April 1997

04.04.97 - FOREST RALLY
Championship rallying arrives in Hull on Saturday with the fourth round of the BTRDA Gold and Silver Star series, the North Humberside Forest Rally. For the third year running the North Humberside Motor Club has based their event at the City's Royal Hotel.

F3:- Nicolas Minassian is on pole position for the second round of the British Formula Three Championship. Minassian, in the sole Promatecme Dallara, set a time of one minute, 14.145 seconds. Second fastest was Paul Stewart Racings Peter Dumbreck.

BRITISH GTs:- Gary Ayles and Chris Goodwin claimed an unchallenged pole position for Sunday's Privilege GT Championship. The duo's Parabolica Motorsports-run McLaren F1 GTR cruised t the first pole of the season.

FOREST RALLY:- Warren Philliskirk roared home to victory in his MG Metro 6R4 in the fourth round of the North Humberside Forest Rally. He now leads the Championship, while Simon Chapman retains number one spot in the Gold Star event.

BRITISH GTs:- Gary Ayles and Chris Goodwin won the first round of the Privilege Insurance GT Championship at Silverstone in their new long-tail McLaren F1 GTR.

F3:- Nicolas Minassian raced to an easy victory in the second round of the Autosport British F3 Championship. Minassian, in a Promatecme-Renault, was 4-3 secs ahead of Peter Dumbreck.

F.VAUXHALL:- Luciani Burti won the second round of the BARC Formula Vauxhall championship. The Brazilian came in ahead of Tim Mullen of Britain.

INDYCAR (SURFERS' PARADISE):- Britain's Mark Blundell finished eighth as Brazilian driver Christian Fittipaldi broke his leg in a spectacular second-lap crash. American Scott Pruett took advantage to win the incident-marred race, which was shortened from 65 to 57 laps. Pruett was able to weave his way through traffic after race leaders Paul Tracy and Alex Zanardi collided on the 42nd ap. Fittipaldi was travelling at 150mph at the time of the crash.

Results from PPG CART race:
 1 S Pruett     US  Reynard 2h 1m 0.678s (78.948 mph)
 2 G Moore      Can Reynard  @0.684 sec
 3 M Andretti   US  Swift   @11.261
 4 A Zanardi    It  Reynard @14.827
 5 G de Ferran  Brz Reynard @15.590
 6 A Ribeiro    Brz Lola    @16.810
 7 R Boesel     Brz Reynard @17.634
 8 M Blundell   Eng Reynard @18.162
 9 D Franchitti Sco Reynard
10 B Rahal      US  Reynard

Overall standings
Andretti (35pts), Pruett (30), Moore (28),
Zanardi (20), Tracy (17), Vasser (15)

Fresh from his win in Brazil a fortnight ago, Jacques Villeneuve will be confident of another victory in Buenos Aires this Sunday. He will face stiff competition from the likes of David Coulthard, who won at Melbourne in the season's opener. No-one can ever write off Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, currently fourth in the driver's championship. Damon Hill will pray for good fortune after an oil fire dashed his hopes of finishing the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The tight corners and few straights on the 2.6-mile Buenos Aires circuit will make driving skills more important than ever on Sunday. Damon Hill, winner in 1995 and 1996 said: " I enjoy driving here. It is virtually a street circuit in a park. It is very good from a technical point of view." His Arrows team-mate Pedro Diniz said: "The track is very bumpy, but it's nice to drive on. I think the circuit is good for our car."

Williams-Renault drivers finished first and second in Argentina ast year and the 1997 team of Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen want a repeat. Villeneuve said: "Last year I finished second behind my team-mate Damon Hill. "It was only my third Grand Prix and I'm looking forward to returning with more experience. I'm pretty confident." Frentzen will be looking for his first points after brake problems forced him out in Australia and a disappointing ninth final place in Brazil.

Gerhard Berger in his Benetton and Olivier Panis in the re-vamped Prost have been the most consistent drivers so far this year. Berger, who is almost always involved where it matters, finished fourth in Australia and second in Brazil. Panis has six world championship points from two top-five placings so far. One of the reasons for their success is the new Bridgestone tyres, which have challenged the monopoly Goodyear has held since 1991.

The race will take place over 72 laps of the narrow and sometimes slippery Oscar Galvez circuit in Buenos Aires. Following the 1981 Grand Prix it was closed for major modifications and it only re-opened for Formula One in 1995. The circuit is rarely used and last year drivers complained that it was very bumpy. There are 17 corners and there can be enormous problems with water standing on the track after rain, especially on the final corner.

The cash-strapped Lola team will gain be missing when the cars line up in Buenos Aires, but they are hopeful of making a return to Formula One. Lola boss Eric Broadley hopes to secure a deal which would enable his cars to re-appear at Imola on April 27. "I don't want to comment much on it," said Broadley. "You know how these things can fall down around your ears if you are not careful." The British team pulled out before the Brazilian Grand Prix last month.

Title favourite Jacques Villeneuve shrugged off a stomach bug to boost his hopes of a South American double. The Brazilian GP winner was quickest in Friday's free practice with 1 min 25.755 secs but said: "I'm sure there is a lot more to come from the car." Rubens Barrichello produced a stunning effort in the new Stewart as he set the second best lap time. World Champion Damon Hill was 13th fastest just over three seconds adrift of his former team-mate Villenueve.

