01.08.96ULSTER RALLY:- Peugeot Sport works driver Neil Wearden talks to Ceefax before the Ulster Rally. The Stena Line Ulster Rally is the first tarmac event of the series.
"I am feeling really positive about a good result in my Clubmans spec Group A Peugeot 306 S16. Having tested the car at MIRA the team were pleased and with some further testing in Wales it handles superbly. There is the added benefit of pace-notes - making it faster, but safer."
"I'm looking forward to meeting my former teammates from the British Junior Rally Championship. Current Junior leader Justin Dale is a creditable fifth overall in the British Championship, ahead of my ninth place. With a non-finish due to an accident earlier in the season, I need to score well on the remaining two rounds. I'm looking to improve my position by the end of the weekend."
"The Peugeot Masters Championship also shadows the British and leader Jason Sharpe is looking for a good showing. Being in the Clubman's spec car is not always easy, as I tend to compare my times with the full Group A spec cars. I get great satisfaction from being close to that sort of competition. I'm delighted to be the Peugeot Sport works driver this year, helping with the development of the 306 S16."
TOURING CARS:- Swede Rickard Rydell became the first touring car driver to break the one-minute barrier at Oulton Park. In official testing for next weekend's rounds of the Championship he lapped the track in 59.735secs in his Volvo. He outpaced his nearest rival, Vauxhall's James Thompson, by more than three-tenths of a second. Title race leader Frank Biela was third quickest.
Test times for next weekend's rounds:mins:secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 59.735 2 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 1:00.048 3 F Biela Ger Audi 1:00.094 4 D Leslie GB Honda 1:00.111 5 A Menu Swi Renault 1:00.136 6 W Hoy GB Renault 1:00.288 7 K Burt GB Volvo 1:00.296 8 J Bintcliffe GB Audi 1:00.349 9 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 1:00.481 10 P Kox Hol BMW 1:00.536 11 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:00.540 12 P Radisich NZ Ford 1:00.542 02.08.96INDYCAR:- Emerson Fittipaldi, injured in a crash on Sunday, walked out of hospital just three days after surgery for a neck fracture but said he may not race again. His doctors said they expected a full recovery and that he would be able to race again, though not this season. "Looks like I'm not going to race again," said a smiling Fittipaldi at a news conference in Miami. "I'm not 100% because I need some more reflection, but I got a very strong message from the Lord," he added.
ULSTER RALLY LEADERBOARD after 6 of 17 stages: (provisional) min secs 1 Fisher/Kennedy Subaru 51:44 2 Head/Thomas Renault 52:08 3 Oreille/Barjou Renault 52:34 4 Boland/Morrissey Ford 53:05 5 Evans/Davies Ford 53:29 6 McKinstry/McCrea Ford 53:39 7 Rovanpera/Repo Ford 54:20 8 Cathers/Noble Subaru 55:15 9 Mann/Kidd Proton 55:15 10 Harkki/Mustalaht Mitsubishi 55:28 BRITISH C'SHIP CONTENDERS mins secs 1 Evans/Davies Ford 53:29 2 Armstrong/Richardson Nissan 55:37 3 Simpson/Martin Ford 55:46 BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Dale/Bargery Peugeot 0:59:12 2 Gunningham/Champion Peugeot 1:01:59 3 Davies/Argo Peugeot 1:09:09 GROUP N PRODUCTION CUP 1 Cathers/Noble Subaru 55:15 2 Mann/Kidd Proton 55:15 3 Harkki/Mustalahti Mitsubishi 55:28Gwyndaf Evans is well placed to extend his 27-point lead in the Mobil 1/Top Gear Championship, before the final event on the Isle of Man. Day one of the Stena Line Ulster Rally saw the retirement of reigning champion Alister McRae as well as top seeds Tapio Laukkanen and Mark Higgins. McRae's event started with a surprise encounter with stray cows on the first stage, dropping him outside the top 10. The gearbox on his VW then seized five miles into SS2, Babylon Hill.
Ford driver, Evans commented that "Retirements have taken the fight out of the rally, and I am driving at my testing pace". Local driver Bertie Fisher has built a comfortable overall lead in his Subaru Impreza 555 and has set 5 fastest times today. Fisher's closest challenge has come from the Renault Maxi Meganes of Robbie Head and Alain Oreille. Head said "This has been the best day since I joined the Renault team".
Ulster driver Trevor Cathers is running neck and neck with David Mann in theProduction Cup battle, just ahead of the traditional Finnish challenge from Mitsubishi's Olli Harkki. The field returns to Belfast on Friday night to prepare for the 4am start on Saturday for a further 11 stages.
03.08.96 - ULSTER RALLY LEADERBOARD after 17 of 17 stages: (interim) hr min sec 1 Fisher/Kennedy Subaru 2:41:17 2 Head/Thomas Renault 2:44:09 3 Evans/Davies Ford 2:47:28 4 McKinstry/McCrea Ford 2:51:03 5 Cathers/Noble Subaru 2:51:57 6 Harkki/Mustalahti Mitsubishi 2:54:22 7 Simpson/Martin Ford 2:55:37 8 Phillips/Agnew Subaru 2:55:40 9 Sharpe/Bevan Peugeot 3:00:43 10 Campbell/Porter Subaru 3:00:51 BRITISH C'SHIP CONTENDERS mins secs 1 Evans/Davies Ford 2:47:28 2 Simpson/Martin Ford 2:55:37 3 Sharpe/Bevan Peugeot 3:00:43 BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Dale/Bargery Peugeot 3:04:22 2 Gunningham/Ch'pion Peugeot 3:13:59 3 Davies/Argo Peugeot 3:30:17 GROUP N PRODUCTION CUP 1 Cathers/Noble Subaru 2:51:57 2 Harkki/Mustalahti Mitsubishi 2:54:22 3 Phillips/Agnew Subaru 2:55:40Bertie Fisher won the Stena Line Ulster Rally, with his all-traction Subaru Impreza coming home almost three minutes clear of Robbie head. The top three finishers all have good reason to celebrate. In second place and first two-litre car home, Head had his best rally in the Maxi Megane since he joined Renault two seasons ago. Behind Head, Ford's Gwyndaf Evans was the first Mobil 1/Top Gear British Rally Championship contender home.
