01.04.92SPORTSCARS:- The World Sportscar Championship has been given the go-ahead, FISA have announced. A spokesman said "satisfactory arrangements" had been made for it to continue, with all races on the current calendar included. Doubts about the series arose when Peugeot, Toyota and Mazda were asked for financial guarantees of $1m each for a fund to save the championship. FISA added that there were no withdrawals for the opening race at Monza on April 26.
JOHN WATSON ON THE BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX
McLaren will unveil their new MP4/7 car this weekend in a blitzkrieg response to the Williams-Renault's dominance in the first two races of the season. McLaren and Honda have put in an unbelieveable amount of effort since South Africa to get the car ready but it has only been run in the UK. Nothing on this car corresponds to the old MP4/6 used at Kyalami and Mexico. The team has also had to produce an entirely new range of spare parts. It has an automatic gearbox but not the active ride suspension which has been a factor in the success of the Williams.
The new McLaren MP4/7 makes its debut in Brazil but will it be competitive enough to challenge Williams and, more importantly, to beat Williams? It is something of an electrician's nightmare with a "fly by wire" throttle which has no mechanical linkage between the engine and the throttle pedal. The new automatic gearbox is very, very sophisticated and it is in this area where any unreliability may occur. The Williams FW14Bs proved totally reliable in the first two races this season and at this point must remain as favourite at Interlagos.
Nigel Mansell has given two exemplary performances so far this season. He has been in complete command. It appears that during the winter he redefined his objectives and when you see him driving you now see commitment and total confidence. The opposition has not been as strong as it will be later in the season but he has done everything possible to take maximum advantage of the situation and that is how championships are won. Having the best car is obviously a help but I have been very impressed by the ease with which he has dominated.
Benetton have made tremendous progress in 1992 and are clearly now in the exclusive top three teams. Tom Walkinshaw has been making his presence felt in no uncertain terms and the outcome has been better performances and better reliability. Michael Schumacher is outstanding for someone of his youth but Martin Brundle proved in Mexico that he can run at the same pace. He was unfortunate in having to retire through no fault of his own but it was a watershed performance and he comes to Brazil in a very positive frame of mind.
Lotus have been one of the outstanding teams of 1992 to date with Johnny Herbert and Mika Hakkinen taking points. They are comparatively under-financed by top team standards and are using an 'old' car, based on the 1988 design, but have used the Ford HB engine well. Brazil is a circuit which should suit them more than Mexico. It would not be a surprise to see Herbert and Hakkinen reach the top six again. Tyrrell are also doing an excellent job and are well capable of picking up more points and putting other teams in the shade.
Good news for British fans comes at the back of the grid with Perry McCarthy in the line-up for the Andrea Moda team. They made a fleeting appearance in South Africa but will run two cars in pre-qualifying in Brazil with McCarthy and Roberto Moreno behind the wheel. No British driver has lobbied harder to secure a Formula One seat than McCarthy and his persistence has now paid off. The car is unlikely to be anything special but at least he has his foot in the door. One of the drivers could get through pre-qualifying but they need to run all of those vital 60 minutes.
Brazil is the last of three Grand Prix in 1992 to be run at altitude but it is likely to cause far fewer problems than in South Africa and Mexico. Sao Paulo is only 2,000 feet above sea level so it will be a much easier race for the teams than the previous two. It should benefit the multi-cylinder V10 and V12 engines rather than the V8s as very high altitude means a greater percentage loss of horsepower for the more powerful engines.
SAFARI RALLY:- Spanish ace Carlos Sainz overcame a broken gearbox to triumph in Kenya and move level with Juha Kankkunen at the top of the drivers' world championship. Sainz, who took the lead on the first leg of the six-day race in his Toyota Celica, still finished 52 minutes ahead of the second-placed world champion. Sainz said: "People were hugging and kissing each other as my car powered its way to the finish. There was tremendous support." Argentina's Jorge Recalde was third with Mikael Ericsson fourth.
