01.09.96F1:- Damon Hill will leave Williams at the end of the current season - even if he succeeds in winning the world title. Hill's lawyer Michael Breen said Williams had terminated negotiations over a possible contract for 1997. The Briton, who will now seek a drive with a rival team, has won 20 of his 64 Grands Prix and holds a 13-point lead in this season's championship. Williams are now expected to sign highly-rated German Heinz Harald Frentzen to partner Jacques Villeneuve.
Britain's Damon Hill was "surprised and disappointed" after hearing Williams had pulled the plug on talks over a new contract for next season. Hill's lawyer Michael Breen said team boss Frank Williams had not given any reason for his decision, but indicated the reason was not financial. "We only began negotiations with Frank in mid-August. Needless to say, both Damon and I were very surprised and disappointed by the news," he added.
Damon Hill could link up with former world champion Jackie Stewart after Williams decided to dispense with his services for 1997. He is understood to have opened talks with Stewart, who launches his new Formula One team next season, and the Jordan-Peugeot team. Hill was linked with a œ10m move to McLaren last weekend. But they have secured sponsorship from a German company and are now said to have targetted Ralf Schumacher.
1960 Born Hampstead, London, son of Grand Prix star Graham Hill
1982-5 Worked as motorcycle despatch rider to fund his racing career
1984 "Champion of Brands" on Yamaha 350cc motorcycle. Also scored first car win in FF1600.
1985 Finished third in Esso FF1600 Championship.
1986 Ninth in Formula 3 Championship.
1987 Fifth in Formula 3 Championship following two wins.
1988 Third in Formula 3 Championship following two wins. Raced twice in International F3000 Championship.
1989 Cash shortage restricts racing.
1990 Drove in International F3000 Championship, second at Brands Hatch.
1991 Fourth at Le Mans, became official test driver for Williams F1 team.
1992 Retained as Test driver. Made GP debut for Brabham at British GP.
1993 Third overall in first full season of F1 following three wins.
1994 Partnered Ayrton Senna and became Williams number one after the Brazilian died at San Marino GP. Lost world title to Michael Schumacher by one point.
1995 Again second to Schumacher. Retained by Williams for 1996 with Jacques Villeneuve as teammate.
1996 Seven victories helped him to 13-point lead over Villeneuve with three races to go. Williams terminate discussions over new contract for 1997.
INDYCAR:- IndyCar rookie Alessandro Zanardi took pole for the third successive race with a dazzling display in final qualifying. He was only 12th fastest on Friday but smashed the track record with a lap of 53.980 secs in his Reynard Honda. Zanardi changed his set-up for the session and said: "It was a shot in the dark, really, but we ended up with a very good car." Michael Andretti (54.483) will start alongside Zanardi with series leader Jimmy Vasser fifth on the grid.
Leading grid positions for today's race secs 1 A Zanardi It Reynard Honda 53.980 2 M Andretti US Lola Ford 54.483 3 B Rahal US Reynard Merc 54.507 4 B Herta US Reynard Merc 54.578 5 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 54.617 6 P Tracy Can Penske Merc 54.620 7 A Unser jr US Penske Merc 54.683 8 A Ribeiro Brz Lola Honda 54.750 9 M Gugelmin Brz Reynard Ford 54.762 10 G de Ferran Brz Reynard Honda 54.774 02.09.96F1:- Jordan have confirmed their interest in signing Damon Hill for the 1997 Formula One season following Williams' decision to dispense with his services. Press officer Louise Goodman said team boss Eddie Jordan had spoken to Hill on several occasions and would be talking to him again. But she stressed that at this stage he was only one of a number of drivers in whom the team were interested. Hill has also been linked with the new Jackie Stewart Grand Prix team.
The new Stewart Grand Prix team have made "informal contact" with Damon Hill about the possibility of him driving for them next season. Paul Stewart, son of team boss Jackie, said: "If Damon is interested in us and if the price is right, it would be nice to do something with him. We have made informal contact but nothing is at an advanced stage." He added: "It would be nice to have British drivers but it's not critical. Motor racing is a global sport."
Jacques Villeneuve plans to capitalise on Damon Hill's uncertainty about the future by pipping him for the Formula One drivers' title. Villeneuve will stay with Williams next year, while teammate Hill is forced to seek new employers. "It is one less thing for me to think about than Damon. The battle is on and all I can do is be aggressive," the Canadian commented. Williams have promised equal backing for the pair in the remaining races.
INDYCAR:- Michael Andretti increased the pressure on series leader Jimmy Vasser with a second successive Indy victory. He led for the last 82 laps after pole starter Alessandro Zanardi went out after a crash. "It was just one of those perfect days. I didn't have a close call all day and the pit-stops were perfect," he said. Andretti was followed home by Bobby Rahal and Christian Fittipaldi to move within 14 points of Vasser, who finished seventh.
Result of Sunday's race: laps 1 M Andretti US Lola Ford 100 laps, 1:16:16.253 2 B Rahal US Reynard Merc 100 laps, -1.905 secs 3 C Fit'paldi Brz Lola Ford 100 4 G de Ferran Brz Reynard Honda 100 5 A Unser jr US Penske Merc 100 6 B Herta US Reynard Merc 100 7 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 100 8 A Fernandez Mex Lola Honda 100 9 S Goodyear Can Reynard Ford 100 10 R Gordon US Reynard Ford 99 12 M Blundell GB Reynard Ford 98 03.09.96F1:- Damon Hill must put the uncertainty of his Formula One future behind him as he attempts to clinch the 1996 Formula One drivers' crown at Monza this weekend. Hill leads the title chase by 13 points but second-placed Jacques Villeneuve is promising an all-out challenge to his Rothmans Williams Renault teammate. The situation would have been worse but for Michael Schumacher's brilliant drive in the last round in Belgium. Villeneuve, three times a winner in his debut season, settled for second place.
Damon Hill describes his Championship lead as "not comfortable" despite having a chance to claim the title if he wins the race on Sunday. "It is a lead that I am grateful to have and the fewer races left, the better shape I am in I think, so I am looking forward to Monza," he said. Hill could clinch the crown if he wins and rival Jacques Villeneuve finishes outside the top four places. He has a good record at Monza, having won there in 1993 and '94.
Title challenger Jacques Villeneuve describes Monza as a "fun track" and will enjoy competing for once on a circuit with which he is familiar. Villeneuve has an impressive record claiming two of his three wins and two pole places on tracks new to him. His confidence will be even higher on a track he knows. "Monza used to be one of the best tracks before they chopped Lesmo 2, supposedly for safety. Now that corner kills the rhythm," he commented.
Michael Schumacher can expect a huge cheer from the crowd every time a wheel turns on his Ferrari this weekend. These Italian fans are among the most enthusiastic in motor sport and offer massive support to the Ferrari team. Gerhard Berger was the last driver to set Monza alight with his win for Ferrari in 1988, just a short time after the death of Enzo Ferrari. Williams and McLaren have shared most of the wins since then, except for 1995 when Johnny Herbert won for Benetton.
TOURING CARS:- Swiss star Alain Menu has renewed his contract with Williams Touring Car Engineering for a further two years. Menu will continue to race for Williams Renault Dealer Racing in a Laguna. He has driven for the team in the British Touring Car Championship for the past two years and for Renault UK since they entered the series in 1993. He has twice been runner-up in the drivers' championship and helped Renault clinch the manufacturer's crown last season.
RAC RALLY:- Skoda are celebrating their 25th year of contesting the RAC Rally with a six-car official entry. There will be five Felicia kit cars from the Czech Republic plus the Group A Felicia which has been competing in the British Rally Championship. "We intend to celebrate this important milestone with further glory," declared Skoda UK director Dermot Kelly. The event starts from Chester and runs from November 24 to 27.
