01.04.96 F1: THE BRAZILIAN GP Result after 71 laps 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:49.52 2 J Alesi Fr Benetton @ 17 secs 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1 lap 4 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1 lap 5 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1 lap 6 O Panis Fr Ligier 1 lap 7 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1 lap 8 P Diniz Brz Ligier 2 laps 9 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 2 laps 10 P Lamy Por Minardi 3 laps 11 L Badoer It Forti 4 laps 12 M Brundle GB Jordan 6 laps WORLD DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP 1 D Hill GB Williams 20 pts 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 6 = J Alesi Fr Benetton 6 4 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 5 5 E Irvine GB Ferrari 4 = M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 4 7 G Berger Aut Benetton 3 = M Salo Fin Tyrrell 3 9 O Panis Fr Ligier 1 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 Williams 26 points 2 Benetton 9 3 Ferrari 8 4 McLaren 5 5 Tyrrell 3 6 Ligier 1Damon Hill cruised to his 15th Grand Prix victory with a commanding performance at rain-hit Interlagos. A downpour 40 minutes before the start left the circuit saturated but Hill made the most of pole position to leave the rest trailing in his wake. He quickly opened up a 12-second lead and stretched it further to make it two wins out of two for the season. Teammate Jacques Villeneuve had been second but spun early on, with Jean Alesi taking second and Michael Schumacher battling into third spot.
Delighted Damon Hill was singing in the rain as he made light of atrocious conditions in Sao Paolo. Cars were barely visible in the early stages after torrential rain but Hill stuck to the track like a leech. He was unchallenged for virtually all of the 71 lap-race and his relentless charge was only interrupted by a change to 'slicks' on lap 40. Backmarkers appeared to be the only other danger but he finished 17 seconds ahead of nearest rival Jean Alesi and passed his father's tally of 14 GP wins.
Damon Hill voiced his fears over racing in dangerous conditions after winning the race in a torrential downpour. "Just after I went out a bolt of lightning came right down in front of me," he said. "It gave me a real sense of foreboding. It was very risky out there, as when the rain comes in Brazil it is full blooded. There were rivers of water on the circuit because of the rain. It's fantastic to have won, but I hear there could be more rain in Argentina. I'm looking forward to going there."
David Coulthard slammed race conditions after a frustrating afternoon in the McLaren at Interlagos. The Scot spun off, hitting a wet patch soon after changing to slicks, and was left stranded on the sodden grass. He said: "I've never been in conditions like that before. It was a crazy way to start the race." Eddie Irvine was seventh in the Ferrari but Martin Brundle spun late in the race, stalling the Jordan, and Johnny Herbert's Sauber had engine trouble.
Reigning world champion Michael Schumacher grabbed his first podium finish for Ferrari as he held on for third place.The German star, finding life harder in the new car, was pushed hard by Rubens Barrichello in the Jordan for the last half of the race. The Brazilian had thrilled his home fans with a great performance but was bitterly disappointed after spinning off with 11 laps to go. Barrichello's exit let Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) in for fourth, holding off fellow Finn Mika Salo (Tyrrell).
F3:- Guy Smith made a dream start to his British Formula 3 career when he won the first round at Silverstone in front of a record crowd of 24,500. The Hull-based driver, who started on pole in his Mitsubishi, showed few nerves as he ignored a start-line crash to win the 12-lap race comfortably. His team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya finished second with Jamie Davies, in a TWR GM, third but Davies won the second race even though Smith was on pole. He shrugged off the challenge of Ralph Firman and raced away to record his first Formula Three victory.
INDYCAR:- American Jimmy Vasser pulled five points clear in the drivers' championship by winning the Aussie GP from pole position in Surfers Paradise. Vasser shrugged aside the odd challenge from compatriot Scott Pruett in a Lola Ford, to record his second victory in three races this season. The 30-year-old, who claimed pole position from Pruett in the dying seconds of qualifying on Saturday, held the lead for all but a handful of the 65 laps on the testing street circuit. "It was great, this is the best race car I have ever had," said Vasser.
Result of Australian Grand Prix: laps 1 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 65 (average speed 90.218mph) 2 S Pruett US Lola-Ford 65 3 G Moore Can Reynard-Merc 65 4 M Gugelmin Brz Reynard Ford 65 5 C Fi'paldi Brz Lola-Ford 65 6 S J'hansson Swe Reynard-Merc 65 7 E Lawson US Lola-Mercedes 65 8 A Ribeiro Brz Lola-Honda 65 9 A Unser Jr US Penske-Merc 64 10 H Mat'hita Jpn Lola-Ford 64 Standings: 1 Vasser 47 pts, 2 Pruett 42 3 C Fittipaldi 28, 4 Ribeiro 25 03.04.96TOURING CARS:- German ace Audi make their debut this season in the prestigious and highly competitive Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship which starts this weekend. Their arrival takes the total of manufacturer teams to an impressive eight, as the series continues to go from strength to strength. All the teams have been working flat out in a bid to get their cars, many of them brand new for 1996, ready for the first round at Donington Park. Some of them are clearly well prepared, while for others there are still a lot of unknowns and a lot of work to do...
AUDI - Newcomers to the British series as they bid to add the UK title to the German, Italian, French and World Cup crowns already won with the 4wd Audi A4. World Cup victor Frank Biela heads the Audi challenge and says he is "very optimistic" about the team's chances although they have a lot of work to do. "The four-wheel-drive means the car feels safe under braking and there is no wheel spin when accelerating. It is not so good on fast circuits," he said. Teammate John Bintcliffe, moving up from the support races, added: I know there will be a big learning curve."
BMW - A new version of the successful 320i with input from McLaren, plus a tie-up with the Schnitzer team gives the former champions great optimism. Jo Winkelhock, who won in 1993 with the Schnitzer team, believes they face a tough start. "The car was finished late but I'm confident for the season." Roberto Ravaglia, arguably the world's most successful touring car driver, returns to the UK scene and admits his task is no easy one. "I don't know many circuits and the competition is strong." Dutchman Peter Kox will drive a third development BMW in selected races.
FORD - After a lean 1995, Ford has moved its effort to the West Surrey Racing team which launched Ayrton Senna on his F3 career. They also have a new car. Paul Radisich, twice winner of the FIA Touring Car World Cup, starts his third full season with Ford. "It's a pretty exciting year for us with a brand new car, new team and new driver." The new face is single-seater star Steve Robertson, back from the US. "I have a lot to learn - these guys are specialists - but I believe I can do a good job. I hope to be on the podium, or winning, by the end of the year."
HONDA - Made an impressive debut last season and have continued to develop the Accord, the work now almost done. David Leslie, who finished 10th in last year's Championship, insists: "Our target isa win and that we will do this year. We have made a lot of changes including the tyres." His teammate again this year is James Kaye who described the 1995 season, in which he was 18th as "all experience". "This year I will put the experience to good use and have a good chance to win some races. We learned to work together as a team and that will help this year."
PEUGEOT - Highly motivated by the launch of the new 406 described by driver Patrick Watts, in his third year with the team, as "the ultimate touring car." "The car has a lot of potential but it is all on paper at the moment," said Watts. "We should be on the podium a few more times this year but it will be hard work." Former BTCC champion Tim Harvey joins the team after a year with Volvo. "The car has its good points and some that need to be worked on," he said. "It's a race against time at the moment to get it as good as possible."
RENAULT - Last year's winners of the manufacturers' title and Alain Menu, runner-up in the drivers' battle, is tipped by many for success this season. The Swiss driver is less convinced. "I keep reading I am favourite but it is so competitive, you cannot tell. What we have seen, from Audi, BMW and the rest, is that it is going to be close." Will Hoy, who strung three late season wins together in the Laguna to finish fourth, says it will be important to make a dominant start this time. "The car was late being finished last year so we have done better this time."
VAUXHALL - Reigning BTCC champion John Cleland says they will be "starting with one hand tied behind our backs" in the brand new Vectra this season. Cleland, who won six races last year in the Cavalier to win a second title, said they could be on the podium in the first race but would not win just yet. "The car has some 'interesting' characteristics especially through fast corners," he explained. "Unfortunately my heart is not as strong as it was!" James Thompson, back fully fit, said last year's crash was an "occupational hazard" and would have no effect in '96.
