01.01.96 - GRANADA-DAKAR RALLYFinn Ari Vatanen was fastest over the 552km second African stage to secure the overall lead in the rally. Vatanen, a four times winner of this tough event, headed a Citroen 1-2-3 with Pierre Lartigue about 5.5 minutes behind in second place and Philip Wambergue lying third. Wambergue, with British co-driver Fred Gallagher, are 15 mins 42 secs off the pace as the field begins to stretch out. Kenjiro Shinozuka smashed his front suspension and steering after hitting a ditch in his Mitsubishi and looks set to retire, having been in third place.
Leaders after stage 3: hr mns secs 1 A Vatanen Fin Citroen 5:30:56 2 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 5:36:23 3 P Wambergue Fr Citroen 5:46:38 4 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi 5:48:13 5 J-P Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 5:51:05 6 S Servia Sp Citroen 5:57:28 7 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi 6:14:18 8 T Delavergne Fr Nissan 6:43:45 9 J-L Schlesser Fr Schlesser 7:04:26 10 M Prieto Sp Mitsubishi 7:18:09 02.01.96 - GRANADA-DAKAR RALLYAri Vatanen remained ahead of the field, but Citroen teammates Pierre Lartigue and Philip Wambergue cut his overall lead. Vatanen was going well until two punctures cut his advantage. "When I got the second puncture, I thought, now the rally has started," said the Finn.
03.01.96F1:- Three times world drivers' champion Jackie Stewart is returning to Formula One as head of his own team. Stewart, who won 27 Grands Prix in 99 races on his way to three world crowns in 1969, 1971 and 1973, has been out of motor racing for 22 years. Stewart has stayed in touch with the sport through his son Paul and his team Paul Stewart Racing, who have been successful in the junior formulas. He will return in 1997, fronting a team backed by Ford and with a five-year plan to challenge Williams, Benetton and Ferrari.
GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY:- French driver Laurent Gueguen was killed after a lorry hit a suspected mine close to the race route in southern Morocco. Gueguen, driving a support truck for the Citroen team, was said to have veered 400m from the route cleared through a minefield left after the 1976-89 war in the Western Sahara. Gueguen's co-drivers Pascal Loudenot and Vincent Baudin were injured in the accident which destroyed their Mercedes. They were said to be "satisfactory" and were flown back to Europe by air ambulance.
Pierre Lartigue won the fifth stage in his Citroen, finishing 49 seconds ahead of Finland's Ari Vatanen. The Frenchman's performance on the 494km course saw him close the gap on Vatanen on the overall leaderboard to four minutes seven seconds.
Result of fifth stage: (Foum El Hassan-Smara 494km) hr mns secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 5:07:46 2 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 0:49 3 J-P Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 9:17 4 S Servia Sp Citroen @ 18:48 5 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 25:03 Overall standings after fourth stage: hr mns secs 1 A Vatanen Fin Citroen 10:40:11 2 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 4:56 3 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 13:31 4 J-P Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 22:42 5 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 22:56 04.01.96TOURING CARS:- John Bintcliffe will race alongside Touring Car World Cup champion Frank Biela when Audi Sport UK compete in the British Touring Car Championship. The announcement, made at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, ends months of speculation over who would be selected to drive the second Audi A4 quattro in Britain. Bintcliffe, who has won both TOCA's one-make saloon car support race series titles in successive years, said: "It's incredible. It's happened so quickly. I said earlier this year it would be a dream and now it has become a reality."
GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY:- Pierre Lartigue and Edi Orioli led the car and motorcycle rankings after the sixth stage from Smara in Morocco to Zouerat in Mauretania. Jean-Pierre Fontenay won the sixth stage in his Mitsubishi while Finland's Ari Vatanen had to drive on his wheel rim for 140km after getting a puncture.
Result of sixth stage: (Smara-Zouerat 620km) hr mns secs 1 J-P Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 5:17:24 2 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 2:13 3 M Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 10:28 4 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 10:41 5 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 13:14 Overall standings after sixth stage: hr mns secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 20:59:32 2 J-P Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 24:50 3 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 42:06 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @1:36:04 5 J Servia Sp Citroen @1:52:57 05.01.96F1:- David Coulthard has ruled himself out of joining Jackie Stewart's new Ford Grand Prix team which launches in 1997. "I am signed with McLaren for two years and the Ford team will be up and running for a season before my contract expires," he said. Coulthard drove with Paul Stewart Racing in the Formula 3,000 category for three years, the company managed by Jackie Stewart's son. But having only just joined McLaren, he is keen to establish himself there.
GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY:- Ari Vatanen won the seventh stage of the rally as the competition hotted up in Mauritania. Finn Vatanen stormed home despite being forced to make three stops and moved up to third in the overall standings.
Result of seventh stage: (Zouerat-Atar 365km) hr mns secs 1 A Vatanen Fin Citroen 4:10:17 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 1:05 3 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 2:46 4 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 2:47 5 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 10:29 Overall standings after seventh stage: hr mns secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 25:20:18 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 34:23 3 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @1:25:35 4 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:57:49 5 J Servia Sp Citroen @2:04:09 06.01.96SILVERSTONE:- Silverstone has created a new 2.1 mile International Circuit, making seven different tracks now available for use at the Northamptonshire venue. The new track follows the Grand Prix circuit from the start line to Becketts Corner, then switches to the South circuit and rejoins the existing track at a new hairpin bend at Abbey Curve. The International Circuit is set to be used for BTCC and F3 meetings in 1996.
AWARD:- Donington's Robert Fearnall has been awarded the Accessory Manufacturers Racing Association's annual trophy for services to motor sport.
GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY:- Mitsubishi back-up driver Hiroshi Masuoka was the surprise winner of the eighth stage, heading home teammate Jean-Pierre Fontenay on the 522km test. Masuoka, on the event as back-up to the other three Pajero drivers, has found himself leading his team in third place overall after problems for Fontenay, Bruno Saby and Kenjiro Shinozuka. He insists he will not be attempting to win more stages. "My job is very clear, I must get to Dakar and I have only been driviing steadily," he insisted. Pierre Lartigue, overall leader at the halfway stage, was third on the stage.
Result of 8th stage: (Zouerat-Atar 365km) hr mns secs 1 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi 6:15:19 2 JP Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 11:51 3 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 14:40 4 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 16:46 5 JL Schlesser Fr Seat @ 26:04 Overall standings after 8th stage: hr mns secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 31:52:23 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 50:59 3 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:41:03 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @1:53:04 5 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @2:06:33 07.01.96 - GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY Result of 8th stage: (Zouerat-Atar 365km) hr mns secs 1 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi 6:15:19 2 JP Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 11:51 3 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 14:40 4 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 16:46 5 JL Schlesser Fr Seat @ 26:04 Overall standings after 8th stage: hr mns secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 31:52:23 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 50:59 3 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:41:03 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @1:53:04 5 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @2:06:33 08.01.96MONTE CARLO RALLY:- Monte Carlo's famous rally will not be part of the world championships this year, organisers have announced. The traditional four-day event, starting on January 22, has been taken off the world list because it will be restricted to two-litre non-turbo cars.But organisers are still confident there will be plenty of interest in the race and expect around 150 starters. Two other races, the Tour of Corsica and the season-ending RAC Rally in Britain, will also be outside the world championship this year.
GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY:- Philippe Wambergue of France won the ninth stage in the car section. Wambergue headed up a one-two-three finish for Citroen as he beat Ari Vatanen of Finland and Servia of Spain into second and third place. In the overall auto rankings, France's Pierre Lartigue remains out in front, 44:40 minutes ahead of Wambergue and Hiroshi Masuoka of Japan.
Result of ninth stage: (Zouerat-El Mreiti - 638kms) hr mns secs 1 P Wambergue Fr Citroen 6:12:26 2 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 2:19 3 S Servia Sp Citroen @ 5:54 4 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 6:19 4 S Masuoka Jpn Seat @ 7:07 Overall standings after ninth stage: hr mns secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 38:11:08 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 44:40 3 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 1:41:51 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 1:49:04 5 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 2:08:35 09.01.96RALLYING:- The RAC Rally has not lost its place on the world championship circuit as was thought in earlier reports. The Rally is still part of the series but because of a rotation scheme, it will not be a points-scoring event. However Colin McRae and the other big name drivers will all take part in this year's race. The RAC race is one of five races that will not score points this year. Monte Carlo, Portugal, Corsica and New Zealand are the others.
GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY Result of tenth stage: (El Mreiti - Tichit 632kms) hr mns secs 1 A Vatanen Fin Citroen 6:01:16 2 M Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 2:11 3 S Masuoka Jpn Seat @ 4:35 4 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 6:36 4 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 16:28 Overall standings after tenth stage: hr mns secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 44:19:00 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 54:32 3 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 1:39:50 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 1:42:28 5 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 2:04:10 10.01.96 - GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY Result of eleventh stage: (El Tichit - Kiffa 535kms) hr mns secs 1 M Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 6:47:07 2 B Saby Fr Serieys @ 09:00 3 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 14:08 4 S Masuoka Jpn Seat @ 16:52 5 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 34:20 Overall standings after tenth stage: hr mns secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 44:19:00 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 54:32 3 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 1:39:50 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 1:42:28 5 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 2:04:10 11.01.96F1:- Tyrrell Yamaha have re-signed Japanese driver Ukyo Katayama for the new Grand Prix season. He will again partner Finn Mika Salo and the team are set to begin testing their new 024 car. The move appears to spell the end of Briton Mark Blundell's bid to find a new team for 1996. He could now switch to IndyCar racing in America, having already tested for the PacWest team.
GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY:- Phillipe Wambergue made up time he lost on Thursday with victory in the car section on the 12th stage into Mali. Wambergue ignored a sore thumb to tighten his grip on second place in the cars event, but remains over an hour behind leader Pierre Lartigue. Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka dropped two places to fifth after breaking a ball joint on his Mitsubishi.
Result of 12th stage: (Kiffa - Kayes 281kms) hr mns secs 1 P Wambergue Fr Citroen 3:00:45 2 M Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 08:21 3 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 15:03 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 15:39 5 S Servia Sp Citroen @ 17:34 Overall standings after 12th stage: hr mns sec 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 54:36:03 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 1 07:55 3 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 1:43:20 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 2:03:16 5 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 2:26:00 12.01.96F1:- Scot David Coulthard pronounced himself well satisfied after testing for McLaren at the Estoril circuit. Coulthard, who joined the team from Williams for 1996, was trying out new components on last year's chassis with former world champion Alain Prost. "I'm quite surprise and pleased by the balance of the car," said Coulthard. Friday's session was the first possible after a week of heavy rain and McLaren are extending the testing session over the weekend.
RALLYING:- Colin McRae has been confirmed as one of the 555 Subaru team members for the 1996 season. Subaru have announced that the world champion will compete alongside Piero Liatti and Kenneth Eriksson in their team this year.
GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY:- Pierre Lartigue remained firmly ahead of the pack after Friday's 13th stage of the rally from Kayes in Mali to Labe in Guinea. Stage honours went to Ari Vatanen but the day was marred by the death of a three-year-old girl who was hit by a motorcyclist.
Result of 13th stage: (Kayes - Labe 520kms) hr mns secs 1 A Vatanen Fin Citroen 6:15:00 2 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 01:13 3 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 04:24 4 M Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 04:48 5 S Servia Sp Citroen @ 11:35 Overall standings after 13th stage: hr mns sec 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 60:52:16 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 1:11:06 3 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 1:46:55 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 2:02:03 5 S Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 2:44:37 13.01.96 - GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY Result of 14th stage: (Labe - Tambacounda 583km) hr mns secs 1 A Vatanen Fin Citroen 4:20:48 2 M Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 04:50 3 S Servia Sp Citroen @ 05:01 4 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 08:25 5 P Lartigue Fr Citroen @ 09:39 Overall standings after 14th stage: hr mns sec 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 65:22:43 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 1:09:52 3 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 1:42:06 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 1:52:24 5 S Servia Sp Citroen @ 3:12:45 14.01.96 - GRANADA-DAKAR RALLYPierre Lartigue in a Citroen claimed victory in this year's rally. It was a second triumph for Lartigue and co-driver Michel Perin, following their success in 1994 while Orioli was celebrating his fourth win. However the champion did not earn victory in the 472km final stage from Tambacounda to Dakar.