Friday's free practice times: mins secs
 1 J Villeneuve   Can Williams 1:25.755
 2 R Barrichello  Brz Stewart  1:26.693
 3 O Panis        Fr  Ligier   1:26.983
 4 G Berger       Aut Benetton 1:27.017
 5 M Schumacher   Ger Ferrari  1:27.052
 6 G Fisichella   It  Jordan   1:27.129
 7 H Frentzen     Ger Williams 1:27.169
 8 J Herbert      GB  Sauber   1:27.702
 9 R Schumacher   Ger Jordan   1:27.823
10 J Alesi        Fr  Benetton 1:27.979
11 E Irvine       GB  Ferrari  1:28.137
12 D Coulthard    GB  McLaren  1:28.163
13 D Hill         GB  Arrows   1:28.932
14 N Larini       It  Sauber   1:29.153
15 J Verstappen   Hol Tyrrell  1:29.302
16 M Hakkinen     Fin McLaren  1:29.426
17 M Salo         Fin Tyrrell  1:29.893
18 S Nakano       Jpn Ligier   1:30.069
19 J Magnussen    Den Stewart  1:30.376
20 U Katayama     Jpn Minardi  1:30.546
21 P Diniz        Brz Arrows   1:30.727
22 J Trulli       It  Minardi  1:31.269
Jacques Villeneuve began practice on Friday after refusing to confirm that he will be staying with the Williams team next season. The Canadian's two-year contract runs out at the end of the season, although they have an option on his services for the 1998 campaign. He has been linked with a new British American Tobacco team, who plan a 250m entry into F1 next year. But Villeneuve is unlikely to join them until 1999.

MINTEX RALLY SERIES:- The Aberdeen-based Granite City Rally makes history on Friday when it begins with a floodlight stage on the northern outskirts of the city at 9.30pm. It will be the first time in the seven round championship, traditionally one-day events, that a round will be spread over two days. The 100-car entry will be led by the two Metro 6R4's of ast year's winner Andy Horne and Ray Munro. Munro is currently the leader in the Mintex Series.

Jacques Villeneuve surged to his fourth successive pole as he stamped his authority on the Championship chase. The Canadian, at the front of the grid now since last season's final GP, finished well ahead of Williams teammate Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Damon Hill was in the top 10 early on in qualifying but had to settle for 13th place on the grid in the Arrows. Jackie Stewart was celebrating as Rubens Barrichello produced a best qualifying slot of fifth place.

Jacques Villeneuve took pole for Sunday's Grand Prix - and sent an ominous warning to his rivals. He said: "It's looking very good for the race. The car is very, very strong and I've been practicing my starts." Villeneuve's two main problems will be overcoming his previous poor starts - and an irritating stomach bug. He added: "I thought I'd have been better today, but wasn't. It's giving me an uncomfortable time."

Saturday's qualifying times:  mins secs
 1 J Villeneuve   Can Williams 1:24.473
 2 H Frentzen     Ger Williams 1:25.271
 3 O Panis        Fr  Prost    1:25.491
 4 M Schumacher   Ger Ferrari  1:25.773
 5 R Barrichello  Brz Stewart  1:25.942
 6 R Schumacher   Ger Jordan   1:26.218
 7 E Irvine       GB  Ferrari  1:26.327
 8 J Herbert      GB  Sauber   1:26.564
 9 G Fisichella   It  Jordan   1:26.619
10 D Coulthard    GB  McLaren  1:26.799
11 J Alesi        Fr  Benetton 1:27.076
12 G Berger       Aut Benetton 1:27.259
13 D Hill         GB  Arrows   1:27.281
14 N Larini       It  Sauber   1:27.937
15 J Magnussen    Den Stewart  1:28.035
16 J Verstappen   Hol Tyrrell  1:28.094
17 M Hakkinen     Fin McLaren  1:28.135
18 J Trulli       It  Minardi  1:28.160
19 M Salo         Fin Tyrrell  1:28.224
20 S Nakano       Jpn Prost    1:28.366
21 U Katayama     Jpn Minardi  1:28.413
22 P Diniz        Brz Arrows   1:28.969
Team boss Eddie Jordan has settled his five-year dispute with former world champion Michael Schumacher. The German made his Grand Prix debut for Jordan in Belgium six years ago but left after one race for a seat with rivals Benetton. Jordan believed he had Schumacher under contract but said they had now reached an "amicable understanding". Schumacher's brother Ralf currently drives for Jordan, who are believed to have received a six-figure sum.

INDYCAR (LONG BEACH):- Brazilians Gil de Ferran and Mauricio Gugelmin took the front two places for Sunday's race after dominant displays in the final qualifying session. De Ferran will be on pole after breaking his own lap record with a time of 51.293 seconds. Formula One veteran Gugelmin was slightly slower at 51.745 seconds. Alessandro Zanardi missed is seventh successive pole position but still came in third in 51.843 seconds.

Leading Friday qualifying times:  secs
 1 G de Ferran Brz Reynard Honda 51.293 (111.313 mph)
 2 M Gugelmin  Brz Reynard Merc  51.745
 3 A Zanardi   It  Reynard Honda 51.843
 4 B Rahal     US  Reynard Ford  52.020
 5 B Herta     US  Reynard Ford  52.069
 6 P Tracy     Can Penske Merc   52.078
 7 R Boesel    Brz Reynard Ford  52.184
 8 M Andretti  US  Swift Ford    52.196
 9 G Moore     Can Reynard Merc  52.200
10 S Pruett    US  Reynard Ford  52.282
16 M Blundell  GB  Reynard Merc  52.909

Leading practice times at Hockenheim:
                              mins secs
 1 Schneider/Wurz   Mercedes   1:59.058
 2 Lehto/Soper      McLaren    1:59.840
 3 Gounon/Raphane   McLaren    2:00.615
 4 Nannini/Tiemann  Mercedes   2:01.100
 5 Kox/Ravaglia     McLaren    2:01.140
 6 Bscher/Nielsen   McLaren    2:01.703
 7 Bellm/Scott      McLaren    2:02.095
 8 Stuck/Boutsen    Porsche    2:02.146
 9 Collard/Gartzen  Porsche    2:02.350
10 Kelleners/Dalmas Porsche    2:02.780

GRANITE CITY RALLY:- In-form Aberdonian Brian Lyall won the Granite City Rally for the first time driving a Subarau Impreza. It was Lyall's third successive Scottish championship victory, giving him a commanding lead in the eight round series. Lyall led after all but one stage to finish 75 seconds clear of fellow Aberdonian Sandy Dalgarno in a Ford. Inverness pilot Andy Horne, who briefly led Lyall at stage 4, failed to finish as his Metro stopped near the end.

