesn’t mean Mickey is a bad manager.” Cameron’s successful 20-year playing career took him to 10 clubs, including Raith Rovers, Hearts, Wolves and Dundee and saw him gain 28 international caps. Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay QC last week paid tribute to Cameron’s contribution during his three and a half years at Central Park, saying he was sad to see him leave.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Fife

‘Overwhelming’ backing for McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill

March 4 2015

The McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill is shaping up to be one of the biggest rally themed events in Scotland, if not the UK. Originally designed to be a celebration of Colin McRae’s world rally championship title win 20 years ago, the idea has gained momentum over recent months, with rally fans and motoring enthusiasts the length and breadth of the UK getting excited by the prospect of the May 16 and 17 festival. A highlight will be the largest gathering of Colin’s competition cars ever seen in Scotland, ranging from his original Mini and Talbot Sunbeam to the Subaru Impreza that carried him and Derek Ringer to world victory in 1995. Over the years enthusiasts have snapped up McRae competition cars as mementoes of their hero, many of them locked away from public view until now. “Since we went public on this event, we have been approached by a number of these fans to supply ex-McRae cars for the gathering,” said Knockhill’s events director Stuart Gray. “Support from the general public has been amazing too. “The idea of a 20th anniversary commemorative event just seems to have struck a chord with the fans but it has also given us the opportunity to create a major event for Scotland.” Colin’s father Jimmy McRae, who is working on having some rallying greats make an appearance, added: “The fans’ desire to celebrate Colin’s achievements is overwhelming at times.” One star name already committed to the event is Alister McRae, Colin’s younger brother and former British Rally Champion as well as FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Champion, who now lives in Australia. “There’s no way I’m going to miss this,” said Alister. “I’ll be coming ‘home’ for that weekend. I have no idea what I’ll be driving when I get there but, whatever it is, it will be fun.”

Fife

Knockhill rally festival will celebrate 20th anniversary of Colin McRae’s championship win

October 10 2014

Knockhill will stage a special rally festival to mark the 20th anniversary of the late Colin McRae’s world championship win. The Fife track is working with the motorsport legend’s family on the special tribute weekend on May 16 and 17 next year. The new event will celebrate the world of rallying, both old and new, as well as McRae’s achievement. It will feature an invitational competitive rally for three classes, bringing together competitors in their latest machinery, competitors in classic rally cars and the next breed of rally stars. The event will use a combination of tracks including the racing circuit, the Knockhill rally stage and perimeter roads. Knockhill events director Stuart Gray said: “We are proud and privileged to be working with the McRae family to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Colin’s world title. “He competed here so many times in rally events, raced here in the British Touring Car Championship and a Porsche Carrera Cup car, he tested here often and came for some fun too. “We knew him very well and think that this tribute event will be something special for the thousands of Colin’s fans and rallying fans across the UK and beyond.” He added he hoped it would become an annual event. Jimmy McRae, father of Colin, said: “We are pleased to be working with Knockhill and their working group to put together this special event to mark Colin’s 20th anniversary. “It seems only like yesterday that we all shared in his success and believe that this event will relive his achievements and showcase rallying in Scotland at a great venue. “I have competed recently at Knockhill and know it is a real test for the crews and all the show elements off track will be a real treat for rally fans too.”

Politics

Panama Papers: Ruth Davidson ‘more than happy’ to publish tax returns as pressure intensifies on politicians

April 5 2016

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has said she is “more than happy” to publish her tax returns in the wake of the Panama Papers leak. Ruth Davidson made the statement as Jeremy Corbyn called on government ministers, including Prime Minister David Cameron, to make the data public and said he would be happy to do so himself. UK Tory leader Mr Cameron declared he has “no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds”, after his late father Ian’s tax affairs were highlighted in the document disclosure. “I’m more than happy to publish that (tax return data),” Ms Davidson told The Courier. “I don’t have any income outside of what I earn as an MSP.” The Prime Minister himself has sought to distance himself from the data leak row, with Downing Street insisting his family “do not benefit from any offshore funds”. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dismissed suggestions by Downing Street that the family’s tax arrangements were a “private” matter and called for an independent investigation into those implicated by the records. But Mr Cameron sidestepped calls for a probe and declined to say if his family had reaped the rewards of an offshore arrangement in the past or were likely to in the future. The Prime Minister was asked to confirm that “you and your family have not derived any benefit in the past and will not in the future” from the offshore fund set up by Ian Cameron referred to in the papers leaked from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. During a visit to Birmingham, Mr Cameron said: “In terms of my own financial affairs, I own no shares. I have a salary as Prime Minister and I have some savings, which I get some interest from, and I have a house, which we used to live in, which we now let out while we are living in Downing Street, and that’s all I have. “I own no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds, nothing like that. And so that, I think, is a very clear description.” He insisted that “no prime minister has done more” to crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. And Ms Davidson defended the UK Government’s record on cracking down on tax dodging, despite Mr Cameron’s father being named in the tranche of documents. “It’s worth pointing out that some of the stuff in this particular example goes back decades,” she said. “These are things which have been in train for a long, long time and it is exactly this government that is trying to stop stuff happening and I believe they deserve our support.” The focus on Mr Cameron’s personal finances came as Iceland’s prime minister became the first political casualty of the Panama Papers leak. Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson quit in the face of mass protests over reported offshore financial dealings by him and his wife. Mr Cameron’s father ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents - including a part-time bishop - to sign its paperwork, according to the Guardian. Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, was a director of Blairmore Holdings Inc, which, until 2006, used unregistered “bearer shares” to protect its clients’ privacy. His use of the firm to help shield investments from UK tax helped build up a significant legacy, part of which was inherited by the Prime Minister. There is no suggestion that this avoidance arrangement or others exposed by the leak were anything but entirely legal or that Mr Cameron’s family did not pay the UK tax due on any repatriated assets. Mr Corbyn said he wanted an investigation conducted by HM Revenue and Customs “about the amount of money of all people that have invested in these shell companies or put money into tax havens and to calculate what tax they should have paid over the years”. The Labour leader said: “It’s a private matter in so far as it’s a privately held interest, but it’s not a private matter if tax has not been paid. “So an investigation must take place, an independent investigation.” Mr Corbyn also suggested the Government could intervene to take direct control of the UK’s offshore tax havens. “If it’s necessary for ministers to intervene because the governments of the Overseas Territories won’t act, they can use an order in council to take control of them immediately,” he said. The Prime Minister has championed the transparency agenda at a series of international summits, and legislation forcing British companies to disclose who owns and benefits from their activities comes into force in June. But despite several years of pressure, the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories have proved reluctant to fully open up their business registers to UK law enforcement agencies. Mr Cameron hopes for more action ahead of a major international anti-corruption summit he is hosting in May. A Number 10 source said the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories must deliver “full and effective transparency” for the UK authorities on the beneficial ownership of companies in their jurisdictions. The UK believes it is close to agreement with the Crown Dependencies, Bermuda and Gibraltar but “we need to get Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands over the line” by the May summit.

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