17.01.91 - PARIS-DAKAR RALLYFinn Ari Vatanen clinched a record fourth victory, finishing well clear in his Citroen ZX at the end of the tough three-week endurance event. Vatanen won last year after a coin toss between him and team team-mate Jacky Ickx but this year he was over two and a half hours ahead of Pierre Lartigue. The Frenchman offered Vatanen the most serious challenge and he was just three minutes behind when mechanical problems hit on the Dirkou-Gossololom stage. Of the 339 vehicles that started only 175 managed to reach Dakar.
Final standings after 60km last stage from M'boro to Dakar: Penalties hrs mins secs 1 A Vatanen Fin Citroen 32:20.50 2 P Lartigue Fr Mitsubishi 2:42.27 3 JP Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 3:24.06 4 K Eriksson Swe Mitsubishi 4:54.36 5 H Auriol Fr Lada 6:03.29 6 A Ambrosino Fr Citroen 7:03.34 7 P Tambay Fr Lada 8:10.57 8 J Bouchet Fr Nissan 8:54.33 9 G Sarrazin Fr Toyota 12:22.22 10 JJ Ratet Fr Toyota 13:21.53 24.01.91 - F1David Brabham tested a Lotus on Wednesday, fuelling speculation that he could drive for the team in 1991 if Martin Donnelly is not fully fit. The former Brabham team driver did several laps on the new Silverstone GP circuit, circling in 1min 35.8 secs. The purpose of the test was to allow Mika Hakkinen a chance to acclimatise to a Grand Prix car. He drove last year's car with a Judd EV V8 engine. Lotus are the first GP team to test on the new 3.21 mile circuit which will host July's British Grand Prix.
Motor sport governing body, FISA, have denied reports that the opening Grand Prix of the season in America would be postponed becaus eof the Gulf crisis. "For the time being everything is confirmed," said a spokesman. "There is no evidence whatsoever to the contrary". The speculation followed decisions by major corporations such as Honda and Goodyear to ban international travel during the Gulf war. But Honda spokesman Eric Silbermann said their F-One personnel would be attending testing and the Pheonix race.
Damon Hill is hot favourite to join Nigel Mansell at Williams as the team's official test driver. Hill, 30, son of the former F-One world champion, takes over from Mark Blundell who has joined the Brabham F-One team."I know who it is but I cannot confirm names until the contract is signed," said team owner, Frank Williams. Hill has already re-signed to contest the F3000 championship for Middlebridge this season after an impressive 1990 in which he started from pole three times.
Nigel Mansell could be at the wheel of the most sophisticated Grand Prix car in this year's F-One world championship. Williams plan to start the year with a semi-automatic gearbox, such as used at Ferrari, and want to re-introduce a re-active suspension system by mid-season. And team owner Frank Williams is also calling for the sport to back the green issue and use unleaded fuel. "We have to take positive steps and be seen to be green to set an example," said Williams.
CLASSIC MARATHON: Stirling Moss is making his most determined bid yet in the Pirelli Classic Marathon, set for June. Moss has bought a 1963 Austin Healey 3000 and is preparing it to works rally standard in his bid for one of the few 'racing' victories to have eluded him. "It is a great event - very competitive but very friendly," said Moss, as tyre giants Pirelli announced they would be backing the prestigious classic car run for a further two years. "I'm hoping the Healey will be quicker than the MGB I used last year" he added.
Organisers have promised an "element of surprise" for the 130 competitors in this year's Pirelli Classic Marathon. "The 1991 event may include sections in the dark, for the first time," said Pirelli's marketing manager Peter Tyson. "We may also introduce different time targets for the cars dependant on their age. The run will also require greater map-reading skills than ever before." The event, open to pre-1965 classic cars, starts from London's Tower Bridge on June 23 and finishes seven days later in Cortina, Italy.
MONTE CARLO RALLY: World champion Carlos Sainz defends his title in Monte Carlo starting Thursday looking to break Lancia's stranglehold on the world's most prestigious rally. The famous Italian marque has won the event in the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean every year since 1987. Even though Sainz won four events last year, including the RAC Rally, Lancia's Didier Auriol handed Lancia a controversial victory in Monaco. The weather will be a crucial factor with a lack of snow favouring tarmac specialists such as Sainz and Auriol.
