July 1997



July 1 standings:               Points
 1 M Schumacher  Formula 1        576
 2 J Gordon      NASCAR           508
 3 P Tracy       CART             463
 4 H Neves       Indy Lights      459
 = A Menu        GB Tour Cars     459
 6 A Couto       Italian F3       455
 7 O Martini     Italian F3       452
 8 G Moore       CART             447
 9 M Andretti    CART             409
10 T Stewart     Indy Racing Lge  395
 = G Seton       Aus Tour Cars    395
12 S Goodyear    Indy Racing Lge  375
 = D Hamilton    Indy Racing Lge  375
 = J Villeneuve  Formula 1        375

02.07.97 - ISRS
The sportscar that won this year's Le Mans 24-hour race heads the entries at the inaugural International Sports Racing Series two-hour event on Sunday. Ex-Formula One star Stefan Johannson will drive the three-litre Joest Porsche at the Donington race. Two Ferrari 333SPs, driven by Michel Ferte/Adrian Campos and Freddy/ Lienhardt/Didier Theys, are likely to provide the main opposition. The race is the first of a series of four to be held across Europe.

F1:- Stewart driver Rubens Barrichello escaped unhurt after a 280kph crash during a Silverstone test session ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix. His car suffered a rear suspension failure but the Brazilian claimed the controversial tyre regulations proposed for next year were partly to blame. He was testing the new grooved tyres and said: "I don't like them, especially after the experience I had. They didn't slow me down as much. Big tyres and reduced power is the answer."

Williams team engineers appeared at the Ayrton Senna trial in Imola and testified that steering column failure was not to blame for the fatal crash. Prosecutors contend a failure in the modified steering column caused the crash at the 1994 San Marino race. But Williams say the column in Senna's car was checked before the event. Engineer Bryan O'Rourke said: "As the front wheel hit the wall, the violent impact caused a torsion on the steering column, causing it to break."

The Portuguese government are set to take drastic action in an attempt to meet the deadline for improvements to the Estoril Grand Prix circuit. FIA took the Portuguese race off the 1997 calendar and replaced it with Spain's Jerez track for October 26. But an extra championship race could be added on November 9 or Estoril could hold an exhibition race - if the August 31 improvements deadline is met. The government are considering a civil requisition from the owners.

JIM CLARK MEMORIAL RALLY:- The quiet Borders town of Duns will go into the history books as the first ever special stage rally on closed public roads. Robbie Head and Bryan Thomas, in their Renault Megane, begin the event, which consists of three legs from Friday through to Sunday. Works teams from Renault and Nissan head the entry list. And Scottish Championship leader Brian Lyall, in a Subaru Impreza, will also have a point to prove.

F1:- Title rivals Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher look set for a battle royal at next weekend's British Grand Prix. Villeneuve clocked 1 min 22.239 secs in his Williams on the final day of testing at the Northamptonshire track. Schumacher was only fractionally slower for Ferrari with 1:22.548. But both were outpaced by Finland's Mika Hakkinen, who lapped the circuit in 1:22.081 for McLaren. Damon Hill was only 13th fastest.

TOURING CARS:- RAC Touring Car Championship officials have decided to award full points in the wake of Sunday's curtailed 14th round of the championship at Croft. The race was stopped after an accident involving Honda driver James Thompson, with the results declared after 17 of the scheduled 25 laps. Originally only half the points were awarded but that has been reviewed. Championship race director Bob Kettleboro said: "Regulations are not clear with regard to curtailed races."

Revised standings after round 14:
 1 A Menu      Renault Laguna 200 pts
 2 J Plato     Renault Laguna  94
 3 R Rydell    Volvo           89
 4 F Biela     Audi            79
 5 J Thompson  Honda Accord    74
 6 G Tarquini  Honda Accord    69

Constructors's standings:
1 Renault                     192 pts
2 Honda                       132
3 Volvo                       125
4 Audi                        117
5 Nissan                       93

F1:- Austrian Gerhard Berger has hinted that he may leave Benetton and give up Formula One. Berger, who has missed the last two races because of sinus problems, told Austrian radio: "I cannot say if I will compete in Formula One next year. I will make a decision about my future in August." If he does stay in the sport it may not be with Benetton. He said he doubted they were the right team for him and rumours have linked him with Williams.

Title rivals Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher look set for a battle royal at next weekend's British Grand Prix. Villeneuve clocked 1 min 22.239 secs in his Williams on the final day of testing at the Northamptonshire track. Schumacher was only fractionally slower for Ferrari with 1:22.548. But both were outpaced by Finland's Mika Hakkinen, who lapped the circuit in 1:22.081 for McLaren. Damon Hill was only 13th fastest.


Positions after 13 of 26 stages:mins secs
 1 Head/Thomas      Renault Meg  54:19
 2 Rowe/Beech       Renault Meg  55:40
 3 Buckley/Ewing    Subaru Leg   55:50
 4 Lyall/Bennie     Subaru Leg   56:43
 5 Morris/Morris    Metro 6R4    58:58
 6 Carty/Howie      Metro 6R4    60:02
 7 Dalgarno/Forrest Escort Cos   60:16
 8 Robathon/Jones   Ford Escort  61:14
 9 Kent/Jenkins     Peugeot 306  61:17
10 Sharpe/Bevan     Peugeot 306  61:19



Result after 26 stages:        hr mn sc
 1 Head/Thomas      Renault Meg 2:12:45
 2 Buckley/Ewing    Subaru Leg  2:13:32
 3 Rowe/Beech       Renault Meg 2:14:44
 4 Lyall/Bennie     Subaru Leg  2:18:06
 5 Dalgarno/Forrest Escort Cos  2:27:29
 6 Carty/Howie      Metro 6R4   2:27:46
 7 Morris/Morris    Metro 6R4   2:27:51
 8 Robathon/Jones   Ford Escort 2:28:41
 9 Eg'stone/E'stone Vaux Astra  2:30:22
10 Buckley/Grif'ths Mits Lancer 2:30:34

NASCAR:- John Andretti, nephew of American motorsport legend Mario, notched his first NASCAR stock race win in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The 34-year-old's Ford led for 113 of the 160 laps, regaining the lead from Mark Martin with 23 laps remaining. And he held off Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett and Sterling Marlin when the race was restarted on the last lap after a four-lap caution period. Terry Labonte was second, with Marlin taking second spot.


July 7 standings:               Points
 1 M Schumacher  Formula 1        576
 2 J Gordon      NASCAR           508
 3 P Tracy       CART             463
 4 H Neves       Indy Lights      459
 = A Menu        GB Tour Cars     459
 6 A Couto       Italian F3       455
 7 O Martini     Italian F3       452
 8 G Moore       CART             447
 9 G Seton       Aus Tour Cars    420
10 M Andretti    CART             409
11 T Stewart     Indy Racing Lge  395
12 S Goodyear    Indy Racing Lge  375
 = D Hamilton    Indy Racing Lge  375
 = J Villeneuve  Formula 1        375

F1:- British Formula One team Jordan have signed a deal with Japanese company Mugen-Honda to supply engines for the 1998 and 1999 Grand Prix seasons. The deal will see Jordan do a direct swap with the Prost Grand Prix team, who will be using Jordan's current Peugeot engines next year. "This is another significant milestone for us," said Eddie Jordan. "Our partnership will give additional strength and depth to our package plus n unparalleled commitment to success."