VOLVO - Team pleased with early testing of the 850 and drivers Rickard Rydell and Kelvin Burt are expecting some good results in the opening races. Burt said it would be a big advantage having had the car ready very early. "It is encouraging so far. I just hope it is the quickest car at the end of the year as well as at the start," said Burt. "There is a tremendous will to win throughout the whole team." Rydell said they were expecting greater reliability this season. "It is a much better car," he insisted.
MATT NEAL - Last year's winner of the Total Cup as top privateer and hopes to be able to challenge some of the works teams after a few races in his Mondeo. "We have a new car so it will be quite difficult at the start of the year but I hope to be a fly in the ointment later on," he commented.
RICHARD KAYE - Using last year's Cavalier and has been producing good times in testing. "We learned a lot last year and I am expecting to do well."
ROBB GRAVETT - Driving a Ford Mondeo and "looking forward to a good year".
LEE BROOKES - Contesting the Total Cup for the first time after winning last year's Clio championship title. "This is a totally new game for me."
OWEN McAULEY - Drives one of two Andy Rouse Sport entered Nissan Primera which are not entered in the Total Cup nor eligible for manufacturers points.
GARY AYLES - Returning to the series after a four-year absence, to drive the second Rouse car. "It's good to be back and I think we can provide a few surprises, embarrass a few works teams," he insisted.
SAFARI RALLY:- World champion Colin McRae and his 555 Subaru teammates Kenneth Eriksson and Piero Liatti head to Kenya keen to repeat their 1-2-3 Asia-Pacific success. They dominated the Rally of Thailand, opening round of the Championship, but face an unpredictable task in round two which starts in Nai robi on Friday. Eriksson, '95 Asia-Pacific champion, has twice contested the event but knows it will be tougher than ever this year after freak storms and flash floods lashed the 2,955km route. Organisers have been looking at changes to the stages due to the conditions.
Colin McRae names Spaniard Carlos Sainz in the Ford Escort RS Cosworth as one his main threats as he bids for a first Safari Rally victory this weekend. "This event is a great adventure," said the Scot. "The conditions are always totally unpredictable. Even so I think we have a very good chance of victory. The key will be to strike a balance between speed and car preservation because the stages are just so rough." Ford have not contested the event for almost a decade but believe this could be an advantage. Sainz and Swede Stig Blomqvist should both be in contention.
Tommi Makinen heads the Mitsubishi Ralliart Europe challenge in Kenya but Kenjiro Shinozuka, runner-up last year, could also be among the front-runners. Thomas Radstrom looks certain to be in the works Toyota, in place of four times world champion Juha Kankkunen. An additional Toyota driven by local privateer Ian Duncan could also pose a major threat to the works drivers in the three-day event. The three legs of the rally start and finish from Nairobi. Eleven of the 15 competitive sections are more than 100km, the longest being 214km.
LEADING DRIVERS INCLUDE
C McRae/D Ringer Subaru Impreza 555
C Sainz/L Moya Ford Escort Cosworth
T Makinen/S Harjanne Mitsubishi Lancer
K Eriksson/S Parm'dr Subaru Impreza 555
I Duncan/D Williamsn Toyota Celica GT4
S Blomqvist/B Mel'dr Ford Escort Cosworth
K Shinozuka/P K'kala Mitsubishi Lancer
P Liatti/M Ferfoglia Subaru Impreza 555
M Galanti/M Christie Toyota Celica Turbo
R Stohl/J Bertl Audi Coupe S2
04.04.96F1: THE ARGENTINE GP
The Buenos Aires circuit is tight, twisting and physically demanding, but only a shadow of the track which hosted the first Argentine GP back in 1953. Benetton Technical Director Ross Brawn said: "The track has been resurfaced this year. So it may not be as bumpy as it has been in the past when the bumps were the outstanding feature. The main memory we have of 1995 is the dirtiness of the surface." The Formula One circus returned to the venue after a 14-year absence last season when Damon Hill recorded a six-second victory ahead of Jean Alesi.
The Williams-Renault team did enough at Interlagos to suggest they will remain as pacesetters on the Autodromo Oscar Galvez circuit this Sunday. But the chief threat to Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve's supremacy could come from Rubens Barrichello of Jordan. Barrichello looked fast and skilful enough to finish on the podium before his race ended prematurely last weekend. Michael Schumacher has been conspicuous by his absence from the championship challenge so far this season and said: "We have to work hard to try and raise the standards of the car."
British outfit Arrows enter a new era this weekend as they target a place among the Grand Prix elite after Tom Walkinshaw's takeover. The Scot was an instrumental figure in Benetton's rise to a constructors' championship and he also turned around the fortunes of Ligier. Walkinshaw has set his team a goal of finishing in the top six this season. "It won't be easy as we are coming from a long way back at the moment. Competing with teams like Williams is going to be difficult and require a lot of hard work," said Walkinshaw.
Johnny Herbert is planning to end his disappointing start to the season - by beginning the race from the grid. Herbert was involved in Martin Brundle's crash in Melbourne and he was unable to use the spare car as Heinz Harald Frentzen claimed it after his own had developed technical problems. Then in Brazil an engine problem with his car was discovered while he was on the grid, forcing him to start in the spare from the pit lane. "It has been a very disappointing start but there's no use crying about it," said Herbert.
GTs:- Finland's JJ Lehto will be chasing a second successive victory in the famous Le Mans 24-Hour race after signing a contract with Gulf Racing. Lehto, who won with Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya, teams up this year with Ray Bellm and James Weaver to drive the Gulf McLaren F1 GTR. "It is a fantastic car and having the opportunity to race in the new 1996 fully developed racing version gives us a competitive edge," said Lehto. "Gulf has a tremendous heritage at Le Mans and I know they will be totally geared up to winning."
05.04.96 F1: THE ARGENTINE GPFormula One world drivers' championship leader Damon Hill was again setting the pace on the opening day of practice for Sunday's Argentine Grand Prix. Hill clocked the fastest time near the end of the second practice session to pip Michael Schumacher by 0.10 seconds. Schumacher had led for most of the day in his Ferrari, only to see Hill eventually go quicker in his Williams-Renault with a time of 1:29.694. Benetton's Jean Alesi was third fastest while Jacques Villeneuve could only manage 11th in the other Williams as he acclimatised to the circuit.
Friday practice times: mins secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:29.694 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:29.799 3 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:30.019 4 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:30.033 5 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:30.140 6 HH Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:30.497 7 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:30.766 8 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:30.770 9 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:30.890 10 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:31.013 11 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:31.082 12 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:31.368 13 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:31.408 14 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:31.811 15 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:32.038 16 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:32.084 17 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:32.176 18 T Marques Brz Minardi 1:32.359 19 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:32.819 20 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:32.833 21 A Montermini It Forti 1:34.103 22 L Badoer It Forti 1:35.044TOURING CARS:- The Donington Park lap record was smashed by Sweden's Rickard Rydell during testing for Monday's opening rounds of the Touring Car Championship. His Volvo 850 saloon knocked 1.8secs off the record with a time of 1 mins 37.183secs round the 2.5-mile circuit. Rydell's display saw him head off world champion Frank Biela. The German, in an Audi A4, clocked 1:37.186 on his debut at the Auto Trader RAC Championships. The two 18-lap, 45-mile races should be closely fought as less than half a second separates the top nine.
FRIDAY'S COMBINED PRACTICE for Monday's opening round at Donington Park:mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:37.183 2 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:37.186 3 J W'hock Ger BMW 320i 1:37.220 4 W Hoy GB Renault Lag 1:37.338 5 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 1:37.449 6 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 1:37.518 7 J Thompson GB Vaux Vectra 1:37.559 8 J Cleland GB Vaux Vectra 1:37.607 9 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 1:37.628 10 K Burt GB Volvo 850 1:37.640SAFARI RALLY:- Reigning champion Colin McRae lost the lead to teammate Kenneth Eriksson at the end of a demanding opening day in the Safari Rally. The Scot dominated the early stages but a broken driveshaft cost him time and he reached the overnight halt 24 secs behind his Swedish rival. "It broke as we went through some water and this in turn snapped the brake pipe so we completed the last 60km of the stage without any brakes," said McRae. "We have taken a steady pace all day, looked after the car and it has paid off," commented Eriksson.