Final positions: Penalties hrs mins 1 C Sainz Sp Toyota Celica 2:35 2 J Kankkunen Fin Lancia Integ 3:27 3 J Recalde Arg Lancia Integ 3:34 4 M Ericsson Swe Toyota Celica 4:13 5 M Alen Fin Toyota Celica 5:40 6 I Duncan Ken Toyota Celica 6:38 7 S Rai Ken Toyota Celica 8:29 8 P Njiru Ken Subaru Legacy 8:54 9 P Eklund Swe Subaru Legacy 9:41 10 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi G 10:30F3000:- Birmingham's Phil Andrews has signed for the Bicester-based Vortex team and will contest this year's FIA Formula 3000 International Championship at the wheel of a works Reynard 92D Mugen.
02.04.92 - MOBIL 1 RALLYDefending champion Colin McRae leads the way in the second round of the Mobil 1/Top Gear British Rally Championship on Saturday. McRae, who won the opening round, heads a class field in the Pirelli International over four special stages in the Scottish Borders. Reigning national champion Trevor Smith will be chasing McRae hard, along with Northern Ireland's Kenny McKinstry. McRae's younger brother Alister, Robbie Head, Richard Burns and Louise Aitken-Walker all go in the Group N category.
03.04.92 - BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX Nigel Mansell again blitzed the opposition as he claimed provisional pole at Interlagos - while McLaren had a disastrous debut with their new car. Mansell, looking for his third straight win of the new season on Sunday, broke the track record with a time of 1 min 15.703 secs in the Williams-Renault. Ayrton Senna left it late in the session as mechanics grappled with the new MP4/7 - and could only manage ninth quickest when he finally emerged. Michael Schumacher kept his impressive run going as he claimed third spot.
Britain's Nigel Mansell was delighted with his performance in the Williams-Renault as he took provisional pole position at Interlagos. "I think that was one of the best laps of my career," said Mansell after clocking 1 min 15.703 secs. "But McLaren and Honda have the ability to jump right back at a moment's notice and just because they had a mediocre day doesn't mean they won't bounce back," he added. "I am just really happy that everything is working perfectly for us," he said.
Britain's Perry McCarthy was denied the chance to make his Formula One debut at Interlagos after his super-licence was rescinded before pre-qualifying. The 29-year-old was set to drive for the Andrea Moda team but FISA official Roland Bruynersaede ruled McCarthy was not qualified for Formula One. "There is not much I can say. I am obviously very upset, but I don't want to make things worse," McCarthy said. Teammate Roberto Moreno completed only one lap and failed to qualify.
FIA WORLD FORMULA ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday practice times: mins secs 1 N Mansell GB Williams 1:15.703 2 R Patrese It Williams 1:17.591 3 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:18.541 4 P Martini It Dallara 1:18.953 5 G Berger Aut McLaren 1:19.277 6 J Alesi Fr Ferrari 1:19.340 7 A De Cesaris It Tyrrell 1:19.343 8 S Modena It Jordan 1:19.344 9 A Senna Brz McLaren 1:19.358 10 M Brundle GB Benetton 1:19.488 11 M Alboreto It Footwork 1:19.533 12 E Comas Fr Ligier 1:19.541 13 I Capelli It Ferrari 1:19.895 14 K Wendlinger Aut March 1:19.897 15 B Gachot Fr Venturi 1:20.413 16 G Morbidelli It Minardi 1:20.445 17 JJ Lehto Fin Dallara 1:20.502 18 G Tarquini It Fondmetal 1:20.533 19 M Hakkinen Fin Lotus-Ford 1:20.577 20 M Gugelmin Brz Jordan 1:20.617 21 T Boutsen Bel Ligier 1:20.823 22 P Belmondo Fr March 1:20.886 23 A Suzuki Jpn Footwork 1:20.891 24 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi 1:20.019 25 J Herbert GB Lotus-Ford 1:20.161 26 U Katayama Jpn Venturi 1:21.568 PROVISIONAL NON-QUALIFIERS 29 A Chiesa Swi Fondmetal 1:21.584 27 O Grouillard Fr Tyrrell 1:21.930 28 E vd Poele Bel Brabham 1:22.742 30 G Amati It Brabham 1:30.420 04.04.92F1:- Britain's Nigel Mansell retained pole for Sunday's race - but crashed off the track in the final minute after tangling with arch-rival Ayrton Senna. Mansell attempted to overtake the world champion on the outside of the tight Bico de Pato right-hand corner but Senna moved across and the Williams was forced off the track. The car hit a wall and the front right wheel flew off. Mansell was helped from the car and limped off for a check-up. "It was not anybody's fault," said Mansell. "Just a misunderstanding."