Damon Hill's Formula One future with Arrows is back in the balance after Jordan won the battle to be powered by Mugen-Honda engines from next year. Hill's team chief Tom Walkinshaw had been hoping to persuade the British driver to stay for another year with the promise of more powerful engines. But Hill may well feel he has no choice but to move on if he is to challenge once more for the drivers championship. Walkinshaw could now try Ford as an alternative to the current Yamaha deal.

Benetton driver Gerhard Berger has pulled out of this weekend's British Grand Prix because he has not fully recovered from a sinus operation. The 37-year-old, who had the operation last month, also missed the last two races at Montreal and Magny Cours. Berger will again be replaced in the Benetton team by fellow Austrian Alexander Wurz for the race at Silverstone on Sunday. He hopes to be back behind the wheel in time for testing at Monza from July 15.

Damon Hill is backing his old team Williams to roar back into championship contention at the British Grand Prix this weekend. The world champion expects the Williams team to reassert their supremacy at Silverstone after some recent problems. "I think one of the Williams will win the race. They will be favourites as the circuit suits them," he said. "But it could be a toss-up between Jacques and Heinz-Harald as to who wins the actual race."

RALLYING:- Brake friction material suppliers Mintex have agreed to continue their sponsorship of the National Rally Series until the year 2000.

09.07.97 - F1
The father of Benetton's Gerhard Berger has been killed in a plane crash. Following the death of Johann, 62, Benetton supremo Flavio Briatore said: "We know how close Gerhard was to his father. Our thoughts are with him." Berger has been on the sidelines after surgery for a sinus problem and misses Sunday's British Grand Prix. He has not raced since finishing 10th in the Spanish Grand Prix and will again be replaced by fellow Austrian Alexander Wurz at Silverstone.

Former Ferrari driver Niki Lauda is backing Michael Schumacher to deliver the perfect 50th anniversary present to the Italian grand prix outfit. Lauda, who won two of his three world titles with Ferrari, believes the German can win the drivers' race. Jody Scheckter was the last Ferrari driver to take the crown, in 1979. And Lauda said: "Michael can win it again. If Ferrari were to win either or both titles it would be terrific. It means more to the sport than any other car."

A sports science expert testified that the Imola circuit where Ayrton Senna died in 1994 met safety standards. At the manslaughter trial in Italy of six Formula One officials, professor of sports science Antonio Dal Monte said Senna could not brake properly. But he also added that even if Senna had slowed his Williams before hitting the wall he would not have lived. "We can attribute Senna's death to the unfortunate trajectory of the wheel after the crash," he added.

Swiss-based Formula One team Sauber are sticking with Argentine Norberto Fontana for Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The 22-year-old made his Sauber debut at Magny-Cours. He replaced Italian Gianni Morbidelli, who broke his arm in a testing accident. Fontana will be number two to Britain's Johnny Herbert, who won the Silverstone race in 1995, when he was at Benetton. Morbidelli is expected to return to action later in the year.

The Formula One circus hits Britain this weekend, with Silverstone the setting for the halfway stage of the 1997 campaign. Silverstone, once a World War II RAF training aerodrome, is seen as one of the most demanding grand prix circuits. Stowe, Copse, Hangar Straight and Club Corner are still synonymous with speed. But the later inclusion of the Woodcote chicane and safety demands hampered the flow. However, this year's changes to Club and Copse could retify that.

World champion Damon Hill is hoping the problems that have dogged him at Arrows will end on his home track. Hill won the 1994 British Grand Prix but failed to finish last year when his Williams suffered mechanical problems. His two finishes in 1997 have come in the last two races, suggesting Arrows' efforts are beginning to pay off. "Improvements have been made to the circuit since last year," he said. "It has made it faster and safer. Copse Corner has been opened out a lot."

Michael Schumacher has never won the British Grand Prix and Ferrari have not been triumphant at Silverstone since Alain Prost clinched the 1990 race. But Schumacher visits Northamptonshire looking for his third straight victory and leading the championship. "The British public are perhaps the most informed grand prix fans in the world," said the German. "It would be something special to win at Silverstone and of course it would boost my title chances."

Eddie Irvine was a regular visitor to the British Grand Prix long before he made the grid in 1994. Brands Hatch and Silverstone alternated as hosts in the 70s and Irvine and his family used to camp at the sites. "It was brilliant," said the Ulsterman. "The atmosphere in the campsite during the night before the race was amazing. When I leave the sport that's the way I want to go again. I used to sneak into the pits. I asked John Watson for an autograph five times in one day."

Pre-season championship favourite Jacques Villeneuve will be aiming to repeat his 1996 Silverstone win and keep his title aspirations on track. He trails Michael Schumacher by 14 points after retiring in Montreal and only taking fourth spot at Magny-Cours. But the Canadian has fond memories of his British Grand Prix debut last year and said: "I like the changes they have made, especially the first bend. "You can take it flat out. I have very happy memories of my Silverstone win."

Car problems and a flying Frenchman have hampered David Coulthard's attempts to build on his win in the opening 1997 race in Melbourne. He has earned one point since and Jean Alesi ended his French points hopes, hitting his McLaren on the last lap. Coulthard hopes revamped Silverstone will herald a change in fortunes. "Silverstone is the most outstanding circuit," he said. "But the Luffield section is too tight. It is for Formula Ford, not Formula One."

There will be no excuses for driver error at Silverstone from the Tyrrell duo of Jos Verstappen and Mika Salo. The circuit is the Surrey team's designated test track and a double finish is the target. Verstappen said: "My confidence is high and we have had many days of testing at Silverstone so hopefully can go well." And Salo has found a way to beat the traffic on race day. "I stay 15 miles from the track so I bring up my Harley-Davidson from London," he said.

Britain has hosted 49 grands prix and Silverstone has held 29 of those races. Ferrari have had the most British Grand Prix wins with 10. Williams and McLaren have triumphed in nine apiece. Lotus have six and Tyrrell and Cooper two. Alain Prost holds the record for most wins by a driver in the event. He won five, while Nigel Mansell and Jim Clark notched three victories. British drivers last filled the first three places in 1965. Jim Clark came in ahead of Graham Hill and John Surtees.

Silverstone hosted the very first round of the Formula One World Championship, or the Drivers' World Championship as it was known then, on May 13 1950. Around £30m is generated for the local economy annually by the event. Shuttle helicopters take off or land at Silverstone at peak time on race day every nine-and-a-half seconds. All the profits made by Silverstone are re-invested in the circuit and the sport by the owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club.

F1:- Jacques Villeneuve believes complacency has cost his Williams team dearly in the race for the title. And the Canadian, second behind Michael Schumacher, admits Sunday's British Grand Prix is a crunch race for him. "This is obviously an important race for us," he said. "But I feel sure we can achieve a good result. We started well, perhaps too well. It meant the team began to concentrate on the 1998 car, with the new regulations, instead of developing the current one."

Damon Hill will be Britain's first world champion for 20 years to compete in his home grand prix on Sunday. James Hunt in 1977 at Silverstone was the last reigning British world champion to accept the fans' plaudits. But Hill will also be hoping he does not emulate Jody Scheckter, the 1979 champion who only earned two points the following season. Hill is still pointless with Arrows but said: "We can do better at Silverstone. I'm not too unhappy with the car."

Lotus have revealed they will be returning to Formula One in 1999. The team, founded by the late Colin Chapman, contested the world event from 1958 to 1994, winning seven constructor crowns and six driver titles. David Hunt, managing director and brother of the late James Hunt, said: "Our fans' loyalty has been rewarded. We said we would not return unless we had a proper budget and had a real probablity of adding to our heritage. It's coming together positively."

