01.04.98CHAMP CARS:- British Indycar driver Mark Blundell is aiming to open his season's account in the CART FedEx Championship on Saturday The legendary California seafront circuit of Long Beach provides the first non-oval event of the campaign for the Toyota Grand Prix. Blundell, among the title favourites, has disappointed in the opening two races, finishing 10th and 12th. "Oval racing is exciting but it will be nice to steer in both directions again" the former Formula One driver said.
F.PALMER AUDI:- Felipe Maluhy has completed the line-up of 24 cars for the inaugural Formula Palmer Audi season. "Felipe was really in demand back in Brazil for 1998 and I'm delighted that he has chosen to race in FPA," said Jonathan Palmer.
02.04.98 TOURING CARS: Testing times for Brands Hatch (Thurs): secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 44.462 2 J Thompson GB Honda 44.530 3 A Menu Swi Renault 44.632 4 J Plato GB Renault 44.735 5 D Leslie GB Nissan 44.779 6 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 44.855 7 Y Muller Fr Audi 44.859 8 T Harvey GB Peugeot 44.892 9 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 44.919 10 P Kox Hol Honda 44.964Official testing at Brands Hatch on Thursday showed that this year's British Touring Cars Championship will be the closest for several seasons. After two days of timed sessions, seven different manufacturers occupied the top eight places. Sweden's Richard Rydell was quickest in his Volvo S40 in 44.462secs with James Thompson's Honda just seven-hundredths of a second slower. Reigning champion Alain Menu was third fastest for Renault.
F3 (Silverstone):- Enrique Bernoldi is looking for his third win in a row in round three of the 1998 campaign on Sunday. The Brazilian was victorious at Donington and Thruxton and will be out to extend his 12-point lead. Martin O'Connell has twice finished runner-up to Bernoldi, while Bernoldi's Promatecme Dallara-Renault team-mate Marc Hynes has been quick in testing. Meanwhile, Paul Stewart Racing pair Luciano Burti and Mario Haberfeld are out to prove other Brazilians can win.
BRITISH GTs:- The 1998 campaign begins on Sunday, with last year's class-winning Porsche GT1, driven by John Morrison and John Greasley expected to lead the way. Steve O'Rourke, in his BMW V12-powered McLaren F1GTR could also do well. Support races at the meeting include the Dunlop National Saloon Cup, Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula Vauxhall. There will also be an appearance by the 760mph Thrust SSC - the world's fastest car in a straight line - which will do a slow lap of honour.
GRANITE CITY RALLY:- The Printagraph Granite City Rally begins in Aberdeen tonight and championship leader Roger Duckworth faces a strong Scottish challenge. Subaru Impreza driver Duckworth won the opening round of the season in February but he will be up against five former winners of this event. Brian Lyall, Jimmy McRae, Andy Horne, Murray Grierson and Graham Middleton are all taking part. Only one Englishman has triumphed in the last eight years.
GLIDDON STAGES RALLY:- Steve Winter is aiming for a second successive win in the Gliddons Somerset Stages of the series on Saturday. However, 1996 victor Derek Cossey has forsaken his Metro 6R4 for an Escort Cosworth in a bid to claim another Somerset triumph. Mitsubishi Lancer driver Theo Bengry and Ian Joel in his Escort Cosworth will also be targeting glory. Paul Wedgbury leads the Gold Star Championship ahead of the fourth round of the event.
CHAMP CARS (Long Beach):- Mark Blundell finished just out of the points in 13th at this circuit last season but is hoping to have better luck this year. He slipped from a top-six position in 1997 after a clutch problem ensured he had to make an extra pitstop. "I tend not to look back on the first half of last year as it was not particularly good for me," he admitted. "My focus is very much on scoring points at every race this year. I will have to stay out of trouble."