FIA WORLD FORMULA ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: Final practice times: mins secs 1 N Mansell GB Williams 1:15.703 2 R Patrese It Williams 1:16.894 3 A Senna Brz McLaren 1:17.902 4 G Berger Aut McLaren 1:18.416 5 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:18.541 6 J Alesi Fr Ferrari 1:18.647 7 M Brundle GB Benetton 1:18.711 8 P Martini It Dallara 1:18.953 9 K Wendlinger Aut March 1:19.007 10 T Boutsen Bel Ligier 1:19.038 11 I Capelli It Ferrari 1:19.300 12 S Modena It Jordan 1:19.314 13 A De Cesaris It Tyrrell 1:19.343 14 M Alboreto It Footwork 1:19.533 15 E Comas Fr Ligier 1:19.537 16 JJ Lehto Fin Dallara 1:19.834 17 O Grouillard Fr Tyrrell 1:19.849 18 B Gachot Bel Venturi 1:19.927 19 G Tarquini It Fondmetal 1:19.993 20 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi 1:20.133 21 M Gugelmin Brz Jordan 1:20.266 22 A Suzuki Jpn Footwork 1:20.435 23 G Morbidelli It Minardi 1:20.445 24 M Hakkinen Fin Lotus-Ford 1:20.577 25 U Katayama Jpn Venturi 1:20.648 26 J Herbert GB Lotus-Ford 1:20.650 NON-QUALIFIERS 26 A Chiesa Swi Fondmetal 1:20.809 27 P Belmondo Fr March 1:20.886 28 E vd Poele Bel Brabham 1:21.770 30 G Amati It Brabham 1:26.645PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Colin McRae extended his lead in the Mobil 1/Top Gear British Championship by leading a family double in the four-stage event in Kielder Forest. He dominated throughout in a Subaru and finished with four minutes in hand over second placed Kenny McKinstry. McRae's younger brother Alister filled third place to claim victory in the Group N showroom category. His main rivals Robbie Head and Richard Burns both hit trouble and Louise Aitken-Walker was slowed when she lost the turbo boost in her 'green' Ford.
MOBIL1/TOP GEAR BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP Result after four stages: mins.secs 1 C McRae Subaru 1:11.14 2 K McKinstry Subaru 1:16.06 3 A McRae Ford 1:16.31 4 R Munro Ford 1:18.27 5 L Aitken-Walker Ford 1:18.51 6 T Smith Ford 1:19.47 7 P Dyas Ford 1:19.50 8 M Higgins Vauxhall 1:20.37 9 M Jones Mitsubishi 1:20.42 10 A Hudson Ford 1:21.49 MOBIL1/TOP GEAR BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP Standings after Pirelli Int'l rally: 1 C McRae Subaru 50 pts 2 K McKinstry Subaru 39 = A McRae Ford 39 = T Smith Ford 39 5 L Aitken-Walker Ford 33 05.04.92 - THE BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIXNigel Mansell cruised to the 24th Grand Prix win of his career with a stylish performance at Interlagos in his Williams-Renault. The Briton finished 29.33 seconds ahead of teammate Riccardo Patrese who had led Mansell until the pit-stops where the Championship leader took control. Mansell changed tyres on lap 25 while Patrese found himself caught in traffic and then totally dominated the race until the end of the 71 laps. Michael Schumacher brought his Benetton home in third a lap further adrift.
Britain's Nigel Mansell made it three out of three with another brilliant display of driving to move to 30 points in the drivers' World Championship. Riccardo Patrese led from the green light and Mansell was happy to tail him as the Williams duo opened up a gap of 18 seconds by lap 10. Ayrton Senna followed in third but was struggling in his McLaren and called it a day on lap 17. The Brazilian's teammate Gerhard Berger fared even worse with problems on the start grid and he never got going.
