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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...


15th hole causes Sergio Garcia Masters pain

April 6 2018

Sergio Garcia’s title defence effectively came to an embarrassing end as he took an amazing 13 shots to play the 15th hole in the opening round of the Masters.Garcia dumped five balls into the water on the par five, where he made an eagle in last year’s final round, to record the highest score on the hole in tournament history.The previous record was 11 shots, shared by Jumbo Ozaki, Ben Crenshaw and Ignacio Garrido.After his second shot – with a six iron from 206 yards – found the water in front of the green, Garcia took a penalty drop and left himself around 90 yards to the green, but repeatedly hit wedge shots onto the putting surface and watched them spin back into the hazard.“I don’t know what to tell you,” Garcia said. “It’s one of those things. I feel like it’s the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot. Simple as that.“I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and unfortunately the ball just didn’t want to stop. So it’s just unfortunate, but that’s what it is.“It’s not the first time the pin’s been there, but with the firmness of the greens and everything I felt like the ball was going to stop and unfortunately for whatever reason it didn’t want to.”Garcia named his first child Azalea after the 13th hole at Augusta where he made a crucial par in the final round last year. A repeat of that was already unlikely as the 15th hole is called Firethorn, but Thursday’s events made absolutely certain.


Mark Foster buzzing at top of Johnnie Walker Championship leaderboard

August 26 2011

Delayed by fog, soaked by rain, buzzed by swarms of wasps and finally plunged into darkness with the first round unfinished, Scotland's summer of golf continued in glorious fashion at Gleneagles. Boils and rats were just about the only biblical-style plagues not to afflict the opening day of the Johnnie Walker Championship, and although an errant mole scuttling across a green did stop play at one point, he was mercifully operating solo. It has not reached the levels of the Barclays Scottish Open at Castle Stuart in July yet, but the appalling weather looks like being the defining mark for this golfing year, and the belated arrival of the predatory insects added to the general gloom. England's Mark Foster bravely ignored one of them landing on his arm to hole one of his birdie putts in the six-under 66 that led the first round, which started two hours and 40 minutes behind schedule due to the fog. Just over a quarter of the field had still to finish when time was called at 8.20 pm, leaving Spain's Ignacio Garrido sharing second with Tona Goya of Argentina. The best of the 25 Scots in the field finished 18 holes are, somewhat surprisingly, former Johnnie Walker champion Marc Warren and Alastair Forsyth, both of whom lost their tour rights last year but both had two-under 70s. Still out on the course, Richie Ramsay is two-under and amateur James Byrne is promisingly three-under, but with some of the tougher holes still to play. Foster is the refreshingly honest man from the same Worksop club that produced Lee Westwood and although he had to undergo three separate warm-ups because of false alarms on the fog clearing, shot a superb 66 despite being continually distracted by the buzzing irritants. "I'd say on every hole two or all three of us were backing off a shot," he said. "Eventually on 12 I went through with a birdie putt with a wasp landed on me. "I figured it's going to move when I hit the ball, I felt in a good place, so I went through with it and made the putt." Foster was in the same Walker Cup-winning team as Scotland's Stephen Gallacher in 1995 "Sixteen years ago, that was sobering discussion we had this week" and led in three successive tournaments this year, the BMW International, The French Open and the Scottish Open, although he didn't win any of them. He said: "That was pleasing time for me, because Sergio (Garcia) went crazy in Germany and Thomas (Levet) played pretty special in France, and Luke (Donald) was great in the Scottish, and I took great belief in myself knowing I can do it week to week, which I'd never really done before. "The biggest disappointment was playing well three weeks in a row didn't get me in the Open. I've won before so I don't question my ability to do it, and I've never taken it for granted. There have been times when I've given tournaments away but I think I'm a better person and player for that." Continued with scores... Garrido, a former PGA champion and Ryder Cup player, has been battling injury problems with back and neck all season but has seen new physios and even in the chill of a Scottish summer morning got loose enough for a 67. "The first part of the year has been difficult but happily that's over now," he said. "The course is playing long with all of the rain so the key is to stay out of trouble, and we got no wind, one of the better days you would have in Scotland." Such have expectations of half-decent weather fallen for visitors to this country, it seems. Goya, a 23-year-old protege of fellow Cordoban Angel Cabrera, shot his 67 in the gloaming but with only one bogey and none at all on the tough front nine. His best performance thus far in the season was ninth place last week in the Czech Open, and he carried that form into Gleneagles. Three players share third on four-under, and perhaps most ominously and fully 20 minutes after the siren went to end play, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn birdied the 18th to finish on that mark, clearly the class of those near the top of leaderboard. Further fog permitting, play will resume at 7.30am with, it's hoped, no more than a half-hour delay to getting the second round under way and back on schedule. Latest first round scores (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72). Note Play suspended for the day due to bad light. First round will resume at 7.30am today. Still 51 players on the course:66Mark Foster67Tano Goya (Arg), Ignacio Garrido (Spa)68Felipe Aguilar (Chi), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Peter Lawrie69Richard Bland, John Parry, Chris Wood, Robert Coles, Richard McEvoy, Victor Dubuisson (Fra), Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Thomas Norret (Den), Lorenzo Gagli (Ita)70Francesco Molinari (Ita), Oliver Wilson, Simon Dyson, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Joel Sjoholm (Swe), Marc Warren, Alastair Forsyth, Wade Ormsby (Aus), Simon Thornton, Miles Tunnicliff, Pablo Martin (Spa), Jeppe Huldahl (Den), Hennie Otto (Rsa), Matthew Nixon, Seve Benson, Gareth Wright, Romain Wattel (Fra), Jamie Donaldson, Alexandre Kaleka (Fra)71Christian Cevaer (Fra), Gary Orr, Steve Webster, Anders Hansen (Den), Ross Fisher, Soren Hansen (Den), Callum Macaulay, Emanuele Canonica (Ita), Christopher Doak, Bradley Dredge72Joakim Haeggman (Swe), Seung-yul Noh (Kor), Shiv Kapur (Ind), Jason McCreadie, Oliver Fisher, Jordi Garcia (Spa), Robert Rock, Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Ariel Canete (Arg), Adrian Otaegui (Spa)73Maarten Lafeber (Ned), Johan Edfors (Swe), Simon Khan, Lloyd Saltman, Anthony Kang (USA), Marco Ruiz (Par), Elliot Saltman, Andreas Harto (Den), Pedro Oriol (Spa), Ross McGowan74Fredrik Ohlsson (Swe), Alvaro Velasco (Spa), David Patrick, Robert Dinwiddie, Matthew Zions (Aus), Rhys Davies, Clodomiro Carranza (Arg), Julio Zapata (Arg), Lee Slattery, Stephen Gallacher, Stephen Dodd, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Tim Sluiter (Ned), Keith Horne (Rsa), Paul McGinley, Edoardo Molinari (Ita)75Liam Bond, Mark Tullo (Chi), David Howell, Greig Hutcheon, David Lynn, Mark Brown (Nzl), Richard Finch, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), Gregory Havret (Fra)76George Murray, Steve Lewton, Marcus Both (Aus), Peter Whiteford, Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Marcel Siem (Ger), Nick Dougherty, Steven O'Hara, Simon Wakefield, Graeme Storm77Scott Henderson, Danny Willett, George Coetzee (Rsa)78Shaun Norris (Rsa)80Ian Redford, James White.