Final result after 10 stages:  penalty
 1 Lyall/Bennie    Subaru      1:15:26
 2 Dalgarno/Forest Ford        1:16:41
 3 Dougan/Cook     Ford        1:16:50
 4 Grierson/Merry  Subaru      1:16:52
 5 Burn/Quirk      Metro 6R4   1:17:11
 6 Vassallo/Pullen Subaru      1:17:34
 7 Hill/Rabbett    Mitsubishi  1:17:38
 8 McRae/Paterson  Porsche     1:17:53
 9 Birkbeck/Corner Ford        1:18:36
10 Smith/Kitson    Lancia      1:19:13


Result after 72 laps:      hrs mins secs
 1 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:52:01.71
 2 E Irvine     GB  Ferrari  @     0.98
 3 R Schumacher Ger Jordan   @    12.09
 4 J Herbert    GB  Sauber   @    29.92
 5 M Hakkinen   Fin McLaren  @    30.35
 6 G Berger     Aut Benetton @    31.39
 7 J Alesi      It  Benetton @    46.36
 8 M Salo       Fin Tyrrell   71 laps
 9 J Trulli     It  Minardi   71 laps
10 J Magnussen  Den Stewart   66 laps

 1 J Villeneuve Can  Williams 20 pts
 2 D Coulthard  GB   McLaren  10
 = G Berger     Aut  Benetton 10
 4 M Hakkinen   Fin  McLaren   9
 5 M Schumacher Ger  Ferrari   8
 6 O Panis      Fr   Prost     6
 = E Irvine     GB   Ferrari   6
 8 R Schumacher Ger  Jordan    4
 9 J Herbert    GB   Sauber    3
10 J Alesi      Fr   Benetton  1
=  N Larini     It   Sauber    1

1 Williams              20 points
2 McLaren-Mercedes      19
3 Ferrari               14
4 Benetton Renault      11
5 Prost Honda            6
6 Jordan Peugeot         4
7 Sauber-Petronas        1

Jacques Villeneuve stamped his authority on the Championship chase with victory in Argentina - but only after a tough battle with Eddie Irvine. The Canadian star followed up his Brazilian triumph as he led a most from start to finish in the Williams. Irvine cut the lead from 16 seconds to finish just behind in the Ferrari, his highest-ever placing in a Grand Prix. Johnny Herbert was fourth behind Ralf Schumacher but Damon Hill again failed to finish in the Arrows.

Jacques Villeneuve was a relieved man after being gven a real run for his money by Eddie Irvine. The title favourite held on to claim the 600th race in World Championship history - but only just. He said: "I think we chose the wrong tyres today. They were blistering near the end and Eddie was going faster. I didn't think I could hold him off. We had to push very hard during the race. We planned three stops and were surprised when others just did one."

Eddie Irvine was thrilled after the best Grand Prix finish of his career so far - a thrilling second place behind Jacques Villeneuve. The indefatigable Irishman, criticised for his strong-arm tactics in the opening race in Australia, said: "I'm well pleased after that. I felt it was going to go well all weekend. I made a great start." Ralf Schumacher was celebrating as he picked up his first points in only his third F1 race - in Jordan's 100th GP.

Eddie Irvine celebrated his best F1 finish by insisting his Ferrari future was not under threat. Irvine dismissed the rumours over his place in the team after pushing Jacques Villeneuve all the way. The Irish ace, targeted by the Italian media after the two opening races, said: "They were only rumours. There was no fact to it. The Italian press have got to fill a page every day and they just make it up. I just get on with my job."

Damon Hill was disappointed again as he failed to complete a race in the Arrows for the third Grand Prix in a row. Hill was up to eighth place after a tussle with Jean Alesi but his engine overheated on lap 34 and he was out. He said: "It's disappointing for the team but we were in there fighting. We'd like to have finished. It was exciting and here's certainly more racing in the middle of the field. It's all a bit different from last season."

Lap by lap:

LAP 1: Michael Schumacher out after clipping Rubens Barrichello; Coulthard also involved and forced to retire after losing front wheel. Safety car on.

LAP 6: Frentzen retired when running second to Villeneuve. Hill pushed back to 6th by Ralf Schumacher.

LAP 18: Hill spins when 7th after Alesi forces way through on corner. Hill recovers and keeps going.

LAP 19: Panis retires when 2nd.

LAP 25: Jordan pair Ralf Schumacher and Fisichella collide with each other when 2nd and 3rd - Schumacher recovers and takes 2nd spot behind Villeneuve

LAP 32: Villeneuve five seconds ahead. Irvine holding 3rd, Hill now 9th.

LAP 34: Hill, in a battle with Alesi, retires with engine trouble and has yet to finish a GP in the Arrows.

LAP 39: Irvine leads after Villeneuve pit-stop but the Canadian hits back.

LAP 55: Leader Villeneuve, 16 seconds ahead, in and out of pits in 7.2 secs to stay in front of Irvine.

LAP 60: Irvine, on course for his highest ever GP placing, cuts Villeneuve lead to under 3 seconds.

LAP 65: Hard-charging Irvine continues to close gap but looks unlikely to pass the Williams on the unforgiving Autodromo Oscar Galvez circuit.

LAP 72: Villeneuve holds on for 6th GP win, equalling father Gilles' total.

INDYCAR (LONG BEACH):- Gil de Ferran finished Alessandro Zanardi's run of six consecutive poles by claiming first place on the grid for Sunday's race. The Brazilian, who held provisional pole after Friday's qualifying, spent Saturday's session in the pits after wrecking his car in early practice. But his Friday time of 51.293 seconds was good enough to leave him in front. "It was very difficult to sit in the car and not run," he said. "I just had to sit and wait."