Benetton have secured a major sponsorship deal with Federal Express Corporation (FedEx).

F3:- Frenchman Nicolas Minassian will start on pole for Saturday's eighth round of the British Formula Three Championship at Silverstone. He clocked one minute, 43.395 seconds in qualifying and is joined on the front row by Brazil's Mario Haberfeld. With the race taking place ahead of Formula One qualifying, drivers want to impress. Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert both raced in the British F3 scene. But Minassian said: "I want to impress in every race and do the best I can."

UK GTs:- The Newcastle United-backed Lister Storm GTL of Ian Flux and Jake Ulrich will be on pole for Sunday's fifth round of the GT Championship. The stage provides the support race for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Flux notched an average qualifying speed of 104.74mph to claim pole with a time of one minute, 49.773 seconds. The Harrier LR9 of Win Percy and BBC touring car commentator Charlie Cox was second. In third is the Saleen Ford Mustang of James Kaye and Peter Owen.

F1:- World champion Damon Hill has played down reports of a rift with Arrows supremo Tom Walkinshaw. Walkinshaw was reported as saying he was fed up with Hill allegedly saying the car was uncompetitive. But ahead of practice for the British Grand Prix, Hill said: "Tom has been misquoted and too much has been made of his criticisms. I'm going to give my best in the British Grand Prix and Tom is 100 per cent happy with my efforts."

McLaren's Mika Hakkinen clocked the fastest time in the free practice sessions ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Hakkinen, still looking for his first Formula One victory, set a time of one minute, 22.935 seconds. Jacques Villeneuve was second fastest and Williams team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen was third. However, world champion Damon Hill ended opening practice in 20th spot, with only two drivers behind him.

Friday's practice times:       min secs
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren  1:22.935
 2 J Villeneuve  Can  Williams 1:23.266
 3 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Williams 1:23.327
 4 J Herbert     GB   Sauber   1:23.581
 5 J Alesi       Fr   Benetton 1:23.785
 6 G Fisichella  It   Jordan   1:23.883
 7 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari  1:24.132
 8 A Wurz        Aut  Benetton 1:24.203
 9 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari  1:24.424
10 J Trulli      It   Prost    1:24.946
11 R Schumacher  Ger  Jordan   1:24.948
12 J Magnussen   Den  Stewart  1:25.136
13 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren  1:25.360
14 M Salo        Fin  Tyrrell  1:26.035
15 S Nakano      Jpn  Prost    1:26.270
16 U Katayama    Jpn  Minardi  1:26.446
17 N Fontana     Arg  Sauber   1:26.640
18 R Barrichello Brz  Stewart  1:26.785
19 P Diniz       Brz  Arrows   1:26.797
20 D Hill        GB   Arrows   1:26.810
21 T Marques     Brz  Minardi  1:27.066
22 J Verstappen  Hol  Tyrrell  1:27.923

NEW ZEALAND RALLY:- Colin McRae and Tommi Makinen head the entry list for the Rally of New Zealand which starts on August 1. Current world champion Makinen has won three of the first eight rounds of this year's championship in his Mitsubishi. But he has a poor record in New Zealand where McRae has triumphed in four of the last five years. Subaru driver McRae is ten points behind Makinen after winning in Corsica and Kenya and could draw level at the top in New Zealand.

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve led a Williams one-two for Sunday's race with a late burst in qualifying. Mika Hakkinen of Finland looked set to take the first pole of his career as he led for virtually the duration of Saturday's hour-long session. But Heinz-Harald Frentzen jumped into top spot with five minutes left before teammate Villeneuve moved up in the dying seconds. Britain's Damon Hill, aiming for a top 10 spot, could only manage 12th place.

Scotland's David Coulthard was fined $5,000 by the race jury for speeding in the pit lane during final qualifying. The McLaren Mercedes driver clocked 58.25mph - well in excess of the 50mph pit lane speed limit for qualifying. Argentine Norberto Fontana found himself relegated to the back of the grid when his times were disallowed. He recorded the 14th best time in final qualifying but missed a weight check and was punished by race stewards.

Jacques Villeneuve said Williams were "back where we should be" after he and team-mate Heinz-Harald Frantzen took the front rwo for Sunday's race. "I didn't really think I could do it on the last lap as I made a few mistakes particularly around Becketts and I thought we'd miss out," he admitted. "I was very annoyed when I saw Heinz had gone fastest just before I went out. I was determined not to have Heinz or Mika in front of me tomorrow, although I still think it will be very close."

Damon Hill has been given a British GP vote of confidence by Arrows new design chief John Barnard. Barnard said: "I've only been with Damon at a couple of races and my first feelings were good. I get on with him well and I've found him easy to talk to when we discuss the car and the way it performs. The situation which has blown up recently reflects the frustration being felt on both sides. We've got to move Damon forward and higher up the grid."

Qualifying positions for Sunday's race:
                               min secs
 1 J Villeneuve  Can  Williams 1:21.598
 2 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Williams 1:21.732
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren  1:21.797
 4 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari  1:21.977
 5 R Schumacher  Ger  Jordan   1:22.277
 6 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren  1:22.279
 7 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari  1:22.342
 8 A Wurz        Aut  Benetton 1:22.344
 9 J Herbert     GB   Sauber   1:22.368
10 G Fisichella  It   Jordan   1:22.371
11 J Alesi       Fr   Benetton 1:22.392
12 D Hill        GB   Arrows   1:23.271
13 J Trulli      It   Prost    1:23.366
14 S Nakano      Jpn  Prost    1:23.887
15 J Magnussen   Den  Stewart  1:24.067
16 P Diniz       Brz  Arrows   1:24.239
17 M Salo        Fin  Tyrrell  1:24.478
18 U Katayama    Jpn  Minardi  1:24.553
19 J Verstappen  Hol  Tyrrell  1:25.010
20 T Marques     Brz  Minardi  1:25.154
21 R Barrichello Brz  Stewart  1:25.525
22 N Fontana     Arg  Sauber   1:23.790

(Fontana's times disallowed after he failed
to stop for a technical check)

F3 (Silverstone):-
Result                        min secs
 1 M Haberfeld     Opel       26:06.705
 2 M Webber        Mugen Hon  26:10.480
 3 N Minassian     Renault    26:13.356
 4 K McGarrity     Toyota     26:13.813
 5 B Smith         Mitsubishi 26:14.728
 6 G Smith         Opel       26:15.855
 7 R Mauricio      Toyota     26:20.710
 8 B Collins       Mitsubishi 26:23.373
 9 J Spence        Toyota     26:23.966
10 E Bernoldi      Renault    26:24.334

 1 J Kane        GB   P Stewart    111
 2 P Dumbreck    GB   P Stewart     99
 3 M Webber      Aus  AD Racing     65
 4 N Minassian   Fr   P'cme Renault 63
 5 M Haberfeld   Brz  MD Racing     62
 6 B Collins     GB   Fortec M'sprt 44
 7 B Smith       RA   Fortec M'sprt 38
 8 G Smith       GB   DC Cook R'cng 35
 9 E Bernoldi    Brz  P'cme Renault 30
 = K McGarrity   GB   Toyota        30

INDYCAR (Cleveland):- Alessandro Zanardi claimed provisional pole for Sunday's race by driving over seven-tenths of a second faster than his closest rival. Zanardi clocked a best lap time of 57.423 seconds around the twisting circuit to finish ahead of Bryan Herta. Michael Andretti was third fastest while defending race champion Gil de Ferran came in fourth. If Zanardi holds top position after Saturday's race it will be the ninth pole of his career.