Positions after 3 stages: (end of 1 st leg) mins secs 1 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 1:35.16 2 C McRae GB Subaru 1:35.40 3 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 1:35.57 4 I Duncan Ken Toyota 1:39.08 5 C Sainz Sp Ford 1:41.07 6 M Galanti It Toyota 1:44.33 7 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi 1:47.27 8 P Liatti It Subaru 1:49.32 9 P Njiru Ken Subaru 1:50.10 10 R Stohl Aut Audi 1:59.36Three members of the crew assisting British driver Robin Boyd-Moss drowned on a the first day of the Safari Rally in Kenya. They were named by rally organisers as Kenya-based Britons Mark Trower and Mark Thompson and Thompson's step-daughter Pascale. The trio died after their Land Rover support vehicle was washed away by a flash flood as they tried to negotiate a river crossing. They were acting as service crew to the Ford Escort of Boyd-Moss, who is also based in Kenya.
06.04.96 F1: THE ARGENTINE GPChampionship leader Damon Hill rose to the challenge of Michael Schumacher with a flying lap to snatch pole in the closing minutes of qualifying. He was outpaced by in the early part of the session with Schumacher clocking 1 min 30.812 secs in his Ferrari and then improving it to 1:30.598. Hill brought his Williams back out onto the circuit with less than five minutes left and produced a brilliant 1:30.346 to head the grid. Teammate Jacques Villeneuve (1:30.907) will be on the second row, alongside Jean Alesi's Benetton.
Damon Hill admitted he had "left it very late" before claiming pole position for Sunday's race. "I was biting my nails as much as I could through my gloves while waiting in the car wondering how it would go. It was always going to be a battle. There was a lot of traffic when I was out there, but it was vital to get a clear lap and we finally managed it. You need pole position here as it isso difficult to overtake." Hill will become only the eighth person to ever win four successive races if he is victorious in Sunday's race.
Michael Schumacher is on the alert after reportedly being the subject of a death threat by Kurdish rebels. A German-based group, purporting to represent the terrorist PPK group, have sent a letter to a Belgian tabloid newspaper issuing the threat. Schumacher said: "I am not too worried about it at the moment. This is not the first time I have been the subject of a death threat. We will look into it."The Schumacher camp believe it is a hoax or a publicity stunt but are worried with the next Grand Prix being held in Germany on April 28.
SAFARI RALLY:- Reigning world champion Colin McRae had an eventful second day which saw him drop two places to fifth behind leader Tommi Makinen. His Subaru was involved in a collision with a 12-year-old in the tow of Nakaru, which left the child with a broken ankle. The Scot also suffered front and rear suspension problems, leaving him back in fifth, but moved past teammate Piero Liatti when he hit trouble. Makinen and Kenneth Eriksson vied for the lead for much of the day but the Finn finisihed with two mins in hand.
Positions at end of second day: hrs mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 8:53.33 2 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 8:55.44 3 I Duncan Ken Toyota 9:21.44 4 C McRae GB Subaru 9:49.12 5 P Liatti It Subaru 10:01.53 6 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi 10:13.24 7 S Blomqvist Swe Ford 10:21.41 8 H Miyoshi Jpn Subaru 10:51.27 9 P Njiru Ken Subaru 11:10.49 10 J Toroitich Ken Toyota 12:35.28IMBER STAGES RALLY:- Peter Doughty won the Chequered Flag Imber Stages Rally on Salisbury Plain. His Ford Escort Cosworth had an accumulated time of 78 mins 11 secs, ahead of Blair and Kemp (Escort Cos) who clocked 80:39. EARS/Motoring News Championship leader John Price (Metro 6R4) was fifth.
07.04.96 F1: THE ARGENTINE GP Result after 72 laps: 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:54.55.322 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 12.167 3 J Alesi Fr Benetton 14.754 4 R Barrich'lo Brz Jordan 55.131 5 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:04.991 6 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:08.913 7 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:13.400 8 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:14.295 9 J Herbert GB Sauber 1 lap 10 A Montermini It Forti 3 laps Drivers Championship: 1 D Hill GB Williams 30 pts 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 12 3 J Alesi Fr Benetton 10 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 6 5 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 5 6 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 4 7 G Berger Aut Benetton 3 = M Salo Fin Tyrrell 3 = R Barrichello Brz Jordan 3 9 O Panis Fr Ligier 1 = J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1 Constructors Championship: 1 Williams-Renault 42 points 2 Benetton-Renault 13 3 Ferrari 10 4 McLaren-Mercedes 5 5 Tyrrell-Yamaha 3 = Jordan-Peugeot 3 6 Ligier-Mugen Honda 1 = Footwork-Hart 1Dapper Damon Hill grabbed his third win of the season, his fourth success in a row, after a magnificent race which he led from start to finish. Hill was cruising to victory until the 27th lap when Luca Badoer and Pedro Diniz both crashed out and the safety car came onto the course, allowing his challengers to close on the Williams. However, when the race resumed in earnest the 35-year-old immediately re-established a comfortable cushion. Hill finished in a time of 1:54.55 ahead of teammate Jacques Villeneuve and Benetton's Jean Alesi.
Delighted Damon Hill powered to his fourth GP win on the trot and admitted: "It can't get much better than this!" Hill brought his overall tally of F1 victories to 16 as he triumphed in Buenos Aires, matching the record of Stirling Moss. Hill added: "I'm extremely happy. It's difficult to imagine it getting better than this. "It was a bit disappointing when the pace car came out but it worked out in the end. I think the competition is getting harder all the time."
Damon Hill shrugged off a stomach bug to complete his fourth win on the trot - and then admitted his first task was finding a toilet. Hill revealed that he had been hit by 'Buenos Aires belly' for 48 hours before the race. He said: "When I drove the car into the garage I just had to jump out of it and find a toilet. "I was just hoping I'd been able to make it through the race. I have not been able to hold any food down the past couple of days and was unable to load up on carbohydrates."
Damon Hill stretched his Championship lead to 18 points over Jacques Villeneuve - and also saw arch-rival Michael Schumacher crash out. Williams teammate Villeneuve recovered from a bad start and was in ninth place before battling back to take second. Reigning champion Schumacher was forced to retire on the 46th lap after his Ferrari was hit from behind. Eddie Irvine grabbed fifth, McLaren's David Coulthard was seventh, two places ahead of Sauber's Johnny Herbert - but Jordan's Martin Brundle retired again.
Brazilian Pedro Diniz had an amazing escape as his car turned into a fireball during the Argentine GP. Smoke began to billow from the back of his Ligier-Honda on the 26th lap and the car suddenly caught alight and was quickly engulfed in flames. Diniz steered onto the trackside grass and managed to jump from the car and run to safety. Amazingly he escaped unscathed as he was led away by safety officers, needing only minor treatment for a slight burn on his left hand.
TOURING CARS (Donington):- Volvo's Swedish ace Rickard Rydell and newcomer Frank Biela will share the front row of the grid for both of Monday's opening rounds. Rydell confirmed his pre-season form by making the fastest lap time in Sunday's first qualifying, with German star Biela swapping positions on the second. Under this season's new rule, both men qualify for the 26 point bonus awarded to pole position drivers. Biela's performance was particularly impressive as his four-wheel-drive Audi was making its UK debut.
ROUND ONE mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:36.795 2 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:36.970 3 K Burt GB Volvo 850 1:37.093 4 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 1:37.097 5 J W'hock Ger BMW 320i 1:37.315 6 W Hoy GB Renault Lag 1:37.341 7 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 1:37.385 8 J Cleland GB Vaux Vectra 1:37.438 9 J Thompson GB Vaux Vectra 1:37.697 10 J B'cliffe GB Audi A4 1:37.721 ROUND TWO mins secs 1 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:36.927 2 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:37.350 3 W Hoy GB Renault Lag 1:37.543 4 J W'hock Ger BMW 320i 1:37.561 5 J B'cliffe GB Audi A4 1:37.637 6 K Burt GB Volvo 850 1:37.739 7 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 1:37.740 8 J Thompson GB Vaux Vectra 1:37.749 9 P Radisich NZ Ford Mondeo 1:38.039 10 J Cleland GB Vaux Vectra 1:38.175SAFARI RALLY:- Finn Tommi Makinen extended his world championship lead on Sunday with a stunning victory in the second round. The Mitsubishi driver survived a tyre blow-out and a flash flood to beat Subaru's Kenneth Eriksson. Mitsubishi turned Safari convention upside down by bringing a car designed for much shorter sprint rallies and replacing fragile parts at every chance. Eriksson's charge was halted wen his Subaru suffered brake failure and lost four-wheel drive. World champion Colin McRae of Britain finished fourth.