Grid positions for Sunday's race: secs
 1 G de Ferran Brz Reynard Honda 51.293 (111.313 mph)
 2 A Zanardi   It  Reynard Honda 51.665
 3 M Gugelmin  Brz Reynard Merc  51.745
 4 S Pruett    US  Reynard Ford  51.795
 5 M Andretti  US  Swift Ford    51.834
 6 R Moreno    Brz Swift Ford    51.911
 7 B Herta     US  Reynard Ford  52.016
 8 B Rahal     US  Reynard Ford  52.020
 9 G Moore     Can Reynard Merc  52.035
10 J Vasser    US  Reynard Honda 52.046
14 M Blundell  Eng Reynard Merc  52.609
17 D Fr'chitti Sco Reynard Merc  52.825

TOURING CARS:- Renault's Alain Menu, currently leading the overall standings, underlined his strong early-season form by dominating official testing at Thruxton. The 32-year-old Swiss driver completed the tests four-hundredths of a second ahead of nearest rival, James Thompson driving a Honda. "We are happy with the way things are going. Everything is working well but it could all change," said Menu. Menu won both the opening rounds of the series at Donington Park over Easter.

                               mins secs
 1 A Menu        Swi Renault    1:16.55
 2 J Thompson    GB  Honda      1:16.59
 3 G Tarquini    It  Honda      1:16.69
 4 F Biela       Ger Audi       1:16.86
 5 J Bintcliffe  GB  Audi       1:16.94
 6 R Rydell      Swe Volvo      1:17.13
 7 J Plato       GB  Renault    1:17.41
 8 K Burt        GB  Volvo      1:17.42
 9 A Reid        GB  Nissan     1:17.69
10 P Radisich    NZ  Ford       1:17.80

Result from Hockenheim after 113 laps:
                              hrs mns secs
 1 Lehto/Soper        McLaren  4:01:14.596
 2 Gounon/Raphanel    McLaren   @ 1:33.159
 3 Nielsen/Bscher     McLaren    112 laps
 4 Stuck/Boutsen      Porsche    112 laps
 5 Kelleners/Dalmas   Porsche    111 laps
 6 Lamy/Wollek        Porsche    110 laps
 7 Martini/Pescatori  Porsche    110 laps
 8 Bouchut/Rosenblad  Porsche    110 laps
 9 Collard/Gartzen    Porsche    109 laps
10 Beretta/Gache      Chrysler   105 laps

CATALUNYA RALLY:- Colin McRae aims to reclaim first place in the FIA World Rally Championship with victory in the Rally of Spain, which starts on Monday. The Scot and his 555 Subaru team will be out to emulate the 1996 race, where they scooped first and second place through McRae and Piero Liatti. McRae said: With such a difference of points between first and second this year, a win can make a big difference." And McRae's main threat is likely to be Spaniard Carlos Sainz.

INDYCAR (LONG BEACH):- Italian Alessandro Zanardi reaped the benefit of good teamwork as he scored the fourth win of his Indy career. Zanardi abandoned his normal aggressive style but took over in front in lap 94 when Reynard Honda teammate Jimmy Vasser made a pit-stop for fuel. The Italian averaged 93.999mph to finish 3.82 seconds clear of runner-up Maurico Gugelmin. He was on pole for the first two races of the season but failed to finish both due to an accident and a breakdown.

Result, 105 laps:
 1 A Zanardi    It  Reynard Honda
 2 M Gugelmin   Brz Reynard Mercedes
 3 S Pruett     US  Reynard Ford
 4 A Unser jnr  US  Penske Mercedes
 5 P Johnstone  US  Reynard Honda
 6 B Herta      US  Reynard Ford
 7 P Tracy      Can Penske Mercedes
 8 R Boesel     Brz Reynard Ford
 9 J Vasser     US  Reynard Honda
10 B Rahal      US  Reynard Ford
12 D Franchitti Sco Mercedes
13 M Blundell   Eng Mercedes

1 S Pruett     US       44 pts
2 A Zanardi    It       41
3 M Andretti   US       35
4 G Moore      Can      28

CATALUNYA RALLY:- Colin McRae snatched the lead in the final stage of the first day after previous leader Gilles Panizzi lost time because of a puncture. But McRae's Subaru team-mate Piero Liatti is, incredibly, just one second behind and the Italian said: "Colin has been fast but I've a lot in reserve." Current world champion Tommi Makinen is third in a Mitsubishi. "It's been tough," admitted McRae. "The asphalt has been very slippery, with sand and gravel making it treacherous."

After 6 stages: (end of day one) min sec
 1 C McRae     GB  Subaru      1:14.17
 2 P Liatti    It  Subaru      1:14.18
 3 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi  1:14.29
 4 A Medeghini It  Subaru      1:15.05
 5 C Sainz     Sp  Ford Escort 1:15.13
 6 J Azcona    Sp  Peugeot     1:15.28
 7 A Schwarz   Ger Ford Escort 1:15.50
 8 R Madeira   Por Subaru      1:15.56
 9 G Panizzi   Fr  Peugeot     1:16.26
10 R Sperrer   Aut Renault     1:16.29

Panizzi lost time on SS6 - puncture
Thiry retired with engine failure

Scotland's Colin McRae slipped back into fourth spot at the end of the second day of the event. McRae's hopes of a third consecutive victory in Spain were dampened when he had to stop to change a wheel after a puncture on Special Stage 11. "It would've been silly to try and get to the end of the stage," said McRae. But the Scot's Subaru teammate Piero Liatti was vying for the ead with Tommi Makinen, setting up an intriguing third and final leg on Wednesday.

Leaders after 13 stages:       min sec
 1 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi  3:03.56
 2 P Liatti    It  Subaru      3:03.56
 3 G Panizzi   Fr  Peugeot     3:06.26
 4 C McRae     GB  Subaru      3:07.28
 5 A Medeghini It  Subaru      3:07.33
 6 R Madeira   Por Subaru      3:08.10
 7 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot     3:08.17
 8 U Nittel    Ger Mitsubishi  3:08.54
 9 J Azcona    Sp  Peugeot     3:09.30
10 C Sainz     It  Ford        3:10.29

* - Makinen leads Liatti as he was one second quicker on day's final stage

TOURING CARS:- The Auto Trader British Championship has been boosted by the late entry of former champion Robb Gravett. He will compete in this weekend's races at Silverstone after buying one of the Honda Accords which contested last year's German Super Touring Series. "This is the best racing car I've ever driven...I'm looking forward to some great results," said the 1990 champion. Organsiers have, meanwhile, confirmed that rounds 13 and 14 will take place at the Croft Circuit as planned.