Friday's practice times:         secs
 1 A Zanardi    It  Reynard     57.423
 2 B Herta      US  Reynard     58.151
 3 M Andretti   US  Swift       58.212
 4 G de Ferran  Brz Reynard     58.280
 5 A Ribeiro    Brz Reynard     58.367
 6 M Gugelmin   Brz Reynard     58.407
 7 P Tracy      Can Penske      58.488
 8 G Moore      Can Reynard     58.551
 9 S Pruett     US  Reynard     58.712
10 C Fittipaldi Brz Swift       58.777
11 M Blundell   Eng Reynard     58.793
14 D Franchitti Sco Reynard     58.998

Damon Hill put the problems of the past couple of days behind him as he took advantage of wet weather to clock fastest time in free practice. Hill, who will start 12th on the grid, turned in a time of 1:38.031. The weather forced the teams to equip their cars with tyres of a harder compound in order to obtain more grip. But that failed to prevent several cars from spinning, including Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who took an unplanned detour when he skidded across the grass.

Free practice for Sunday's race:min secs
 1 D Hill        GB   Arrows   1:38.031
 2 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari  1:38.061
 3 J Villeneuve  Can  Williams 1:38.507
 4 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari  1:38.670
 5 J Herbert     GB   Sauber   1:38.707
 6 J Alesi       Fr   Benetton 1:38.876
 7 G Fisichella  It   Jordan   1:38.993
 8 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren  1:39.074
 9 J Magnussen   Den  Stewart  1:39.498
10 N Fontana     Arg  Sauber   1:39.693
Damon Hill has been offered a helping hand from Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone in a bid to save his career. Hill has had a torrid season with Arrows but the influential Ecclestone says he may be able to broker a better deal with another team next season. He said: "Damon should have no trouble finding a good drive, but if he hits any snag I will help him out. I always have done, and I always will." Hill is not happy with Arrows after not earning a single point in his new car.

Jacques Villeneuve took advantage of his rivals' mishaps to slash Michael Schumacher's championship lead. The Canadian ace led from the start but fell back to seventh after a disastrous pit stop of 30 seconds as mechanics struggled with his left front wheel. But he slowly made his way up the field as Michael Schumacher, Eddie Irvine and finally Mika Hakkinen all retired. Britain's Damon Hill drove superbly to finish sixth in his Arrows and win his first championship point of the season.

Result after 59 laps:        hr:mn.secs
 1 J Villeneuve Can Williams  1:28:01.2
 2 J Alesi      Fr  Benetton @  0:10.20
 3 A Wurz       Aut Benetton @  0:11.29
 4 D Coulthard  GB  McLaren  @  0:31.22
 5 R Schumacher Ger Jordan   @  0:31.88
 6 D Hill       GB  Arrows   @  1:13.55
 7 G Fisichella It  Jordan   @  one lap
 8 J Trulli     It  Prost    @  one lap
 9 N Fontana    Arg Sauber   @  one lap
10 T Marques    Brz Minardi  @  one lap
11 S Nakano     Jpn Prost    @  one lap

Did not finish:             Lap out
12 M Hakkinen   Fin McLaren    52
13 J Magnussen  Den Stewart    50
14 J Verstappen Hol Tyrrell    45
15 E Irvine     GB  Ferrari    44
16 M Salo       Fin Tyrrell    44
17 J Herbert    GB  Sauber     42
18 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari    38
19 R Ba'chello  Brz Stewart    37
20 P Diniz      Brz Arrows     29
21 HH Frentzen  Ger Williams    0
22 U Katayama   Jpn Minardi     0

Jacques Villeneuve's win - Williams' sixth in the last seven British Grands Prix - moved him to within four points of Michael Schumacher. "It's a great result for us. I think we needed it," said the Canadian. "But I was worred after that pit-stop because I had lost so much time. After that I just had to push, push and push all the time. I was lucky the tyres were very good for me and I could push so hard. It was great to see Schumacher stop!"

Michael Schumacher failed to break his British Grand Prix duck when he was forced to retire on lap 37. The championship leader had led for 16 laps after Jacques Villeneuve suffered a disastrous pit stop and the German ace built up a lead of about 35 seconds But smoke was seen pouring from his Ferrari and he was quickly forced out with a wheel bearing failure. Teammate Eddie Irvine moved into second position but he also pulled out on lap 47 with a similar problem.

Damon Hill claimed the best ever sixth position of his career as he won his first championship point of the season. The world champion has endured a stormy week with his Arrows team management over his performance this year. But Hill delighted the Silverstone crowd by moving up to sixth place on the penultimate lap of the race. He remained unlapped throughout the race and moved steadily up from 12th as those ahead of him suffered from misfortune.

Britain's Damon Hill said his sixth position was "like a victory". "I feel like I've won the race," said the Arrows driver. "It's only a point but it's a good result for me. I got up to seventh place but I thought sixth place was beyond me as Nakano was a long way ahead of me. But when he went off I seized my chance and held on. I got excited and started waving at the crowd. I wanted to give them something special for their support."

Finland's Mika Hakkinen came close to his first ever Grand Prix victory before retiring six laps from the end. The McLaren driver took the lead soon after Michael Schumacher's retirement - with rookie Alexander Wurz enjoying a few moments in the limelight. Hakkinen was being pushed to the limit by Jacques Villeneuve but appeared to be holding his own against the Canadian. But his Mercedes engine blew on lap 53 - as did his chances of a first ever victory in 88 attempts.

 1 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   47 pts
 2 J Villeneuve  Can  Williams  43
 3 J Alesi       Fr   Benetton  21
 4 HH Frentzen   Ger  Williams  19
 5 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari   18
 6 O Panis       Fr   Prost     15
 7 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   14
 8 G Berger      Aut  Benetton  10
 = M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   10
10 G Fisichella  It   Jordan     8
11 J Herbert     GB   Sauber     7
 = R Schumacher  Ger  Jordan     7
13 R Barrichello Brz  Stewart    6

 1 Ferrari               65 points
 2 Williams Renault      62
 3 Benetton Renault      35
 4 McLaren-Mercedes      24
 5 Prost Honda           16
 6 Jordan Peugeot        15
 7 Sauber Petronas        8
 8 Stewart Ford           6
 9 Tyrrell Ford           2
10 Arrows Yamaha          1

INDYCAR (Cleveland):- Italy's Alessandro Zanardi sealed his second win of the season after overcoming tough obstacles. Zanardi, driving a Reynard Honda, started on pole but on Friday, but discovered his radio was dead and he could not communicate with his team. He then found himself in 22nd place after a mix-up in the pits following a crash involving Richie Hearn. But he surged through the field and slipped past Gel de Ferran just six laps from the end of the 90-lap race.

Result of Sunday's race:
1 A Zanardi    It  Reynard
2 G de Ferran  Brz Reynard
3 B Herta      US  Reynard
4 Al Unser Jr  US  Penske
5 B Rahal      US  Reynard
6 C Fittipaldi Brz Swift
7 P Tracy      Can Penske

F1:- Michael Schumacher left Silverstone in confident mood despite being forced to retire from Sunday's British GP with technical problems. The German driver made it clear he feels confident in his ability to stay out in front in the championship. "I was not too disappointed because I feel certain now that we have the race package to maintain our championship bid," said Schumacher. Schumacher in his Ferrari has failed to finish just two races this year.