04.04.98 F3 (Silverstone):- Leading qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 M Haberfeld Mugen-Honda 1:25.924 2 L Burti Mugen-Honda 1:26.137 3 M Hynes Renault 1:26.684 4 B Collins Speiss Opel 1:26.769 5 E Bernoldi Renault 1:26.872 6 W Hughes Renault 1:27.168 7 J Spence Renault 1:27.194 8 M O'Connell Toyota 1:27.217 9 Y Igarashi Mugen-Honda 1:27.312 10 R Mauricio Mugen-Honda 1:27.531Paul Stewart Racing duo Mario Haberfeld and Luciano Burti were fastest in qualifying ahead of Sunday's race. Haberfeld took pole in his Dallara Mugen-Honda with seconds remaining in the final session after Burti had led after the first run-out. Team manager Bruce Jenkins said: "I am delighted to have both guys up front in only the third race of the season. It was a lottery as far as the weather was concerned. We took a gamble on the settings and it paid off."
GRANITE CITY RALLY:- Brian Lyall delighted his home fans by becoming the first man for 21 years to win the Granite Rally twice in a row. Lyall had been battling with fellow Scots Jimmy Paterson and Andy Horne for most of the day before his two rivals fell away. Lyall ultimately won the Aberdeen event in his Subaru by two-and-a-half minutes from Roger Duckworth. Barbara Armstrong won Formula Two in a SEAT Ibiza Kit Car and Andy Kelly took the showroom Group N in an Escort.
Final positions after stage 14:Penalty 1 Lyall/Forrest Subaru 1:10:57 2 D'wrth/B'field Subaru 1:13:12 3 Smith/James Escort Cos 1:13:23 4 Pat'son/C'bell Subaru 1:13:25 5 P'kirk/Evans MG Metro 1:13:41 6 H'rison/J'nkns MG Metro 1:13:44 7 Horne/Howie MG Metro 1:13:46 8 Carty/Bell MG Metro 1:13:56 9 Grierson/Merry Subaru 1:14:18 10 Kelly/Campbell Escort Cos 1:14:34GLIDDON STAGES RALLY:- Steve Winter won the Gliddons Somerset Stages for the second year running. Theo Bengry had opened up an early lead in his Mitsubishi E3 but Winter plugged away to take the glory after 12 stages in his MG Metro 6R4. Bengry blew his chance after a disastrous tyre choice for the Porlock Toll Road stages of the event and Winter capitalised on his mistake. Tenth spot made Kevin Stevens the first English rally champion in his Group N Escort Cosworth.
Gliddons Somerset stages Rally: Top 10 after 1 stage: mins secs 1 T Bengry Mitsubishi 9.53 2 S Winter MG Metro 10.04 3 I Joel Escort C'swrth 10.15 4 J Ballinger Opel Manta 10.20 5 S Crook Ford Sierra 10:23 6 A Rowe Peugeot 10:26 7 A Kent Peugeot 10:29 8 R Spry Ford Escort 10:31 9 M Meadows Proton Compact 10:32 10 M Price Ford Escort 10:33 Rally result (Sat): mins secs 1 S Winter MG Metro 48.56 2 T Bengry Mitsubishi 49.19 3 J Ballinger Opel Manta 50.18 4 D Cossey Escort C'swrth 50.47 5 A Kent Peugeot 50.56 6 M Price Ford Escort 51.28 7 D Hutchinson Peugeot 51.41 8 R Spry Escort V8 52.49 9 P Wedgebury Peugeot 52.50 10 K Stevens Escort Cos 52.51 CHAMP CARS (Long Beach) Friday qualifying times: lap time 1 B Herta US Ford Cos 50.945 2 B Rahal US Ford Cos 51.036 3 A Fernandez Mex Ford Cos 51.057 4 G Salles Chl Ford Cos 51.076 5 G de Ferran Brz Honda 51.092 6 M Andretti US Ford Cos 51.293 7 S Pruett US Ford 51.302 8 D Franchitti GB Honda 51.366 9 P Tracy US Honda 51.391 10 A Unser Jnr US Mercedes 51.426 23 M Blundell GB Mercedes 52.196Britain's Mark Blundell was 23rd fastest after the first qualifying session for Sunday's race. The ex-Formula One star was disappointed and said: "It has not been an easy day for us. We have been struggling to get a good balance and we have not got there yet. Long Beach is a very twisty, bumpy and tight circuit. We have another session, so I am confident we will make progress." Scot Dario Franchitti was eighth quickest.