Final positions: hrs mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 12:41:24 2 K Eriksson Swe Subaru @ 14:16 3 I Duncan Ken Toyota 44:00 4 C McRae GB Subaru 1:07:04 5 P Liatti It Subaru 1:25:30 6 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi 2:03.15 7 S Blomqvist Swe Ford 4:27.29 Driver's standings: 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 40 pts 2 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 23 3 C McRae GB Subaru 22 Manufacturers' standings: 1 Mitsubishi 97 pts 2 Subaru 93 3 Ford 53 08.04.96TOURING CARS:- Series newcomer Frank Biela blitzed the opposition at Donington Park, winning both opening rounds of the Auto Trader RAC Championship at a canter. It was a magnificent British debut for Biela and underlined the superiority of the four-wheel-drive Audi A4 over its two-wheel-drive rivals. The German's closest challenger was 1991 champion Will Hoy, whose Renault Laguna finished second in both races. Reigning World Cup champion Biela stamped his authority on proceedings from the start, leaving all the other competitors trailing in his wake.
ROUND ONE mins secs 1 F Biela Ger Audi A4 38:33.13 2 W Hoy GB Renault L 3 A Menu Swi Renault L 4 K Burt GB Volvo 850 5 J Cleland GB Vaux Vec 6 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 7 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 8 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 9 J Kaye GB Honda Acc 10 J Thompson GB Vaux Vec ROUND TWO mins secs 1 F Biela Ger Audi A4 29:51.158 2 W Hoy GB Renault L 3 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 4 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 5 K Burt GB Volvo 850 6 J Cleland GB Vaux Vec 7 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 8 P Radisich NZ Ford Mond 9 T Harvey GB Peugeot 10 J Kaye GB Honda Acc CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER TWO RNDS: PTS 1 F Biela Ger Audi A4 31 2 W Hoy GB Renault Laguna 24 3 K Burt GB Volvo 850 14 4 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 13 5 J Cleland GB Vaux Vectra 11 = R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 11 MANUFACTURERS STANDINGS 1 Audi 30 2 Renault 24 3 Volvo 20 4 Vauxhall 16 5 BMW 12 11.04.96NEWS:- Former Formula One driver David Brabham leads a four-man team at Santa Pod in Northampton on Thursday as they attempt to beat the 24-hour petrol endurance record in an electric-powered kart.
TOURING CARS Leading Thursday test times at Thruxton mins secs 1 K Burt Volvo 850 1:17.558 2 R Rydell Volvo 850 1:17.560 3 A Menu Renault 1:17.583 4 F Biela Audi A4 1:17.682 5 J Cleland Vauxhall 1:17.990 6 J Bintcliffe Audi A4 1:17.994 7 R Ravaglia BMW 320i 1:18.013 8 J Winkelhock BMW 320i 1:18.047 9 D Leslie Honda 1:18.280 10 J Kaye Honda 1:18.285 12.04.96 TOURING CARS Leading Friday test times at Thruxton mins secs 1 R Rydell Volvo 850 1:28.551 2 J Cleland Vauxhall 1:28.935 3 F Biela Audi A4 1:29.063 4 W Hoy Renault 1:29.647 5 P Watts Peugot 1:29.981 6 J Thompson Vauxhall 1:30.339 7 J Bintcliffe Audi A4 1:30.424 8 D Leslie Honda 1:30.774 9 R Ravaglia BMW 3201 1:30.823 10 K Burt Volvo 850 1:30.853ITC:- Alfa Romeo's Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and compatriot Nicola Larini set the two fastest times in Friday's first qualifying session. Fisichella set the time right at the beginning of the 45 minute session in Hockenheim driving his 155 V6. He was unchallenged throughout though Larini was just 0.05 seconds behind. German Hans Stuck set a brilliant third fastest time in his Opel Calibra and said afterwards: "It is the perfect gift for my mechanics."
Qualifying at Hockenheim: secs 1 G Fisichella A Romeo 59.362 2 N Larini A Romeo 59.367 3 H Stuck Opel C 59.754 4 A Nannini A Romeo 59.805 5 B Schneider AMG Mercedes 59.887 6 K Ludwig Opel 59.940 7 J Magnussen AMG Mercedes 59.946 8 C Danner A Romeo 59.977 13.04.96 INDYCAR Starting line-up for Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach: secs 1 G de Ferran Brz Reynard Honda 52.208 2 A Zanardi It Reynard Honda 52.257 3 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 52.365 4 P Tracy Can Penske Merc 52.521 5 S Pruett US Lola Ford 52.557 6 P Johnstone US Reynard Honda 52.651 7 R Gordon US Reynard Ford 52.754 8 G Moore Can Reynard Merc 52.761 9 A Unser jr US Penske Merc 52.796 10 C Fit'paldi Brz Lola Ford 52.807ITC:- Alfa Romeo claimed the top three grid positions for the opening round of the series at Hockenheim in Germany. Italian Nicola Larini headed qualifying just ahead of compatriots Alessandro Nannini and Giancarlo Fisichella. "I changed my tryes around today using soft on the left and it seems to have made the difference," said Larini. "Now we must see how they react in the race." German Manuel Reuter took fourth place in his Opel Calibra despite suffering understeer. "We changed the car a lot from this morning and it was improved in one area but worse in others."
Final qualifying at Hockenheim: secs 1 N Larini Alfa Romeo 1:00.167 2 A Nannini Alfa Romeo 1:00.304 3 G Fisichella Alfa Romeo 1:00.725 4 M Reuter Opel Calibra 1:00.755 5 J Magnussen AMG Mercedes 1:00.775 6 C Danner Alfa Romeo 1:00.966 7 B Schneider AMG Mercedes 1:01.000 8 H Stuck Opel Calibra 1:01.302 9 K Ludwig Opel Calibra 1:01.360 10 Y Dalmas Opel Calibra 1:01.492 14.04.96 Result of round three of International GT series: hr mins secs 1 Weaver/Bellm GB 4:01.27.77, 147 laps McLaren 2 Raphanel/Owen-Jones Fr/GB 146 laps McLaren 3 Gounon/Belmondo/Bernard Fr 146 laps Ferrari 4 Giroix/Cottaz/Denis Fr 145 laps McLaren 5 Ferte/Thevenin Fr 144 laps Ferrari ITC, HOCKENHEIM First race mins:secs 1 M Reuter Opel Calibra 40:19.433 2 J Magnussen AMG Mercedes 40:20.142 3 D Franchitti AMG Mercedes 40:26.012 4 B Schneider AMG Mercedes 40:27.140 5 H Stuck Opel Calibra 40:38.475 6 A Grau AMG Mercedes 40:38.891 Second race: 1 J Magnussen AMG Mercedes 39:53.165 2 B Schneider AMG Mercedes 39:54.753 3 M Reuter Opel Calibra 40:03.839 4 D Franchitti AMG Mercedes 40:04.193 5 A Grau AMG Mercedes 40:09.630 6 U Alzen Opel Calibra 40:10.089F3:- Jamie Davies came through to claim victory in the British F3 Championship race at Thruxton, finishing ahead of James Matthews and Ralph Firman.
15.04.96TOURING CARS:- Volvo drivers Rickard Rydell and Kelvin Burt were fastest in initial testing for this weekend's rounds of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship. Rydell lopped more than three-tenths of a second from his own qualifying record at Brands Hatch, pursued by Burt and Renault men Alain Menu and Will Hoy. Championship leader Frank Biela was absent from the test, the Audi team leader undergoing surgery in his native Germany for a minor back complaint.
