December 1995

Tommi Makinen (Mitsubishi Lancer) leads the Rally of Thailand after 15 stages, ahead of Richard Burns (Subaru Impreza) and Kenneth Eriksson (Mitsubishi Lancer).

05.12.95 - F1
Frenchman Alain Prost has joined McLaren as part of the McLaren Mercedes Technical Group. "Alain will be joining McLaren and Mercedes as a fully integrated part of the design and development technical group," said team boss Ron Dennis. "Alain's duties will also include driving the MP4/11 as part of the ongoing development of the car," added Dennis. Prost has ruled out any possibility of driving for the team during the 1996 Grand Prix season. "That is all in the past," the 40-year-old commented.

David Coulthard officially became a McLaren driver on Monday when he began a four-day test session at Jerez. The 24-year-old Scot, who drove for Williams last season, completed 64 laps in the MP4/10B with a best lap time of 1 min 25.839 secs.

Ligier are believed to be close to a sponsorship deal with Italian dairy company Parmalat for next season. The firm backed Forti during the 1995 Formula One season.

10.12.95 - F1
The Williams Formula One team have said it is too early to comment on claims that Ayrton Senna's crash was caused by a badly welded steering column. Crash investigator Professor Enrico Lorenzini is quoted in the News of the World as saying the steering rod had been welded and was faulty, "probably cracked even during the warm-up". He has prepared a 600-page report for Magistrate Maurizio Passarini. Patrick Head of Williams GP Engineering said: "We are awaiting Mr Passarini's official report and cannot comment until this has been published."

12.12.95 - F1
World champion Michael Schumacher set the fastest time on the opening day of Formula One testing at Estoril. The German, partnered by Northern Ireland's Eddie Irvine for the first time, clocked a best lap of one minute 22.14 seconds. Irvine, impressive during his first session in a Ferrari a fortnight ago, clocked 1:23.00 despite suffering from a transmission problem. The Williams team were unable to take part in the session after they were trapped at Heathrow by freezing fog.

13.12.95 - F1
ITV are to screen all Formula One Grands Prix from March 1997 after clinching a 60 million deal. ITV will broadcast all 16 Grands Prix live on Sundays, together with a highlights programme. Qualifying will also be shown. It will be the first time that the channel has ever shown Formula One motor racing. The BBC, which has also lost the FA Cup final to ITV, said that it was "disappointed" to lose the Grand Prix.

Gerhard Berger escaped unhurt from his second high-speed crash in as many weeks in the latest testing session in Estoril. Berger spun his Benetton-Renault at around 110mph on a twisty back section of the circuit and hurtled backwards into the safety rails. Jacques Villeneuve was fastest with a best time of one minute 21.01 seconds, ahead of new Williams teammate Damon Hill by just over half a second. Hill's 1:21.57 put him ahead of Michael Schumacher, whose was third in 1:21.96.

14.12.95 - F1
Williams were fastest for the second day running in testing - with Damon Hill quicker than his new teammate Jacques Villeneuve. Hill managed the best time of the morning session on a dry track in one minute 19.95 secs. Villeneuve, who outpaced Hill on Wednesday, clocked 1:20.75 secs around the 2.709-mile circuit. World champion Michael Schumacher was third fastest in his Ferrari, lapping in 1:21.33, ahead of Rubens Barrichello with 1:21.81.

Today's test  times  at  the  4.360-
kilometre Lisbon-area, Estoril track.
                    Morning session.
1. Damon Hill           Williams-Renault    1:19.95.
2. Jacques Villeneuve   Williams-Renault    1:20.75.
3. Michael Schumacher   Ferrari V-10        1:21.33.
3. Rubens Barrichello   Jordan-Peugeot      1:21.81.
4. Eddie Irvine         Ferrari V-10        1:21.98.
5. Jean Alesi           Benetton-Renault    1:22.31.
6. Gerhard Berger       Benetton-Renault    1:23.08.
7. Jos Verstappen       Arrows-Hart         1:23.40.
                    Afternoon times
1. Damon Hill           Williams-Renault    1:20.41.
2. Jacques Villeneuve   Williams-Renault    1:21.19.
3. Michael Schumacher   Ferrari V-10        1:21.49.
4. Eddie Irvine         Ferrari V-10        1:22.03.
5. Jean Alesi           Benetton-Renault    1:21.54.
6. Gerhard Berger       Benetton-Renault    1:22.46.
7. Jos Verstappen       Arrows-Hart         1:22.55.
8. Emmanuel Collard     Jordan-Peugeot      1:25.78.
9. Fabrizio Di Simone   Jordan-Peugeot      1:28.03.
This was the final day of the four-day test at the track The Williams-Renault team will test at Barcelona early next week.