04.09.96 - F1Williams have confirmed that German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen will be their new driver next season. Frentzen will replace Damon Hill for the 1997 season, with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve staying on at Williams. The 29-year-old, who will compete in his 45th race in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, will give up his seat at Sauber. Williams chief Frank Williams said refused to comment on the reasons for Hill's departure but said: "Damon has contributed greatly to the team."
Frank Williams named Michael Schumacher as the driver he most admires and fears - on the day he unveiled Heinz-Harald Frentzen as his next team driver. Williams said in an interview with Motoring News: "The nightmare is to picture Michael in a car next season that is as competitive as the Williams. We will all have to go to church on Sunday and pray for unreliability. It's not on the agenda today, but of course I would like to see Schumacher in a Williams."
05.09.96F1:- Damon Hill plans to use his dismissal by Williams as "extra motivation" in his quest to win the world title. "It was a shock, but I've had worse shocks in my life and in Formula One," said Hill, who could win the world title at Monza on Sunday. "I feel like I've been to Mars and back in the last ten days, there has been so much to-ing and fro-ing," he added. "I've an opportunity now to explore other teams I can bring my expertise to in order to develop a winning car."
Damon Hill has dismissed any suggestion that he might quit motor sport after losing his seat in the Williams team. "I'm not a quitter. I love racing cars and I would prefer above all else to race a Formula One car, which is the pinnacle of the sport," he said. But he appeared to rule out any chance of him joining the new Stewart team. "There has to be the right total package. It's not sufficient simply to take on a project. I want to win, that's my motivation," Hill added.
Damon Hill spoke of his dismay at not being able to prove to Williams he deserved a new contract. "You can understand my disappointment," he said. "I have led the championship all season and have turned myself around to become a leading drive. "I have always thought the reward for winning races should be the opportunity to drive the best equipment. I thought winning the championship would put me in a good negotiating position for the end of the season."
TOURING CARS (Donington) Thursday's combined practice times:mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:36.615 2 D Leslie GB Honda 1:36.782 3 J Kaye GB Honda 1:36.831 4 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 1:37.317 5 P Kok Hol BMW 320i 1:37.360 6 G Ayles GB Nissan 1:37.363 7 A Menu Swi Renault 1:37.367 8 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:37.370 9 W Hoy GB Renault 1:37.402 10 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 1:37.442 06.09.96F1: THE ITALIAN GP
Damon Hill denied that the week's events had put him off after enduring a disappointing Friday practice session. Hill came in seventh fastest after the afternoon's racing and the Williams team usually concentrate on race set-up rather than going for the best time. "We were thinking more about Sunday's race," he said of his first appearance since learning he was leaving Williams. "I'm quite happy with the way it's gone and what's happened this week has not affected my confidence."
Friday's free practice times: mins secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:24.399 2 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:24.667 3 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:24.829 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:24.988 5 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:25.055 6 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:25.335 7 D Hill GB Williams 1:25.620 8 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:25.973 9 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:26.350 10 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:26.706 11 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:26.751 12 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:26.968 13 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:27.098 14 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:27.177 15 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:27.667 16 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:28.123 17 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:28.541 18 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:28.561 19 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:28.764 20 G Lavaggi It Minardi 1:29.225RALLYING:- BBC Radio Five Live will be closer to the action than usual in this year's Network Q RAC Rally with commentator Maurice Hamilton set to compete. Hamilton co-drives for BBC GP pit lane man and PR boss Tony Jardine, who has finished the gruelling event on three of his five attempts. They compete in a Ford Escort RS, supported by RAC Insurance Services, DC Cook of Bracknell and Michelin. The RAC Rally, final world championship round, takes place from November 24-27.
TOURING CARS:- BMW have added a third 320i to their line-up as they attempt to wrench the manufacturers' title from Audi in the closing stages of the Championship. German ace Frank Biela has already clinched the drivers' crown with an unassailable lead in his Audi, four races from the end of the season. Audi head the manufacturers' standings with 257 points, 36 clear of BMW with Volvo in third place on 213. Dutchman Peter Kox now joins BMW's Jo Winkelhock and Roberto Ravaglia.
Swede Rickard Rydell will start among the favourites for this weekend's two races at Donington Park, having started the season with pole spot at the track. Local hero Kelvin Burt from Tamworth is at the wheel of the other super-quick 850 Volvo and will also be expected to be among the front-runners. Rydell is in the runner-up spot in the drivers' championship but close behind are Alain Menu (Renault) and BMW's Roberto Ravaglia and Jo Winkelhock.
Lee Brookes heads the privateers as the battle for the Total Cup moves into its closing stages this weekend. Brookes in his Toyota Carina holds an 18-point lead over Richard Kaye in a Vauxhall Cavalier, leaving Kaye with a tough job if he is to snatch the title. Kaye knows only victory will be good enough in rounds 23 and 24 on Sunday, while the final two races take place at Brands Hatch in Kent on September 22. Sunday's 18-lap Super Touring races are due to start at 12.30 and 3.30pm.
Richard Rydell has boosted his hopes of finishing runner-up in the 1996 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship. He smashed his own Donington Park qualifying record in official testing for Sunday's championship twin rounds. Swede Rydell and his Volvo 850 lapped the track in 36.15, more than a tenth of a second inside the mark he set on the Derby track in April. Honda's David Leslie finished second, five hundredths of a second in front of team-mate, James Kaye.
07.09.96F1: THE ITALIAN GP
Damon Hill said he was optimistic about Sunday's race after taking pole spot in a well-handling Williams Renault. "The work we did has paid off and I am very pleased with the set-up," said Hill, who could clinch the world title this weekend. "The car feels good." Arch-rival Jacques Villeneuve was distracted by another car in front of him as he challenged for top spot. He also lost 10 laps this morning after a crash. "I am not very happy with the way the car is handling," he admitted.
Qualifying times: mins secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:24.204 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:24.521 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:24.781 4 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:24.939 5 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:24.976 6 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:25.201 7 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:25.226 8 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:25.470 9 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:26.037 10 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:26.194 11 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:26.206 12 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:26.345 13 H-H Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:26.505 14 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:26.726 15 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:27.270 16 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:28.234 17 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:28.472 18 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:28.933 19 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:29.181 20 G Lavaggi It Minardi 1:29.833INDYCAR:- Britain's Mark Blundell was second fastest in opening practice for the series finale at Laguna Seca. He lapped the renovated 11-turn track in 68.362 secs in his Reynard Ford, with only Bryan Herta (68.019) quicker. Series leader Jimmy Vasser, who holds a 14-point advantage over Michael Andretti, was fourth best. "We, the whole team, are trying to treat this like just another race," Vasser said afterwards.
Leading Friday practice times: secs 1 B Herta US Reynard Merc 68.019 (118.448 mph) 2 M Blundell GB Reynard Ford 68.362 3 M Gugelmin Brz Reynard Ford 68.479 4 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 68.480 5 A Zanardi It Reynard Honda 68.495 6 G Moore Can Reynard Merc 68.676 7 A Ribeiro Brz Lola Honda 68.739 8 C Fittip'di Brz Lola Ford 68.758 9 B Rahal US Reynard Merc 68.783 10 S Pruett US Lola Ford 68.830TOURING CARS:- Rickard Rydell boosted his hopes of claiming second place in the series by claiming pole position in his Volvo for both of Sunday's races at Donington. Rydell lapped well inside his own qualifying record in both sessions and shares the front row with Will Hoy in round 23 and David Leslie in round 24. Newly-crowned champion Frank Biela suffered problems in first qualifying, posting only 12th best time in his Audi. Honda's James Kaye spun off in the second, slightly damaging his car.