05.04.98 PRIVILEGE GT CH'SHIP (Silverstone) Provisional results - race 6 (Sun): Mins Secs Laps 1 Greasley GT1 Porsche 50:05.601 33 2 O'Rourke GT1 McLaren 50:09.430 33 3 Morris GT2 Lotus 50:10.018 32 4 Flux GT1 Lister 50:23.972 32 5 Thyrring GT1 Porsche 50:35.799 32 6 Luby GT2 Chrysler 51:01.864 32 7 Quaife GT1 Ford 51:06.122 32 8 Hewland GT1 Lister 51:07.355 32 9 Lister GT2 Porsche 50:13.507 31 10 Day GT2 Porsche 50:20.052 31F3:- Mario Haberfeld of Paul Stewart racing held off Enrique Bernoldi to take the the third round of the championship and break the championship leader's run. After qualifying on pole in his Dallara Mugen-Honda, Haberfeld dropped to third on the first lap before working his way back to the front. Bernoldi moved into second at a quarter distance and pressed Haberfeld during the second half of the 20 lap race. Haberfeld held on to break Bernoldi's chance of a hat-trick of wins.
CHAMP CARS:- Scotland's Dario Franchitti will start Sunday's race in California from eighth place on the grid. American Bryan Herta claimed pole after Saturday's qualifying session was hit by rain and Friday's times could not be improved upon. Franchitti opens the race from the fourth row in his Kool Green Reynard Honda after posting a time of 51.366. England's Mark Blundell qualified 23rd fastest for the third round of the Fedex Championship series in 52.196.
Final qualifying times: lap time 1 B Herta US Ford Cos 50.945 2 B Rahal US Ford Cos 51.036 3 A Fernandez Mex Ford Cos 51.057 4 G Salles Chl Ford Cos 51.076 5 G de Ferran Brz Honda 51.092 6 M Andretti US Ford Cos 51.293 7 S Pruett US Ford 51.302 8 D Franchitti GB Honda 51.366 9 P Tracy US Honda 51.391 10 A Unser Jnr US Mercedes 51.426 23 M Blundell GB Mercedes 52.196 07.04.98F1: THE ARGENTINE GP
Tyrrell will try out wider front tyres on Sunday and are confident the change will help Ricardo Rosset and Toranosuke Takagi finish the race. Gearbox damage ended Rosset's previous two races but he insisted: "I did enough laps in Brazil to know that the car feels in good race trim. There is reason to feel optimistic about the rest of the season." Takagi's engine also failed in Brazil but he added: "Hopefully, I can complete a full distance in Argentina."
Argentina's Buenos Aires circuit is 2.64 miles long (4.259km) and the race is 72 laps. Buenos Aires used to be the traditional opener for the season but it lost its world championship status in 1981. After major changes and redevelopment, made a return in 1995. Italy's Alberto Ascari won the first Argentine Grand Prix in 1953. National hero Juan Manuel Fangio then claimed four straight wins.
Arrows driver Mika Salo is not a fan of the Buenos Aires track. "I think of it as a Mickey Mouse circuit," he said. "It is a very modern circuit, very bumpy, with only first and second gear corners to be experienced." Prost star Jarno Trulli says the circuit reminds him of a karting track because of its small size and the succession of slow corners. "I hope to qualify well because it is difficult to overtake," he said. "I really hope to finish."