Nigel Mansell was understandably delighted with his victory that put him 12 points clear at the top of the World Championship table. But the Briton was quick to point out it was still early days. "I am not thinking about the championship. Last year after four races I did not have a point on the board and I was able to make a strong challenge. I know what McLaren are capable of and I will not be complacent," he added. "Having just completed my second hat trick of wins I'm not sure how to take it all in," he said.
Italian Riccardo Patrese revealed he was content to settle for second place behind Nigel Mansell despite leading for the first 29 laps.
"Once Nigel got ahead of me and pulled 10 seconds clear I decided I could not catch him and slowed down to take second," he said. "The team are having an unbelieveable start to the season and we are having no technical problems. But anything can happen," he warned. "McLaren will work hard to catch up and we will have to work harder."
Williams' domination of the 1992 World Championship continued with Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese once more taking the honours. The pair completed a hat-trick of victories, taking first and second as in South Africa and Mexico, to give the team a maximum 48 points from the three Grands Prix starts. Mansell's victory puts him level with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio in the record books with 24 career wins. Benetton moved up to second in the constructors table ahead of McLaren.
Martin Brundle made a great start to the race in his Benetton, tucking into sixth place and looking set to pick-up his first points of the season. But his battle with Jean Alesi's Ferrari in fifth ended in disaster as the two crashed on lap 29 as Brundle tried to squeeze past.
Britain's Johnny Herbert became the victim of a tussle between the Ligier drivers Thierry Boutsen and Eric Comas. The Belgian collided with the Frenchman and took Herbert's Lotus out of the race on lap 35.
FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos Result after 71 laps: hrs mins secs 1 N Mansell GB Williams 1:36.51 2 R Patrese It Williams 1:37.20 3 M Schumacher Ger Benetton @ 1 lap 4 J Alesi Fr Ferrari @ 1 lap 5 I Capelli It Ferrari @ 1 lap 6 M Alboreto It Footwork @ 1 lap 7 G Morbidelli It Minardi @ 2 laps 8 JJ Lehto Fin Dallara @ 2 laps 9 U Katayama Jap Larrousse @ 3 laps 10 M Hakkinen Fin Lotus @ 4 laps FIA WORLD F1 DRIVERS' STANDINGS 1 N Mansell GB Williams 30 points 2 R Patrese It Williams 18 3 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 11 4 G Berger Aut McLaren 5 5 A Senna Brz McLaren 4 6 J Alesi Fr Ferrari 3 7 A de Cesaris It Tyrrell 2 = I Capelli It Ferrari 2 9 J Herbert GB Lotus Ford 1 = M Hakkinen Fin Lotus Ford 1 = M Alboreto It Footwork 1 CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1 Williams 48 points 2 Benetton 11 3 McLaren 9 4 Ferrari 5 5 Tyrrell 2 = Lotus Ford 2 7 Footwork 1TOURING CAR:- John Cleland took victory in the opening race of the Esso British Touring Car Championship with a time of 26 mins 46.61 secs at Silverstone, ahead of Andy Rouse and Jeff Allam. He also set a new lap record in his Vauxhall Cavalier of 1 min 03.45 secs.
NOVA SUPER CHALLENGE:- Nick Hutchinson took a two minute victory in the second round of the Vauxhall Nova GSi Super Challenge in Carlisle. He moves into third place in the Challenge table behind Stephen Green and Geoff Stewart.
10.04.92 MINTEX/GRANITE CITY RALLY:- Mintex National Championship leader Richard Burns defends his advantage against the top Scottish crews in the Granite City Rally on Saturday. Robbie Head, former champion Graham Middleton and Alister McRae will be among the challengers in the 70-mile event at Aberdeen.
TOUR OF CORNWALL RALLY:- John Price defends his lead in the Demon Tweeks/Motoring News National Tarmac Championship in this weekend's Tour of Cornwall. Eian Pritchard returns to the fray after missing the West Cork event.
F2:- Yvan Muller was fastest in testing for the British Formula Two Championship round at Oulton Park on Good Friday with a lap of 1 minute 24.77 secs in his Omegaland Reynard 91D.