Leading qualifying times for round 23: mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:36.340 2 W Hoy GB Renault 1:36.712 3 A Menu Swi Renault 1:36.738 4 K Burt GB Volvo 850 1:36.744 5 D Leslie GB Honda 1:36.760 6 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 1:36.786 7 J Kaye GB Honda 1:36.927 8 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 1:36.937 9 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 1:37.157 10 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 1:37.167 Leading qualifying times for round 24: mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 1:36.443 2 D Leslie GB Honda 1:36.477 3 A Menu Swi Renault 1:36.624 4 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 1:36.642 5 F Biela Ger Audi A4 1:36.867 6 W Hoy GB Renault 1:36.886 7 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 1:37.094 8 G Ayles GB Nissan 1:37.163 9 J Kaye GB Honda 1:37.242 10 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 1:37.247F.RENAULT:- Australian Stephen White in a Van Diemen Renault took pole for Sunday's 12th round of the Ultrafilter Formula Renault at Donington Park.
08.09.96F1: THE ITALIAN GP
RESULT after 53 laps: hrs mins secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:17.43.632 2 J Alesi Fr Benetton @ 18.265 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren @ 1.06.635 4 M Brundle GB Jordan @ 1.25.217 5 R Barrichello Brz Jordan @ 1.25.475 6 P Diniz Brz Ligier @ 1 lap 7 J Villeneuve Can Williams @ 1 lap 8 J Verstappen Hol Footwork @ 1 lap 9 J Herbert GB Sauber @ 2 laps 10 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell @ 2 laps Not Classified R Rosset Brz Footwork 36 laps E Irvine GB Ferrari 23 laps P Lamy Por Minardi 12 laps M Salo Fin Tyrrell 9 laps H-H Frentzen Ger Sauber 7 laps D Hill GB Williams 5 laps G Lavaggi It Minardi 5 laps G Berger Aut Benetton 4 laps O Panis Fr Ligier 2 laps D Coulthard GB McLaren 1 lap Completed laps shownDamon Hill offered no excuses after the spin-off at Monza which ended his race after only six laps. He said: "I hit the tyres at the exit of the chicane. I cannot blame anyone but myself - I made a mistake."
"If I could have finished the race, I could have won the race. I made a good start and that was probably going to be an easy victory but I threw it away. I was enjoying myself. It is one of those things," added Hill, who kept his 13 point lead over Jacques Villeneuve.
Michael Schumacher almost cost himself victory as he nearly fell victim to the same mistake as Damon Hill. Schumacher clipped a tyre wall late in the race but unlike Hill who spun out, the German roared on for Ferrari's victory at Monza since 1988. "It was a stupid moment," Schumacher said. "I thought I had the room to pass the tyres but obviously I did not. We had a safe strategy to try and win the race with the pit stops. I was just glad I had a bit more fuel than Alesi."
Damon Hill will not waste too much time surveying the wreckage of his race as he sets his sights on Portugal. Hill, who spun out after an early mistake, admitted he was lucky that the damage was not worse with title rival Jacques Villeneuve not in the points. He said: "I will look upon this as 10 points won for me really with Jacques not being able to close the gap. I won't look back for long. I will be testing in Austria getting ready for Estoril now."
Jacques Villeneuve was another man to suffer with the tyre walls as he looked below par while finishing seventh. Villeneuve had hit the tyres, placed before qualifying to stop drivers cutting out the chicane, on his second lap and he was never the same. "I clipped the tyres and bent something on the front and the car changed completely," said Villeneuve. "It did quite a lot of damage and we just had to hold on hoping we would get a few points, but didn't."
David Coulthard slammed the decision to place a column of tyres beside the track after they ruined his race. Coulthard was sent spinning into the gravel on only the second lap when a tyre thrown up by Jacques Villeneuve hit his McLaren. He said: "It's frustrating that I should have to pay a price for someone else hitting the tyres. I don't think it's a good situation that there is something there to hit. It's dangerous."
KEY MOMENTS AT MONZA:
LAP 1 Jean Alesi roars up from sixth place on grid to take lead, stunning Damon Hill who did not have a bad start. Hill regains his composure and the lead before the end of the lap.
LAP 2 David Coulthard becomes the first retirement after a tyre breaks free from its moorings after being struck by Jacques Villeneuve and hits him.
LAP 3 Olivier Panis next to come off as early casualties begin to mount.
LAP 6 Damon Hill hits wall of tyres on right hand side of chicane and retires. Jean Alesi movs up into the lead.
LAP 10 Jacques Villeneuve struggles to make any impression as he falls victim to tyre problems on his Williams.
LAP 28 Alesi makes his pit stop with his lead over Michael Schumacher less than a second. Schumacher in front.
LAP 30 Schumacher into pits but comes out still seven seconds ahead of Alesi.
LAP 53 Michael Schumacher crosses the line first amid jubilant scenes as Italian fans spill onto the track to celebrate Ferrari's victory. Jean Alesi holds onto second place, with Mika Hakkinen - who had been into the pits early on for a new nose cone - coming home third. Jacques Villenueve cannot move up from seventh place and ends the race pointless in his pursuit of Damon Hill.
Damon Hill was snubbed by Benetton in his hopes for a drive for next season before his miserable exit from the Italian Grand prix. Benetton boss Flavio Briatore said: "We are not interested in signing Hill. We have contracts with Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi and we want to keep them. It has caused us a lot of problems this year changing drivers. Next year we want stability so we will stay with the drivers we have got," he told the News of the World.
DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP 1 D Hill GB Williams 81 pts 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 68 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 49 4 J Alesi Fr Benetton 44 5 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 27 6 D Coulthard GB McLaren 18 7 G Berger Aut Benetton 17 8 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 14 9 O Panis Fr Ligier 13 10 E Irvine GB Ferrari 9 11 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 6 = M Brundle GB Jordan 6 13 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 5 14 J Herbert GB Sauber 4 15 P Diniz Brz Ligier 2 16 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 Williams-Renault 149 points 2 Benetton-Renault 61 3 Ferrari 58 4 McLaren-Mercedes 45 5 Jordan-Peugeot 20 6 Ligier-Mugen Honda 15 7 Sauber 10 8 Tyrrell-Yamaha 5 9 Footwork-Hart 1 INDYCAR (Laguna Seca) Saturday's final qualifying times:secs 1 A Zanardi It Reynard Honda 68.004 (118.475 mph) 2 B Herta US Reynard Merc 68.019 3 M Gugelmin Brz Reynard Ford 68.188 4 M Blundell GB Reynard Ford 68.232 5 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 68.296 6 G Moore Can Reynard Merc 68.679 7 A Ribeiro Brz Lola Honda 68.739 8 C Fittip'di Brz Lola Ford 68.757 9 B Rahal US Reynard Merc 68.783 10 S Pruett US Lola Ford 68.830TOURING CARS:- Audi clinched the touring cars triple crown as they took the manufcaturers' and teams' titles at Donington Park. Frank Biela sealed the drivers' title last month and the points he won for fourth and third places in Sunday's double header proved enough for Audi. Race victories went to Rickard Rydell in a Volvo and David Leslie in a Honda Accord but it was Audi's day. Biela said: "For me, the most important title to win the drivers' championship but I am delighted for Audi."
Round 23 result: mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 29:32.21 2 D Leslie GB Honda @ 7.19 3 A Menu Swi Renault @ 10.39 4 F Biela Ger Audi @ 17.75 5 W Hoy GB Renault @ 19.57 6 J Cleland GB Vauxhall V @ 24.31 7 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i @ 31.16 8 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 @ 33.45 9 K Burt GB Volvo 850 @ 43.19 10 T Harvey GB Peugeot @ 49.91 Round 24 result: mins secs 1 D Leslie GB Honda 29:34.64 2 A Menu Swi Renault @ 2.70 3 F Biela Ger Audi A4 @ 8.09 4 W Hoy GB Renault @ 8.44 5 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i @ 8.86 6 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i @ 10.12 7 P Kox Hol BMW 320i @ 10.57 8 J Cleland GB Vauxhall V @ 11.50 9 J Thompson GB Vauxhall V @ 12.40 10 J Kaye GB Honda @ 19.10 Drivers' standings after round 24: 1 F Biela Audi A4 266 points 2 R Rydell Volvo 850 188 3 A Menu Renault L 174 4 J Winkelhock BMW 320i 146 5 R Ravaglia BMW 320i 145 6 D Leslie Honda Acc 143 Manufacturers' standings: 1 Audi 275 points 2 BMW 234 3 Volvo 232 4 Renault 218 5 Honda 183 6 Vauxhall 167 7 Ford 74F.RENAULT SPIDER:- Series leader Jason Plato won the first race of the Elf Renault Spider double-header round at Donington Park.