Gwyndaf Evans was thrilled after securing the driver's crown with a round to spare. He said: "Together with Gordon Spooner Engineering we have taken this car from the drawing board to be an invincible proposition in under three years". Trevor Cathers added to local successes claiming fifth overall in the Subaru Impreza WRX and winning the Production Cup category. Richard Tuthill scored his fourth win in a row in the Formula 1300 section.
The 175 competitive stage miles saw a long list of retirements including 1995 Champion Alister McRae, who retired on SS2 with a broken gearbox. Also out were McRae's team-mate Tapio Laukkanen, as well as factory entries from Ford, Renault, Nissan, Peugeot and Skoda. The final round of the Championship, the Manx International Rally, takes place on the September 12-14.
07.08.96 - F1: THE HUNGARIAN GP PREVIEWDamon Hill returns to the scene of his first Grand Prix victory, knowing he will never be in a better position to win the world championship. The 35-year-old British ace goes into the race with a healthy 21-point cushion and the destiny of the title seemingly in his own hands. Hill enjoyed his seventh Grand Prix win of the season in Hockenheim to put more daylight between him and his rivals. Williams team-mate Jacques Villeneuve poses the only real threat to his dream.
Damon Hill is shutting out all the speculation concerning his future to concentrate on winning the world title. Rumours have been rife after Williams issued a statement which only confirmed that Jacques Villeneuve would be retained for next season. Hill, who goes to the Hungaroring with a 21-point lead, said: "Despite all the speculation, myself and Williams are totally focused on winning the title. "I am concentrating on my job and enjoying my driving."
Jacques Villeneuve will leave team spirit back in the pits as he goes to the Hungaroring knowing he has to beat Williams colleague Damon Hill. The 26-year-old Canadian is enjoying a fantastic debut season and looks almost certain to finish second. Villeneuve is currently 21 points off the pace and is running out of races in which to overhaul the Briton. But he looks certain to share one title - with Williams needing just two points to claim the constructors' championship.
World champion Michael Schumacher knows he has no chance of completing a hat-trick of titles this season but will still be going all out for victory. The German is having a poor season by his own high standards and has had a number of problems with his Ferrari. Jean Alesi's second place at Hockenheim shifted Schumacher into fourth place in the championship and he will be desperate to improve on that. In-form Alesi led the way in last week's Formula One testing in France.
Finland's Mika Salo will have a third season with Tyrrell in 1997, the British Formula One team has said. Team chief Ken Tyrrell said he was pleased with Salo's performances so far this season. He has finished five races - scoring points in three of them. He said: "We still have five races remaining this year and the team will make an announcement concerning our other drivers in due course." Ukyo Katayama of Japan is Tyrrell's other driver.
09.08.96F1: THE HUNGARIAN GP
Damon Hill revealed his biggest fear was the start of Sunday's race after heading the lap times on the first day of practice. "I have made some bad starts this year so it's on my mind. It is something that has been the focus of my attention for the last few months, in fact the whole year. e have been working on ways to make the car easier to drive. Modern cars are difficult to get off the grid," the Williams driver commented.
Friday's practice times: mins secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:21.144 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:21.166 3 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:22.369 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:22.332 5 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:22.617 6 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:23.889 7 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:23.076 8 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:23.360 9 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:23.400 10 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:23.495 11 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:23.494 12 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:23.667 13 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:23.702 14 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:23.722 15 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:24.941 16 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:25.056 17 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:25.722 18 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:25.764 19 G Lavaggi It Minardi 1:26.253 20 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:26.380 TOURING CARS (Oulton Park) OFFICIAL TESTING TIMES (Friday)mins secs 1 W Hoy GB Renualt L 0:59.687 2 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 0:59.688 3 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 0:59.704 4 F Biela Ger Audi A4 0:59.779 5 A Menu Swi Renault L 0:59.798 6 J Kaye GB Honda Acc 1:00.006 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:00.077 8 J Thompson GB Vauxhall V 1:00.149 9 P Radisich NZ Ford Mond 1:00.160 10 K Burt GB Volvo 850 1:00.248 11 J Binchc'ffe GB Audi 1:00.334 12 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 1:00.388 Rounds 19 & 20 at Oulton Park on Sunday 10.08.96 F1: THE HUNGARIAN GP Final qualifying times mins secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:17.129 2 D Hill GB Williams 1:17.182 3 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:17.259 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:18.617 5 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:18.754 6 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:18.794 7 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:19.116 8 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:19.292 9 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:19.384 10 HH Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:19.436 11 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:19.538 12 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:19.828 13 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:19.966 14 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:20.499 15 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:20.665 16 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:20.678 17 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:20.781 18 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:21.590 19 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:21.713 20 G Lavaggi It Minardi 1:22.468Michael Schumacher put old adversary Damon Hill in the shade as he claimed his fourth pole position of the season. The double world champion had a dog-fight with young pretender Jacques Villeneuve, trading top spot before roaring clear of his rivals. Schumacher clocked 1 min, 17.129 secs, with Hill edging out Williams team-mate Villeneuve with a time of 1:17.182. A relaxed Hill said afterwards: "It was always going to be close and the race itself should be very exciting."
Damon Hill said he will be adopting a cautious approach at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday. Hill, who starts second on the grid behind Michael Schumacher, said: "There is no point in risking overtaking while we have refuelling and pitstops. That is where I expect you to see most of the passing moves in this race. I always had Michael down to be a threat and it transpired that he is but trundling round the circuit to collect points does not appeal to me at all."
INDYCAR:- Alex Zanardi has the provisional pole position after Friday's qualifying for the Miller 200 at Lexington. Zanardi had a fast lap of 120.318mph and he will claim the third pole of his rookie season if he still on top after final qualifying on Saturday. "It's a chance to earn some money and it's the best seat to watch the race from," said the Reynard-Honda driver. Home favourite Bobby Rahal was second fastest in his Reynard-Mercedes, with Jimmy Vasser third in another Honda.