The Monte Carlo Rally will, as always, be a battle of the car giants. Lancia are favourites having won every year since 1987 and a powerful field of drivers including champions Didier Auriol, Juha Kankkunen, Massimo Biaison and 1988 winner Bruno Saby. Toyota are spearheaded by champion Carlos Sainz with Swede Mikael Ericsson and German Armin Schwartz. Mitsubishi pin their hopes on 1985 world champion Timo Salonen while Mazda need icy conditions to maximise on the car and Hannu Mikkola's talents.
TIMETABLE 27 special stages, 625.89km Thursday/Friday (Jan 24/25) Concentration runs Saturday (Jan 26) 0700-2000 Monaco - Aubenas Sunday (Jan 27) 0900-2015 Aubenas - Digne Monday (Jan 28) 0900-1850 Digne - Monaco Tuesday/Wednesday (Jan 29/30) 1515-0800 Monaco - Monaco PREVIOUS WINNERS 1990 Auriol-Occelli Lancia 1989 Biasion-Siviero Lancia 1988 Saby-Fauchille Lancia 1987 Biasion-Siviero Lancia 1991 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Monte Carlo 2 Portugal 3 Safari (Kenya) 4 Tour de Corse 5 Acropolis (Greece) 6 Argentina 7 Thousand Lakes (Finland) 8 Australia 9 San Remo (Italy) 10 Lombard RAC (Great Britain)Britain's leading woman rally driver, Louise Aitken-Walker, is hoping to contest this year's British Open series. This time last year she was competing in the world championship in Monaco. But despite an impressive 1990 she is without the sponsorship to contest the world series or race in Britain in '91.
"Naturally I'm disappointed not to be in Monte Carlo. I'm just trying to get things together to contest the Open series and perhaps get back into the world championship in 1992," she said.
25.01.91 - MINTEX RALLYJapan's Hideaki Miyoshi starts as favourite in the opening round of the Mintex National Rally Championship - which ends this year after 17 years. Miyoshi drives the Mitsubishi Galant and last year's runner-up Jim Bothwell returns in his Toyota Celica for Saturday's showdown. Other challengers include Oxfordshire pair Trevor Smith and Steve Hill, both in four-wheel drive Ford Cosworths. The rally starts at 8am and covers 65 miles on gravel and tarmac forest tracks before ending in Bournemouth.
MINTEX NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Round One Top 10 entries: 1 Miyoshi/Moss Mitsubishi Galant 2 Smith/Jones Ford Cosworth 3 Bothwell/Jones Toyota Celica 4 Hill/Goff Ford Cosworth 5 Jones/James Toyota Celica 6 Sharam/Jeff'ies Toyota Celica 7 Davies/Watts Ford Sapphire 8 Dyas/Derry Ford Sierra 9 Williams/ANOth' Ford Cosworth 10 Short/Starkey Vauxhall AstraSPORTSCARS:- Derek Warwick will link up with ex-F1 team-mate Eddie Cheever when he returns to the wheel of a Jaguar in the Daytona 24-hour race on February 2-3. He is returning to sportscar racing after a five-year absence and will be partnered by Cheever and '88 Daytona champion John Neilsen, in the XJR-12. Leading US driver Davy Jones will team up with Kenny Acheson, Raul Boesel and Scott Pruett in the second Jaguar. The team will be competing in the red, white and blue colours of their new sponsors BudLite.
MIDDLE EAST RALLY/OTHER:- The FIA Middle East Rally Championship has been postponed following the outbreak of war in the Gulf. The FIA say no other changes are planned although they have extended the closing date for entries in the World Sportscar Championship and Formula 3000 International Championship to March 15.
F1:- Sir Jack Brabham has opened a new œ900,000 factory in the Judd complex at Rugby. Formula One stars Mika Hakkinen, JJ Lehto and Emanuele Pirro attended the ceremony.