Jacques Villeneuve hit out at his critics after his British Grand Prix victory cut Michael Schumacher's Championship lead to four points. The Williams ace says it is too early to predict who will take the title. "Before the season began, people were saying the title was a foregone conclusion for me and a week ago people said the same about Michael," he said. "Until you can't beat the leader there is a chance. You can have a bad race but what goes around comes around."

Now the joy surrounding his winning a point at Silverstone has subsided, Damon Hill wants to build on Arrows' first taste of success in 1997. "I was delighted by the crowd's reaction at Silverstone," he said. "But long-term, it's not enough. "Tom (Walkinshaw) is keen to get results but I can't make something of nothing. I need a decent car." Walkinshaw aims to have a new engine by September but Hill added:"He is cagey about what he has up his sleeve."

UK GTs:- The class GT2-winning Harrier of Michael Vergers and Chris Ward has been excluded from the results of the weekend's fifth round at Silverstone. A technical infringement was discovered in post-race scrutineering, which means the Lotus Espirit duo of Andrew Bramley and Graham Morris have won the class. The nine-round championship resumes at Donington Park on August 3.

RALLYING:- Mintex are to continue their sponsorship of the National Rally Series for another three years, taking them up to and including 2000. The Manx International Rally, historic section, is to be sponsored by garage group Corkills.

15.07.97 - INDYCAR
Mark Blundell's pit strategy failed to reap rewards in the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland on Sunday as he finished ninth. Blundell's Motorola PacWest Mercedes- Benz was third on the grid but his fuel stops dropped him to 20th and he had to battle his way through the pack. "I guess you could term that a tough day at the office," he said. "Our race didn't go according to plan but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. And I had fuel trouble at the start."

17.07.97 - F1
Four-times world champion Alain Prost has threatened to pull out of Formula One if red tape prevents him moving his base nearer to Paris. He wants to take his Prost-Mugen-Honda team from the Magny-Cours grand prix track to Versailles. The switch would mean the outfit would be nearer Peugeot, who will supply engines to the team from 1998. Prost believes the move has been held up by French politics and has prevented him securing several finance packages.

Damon Hill has been awarded the Seagrave Trophy after he was judged to have given an outstanding demonstration of transport possibilities. It has been presented annually to a Briton since 1930 and includes modes of transport by land, air or water.

F1:- Gerhard Berger will return to the Benetton team for the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim on July 27. The 37-year-old missed the last three races, at Silverstone, Magny-Cours and Montreal, because he was recovering from a sinus operation. He has also revealed he expects to drive for another two or three seasons. Fellow Austrian Alexander Wurz, the test driver who stood in for Berger, has been linked with Sauber but said: "I want to concentrate on Benetton."

RALLYING:- Guy Anderson is set to win a free entry into Britain's final round of the World Rally Championship without even sitting in a car. The Peugeot 205 ace misses round five of Saturday's Enterprise Printing event because of a friend's wedding. But he leads the Formula Two section of the Mintex series and only a win by Jersey's Miles Jude would deprive him of the entry, worth over £1,000. Aberdeen's Brian Lyall is favourite to win the rally overall in his Subaru.

Ford have re-designed their front-wheel drive Escort Super Rally car and it will make its debut in the Ulster Rally on August 1. Reigning British champion Gwyndaf Evans hopes the more powerful car will boost the team's hopes of regaining the driver and manufacturer crowns. He and Ford are currently second in the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship. Evans said: "The engine is stronger and the revised throttle configuration will give better pick-up."

F1:- Michael Schumacher insists his Ferrari team must iron out the technical problems that meant he and Eddie Irvine failed to finish at Silverstone. And Schumacher was also hit by a mechanical failure during testing at Monza this week. The German leads the championship by four points but he admitted: "I am unhappy. If we cannot complete a race it means we have relaxed a bit. We must work harder to examine the components that have failed."

GTs (Spa-Francorchamps):- The McLaren-BMW of JJ Lehto and Steve Soper will start round five on pole after clocking a time of two minutes, 08.984 seconds in qualifying. And local hero Thierry Boutsen, who shares the cockpit with Hans-Joachim Stuck, achieved the best time for a factory Porsche, with fourth spot. Fellow Porsche drivers Bob Wolleck and Yannick Dalmas are in eighth place. Wolleck admitted: "We could have gone faster but tyre preservation was our first priority."

Qualifying for round five (Sat):min secs
 1 Lehto/Soper    McLaren-BMW   2:08.984
 2 Nannini/T'm'n  Mercedes-Benz 2:09.826
 3 S'neider/Wurz  Mercedes-Benz 2:09.853
 4 Stuck/Boutsen  Porsche 911   2:10.162
 5 L'wig/Sch'mchr Mercedes-Benz 2:10.264
 6 Gounon/R'hanel McLaren-BMW   2:10.763
 7 Kox/Ravaglia   McLaren-BMW   2:10.766
 8 Wollek/Dalmas  Porsche 911   2:11.326
 9 Bscher/Nielsen McLaren-BMW   2:11.618
10 G-Scott/O'sson McLaren-BMW   2:11.631

INDYCAR (Toronto):- Britain's Mark Blundell and Dario Franchitti impressed in the opening round of qualifying for Sunday's race. Blundell, who won his first Indy race last month at Portland, posted the second fastest time behind race favourite Michael Andretti. And rookie Franchitti was just behind Blundell in third place. His best starting position is fifth. Andretti is aiming for his sixth win in eight races at Toronto.

Mark Blundell was content with his second position following provisional qualifying for Sunday's race. "I'm pretty happy where we're at, the car is still a bit loose, but generally it's quite well behaved," he commented. "I just clipped the wall in turn six which broke the left rear toe link. That gave me a fright because the car jumped completely sideways. It would be great to get pole," he added, "But I'm happy to be on the front row."

Friday's qualifying times:       secs
 1 M Andretti   US  Swift       59.408
 2 M Blundell   Eng Reynard     59.894
 3 D Franchitti Sco Reynard     60.080
 4 G de Ferran  Brz Reynard     60.240
 5 S Pruett     US  Reynard     60.309
 6 A Zanardi    It  Reynard     60.323
 7 M Gugelmin   Brz Reynard     60.361
 8 P Tracy      Can Penske      60.386
 9 C Fittipaldi Brz Swift       60.523
10 R Boesel     Fr  Reynard     60.564

NATIONAL FOREST RALLY:- Brian Lyall powered to an untroubled victory to strengthen his claim in the Mintex National Rally title. The Aberdeen car dealer took the lead on the first stage and was never headed finishing two minutes and eight seconds ahead of Hereford's Andrew Burton.

After stage six                penalty
1 B Lyall/J Bennie   Subaru    1:16.20
2 A Burton/R Morgan  Peugeot   1:18.28
3 R D'wrth/M B'field Subaru    1:19.11
4 S Smith/J Kitson   Lancia    1:19.33
5 S Petch/P Croft    Subaru    1:20.07
6 N Foster/P Faraday Escort    1:22.55

F1:- Germany is set to continue holding two grands prix a year until 2001. Max Mosley, president of ruling body FIA, said: "We have reached an agreement with the two organisers." Hockenheim hosts the German Grand Prix and the Nurburgring hosts the Luxembourg race ` formerly the European Grand Prix` for the first time this year. Under F1 rules, no one country can hold two races, hence the Luxembourg link. Tobacco advertising will also be allowed at the Nurburgring.