COSTA SMERALDA RALLY:- Didier Auriol won the Costa Smeralda Rally in Sardinia, giving him the overall lead in the European Championship.
11.04.92 GRANITE CITY RALLY:- Alister McRae created rallying history by becoming the third member of his famous family to win a round of the Mintex National Championship. The 21-year-old from Lanark brought his Sierra Cosworth to the finish 24 secs clear to follow in the footsteps of brother Colin and father Jimmy. David Mann finished second in a Toyota Celica after 70 miles of twisty and slippery forest stages. He now shares the championship lead with Richard Burns, who was only eighth after being hit by punctures.
MINTEX NATIONAL RALLY SERIES ROUND TWO Result after Round 2 in Aberdeen: penalty mins:secs 1 A McRae Ford Sierra C 1:18.59 2 D Mann Toyota Celica 1:19.23 3 R Head Ford Sierra C 1:20.19 4 D Gillanders Ford Sierra C 1:20.43 5 M Grierson Austin Rover M 1:20.56 6 W Barton Rover Metro 1:21.25 F.VAUXHALL LOTUS:- Eastbourne's Piers Hunnisett will start Sunday's Formula Vauxhall Lotus round from pole position. He recorded a time of 1 minute 10.01 secs, three tenths of a second faster that his nearest rival.
TOUR OF CORNWALL RALLY:- John Price was on course for his third win of the season in the Demon Tweeks/National Tarmac Championship as he headed the overnight leaderboard in the Tour of Cornwall Rally. Price had total penalties of 70 mins 50 secs after 11 stages with Eian Pritchard (72.24) in second place.
F.RENAULT:- Joakim Ward took pole for Sunday's P&O Ferries Formula Renault round at Donington Park with a lap of 1 min 14.42 secs.
12.04.92F.VAUXHALL LOTUS:- Scott Lakin scored a decisive win in the first round of the Formula Vauxhall Lotus Championship at Donington. Lakin, from Ashby de la Zouch, led for most of the race and finished ten seconds clear of Jeremy Cotterill.
TOUR OF CORNWALL RALLY:- John Price pulled off his third win of the season in the Demon Tweeks/National Tarmac Championship, bringing his Metro 6R4 ahead of second placed John Dalton (Darrian) and Eian Pritchard (Sierra) in third.
V.NOVA GSi SUPER CHALLENGE:- Cleckheaton's Geoff Stewart strengthened his lead in the Vauxhall Nova GSi Super Challenge with victory in the third round in Cornwall.
F.RENAULT:- Tim Stafford and James Rhodes enjoyed a 1-2 finish for the Martello Racing team in the second round of the P&O Ferries Formula Renault Championship. Pedro Martinez de la Rose finished third and leads Rhodes by four points overall.
16.04.92F2:- Peter Kox took pole position for Friday's opening round of the British Formula 2 Championship at Oulton Park.
IRISH RALLY:- Kenny McKinstry and Bertie Fisher head entries for the second round of the Dunlop Irish Rally Championship starting on Saturday in County Down.
TOURING CAR:- John Cleland set the fastest test time in readiness for Monday's Esso British Touring Car Championship second round at Thruxton.
19.04.92CIRCUIT OF IRELAND RALLY:- Kenny McKinstry has a lead of 2 mins 47 seconds at the end of day two of the Circuit of Ireland rally over Austin MacHale. Bill Connolly was excluded for using pace notes.
F.OPEL LOTUS:- Brazil's Bruno Aguiar took maximum points from the opening round of the Opel Lotus/Vauxhall Lotus Euroseries with second place in the 18-lap at the Nurburgring. German Helmut Schwitalla won but he is not registered for the entire series.
20.04.92F3:- Dutch Formula 3 driver Marcel Albers died when he crashed during the Formula Three race at Thruxton. The 25 year-old was given emergency treatment but did not survive. Three spectators including a small child, were treated for minor injuries and the race was abandoned. Victory was awarded to Gil de Ferran. "He went off the track after the accident and into the spectator fencing which fortunately held and prevented spectators from being injured," said a spokesman for the circuit.