26.01.91 - MONTE CARLO RALLYWorld champion Carlos Sainz made an impressive start, clocking fastest times on the first two stages. The Spaniard suffered from early brake trouble on the Toyota but then reported "Everything is fine except I'm sleepy." Juha Kankkunen in a Lancia and Ford's Britain's Malcolm Wilson in a Ford both spun on the treacherous icy mountain roads. Armin Schwarz slipped to eighth after crashing his Toyota.
Last year's winner Didier Auriol was lying second when he stopped on stage 4 in his Lancia, losing nine minutes. A mystery problem with his Lancia engine has ruined almost any chance of Didier Auriol retaining his title. The Frenchman's car ground to a halt just 350 metres into the fourth stage and took nine minutes to restart. He slipped from second to below 40th place but then bounced back by setting the fastest time on the 23.44km stage 5 to Mazaire Le Desert. "The engine stopped, then it started again. I don't know why," said Auriol. Francois Delecour in a Ford Cosworth Sierra moved up to second place.
Mazda team leader Hannu Mikkola, lying fifth, became the first major casualty of the punishing early pace when he retired with ignition problems. Bruno Saby was rescued by spectators when he went straight on at a hairpin on stage 2, losing about 15 seconds. The turbocharger was changed on Alex Fiorio's Ford after the first stage. Armin Schwarz damaged the front of his Toyota and lost a wheel in a crash. New Mitsubishi man Timo Salonen has complained of understeering problems.
Leaderboard after 5 of 27 stages: mins secs 1 C Sainz Toyota 1:01.43 2 F Delecour Ford 1:02.24 3 B Saby Lancia 1:02.32 4 M Biasion Lancia 1:02.35 5 A Schwarz Toyota 1:02:43 6 J Kankkunen Lancia 1:03:13 7 T Salonen Mitsubishi 1:03:24 8 Y Loubet Lancia 1:03:32 9 M Wilson Ford 1:03:50 10 K Eriksson Mitsubishi 1:04:05 MINTEX RALLY Leaderboard after 16 of 20 stages: mins secs 1 T Smith Ford Sierra 50.29 2 S Hill Ford Sierra 51:12 3 H Miyoshi Mitsubishi 51:18 4 A Sharam Toyota Celica 51:38 5 G Jones Toyota Celica 52:33 6 B Bell Ford Sierra 52:47 7 S Smith Lancia Delta 53:07 8 T Hill Ford Sapphire 53:11 = R Mawson Toyota Celica 53:11 10 M Harrison Lancia Delta 53:14Trevor Smith retained his lead in the Ford Sierra despite losing some time when he went off on stage 4. Jim Bothwell lost 15 seconds with a big spin in his Toyota on stage 3 and Colin Short span his Vauxhall on stage 4. Several drivers hit a chicane on the opening stage including Short, Martyn Harrison, JonMilner and Gerald Brockhurst. Milner damaged his Peugeot while Brockhurst was forced to retire. Short's problems continued when he spun on stage 7, almost into a lake, and crashed on stage 15 but continued.
Paul Dyas has retired after problems with the rear differential on his Ford Sierra. He started stage 5 with only two-wheel-drive and just made stage 7. Ken Jones retired the Mazda, on its UK national rally debut, when its piston broke. Jeff Williams stopped on stage 4 when his front differential collapsed. Third-placed Kevin Furber rolled his Peugeot 205 after the flying finish of stage 6 but was able to continue. Glyn Jones lost 40 seconds on stages 9-11 after choosing the wrong tyres for his Toyota.
27.01.91 - MONTE CARLO RALLYFrenchman Francois Delecour moved almost within reach of leader Carlos Sainz on the final stage of day two. The works Ford driver challenged world champion Sainz all day and, after a wrong tyre choice by the Toyota star, cut his lead to just 39 seconds. Delecour made his intentions clear by setting the best time on the daunting Burzet stage, first one of the day. He insisted: "It's among my favourites. I have driven it many times. I have even named my English setter dog Burzet after this famous stage." Frenchman Didier Auriol, last year's winner of the event, came to a halt on the first stage of the second day. Auriol, battling to make up the nine minutes he lost with a mystery problem on the Lancia on stage 4, suffered engine trouble 11km into the infamous Burzet to St Martial seventh stage. Oil poured on to the brakes forcing him off the road and out of the rally. Meanwhile Francois Delecour stepped up his challenge in the Ford, setting the fastest time on stage 7 to move into second behind Toyota's Carlos Sainz.
