December 1991

01.12.91 - RALLYCROSS
Kent waste paper merchant Pat Doran won the 10th Autoglass British Rallycross Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, his first race in the Ford RS200. Favourite Will Gollop seemed set for victory but had a flat tyre. Rob Gibson was second and Barry Squibb third.

The Paris-Dakar Rally, one of the toughest endurance tests in the world, has been given a new name and a new route for this year's event. The new Paris-Cape Town Rally, starting on December 23, follows a 7,722-mile route through ten African countries before ending on January 16. "Everybody was getting a bit tired with Paris-Dakar. Why not cross Africa from north to south for a change?" said rally director Gilbert Sabine. About 150 cars, 100 motorbikes and 100 trucks are expected to enter this year.

F1:- Ferrari have sold their British research centre, GTO, to Formula One rivals McLaren-Honda. The centre at Guildford was built in 1986 when John Barnard was technical director of the Italian team. Former Brabham boss Herbie Blash has left the Chessington-based team after 20 years to oversee Yamaha's link-up with the Jordan F1 team next season.

F1:- FISA president Max Mosley has confirmed that 16 Formula One races are scheduled for next year. The European Grand Prix in Jerez, Spain has been dropped but remains on stand-by for October 14 in case the Hungaroring GP is not approved by FISA. Mosley added that it was intended to set a speed limit in the curves for Formula One racing in 1994, but he did not say to what extent. "It's getting much too dangerous and we must absolutely stop that," he said.

SPORTSCARS:- FISA has decided to maintain the World Sportscar Championship series for 1992. But a condition has been placed on the series, with at least 20 cars needing to be entered by January 31st, 1992. FISA president Max Mosley had last month decided to cancel the competition since he thought there was not enough commitment and public interest. One of the rounds, a 1000-km race, is due to be held at Donington Park on July 19 - in addition to the 500km race at Silverstone on May 10.

World Sportscar Ch'ship 1992 calendar:

Apr 5  Autopolis, Japan (500km)

Apr 26 Monza, Italy (1000km)

May 10 Silverstone, Britain (500km)

May 24 Jarama, Spain (500km)

Jun 21 Le Mans 24 hours, France

Jul 19 Donington Park, Britain (1000km)

Aug 2  Nurburgring, Germany (1000km)

Aug 30 Suzuka, Japan (1000km)

Sep 13 Mexico City (1000km)

Oct 4  Jerez, Spain (1000km)
Staging of championship subject to 20 cars being entered by a deadline of January 31, 1992.

RALLY:- Tired rally drivers have won their battle for a less frantic schedule for the 1992 World Championship series. The FISA world council has dropped a plan to reduce the number of world rally championship events from 14 to 10. But to stop drivers becoming over-tired they will only be allowed to take part in 10 of the events. Drivers may select which rallies they contest. A plan for just the Monte Carlo and Kenyan Safari rallies to be staged each year and all other events to be run on alternate years was dropped.

09.12.91 - F1
World Champion Ayrton Senna won the International Racing Driver of the Year award at a ceremony in London on Sunday night. The Jordan Formula One team have signed Italian Stefano Modena to drive for them in the 1992 Grand Prix season. The 28-year-old from San Prospero drove for Tyrrell-Honda in 1991 and achieved a career-best second place behind Nelson Piquet in the Canadian GP. Team boss Eddie Jordan said Modena shared their "common ambition to win at the highest level." Alessandro Zanardi is likely to be their second driver. Jordan have agreed a major sponsorship deal with Brown & Williamson, a member of the BAT Industries group.

16.12.91 - F1
Britain's Johnny Herbert has re-signed with Team Lotus for the 1992 F1 World Championship season. He will be partnered by Finn Mika Hakkinen in the new Ford HB V8 powered cars as Lotus bid to bring about a resurgence in their fortunes. The drivers will also benefit from a revolutionary helmet-mounted 'head-up' instrument display providing crucial engine information. Team Lotus managing director Peter Collins said: "Within Formula One there are only a handful of outstanding young talents and we have two of them."

Italian Alessandro Nannini has had a further operation on the arm he had sewn back after it was severed in a helicopter crash last year. The operation was intended to enable him to close his hand more easily and he says he is "99% certain" of being fit for Formula One action next year.

SPORTSCARS:- Organisers of the Le Mans 24-hour race have opened the event to sports cars not competing in the world championship providing they are of a make already in the world championship.

RALLYING:- Champion team Lancia is retiring from competition next year after taking its fifth consecutive world makers title. But the Italian team's cars and drivers will still compete, under the privately run Martini Racing and Jolly Club teams. The Turin company, who have clinched ten world titles in all, emphasised that there was no financial problem. World drivers champion Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol will drive with the Martini Racing team next year.

20.12.91 - F1
Christian Fittipaldi, the nephew of ex-world champion Emerson, will drive for the Minardi team in next year's Formula One Championship. Harvey Postlethwaite has rejoined Ferrari as chief designer two years after quitting the Italian outfit to join Tyrrell. Sante Ghedini has been named as the new team manager.