Result of 15th stage: (Tambacounda-Dakar 472km) 1 A Vatanen Fin Citroen 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi 3 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 4 M Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 5 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi Overall standings after 15th stage:hr mns sec 1 P Lartigue Fr Citroen 65:44:38 2 P Wambergue Fr Citroen @ 1:11:54 3 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 1:42:13 4 A Vatanen Fin Citroen @ 1:49:53 5 S Servia Sp Citroen @ 3:16:45 15.01.96INDYCAR:- Mark Blundell is following in the footsteps of Nigel Mansell by moving from Formula One to Indy Cars for the 1996 World Series. Blundell was not offered a Grand Prix drive for the forthcoming season and decided to sign for the PacWest Racing Group instead. The Briton claimed the spot alongside another ex-Formula One driver Mauricio Gugelmin after impressing in a test drive just before Christmas. "I'm looking forward to a new challenge and it is the start of a great future in Indy Car racing," he said.
F1:- Jacques Villeneuve headed Williams teammate Damon Hill in Formula One testing at Estoril on Monday. Overnight storms left the track soaked but the Canadian managed an afternoon total of 52 laps with a best time of one minute 21.7 seconds.Briton Hill drove eight laps in the morning and a further 27 in the afternoon for a quickest time of 1:22.1. With the season-opening Australian Grand Prix set for Melbourne in March, the leading teams began serious testing this month before the arrival of their new 1996-specification cars.
RALLYING:- Francis Delecour will drive the second works-entered Repsol Ford Escort RS Cosworth in the opening round of the 1996 FIA World Championship. The 33-year-old Frenchman will team up with lead driver Carlos Sainz for the Swedish International Rally in February. Delecour will be re-united with his former co-driver Daniel Grataloup. They have previously contested 23 world championship rallies together, winning four in Escort RS Cosworths. It will be their first event together since the 1994 RAC Rally.
16.01.96 - F1Williams have confirmed that Frenchman Jean-Christophe Boullion will continue as their test driver for the 1996 Grand Prix season.The 26-year-old also drove for Sauber last season, but they have named Heinz Harald Frentzen and Johnny Herbert for the new season. Oxford-based Boullion will back up Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve for Williams and will begin testing at Estoril later this week. "It is important to have continuity at all levels," said boss Frank Williams.
World champion Michael Schumcher escaped unhurt after crashing during testing with Ferrari on Tuesday. The accident happened at the Ferrari team's Fiorano test track where the German was putting their new V10 car through its paces. The car hit a guard rail on his second lap of the day, damaging the front suspension, but a team spokesman said Schumacher was uninjured. The German later blamed himself for driving too hard on cold tyres on a seciton of the track that was still covered in frost.
Damon Hill escaped unhurt after crashing during testing with his Williams team at Estoril. The British driver lost control of his car at the long, fast and notorious second turn. He completed only seven laps on a disappointing day when he was outpaced again by his new Canadian team-mate Jacques Villeneuve. The rear right wheel took most of the impact as the car slid into the barriers and Hill was able to walk away unscathed.
17.01.96 - F1Damon Hill slid off at Estoril for the second day running during tests as his Williams-Renault teammate Jacques Villeneuve set the week's fastest time. Hill's Williams went off at the S-bend of the 2.709-mile Estoril track during a dry morning session. As in his spin-off on Tuesday, Hill was unhurt. His Williams was towed into the pits with scuffed front tires. Young Canadian Villeneuve posted the fastest lap in 1 minute, 21.14 seconds. Hill was second fastest with 1:21.17.
18.01.96F1:- Martin Brundle managed only six laps in his new Jordan in testing at Estoril before the car stopped in the VIP bend. The British driver joined Brazilian team-mate Rubens Barrichello at the Portuguese circuit and recorded a best time of one minute, 26.24 seconds. Williams test driver Jean-Christophe Bouillion clocked the fastest time of 1:20.97 in a total of 34 laps while David Coulthard managed 1:23.33 in 12 fewer laps.The new Jordan is equipped with a V-10 Peugeot engine and has a raised nose similar to the one used by Benetton.