09.09.96F1:- Jacques Villeneuve has vowed to make Damon Hill fight to the finish in the chase for the world championship. The Canadian blew a chance to close in on Hill after finishing seventh in Monza on Sunday and he is now relying on another Hill slip up in Portugal. Villeneuve said: "I intend to put Damon under more pressure in Estoril then we could see him make another mistake like the one he did in Italy. I've raced against Damon all season and I now know how to beat him."
INDYCAR (Laguna Seca) Sunday's result: 1 A Zanardi It Reynard Honda (118.475 mph) 2 B Herta US Reynard Merc 3 S Pruett US Lola Ford 4 J Vasser US Reynard Honda 5 M Gugelmin Brz Reynard Ford 6 G Moore Can Reynard Merc 7 B Rahal US Reynard Merc 8 J Magnussen Den Penske Merc 9 M Andretti US Lola-Ford 10 C Fittip'di Brz Lola Ford 24 M Blundell GB Reynard Ford 10.09.96 - F1Michael Schumacher's younger brother is poised to join Formula One next season, according to reports in the German daily publication Bild. Ralf Schumacher, currently leading the Formula 3000 Championship, is rumoured to be joining the Jordan team ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix this month. Willi Weber, manager of both brothers, said: "We will announce a deal at the race in Estoril next week." But Jordan spokesperson Louise Goodman insisted: "It is just speculation."
11.09.96F1:- Damon Hill could team up with Michael Schumacher's younger brother next year if reports linking them with the Jordan team prove correct. The Silverstone-based team were the first to be linked with Hill after Williams decided they did not want to retain him for 1997. The German newspaper Bild claims Ralf Schumacher will be confirmed as joining Jordan next week. But a team spokesman insisted: "The situation is still open."
RALLY AUSTRALIA:- Carlos Sainz will be seeking a first win on Rally Australia to close the gap on Tommi Makinen in the race for the prestigious World Championship crown. Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya, now in the Team Ford Repsol Escort, have tackled the event five times, with one second and one third place finish. "The Escort is getting more and more competitive and we have a good team," declared the Spaniard. "There is no reason why we cannot continue to keep our title hopes alive."
Defending world champion Colin McRae plans to put his 1,000 Lakes upset behind him and claim a top finish in the three-day event starting Saturday. Rally Australia is the only event this season counting for all three major Championships - the FIA World, Asia-Pacific and FIA 2-Litre series. McRae is joined on the event by 555 Subaru teammates Kenneth Eriksson, the reigning Asia-Pacific champion, and former European champion Piero Liatti. McRae won in 1994, Eriksson last year.
Super Scot Colin McRae believes his 555 Subaru will work well on the tough stages of Rally Australia this weekend. "We have found a characteristic in the dampers that has given us a subtle but distinct advantage which will obviously help with speed, traction and braking. The team have been working hard, we've had some excellent test results and I fully intend to be right up there!" declared the 28-year-old star. The event covers 1,563km, of which 484 make up the 27 stages, two at night.
Competition will be tough in Australia with Mitsubishi fielding current world series leader Tommi Makinen and Briton Richard Burns in their bid for victory. Carlos Sainz and Bruno Thiry carry Ford's hopes, while Colin McRae heads a three-man Subaru line-up. The heat will certainly be on in this event, with only two further rounds to be held in the World Championship and only one in the Asia-Pacific series. Rally Australia will finish in Perth on Monday with the first car due at 2pm.
PREVIEW OF MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY
Mark Higgins is one of the rising stars of rallying, tipped for the top. A quick driver with a charming manner, he has taken time out to give this interview.
"This weekend we are taking part in the Manx International Rally, the toughest round in the Mobil 1/Top Gear British Rally Championship. The Manx is steeped in history having hosted many of the world's best rally drivers over its twisting roads. Among them have been Vatanen, Toivonen Mikkola and of course the McRae family.
"Colin McRae was successful at the Manx en route to winning last year's World Rally Championship. His younger brother Alister won the British Championship here last year in the Nissan Sunny GTi, the car I'm now driving for Nissan Motorsports Europe! Although the 1996 title has already been won by Ford, Nissan are not lessening their effort for this rally. I can take second in the standings."
"Like the last round in Ulster, the Manx is held over closed public roads. We can 'recce' the route beforehand making pace notes that my co-driver Philip Mills will call back to me as we attack the stages. I was actually born and bred on the island so I have an intimate knowledge of all but a couple of the stages - but I still need Philip to call the notes."
"We have been testing the Nissan since Ulster and have made some improvements. All of us at Nissan Motorsports Europe are fired up for this one after the freak engine failure which robbed us of a potential two-litre win last time out. Team spirit is very high. We know the Sunny GTi is very quick and nimble, the lightest car in the class. My results from 1994/95 (1994 British junior champion) speak for themselves."
12.09.96TOURING CARS:- David Leslie produced the fastest-ever Touring Car lap at Brands Hatch in testing for the final rounds of the RAC Auto Trader British Championship. He lopped more than half a second from the Kent track's qualifying record by clocking 45.183 secs. Jo Winkelhock was second fastest with less than a second covering the top 20 drivers. Champion Frank Biela missed the test because he is racing in the Italian Touring Car Championship this weekend.
Thursday's official times: secs 1 D Leslie GB Honda 45.183 2 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 45.325 3 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 45.358 4 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 45.364 5 A Menu Swi Renault 45.412 6 J Kaye GB Honda 45.423 7 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 45.505 8 W Hoy GB Renault 45.540 9 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 45.604 10 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 45.614MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Irishman Bertie Fisher heads an international field after the opening day of the British Rally Championship fifth round. Fisher is fending off a strong chasing pack, which includes World Championship driver Armin Schwarz, who is bidding to win the European title for Toyota. Gwyndaf Evans is in the middle of a three-way tussle between Renault, Nissan and Ford for two-litre honours. The field departs on Friday for a further 16 stages, ending on Saturday.
LEADERBOARD after 7 of 30 stages: (interim) min sec 1 Fisher/Kennedy Subaru 47:38 2 Schwarz/Giraudet Toyota 48:03 3 Jordan/Boyere Renault 48:20 4 Evans/Davies Ford 48:27 5 Higgins/Mills Nissan 49:27 6 Simpson/Martin Ford 51:13 7 Gottlicher/P'inger Ford 51:39 8 Armstrong/Rich'son Nissan 51:59 9 Rowe/Beech Volkswagen 52:11 10 Potapov/Lotko Subaru 53:08 BRITISH C'SHIP CONTENDERS mins secs 1 Higgins/Mills Nissan 49:27 2 Simpson/Martin Ford 51:13 3 Armstrong/Rich'son Nissan 51:59 BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Dale/Bargery Peugeot 55:22 2 Gunningham/Ch'pion Peugeot 56:37 3 Davies/Burns Peugeot 59:48 GROUP N PRODUCTION CUP 1 Stewart/Murray Subaru 54:38 13.09.96F1:- McLaren have confirmed that Scotland's David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen will be staying with them for the 1997 Formula One season. The news is a blow to Damon Hill's hopes of finding a competitive drive following his departure from Williams. Coulthard had already been retained for next year and Hakkinen re-signed after talks between team bosses and engine suppliers Mercedes. McLaren have offered Ralf Schumacher a testing position with the team.
