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F1 NEWS 

Rankings: Vettel set for landmark week

Sebastian VettelSebastian Vettel is on the verge of a landmark week in the Castrol Rankings as the Red Bull Formula 1 driver heads to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix.

For the last 28 weeks the German has held the number one position in the Castrol Rankings, making him the world's best-performing racing driver.

Vettel's stint has equalled that of world champion Jenson Button between September 2009 and March this year, meaning that just one more week at the top spot would make Vettel a record-breaker.

In order to keep himself at the top of the standings, Vettel needs only to finish on the tail of his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, who currently lies second in the Castrol Rankings in addition to leading the world championship.

Webber's quest to boost his score seems more straightforward than Vettel's at Suzuka. Due to results last year, he only needs to finish 14th in order to boost his score. He'll need a podium though to make serious inroads into his 1300-point deficit to Vettel.

By contrast, Vettel's score will be reduced if he does not finish inside the top four. With Button, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso all looking strong in recent races though, that is no guarantee.

Hamilton and Alonso lie fourth and fifth in the Castrol Rankings behind World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, but with Hamilton needing to win to avoid a points decrease and Alonso coming off the back of two wins, the pair could swap places.

World champion Jenson Button has slipped from first to eighth since March, but a race win for the Briton will move him ahead of IndyCar runner-up Will Power (7). Whether he goes any higher will depend on whether NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie
Johnson can repeat his Fontana win from 2009 at the California oval.

Both IndyCar racer Ryan Briscoe (22) and American Le Mans Series LMP champion David Brabham (86) will make guest appearances in the V8 Supercar Championship at the blue riband Bathurst 1000km race and are higher-ranked than any of the series regulars.

Pre-race favourites will be reigning champion Jamie Whincup (94), who shares his Triple 8 Holden with Steve Owen (1791), but series leader James Courtney (146) and Warren Luff (1581) will be just as keen to beat his title rival as Garth Tander (123) will be to repeat his 2009 win at Bathurst. He shares his Holden Racing Team Commodore with Cameron McConville (793).

The British Touring Car Championship concludes at Brands Hatch with four drivers in with a shot of the title. Favourite Jason Plato's (195) Castrol Rankings score will drop unless he repeats his treble win of a year ago while Matt Neal (235), Gordon Shedden (209) and Tom Onslow-Cole (281) are all looking to improve theirs.

There are three drivers capable of becoming Formula Renault 3.5 champion too. Carlin's Russian driver Mikhail Aleshin (167) leads the way from rookie Daniel Ricciardo (142) and series veteran Esteban Guerrieri (129), but is ranked behind both.

To see the full Castrol Rankings, visit www.castroldriverrankings.com

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