Monday's top testing times: mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 0:45.557 2 K Burt GB Volvo 0:45.699 3 A Menu Swi Renault 0:45.714 4 W Hoy GB Renault 0:45.844 5 P Radisich NZ Ford 0:45.921 6 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 0:45.937 7 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 0:46.041 8 J Bintcliffe GB Audi 0:46.045 9 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 0:46.046 10 J Maye GB Honda 0:46.144INDYCAR:- American Jimmy Vasser stormed to victory in the Long Beach Grand Prix in his Reynard Honda. Parker Johnstone was second by 3.45 seconds and Al Unser jr came third, while Gil de Ferran was fifth despite leading for 100 of the 105 lap-race. Vasser said: "We had a good car. I feel a little bad for Gil, but not too bad. "It was de Ferran's race but that's racing. I knew we couldn't catch him, and I didn't wish it on him but I had a little smile on my face when he slowed."
Final result of Long Beach Grand Prix: laps 1 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 105 (average speed 96.281mph) 2 P Johnstone US Reynard Honda 105 3 A Unser jr US Penske Merc 105 4 P Tracy Can Penske Merc 105 5 G de Ferran Brz Reynard Honda 105 6 A Fernandez Mex Lola Honda 105 7 M Andretti US Lola Ford 104 8 R Moreno Brz Lola Ford 104 9 E Lawson US Lola Mercedes 104 10 R Hearn US Lola Ford 104 17.04.96 - SilverstonePlans have been revealed to make Silverstone the permanent home of the British Grand Prix and the premier circuit in the world. The Northamptonshire venue has already secured the rights to the British race until 2001, but the owners are confident they can ensure it stays there for good. "We want to make it the natural home for grand prix racing in this country," said circuit chairman Tommy Sopwith. "All profits that are made are ploughed back into development," he added.
18.04.96 - BTCC PREVIEW, BRANDS HATCHNewcomers Audi made an impressive debut in the opening round at Donington and Championship leader Frank Biela will be hoping to lead the way again on Sunday. Biela and teammate John Bintcliffe will face a difficult task on the tight Indy circuit at Brands Hatch in Kent. Among the likely front-runners will be Londoner Will Hoy, who also went well in the first two races. He was a popular winner at Brands last August in his Williams-prepared Renault Laguna. Renault are one of the few teams to be unchanged in '96 and Hoy's teammate Alain Menu should also go well.
Reigning champion John Cleland appears to have some work to do with the new Vauxhall Vectra but it should not be long before he starts winning races. The determined Scot earned points in both races of the opening round. He and young teammate James Thompson will be battling to get the best out of the car. Kent's Patrick Watts will enjoy home advantage this weekend and, with teammate Tim Harvey, will be hoping to earn some points in Peugeot's new 406. Honda duo David Leslie and James Kaye continue to successfully develop the Accord and a win cannot be far away.
Paul Radisich will be hoping to shake off his Brands jinx while Ford teammate Steve Robertson aims to make amends for a disappointing start to the season. Radisich, twice World Cup winner, failed to finish three times in six starts at Brands last year although he did manage a runner-up spot. Robertson spun out in the first race of the '96 season and missed the second. Rickard Rydell has been very quick in testing this week at Brands and, after taking pole at Donington but spinning, should be well worth watching on Sunday as will be his teammate Kelvin Burt.
Audi made their mark in the opening round but another German team will be looking to make a big impression in round two at Brands Hatch this weekend. The all-conquering Schnitzer BMW team were surprisingly off the pace in the opening races but Roberto Ravaglia and Jo Winkelhock can never be discounted. Privateers Robb Gravett and Richard Kaye will be out to embarrass some of the better-financed works teams as they continue to battle for the Total Cup. The weather could also add an element of uncertainty with the threat of rain likely to worry some of the favourites.
19.04.96F1:- Damon Hill was quickest on the third day of Formula One testing at Jerez in Spain. Hill clocked a best time of 1 min 23.61 secs in the Williams, ahead of teammate Jacques Villeneuve on 1:24.55. Jean Alesi was third fastest in his Benetton with 1:24.71, ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen, in a Sauber, and Gerhard Berger, in the second Benetton.
TOURING CARS:- Swiss ace Alain Menu topped the times in his Renault at the end of the final official testing session in preparation for racing at Brands Hatch this weekend. Menu clocked 45.616 seconds around the Indy circuit well inside the qualifying lap record, with Volvo's Kelvin Burt just 6/1000ths of a second behind. A fierce battle is expected in rounds 3 and 4 on Sunday with less than a second covering the top 16 cars. Menu's teammate Will Hoy was sixth best despite blowing up two engines. Jo Winkelhock crashed his BMW at speed at Paddock Hill Bend.
OFFICIAL TESTING TIMES (Friday) secs 1 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 45.616 2 K Burt GB Volvo 850 45.622 3 F Biela Ger Audi A4 45.727 4 J Cleland GB Vauxhall Vec 45.822 5 T Harvey GB Peugeot 406 45.879 6 W Hoy GB Renault Lag 45.990 7 J Thompson GB Vauxhall Vec 46.028 8 J Kaye GB Honda Accord 46.057 9 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 46.104 10 P Radisich NZ Ford Mondeo 46.109 11 D Leslie GB Honda Accord 46.113 12 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 46.159RAC RALLY:- Drivers in the 1996 Network Q RAC Rally can expect one of the toughest tests yet in this final round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The rally, which once again starts and finishes in Chester, has been cut to just three days with reduced road miles but the same competitive mileage. It starts on 23 November with 10 stages in Scotland and northern England including the 37-mile Pundershaw stage. The popular Sunday spectator stages now move to day two while the final leg starts at just after midnight on the Monday, finishing at Chester Racecourse.
20.04.96F1:- Damon Hill goes into next week's European Grand Prix hoping to write his name in the record books. His three victories this campaign means he is just one win short of becoming only the fourth driver in history to win five races in a row. Only Jack Brabham and British duo Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell have done so previously. Hill could then equal Mansell's 1992 record of winning the opening five races if he is also victorious in San Marino the following week.
TOURING CARS:- Renault and BMW set the pace during qualifying for Sunday's two races at Brands Hatch, with Alain Menu posting the best time of all in his Laguna. Menu's lap of 45.752 seconds, inside the Indy circuit qualifying record, gave him pole position for round three, just ahead of Jo Winkelhock's BMW. Winkelhock was quickest in qualifying for round four, ahead of newcomer John Bintcliffe who impressed in his Audi A4. Championship leader Frank Biela, back in fourth and fifth in his Audi, said: "The race will be tough because passing will be hard here."
QUALIFYING FOR SUNDAY'S ROUND THREE:secs 1 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 45.762 2 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 45.816 3 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 45.874 4 F Biela Ger Audi A4 45.890 5 W Hoy GB Renault Lag 46.047 6 K Burt GB Volvo 850 46.073 7 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 46.099 8 J Thompson GB Vauxhall Vec 46.298 9 P Radisich NZ Ford Mondeo 46.362 10 J Cleland GB Vauxhall Vec 45.363 11 T Harvey GB Peugeot 406 45.436 12 J Kaye GB Honda Accord 46.449 13 D Leslie GB Honda Accord 46.458 14 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 46.588 QUALIFYING FOR SUNDAY'S ROUND FOUR: secs 1 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 45.963 2 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 46.019 3 W Hoy GB Renault Lag 46.105 4 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 46.112 5 F Biela Ger Audi A4 46.163 6 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 46.227 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall Vec 46.308 8 K Burt GB Volvo 850 46.352 9 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 46.566 10 P Radisich NZ Ford Mondeo 46.571 11 D Leslie GB Honda Accord 46.649 12 J Thompson GB Vauxhall Vec 46.693 13 P Watts GB Peugeot 406 46.739 14 T Harvey GB Peugeot 406 46.745 21.04.96 - TOURING CARSBrands Hatch Championship leader Frank Biela, increased his lead with a victory and fourth place at Brands. The German is 19 points ahead of Alain Menu who recorded two second places in his Renault Laguna. Biela clocked 29 mins 51.24 secs in his Audi, 0.62 secs ahead of the Swiss driver while Jo Winkelhock took the chequered flag in round four. It was the 1993 champion's, and BMW's, first race victory for two years as he romped away from pole spot to finish over four seconds ahead of the field.