CATALUNYA RALLY:- Defending world champion Tommi Makinen stretched his lead in this year's title race with victory in Spain. Makinen finished seven seconds ahead of Italian Piero Liatti for his second consecutive victory. Colin McRae finished fourth after matching the leaders for pace on the final day. The Scot's title bid was ruined by a puncture on the 11th stage after he had led the rally for the start of the second leg.

Final positions after 18 stages:hr min sec
 1 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi  4:08:46
 2 P Liatti    It  Subaru      4:08:53
 3 G Panizzi   Fr   eugeot     4:11:55
 4 C McRae     GB  Subaru      4:12.20
 5 A Medeghini It  Subaru      4:13:51
 6 R Madeira   Por Subaru      4 15:12
 7 J Azcona    Sp  Peugeot     4:16:28
 8 U Nittel    Ger Mitsubishi  4:17:25
 9 R Sperrer   Fr  Renault     4:18:32
10 C Sainz     Sp  Ford        4:18:43

Driver standings after Catalunya Rally:
1 T Makinen   Fin      28 pts
2 C McRae     GB       16
3 P Liatti    It       14
4 C Sainz     Sp       12
5 A Schwarz   Ger      11
6 K Eriksson  Swe      10

Constructor standings:
1 Subaru               42
2 Mitsubishi           36
3 Ford                 23

F1:- The Grand Prix team set up by Lola cars in Huntingdon has gone into liquidation but it is understood other motor racing activities have not been affected. This season looked as though it was on firmer ground after credit card company Mastercard agreed to be the major sponsor. But things have not worked and the whole team including driver Ricardo Rosset have been laid off. However they will continue to make cars for other championships.

TOURING CARS:- Rookie Jason Plato topped the official testing table at Silverstone ahead of Sunday's third and fourth round of the RAC Touring Car Championship. The Renault Laguna driver earned a pole position double on his debut at Donington last month. And his 1 min 22.572 secs at Silverstone was two-tenths faster than team-mate Alain Menu. "We had a ot of development work to get through but we still managed to get down to a good time," he said.

                               mins secs
 1 J Plato     GB  Renault      1:22.57
 2 A Menu      Swi Renault      1:22.77
 3 G Tarquini  It  Honda        1:22.99
 4 R Rydell    Swe Volvo        1:23.15
 5 F Biela     Ger Audi         1:23.25
 6 J Thompson  GB  Honda        1:23.42
 7 K Burt      GB  Volvo        1:23.71
 8 T Harvey    GB  Peugeot      1:24.14
 9 A Reid      GB  Nissan       1:24.22
10 D Leslie    GB  Nissan       1 24.26

19.04.97 - TOURING CARS
Williams Renault teammates Jason Plato and Alain Menu dominated qualifying for Sunday's double header at Silverstone. Plato lapped the revised circuit in round three of the championship, just two-tenths faster than Menu. But the Swiss driver turned the tables as he foiled Plato's pole bid for round four with a lap of 1:22.625. Plato was eventually pushed down to third on the grid with Honda's James Thompson splitting the two Lagunas.

Qualifying times for round three:
                            mins secs
 1 J Plato    GB  Renault    1:22.607
 2 A Menu     Swi Renault    1:22.819
 3 J Thompson GB  Honda      1:22.884
 4 G Tarquini It  Honda      1:23.063
 5 R Rydell   Swe Volvo      1:23.119
 6 K Burt     GB  Volvo      1:23.429
 7 T Harvey   GB  Peugeot    1:23.604
 8 D Leslie   GB  Nissan     1:23.796
 9 F Biela    Ger Audi       1:24.019
10 D Warwick  GB  Vauxhall   1:24.051

Qualifying times for round four:
                             mins secs
 1 A Menu     Swi Renault     1:22.625
 2 J Thompson GB  Honda       1:22.916
 3 J Plato    GB  Renault     1:22.960
 4 G Tarquini It  Honda       1:23.165
 5 R Rydell   Swe Volvo       1:23.229
 6 K Burt     GB  Volvo       1:23.762
 7 A Reid     GB  Nissan      1:23.972
 8 D Warwick  GB  Vauxhall    1:24.007
 9 P Watts    GB  Peugeot     1:24.028
10 W Hoy      GB  Ford        1:24.029

20.04.97 - TOURING CARS
Alain Menu and Renault claimed two more victories to take another step towards the drivers and manufacturers titles. Menu led both races all the way and now leads the championship by 25 points from Rickard Rydell. Rydell ran him close in both races but could not close the gap despite two brave performances. "I am delighted. This is a terrific start to the season," said Menu. "But there are still 20 races to go and the Volvos and others are getting closer."

Result of round three after 20 laps:
                             mins secs
 1 A Menu     Swi Renault    28 20.191
 2 R Rydell   Swe Volvo      28:20.895
 3 D Leslie   GB  Nissan     28:33.207
 4 K Burt     GB  Volvo      28:35.457
 5 G Tarquini It  Honda      28:40.711
 6 J Cleland  GB  Vauxhall   28:41.160
 7 F Biela    Ger Audi       28:43.555
 8 D Warwick  GB  Vauxhall   28:46.910
 9 P Watts    GB  Peugeot    28:47.270
10 J Plato    GB  Renault    28:55.617

Result of round four after 20 laps:
                            mins secs
1 A Menu     Swi Renault    28:13.133
2 R Rydell   Swe Volvo         @3.187
3 J Plato    GB  Renault       @5.722
4 T Harvey   GB  Peugeot      @28.476
5 D Warwick  GB  Vauxhall     @29.250
6 J Cleland  GB  Vauxhall     @30.211
7 W Hoy      GB  Ford         @34.922
8 P Watts    GB  Peugeot      @35.719
9 J Thompson GB  Honda        @45.359