TOURING CAR:- John Cleland won the second round of the Esso British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton. He fended off an early challenge from the Toyota Carina of four-times champion Andy Rouse. Cleland's Vauxhall teammate completed the top three and defending champion Will Hoy was fourth. Cleland now has 48 points in the series after two rounds with a 12 point lead over Rouse. Jeff Allam is third (24) and Hoy fourth (20).
CIRCUIT OF IRELAND RALLY:- Kenny McKinstry had a lead of 2 mins 47 seconds at the end of day two of the Circuit of Ireland rally over Austin MacHale. Bill Connolly was excluded for using pace notes.
RENAULT CLIO CUP:- Matt Johnson won his second successive Renault Clio Cup race at Thruxton to take a 15 point lead after three rounds of the series. Runner-up Robin Parsons is second in the title chase with 28 points. Haydon Measham was third.
21.04.92 - CIRCUIT OF IRELAND RALLYFrank Meagher has won the 1992 Circuit of Ireland Rally in his two-wheel drive Ford Sierra. He clocked 5 hours, 57 minutes, 8 seconds over the 38 stages. David Greer, also in a Sierra, was second 7 minutes 15 seconds behind with Derek Smith in an Escort third, a further 25 mins 13 secs adrift.
24.04.92SPORTSCARS:- Frenchmen Philippe Alliot dominated the first qualifying session of the 1992 world sportscar championship at Monza, in Italy. Alliot set the fastest time in the with a best of 1m 26.641 just a third of a second faster than Geoff Lees' Toyota. For Lees it was a million lira lap ($2,000) that put him on the front row of the grid because he inadvertently drove through a red light and was fined. Ex-F1 driver Derek Warwick was third fastest and Andy Wallace fourth.
SPORTSCAR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Round One, Monza, Italy Friday, First Qualifying session 1 P Alliot/M Baldi Peugeot 1:26.641 2 G Lees/H Ogawa Toyota 1:26.960 3 Y Dalmas/D Warwick Peugeot 1:27.240 4 A Wallace/J Lammers Toyota 1:27.957 5 C Euser/C Zwolsman Lola-Jd 1:31.663 6 V Weidler/M Sala Mazda 1:32.738 The World Sportscars Championship has got under way at Monza in a state of confusion after being cancelled then revived at the 11th hour. Just 21 cars have entered for the Championship and only 12 or 13 of these are expected to compete at Monza. Jaguar and Mercedes will both be absent now only normally-aspirated 3.5 litre litre cars are allowed. Their withdrawal leaves Toyota and Peugeot, whose line-up includes Derek Warwick, as favourites.
Ex-Grand Prix driver Derek Warwick takes another tilt at the world sportscars championship - but this time at the wheel of a Peugeot. The 38 year-old who lives in Jersey was runner-up in the championship last year to Jaguar teammate Teo Fabi. And this year both have switched camps. Fabi recently signed for Toyota and Warwick heads the French team using basically the same 905B as last year. Monza was the scene of Warwick's frightening accident in 1990 when his Camel Lotus inverted at 150mph.
F1:- Brabham team boss Dennis Nursey is in South Africa for a series of talks which he hopes will solve their cash crisis. The team are looking for a sponsor or a buyer to safeguard its future in Grand Prix racing. Speculation has linked Damon Hill with the team in place of either Van de Poele or Giovanna Amati.
"Dennis is the man with all the answers," said spokeswoman Angela Buckland. "We will know more when he returns but we will race in Barcelona."
Lotus are in a race against time to field their latest Formula 1 car, the 107, in time for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 3. "We are putting it all together now and if everything goes according to plan we will have it in Barcelona," said chief designer Chris Murphy. The car, which the team hope will carry their revival onto the podium later this year, is likely to have their latest active suspension system. "We hope it is a state-of-the-art car," said Technical Director Peter Wright. The Ford V12 engine will not be raced in Formula 1 by Benetton this season but testing will continue in preparation for next season. Until then the team will continue to use the successful Ford V8.
NEWS:- VOLKSWAGEN have launched a ten-round series for Polo G40s Cup with œ2,875 prize money per round and a G40 for the champion of the series. The series starts at Brands Hatch on May 25 and finishes at Donington on October 11.