Result of round three: mins:secs 1 F Biela Ger Audi A4 29:51.24 2 A Menu Swi Renault 29:51.86 3 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 29:52.21 4 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 29:56.12 5 P Radisich NZ Ford Mondeo 30:09.18 6 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 30:09.43 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 30:10.14 8 P Watts GB Peugeot 30:13.16 9 J Kaye GB Honda Acc 30:19.88 10 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 30:38.78 Result of round four: mins:secs 1 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 29:43.61 2 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 29:47.80 3 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 29:55.07 4 F Biela Ger Audi A4 29:55.42 5 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 29:59.02 6 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 29:59.33 7 J Thompson GB Vauxhall Ve 30:04.92 8 P Radisich NZ Ford Mondeo 30:06.20 9 W Hoy GB Renault Lag 30:06.79 10 T Harvey GB Peugeot 406 30:12.98 Drivers standings after round four: 1 F Biela Audi A4 54 points 2 A Menu Renault 35 3 J Winkelhock BMW 320i 29 4 W Hoy Renault 26 5 J Bintcliffe Audi A4 19 6 R Ravaglia BMW 320i 18 Manufacturers' standings: 1 Audi 53 points 2 Renault 48 3 Volvo 38 4 BMW 37 5 Vauxhall 27 6 Peugeot 16 7 Honda 14 22.04.96 - TOURING CARSBrands Hatch Audi team leader Frank Biela had his fourth place finish in the fourth round wiped out after a protest about his car's suspension. Biela has been docked the points he scored and also penalised a further two maximum scores (30 points) - putting Alain Menu at the top of the standings. Audi's appeal will be heard next week at the RAC/MSA headquarters with the team insisting their car is legal. Will Hoy was excluded from the fourth round after a collision with David Leslie during the race.
24.05.96F1:- The International Automobile Federation has blamed the Ligier team for the fire which enveloped Pedro Diniz's car at the recent Argentine Grand Prix. The FIA said investigations into the fuel leak which sparked the blaze showed Ligier had failed to maintain their refuelling equipment properly. Their report said a component was fitted incorrectly, causing a valve to jam open. Diniz escaped unhurt but the FIA warned it would take disciplinary action in future against any team which fails to maintain equipment properly.
EUROPEAN GP PREVIEW
World Championship leader Damon Hill is predicting a tough, exciting race as the Formula One teams prepare for the first European action of the season. This weekend's battle takes place at the Nurburgring, set in a beautiful location in the German Eifel mountains. Unpredictable weather could make things difficult for everyone, with the teams facing anything from blazing sunshine to snow for the 68-lap race. "I believe the competition is going to be closer all the time, it is going to be harder for us from now on with exciting races to come," insisted Hill.
Damon Hill has no intention of being complacent this weekend despite his three wins in three races. "Obviously I could not have asked for a better start to the season," said the Rothmans Williams Renault driver after his start-to-finish win in Argentina. Teammate Jacques Villeneuve has continued to impress in his F1 debut season, battling his way back to second in Buenos Aires after a dreadful start. "To have finished first and second shows what a force we are at the moment but we will not be complacent going to the Nurburgring," added Hill.
Jacques Villeneuve continues to impress in his Formula One debut season but faces another big test in the first GP of 1996 in Europe, at the Nurburgring. The Canadian, who recently celebrated his 25th birthday, faces the daunting task of racing at a circuit which he has never seen - but he learns fast. "Once again a new circuit but I've not done too badly so far and I'm looking forward to the challenge," he insisted. The new Nurburgring circuit, situated high in the Eifel, first staged the Grand Prix of Europe in 1984 when it was won by Alain Prost in a Williams.
Defending champion Michael Schumacher will be certain of a huge welcome when he returns to the circuit which saw the start of his racing career. He drove magnificently to win at the Nurburgring last year, a victory that all but secured his second world title. Schumacher has received scant reward so far this season despite getting the best out of his Ferrari. He has only a third in Brazil for his efforts. "Memories of the 'Ring' are good," says the 27-year-old. "I won my F3 title here, in a chaotic race. Last year I was pushed on here by the fans."
Jordan launches his European campaign at the Nurburgring on Sunday believing he is close to breaking the monopoly of the leading teams. His Silverstone-based team were fifth in the 1995 constructors' championship and aim to push Williams, Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren even harder. "We have had a pole position and two drivers on the podium, but the most important thing is to start winning," said Jordan. "Our objective is to finish in the top four in the championship and to win races," he added.
GWYNDAF EVENS ON THE PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY
Welshman Gwyndaf Evans shone in the opening round of the Mobil 1 Top Gear RAC British Rally Championship and is well prepared for the second round. Evans, who competes in a Group A Ford Escort, has been working hard on his fitness with Welsh boxer Timothy Redman. He has also been testing the new Escort Formula 2 Concept Kit Car in Italy. Evans scored maximum points in the Vauxhall Rally of Wales with the two 4wd Escorts ahead of him being ineligible for points.
"The Pirelli Rally has not been too kind to me in recent years and Kielder forest is always difficult - 12 months ago we rolled the Escort quite heavily. Having said that, we went well there on the RAC Rally so hopefully we can do as well as we did last November. I'd like to win the Pirelli Rally or at least win the two-litre category but, if we must, we'll settle for top three. Winning the British Championship is the main aim and a bit of caution now could pay dividends at the end of the season.
There are no pace notes allowed on the Pirelli Rally so I will be relying totally on co-driver Howard Davies. Howard is a fantastic map-reader but driving at over 100mph on unfamiliar narrow gravel forest roads is never easy. It will be a real challenge. The Escort is very good, the pick of the current Championship rally cars. The engine is responsive and the sequential gearbox is good. We hope to fine-tune the suspension before the start but, with a good car, it is hard to make significant improvements.
I'm training very hard at the moment, doing a lot of running with Timothy Redman, a boxer from Dolgellau. I go straight from this rally to the Rally of Indonesia where there will be 98% humidity. Timothy is advising me on things like fluids and stamina and how to deal with those hot conditions. I enjoy training but he trains six hours a day so he has usually done a couple of hours running before he picks me up - and it is still hard work keeping up with him!
25.04.96 - F1David Coulthard heads for Germany with the hope of achieving his first rostrum place of the season after a major test session with the McLaren Mercedes. Former multi-champion Alain Prost, who has been helping with technical matters, said after Argentina that the team had a lot of work to do. "The car needs to be improved in several areas which is what makes it so hard," he admitted. "It makes the equation a lot more complicated." Coulthard remains optimistic. "I like the circuit. If I can get the car right I will be hoping for a top three place."
26.04.96 - F1: THE EUROPEAN GPRunaway leader Damon Hill maintained his dominance by setting the pace in free practice for the European Grand Prix at a sun-kissed Nurburgring. Hill produced a late charge in the morning session to edge local hero Michael Schumacher off top spot. Schumacher had led in the Ferrari until Hill suddenly took a 10th of a second off his top time to clock 1:20.853. No-one - including Hill - could better that in the lunchtime session, with Schumacher second in 1:21.332 and Mika Hakkinen third in 1:21.478.
Damon Hill was happy but cautious after dominating free practice in the Williams-Renault in Germany. Hill was well ahead of nearest rival Michael Schumacher - but refused to rest on his laurels. He said: "I am confident we can show well here but I know the competition will always get stronger and we have to keep fighting." Schumacher said: "We are moving in the right direction. I repeat that to finish on the podium here would be a good result."
Friday's free practice times: mins secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:20.853 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:21.332 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:21.478 4 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:21.858 5 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:21.962 6 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:22.014 7 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:22.093 8 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:22.112 9 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:22.152 10 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:22.215 11 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:22.453 12 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:22.525 13 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:22.631 14 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:22.668 15 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:22.668 16 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:23.745 17 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:23.904 18 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:24.014 19 G Fisichella It Minardi 1:24.196 20 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:24.406 21 L Badoer It Forti 1:26.832 22 A Montermini It Forti 1:27.605 27.04.96 F1: THE EUROPEAN GPDamon Hill was in dominant form during qualifying for Sunday's race, producing a blistering lap to claim pole position in his Williams Renault. Teammate Jacques Villeneuve will start alongside him on the front row, after an equally impressive display on his first visit to the Nurburgring. Hill headed the leaderboard with his first flying lap and then lapped almost a second quicker in 1 min 19.941 secs, 0.7s quicker than Villeneuve. Local hero Michael Schumacher wrestled his Ferrari around the circuit in the third fastest time of the day.