The world's longest and toughest motor rally starts on Monday with 343 starters aiming to travel the 12,427kms from Paris to Cape Town. Four-times winner Ari Vatenen heads the 143 car entries and is aiming to repeat last year's victory in his Citroen ZX. There are also 99 motorcycles and 101 trucks lining up to trek across desert, savannah, equatorial forest and veldt but only 30 per cent likely to finish. The rally used to finish in Dakar but worsening political conditions have made West Africa too dangerous.

Last year's winner Ari Vatenen faces stiff opposition as he bids for a fifth victory in the prestigious rally. Swede Bjorn Waldegaard, world champion in 1979, will be driving one of the five Citroen ZXs as will the Finn and Belgium's Jacky Ickx. Ickx's co-driver Christian Tarin was killed in October during the Pharaohs desert rally in Egypt but Ickx has chosen to continue. Former Formula One grand prix driver, Swiss Clay Regazzoni now confined to a wheelchair, competes in a Mercedes.

South Africa's emergence from the sporting wilderness gave the organisers the opportunity to alter the itinerary. The 14th edition of the rally enters Africa through Libya, where Colonel Gaddafi has guaranteed the competitors' safety, and by-passes troubled Zaire with a 25-hour sea voyage. Last January a French truck driver was shot dead in Mali highlighting the dangers faced in such volatile areas. Chief organiser Gilbert Sabine said: "When you look at the map of Africa it is logical to go from top to bottom."

Dec 23 Start: Paris - Sete 820kms

Dec 24 Crossing Mediterranean

Dec 25 Disembark: Misratah, Libya

Dec 26 Misratah - Sirte 651kms

Dec 27 Sirte - Sabah 74 421kms

Dec 28 Sabah 74 - Waw el Kebir 546kms

Dec 29 Waw el Kebir - Tumu 520kms

Dec 30 Tumu - Dirkou 738kms

Dec 31 Dirkou - N'Guigmi 601kms

Jan 1  N'Guimgi - N'Djamena 438kms

Jan 2  N'Djamena - Sarh 695kms

Jan 3  Sarh - Bouar 560kms

Jan 4  Bouar - Yaounde 660kms

Jan 5  Yaounde - Oyem 400kms

Jan 6  Oyem - Franceville 793kms

Jan 7  Franceville - Pointe Noire 667km

Jan 8 - 9|Rest day/Fly to Lobito

Jan 10 Lobito - Namibe 500kms

Jan 11 Namibe - Ruacana 517kms

Jan 12 Ruacana - Grootfontein 600kms

Jan 13 Grootfontein - Gobabis 450kms

Jan 14 Gobabis - Keetmanshoop 600kms

Jan 15 Keetmanshoop - Springbok 450kms

Jan 16 Springbok - Cape Town 611kms

Four times Paris-Dakar winner Ari Vatanen starts in second place for the opening stage in Libya on Boxing Day. Vatanen in his Camel Citroen ZX was one second off the pace set by Mitsubishi's Erwin Weber in the Paris prologue, held over a 4km course to decide the starting order for the three-week event. Frenchman Bruno Saby, competing with the Mitsubishi team for the first time, was third fastest, one second back. "I'm disappointed not to have won," said Vatanen. "But it'll be interesting to start between the two Pajeros."

Results of prologue (starting order):
						  mins secs

 1 Weber/Hiemer        Mitsubishi  4:00

 2 Vatanen/Berglund    Citroen ZX  4:01

 3 Saby/Maimon         Mitsubishi  4:02

 4 Waldegard/Gallagher Citroen ZX  4:05

 5 Ickx/Lemoyne        Citroen ZX  4:09

 6 Servia/Puig         Lada Samara 4:15

 7 Schlesser           Prototype   4:24

 8 Shinozuka/Magne     Mitsubishi  4:26

 9 Auriol/Monnet       Mitsubishi  4:26

10 Torra/Selga         Nissan Pat  4:26

Bjorn Waldegard used all his Dakar experience to win the second leg of the Paris-Cape Town Rally. The Citroen driver made up for two punctures on the first day to sweep home in the 375km stage and go 10th overall. It was a different story for Finland's Ari Vatanen, when his Citroen smashed its back axle against a rock. Salvador Servia took over the overall lead after finishing the stage third. Overnight leader Hubert Auriol slipped down to eighth.

Two French service personnel died instantly when their support vehicle crashed and exploded at the end of the second stage. Jean-Marie Sounillac, 43, and Laurent Lebourgeois, 28, were in a Range Rover a few hundred metres before the stage finish in Sabah, central Libya. They were members of the service crew for former world sportscar champion Jean-Louis Schlesser, of France. Sweden's Bjorn Waldegaard, driving a Citroen, won the second stage ahead of France's Bruno Saby.