Francois Delecour, chasing leader Carlos Sainz, lost 15 seconds with a spin on stage 9 but remained in second place. Leading Mazda driver Jesus Puras had a problem with the rear drive on stage 9 while Alex Fiorio in a Ford lost front drive on the same stage. Armin Schwarz suffered a puncture 5km after the start of stage 7, while Yves Loubet's Lancia had a broken driveshaft. Britain's Malcolm Wilson struggled with brake trouble on the Ford on stage 7 and lost a place on the leaderboard, slipping back to ninth.
Mitsubishi's new recruit Timo Salonen set the fastest time on stage 8, his first top spot in the rally, and pulled up two places to take fifth. Drivers have had to cope with freezing fog, black ice and snow a foot deep in places during Sunday's six stages. Kenneth Eriksson has gone out of title contention after running out of fuel on stage 9, losing about 30 minutes. He may retire before the third day.
Leaderboard after 12 of 27 stages: (end of day two) hr mins secs 1 C Sainz Toyota 3:15:28 2 F Delecour Ford 3:16:07 3 M Biasion Lancia 3:17:04 4 B Saby Lancia 3:17:18 5 J Kankkunen Lancia 3:18:54 6 A Schwarz Toyota 3:20:23 7 T Salonen Mitsubishi 3:20:41 8 Y Loubet Lancia 3:20:44 9 M Wilson Ford 3:22:01 10 J Puras Mazda 3:23:03 28.01.91 - F1Michael Andretti, a leading US Indy Cart driver, has joined the McLaren team as a test driver. He is thought to have signed a one-year contract, with an option to extend it for a further two years. McLaren said he would be taking part in several tests which would be timed in order to avoid jeopardising either his or their 1991 racing programme. He will make his debut at the wheel of the Honda V12 car in Estoril next week. "Both sides look froward to positive results," said a McLaren statement.
MONTE CARLO RALLY: Carlos Sainz takes a lead of only nine seconds into the final day of the event after a spin on ice in his Toyota. The spin on the penultimate stage of the third day cost the world champion 20 secs to rival Francois Delecour. The Frenchman made the most of his good fortune by speeding to the fastest time on the last stage to leave Sainz hanging on desperately in front. Britain's Malcolm Wilson made excellent progress on day three, snatching eighth place and closing to just 49 secs behind seventh-placed Timo Salonen.
Leaderboard after 18 of 27 stages: (End of third day) hr mins secs 1 C Sainz Toyota 4:37:07 2 F Delecour Ford 4:37:16 3 M Biasion Lancia 4:39:15 4 B Saby Lancia 4:40:08 5 J Kankkunen Lancia 4:41:16 6 A Schwarz Toyota 4:41:24 7 T Salonen Mitsubishi 4:43:43 8 M Wilson Ford 4:44:32 9 Y Loubet Lancia 4:45:31 10 A Fiorio Ford 4:51.38 29.01.91 - MONTE CARLO RALLYFrenchman Francois Delecour stormed into the lead in his Ford Sierra Cosworth as the final leg got underway. Reigning world champion Carlos Sainz, who has led for the last four days, was just nine seconds clear at the start. But the Ford took the fastest stage time by a clear margin of 11 seconds to give Delecour the lead. Britain's Malcolm Wilson remains in eighth place. Ninety three surviving cars left Monaco at 1400GMT to tackle the final nine speed tests overnight prior to the 0800 finish on Wednesday morning.