1997 race result: 1 J Villeneuve Can Williams 2 E Irvine GB Ferrari 3 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 4 J Herbert GB Sauber 5 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 6 G Berger Aut Benetton Fastest lap: G Berger 1 min 27.961 secsRound three of the season takes place on Sunday, with McLaren threatening to dominate the championship as they did 10 years ago. Not only were Alain Prost and the late Ayrton Senna making McLaren world- beaters but they also had their own private battle to be number one. The rivalry between Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard appears tame in comparison to their predecessors. However, you can be sure that the relaxed smiles hide the same ambitions.
Mika Hakkinen is chasing his fourth straight win on Sunday ` after this season's Australia and Brazil triumphs and the 1997 win at Jerez. McLaren team-mate David Coulthard was runner-up in those three races but will be looking to taste victory himself. Hakkinen said: "Obviously I go into the race with plenty of confidence, although I think it will our toughest race of the season so far. "I think round such a tight circuit it will be a lot closer."
World champion Jacques Villeneuve needs a repeat of last year's victory in Argentina if he is to peg back some points from the magnificent McLarens. However, he does not rate the circuit and revealed: "You do not get any speed at this track. "It is just corner after corner, with hairpins and tight chicanes, although there are a few nice bends." Williams team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen added: "I am sure we can make another step forward before Imola."
Michael Schumacher is hoping that developments to his Ferrari will soon put him in touch with the McLarens. The German was third at Interlagos and admitted: "We did the best we could do with the equipment we had. Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do if we are going to put up a serious challenge. We have new tyres coming for Argentina and we may try a new exhaust system in testing, although we will not run it in a race before Imola."
TOURING CARS:- The 1998 British Touring Car Championship begins on Sunday and Monday and the season could be one of the most competitive for years. Thruxton is the quickest circuit in Britain, with the BTCC qualifying lap record average speed exceeding 111mph. Alain Menu will be defending his title while ex-Formula One star Nigel Mansell will have three drives for Ford. The new one-shot showdown qualifying system and feature race pitstops will be tried for the first time.
Current champion Alain Menu is aiming to make history by becoming the first driver of the modern era to win back-to back titles. "I am fired up and waiting to go," said the Swiss star. "My aim is to defend my crown but it will not be easy. The Laguna is now entering its fifth season and some of the others will have made up ground over the winter. However, Thruxton is one of the tracks where a driver can make a real difference to his car's performance."
Honda, Volvo and Audi look set to be the teams capable of stopping Renault taking the glory this year after shining in pre-season testing. Former world sportscar champion Derek Warwick's Triple 8 team have revitalised the Vauxhall Vectra. He revealed: "We are not yet shouting from the rooftops but we are much more confident going into this season." Warwick lives near Thruxton and added: "We want to repay the faith Vauxhall have shown and be on the podium."
Gianni Morbidelli is relishing the prospect of facing ex-Formula One team- mate Nigel Mansell this year. The pair were team-mates with Ferrari nearly 10 years ago but are rivals in the BTCC. Mansell will make three appearances for Ford, while Morbidelli will contest the whole 26-race series for Volvo. "Nigel was like a second father to me during our time at Ferrari," said Morbidelli. "I am really looking forward to driving against him."
Nissan go into their second BTCC season with hopes high after David Leslie produced promising times at a recent test session at Brands Hatch. General manager Alec Poole said: "Last year was our first season and we had to develop the car as we went along. This year we have put more emphasis on pre-season testing." Leslie's team-mate Anthony Reid added: "By the end of last year the Primera was closer to the championship-winning Laguna than any other car."
Independent entry DC Cook Motorsport will begin their maiden campaign with hopes high of creating some upsets. Norwegian Tommy Rustad has reguarly driven his Renault Laguna into the top 10 during pre-season testing. Team manager Paul Haigh said: "He is a natural born racer and is very quick. He just loves to drive. If you consider he has been among the manufacturer-backed works test teams when they have more powerful engines, he must be doing something right."