Drivers standings after round four:
1 A Menu         Renault   61 points
2 R Rydell       Volvo     36
3 J Plato        Renault   24
4 K Burt         Volvo     20
5 D Leslie       Nissan    18
= G Tarquini     Honda     18

Manufacturers' standings:
1 Renault         60 points
2 Volvo          48
3 Honda          26
4 Nissan         24
5 Audi           23
6 Vauxhall       22
7 Ford           21
8 Peugeot        18

21.04.97 - F1
Williams-Renault's chief designer Adrian Newey will leave the current constructors' champions towards the end of this season and join McLaren. The switch had been rumoured for weeks and Newey will take up his role as McLaren technical director on August 1. In a statement, Williams said: "The parties have agreed that no further comment will be made on this matter." Newey is one of three Williams people on trial in Italy in connection with the death of Ayrton Senna.

23.04.97 - F1: THE SAN MARINO GP
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve chases a third straight victory at the fourth round of the championship in San Marino. The Williams Renault title favourite opened up a 10-point championship lead over David Coulthard and Gerhard Berger following his victory in Argentina. He had a tough time at Imola last season after a collision early in the race with Jean Alesi and he eventually had to retire six laps from the finish. "I'm confident we will do a great job,"he said. "We'll be very competitive."

Eddie Irvine is predicting more success this weekend in San Marino Grand Prix, after Ferrari's number two driver came within an ace of winning in Argentina. The Ulsterman's second place in Buenos Aires has given him new confidence for the race at Imola following a troubled start to the season. "I'm counting down the seconds," he said at a practice session in Italy. "This is a really important race. I feel relaxed and I'm convinced I can do well again."

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine will be boosted by strong support from the "Tifosi". Imola is considered the "home" track for the Maranello-based team, which plans to run the latest Evolution two engine which Schumacher has tested. Schumacher lost out to Damon Hill last year after a classic tactical battle. The race this year will mark the 200th GP appearance of Austrian veteran Gerhard Berger, who has never won here.

Imola represents a challenging series of both high and low speed corners, while the addition of several chicanes have slowed average speeds considerably The latest addition is the Tamburello, which was installed following the death of Ayrton Senna three years ago. The combination of high speeds and heavy braking makes the race one of the hardest of the year on brakes and fuel. This will contribute to a tactical race where teams will trade off weight for speed and reliability.

F1:- Former Formula One world champion Niki Lauda has had a kidney transplant in Vienna and was reportedly stable after the operation. The three-times world champion retired from the sport in 1985 and is now a consultant for his old team Ferrari.

The French Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled on June 29 after the sport's governing body, the FIA, settled a row over TV coverage.

INDYCAR:- Paul Tracy used his knowledge of the track to set the fastest time for Sunday's race in Friday's practice. The Canadian, who has driven thousands of miles on the circuit as a test driver for owner Roger Penske, tore round in 19.024 seconds. Canadian rookie Patrick Carpentier was second fastest in 19.301 with Al Unser junior third in 19.483. Unser was confident however, saying: "We've started the weekend strong and if we keep it going, we'll be there."

Leading Friday practice times:    secs
 1 P Tracy      Can Penske Merc  19.024 (189.235 mph)
 2 P Carpentier Can Reynard Merc 19.301
 3 A Unser jr   US  Penske Merc  19.483
 4 M Andretti   US  Swift Ford   19.663
 5 R Hearn      US  Lola Ford    19.735
 6 S Pruett     Can Reynard Ford 19.777
 7 G Salles     Brz Reynard Ford 19.815
 8 M Gugelmin   Brz Reynard Merc 19.824
 9 A Ribeiro    Brz Lola Honda   19.858
10 A Zanardi    It  Reynard H'da 20.012

PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Alister McRae will start favourite when the championship resumes this weekend with a unique double-header. Cars will compete in rounds two and three of the series, which together form the Pirelli International Rally. The pioneering format will give drivers a chance to score points on both days as drivers can rejoin the event even if they did not complete the first day. Lanark-based McRae won the Rally of Wales for VW, but Mark Higgins and Gwyndaf Evans offer serious opposition.

Alister McRae is under no illusions about the task facing him in his weekend's Pirelli International. "It's probably one of the t rickiest rallies on the calendar. It's very easy to get caught out in Kielder Forest," said the 26-year-old. Renault drivers Robbie Head and Martin Rowe are looking for a good finish. Also out in force will be teams from Honda, Peugeot, SEAT and Skoda, which fields 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished the penultimate practice session before Sunday's race just ahead of Williams teammate Jacques Villeneuve. Frentzen, who replaced Damon Hill and has yet to collect a point this season, took a seven-tenths of a second advantage over the Canadian. Giancarlo Fisichella cheered the ome fans as he came third in his Jordan. Damon Hill suffered more mechanical problems and had to return to the pits and eventually finished 13th.

PM: Canadian Jacques Villeneuve fought off a fierce challenge from Williams team- mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen to earn pole position for Sunday's San Marino GP. Villeneuve claimed a fourth successive pole position this season - and his fifth in a row overall - with just over 0.3 seconds to spare from the German. Johhny Herbert was the leading British qualifier in seventh place, with Eddie Irvine ninth and David Coulthard 10th. World champion Damon Hill was back in 15th place.

Jacques Villeneuve expressed concern about a back problem after securing pole for Sunday's San Marino GP. "I felt a problem in my back after ten laps in practice on Friday, so it will be a factor in a 62-lap race. You just have to hit the brakes so much harder this year compared to last. You are pulling so much more G-force, it's caused the problem," he said. "That was the closest qualifying we've had. It was very stressful at times and very interesting."

Williams drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz Harald Frentzen have been given a suspended one-race ban after breaching rules at Imola. The pair were carpeted after failing to observe a yellow flag waved during qualifying for the San Marino GP. Yellow flags are used to signal a dangerous situation on the track and drivers must reduce their speed and not overtake other cars. The ban will be lifted, if they do not offend again at the next two races.