Michael Schumacher knows he has an almost impossible task ahead of him in Sunday's race as he bids to halt the winning run of rival Damon Hill. Schumacher got to within 0.4s of the Britain's time during qualifying to the delight of his huge army of home fans, only to see Hill demolish his own time. The German was then well off the pace in his final laps, finishing in third more than a second off Hill's time. Victory for Hill would be particularly sweet since it was on this track that he effectively conceded the '95 title.
Damon Hill claimed his third pole position of the season and admitted he was particularly keen to win in Germany. "I've never won in Germany so it would be nice to win here," said the Williams Renault driver. "Right now I'm just happy to get pole. It was a very nice lap. It felt really good and the time showed it, so I was really satisfied. Defending champion Michael Schumacher said he had not expected to be so far off the pace. "I thought the circuit's smooth surface would suit our car."
Scot David Coulthard worked hard to claim a place on the third row in his McLaren-Mercedes, with sixth overall. Teammate Mika Hakkinen spun off on the startline straight when his engine blew up and he was forced to qualify in the spare car, eventually finishing ninth. Martin Brundle continued to use the centre-mounted aerofoil on his Jordan, trading straight line speed for grip. Dutchman Jos Verstappen had to settle for 13th on the grid after problems with understeer on his Footwork-Hart. "We will work on a good pit stop strategy for the race," he comment.
Frenchman Jean Alesi qualified fourth in his Benetton Renault and admitted he was still having a few problems. "The session was very difficult but our situation is better than we expected after this morning," he said. Britain's Johnny Herbert said he was beginning to find the right set-up for his Sauber, finishing 12th two places behind teammate Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "We reduced the understeer a bit but that remains a problem which we need to cure. The engine has been fine" he said.
Qualifying times for Sunday's race: mins secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:18.941 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:19.721 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:20.149 4 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:20.711 5 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:20.818 6 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:20.888 7 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:20.931 8 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:21.054 9 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:21.078 10 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:21.113 11 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:21.177 12 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:21.210 13 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:21.367 14 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:21.458 15 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:21.509 16 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:21.812 17 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:22.733 18 G Fisichella It Minardi 1:22.921 19 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:23.139 20 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:23.620 -- A Montermini It Forti 1:25.467 -- L Badoer It Forti 1:25.840F.RENAULT:- Britain's David Cook produced a superb drive in front of the Formula One crowd to clinch his first success in the European Formula Renault Sports series. The 21-year-old from Rotherham started from second on the grid but took the lead when Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi retired with engine trouble and held off challenger Cascio to claim victory.
PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY LEADERBOARD after 7 of 11 stages:mins secs 1 McRae/Senior Ford 1:07:52 2 Mokkonen/Silander Ford 1:08:33 3 Evans/Davies Ford 1:10:53 4 Higgins/Mills Nissan 1:11:44 5 Petch/Croft Subaru 1:13:33 6 Mann/Kidd Proton 1:14:31 7 Puhakka/Lehtinen Volkswagen 1:14:45 8 Korhonen/Heinonen Mitsubishi 1:14:57 9 Jones/James Mitsubishi 1:15:19 10 Cathers/Noble Subaru 1:15:33 End Leg 1 - Restart 0800 28/4/96 LEADERBOARD after 6 of 11 stages: BRITISH C'SHIP CONTENDERS mins secs 1 Evans/Davies Ford Escort 51:16 2 Higgins/Mills Nissan Sunny 51:49 3 Puhakka/Lehtinen Volkswagen 53:54 BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Dale/Bargery Peugeot 55:14 2 Davies/Harper Peugeot 1:01:09 3 Gunningham/C'pion Peugeot 1:07:56 GROUP N PRODUCTION CUP 1 Rovanpera/Repo Mitsubishi 50:24 2 Harkki/Mustalahti Mitsubishi 51:09 3 Mann/Kidd Proton 53:44Alister McRae leads the second round of The Mobil 1/Top Gear British Rally Championship, The Pirelli International Rally, at the overnight halt. After 73 stage miles in the Kielder Complex McRae has a 42 second advantage over rival Ari Mokkonen, competing in a similar 4x4 Escort Cosworth. Welshman Gywndaf Evans completes the Ford 1-2-3 in his Response Escort RS2000, and leads the two-litre Championship battle. But Ford have lost their second Championship entry, Jarmo Kytolehto, to gearbox failure on SS5.
Renault's rally started badly when Robbie Head retired before SS1 with clutch failure, but matters were made worse by Jordan's retirement on the last stage of the day, Newcastleton. Skoda also failed to complete the first day when Steve Wedgbury hit a rock on the Chironhead stage, SS3. Another Chironhead victim was Nissan s Turkish driver Ercan Kazaz, but Mark Higgins is upholding the hopes of the Didcot team with a second two-litre place at the end of the leg.
British Junior Champion, Neil Wearden completed day one special stage mileage as fourth two-litre car, but essential servicing after the last stage dropped him to twentieth position overall. VW's Tapio Laukkanen suffered from front suspension failure and had to retire on SS4. His teammate and countryman, Joukko Puhakka ended the day in a strong third among the two-litre entrants despite competing only once before outside his native Finland.
David Higgins, in one of the two Hondas suffered engine problems and failed to complete the first day's mileage. Julian Reynolds, also in a Honda Civic, also suffered engine problems but managed to make it home to Carlisle. The Rally resumes on Sunday with the cars leaving Carlisle at 0800 hours, to tackle remaining 57 stage miles, including the 24 mile test in Pundershaw.
TOUR OF CORNWALL:- Pete Doughty led in his Ford Escort Cosworth after the first day of the Simoniz Tour of Cornwall. John Price, current leader in the EARS Motorsport/Motoring News National Rally Series and bidding for a fourth win in the event, was lying third in a Metro.
Leaderboard after 14 stages: hrs mins secs 1 Doughty/Jenkins Escort Cos 1:27:13 2 Midwinter/Saunders Escort Cos 1:29:09 3 Price/Morris Metro 6R4 1:29:49 4 Hearn/Jarman Darrian T9 1:30:47 5 Pritchard/Cook Escort Cos 1:30:55 6 Wilkes/Wilkes Chevette 1:32:06 28.04.96 F1: THE EUROPEAN GPCanadian Jacques Villeneuve collected a maiden Formula One victory with a cool, determined drive in his Williams Renault at the Nurburgring. The 25-year-old F1 newcomer, racing at the circuit for the first time, held off local hero Michael Schumacher in a thrilling finish to win by 0.7 seconds. Scot David Coulthard drove superbly to take third place in his McLaren, his first podium place this season. Damon Hill, winner of the first three races of the season in his Williams, struggled home in fourth place.
Michael Schumacher delighted his home crowd as he challenged for the lead in a thrilling finish at the Nurburgring. Schumacher drove an impeccable race as always, making the most of an excellent pit stop by the Ferrari team to overhaul second-placed David Coulthard. The defending champion then produced a series of fast laps to close on leader Jacques Villeneuve, bringing his flag-waving fans to their feet. The Canadian looked under pressure in the closing stages but hung on to win in only his fourth Grand Prix.
Damon Hill faced his toughest test of the season after making a disappointing start from pole in the 67-lap race. Hill found himself back in fifth and, despite eventually getting past Michael Schumacher, struggled without success to get by driver Rubens Barrichello. He then lost time in the pits concerned about possible anti-roll bar problems and rejoined back in 11th. Worse was to follow. He collided with the Ligier of Pedro Diniz while overtaking and, although he continued, he had lost a few more places. He battled back to take a brilliant fourth.
Scot David Coulthard made a blistering start to the race, sprinting from sixth on the grid to snatch second place behind early leader Jacques Villeneuve. Coulthard drove superbly in his McLaren Mercedes, steadily pulling away from Rubens Barrichello in the Jordan though unable to catch the Williams driver. He eventually lost second place to an inspired Michael Schumacher but shook off a fierce challenge from Damon Hill in the final laps to claim third place. "It feels like a win for me, especially after such a battle with Damon" he said.