CHAMP CARS:- Scotland's Dario Franchitti came with a flying finish to claim second place behind Alex Zanardi. Franchitti, driving a Reynard-Honda like Zanardi, recorded his best career finish after starting in eighth place. Both drivers came with a late burst to pass long-time leader Bryn Herta with two laps to go. Mark Blundell also put in a strong surge to take seventh in a Reynard- Mercedes after starting from 23rd position on the grid.
08.04.98F1:- Jordan insist there is no crisis within the Silverstone-based team, despite Damon Hill's lack of success this year. The former world champion was tipped to give Jordan their first grand prix win but he has not won any points and was disqualified after the Brazil race. His car was found to be underweight and commercial director Ian Phillips said: "Everybody was gutted after Brazil and every aspect must be closely looked at. Nobody is pressing any panic buttons. We believe in ourselves."
ISRS:- The RAC Tourist Trophy at Donington Park will be Britain's only round in the FIA-sanctioned International Sports Series for the next three years. This year's race, which is run over two-and-a-half hours, will take place on July 19.
F.RENAULT (Thruxton):- Britain's Doug Bell was second fastest behind Brazilian Aluizio Coelho in testing ahead of round one of the championship on Monday. Gaving Jones' Ermolli headed the Star Cup division for old cars in sixth.
Leading times: 1 A Coelho Brz Tatuus 1:14.729 2 D Bell GB Tatuus 1:15.600 3 V Meira Brz Van Diemen 1:15.608 4 T Sri'chvanon Th Tatuus 1:15.988 5 P Edwards US Tatuus 1:16.354 6 G Jones GB Ermolli 1:16.690RENAULT SPIDER CUP:- David Shaw was fastest in testing for Monday's opening round of the series. Shaw is one of six former Thruxton winners in the competition. Spider newcomer Duncan Vercoe was fourth fastest at the Hampshire circuit.
Leading times: min secs 1 D Shaw 1:25.643 2 N Hart 1:26.268 3 J Hunter 1:26.333 4 D Vercoe 1:26.781 5 S Hill 1:27.051 6 D Henderson 1:27.294 09.04.98 - F1World champion Jacques Villeneuve has to kickstart his defence in Argentina this Sunday if he is to have a chance of retaining his title. Villeneuve is already 18 points behind championship leader Mika Hakkinen but he said: "I will never give up the chase for the championship. I am looking forward to using the new Goodyear tyre in Argentina and am sure we can make another step forward." Villeneuve claimed an important victory in Buenos Aires 12 months ago.
10.04.98F1: THE ARGENTINE GP
Friday's leading free practice times: mins secs 1 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:28.130 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:29.114 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:29.488 4 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:29.610 5 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:29.781 6 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:29.845 7 T Takagi Jpn Tyrrell 1:30.054 8 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 1:30.317 9 D Hill GB Jordan 1:30.645 10 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:30.859 11 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:30.963 12 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:31.081 13 O Panis Fr Prost 1:31.297 14 J Trulli It Prost 1:31.428 15 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:31.727 16 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 1:31.761 17 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:31.850 18 M Salo Fin Arrows 1:32.257 19 P Diniz Brz Arrows 1:32.660 20 S Nakano Jpn Minardi 1:33.390 21 E Tuero Arg Minardi 1:33.731 22 J Magnussen Den Stewart 1:34.829TOURING CARS:- Peugeot drivers Tim Harvey and Paul Radisich have high hopes for the weekend's opening rounds of the BTCC at Thruxton. With heavy rain forecast on race day, the Peugeot pair have much confidence in the 406, which has a good track record in the wet. "Judging from the conditions predicted and the recent test times, I think the team has a good chance," said Radisich. Qualifying takes place on Easter Sunday with rounds one and two on Monday.