TOURING CARS (Oulton Park) PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING TIMES (Rnd 19) (Saturday) mins secs 1 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 0:59.933 2 A Menu Swi Renault L 0:59.942 3 J Kaye GB Honda Acc 1:00.075 4 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:00.078 5 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:00.078 6 W Hoy GB Renualt L 1:00.258 7 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 1:00.467 8 J Thompson GB Vauxhall V 1:00.469 9 K Burt GB Volvo 850 1:00.565 10 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 1:00.668 11 J Bintcliffe GB Audi 1:00.724 12 P Watts GB P'geot 405 1:00.750 OFFICIAL QUALIFYING TIMES: Round 20 mins secs 1 F Biela Ger Audi A4 0:59.779 2 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 0:59.929 3 A Menu Swi Renault L 0:59.974 4 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:00.047 5 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 1:00.050 6 J Thompson GB Vauxhall V 1:00.094 7 W Hoy GB Renualt L 1:00.115 8 J Kaye GB Honda Acc 1:00.170 9 J Cleland GB Vauxhall0 1:00.340 10 P Watts GB P'geot 405 1:00.420David Leslie and Frank Biela will share pole for rounds 19 and 20 of the championship at Oulton Park. Leslie's Honda Accord was quickest in the first qualifying race, edging out Alain Menu in the Renault by less than a hundredth of a second. The pair were the only two to break the one minute barrier but championship leader Biela smashed the circuit record in his Audi, clocking 59,799 secs. Leslie ran the Gemrna close for his second front-row place of the day.
11.08.96INDYCAR:- Alex Zanardi held on to pole position after final qualifying on Saturday for the Miller 200 at Lexington. Zanardi, who broke the lap record three times, had a fast lap of 122.100mph for the third pole of his rookie season. "Today was another one of those beautiful days where everything went right," said Zanardi. Fellow Reynard-Honda driver Jimmy Vasser was second fastest, with Bryan Herta third. Brit Mark Blundell will start the race from 13th on the grid.
F1: THE HUNGARIAN GP
Cool Canadian Jacques Villeneuve roared to his third win of a fantastic debut season to nibble away at another piece of Damon Hill's championship lead. The 26-year-old rookie revelation held off a late challenge from his Williams team-mate to take the chequered flag and clinch the constructors' title. Villeneuve traded places with Michael Schumacher early on, but the German's car was not powerful enough and he eventually retired five laps from home. Hill's advantage is now 17 points.
Result after 77 laps hr mins secs 1 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:46.21.134 2 D Hill GB Williams 1:46.21.905 3 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:47.45.346 4 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 76 laps 5 O Panis Fr Ligier 76 laps 6 R Bar'chello Brz Jordan 75 laps 7 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 74 laps 8 R Rosset Bra Footwork 74 laps 9 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 70 laps 10 G Lavaggi It Minardi 69 laps Failed to finish: G Berger Aut Benetton 64 laps HH Frentzen Ger Sauber 50 laps J Herbert GB Sauber 35 laps E Irvine GB Ferrari 31 laps P Lamy Por Minardi 24 laps D Coulthard GB McLaren 23 laps J Verstappen Hol Footwork 10 laps M Brundle GB Jordan 5 laps P Diniz Bra Ligier 1 lap M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1 lapYet another poor start robbed Damon Hill of the chance to put a bit more daylight between himself and Jacques Villeneuve in the race for the title. Hill, starting on the dustier side of the front row, was immediately passed by Villeneuve and Jean Alesi to be left back in fourth spot. The Briton drove brilliantly to claw back the advantage and was on his team-mate's tail at the finish line. Jean Alesi claimed third after Michael Schumacher's late retirement.
World champion Michael Schumacher's frustrating season continued when he was forced to retire from the race just five laps from the finish. The German, who had been lying in third after leading for the first part of the Grand Prix, came to a halt after suffering engine problems. Ferrari team-mate Eddie Irvine also failed to finish for the seventh time. Damon Hill was the only Briton to cross the finishing line and only 10 drivers finished in all.
Jacques Villeneuve was understandably overjoyed after clinching his third Grand Prix win in his debut season. "It was grat because I was able to beat Damon on that track. I don't usually like this kind of circuit but this victory has made me very happy. I was worried as Damon began to get closer so I pushed harder and concentrated on maiing no mistakes," Villeneuve said. He added: "Now we have won the conastructors' championship it will be a big fight with Damon from now on."
Damon Hill licked his lips at the prospect of a grandstand finish to the season after Williams team-mate Jacques Villeneuve led him home in Hungary. "The rest of the season is going to be great for the viewers and tough for us but I'm looking forward to the last four races of the season," he said. "Once again I had a poor start and paid the price. It left me with a lot to do. But in the end I'm happy. Williams have won the title. I had a great race and I'm delighted we had another 1-2."
Drivers Championship 1 D Hill GB Williams 79 pts 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 62 3 J Alesi Fr Benetton 35 4 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 29 5 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 19 6 D Coulthard GB McLaren 18 7 G Berger Aut Benetton 16 8 O Panis Fr Ligier 13 9 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 12 10 E Irvine GB Ferrari 9 11 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 6 12 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 5 13 J Herbert GB Sauber 4 14 M Brundle GB Jordan 3 15 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1 == P Diniz Brz Ligier 1 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 Williams-Renault 141 points 2 Benetton-Renault 51 3 Ferrari 38 4 McLaren-Mercedes 37 5 Ligier-Mugen Honda 15 6 Jordan-Peugeot 14 Williams-Renault win championshipTOURING CARS:- Frank Biela moved to within one race of clinching the Touring Car Championship after a 1-2 result at Oulton Park. The German Audi driver was second to Alain Menu of Switzerland in round 19 and went one better in the next, holding off David Leslie in the Honda. As a result of his afternoon endeavours Biela now enjoys an 80-point lead over Volvo's Richard Rydell, who retired in round 20 after an earlier fifth place. Afterwards he admitted: "For the first time I think the championship is safe."