RALLY OF AUSTRALIA Positions after 1 stage: hrs mins secs 1 C Sainz Sp Ford Escort 1.35 2 C McRae GB Subaru 1.36 = K Eriksson Swe Subaru 1.36 = P Liatti It Subaru 1.36 = B Thiry Bel Ford Escort 1.36 = T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 1.36 7 N Bates Aus Toyota 1.37 = P Bourne NZ Subaru 1.37 9 R Burns GB Mitsubishi 1.38 10 Y Fujimoto Jpn Toyota 1.40Carlos Sainz equalled the fastest time ever recorded around the Langley Park super-special stage. The double world champion set a time of 1 min 35 secs in the Team Ford Repsol Escort, a second faster than teammate Bruno Thiry. Sainz beat Kenneth Eriksson in a head to head race, whilst Thiry held off the challenge of Richard Burns. The rally gets underway in earnest on Saturday morning from Perth.
MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Bertie Fisher's attempt to break his duck on the Manx Rally came to grief as the engine of his Subaru expired on the second day. The Irishman had held off a strong challenge from Toyota's Armin Schwarz from the start. Day two has also been unlucky for Renault as Serge Jordan joined Head in retirement with transmission failure. Peugeot driver Neil Wearden is also out following an accident on stage eight.
The Higgins family are on course for a unique triple class win. Nissan works driver Mark heads the British Championship class. Younger brother David is leading his class for 1600 cars. Mark and David's parents are leading their class, in David's 1995 Honda. The Rally returns to Douglas at midnight, and re-starts at 09.00 on Saturday.
LEADERBOARD after 17 of 30 stages: (interim) hr min sec 1 Schwarz/Giraudet Toyota 2:01:13 2 Higgins/Mills Nissan 2:04:50 3 Gottlicher/P'inger Ford 2:09:46 4 Rowe/Beech Volkswagen 2:10:46 5 Armstrong/Rich'son Nissan 2:11:10 6 Potapov/Lotko Subaru 2:12:34 7 Blair/Kemp Ford 2:15:34 8 Aliassov/Timkovski Opel 2:15:53 9 Higgins/Simmons Honda 2:16:14 10 Cannell/Cannell Vauxhall 2:16:32 BRITISH C'SHIP CONTENDERS mins secs 1 Higgins/Mills Nissan 2:04:50 2 Rowe/Beech Volkswagen 2:10:46 3 Armstrong/Rich'son Nissan 2:11:10 BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Gunningham/Ch'pion Peugeot 2:25:48 2 Davies/Burns Peugeot 2:32:49 3 Dale/Bargery Peugeot 2:33:38 GROUP N PRODUCTION CUP 1 Stewart/Murray Subaru 2:17:54 2 Harkki/Mustalahti Mitsubishi 2:52:44 14.09.96F1:- Heinz Harald Frentzen has thrown down the gauntlet to fellow German Michael Schumacher after being signed up by the Williams team for next year. "I've spoken to Frank Williams often - even before our decisive conversation at the end of August. He made it clear to me: 'I want you to beat Schumacher and Ferrari in 1997. That's why I'm signing you up'," the 29-year-old revealed. Frentzen's arrival has left Damon Hill looking for a new team.
ITC (Magny Cours) Qualifying times for Sunday's race: mins secs 1 N Larini It Alfa Romeo 1:33.007 2 G Fisichella It Alfa Romeo 1:33.284 3 A Nannini It Alfa Romeo 1:33.376 4 U Alzen Ger Opel 1:33.436 5 JJ Lehto Fin Opel 1:33.527 6 D Franchitti GB Mercedes 1:33.648 7 M Reuter Ger Opel 1:33.859 8 B Schneider Ger Mercedes 1:34.012 9 K Ludwig Ger Opel 1:34.027 10 G Tarquini It Alfa Romeo 1:34.092 13 O Gavin GB Opel 1:34.437 20 J Watt GB Alfa Romeo 1:35.200RALLY AUSTRALIA:- Championship leader Tommi Makinen made an excellent start to the Australian Rally as he forged ahead of his rivals on the opening day. The Finn completed 11 stages with 37 secs in hand on Carlos Sainz. "I can go faster if I want, but it is a long difficult rally and there are still a lot of long stages to go," the Mitsubishi driver commented. Scot Colin McRae lies fourth but said: "There's a lot of water in places and I can't afford to take any chances."
Positions after 11 stages: hrs mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 1:50.40 2 C Sainz Sp Ford Escort 1:51.17 3 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 1:51.20 4 C McRae GB Subaru 1:51.36 5 R Burns GB Mitsubishi 1:51.57 6 B Thiry Bel Ford Escort 1:52.27 7 P Liatti It Subaru 1:55.08 8 P Bourne NZ Subaru 1:55.09 9 Y Fujimoto Jpn Toyota 2:01.06 10 U Nittel Ger Mitsubishi 2:01.49MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Armin Schwarz scored a comfortable win on the final round of the Mobil 1/Top Gear British Rally Championship, the Manx International Rally. After the loss of both the Irish and British Champions, the German Toyota driver had almost five minutes in hand. In second place, the first two-litre car, Mark Higgins led a family triple-class win in his Nissan Sunny GTi. His brother, David and parents, Tony and Christine, both won their classes in Honda Civic VTi's.
Mark Higgins' second overall makes him runner-up to Gwyndaf Evans in the British Championship, and earns Nissan second place manufacturer. Manxman Martin Rowe made a strong return to rallying after a year off, in the process scoring the best result for Volkswagen this year. Both Renault and Peugeot teams retired, but Justin Dale managed to hold third place in the Championship for Peugeot. Ford saw only the Simmonite Sisters finishing fifth in the two-litre class.
LEADERBOARD after 30 of 30 stages: (final) hr min sec 1 Schwarz/Giraudet Toyota 3:20:53 2 Higgins/Mills Nissan 3:25:26 3 Gottlicher/P'inger Ford 3:34:07 4 Rowe/Beech Volkswagen 3:35:08 5 Potapov/Lotko Subaru 3:40:37 6 Blair/Kemp Ford 3:43:34 7 Aliassov/Timkovski Opel 3:44:40 8 Cannell/Cannell Vauxhall 3:44:51 9 Porter/Rabbett Mitsubishi 3:45:12 10 Campbell/Gray Subaru 3:45:17 BRITISH C'SHIP CONTENDERS hr mins secs 1 Higgins/Mills Nissan 3:25:26 2 Rowe/Beech Volkswagen 3:35:08 3 Cannell/Cannell Vauxhall 3:44:51 BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Gunningham/Ch'pion Peugeot 4:01:02 2 Dale/Bargery Peugeot 4:08:00 GROUP N PRODUCTION CUP 1 Stewart/Murray Subaru 3:46:33 2 Harkki/Mustalahti Mitsubishi 4:23:17 Final Positions Drivers points 1 Gwyndaf Evans Ford 103 2 Mark Higgins Nissan 91 3 Justin Dale Peugeot 73 4 Stephanie Simmonite Ford 71 5 David Higgins Honda 66 Manufacturers 1 Ford 75 2 Nissan 69 3 Volkswagen 54 4 Honda 47 5 Peugeot 47 15.09.96 ITC (Magny Cours) First race result: mins secs 1 A Nannini It Alfa Romeo 38:59.576 2 N Larini It Alfa Romeo 39:00.052 3 G Fisichella It Alfa Romeo 39:00.479 4 U Alzen Ger Opel 39:01.401 5 JJ Lehto Fin Opel 39:03.268 6 D Franchitti GB Mercedes 39:03.891 7 H-J Stuck Ger Opel 39:20.829 8 J Van Ommen Ger Mercedes 39:26.410 9 K Ludwig Ger Opel 39:29.784 10 A Wurz Aut Opel 39:30.240 12 O Gavin GB Opel 39:32.799 19 J Watt GB Alfa Romeo N/C Second race: mins secs 1 A Nannini It Alfa Romeo 38:34.993 2 G Fisichella It Alfa Romeo 38:35.421 3 JJ Lehto Fin Opel 38:39.924 4 D Franchitti GB Mercedes 38:44.544 5 K Ludwig Ger Opel 38:47.578 6 A Wurz Aut Opel 39:02.388 7 S Modena It Alfa Romeo 39:06.780 8 B Schneider Ger Mercedes 39:07.526 9 J Van Ommen Ger Mercedes 39:13.946 10 K Thim Den Mercedes 39:17.160 12 J Watt GB Alfa Romeo 39:39.648 15 O Gavin GB Opel 38:40.515 RALLY AUSTRALIA Positions after 19 stages:hrs mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 3:06.00 2 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 3:07.22 3 C Sainz Sp Ford Escort 3:07.53 4 C McRae GB Subaru 3:08.47 5 R Burns GB Mitsubishi 3:09.09 6 B Thiry Bel Ford Escort 3:11.48 7 P Liatti It Subaru 3:14.50 8 P Bourne NZ Subaru 3:15.31 9 U Nittel Ger Mitsubishi 3:25.31 10 G Trelles Uru Mitsubishi 3:25.36Heavy overnight rain and persistent drizzle failed to dampen Tommi Makinen's charge towards victory in Rally Australia. The seventh leg was thrown into disarray when two stages had to be cancelled and another two shortened because of dangerously high water level. Marshalls were also forced to work into the early hours of the morning to clear fallen trees from several stages. Makinen took his Mitsubishi 37 seconds ahead of Kenneth Eriksson.