Thursday's official testing times: mins secs 1 J Thompson GB Honda 1:16.54 2 A Menu Swi Renault 1:16.89 3 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:17.11 4 J Plato GB Renault 1:17.17 5 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 1:17.51 6 W Hoy GB Ford 1:17.57 7 T Harvey GB Peugeot 1:17.59 8 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:17.62 9 A Reid GB Nissan 1:17.73 10 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:17.74 11.04.98F1:- THE ARGENTINE GP
Scottish star David Coulthard was delighted that his title ambitions are back on track after he claimed pole for Sunday's race. "It is a great feeling to be back on pole," he admitted. "It almost feels like a race victory rather than just having the right to start a few metres ahead. It is what I wanted because it is frustrating coming second all the time. What I need now is to ensure I come out of the first corner in front."
Jordan's Ralf Schumacher will be fifth on the grid for Sunday's race after a superb qualifying session. "This is a great result," he said. "I feel annoyed with myself as well as happy because I came so close to doing even better." His Jordan team-mate Damon Hill was far from pleased with ninth place. "I am pleased for Ralf but I am not happy with my own performance," he said. "I threw away my last lap, which would have been quicker."
Saturday's qualifying times: mins secs 1 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:25.852 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:26.251 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:26.632 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:26.780 5 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:26.827 6 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 1:26.876 7 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:26.941 8 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:27.198 9 D Hill GB Jordan 1:27.483 10 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:27.836 11 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:27.839 12 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:28.016 13 T Tagaki Jpn Tyrrell 1:28.811 14 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:29.249 15 O Panis Fr Prost 1:29.320 16 J Trulli It Prost 1:29.352 17 M Salo Fin Arrows 1:29.617 18 P Diniz Brz Arrows 1:30.022 19 S Nakano Jpn Minardi 1:30.054 20 E Tuero Arg Minardi 1:30.158 21 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 1:30.437 22 J Magnussen Den Stewart 1:31.178TOUR OF EPYNT RALLY:- John Price won the event for the second year in a succession. The rally was curtailed by snow but Price arrived back at the finish 10 seconds ahead of Tony Davies. Conditions forced the departure of Tony Jenetta and John Brodie, who both suffered accidents on the opener as the tarmac stages were rendered treacherous Chris Griffiths had to retire in his Subaru because of transmission failure, while Steve Hendy decided to head for home for fear of the dangerous track.
Result: mins secs 1 J Price Metro 43:32 2 T Davies Metro 43:42 3 C Wood Metro 45:10 4 D Turnbull Escort 45:46 5 T Rooke Escort 46:36 6 S Allen Metro 47:35 F3000 Race result from Oschersleben:hr min sec 1 S Sarrazin Fr Apomatox 1:24.52.38 2 N Heidfeld Ger West Comp 1:25.03.66 3 P Ruberti It Prema P 1:25.25.60 4 J Davies GB DAMS 1:25.29.87 5 T Biagi It Coloni M 1:25.32.88 6 C Sauvage Fr GP Racing 1:25.42.85 7 G Mazzacane SA Astromaga 1:25.45.68 8 J Watt Den Den BA 1:26.12.80 9 B Godin Can Durango F 1:26.14.74 10 R Aguas * Por AS Racing 1:24.56.38 * One lap down 12.04.98F1: THE ARGENTINE GP
David Coulthard has blasted Michael Schumacher after the Scot's hopes of victory ended after a collision with the German. "I was angry," said Coulthard. "I have only got one point from a weekend that could have brought me 10 and that is a bitter pill to swallow. I do not think it was up to me at that instance to give way to him. He should have backed off to avoid contact. I do not believe it is in the spirit of Formula One."
Michael Schumacher was rightly blamed for his antics in Jerez last season but insists he is blameless after his colision with David Coulthard. The Scot drifted off the racing line at the Curvon corner on lap five but as he tried to close the door on the German he was hit from behind. He dropped to sixth and Schumacher said: "He left no room to go but I did not want to lift off the pedal. The car was damaged after that which made it not nice to drive."