ROUND 19 RESULT mins secs 1 A Menu Swi Renault L 27:39.89 2 F Biela Ger Audi A4 @ 0.31 3 D Leslie GB Honda Acc @ 9.57 4 W Hoy GB Renualt L @ 13.75 5 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 @ 16.86 6 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i @ 18.45 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall @ 19.67 8 K Burt GB Volvo 850 @ 19.95 9 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i @ 19.97 10 J Kaye GB Honda Acc @ 37.33 11 R Kaye GB Vauxhall C @ 46.88 ROUND 20 RESULT: mins secs 1 F Biela Ger Audi A4 27:59.779 2 D Leslie GB Honda Acc @ 1.11 3 A Menu Swi Renault L @ 1.73 4 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i @ 2.45 5 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i @ 9.67 6 J Thompson GB Vauxhall @10.27 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall @19.21 8 K Burt GB Volvo 850 @20.29 9 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 @20.94 10 J Kaye GB Honda Acc @26.99 Drivers' standings after round 20: 1 F Biela Audi A4 226 points 2 R Rydell Volvo 850 146 3 A Menu Renault 143 4 J Winkelhock BMW 320i 131 5 R Ravaglia BMW 320i 125 6 J Bintcliffe Audi A4 102 Manufacturers' standings: 1 Audi 235 points 2 BMW 207 3 Renault 188 = Volvo 188 5 Vauxhall 137 6 Honda 136 7 Ford 63F.RENAULT:- Giovanni Anapoli won round 10 of the International Formula Renault Sport race at Oulton Park. The Elf Renault Spider event was won by Julian Westwood, his first victory of the season.
INDYCAR:- Italian Alex Zanardi took the lead right at the start and cruised to his second IndyCar win of the year. Zanardi, driving a Reynard-Honda, won by 1.81 seconds over his teammate and series points leader Jimmy Vasser of the United States. The Italian had secured pole position for the race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.
F3:- Ulsterman Jonny Kane claimed his first ever British Formula Three Championship win at Snetterton in a rain-shortened 11th round. The round was stopped when the leaders had completed only six laps and with the conditions showing no sign of improvement, round 12 was abandoned. "It was the right decision to stop," said Kane. "We were aquaplaning on the straight and it was difficult to keep it on the track. But I'm very, very happy."
ROUND 11 RESULT: engine mins secs 1 J Kane Honda 7:02.70 2 G Smith Mitsubishi 7:08.42 3 J Montoya Mitsubishi 7:09.41 4 J Matthews Renault 7:09.90 5 D Manning Honda 7:11.72 6 R Firman Honda 7:14.27 7 J Davies TWR GM 7:19.32 8 B Smith Toyota 7:21.73 9 K Hollekens Honda 7:24.71 10 T Yokoyama Toyota 7:26.73 12.08.96F1:- Williams start a four-day test in Spain on Tuesday where Damon Hill hopes to unlock the reasons for the start-line misery that has cost him four wins. Teammate and championship rival Jacques Villeneuve, from Canada, will drive the car for the first two days. Hill drives on Thursday and Friday at Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona. The test is to centre on start-line clutch problems that have cost Hill victory in the last three Grands Prix.
INDYCAR:- Italian Alex Zanardi took the lead right at the start and cruised to his second IndyCar win of the year. Zanardi, driving a Reynard-Honda, won by 1.81 seconds over his teammate and series points leader Jimmy Vasser of the United States. The Italian had secured pole position for the race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. It was the fifth triumph in a row and the tenth in 13 races this year for the Honda team.
14.08.96 - F1Michael Schumacher has started the first of three days' testing in Spain with Ferrari as they try to find the reasons behind his car's unreliability. Both Schumacher and team-mate Eddie Irvine have been plagued by problems as their cars have repeatedly failed to complete the course. New tyres and Ferrari's seven-speed gearbox will come under scrutiny. Championship leader Damon Hill is also in Barcelona to iron out difficulties with getting a good start to races.
15.08.96ITC:- Scotland's Dario Franchitti will be the main attraction when the International Championship resumes at Silverstone after a six-week break. "I'm looking forward to this race more than any other," he said. "I want the home crowd to really get behind me because it is a very important weekend. I've got more experience of the track than almost any other driver and I'm hoping that will play into my hands." Opel driver Germany Uwe Alzen topped recent testing times at Silverstone.
SCOTTISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:- Championship leader George Gauld will defend a slender two-point advantage when over 100 crews contest Saturday's McRae Motorsport Stages event. It is the penultimate round of the championship and Gauld can expect to face severe pressure from chief title rival Jimmy Christie. Neale Dougan's Escort Cosworth heads the highest quality entry to be seen north of the border this season. Robbie Head and Serge Jordon also take part in the new Renault Maxi Megane.
16.08.96 ITC, SILVERSTONE Friday's 1st free practice times:mins secs 1 G Fisichella It Alfa Romeo 1:47.223 2 A Nannini It Alfa Romeo 1:47.685 3 U Alzen Ger Opel Cal 1:48.346 4 K Ludwig Ger Opel Cal 1:48.378 5 N Larini It Alfa Romeo 1:48.493 6 G Tarquini It Alfa Romeo 1:48.650 7 D Franchitti GB Mercedes 1:48.750 8 B Schneider Ger Mercedes 1:48.803 9 JP Montoya Col Mercedes 1:48.858 10 B Maylander Ger Mercedes 1:49.092 Friday's 2nd free practice times:mins secs 1 A Nannini It Alfa Romeo 1:47.619 2 K Ludwig Ger Opel Calibra 1:48.167 3 G Tarquini It Alfa Romeo 1:48.223 4 N Larini It Alfa Romeo 1:48.353 5 D Franchitti GB Mercedes 1:48.627 6 HJ Stuck Ger Opel Calibra 1:48.654 7 M Bartels Ger Alfa Romeo 1:48.662 8 M Reuter Ger Opel Calibra 1:48.681 9 S Modena It Alfa Romeo 1:48.688 10 G Fisichella It Alfa Romeo 1:48.7351000 LAKES RALLY:- Four British crews tackle this year's Classic 1,000 Lakes rally in Finland which starts on Friday. World champion Colin McRae starts at number three in a Suaru Impreza with privateers Nigel Heath, Trevor Godwin and Adam Kent at 75, 96 and 108. The Rally covers 385 kilometres of fast bumpy loose stages based out of Jyvaskyla and ends on Monday week. Tommi Makkinen starts as favourite in his Mitsubishi Lancer having won the event for the last two years.
17.08.96 - ITCGerman Klaus Ludwig bounced back from a hydraulic fire in Saturday's free practice to clinch pole position for this weekend's ITC championship round. The 46-year-old set his time just 20 minutes into the hour-long session and was unchallenged throughout. Alfa Romeo's Gabriele Tarquini earned second spot. "I never dreamed I would have earned pole after this morning's mishap," said Ludwig after the session.
