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BMW sticks with current drivers
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BMW Sauber has decided to stick with existing drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld for next season's Formula One campaign, the team announced yesterday.

"BMW Sauber...has opted for continuity," the team said in a statement, adding that Austrian Christian Klein would also stay on as its test and reserve driver.

"We see Nick and Robert as a strong driver pairing and Christian as an experienced test driver," BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said in Munich.

"We are in no doubt that we will again achieve our ambitious aims with them in the team's fourth year."

BMW was previously reported to have been interested in replacing Heidfeld with twice world champion Fernando Alonso.

However, the Spaniard said his "first priority" would be to stay with his current team Renault.

After 15 of 18 races this season, Kubica of Poland is third in the drivers' standings with 64 points and German Heidfeld is fifth with 56. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton leads with 84 points, seven ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

BMW-Sauber has won one Formula One race this season, with Kubica taking the Canadian Grand Prix ahead of Heidfeld.

Meanwhile, Tony Stewart ended a two-year NASCAR winless drought on Sunday after he was awarded victory by officials at Talladega when they ruled that Regan Smith's last-lap pass was illegal.

After putting together an unwanted sequence of 43 races without a win, Stewart was leading a late-race sprint at the Alabama circuit when rookie Smith crossed an out-of-bounds line on the inside of the track and finished ahead of the pack.

NASCAR officials said Smith's move violated rules and declared Stewart the winner while demoting Smith to 18th.

"It's one thing to get back to victory lane, but to do it at Talladega...I've wanted to win here for so long," Stewart told reporters after finally going one better than the six second-place finishes he had registered at the famous track.

After Smith's demotion, Paul Menard moved up to second with David Ragan third, Jeff Burton fourth and Clint Bowyer fifth.

"I was always told the rule is that if you're forced down there you're the winner and on the last lap anything goes," said Smith, who thought Stewart had forced him below the yellow line.

Points leader Jimmie Johnson increased his lead after finishing ninth. He now leads Carl Edwards by 72 points and Greg Biffle by 77.

A major accident involving Edwards and Biffle with 14 laps remaining of the scheduled 188-lap race hurt their chances.

Edwards's car bumped Biffle's and at least 11 vehicles were affected by the crash, including those of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.

Edwards had trailed Johnson by 10 points going into the race.

(Agencies via Shanghai Daily October 7, 2008)

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