World champion Jacques Villeneuve's hopes ended after he clipped the back of David Coulthard's McLaren. The Canadian was forced to retire but Coulthard went on to finish sixth after starting the race on pole. It was a disaster for constructors' champions Williams as Heinz-Harald Frentzen could only finish ninth and so they finished without any points. Rookie Alexander Wurz looked set for third spot until he locked his wheels late on and dropped to fourth.
Eddie Irvine earned a superb third place after being in agony for much of the 72-lap race. The aluminium bar he had fitted into the cockpit to stop his knees knocking forced his way between his legs. "It was the first time I had used it," he said. "I had it fitted to stop my knees going from side to side. It got loose at the fast corner early on and kept pushing its way between my legs. It is amazing how much a distraction it caused."
Britain's Johnny Herbert admitted his weekend had been a "total disaster" after Damon Hill went into the back of his Sauber on lap 48. Hill put the brakes on too late and although he was able to restart the race with a new wing to finish eighth, Herbert went out with a shredded tyre. Herbert said: "Damon should know you do not do that from that far back. This weekend has been a total disaster. Only a plane crash on the way home would make it worse."
Former world champion Damon Hill earned another race finish but still failed to win any points for Jordan. He said: "I initially made up a few places at the start but then lost them all again at the first corner, so ended up back where I started. I ended up racing Johnny Herbert and he opened the door, so I went to put the car down the inside and he just chopped across me. Eighth place is not much good to me. I am not happy with nothing so far."
Mika Hakkinen's second place still gives him a clear lead over Michael Schumacher in the drivers' race. However, he admitted: "I have struggled all weekend. I could have pushed harder in the closer stages but not without risking my six points." Stewart's Rubens Barrichello was 10th but Jan Magnussen retired on lap 18. Team boss Paul Stewart said: "Two top 10 finishes in a row is an important achievement. Without Ruben's second pitstop we could have been higher."
Jordan's Ralf Schumacher was forced to retire because of rear suspension problems but had had a poor start after being fifth on the grid. He said: "I slipped the clutch and the wheels spun, so I had a really bad start which left me in 13th position." Prost's Jarno Trulli was 11th and Olivier Panis was forced to pull out of the race on lap 66. Team supremo Alain Prost said: "We would have seen a completely different race if we had had better grid places."
Result after 72 laps: hr min sec 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:48.36.1 2 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:48.59.0 3 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:49.33.9 4 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:49.44.3 5 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:49.54.4 6 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:49.55.9 7 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:50.04.6 8 D Hill GB Jordan one lap 9 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams one lap 10 R Barrichello Brz Stewart two laps 11 J Trulli It Prost two laps 12 T Tagaki Jpn Tyrrell two laps 13 S Nakano Jpn Minardi three laps 14 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell four laps 15 O Panis Fr Prost seven laps Did not finish/not classified: 16 E Tuero Arg Minardi 63 laps completed 17 J Villeneuve Can Williams 52 laps 18 J Herbert GB Sauber 46 laps 19 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 22 laps 20 M Salo Fin Arrows 18 laps 21 J Magnussen Den Stewart 17 laps 22 P Diniz Brz Arrows 13 laps DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 26 pts 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 14 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren 13 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 7 5 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 6 = A Wurz Aut Benetton 6 7 J Villeneuve Can Williams 2 = J Alesi Fr Sauber 2 9 J Herbert GB Sauber 1 = G Fisichella It Benetton 1 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP 1 McLaren-Mercedes 39 pts 2 Ferrari 21 3 Williams-Mecachrome 8 4 Benetton 7 5 Sauber-Petronas 3TOURING CARS:- Rickard Rydell claimed a qualifying lap record ahead of Monday's action with a blistering riding display. He set the fastest ever Super Touring qualifying lap for round one with a time of 1 minute 15.60 seconds at an average speed of 112.18mph. The Swede started the day by outpacing the Anthony Reid and reigning champion Alain Menu to earn pole. In the One-Shot showdown qualifying procedure for Monday's feature race he went faster to outgun James Thompson.