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

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.

Chief Coroner to outline London Bridge and Borough Market terror inquests

February 9 2018

The chief coroner for England and Wales will hold a pre-inquest hearing later into the deaths from the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack.Eight people were killed when three men ploughed into pedestrians in a white van on the bridge, before stabbing revellers in the nearby market with 12-inch ceramic knives on June 3 last year.The victims were: Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, and Frenchmen Xavier Thomas, 45, and Alexandre Pigeard, 26, as well as Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39.The attackers, Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were shot and killed by police at the scene.Coroner Mark Lucraft QC is expected to give initial directions to pave the way for a “rigorous and thorough” investigation during the hearing at the Old Bailey.He is responsible for the inquests into the deaths of the eight victims as well as those of the terrorists.The coroner is being assisted by Jonathan Hough QC and Aaron Moss as counsel to the London Bridge and Borough Market Inquests.


Horror start to Sergio Garcia’s Masters title defence

April 5 2018

Sergio Garcia’s title defence effectively came to an embarrassing early end as he took an amazing 13 shots to play the 15th hole in the opening round of the Masters.Garcia dumped five balls into the water on the same par five where he made a vital eagle in last year’s final round, surpassing the previous highest score on the hole of 11 shared by Jumbo Ozaki, Ben Crenshaw and Ignacio Garrido.The 38-year-old went for the green in two and then needed five more attempts to find the putting surface and hole out from nine feet to avoid any further damage.Garcia did at least bounce back with a birdie on the 16th, but an 81 left him 86th in the 87-man field as Tiger Woods rallied to post an opening 73 in pursuit of his 15th major title.“It was interesting, an up and down day for me today,” Woods told ESPN. “I had some opportunities to makes and didn’t do it. I played the par fives very sloppily and that was the difference in the round.”Woods was five shots off the lead as he signed his card, with Henrik Stenson, Charley Hoffman and Adam Hadwin four under with two holes to play.Woods is contesting the year’s opening major for the first time in three years after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April last year and has finished 12th, second and fifth in his last three starts on the PGA Tour.But not for the first time in his career, the 42-year-old pulled his opening tee-shot into the trees which separate the first and ninth fairways, despite hitting three wood rather than a driver.The former world number one hit a low punch shot from the pine straw which found the front edge of the green, from where he produced a superbly well-judged putt from long range to leave a tap-in for par.Woods failed to take advantage of a 350-yard drive on the second after pushing his approach into a greenside bunker, but made no mistake from eight feet on the third after driving to within 20 yards of the green on the short par four.However, Woods bogeyed the fourth and fifth after finding sand off the tee on both occasions and his round was in danger of unravelling when a wild drive on the 11th was followed by an attempted recovery which clattered into the gallery.The resulting dropped shot was followed by a tee shot into the water on the 12th, but after a mediocre pitch Woods holed from 15 feet to salvage a bogey.A birdie on the 14th was followed by another wayward tee shot on the 15th and meant Woods had to settle for a fourth par of the day on the par fives, holes he has played in 150 under par in his career.But Woods did birdie the 16th to limit the damage on a day when some tough pin positions made low scores hard to come by.One such score was remarkably coming from American Tony Finau, despite suffering a sickening injury during the pre-tournament par-three contest.Finau was running backwards in an enthusiastic celebration of a hole-in-one on the seventh when his left ankle buckled underneath him.The 28-year-old then appeared to pop the dislocated ankle back into place, before later undergoing X-rays and an MRI scan, which thankfully revealed a high ankle sprain but no significant damage.Finau began his round with a bogey on the first, but birdied the second, fourth, eighth and ninth to reach three under par.

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

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.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.