GTs (Spa):- JJ Lehto and Steve Soper have opened up an overall lead of 16 points in the championship after driving their ailing McLaren to victory in the fifth round. Briton Soper just managed to hang on for the win as Bernd Schneider launched a challenge in hés Mercedes. Soper's car was handling badly because of a broken under-tray. Lehto had opened up a 90-second lead during a mid-race downpour and joked: "I thought everyone else was using dry-weather tyres."

Round five result (Sun):

101 laps                      hr min sec
 1 Lehto/Soper    McLaren-BMW   4:01.54
 2 S'neider/Wurz  Mercedes-Benz @:00.14
 3 Wollek/Dalmas  Porsche 911   99 laps
 4 Kox/Ravaglia   McLaren-BMW   99 laps
 5 L'wig/Sch'mchr Mercedes-Benz 99 laps
 6 Goodwin/Ayles  McLaren F1    98 laps
 7 Kel'nrs/Chaves Porsche 911   98 laps
 8 Giroix/D'ltraz Lotus Elise   96 laps
 9 Wallace/Weaver Panoz         96 laps
10 M'tini/P'ctori Porsche 911   94 laps

INDYCAR (Toronto):- British drivers Dario Franchitti and Mark Blundell will occupy the front row after starring in qualifying. Franchitti claimed pole, while Blundell earned his best-ever CART starting position by steering his PacWest Mercedes to second on the grid. His previous best was at last week's Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland, where he began the race in third spot. Blundell said: "It's great for the UK. I don't think there have ever been two Brits on the front row of a CART race."

Mark Blundell held off Alex Zanardi to win the second CART race of his career. The 31-year-old Briton, in only his second season in the PPG CART World Series, started second and took the lead on the first lap. He hung on until the end of the 95-lap, 163.5-mile (263.1 kilometer) race as fellow F1 veteran Zanardi chipped away at his lead over the final 10 laps. Zanardi's best chance was on lap 91 of the 95, when he pulled behind Blundell as he tried to get past a lapped car.

 1 M Blundell GB  Reynard Merc  1:45:43
 2 A Zanardi  It  Reynard Honda @ .695s
 3 A Ribeiro  Brz Reynard Honda 95 laps
 4 M Andretti US  Swift Ford    95 laps
 5 S Pruett   US  Reynard Ford  95 laps
 6 M Gugelmin Brz Reynard Merc  95 laps
 7 J Vasser   US  Reynard Honda 95 laps
 8 R Boesel   Brz Reynard Ford  95 laps
 9 B Rahal    US  Reynard Ford  95 laps
10 P Tracy    Can Penske Merc   95 laps

22.07.97 - F1
The Portuguese Grand Prix, scheduled for November 9 at Estoril, has been scrapped - due to lack of interest from Formula One teams. It was originally scheduled for October 26 but replaced with the European GP after it appeared that required safety work at the track would not be finished. Ironically the circuit is now ready. FIA bosses said: "Following consultation with all the competing teams, it is clear there is no agreement to add an extra event."

Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella is to return to the Benetton Formula One team for the 1998 season. The driver has been "on loan" to Jordan for the current season. He said: "I am very pleased I will be driving for an Italian team. The people at Jordan have been great and I will do my best for the rest of the season." It would mean the team parting company with either Gerhard Berger or Jean Alesi, their current drivers, at the end of the season.

23.07.97 - F1: THE GERMAN GP
World champion Damon Hill is aiming to build on his Silverstone milestone, when he earned his first point for Arrows in front of an ecstatic crowd. Hill won last year's German Grand Prix and knows and likes the circuit. "It is said to be boring but there is something I like about hammering along between the trees," he said. "The long straights are impressive. There is a hell of a thrill coming into the chicane at high speed and braking really late."

Jordan have made aerodynamic changes to their cars ahead of the weekend action. The Silverstone-based team have developed the bodywork area around the front of the rear wheels and testing in Monza has proved successful. "The new bodywork will help the straight-line speed of the car and it will now be current for all circuits," said composite manager Tom Anderson. The drivers will also have to come to terms with the low grip and 30 per cent lower downforce levels at Hockenheim.

Rookie Jordan driver Ralf Schumacher will have his first grand prix chance in front of his home fans on Sunday. The younger brother of former world champion Michael has raced at Hockenheim in the ADAC Junior Formula Championship and in Formula Three. And his F1 record so far has put more experienced drivers in the shade. "I hope the fans will motivate me," he said. "After some bad luck, I have finished three races and won points in each, once when I was on the podium."

Hockenheim will bring back special memories for Jackie Stewart as his team competes in the German Grand Prix for the first time. Stewart competed in nine German races, won three - with his 1973 triumph the last of his 27 World Championship wins. He said: "The German Grand Prix has always been a major date. For me the race has a special meaning. It may not be suited to our cars but this Grand Prix will have special significance for me."

24.07.97 - F1
Gerhard Berger will leave Benetton when his contract expires at the end of 1997 But he has not decided if he will quit racing when the current season is over. "I definitely will not drive for Benetton next year," said the Austrian. Berger has missed the last three races because of sinus problems but makes his comeback in Sunday's German Grand Prix. Benetton's decision to hire Giancarlo Fisichella for next season had no bearing on Berger's decision.

World champion Damon Hill is determined not to price himself out of the Formula One market again. Some observers believe Hill would still be at Williams if he had not asked for a price hike for taking the title. And after an uncompetitive season at Arrows he looks set to join another team for next season. "Money is not the primary concern," said Hill. "It's a side issue almost. My aim is to find the most competitive package. I want to win races."

Alain Prost has been given the go-ahead to switch his team's headquarters from Magny-Cours to Versailles. The four-time world champion had threatened to pull out of Formula One if local authorities stood in his way. But Prost, who bought the Ligier-Mugen-Honda team from Benetton chief Flavio Briatore at the start of the year, has won planning approval. He wanted to move from the grand prix circuit site to be nearer Peugeot, who will supply his engines next season.

Michael Schumacher and younger brother Ralf lead the field after the opening sessions for their home grand prix. Ralf had the edge in his Jordan, clocking one minute, 46.196 seconds, while Michael was just a 10th of a second behind in his Ferrari. Both achieved their best times in the first session, Ralf spinning off in the second outing on a slippery track. Damon Hill was ninth fastest, Eddie Irvine 10th and David Coulthard 17th. Jacques Villeneuve was 16th.

Ralf Schumacher was pleased with his first taste of Formula One action on his home track. Schumacher, in his debut Formula One season, posted the fastest free session time before downpours made the track in Hockenheim unpredictable. "I wish it was Saturday," Schumacher admitted. "Even so, I'm happy to be first, especially on my first run in Formula One at home." And the Jordan driver added: "We should be competitive in qualifying."

Patrick Head has hinted that German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen will remain with Williams in 1998, despite a disappointing season so far. The Williams technical director said: "As far as I understand, the two drivers we have now are the two driverswe will have next year. Heinz-Harald has a two-year contract and I understand we have taken up an option on Jacques Villeneuve. I don't want to make changes, in light of the contract with the two drivers."

McLaren's Mika Hakkinen will be hoping the bad luck that has dogged him recently will be confined to practice. The Finn looked set for victory at Silverstone before car problems forced a retirement and he suffered an engine failure in practice in Germany. "The mechanics worked hard to change the engine and we were able to work through the second session," he said, after finishing eighth fastest. Team-mate David Coulthard was 17th and said: "I'm quite happy with the car."