Saturday's final qualifying times:mins secs 1 K Ludwig Ger Opel Calibra 1:46.841 2 G Tarquini It Alfa Romeo 1:47.143 3 D Franchitti GB Mercedes 1:47.472 4 A Nannini It Alfa Romeo 1:47.575 5 N Larini It Alfa Romeo 1:47.815 6 A Nannini It Alfa Romeo 1:47.875 7 M Reuter Ger Opel Calibra 1:47.906 8 G Fisichella It Alfa Romeo 1:47.910 9 C Danner Ger Alfa Romeo 1:48.256 10 S Modena It Alfa Romeo 1:48.388 18.08.96INDYCAR:- Alex Zanardi jumped from ninth place to pole position in qualifying for the Texaco-Havoline 200 at Road America. Zanardi has produced three poles and three second-place starts in the last six events. He turned in a fast lap of 1 min 41.998 secs on the 6.436-km circuit to earn his fourth pole of the season. Gil de Ferran was second fastest in 1:42.260 with Michael Andretti third on the grid in 1:42.294 for the 14th race of the 16-race series.
Starting grid for Sunday's race: 1 A Zanardi It Reynard Honda (average speed 141.179mph) 2 G de Ferran Brz Reynard Merc 3 M Andretti US Lola Ford 4 C Fit'paldi Brz Reynard Ford 5 M Gugelmin Brz Reynard Ford 6 B Herta US Reynard Merc 7 J Vasser US Reynard Ford 8 P Tracy Can Penske Merc 9 B Rahal US Reynard Merc 10 J Magnussen Den Penske Merc 13 M Blundell GB Reynard FordITC:- German Klaus Ludwig put in a commanding performance to take a dominant light-to -flag win in the 13th round. The Opel driver led from his pole position to take the chequered flag ahead of the Alfa Romeo duo of Gabriele Tarquini and Nicola Larini. Tarquini went one better in the 14th round to record his debut victory for Alfa Romeo. Opel's Finn JJ Lehto finished second with Jason Watt beating Alexander Wurz for third spot after a thrilling tussle.
Result of 13th round: mins secs 1 K Ludwig Ger Opel Cal 37:09.972 2 G Tarquini It Alfa Rom 37:12.181 3 N Larini It Alfa Rom 37:21.978 4 S Modena It Alfa Rom 37:27.066 5 JJ Lehto Fin Opel Cal 37:30.246 6 M Reuter Ger Opel Cal 37:38.813 7 A Wurz Aut Opel Cal 37:39.329 8 J Watt GB Alfa Rom 37:39.824 9 Y Dalmas Fr Opel Cal 37:41.036 10 C Danner Ger Alfa Rom 37:46.208 Result of 14th round: mins secs 1 G Tarquini It Alfa Rom 36:59.407 2 JJ Lehto Fin Opel Cal 37:03.135 3 J Watt GB Alfa Rom 37:13.653 4 A Wurz Aut Opel Cal 37:15.773 5 B Scheider Ger Mercedes 37:22.351 6 M Reuter Ger Opel Cal 37:25.304 7 Y Dalmas Fr Opel Cal 37:43.873 8 M Bartels Ger Alfa Rom 37:45.249 9 B Maylander Ger Mercedes 37:47.163 10 G Fisichella It Alfa Rom 37:47.861 19.08.96 - INDYCARSA blown engine two turns from the end robbed Al Unser Junior of his first victory in nearly a year as Michael Andretti stole the glory. Unser took the lead 13 laps from the end during the last of five full-course caution flags at Road America. He took the white flag two seconds clear of Andretti before disaster struck and he turned into a gravel pit. Andretti made the most of his good fortune as he came home in a Lola-Ford just ahead of Bobby Rahal.
Result from Road America: 1 M Andretti US Lola Ford (average speed 102.947mph) 2 B Rahal US Reynard Merc 3 A Zanardi It Reynard Honda 4 S Johansson Swe Reynard Merc 5 B Herta US Reynard Merc 6 J Vasser US Reynard Ford 7 S Pruett US Lola Ford 8 JM Fangio Arg Eagle Toyota 9 M Papis It Reynard Toyota 10 A Unser jr US Penske Merc 20 M Blundell GB Reynard Ford 20.08.96F1: THE BELGIAN GP
Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher have made the Belgian Grand Prix their own private domain in recent years. The arch enemies have accounted for the last four victories in Belgium, with two grands prix wins apiece. Schumacher's triumph in 1992 broke a four-year streak by the late Ayrton Senna and the German won again last August on his way to the world title. Jacques Villeneuve may have something to do with breaking tradition, though the odds are favouring a Hill success.
Jacques Villeneuve has got to make sure he is among the points in Belgium if he still harbours hopes of the title. Villeneuve is now charged with the sole responsibility of catching Damon Hill and his victory in Hungary showed he has still got the will to pull it off. "I'm looking forward to those last four races starting at Spa," said Villeneuve after his round 12 triumph. "It's going to be a fight between Damon and myself for the title and it should make the championship very exciting."
Champion-elect Damon Hill will have an eye on the skies at Belgium as he tries to edge towards championship glory. Hill has a good record at Spa and a high regard for the challenge there but he knows success or failure may well rest in the lap of the gods. "I think the Spa is a great circuit but I just hope the weather will remain fine," said Hill. "It's going to be tough for Jacques and myself in the last four races but it should be good for the fans."
Spa-Francorchamps promises to deliver a race deserving of the occasion as the season builds towards its climax. After the relative slowness of the Hungaroring, Spa represents a change for the better in terms of speed. Spa is much longer, faster and more open and opportunities for overtaking are in abundance by comparison. Provided the mists that usually descend at Spa stay away, the circuit also offers spectacular scenery in the forests of the Belgian Ardennes.
Tyres and tactics will again provide a distraction for the drivers as the track at Spa-Francorchamps is notorious for its unpredicatability. The inland circuit is usually subjected to the worst of the weather in August, with heavy rain often on the cards. Teams travel to Belgium well prepared, though few could have anticipated the bizarre events of the 1985 grand prix. The conditions then were so hot and dry that the track cracked and the race had to be cancelled.