Positions after second stage:
						hrs mins secs
 1 S Servia    Sp  Lada Samara   6:04.35

 2 B Saby      Fr  Citroen ZX    6:06:50

 3 K Shinozuka Jap Mitsubishi    6:13.39

 4 P Lartigue  Fr  Citroen ZX    6:40:32

 5 J Schlesser Fr  Proto         6:46:37

 6 F G'manetti It  Mercedes      6:48.24

 7 A Abrosino  Fr  Citroen ZX    6:49.10

 8 H Auriol    Fr  Mitsubishi    6:49.30

 9 J Ickx      Bel Citroen ZX    6:50.02

10 J Torra     Sp  Nissan Patrol 6:51.13

Desert 'rokkie' Bruno Saby moved to the top of the leaderboard after finishing third behind Ari Vatanen on stage three in southern Libya. It was a stirring comeback by Vatanen, who lost over two hours with a broken axle on his Citroen on Friday. But Saby reached the finish at Waw El Kbir with a 13-minute advantage over Spain's Salvador Servia despite driving the last seven kms with a flat tyre. "It's the first time I have driven in the desert and it is frightening," the Frenchman commented.

Positions after third stage:  hrs mins secs

 1 B Saby      Fr  Citroen ZX    7:15:15

 2 S Servia    Sp  Lada Samara   7:28.18

 3 K Shinozuka Jap Mitsubishi    7:43.10

 4 H Auriol    Fr  Mitsubishi    7:55.36

 5 J Schlesser Fr  Proto         8:12:21

 6 E Weber     Ger Mitsubishi    8:13.25

 7 B Waldegard Swe Citroen ZX    8:27.58

 8 A Abrosino  Fr  Citroen ZX    8:53.10

 9 P Lartigue  Fr  Citroen ZX    8:59:50

10 J Torra     Sp  Nissan Patrol 8:01.04

Frenchman Hubert Auriol took the lead from Mitsubishi teammate Bruno Saby after the 325-mile fourth stage to Tumu. Auriol, winner of the first African stage on Thursday, took his chance after French champion Saby crashed halfway through the stage. Auriol now leads Kenjiro Shinozuka by 7 mins 59 secs, with Spain's Salvador Servia, in a Lada, third.

Positions after fourth stage:

CARS                        hrs mins secs

1 H Auriol    Fr  Mitsubishi    6:46.47

2 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi    6:57:59

3 S Servia    Sp  Lada Samara   6:58:30

4 E Weber     Ger Mitsubishi    7:27:05

5 J Schlesser Fr  Proto         8:47:44

6 B Waldegard Swe Citroen ZX   10:06:19

Hubert Auriol strengthened his overall lead in the cars after winning the fifth stage, leading a Mitsubishi sweep of the first five places.

Positions after fifth stage:

CARS                      hrs mins secs

1 H Auriol    Fr  Mitsubishi    9:43:12

2 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi   10:33:15

3 E Weber     Ger Mitsubishi   10:38:31

German Erwin Weber moved into second place overall after winning the 601-km stage from Dirkou to N'Guigmi. Weber, in a Mitsubishi, completed the tricky section in 1 hr 58 mins 47 secs, 1.29 seconds quicker than runner-up Salvador Servia of Spain in a Lada. Overall leader Hubert Auriol was a further 3 mins 39 seconds adrift in third spot, underlining Mitsubishi's domination of the event.

Sixth stage winner Erwin Weber admitted he was rather scared during the early part of Tuesday's test. "There were many sand dunes to cross. I decided not to start very fast but eventually caught Shinozuka, Vatanen and Waldegaard," he explained. "Taking the lead was easy - the leading car always goes slower." Ari Vatanen in his Camel Citroen had a difficult day at the head of the field, being the first driver to find the traps on the stage leaving the others to take advantage of his efforts.

Pierre Lartigue's consideration for a fallen rider cost him valuable time as he tried to improve on seventh place. "A helicopter pilot warned us to slow down because of a rider on the far side of a sand dune. In fact we would not have touched him but as a result we got stuck there badly," he explained.

Mitsubishi driver Bruno Saby found the going tougher than ever and slipped back off the leaderboard. "I got stuck at the base of a dune and had to wait 1.5 hours for the service truck. I really struggled to the line..I can't take any more," he said.

Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser dropped out of the event in Niger. He had been going well but got lost on the stage from Tumu and arrived at Dirkou on Tuesday morning after all the competitors had left.

The New Year's Day competitive section from N'Guigmi to N'Djamena has been cancelled by the authorities in Chad following political unrest in Liwa, a village en-route. Four hundred Chad soldiers have been drafted in to provide security for the rally convoy.

Result of sixth stage:
(601-km Dirkou to N'Guigmi)

CARS                      hrs mins secs

1 E Weber     Ger Mitsubishi   1:58:47

2 S Servia    Sp  Lada         2:00:16

3 H Auriol    Fr  Mitsubishi   2:02:26

4 B Waldegard Swe Citroen      2:05:10

5 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi   2:07:01

Overall positions after sixth stage:

CARS                      hrs mins secs

1 H Auriol    Fr  Mitsubishi   11:45:38

2 E Weber     Ger Mitsubishi   12:20.30

3 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi   12:23.28