Scotland's David Coulthard will be fit for the San Marino GP despite crashing into a tyre barrier during Saturday's final free practice session. The Australian GP winner was given the all-clear after spending 4 minutes in the circuit's edical centre. McLaren's pit crew replaced a damaged rear section of Coulthard's car and he was able to qualify 10th fastest. "I banged my head which ached for a bit, but everything is back to normal now," Coulthard said.

Qualifying times:             mins secs
 1 J Villeneuve   Can Williams 1:23.303
 2 H Frentzen     Ger Williams 1:23.646
 3 M Schumacher   Ger Ferrari  1:23.955
 4 O Panis        Fr  Ligier   1:24.075
 5 R Schumacher   Ger Jordan   1:24.081
 6 G Fisichella   It  Jordan   1:24.596
 7 J Herbert      GB  Sauber   1:24.733
 8 M Hakkinen     Fin McLaren  1:24.812
 9 E Irvine       GB  Ferrari  1:24.861
10 D Coulthard    GB  McLaren  1:25.077
11 G Berger       Aut Benetton 1:25.371
12 N Larini       It  Sauber   1:25.544
13 R Barrichello  Brz Stewart  1:25.579
14 J Alesi        Fr  Benetton 1:25.729
15 D Hill         GB  Arrows   1:25.743
16 J Magnussen    Den Stewart  1:26.192
17 P Diniz        Brz Arrows   1:26.253
18 S Nakano       Jpn Ligier   1:26.712
19 M Salo         Fin Tyrrell  1:26.852
20 J Trulli       It  Minardi  1:26.960
21 J Verstappen   Hol Tyrrell  1:27.612
22 U Katayama     Jpn Minardi  1:28.727

INDYCAR: (Nazareth)
Leading qualifying times:         secs
 1 P Tracy      Can Penske Merc  18.831 (191.174 mph)
 2 M Andretti   US  Swift Ford   19.163
 3 P Carpentier Can Reynard Merc 19.204
 4 G de Ferran  Brz Reynard H'da 19.265
 5 M Gugelmin   Brz Reynard Merc 19.321
 6 R Boesel     Brz Lola Honda   19.345
 7 A Unser jr   US  Penske Merc  19.382
 8 B Rahal      US  Reynard Ford 19.421
 9 B Herta      US  Reynard Ford 19.423
10 G Moore      Can Reynard Merc 19.520
16 M Blundell   Eng Reynard Merc 19.868
18 D Franchitti Sco Reynard Merc 19.902
Canadian Paul Tracy held off local boy Michael Andretti to take pole for the first time this season. Tracy produced a lap record 18.831 secs in the Penske Mercedes, with Andretti clocking 19.163 despite loss of power caused by a faulty valve. "Starting from pole doesn't mean a thing. This is going to be a difficult race," said Tracy. Britons Mark Blundell (19.868) and Dario Franchitti (19.902) will start 16th and 18th on the grid.

TOUR OF CORNWALL:- Tony Davies held a 47 second overnight lead over Peter Lloyd after 16 stages of the Tour of Cornwall in the EAR /Motoring News National Series. Davies is one of four Metro 6R4 drivers in the top six, who face ten stages on Sunday before the finish at Newquay.

PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Gwyndaf Evans claimed victory on leg 1 of the Pirelli International Rally to snatch a thrilling win on round 2 of the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship. The Ford driver ended the rally equa on time with Nissan's Mark Higgins after Alister McRae's accident on the previous stage dropped him to 29th. Robbie Head took the Renault to its highest ever championship finish after changing the brakes at service. Leg 2 restarts on Sunday at 7.30am.

Germany's Heinz Harald-Frentzen entered the title affray with his first ever Formula One Championship victory. The Williams driver was pushed all the way by Michael Schumacher but stayed in front while teammate Jacques Villeneuve went out with mechanical problems. Ulsterman Eddie Irvine earned a podium place and kept the 'Tifosi' in good spirits by driving his Ferrari to third. Title contender David Coulthard went out midway through the race while Damon Hill was an early retirement.

Heinz Harald Frentzen frustrated the hopes of a huge partisan crowd to celebrate a Ferrari victory at the home circuit after a 13-year drought. Frentzen, overtaken by Michael Schumacher at the start, vaulted from third o first place and then led through the 62nd and final lap. He managed to stay ahead of Schumacher both times he came out from the pits after refueling and changing tyres. Schumacher finished second with a gap of 1.237 seconds.

Eddie Irvine's third place was greeted with the raising of the Union Jack at the official ceremony. The Irish Republic's tricolour was mistakenly flown when he finished second in Argentina two weeks ago. The Ulsterman who lives in Dublin had a request for a neutral flag depicting a shamrock to be used turned down by the sport's world governing body. Irvine's parents received threatening telephone calls when the tricolour was flown in Buenos Aires.

EDDIE IRVINE - Finished third for a second successive podium finish - shares third place in title race. DAVID COULTHARD - Forced to park off the circuit when the engine of his McLaren-Mercedes blew while he was lying a strong fourth on lap 38. JOHNNY HERBERT - In his 100th race, retired the Sauber on lap 19 with mechanical problems. DAMON HILL - Rammed Shinji Nakano from behind on lap 12 while attempting to work way through field.