Friday's practice times:      mins secs
 1 R Schumacher  Ger Jordan    1:46.196
 2 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari   1:46.322
 3 J Herbert     GB  Sauber    1:46.517
 4 R Bar'chello  Brz Stewart   1:46.526
 5 N Fontana     Arg Sauber    1:46.706
 6 P Diniz       Brz Arrows    1:46.873
 7 S Nakano      Jpn Prost     1:47.143
 8 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren   1:47.386
 9 D Hill        GB  Arrows    1:47.542
10 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari   1:47.594
11 J Verstappen  Hol Tyrrell   1:47.720
12 J Magnussen   Den Stewart   1:47.769
13 J Trulli      It  Prost     1:47.784
14 G Berger      Aut Benetton  1:47.887
15 J Alesi       Fr  Benetton  1:48.455
16 J Villeneuve  Can Williams  1:48.639
17 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren   1:48.648
18 H Frentzen    Ger Williams  1:48.958
19 G Fisichella  It  Jordan    1:49.010
20 T Marques     Brz Minardi   1:49.563
21 M Salo        Fin Tyrrell   1:49.831
22 U Katayama    Jpn Minardi   1:51.058

INDYCAR:- Mark Blundell is aiming for a hat-trick of wins on Sunday and his second triumph in a row. The leading Briton in the CART Series was fifth in this event last year, with the Michigan Super Speedway possibly the fastest track in the world. The US 500 is a 500-mile distance covering 250 laps of the oval circuit. "I am going into this race weekend with the momentum of my two recent wins. But when you're in the car for nearly three hours you must keep focused," he said.

F3:- Warren Hughes will contest the last eight rounds of the British Formula Three Championship after being signed up by Portman Racing. He replaces Darren Turner, who had a frustrating first half of the season.

Gerhard Berger made a spectacular return to action as he took pole to deny Michael and Ralf Schumacher top spot on their home circuit. The Austrian, back after missing three races following a sinus op and set to retire at the end of the season, last took pole almost two years ago. He set a fastest time of 1:42.086 and then improved it to 1:41.873. Giancarlo Fisichella took second spot with Michael Schumacher back in fourth and Jacques Villeneuve a distant ninth.

Damon Hill paid tribute to Gerhard Berger after the Austrian veteran grabbed a shock pole position. Hill, hoping to build on his first point at Silverstone, had to settle for 13th fastest - but was thrilled by Berger's performance. Hill said: "I'm very, very pleased for Gerhard. He's still got it and that's good to see because he's older than me! I'm quite pleased with our performance - there's a good balance and we're extracting as much from it as we can."

Gerhard Berger was delighted with his pole - but played down his chances of winning on Sunday. He said: "It is a boost to my confidence and also for the team. We've had a very difficult time this year. "But the race will be very different and I will be very glad to finish on the podium." Giancarlo Fisichella, second on the grid, denied talk of a rift with Ralf Schumacher, saying: "We are friends now. There are no problems."

Saturday's qualifying times:  mins secs
 1 G Berger      Aut Benetton  1:41.873
 2 G Fisichella  It  Jordan    1:41.896
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren   1:42.034
 4 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari   1:42.181
 5 H Frentzen    Ger Williams  1:42.421
 6 J Alesi       Fr  Benetton  1:42.493
 7 R Schumacher  Ger Jordan    1:42.498
 8 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren   1:42.687
 9 J Villeneuve  Can Williams  1:42.967
10 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari   1:43.209
11 J Trulli      It  Prost     1:43.226
12 R Barrichello Brz Stewart   1:43.272
13 D Hill        GB  Arrows    1:43.361
14 J Herbert     GB  Sauber    1:43.660
15 J Magnussen   Den Stewart   1:43.927
16 P Diniz       Brz Arrows    1:44.069
17 S Nakano      Jpn Prost     1:44.112
18 N Fontana     Arg Sauber    1:44.552
19 M Salo        Fin Tyrrell   1:45.372
20 J Verstappen  Hol Tyrrell   1:45.811
21 T Marques     Brz Minardi   1:45.942
22 U Katayama    Jpn Minardi   1:56.499

Williams technical director Patrick Head has warned his team they must sharpen up or face surrendering their Formula One dominance to Ferrari. Head, who confirmed Williams will keep drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz Harald Frentzen in 1998, has concerns. He said: "We have not got the best out of the car but that's between ourselves and the drivers. We have to get together as a team to turn it round. It has been a weak year in relation to what we want to achieve."

INDYCAR:- Scott Pruett's Michigan luck resurfaced as he claimed pole for Sunday's race. Pruett won an 800km race in Michigan in 1995 and led the Marlboro 500 last July until engine failure cost him the win with nine laps left. He was five hundreths of a second faster than Brazil's Mauricio Gugelmin and his time of 30.788 seconds gave him the third pole position of his career. England's Mark Blundell was 11th fastest and Scot Dario Franchitti will be 13th on the grid.

Saturday's qualifying times:     secs
 1 S Pruett     US  Reynard     30.788
 2 M Gugelmin   Brz Reynard     30.836
 3 R Boesel     Fr  Reynard     30.932
 4 J Vasser     US  Reynard     30.967
 5 P Johnstone  US  Reynard     31.013
 6 B Rahal      US  Reynard     31.170
 7 A Zanardi    It  Reynard     31.176
 8 B Herta      US  Reynard     31.278
 9 A Ribiero    Brz Reynard     31.313
10 G de Ferran  Brz Reynard     31.366
11 M Blundell   Eng Reynard     31.392
13 D Franchitti Sco Reynard     31.397


Result after 45 laps:         hr min sec
 1 G Berger     Aut Benetton   1:20:59
 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari   @  17.52s
 3 M Hakkinen   Fin McLaren   @  24.77
 4 J Trulli     It  Prost     @  27.16
 5 R Schumacher Ger Jordan    @  29.99
 6 J Alesi      Fr  Benetton  @  34.71
 7 S Nakano     Jpn Prost     @   1:19
 8 D Hill       GB  Arrows       1 lap
 9 N Fontana    Arg Sauber       1 lap
10 J Verstappen Hol Tyrrell      1 lap

11 G Fisichella It  Jordan     40 laps
12 J Villeneuve Can Williams   33
13 R Bar'chello Brz Stewart    33
14 M Salo       Fin Tyrrell    33
15 J Magnussen  Den Stewart    27
16 U Katayama   Jpn Minardi    23
17 J Herbert    GB  Sauber      8
18 P Diniz      Brz Arrows      8
19 D Coulthard  GB  McLaren     1
20 HH Frentzen  Ger Williams    1
21 E Irvine     GB  Ferrari     1
22 T Marques    Brz Minardi     0
Gerhard Berger bounced back in glorious style to triumph - three years after his last F1 win at the same track. The Austrian veteran, out for three races and set to quit at the end of the season, made it a day of celebration for Benetton with a nerveless display. He carved open a big lead and timed his two-stop strategy perfectly, coming out of the pits twice to regain the lead. Michael Schumacher took second after Giancarlo Fisichella had a blown tyre, while Jacques Villeneuve spun out.