Changes to the shape of Formula One - including an end to Friday practice - have been announced by the FIA. The changes include an agreement by the teams to stay in Formula One until 2001, a guarantee of 20-car grids, and a 17-race season. But McLaren and Tyrrell have refused to sign the proposal and Williams withdrew from agreeing to it on August 2. It is believed the three top teams objected to the loss of Friday's practice on safety grounds.
RALLYING:- World champion Colin McRae has been fined œ167,000 after an incident at last month's Argentine rally in which five spectators were slightly hurt. FIA president Max Mosley said McRae would only have to pay œ50,000 provided he did not repeat the offence. He had faced charges of driving at an excessive speed in the service area. The Scot is free to take part in the next rally, the 1,000 Lakes in Finland this weekend.
22.08.96 - TOURING CARS (Thruxton) OFFICIAL TESTING TIMES mins secs 1 A Menu Swi Renault L 1:17.660 2 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 1:17.716 3 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 1:17.802 4 W Hoy GB Renualt L 1:17.922 5 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 1:17.986 6 J Kaye GB Honda Acc 1:18.052 7 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:18.073 8 J Thompson GB Vauxhall V 1:18.139 9 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:18.325 10 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:18.347 23.08.96F1: THE BELGIAN GP
Damon Hill vowed he would not get drawn into a bitter battle with title rival Jacques Villeneuve after the Canadian was third fastest in Friday's practice. Hill had a war of words with Michael Schumacher last year and said: "I don't want any animosity. At present we get on very well and have a good time. He has been consistent all through the season and our relationship is as good as it's ever been. The stakes are high but I intend being on top at the end of the season."
Martin Brundle has denied he is ready to give up Formula One racing to turn to commentating just yet. Brundle is the second most experienced driver in the sport, with Sunday's race his 155th, though his future at Jordan Peugeot has been clouded in doubt. But he said: "I'm a racing driver and that's what I enjoy. You come to a circuit like this and go through corners like Eau Rouge and I saw the speed reach 301kmh. You get such a buzz, how could I replace it?"
Friday's practice times: mins secs 1 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:53.706 2 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:54.342 3 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:54.443 4 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:54.754 5 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:54.984 6 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:55.101 7 D Hill GB Williams 1:55.281 8 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:55.333 9 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:55.385 10 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:55.645 11 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:56.318 12 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:56.417 13 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:56.481 14 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:56.653 15 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:57.011 16 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:57.356 17 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:58.395 18 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:58.415 19 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:59.459 20 G Lavaggi It Minardi 2:03.5321000 LAKES RALLY:- The first stage of the rally was cancelled after an accident on the first special stage in Jyvaskyla which injured several spectators. The accident occurred when Karsten Richardt's car ploughed into a group of fans and 28 people had to be taken to a local hospital. Organisers decided to scrap the day's only stage as it was getting dark and many cars did not have extra lights. The event should continue on Saturday with the 28th and last stage on Monday.
24.08.96 - F1: THE BELGIAN GPJacques Villeneuve cranked up the pressure on championship leader Damon Hill by snatching pole position for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. Villeneuve's run on his maiden qualifying session on Formula One's toughest track ensured his first pole since the opening race of the campaign. He knocked Hill from top spot then saw Hill's last chance of biting back wrecked when rain hit the circuit. Michael Schumacher was third quickest in the Ferrari.
Damon Hill shrugged off the latest speculation over his future after taking second place on the grid. Hill, who has been linked with McLaren next season, said: "As far as I am concerned next year doesn't exist."
"All my thoughts at this moment are on this year and winning the championship," he added. The link with McLaren emerged because Hill met with Ron Dennis at the McLaren chief's villa during his recent holiday in the south of France.
Jacques Villeneuve revealed the secret behind denying Damon Hill pole position at Spa - and it was pure child's play. "I just checked a new video game out and the track on that was fairly close. It gave you a good idea of where you should be going," he revealed. "But I was only 18th on the grid in the game!" said Villeneuve after pipping Hill by four-tenths of a second. "I was a bit surprised to get pole because it was a new circuit for me. It is great to be racing on this track."
Final qualifying times: mins secs 1 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:50.574 2 D Hill GB Williams 1:50.980 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:51.778 4 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:51.884 5 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:51.960 6 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:52.318 7 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:52.354 8 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:52.977 9 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:53.043 10 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:53.152 11 HH Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:53.199 12 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:53.993 13 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:54.095 14 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:54.220 15 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:54.700 16 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:55.150 17 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:55.371 18 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:56.286 19 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:56.830 Non Qualifiers G Lavaggi It Minardi 1:58.5791000 LAKES RALLY:- Colin McRae went crashing out of the rally on stage six after rolling his Subaru Impreza. The world champion came to grief 6.5km into the Siitama gravel stage but he and co-driver Derek Ringer were unhurt. McRae was in ninth place before the accident, which Subaru team boss David Richards described as "incompetent". On a difficult day following the death of a spectator on Friday, Finn Juha Kankunnen stormed into the lead ahead of compatriot Tommi Makinen.
Positions after stage 11: (end of second day) hrs:mins secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 1:39.18 2 T Makinen Fin Mit'ishi 1:40.00 3 M Gronholm Fin Toyota 1:40.37 4 J Kytolehto Fin Ford 1:40.54 5 T Radstrom Swe Toyota 1:41.06 6 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 1:41.20 7 H Rovanpera Fin Ford 1:41.29 8 C Sainz Sp Ford 1:42.18 9 S Lindholm Fin Ford 1:43.06 10 L Lampi Fin Mit'ishi 1:44.41 25.08.96F1: THE BELGIAN GP
RESULT after 44 laps: hrs mins secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:28:15.125, 209.442kph 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams @ 5.602 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren @ 15.710 4 J Alesi Fr Benetton @ 19.125 5 D Hill GB Williams @ 29.179 6 G Berger Aut Benetton @ 29.896 7 M Salo Fin Tyrrell @ 1:00.754 8 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell @ 1:40.227 9 R Rosset Brz Footwork @ 1 lap 10 P Lamy Por Minardi @ 1 lap Belgian Grand Prix retirements: lap 1 O Panis Fr Ligier lap 1 HH Frentzen Ger Sauber lap 1 J Herbert GB Sauber (all three collided at first bend) lap 12 J Verstappen Hol Footwork (crashed into track wall) lap 21 P Diniz Br Ligier lap 29 E Irvine GB Ferrari (9th retirement in 13 Ferrari starts) lap 29 R Barrichello Brz Jordan lap 35 M Brundle GB Jordan lap 38 D Coulthard GB McLaren (engine problems while in 5th place)Damon Hill reflected on his fifth place finish in Belgium and said: "It could have been a lot worse." The championship leader started second on the grid but slipped to fourth by the end of the first lap after again being slow into the opening bends. He said: "I didn't get a good start and I think we should have done a lot better here really. I am just thankful for getting some points to minimise the damage with the lead at the top being cut."