RALLYING:- Subaru have pulled off a major coup by announcing the signing of Didier Auriol for next month's first Rally of the season in Sweden. Auriol's entry is in addition to the confirmed 1996 driver line-up of world champion Colin McRae, Kenneth Eriksson and Piero Liatti. Auriol's drive in Sweden is the first step towards a longer term partnership with the Subaru team and he will be the third official nomination for Manufacturers Championship points. He said: "It's really exciting to be competing with a new team."
19.01.96 - MONTE CARLO RALLYArmin Schwarz sets off on Saturday favourite to win the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally. Schwarz will be driving a new Toyota Celica GT-Four entered by Italian team Grifone and bought from Toyota after they were banned in the Catalonia Rally in Spain in October. The car has been prepared to exactly the same specification that it would have had if the works team had not been thrown out of the 1996 world series. Britons Nigel Heath and Jeff Ashfield, Robert and Michael Plant and Tony Dron and Keith Bird are also competing
22.01.96F1:- Portugal's Pedro Lamy has reached a deal with Italian Formula One team Minardi to stay on for the 1996 season. Team owner Carlo Minardi said their second driver would be named in the next few days from five candidates, including current driver Luca Badoer.
MONTE CARLO RALLY:- Patrick Bernadini avoided mishap on roads made treacherous by melting snow to end the first day in the lead. The Ford Escort driver was quickest on two of the six stages and leads by over a minute, with rivals Francois Delecour and Armin Schwarz running into trouble. Delecour was given a ten second penalty en route to the start for being late at a time control in Nancy. Schwarz led after the second stage but transmission problems cost him vital time on the next. Francois Chatriot dropped from third to 18th on the final stage after leaving the road.
Position after 6 of 21 stages: (end of first day) hrs mins secs 1 P Bernadini Fr Ford 1:39.03 2 F Delecour Fin Peugeot 1:40.12 3 A Schwarz Ger Toyota 1:43.59 4 B Beguin Fr Subaru 1:45.05 5 C Baroni Fr Subaru 1:45.23 6 I Postel Hol Subaru 1:45.52 7 M Verini It Lancia 1:46.09 8 F Phillips Fr Lancia 1:46.25 9 D Ducruet Fr Lancia 1:47.29 10 E Vassine Rus Opel 1:47.37RALLYING:- Louise Aitken-Walker is on the verge of returning to the sport in the Mobil1/Top Gear British Championship after four years out of the limelight. The former women's world champion is set to drive a Honda Civic for the SW Motorsport team, who are about to move into Group A for the first time. Manager Gary Lendon said: "We are thrilled at the prospect of having someone with the expertise and track record of Louise joining the team." Aitken-Walker won the world and Asian titles in 1990 and was subsequently honoured by the award of an MBE.
23.01.96 - MONTE CARLO RALLYArmin Schwarz continued his pursuit of victory as he narrowed the gap between himself and rally leader Patrick Bernardini on the second day. The German was fastest on five of the day's six stages as he reduced the gap on the leader to under four minutes. Schwarz and co-driver Klaus Wicha were hampered by a slow puncture on the third stage which cost them over a minute in the mountains. "It's quite a battle and we're going as fast as possible in wet conditions," said Schwarz.
30.01.96 - F1Airbags are unlikely to be fitted in F1 cars in the near future because of problems in adapting them to fit the small cockpits. Research is continuing, but the sport's governing body, the FIA, are now looking at alternative measures, including collapsable steering columns.
Jordan are putting a brave face on prospects for the new season despite unhappy tests with their new car. Rubens Barrichello and Martin Brundle complained of basic handling problems at Estoril last week.
Ligier boss Tom Walkinshaw has admitted they are likely to slide down the Grand Prix ranks in the coming season.They have launched their new JS43 car, to be driven by Olivier Panis and Pedro Diniz, the latter having brought a reported $7 million to the team. The money will help Ligier out of a financial crisis which has seen them have to lay off 37 staff. "Realistically with the budget cuts Ligier has suffered, if we can maintain our position we have accomplished a major achievement," he said.
Formula One cars will be fitted with aeroplane-style black boxes from the start of the 1997 season. International Motoring Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley said that the equipment could introduced on an experimental basis this year. They have agreed with the Grand Prix teams that the box will be used purely to help gather data in the event of an accident. The FIA also want to set up a code, to be approved by the European Commission, which will set out the way in which all all accidents should be investigated.