16.09.96 - RALLY AUSTRALIAFinland's Tommi Makkinen clinched his first-ever world rally championship by winning the Rally Australia. Makinen, 32, won the four-day event comfortably in a Mitsubishi Lancer over 974 miles in Western Australia to end Colin McRae's reign as champion. He finished ahead of former dual world champion Spaniard Carlos Sainz who was third in his Ford Escort. Kenneth Erikkson was second while McRae came fourth and fellow Briton Richard Burns fifth.
Tommi Makinen was understandably delighted after becoming world champion for the first time in his career. "It's an unbelievable feeling," he said. "It was quite a lot of pressure even though I wasn't in a hurry." He also became the first Mitsubishi driver to take the title and added: "The car is unbelievable." Former champion Colin McRae finished his first race for three months and said: "I'm reasonably happy but wasn't in the groove for the whole rally."
Final positions: hrs mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 4:08.50 2 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 4:10.07 3 C Sainz Sp Ford Escort 4:10.11 4 C McRae GB Subaru 4:12.01 5 R Burns GB Mitsubishi 4:12.15 6 B Thiry Bel Ford Escort 4:17.38 7 P Liatti It Subaru 4:20.21 8 P Bourne NZ Subaru 4:20.57 9 U Nittel Ger Mitsubishi 4:32.49 10 Y Fujimoto Jpn Toyota 4:36.42 Driver's standings: 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 115 pts 2 C Sainz Sp Ford 74 3 K Eriksson Swe Subaru 66 4 C McRae GB Subaru 52 5 P Liatti It Subaru 41 Manufacturers' standings: 1 Mitsubishi 293 pts 2 Subaru 284 3 Ford 220 17.09.96F1:- Jackie Stewart's Formula One newcomers have won top class financial backing as they prepare for their debut in 1997. HSBC Holdings, which owns the Midland Bank, has agreed a five-year œ25m deal with the Stewart Grand Prix team. Stewart has yet to announce his driver line-up although he is believed to be having talks with Damon Hill. "We are creating a team with Ford, HSBC and others which will ultimately mount a challenge for the constructors' and drivers' world titles," said Stewart.
Jackie Stewart has admitted he would be thrilled to sign Damon Hill for his team's debut season but fears the Briton will prove too expensive. Hill, who leads the title race by 13 points with two races to go, has been surprisingly released by Williams. "It would be a dream come true for us to have Damon in the team," said the Scot. "But he has many other offers from more well established teams. We may not be able to afford the money he could demand as world champion."
Damon Hill aims to finally deliver the knock-out blow in Portugal this weekend and prevent his battle with Jacques Villeneuve going down to the wire. The long-time F1 championship leader wants to avoid a nail-biting finale in Japan next month after seeing a lead of 25 points whittled down to just 13. The Canadian needs to take at least four points more than his Williams team -mate to prolong the title contest. That seems a tall order despite Hill's recent slip from form.
Damon Hill will want to do more than clinch the title mathematically on Sunday - he needs to do it in style. Hill, who turned 36 on Thursday, must get on with the job of securing a drive for next season after being ejected from the seat of Williams. McLaren and Ferrari have confirmed their line-ups, leaving only Benetton and Jackie Stewart's Formula One newcomers as likely candidates. The title will boost his prospects but an Estoril win would be far preferable.
Jacques Villeneuve is confident he can force Damon Hill into a crucial error at Estoril this weekend. "The pressure is all on Damon," he said. "He could make another mistake, but I have to take advantage of that. I must not throw away a good chance of making up points as I did in Monza. I felt confident at the start of the season and I still believe I can beat Damon and be champion."
The Autodromo do Estoril is considered one of the most physically demanding circuits of all. The 2.709m circuit features a number of high speed corners but is well-known to all the drivers from winter testing. "It's now relatively dangerous compared to some places but I have to say I enjoy the track as it is challenging," said Damon Hill. Title rival Jacques Villeneuve added: "It's not a good track as it's hard to stay close to someone and overtake."
19.09.96F1:- Damon Hill admits he has not dismissed the use of underhand tactics in his bid to claim the world title this weekend. He leads Williams teammate Jacques Villeneuve by 13 points and would be crowned champion if the Canadian was driven off the track in Portugal. But Hill insisted: "I do not want to resort to unfair tactics...but I am at liberty to drive in a way that may not be the way people expect me to." Hill lost his chance of the 1994 title in a collision with Michael Schumacher.
Ralf Schumacher, the younger brother of double world champion Michael, has signed a three-year contract to race for Jordan Peugeot. Schumacher will make his debut in the season opener in Australia next March. Team boss Eddie Jordan said: "Ralf is a proven winner in karts, Formula Three and Formula 3000. He has an abundance of raw talent, speed and commitment and I am extremely happy that we can be part of this young man's exciting future."
TOURING CARS:- Audi and ace driver Frank Biela are determined to finish the season on a winning note, despite already having claimed the BTCC 'Triple Crown'. The all-conquering team have clinched the drivers, manufacturers' and team crowns but will still give 100% in the final meeting of the season. Volvo's Rickard Rydell and Alain Menu (Renault) are chasing runner-up spot. Menu won the last two races at Brands in June and a similar result this weekend could see him overhaul Rydell.
BMW were edged out of the title places this season and drivers Jo Winkelhock and Roberto Ravaglia will be keen to make amends in the final two races. The pair lie fourth and fifth in the driver standings ahead of David Leslie who will challenge hard in his Honda. BMW's second place in the manufacturer standings will also be under threat, with Volvo just two points behind. Renault also remain in the hunt. Success would place them top of the two-wheel-drive league this season.
BMW have added a third 320i, for Dutch racer Peter Kox, in defence of their runner-up position while rivals Volvo and Renault run the usual two cars. Former champion John Cleland will also be looking for some late success to retain his record of at least one BTCC win in each Super Touring campaign. Time is also running out for the Ford and Peugeot teams who have yet to earn a podium finish this season. Mondeo men Paul Radisich and Steve Robertson went well last time at Brands.