Emotional Gerhard Berger had to wipe away a tear as he felt that winning feeling again in Germany. The 37-year-old, still coming to terms with the death of his father two weeks ago, overcame all the odds to give Benetton a long-overdue success. He said: "This has been one of the most emotional weekends of my life and today is one of the most memorable and special races. I was surprised today that I felt so fit after a long break."

Eddie Irvine and Heinz-Harald Frentzen were both forced into an early retirement after a first lap incident. Irvine had to jump out of his Ferrari when the engine caught fire after he crawled back to the pits on three tyres. Frentzen saw his woe continue when he retired the Williams-Renault at the end of the first lap after he and Irvine had locked their tyres together. Frentzen criticised Irvine for the manouevre but Irvine insisted he was not at fault.

Damon Hill's fortunes continued to improve with eighth place in the Arrows. Hill's fine start was ruined when he had to make a pit-stop on lap 11, dropping five places to 15th. The world champion, though, quickly overtook Tyrrell's Jos Verstappen, as he attempted to build on his first point at Silverstone. He was the only British driver to finish as Eddie Irvine and David Coulthard retired early on and Johnny Herbert clashed with Pedro Diniz.

Damon Hill confessed to being disappointed despite battling on to secure eighth place. He said: "I thought we'd struggle to be honest but I was pleasantly surprised. The car was pretty quick. I was completely stuffed by Saubers all the way round. I lost so much time trying to get past them. It's a bit of a shame. When you see the guys up there on the podium at the end you feel a little left out. There's nothing to celebrate at the end."

 1 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   53 pts
 2 J Villeneuve  Can  Williams  43
 3 J Alesi       Fr   Benetton  22
 4 G Berger      Aut  Benetton  20
 5 HH Frentzen   Ger  Williams  19
 6 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari   18
 7 O Panis       Fr   Prost     15
 8 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   14
 9 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   13
10 R Schumacher  Ger  Jordan     9
11 G Fisichella  It   Jordan     8
12 J Herbert     GB   Sauber     7
13 R Barrichello Brz  Stewart    6

 1 Ferrari               71 points
 2 Williams-Renault      62
 3 Benetton-Renault      46
 4 McLaren-Mercedes      28
 5 Prost-Mugen-Honda     19
 6 Jordan-Peugeot        17
 7 Sauber-Petronas        8
 8 Stewart-Ford           6
 9 Tyrrell-Ford           2
10 Arrows-Yamaha          1

INDYCAR:- Alex Zanardi charged back from an early penalty to win in smothering heat and humidity at Michigan Speedway. The victory was Zanardi's third of the season and his sixth in 28 PPG CART World Series starts. His first oval track win boosted Zanardi into the series points lead, six points ahead of Paul Tracy, who finished a lap down in fourth. Zanardi said: "There were a lot of people who said I couldn't win an 800km race. This proves they were wrong."

Sunday's result:
 1 A Zanardi    It  Reynard   250 laps
 2 M Blundell   Eng Reynard   250
 3 G de Ferran  Brz Reynard   249
 4 P Tracy      US  Penske    249
 5 B Herta      US  Reynard   248
 6 M Gugelmin   Brz Reynard   244
 7 D Vitolo     US  Lola      242
 8 M Papis      It  Reynard   241
 9 H M'shita    Jpn Reynard   241
10 G Salles     Brz Reynard   240
19 D Franchitti Sco Reynard   101

28.07.97 - F1
Ralf Schumacher has confirmed that he will stay with the Jordan team for next year's FI World Championship. The younger brother of double former World Champion Michael, will see out his two-year contract with the Silverstone-based outfit. Schumacher has had a mixed debut season - the highlight so far was when he finished third to Jacques Villeneuve in the Argentinian Grand Prix. "I signed a two-year contract and am happy to respect it," said Schumacher.

TOURING CARS:- Rickard Rydell set the quickest time in Wednesday's official test session at Knockhill. The Swede beat his own qualifying record by four-hundredths of a second and was five-hundredths of a second quicker than Frank Biela. Rydell is bidding for Volvo's first win of the season on Sunday. Anthony Reid was the top Scot in eighth place while his Nissan teammate David Leslie was 11th and John Cleland 12th. Championship leader Alain Menu was 5th.

BTTC TESTING, Knockhill       mins:secs
 1 R Rydell     Volvo S40      0:52.749
 2 F Biela      Audi A4 Q      0:52.811
 3 J Bintcliffe Audi A4 Q      0:52.898
 4 J Thompson   Honda Accord   0:52.915
 5 A Menu       Renault Laguna 0:52.940
 6 J Plato      Renault Laguna 0:53.229
 7 P Watts      Peugeot 406    0:53.335
 8 A Reid       Nissan Primera 0:53.355
 9 K Burt       Volvo S40      0:53.367
10 G Tarquini   Honda Accord   0:53.392

F3:- Warren Hughes completed his first test with Formula Three outfit Portman Racing at Pembrey. Hughes completed over 100 laps with no major problems.

F1:- Eddie Irvine will continue to drive for Ferrari next season. The Italian outfit issued a statement saying: "We have exercised the existing option with the grand prix driver Eddie Irvine in respect of 1998." The move ends months of speculation about the Ulsterman's future after he was slated by the Italian media. Number two to Michael Schumacher, Irvine has suffered reliability problems and accidents this season but is sixth in the drivers' championship.

Eddie Irvine has hinted that Ferrari have offered him an improved deal for the 1998 season. Talking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: "Everyone wants more money and it is better in my bank account than theirs. It's the best situation for me to stay with Ferrari as Michael Schumacher and I have similar ways of driving and setting up the car. Maybe now we can forget about next season and concentrate on winning the World Championship."

TOURING CARS (Knockhill):- Frank Biela topped the official testing times in his four-wheel drive Audi ahead of Sunday's rounds 15 and 16. The current champion lapped the circuit in 52.452 seconds, nearly three 10ths of a second faster than Wednesday's best time from Rikard Rydell. All the leading drivers improved on their times except Rydell, who suffered transmission problems. Title-chasing Alain Menu was fourth fastest in his Renault and Honda driver James Thompson was second fastest.

Thursday's testing times:     mins:secs
 1 F Biela      Audi A4 Q      0:52.452
 2 J Thompson   Honda Accord   0:52.571
 3 J Bintcliffe Audi A4 Q      0:52.575
 4 A Menu       Renault Laguna 0:52.771
 5 R Rydell     Volvo S40      0:52.800
 6 P Radisich   Ford Mondeo    0:53.014
 7 G Tarquini   Honda Accord   0:53.023
 8 A Reid       Nissan Primera 0:53.031
 9 J Plato      Renault Laguna 0:53.144
10 D Leslie     Nissan Primera 0:53.172

NEW ZEALAND RALLY:- Colin McRae moves into the ninth round of the series after a two-month break looking for victory at a venue where he has excelled in the past. The Subaru driver won the Rally of New Zealand in 1993, 1994 and 1995. The event, beginning on Saturday, is a qualifying round for the Asia-Pacific series and the World Championship. In the Asia-Pacific Championship, McRae and team-mate Kenneth Eriksson are first and second, while in the world event McRae is behind Tommi Makinen.

ULSTER RALLY:- Alister McRae bids to claim his third straight Mobil British series win of the season at the weekend but keeping his overall lead is the main target. The Scot has an eight-point advantage over Gwyndaf Evans but is set to take it easy in his Volkswagen Golf. "The Golf is more than a match for the others but I will take things cautiously," he said. "The Ulster roads can be slippery and it is easy to make a mistake so I'll drive with the championship in mind."