Spa winner Michael Schumacher revealed that he almost pulled out mid-way through the Belgian Grand Prix but kept on racing to clinch victory. The reigning world champion said: "I felt that I had bent my steering a bit in the middle of the race and I was close to stopping. "I was a little bit frightened but the team said I would be OK and to win is like something from Hollywood. I would not have put one penny on me winning after all my problems."
Mixed signals left Damon Hill looking for answers after confusion with his Williams-Renault team in Belgium. Hill, who finished fifth behind winner Michael Schumacher and second-placed Jacques Villeneuve, said: "My pit stop was the crucial thing in this race. When the safety car was out on the track, I got the signal to come in but then I was told to stay out and that probably cost me a few places. I will need to speak to the team to find out what happened there."
Williams came clean and admitted their communications difficulties denied them a true chance of victory at Spa. Both Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve were given confusing information on when to come into the pits and that was enough to let Michael Schumacher win. "The communication problem cost us the race," said chief designer Adrian Newey. "Otherwise I am sure we would have finished first and third. By the time we saw Jacques go past it was too late to call Damon in."
Jacques Villeneuve was not satisfied with second place as time is running out to catch Damon Hill. The Williams-Renault driver will not stop his team-mate if Hill finishes second in the last three grands prix, even allowing for Villeneuve triumphs. "Four points a race is not enough," said Villeneuve. "The car started to push like a pig and I couldn't turn the corners towards the end. I started to hear the pipes rattling and that was a big factor."
Dutch driver Jos Verstappen escaped with relatively minor injuries after suffering a terrible accident at Spa. The Footwork star had complained of a sticking throttle early in the race and that may have contributed to his crash. Verstappen careered into a track wall on lap 12 and lost almost the entire left hand side of his car on impact. He was airlifted to a hospital in Liege but he was walking unaided and the indications are that he has a neck strain but no damage to his head.
KEY MOMENTS AT BELGIAN GP:
Lap 1: Slow start by Damon Hill as Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard pass and send the Briton back to fourth. Olivier Panis, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Johnny Herbert collided at La Source on first bend. All retired.
Lap 12: Jos Verstappen crashed into circuit wall and safety car stayed out for five laps while debris was cleared.
Lap 13: Schumacher made best pit stop with safety car on track.
Laps 14-16: Damon Hill and Jacques Villenueve suffered communication problems with Williams leading to confusion over pit-stop strategy.
Lap 38: Fifth-placed David Coulthard forced to retire. Hill moved up from sixth for extra championship point.
Laps 38-44: Villeneuve tried to make ground on Michael Schumacher but the Ferrari driver held on for his 21st grand prix win.
DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 D Hill GB Williams 81 pts 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 68 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 39 4 J Alesi Fr Benetton 38 5 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 23 6 D Coulthard GB McLaren 18 7 G Berger Aut Benetton 17 8 O Panis Fr Ligier 13 9 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 12 10 E Irvine GB Ferrari 9 11 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 6 12 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 5 13 J Herbert GB Sauber 4 14 M Brundle GB Jordan 3 15 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1 = P Diniz Brz Ligier 1 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 Williams-Renault * 149 points 2 Benetton-Renault 55 = Ferrari 48 4 McLaren-Mercedes 41 5 Jordan-Peugeot 15 6 Ligier-Mugen Honda 14 7 Sauber 10 8 Tyrrell-Yamaha 5 9 Footwork-Hart 1 * Williams-Renault champions1000 LAKES RALLY:- World championship leader Tommi Makinen was incredibly quickest on all 12 stages to grab a slender lead on day two of the 1,000 Lakes Rally. The fearless Finn began the day 42 secs adrift of compatriot Juha Kankkunen's Toyota on their home turf. He pushed his Mitsubishi through the paces and said: "I tried to go as fast as I possibly could." Kankkunen by contrast admitted: "I've never had such a difficult day in the 1,000 Lakes."
Positions after stage 22:hrs:mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin Mit'ishi 3:08.13 2 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 3:08.25 3 M Gronholm Fin Toyota 3:10.10 4 J Kytolehto Fin Ford 3:10.36 5 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 3:10.52 6 C Sainz Sp Ford 3:11.16 7 T Radstrom Swe Toyota 3:11.19 8 S Lindholm Fin Ford 3:12.33 9 L Lampi Fin Mit'ishi 3:17.25 10 R Madeira Por Toyota 3:20.45TOURING CARS:- Frank Biela will be looking to clinch the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship drivers' crown at Thruxton on Monday. The German needs one victory or two podium places in rounds 21 and 22 to seal the title. Biela won at the Hampshire circuit in his Audi A4 earlier this year but he was out-performed in qualifying. Pole position for round 21 was claimed by Alain Menu, with Jo Winkelhock taking top slot for round 22.
QUALIFYING FOR MONDAY'S RND 21 mins secs 1 A Menu Swi Renault L 1:16.775 2 W Hoy GB Renault L 1:17.005 3 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 1:17.043 4 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 1:17.055 5 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:17.140 6 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 1:17.267 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:17.669 8 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:17.742 9 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 1:17.855 10 J Thompson GB Vauxhall V 1:18.035 QUALIFYING FOR MONDAY'S RND 22 mins secs 1 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 1:26.567 2 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:26.957 3 J Thompson GB Vauxhall V 1:27.088 4 W Hoy GB Renault L 1:27.227 5 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 1:27.307 6 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 1:27.612 7 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:27.634 8 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 1:27.738 9 P Watts GB Peugeot 1:27.788 10 J Cleland GB Volvo 850 1:27.798 26.08.96F1:- Marlboro are withdrawing their sponsorship of the McLaren Formula One team after a 23-year association. The announcement came in a joint statement by Marlboro owners Philip Morris and the team. McLaren have agreed a new deal with German tobacco firm Reemtsma under their West brand name. Marlboro hinted that they would stay in motor racing. A spokesman said; "We will continue to participate in Formula One in a meaningful and significant way."