Result after 62 laps:         hr:mn.sec
 1 H Frentzen   Ger Williams   1:31.00
 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari   @    .01
 3 E Irvine     GB  Ferrari   @   1.13
 4 G Fisichella It  Jordan    @   1.23
 5 J Alesi      Fr  Benetton  @ 1 lap
 6 M Hakkinen   Fin McLaren   @ 1 lap
 7 N Larini     It  Sauber    @ 1 lap
 8 O Panis      Fr  Prost     @ 1  ap
 9 M Salo       Fin Tyrrell   @ 2 laps
10 J Verstappen Hol Tyrrell   @ 2 laps
11 U Katayama   Jpn Minardi   @ 3 laps

 1 J Villeneuve  Can  Williams  20 pts
 2 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   14
 3 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   10
 = G Berger      Aut  Benetton  10
 = HH Frentzen   Ger  Williams  10
 = M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   10
 = E Irvine      GB   Ferrari   10
 8 O Panis       Fr   Prost      6
 9 R Schumacher  Ger  Jordan     4
 = J Herbert     GB   Sauber     3
 = J Alesi       Fr   Benetton   3
 = G Fisichella  It   Jordan     3
13 N Larini      It   Sauber     1

1 Williams              30 points
2 Ferrari               24
3 McLaren-Mercedes      20
4 Benetton Renault      13
5 Jordan                 7
6 Prost Honda            6
7 Sauber Petronas        5

LEADERBOARD after 12 of 12 stages:min sec
 1 Head/Thomas        Renault    2:10:14
 2 Laukkanen/M'maki   Volkswagen 2:12:45
 3 Blomqvist/Melander Skoda      2:13:51
 4 Higgins/Wood       Subaru     2:14:02
 5 Porter/Rabbett     Mitsubishi 2:14:05
 6 Higgins/Mills      Nissan     2:15:46
 7 Champion/Thorley   Subaru     2:16:44
 8 Nicoll/Nicoll      Ford       2:17:48 
 9 Reynolds/Spooner   Ford       2:19:01
10 Cox/Griffiths      Vauxhall   2:19:27

Drivers' Championship
 1 Alister McRae        Volkswagen 42pts
 2 Gwyndaf Evans        Ford       41
 = Robbie Head          Renault    41
 = Mark Higgins         Nissan     41
 5 Stuart Egglestone    Vauxhall   33
 6 Steve Wedgbury       Skoda      28
 7 Neil Wearden         Honda      27
 8 Martin Rowe          Renault    26
 9 Jason Sharpe         Peugeot    24
 = Don Whitehurst       Vauxhall   24 
11 Stephanie Simmonite  Ford       23

Manufacturers Championship
1 Volkswagen          25pts
2 Ford                23
3 Nissan              18
4 Renault             16
5 Skoda               14
6 Peugeot             10
7 Honda                9
8 SEAT                 8
Scot Robbie Head gave Renault their first Mobil 1 British Championship win on the Pirelli Rally, after the loss of the top runners on the final stage. This was also Head's first outright win on an International rally. "I had a front pu cture when we knew wewere in he lead so it was nerve- racking towards the end", said Head. "It was a rough stage and it seemed people were losing concentration."

The dramatic changes at the top of the leaderboard gave Skoda their highest ever British Championship win as Stig Blomqvist took third. Tapio Laukanen's fourth place for Volkswagen gives them the provisional lead in the Manufacturer's standings. SEAT driver Harri Rovanpera spun off and was towed back on by team mate Barabara Armstrong. The Simmonite Sisters won he Ladies Cup for the second time from Armstrong.

TOUR OF CORNWALL:- Tony Davies won the Tour of Cornwall in his Metro 6R4 by a minute from Peter Lloyd at the end of the two-day event. John Brodie and Gary Midwinter were among the big names forced to retire during the 26 stages.

F1:- Damon Hill has warned Formula One team Arrows that he will not tolerate being an also-ran indefinitely. The world champion said he has to feel his car can be competitive if he is to stick with Arrows in the long term. He said: "It's important for me to know what the future is next year for the team. I won't make a decision for a while, but I have to plan ahead." Hill was given a suspended one-race ban after crashing into Japan's Shinji Nakano at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Damon Hill's Imola crash with Shinji Nakano could mark the end of the road for the Japanese driver. Nakano faces the axe from the Prost Mugen-Honda Formula One team following his disappointing start to the season. Team boss Alain Prost will be meeting the president of Mugen-Honda next week in Monaco, when Nakano's future will be among matters discussed. Prost is unhappy with his performances, while team-mate Olivier Panis has had two top-six finishes already this year.

INDYCAR (Nazareth):- Paul Tracy earned a hard fought victory over defending champion Michael Andretti in Pennsylvania. Tracy's victory was the Penske team's first since Al Unser junior won at Vancouver in 1995. "This means a lot to Marlboro Team Penske. Mercedes worked hard on the engine to get us back here," said Tracy. Andretti staged a aliant comeback after a cut tyre dropped him to 17th place, a lap down after just 54 laps of the race.

Leading placings:
 1 P Tracy      Can Penske Merc   225 laps (118.919 mph/191.4 kph)
 2 M Andretti   US  Swift Ford
 3 A Unser jr   US  Penske Merc
 4 G de Ferran  Brz Reynard H'da
 5 J Vasser     US  Reynard H'da
 6 B Rahal      US  Reynard Ford
 7 B Herta      US  Reynard Ford
 8 R Boesel     Brz Lola Honda
 9 M Gugelmin   Brz Reynard Merc
10 S Pruett     US  Reynard Ford

F3:- Mark Webber blitzed the opposition in the fourth round at Brands Hatch. The Australia started from pole and stretched out a lead on lap one in his Alan Docking Racing Dallara-Mugen. By the end of the 20-lap race, he had smashed the lap record by just under three seconds, leaping up from sixth to third in the points standings. Kircaldy's Peter Dumbreck of Paul Stewart Racing chased Webber home into second place.

Round 4 result:              mins secs
 1 M Webber     Mugen Honda   26:17.607
 2 P Dumbreck   Mugen Honda   26:19.561
 3 J Kane       Mugen Honda   26:35.212
 4 M O'Donnell  TOM'S Toyota  26:35.528
 5 M Haberfield Spiess Opel   26:35.650
 6 B Collins    HKS Mitsubis  26:36.167
 7 B Smith      HKS Mitsubis  26:42.318
 8 G Smith      Spiess Opel   26:43.467
 9 D Manning    Renault       27:00.180
10 M Bentwood   Mugen Honda   27:02.670