Leaderboard after 19 of 27 stages: hr mins secs 1 F Delecour Ford 4:52.58 2 C Sainz Toyota 4:53.00 3 M Biasion Lancia 4:55.12 4 B Saby Lancia 4:55.56 5 A Schwarz Toyota 4:57.09 6 J Kankkunen Lancia 4:57.27 7 T Salonen Mitsubishi 5:00.08 8 M Wilson Ford 5:00.37 9 Y Loubet Lancia 5:01.44 10 A Fiorio Ford 5:07.06TOURING CAR:- The 1991 Esso British Touring Car Championship has been extended with the addition of an extra round at Donington park on July 28. The championship will now feature 13 rounds.
30.01.91 - F1Drivers in this season's Formula One GP series will earn ten points for a win instead of nine, FISA have announced. FISA also agreed that each driver's 14 best results of the season would count towards the world championship. Until now, only the top 11 result from the 16-race series were counted. The decision to increase the figure to 14 appeared to be a compromise after an earlier proposal to let all results be included in the standings. FISA's world council have to officially approve the changes next month.
MONTE CARLO RALLY: World champion Carlos Sainz won the Monte Carlo Rally after a cruel stroke of luck robbed novice Francois Delecour of a surprise victory. The Frenchman had built up a 41 second lead before his Ford Sierra broke down on the 27th and final stage. It took Delecour six minutes to get the car going and he dropped back to third. Sainz, in a Toyota, won the event with a cushion of 16 seconds. 1989 winner Massimo Biasion finished second in a Lancia.
Final leaderboard hr mins secs 1 C Sainz Toyota 6:57.21 2 M Biasion Lancia 7:02.20 3 F Delecour Ford 7:02.33 4 A Schwarz Toyota 7:03.52 5 J Kankkunen Lancia 7:04.37 6 B Saby Lancia 7:06.34 7 M Wilson Ford 8 T Salonen Mitsubishi 9 Y Loubet Lancia 10 A Fiorio Ford 31.01.91 - JOHN WATSON ON THE DAYTONA 24 HOUR SPORTSCAR EVENTJaguar start favourites for the first major international motor race of the year, the classic Daytona 24-Hour. The team, who have won twice in three years, compete with the V12-engined cars further refined by another year of endurance racing - which included victory in the 24-hour race at Le Mans. British interest will be increased by the appearance of Derek Warwick in the number one car and Ulsterman Kenny Acheson in the second XJR-12. But the cars, in the red, white and blue colours of new sponsors Bud Lite, will face a strong challenge...
Nissan pose the biggest threat to Jaguar's continuing domination of the Daytona 24-hour race this weekend. Geoff Brabham, one of Sir Jack's racing sons, heads the driver line-up as the team prepare to extend their three-year rule in IMSA racing. Daytona is the first round of the 1991 Championship. Nissan have yet to win a 24-hour race but they get closer all the time.
Julian Bailey, a member of Nissan's world sportscar team in 1990, will also be driving while another Englishman Andy Wallace, a former Le Mans winner, will be in one of the Toyota Eagles. Two Toyotas compete this weekend and they are expected to be very quick. Their engine is based on a road-going four-cylinder turbo-charged unit. There are also some very strong Porsche entries, with the Dyson Racing and Joest Racing teams among the potential winners. The Dyson team drivers include Britons James Weaver and Tiff Needell.
Derek Bell with son Justin will be driving one of the most unusual entries in the race - the world's first Porsche 966 roadster; a 962 without a roof. In spite of Derek's experience, I would not expect this car to run at the front.
A good old American family feud is one of the intriguing prospects for the weekend's 24-hour classic. Jochen Dauer is running three cars for two of America's most famous racing families - the Andrettis and the Unsers. The Andrettis should have the edge in terms of speed but the Unsers may prove the better long-distance family. Then, in the third car, will be two Andrettis and two Unsers. Perhaps the best of both worlds! No doubt there will be a re-shuffle if either of the 'family' cars stops early in the race.
Everything from Mazda RX7s to Ford Mustangs, Porsche 911s and Oldsmobile Cutlasses will be taking part in the 1991 Sunbank 24-Hour race this weekend. This assortment of machinery makes Daytona an extremely difficult race from the drivers' point of view. Weather can also play an important part over the 24 hours. High temperatures add to the physical discomfort of Daytona and one year heavy fog forced the race to be halted for almost four hours.