Privateers Lee Brookes and Richard Kaye will provide much of the excitement in the Kent finale as they battle for the œ30,000 first prize in the Total Cup. Brookes currently leads the chase in a Toyota Carina but Vauxhall driver Kaye will be determine to overhaul him. Kaye has scored 16 wins this season to Brookes' six but has finished four fewer races and trails by 16 points. Midland driver Brookes, who has crossed the finish line in 23 of the 24 races, needs two more finishes for the title.
20.09.96F1: THE PORTUGUSE GP
Friday's practice times: mins secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:23.554 2 D Hill GB Williams 1:24.281 3 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:24.359 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:24.477 5 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:24.764 6 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:24.803 7 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:24.832 8 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:25.234 9 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:25.403 10 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:25.567 11 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:25.592 12 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:25.705 13 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:25.944 14 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:25.980 15 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:26.065 16 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:26.288 17 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:26.422 18 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:26.515 19 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:26.700 20 G Lavaggi It Minardi 1:28.356 21.09.96F1: THE PORTUGUESE GP
Damon Hill said he was feeling good after claiming the 21st pole spot of his career, in the Williams Renault. "I feel more relaxed than I have in a long time and I drive better when I am relaxed," said the Briton. Jacques Villeneuve, just 0.009s behind in second place, admitted: "It is frustrating when it is so close." Ferrari star Michael Schumacher, winner of the last two races, was fourth and admitted he was unlikely to claim a hat-trick of victories on Sunday.
Qualifying times for Sunday's race: mins secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:20.330 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:20.339 3 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:21.088 4 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:21.236 5 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:21.293 6 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:21.362 7 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:21.640 8 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:22.066 9 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:22.205 10 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:22.324 11 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:22.325 12 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:22.655 13 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:22.765 14 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:23.013 15 O Panis Fr Sauber 1:23.055 16 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:23.531 17 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:24.230 18 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:24.293 19 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:24.510 20 G Lavaggi It Minardi 1:25.612Damon Hill remained focused on the race this weekend as others continued to predict where he would go next season. "I am here to win this Grand Prix and I am not involving myself in discussions about next year," declared the Briton. Hill has been linked with Jordan, with Michael Schumacher's brother Ralf, or the new Stewart team but F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says Hill may have to retire. "If he does not quit, he has to accept he won't have a car in which he can win anything at all next year," he claimed.
Johnny Herbert has secured his Formula One future for the next two years by re-signing for Sauber. Herbert, who joined Sauber last year after being ditched by Benetton, is guaranteed a seat until the end of the 1998 season. He said: "It's good to be able to sign for two years. Hopefully I can help the team go forward in that time. I felt at home at Sauber right from the beginning. The team have always made me welcome."
TOURING CARS:- Jo Winkelhock dominated both qualifying sessions at Brands Hatch, to send out a warning to those challenging him for the Championship runner-up spot. The 1993 champion recorded the fastest ever Super Touring car lap on the Indy circuit, clocking 45.136s in a BMW 320i. Winkelhock, who took his tally of poles for the season to seven, declared: "My target is to win here...I want to lead home a BMW 1-2-3 tomorrow if possible." New champion Frank Biela was 10th and second fastest in his Audi.
Qualifying times for round 25 at Brands Hatch: secs 1 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 45.136 2 A Menu Swi Renault 45.284 3 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 45.318 4 D Leslie GB Honda 45.354 5 J Kaye GB Honda 45.395 6 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 45.415 7 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 45.442 8 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 45.463 9 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 45.471 10 F Biela Ger Audi 45.526 Qualifying times for round 26 at Brands Hatch: secs 1 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 45.433 2 F Biela Ger Audi 45.489 3 D Leslie GB Honda 45.489 4 A Menu Swi Renault 45.521 5 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 45.562 6 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 45.566 7 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 45.575 8 J Kaye GB Honda 45.600 9 J Thompson GB Vauxhall 45.637 10 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 45.669F.RENAULT SPIDER:- Bryce Wilson is on pole for the final round of the Elf Renault Spider Championship at Brands Hatch.
F.RENAULT:- Redgrave Racing's Darren Turner in a Van Diemen Renault was fastest in qualifying for Sunday's final round of the Ultrafilter Formula Renault Championship, also at the Kent circuit.
22.09.96 F1: PORTUGUESE GP Sunday warm-up times: mins secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:22.666 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:22.878 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:22.946 4 D Hill GB Williams 1:23.537 5 J Alesi Fr Benetton 1:23.621 6 G Berger Aut Benetton 1:23.660 7 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:24.162 8 M Brundle GB Jordan 1:24.223 9 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:24.248 10 O Panis Fr Ligier 1:24.542 11 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:24.798 12 HH Frentzen Ger Sauber 1:24.849 13 P Diniz Brz Ligier 1:25.225 14 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 1:25.381 15 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 1:25.564 16 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:25.616 17 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1:25.649 18 P Lamy Por Minardi 1:26.404 19 R Rosset Brz Footwork 1:26.802 20 G Lavaggi It Minardi 1:28.138Jacques Villeneuve stunned teammate Damon Hill by winning in Portugal to keep the title race alive. The Canadian left Hill in second place to move just nine points behind in the championship standings - and a win in Japan could earn him the title. The race became a personal battle between the two Williams drivers with Hill leading for the first 49 laps. Villeneuve took the lead after the third pit stop and his car showed the extra pace as he streaked away to win.
Damon Hill will need to finish in the points at Suzuka on October 13 to be sure of winning the title after finishing second to Jacques Villeneuve. Hill's title aspirations looked rosy after Villeneuve dropped from second to fourth at the start of Sunday's race. But the Canadian moved back up to second on the first pit stop, then dramatically gained time on Hill. He edged in front after the third stop and Hill, suffering from a clutch problem, gradually fell back.
Britain's Damon Hill managed a smile despite failing to clinch the title. "I can't be too disappointed because I can still win it in Japan and it should be an exciting race," said the two-times runner-up. "Jacques Villeneuve did a good job to move through the traffic after a bad start but I still thought I could stay ahead of him. I was quite suprised to see him go past me at the pit-stop."
Jacques Villeneuve said he was looking forward to the final race of the season in Japan after taking the title race to the wire with victory in Portugal. "It's going to be a good battle, although Damon is looking very good to win the championship," he said. "But I'm not going to lie down until it's over. I'll fight until the last lap because you never know what's going to happen."
David Coulthard's return to the scene of his only Grand Prix triumph turned into a catalogue of errors in Portugal. Coulthard celebrated his maiden victory with former team Williams 12 months ago, but finished this year's race 13th. He had a collison with teammate Mika Hakkinen and five visits to the pits including one for a speeding penalty. Coulthard came into the pits at the same time as Hakkinen and bumped into the Finn, who eventually had to retire.
Result after 70 laps: hr:mn.secs 1 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:40:22.9 2 D Hill GB Williams + 19.9 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari + 53.7 4 J Alesi Fr Benetton + 55.1 5 E Irvine GB Ferrari + 1:27.3 6 G Berger Aut Benetton + 1:33.1 7 H Frentzen Ger Sauber - 1 lap 8 J Herbert GB Sauber - 1 lap 9 M Brundle GB Jordan - 1 lap 10 O Panis Fr Ligier - 1 lap 11 M Salo Fin Tyrrell - 1 lap 12 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell - 2 laps 13 D Coulthard GB McLaren - 2 laps 14 R Rosset Br Footwork - 3 laps 15 G Lavaggi It Minardi - 4 laps 16 P Lamy Por Minardi - 4 laps Not Classified 17 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren -18 laps 18 J Verstappen Hol Footwork -23 laps 19 P Diniz Brz Ligier -24 laps 20 R Barrichello Brz Jordan -29 laps DRIVERS 1 D Hill GB Williams 87 pts 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 78 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 53 4 J Alesi Fr Benetton 47 5 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 27 6 D Coulthard GB McLaren 18 = G Berger Aut Benetton 18 8 R Barrichello Brz Jordan 14 9 O Panis Fr Ligier 13 10 E Irvine GB Ferrari 11 11 H Frentzen Ger Sauber 6 = M Brundle GB Jordan 6 13 M Salo Fin Tyrrell 5 14 J Herbert GB Sauber 4 15 P Diniz Brz Ligier 2 16 J Verstappen Hol Footwork 1 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 Williams-Renault 165 points 2 Benetton-Renault 65 3 Ferrari 64 4 McLaren-Mercedes 45 5 Jordan-Peugeot 20 6 Ligier-Mugen Honda 15 7 Sauber 10 8 Tyrrell-Yamaha 5 9 Footwork-Hart 1TOURING CARS:- Alain Menu secured runners-up spot in the Championship for the third year running with victory at Brands Hatch. Menu in his Renault and Roberto Ravaglia in a BMW caused a pile-up on the first lap in the penultimate race but went on to triumph. Newly-crowned champion Frank Biela ended his campaign in style with victory in the closing round. "It was great to win the last race of the season and I hope to be back next year," said Biela.