The McLaren team have paid tribute to Marlboro after the announcement that their 23-year partnership is to be dissolved at the end of the season. Managing director Ron Dennis said: "We are very proud of our longstanding affiliation and are certain we can continue to achieve the same successes. We are, of course, disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement to renew sponsorship for another year." A spokesman for Marlboro said: "There comes a time to reassess."
1000 LAKES RALLY Final positions after stage 29: hrs:mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin Mit'ishi 4:04.13 2 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 4:04.59 3 J Kytolehto Fin Ford 4:06.50 4 M Gronholm Fin Toyota 4:06.55 5 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 4:07.35 6 T Radstrom Swe Toyota 4:08.22 7 S Lindholm Fin Ford 4:09.30 8 L Lampi Fin Mit'ishi 4:16.14 9 R Madeira Por Toyota 4:20.47 10 A Medeghini It Subaru 4:22.41 Driver's standings: 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 95 pts 2 C Sainz Sp Ford 62 3 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 51 4 C McRae GB Subaru 42 5 P Liatti It Subaru 37 Manufacturers' standings: 1 Mitsubishi 240 pts 2 Subaru 234 3 Ford 180TOURING CARS (Thruxton):- Frank Biela clinched the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship drivers' crown after two thrilling races. The German came second in round 21 and third in round 22 to put him beyond the reach of any of his rivals. He said: "It's been a long, hard and difficult year, but this is a fantastic series and I hope very much to be back to defend my title next year." Biela came within 0.17 secs of winning round 21 when he just failed to get past David Leslie on the Honda.
ROUND 21 RESULT: mins secs 1 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 29:43.30 2 F Biela Ger Audi A4 29:43.47 3 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 29:47.91 4 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 29:48.17 5 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 29:48.70 6 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 29:56.99 7 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 30:05.28 8 J Kay GB Honda Acc 30:08.54 9 L Brookes Ger Toyota C 30:41.81 10 M Neal GB Ford Mon 30:53.45 ROUND 22 RESULT: mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 25:08.88 2 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 25:09.41 3 F Biela Ger Audi A4 25:09.63 4 A Menu GB Renault L 25:10.25 5 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 25:12.11 6 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 25:13.11 7 J Cleland GB Volvo 850 25:18.67 8 D Leslie GB Honda Acc 25:24.29 9 J Kay GB Honda Acc 25:30.29 10 P Kox Ger BMW 320i 25:41.13 Drivers standings after round 22: 1 F Biela Audi A4 248 points 2 R Rydell Volvo 850 171 3 A Menu Renault L 152 4 R Ravaglia BMW 320i 139 5 J Winkelhock BMW 320i 137 6 D Leslie Honda Acc 116 Manufacturers' standings: 1 Audi 257 points 2 BMW 221 3 Volvo 213 4 Renault 196 5 Honda 156 6 Vauxhall 155 7 Ford 66 27.08.96 - F1Damon Hill is being sought by the new West McLaren-Mercedes team, according to a newspaper report. An article in the Evening Standard claimed the World Championship leader had been offered a œ12m deal by McLaren managing director Ron Dennis. The switch from Williams would re-unite Hill with fellow-Briton David Coulthard - with Mika Hakkinen's place in danger. The news comes in the wake of the announcement that Marlboro are to end their 23-year association with the team.
30.08.96 - ITCItalian Alessandro Nannini in an Alfa Romeo and Scot Dario Franchitti in his Mercedes shared the honours in Friday's free practice at the Nurburgring. They are competing in rounds of the FIA International Touring Car Championship.
31.08.96F1:- Damon Hill's future in Formula One appears to be in doubt amid rumours he will be replaced at Williams next year by Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "Damon Hill is in pretty desperate straits," a reliable source within the sport said. "It seems his talks with Williams have broken down. He has started talking to several other teams about next season." Apparently Hill has approached both the Jordan and Stewart teams with a view to racing for them next season.
Ralf Schumacher, the brother of Formula One world champion Michael, is being lined up to drive for Jordan-Peugot in 1997, team manager Ian Phillips said. "Yes, we want him. Not because his name is Schumacher, but because he is incredibly fast and could be champion. "We last spoke with Ralf on Wednesday and he should give us an answer by Monday," said Phillips. Ralf had a test drive with McLaren, but the team finally decided against signing a rookie according to reports.
ITC:- Italian Alessandro Nannini in an Alfa Romeo claimed pole position for Sunday's first race in the FIA Touring Car Championship at the Nurburgring.
WOODPECKER STAGES RALLY:- Ricky Evans in a Peugeot 306, Mark Higgins in a Nissan, Neil Hiorns and Paul Dyas in their Escort RS2000s start favourites in the Woodpecker Stages. The event, penultimate round of the Peugeot Sport Gold Star Rally Championship, starts from Ludlow.
INDYCAR:- Michael Andretti ignored the discomfort from a crash earlier in the week to claim provisional pole for Sunday. Andretti clocked a record lap of 111.616mph on the winding circuit, beating the previous best of 111.013 set by Jacques Villeneuve last year. "The track is going to get quicker and quicker," he said after clinching his first pole for 17 months. Bryan Herta was second on 111.610mph while two-times champion Al Unser jnr was third.
Provisional line-up for Sunday's race: secs 1 M Andretti US Lola Ford 54.298 2 B Herta US Reynard Merc 54.930 3 A Unser jr US Penske Merc 55.004 4 B Rahal US Reynard Merc 55.031 5 G de Ferran Brz Reynard Honda 55.143 6 P Tracy Can Penske Merc 55.173 7 A Ribeiro Brz Lola Honda 55.185 8 C Fittip'di Brz Lola Ford 55.393 9 A Fernandez Mex Lola Honda 55.402 10 M Gugelmin Brz Reynard Ford 55.423 13 M Blundell GB Reynard Ford 55.636