Jacques Villeneuve was typically laidback after clinching victory in only his fourth Grand Prix appearance. "This is just one race," he declared. "It is a great feeling but there is a long way to go in the championship. Michael (Schumacher) was pushing me really hard...but it was fun." Schumacher was also pleased with his drive although he had been hoping for a repeat of last year's race which he won. "I kept thinking back to it and hoping there would be a chance to pass but Jacques drove perfectly," he commented.
Damon Hill blamed himself and a mystery problem with his car after struggling for the first time this season. Hill admitted he made a dreadful start from pole, had trouble with his car during the early laps and then collided with Pedro Diniz, finishing fourth. "I had trouble trying to overtake Rubens Barrichello. The car felt strange and started behaving badly... I lost a lot time when we checked the car in the pits. We haven't found anything wrong yet," he said. "I still have a good lead in the Championship."
Result after 67 laps: hr mins secs 1 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:33:26.47 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:33:27.23 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:33:59.30 4 D Hill GB Williams 1:33:59.98 5 R Barrich'lo Brz Jordan 1:34:00.18 6 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:34:22.04 7 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:34:44.50 8 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:34:44.91 9 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:34:47.53 10 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1 lap 11 R Rosset Brz Footwork 2 laps 12 P Lamy Por Minardi 2 laps 13 G Fisichella It Minardi 2 laps M Salo Fin Tyrrell disq U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell disq RETIREMENTSJean Alesi (Benetton) went off after tangling with Mika Salo's Tyrrell on the first lap while trying to overtake. Eddie Irvine retired his Ferrari after a collision with Olivier Panis's Ligier on lap 6. Panis also stopped. Jos Verstappen (Footwork) stopped on lap 38. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber) spun 360 degrees, slid across the gravel trap and rejoined the race but retired shortly afterwards.
Drivers Championship 1 D Hill GB Williams 33 pts 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 22 3 J Alesi Fr Benetton 10 = M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 10 5 E Irvine GB Ferrari 6 6 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 5 = M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 5 8 D Coulthard GB McLaren 4 9 G Berger Aut Benetton 3 = M Salo Fin Tyrrell 3 11 O Panis Fr Ligier 1 == J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1 == M Brundle GB Jordan 1 Constructors Championship 1 Williams-Renault 55 points 2 Ferrari 16 3 Benetton-Renault 13 4 McLaren-Mercedes 9 5 Jordan-Peugeot 6 6 Tyrrell-Yamaha 3 7 Ligier-Mugen Honda 1 = Footwork-Hart 1Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has denied rumours that design ace John Barnard is set to quit the team. He insisted early season problems were not solely the fault of the English technical director, who had missed the Nurburgring race to carry on working. The team will be further boosted by the superb runner-up place for driver Michael Schumacher who said afterwards they were taking one step at a time. "The gap is narrowing although we have to wait a bit longer before we are back on the winning road...but it will come."
TOUR OF CORNWALL:- Pete Doughty and co-driver Lyn Jenkins took a second consecutive victory in the EARS/Motoring News National Rally Series, winning the Tour of Cornwall. Doughty now heads the series after four rounds with rival John Price retiring on day two with head gasket failure on his Metro 6R4. Tony Davies, John Brodie and Bob Fowden also failed to finish.
Leaderboard (29 stages): hrs mins secs 1 Doughty/Jenkins Escort Cos 2:06:51 2 Midwinter/Saunders Escort Cos 2:09:09 3 Pritchard/Cook Escort Cos 2:11:41 4 Hearn/Jarman Darrian T9 2:12:36 5 Wilkes/Wilkes Chevette 2:13:55 6 Barton/Vance Escort Cos 2:14:41 PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY LEADERBOARD after 11 of 11 stages: (provisional) mins secs 1 A McRae/Senior Ford 2:01:55 2 Evans/Davies Ford 2:10:49 3 Petch/Croft Subaru 2:12:56 4 Mann/Kidd Proton 2:14:05 5 Burn/Quirk Ford 2:15:45 6 Jones/James Mitsubishi 2:15:46 7 Andersson/Wann Opel 2:16:32 8 Simpson/Martin Ford 2:16:44 9 Puhakka/Lehtinen Volkswagen 2:17:19 10 Cathers/Noble Subaru 2:17:33 BRITISH C'SHIP CONTENDERS mins secs 1 Evans/Davies Ford 2:10:49 2 Andersson/Wann Opel 2:16:32 3 Simpson/Martin Ford 2:16:44 BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Dale/Bargery Peugeot 2:20:05 2 Gunningham/C'pion Peugeot 2:37:51 3 Stubbs/Harper Peugeot 2:54:16 GROUP N PRODUCTION CUP 1 Mann/Kidd Proton 2:14:05 2 Cathers/Noble Subaru 2:17:33 3 Korhonen/Heinonen Mitsubishi 2:20:52Gwyndaf Evans leads the Mobil 1/Top Gear British Rally Championship with maximum points after success in round two, the Pirelli International rally. Evans finished second to Alister McRae who scored his second outright win in a 4wd Escort Cosworth which is not eligible for Championship points. "I am delighted to be leading the Championship" said the Welshman, who now heads `straight for Indonesia to compete in the next round of the World Championship which starts on May 10.
The notorious Kielder stages claimed most of the manufacturer entries, including both Renaults, Kytolehto's Ford, Wedgbury's Skoda, Laukkanen in the Volkswagen and Wearden's Peugeot. Mark Higgins was airlifted to hospital after rolling his Nissan on SS8 but, after treatment, the 24-year-old Manxman was reported to be fine. Nissan had suffered an early setback when Kazaz retired on day one. Honda also lost both Civics to mechanical problems, leaving Ford as overall rally winner and first and third in the two-litre category.
Jouko Puhakka took fourth place in the Championship in his Volkswagen in only his second event outside Finland. He is now joint second in the standings. Steve Petch in a Subaru Impreza won the Group N class, finishing third overall, David Mann, fourth overall in a Proton, claimed maximum Production Cup points for showroom-standard entries. The next round of the Championship is the Perth Scottish Rally which starts on May 31.
F.RENAULT EUROSERIES:- ritain's David Cook produced a superb drive in front of the Formula One crowd to clinch his first success in the European Formula Renault Sports series. The 21-year-old from Rotherham started from second on the grid but took the lead when Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi retired with engine trouble and held off challenger Cascio to claim victory.
INDYCAR Result of Nazareth 200: 1 M Andretti US Lola Ford 2 G Moore US Lola Merc 3 E Fit'paldi Brz Penske Merc 4 A Unser jr US Penske Merc 5 P Tracy Can Penske Merc 6 B Rahal US Lola Merc 7 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 8 A Zanardi It Reynard Honda 9 S Pruett US Lola Ford 10 C Fit'paldi Brz Lola FordMichael Andretti used a botched pitstop stop by Paul Tracy to take the lead and race to victory in the Nazareth 200 event in Pennsylvania. Tracy squandered a lead of around six seconds when he pitted on the 82nd of 200 laps. He locked up the brakes, slid through his stall and struck a crewman. Andretti powered through to finish 12.2 seconds ahead of rookie Greg Moore. His victory in a Newman-Haas Lola Ford ended a season opening four-race winning streak by Honda-powered cars.
29.04.96 - F1Damon Hill vowed to make a quick return to winning ways after seeing Jacques Villeneuve halt his domination of the world championship at the European GP. Hill has an early chance at next Sunday's San Marino GP and said: "I am confident we will be strong at Imola." He added: "I've had a good run and this is a setback, but that's what you expect during the season. I could have won in Germany but things did not turn out that way. That happens from time to time, but I believe I can come back at Imola."
30.04.96 - CORSICAN RALLY Positions after 9 stages: hrs mins secs 1 P Bugalski Fr Megane 2:50.16 2 F Chatriot Fr Peugeot @ 1.15 3 P Bernardini Fr Ford @ 1.29 4 M Masarotto Fr Subaru @ 1.32 5 G Panizzi Fr Peugeot @ 1.59 6 F Delecour Fr Peugeot @ 2.07