25.04.92 - SPORTSCARSBritain's Derek Warwick will start the first round of the World sportscar championship at Monza in pole position. Ex-F1 driver Warwick clocked 1 minute, 26.019 seconds in his Peugeot with just seven/tenths of a second separating the first four cars in the final practice. Britain's Geoff Lees in a Toyota was second, Frenchman Philippe Alliot third in a Peugeot with Andy Wallace's Toyota completing the front row. Warwick won in Italy last year driving a Jaguar and predicts an exciting race. "I think we are going to see better racing up front than in Formula One."
SPORTSCAR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Round One, Monza, Italy Final Qualifying session 1 D Warwick/Y Dalmas Peugeot 1:26.019 2 G Lees/H Ogawa Toyota 1:26.252 3 P Alliot/M Baldi Peugeot 1:26.409 4 A Wallace/J Lammers Toyota 1:26.727 5 V Weidler/M Sala Mazda 1:29.074 26.04.92 - SPORTSCARSBritain's Geoff Lees and Hitoshi Ogawa of Japan gave Toyota their first ever world sportscar championship win with a dramatic victory at Monza. Yannick Dalmas and Derek Warwick were leading in their Peugeot with just two laps to go when Dalmas rolled the car twice after losing his brakes. He was unhurt and still collected 15 points from the opening round having completed 85 laps. Only two other cars finished, the FIA Cup cars of Ferdinand de Lesseps and Bernard Thuner (Spice) and Almo Coppelli and Frank Kraemer (Gebhardt).
WORLD SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP, Monza hrs:mins:secs 1 G Lees/H Ogawa Toyota 2:16:42 after 87 laps 2 Y Dalmas/D Warwick Peugeot 2:12:40 after 85 laps 3 F de Lesseps/B Thuner Spice 2:17:43 after 76 laps 4 A Coppelli/F Kraemer Gebhardt 2:17:51 after 75 lapsBritain's Mark Blundell will join Peugeot for this year's Le Mans 24-Hour race, the French manufacturers have announced. Blundell and Austrian Grand Prix driver Karl Wendlinger are being drafted into the three-car team to assist the regular world sportscar crew. Blundell is the fastest man around Le Mans, holding the outright qualifying record in his Nissan since 1990. He drove in Formula One last season for Brabham but is now a test driver for McLaren-Honda.
28.04.92F1:- Britain's Perry McCarthy could make his Grand Prix debut in Spain on Sunday after his super-licence was re-instated. McCarthy, bidding to become only the fourth British driver currently driving in Formula One, suffered a last-minute setback before last month's Brazil GP. He was to have raced the second Andrea Moda-Judd alongside Roberto Moreno but his super licence was withdrawn at Interlagos after a mix-up. The 29-year-old from Billericay will appear in pre-qualifying at the Circuit de catalunya on Friday morning.
SPORTSCARS:- A move to slash the length of the World Sportscar Championship round on May 10 has been blocked by Toyota. Silverstone planned to shorten the race from 500-km to 200-km to avoid the debacle at last week's race in Monza when only three cars finished the event. But the Japanese manufacturers have insisted the race runs its full length. "Our cars are built and prepared for that distance," a spokesman said. Circuit officials had hoped the shorter distance would mean more cars would enter the race.
29.04.92 - JOHN WATSON ON THE SPANISH GRAND PRIXThe Circuit de Catalunya staged a Grand Prix for the first time last September when the main concern expressed was that there was no grip whatsoever. Circuits mature with age and I would anticipate that it will be much better for Sunday's 65-lap race. Last year we saw Nigel Mansell record one of his more spectacular wins and it doesn't take a genius to see who the likely winners are this weekend. Barring unforeseen mishaps it is going to be another victory cruise for the Mansell-Patrese combination in their invincible Williams Renaults.
The Williams team are in the enviable position of having a combination of chassis and engine which is currently in a class of its own. On top of this, driver Nigel Mansell's performances so far have been nothing short of superlative. Nigel knows he can never take anything for granted. Three quarters of the season will still be left after Sunday with 120 points available. But Williams are working on a race to race basis and I can't see a serious challenge to them until we reach the mid-point of the European season.