Round 25 result from Brands Hatch: mins secs 1 A Menu Swi Renault 25:33.61 2 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 25:33.99 3 D Leslie GB Honda 25:34.97 4 F Biela Ger Audi 25:35.39 5 R Rydell Swe Volvo 850 25:40.03 6 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 25:40.51 7 K Burt GB Volvo 850 25:41.87 8 W Hoy GB Renault 25:45.41 9 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 25:50.77 10 P Watts GB Peugeot 25:52.16 Round 26 result from Brands Hatch: mins secs 1 F Biela Ger Audi 28:37.19 2 R Ravaglia It BMW 320i 28:37.72 3 J Winkelhock Ger BMW 320i 28:41.30 4 A Menu Swi Renault 28:41.91 5 D Leslie GB Honda 28:42.95 6 P Kox Hol BMW 320i 28:43.30 7 K Burt GB Volvo 850 28:43.46 8 J Kaye GB Honda 28:59.61 9 T Harvey GB Peugeot 29:01.50 10 J Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 29:02.70 WATFORD RALLY Result after 18 stages: 1 Doughty/Jenkins Escort 1:35.20 2 Boland/Morrissey Escort 1:37.30 3 Smith/Cafferty Escort RS 1:43.49 4 Evans/Llewellyn Escort RS 1:44.57 5 Big'staff/Porter Metro 1:47.05 6 Sheehan/Sheehan Sierra 1:50.00 23.09.96 - RALLYINGFrenchman Didier Auriol will return to action in next month's San Remo Rally, driving a Mitsubishi. The 1994 world champion has been without a car since since FIA banned his Toyota team for breaking world championship rules last season. Auriol, 38, last drove for Subaru in February's Swedish rally. Mitsubishi have already clinched the drivers world title and Auriol said: "It is a fantastic opportunity for me to return in the best car."
1995 world rally champion Colin McRae's co-driver Derek Ringer is to leave the Subaru team at the start of next year. Ringer said: "It has not been an easy decision and I'm obviously sad to be leaving. Colin and the team have been aware of the situation for some time. I do feel that now is the right time to start a new chapter in my life." McRae said: "I owe a lot to Derek. His friendship and support have been fantastic. I wish him every success in everything he does in the future."
26.09.96GOODWOOD:- The Earl of March has won his battle to bring motor racing back to the famous Goodwood circuit in Sussex. Despite environmental protests, councillors in Chichester voted for the sport to return to the track for the first time in more than 30 years. In its prime the circuit attracted such up and coming stars as Stirling Moss and Graham Hill. Now it will again stage races for classic sporting cars, with five meetings starting in 1998.
ITC:- Adam Opel AG and Fiat Auto Corse Alfa Romeo have decided to pull out of the International Touring Cars event from next year.
27.09.96F1:- Damon Hill has stunned Formula One by agreeing to drive for the TWR Arrows team in the 1997 World Championship. Hill was seen with team boss Tom Walkinshaw before confirming the shock news at a London press conference. Hill, set for a Suzuka showdown with Jacques Villeneuve for the title, has been searching for a new drive after being dropped by Williams. Arrows, whose cars are registered under the Footwork Hart name, have picked up just one point so far this year.
Damon Hill insisted he had joined "a great team of the future" after opting to sign for the TWR Arrows team. "I had a number of approaches and was highly impressed by all of them. It was not an easy decision to make. But I believe the decision I have made is absolutely right," he said. "We won't make any claims for 1997, But I believe we will make rapid progress. From what I have seen of the Tom Walkinshaw operation, there is the germ of a great team of the future."
Damon Hill was won over by the subtle persuasions of Tom Walkinshaw - and a multi-million pound pay deal. Hill said: "I have had to look for the best package I can find and one that gives me all the ingredients I am looking for as a driver. Tom has fulfilled just about every criteria that I set out for myself. There is the opportunity to make rapid progress with a team, test, develop and the carrot at the end of the possibility of winning races."
Damon Hill's new boss Tom Walkinshaw made his sensational move after the Italian Grand Prix three weeks ago. Walkinshaw said: "Since I took over Arrows I decided I wanted a top-line driver to lead the team. Since quite early in the season I started watching Damon closely and obviously I liked what I saw. I made contact just after Monza." Arrows have agreed an engine deal with Yamaha for next season's World Championship challenge.
TOURING CARS:- James Thompson has quit Vauxhall to join Honda for the 1997 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship. He was the youngest-ever driver to win a BTCC race at Thruxton in 1995 and he followed it up by scoring the Vauxhall Vectra's only success this season. The 22-year-old from York will partner Honda regular David Leslie next term. "It's an exciting move for me. Honda is synonymous with motor sport excellence. I belive we have the resources to build a highly competitive team," he said.
MINTEX NATIONAL RALLY SERIES:- Chris Mellors is poised to clinch a record-breaking third successive title in his native Yorkshire in Saturday's Trackrod Forest Stages rally. Mellors needs to finish only seventh or better to be crowned champion again. He currently lies second to Steve Hill but only five out of the seven scores count towards the championship and he already has four wins under his belt. Hill hopes to mount a strong challenge after ironing out teething problems with his new Mitsubishi Lancer.
Scot Murray Grierson returns to the scene of his worst-ever accident when he takaes part in the Trackrod Forest Stages event on Saturday. The Dalbeattie driver was well placed to win the title when he came to Leeds 12 months ago but rolled his car down an embankment in Cropton Forest. Aberdeen's Brian Lyall is also expected to mount a strong challenge. He will be driving the Escort Cosworth which Alistair McRae used to win this year's Vauxhall Rally of Wales.
28.09.96 - TRACKROD FOREST STAGES RALLYChesterfield's Chris Mellors, driving a Ford Escort Cosworth, clinched a third successive Mintex national championship by winning the Trackrod Forest Stages Rally. Mellors beat Oxford's Steve Hill by 31 seconds - his fifth victory in six events - to win the title with a round to spare. Tony Bardy took his 1600cc Vauxhall Nova to a surprise win in the Formula two division. Julian Porter won the showroom category despite crashing his Mitsubishi Lancer.
Result after 8 stages: mins secs 1 C Mellors Escort 1:06.57 2 S Hill Mitsubishi 1:07.28 3 S Smith Lancia 1:08.46 4 G Smith Escort 1:10.19 5 J Bennett-Evans Escort 1:10.44 6 J Porter Mitsubishi 1:10.47 7 J Easson Escort 1:10.53 8 P Kirtley Escort 1:11.08 9 S Petch Subaru 1:11.20 10 S Crook Sierra 1:12.11 Mellors wins title 29.09.96 - F3Ralph Firman has become the British Formula Three champion with one race still remaining, after rounds 14 and 15 of the championship at Zandvoort. Firman, who drives for the Paul Stewart Racing team, scored a fifth and fourth place to make sure of the title ahead of October's finale at Silverstone.