March 10   Australia  Melbourne
March 31   Brazil     Sao Paulo
April 7    Argentina  Buenos Aires
April 28   Europe     Nurburgring
May 5      San Marino Imola
May 19     Spain      Barcelona
June 2     Monaco     Monte Carlo
June 16    Canada     Montreal
June 30    France     Magny-Cours
July 14    Britain    Silverstone
July 28    Germany    Hockenheim
August 11  Hungary    Budapest
August 25  Belgium    Spa-Francorchamps
Sept 8     Italy      Monza
Sept 22    Portugal   Estoril
Oct 13     Japan      Suzuka
Reserve race:  Jerez, Spain

15.12.95 - RALLYING
Former world champion Carlos Sainz will drive a Ford Escort Cosworth in the 1996 World Championship. The Spaniard has joined the Ford team on a two-year contract, with an option for a further year. Sainz drove for Subary in the 1995 championship but lost out to teammate Colin McRae in the title decider at the Network Q RAC Rally. He was due to return to Toyota next season, but they were banned for a year for using illegal turbochargers on their cars at the Catalunya rally.

18.12.95 - F1
British GP winner Johnny Herbert will race with Heinz-Harald Frentzen for the Ford-powered Sauber team in 1996. Romford-born Herbert, who also won this year's Italian GP for Benetton, will have his first test with Sauber at the Le Castellet track in France this week. Team boss Peter Sauber said: "We feel that he will be able to make a very positive contribution to our team after his good results this season." Herbert, 31, said: "I will try my very hardest to help the team join the top ranks of grand prix racing next season."

RALLYING:- Toyota have announced that they will not return to the World Rally Championship until the 1998 season. The team were given a one-year ban after using illegal turbo restrictors at the Catalunya Rally two months ago.

INDYCAR:- The Indianpolis 500 faces competition from a rival event on the same day next year due to a dispute over the running of IndyCar racing. The IndyCar board have decided to stage their own event on May 26 in opposition to the Indy 500, which has been taken over by the new Indy Racing League.

20.12.95 - F1
Damon Hill completed the Williams team's testing programme by leading the times at the Circuit de Catalunya. Hill clocked a best time of one minute, 21.14 seconds, more than 1.6 seconds clear of Frenchman Jean Alesi who was second-fastest in a Benetton. However Alesi and his team hit problems when he suffered a broken clutch and had to be towed in. It meant Benetton had to end their test early on a day when few other drivers competed as teams prepared for the Christmas holidays.

Frenchman Bruno Saby set the early pace in his Mitsubishi Pajero, winning the opening 4km stage before the rally prepares to journey to Morocco. A drag-race style opener, won by his teammate Kenjiro Shinozuka, determined the start order for the event and was followed by the short stage. Heavy rain forced a second section to be cancelled. Competitors now travel to Malaga for a boat trip to Nador where the battle through Africa will begin. Finn Kari Tiainen on a Husqvarna led the motor cycle catagory after the first timed stage.

Enduro star John Deacon is tackling the world's toughest off-road event, hoping to become the first British rider to finish the Dakar Rally. Deacon, a Plymouth-based motor cycle dealer, had been eighth fastest on the F300-metre acceleration test - just ahead of compatriot Ian Graham - in Friday's prologue. Deacon is physically well prepared for the rally having trained twice-weekly with rugby union team Saracens. He will be using a satellite navigation system to help him through the deserts to the finish in Dakar.

CARS: Leaders after stage 1:   mins:secs
 1 B Saby        Fr  Mitsubishi   5:36
 2 P Lartigue    Fr  Citroen      5:48
 3 J-P Fontenay  Fr  Mitsubishi   5:50
 4 A Vatanen     Fin Citroen      5:58
 5 P Wambergue   Fr  Citroen      6:00
 6 S Servia      Sp  Citroen      6:03
 7 H Masuoka     Jpn Mitsubishi   6:12
 8 K Shinozuka   Jpn Mitsubishi   6:18
 9 J-L Schlesser Fr  Schlesser    6:36
10 C Arnoux      Fr  Buggy        6:39
Saturday's second stage cancelled due to bad weather

MOTOR CYCLES                     Min:sec
  1 K Tiainen     Fin Husqvarna    5:53
  2 D Trolli      It  Cagiva       5:58
  3 J Roma        Sp  KTM          6:04
  4 S Peterhansel Fr  Yamaha       6:08
  5 T Magnaldi    Fr  KTM          6:11
  6 J Arcarons    Sp  KTM          6:12
 21 J Deacon      GB  KTM          6:39
 23 P Gunn        Ire Honda        6:56
 26 I Graham      GB  KTM          6:58
 80 N Morgan      GB  Honda        8:57

Competitors face 6,200km of timed stages on their trek to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, which the survivors are due to reach on 14 January. Among the leading entries is Pierre Lartigue, winner for the past two years, who heads the Citroen line-up in his ZX Rallye. Bruno Saby, runner-up last year, drives one of the Mitsubishi Pajeros along with Kenjiro Shinozuka. Favourites for honours in the motorcycle category include Eddie Orioli and Stephane Peterhansel on their Yamahas and KTM duo Heintz Kinigadner and Georges Jobe.

British co-driver Fred Gallagher will be hoping to guide Philip Wambergue to a good result for Citroen in their ZX Rallye. They finished fifth in the first special test on Saturday. John Deacon, the 1994 British enduro champion, is among the British entries in the motor cycle section, riding a KTM. Nick Morgan competes on a Honda, with Carrickfergus fish and chip shop owner Ian Graham entered on a KTM. Three Irish riders have also made the trip to Granada. Philip Gunn, Richard Fair and Vincent Dooley are entered as Team Ireland Cork to Dakar.