Benetton should be the biggest threat to Williams in Barcelona with the introduction of their new B192 car. The main feature is a very high nose. If you painted an eye on either side it would look like a shark - and it should prove to have the bite as well! Michael Schumacher and Martin Brundle were over the moon with the new car's handling in testing and they will hope to exert some pressure on Williams. Brundle must be confident of finally opening his points account after being robbed in Mexico and Brazil.
The McLaren team have had their worst start to a championship season in almost a decade. Explaining the reasons why would take more space than this preview permits, but let's have a go... The team were disappointed with the MP4/7 in Brazil but it was not part of their original schedule to introduce the new car so early. The lack of development and testing time illustrated shortcomings in handling and engine power. That is a very unusual situation for McLaren to be in.
McLaren will run their MP47 for the second time in Barcelona and it should have benfitted from the team's ongoing development programme. But even a team as well structured as McLaren cannot respond that quickly when faced with the challenge of Williams and now Benetton as well. The car is designed to run an active suspension system which will undoubtedly improve its handling, but that will not be ready this weekend. Honda have made a number of changes to the V12 engine but we will have to see if that brings an improved performance.
Ferrari have been even deeper in the mire than McLaren this season but are slowly starting to recover lost ground. On a smooth circuit like Barcelona they may flatter to deceive. The Harvey Postlethwaite led technical team are coming to terms with the wayward F92A, even if they are having to use last year's engine. I am quite sure Jean Alesi will still drive with his usual unbridled enthusiasm and drag every ounce of performance from the car in Barcelona to provide a morale boost for the team.
Lotus will have their new 1992 car in Barcelona - but it will only be on show and not in the race. Despite that, the enthusiasm of Mika Hakkinen and Johnny Herbert and the super little HB engine make them my tip to round off the top six on Sunday. Tyrrell are more competitive than most with their Ilmor V10 engine and Scuderi Italia and Minardi Lamborghini are also capable of picking up odd points. Jordan are still struggling with their V12 Yamaha engine but I believe the team have identified the problem area and are setting a remedy in place.
There is good news for the legion of Perry McCarthy fans as he has now been granted his super licence. He must now wait to see if he will be at the wheel of the Andrea Moda this weekend as they were trying to draft in another driver. The team have already made two changes this season and are not allowed any more so strictly speaking they have to run Perry and Roberto Moreno. Moreno is likely to be their main focus of attention as in reality they can run only one car properly but Perry can make a contribution in pre-qualifying.
CAMEL TROPHY:- Gareth Hansford and Tim Postgate produced an excellent performance on the opening day of the Camel Trophy Guyana '92 to take the overall lead. The United Kingdom pair are nine points ahead having finished third and first in the two special tasks held 90kms north of Manaus, Brazil. Heavy rains made the jungle tracks even more arduous than normal with the Dutch team rolling their Land Rover on the first stage. France are second with 35 points and US team are three points further adrift.
F1:- Britain's Nigel Mansell said he is likely to stay in Formula One racing for several more years. "If Williams want to sign me for another five years, I think it's possible," he said.
30.04.92F1:- Damon Hill is to make his Formula One debut as a replacement for Giovanna Amati in the Brabham team in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. The 31-year-old gets his chance 24 years after his father Graham won the race for Lotus at Jarama. "The potential is definitely there in this team and I hope to capitalise on it. I'm pleased to be carrying on the family name," he said. Perry McCarthy has been confirmed as driver with the Andrea Moda team after finally obtaining his super licence.
Nigel Mansell will be boosted by a new engine in his bid to equal the Formula One record of four successive wins in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. The new Renault engine for his Williams car has been tested at Silverstone and Imola and is likely to be used in practice at the Catalunya circuit. But a final decision on whether to use it in the race itself will not be taken until the weekend. "Things can change very quickly in Formula One and it is never safe to relax," said Mansell.
RALLY NEWS:- Nissan are to pull out of the World Rally Championship after taking part in the 1,000 Lakes event in Finland and Britain's Lombard RAC rally.