Qualifying times for round two (Sun): mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:15.78 2 A Reid GB Nissan 1:16.18 3 A Menu Swi Renault 1:16.34 4 J Thompson GB Honda 1:16.58 5 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:16.62 6 J Plato GB Renault 1:16.71 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:16.83 8 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 1:17.02 9 P Kox NL Honda 1:17.25 10 P Radisich NZ Peugeot 1:17.41FIA GTs:- Mercedes claimed the championship's first ever one-two-three in the opening round of the 1998 series in Germany. Klaus Ludwig and Ricardo Zonta won the race, Marcel Tiemann and Jean-Marc Gounon were second and Bernd Schneider and Mark Webber were third. Ludwig said: "The result shows we have found another diamond in Ricardo Zonta. I was impressed by both his speed and maturity. The team's pitwork was excellent and was an important part of the win."
F.RENAULT:- Brazilian Aluizio Coelho claimed pole position for round one of the championship with the series' fastest ever lap at the Hampshire track. Gavin Jones headed the Star Cup division for year-old cars in eighth.
min secs 1 A Coelho Brz Tatuus 1:14.055 2 D Bell GB Tatuus 1:14.666 3 T Mullen GB V Diemen 1:14.731 4 T Sri'chvnon Th Tatuus 1:14.875 5 V Meira Brz V Diemen 1:14.909 6 C Clark GB Tatuus 1:15.354 8 G Jones GB Ermolli 1:16.012RENAULT SPIDERS:- David Shaw will be in pole position for round one of the event on Monday. Nick Hart was second fastest in qualifying and Simon Hill was sixth, despite driving with a bandaged right wrist after a testing accident.
Leading times: min secs 1 D Shaw 1:24.998 2 N Hart 1:25.044 3 J Hunter 1:25.453 4 D Vercoe 1:25.492 5 D Eaves 1:25.504 6 S Hill 1:26.398FORD FIESTA'S:- Rae Claydon will start the opening round of the Championship on Monday from pole position on the grid. Claydon lapped the 2.356-mile circuit narrowly ahead of pre-season title favourite Alan Morrison.
Leading times: min secs 1 R Claydon 1:36.578 2 A Morrison 1:37.089 3 C Stancombe 1:37.103 4 N Hose 1:37.422 5 S Clarke 1:37.465 6 N Gordon 1:37.842F.FORD:- Derek Hayes left it until the last 10 minutes of qualifying before snatching pole for Monday's opening round. Hayes just pipped Haywood Racing team- mate Jenson Button who had headed the times for much of the session.
Leading times: min secs 1 D Hayes 1:19.077 2 J Button 1:19.114 3 D Weldon 1:19.814 4 C Murray 1:19.903 5 P Morland 1:19.916 6 R V-d Ende 1:20.021 13.04.98F1:- David Coulthard has buried the hatchet with Michael Schumacher after their shunt in the Argentine Grand Prix but the German has refused to say sorry. Coulthard's victory hopes were ruined in the lap five crash but Schumacher went on to win in Buenos Aires. "Schumacher did not apologise but there are no hard feelings and we have agreed to disagree," said Coulthard. "He had his opinions of what happened and I have mine, but he did appreciate my point of view."
TOURING CARS:- Rickard Rydell and Alain Menu were both winners in the opening rounds of this year's championship. Rydell, who gained extra points by virtue of his pole for both races, lost his advantage at the start, but his win gives him an eight point lead. In the longer second race, Rydell made a much better start, but Menu reduced the gap to less than a second within four laps and by lap nine he led. He lost the advantage at a pit stop, but regained it with six laps to go.
Monday's Round 1 result: mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 21:01.194 2 J Plato GB Renault 21:02.231 3 J Thompson GB Honda 21:03.020 4 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 21:08.023 5 A Menu Swi Renault 21:08.165 6 G Morbidelli It Volvo 21:08.839 7 D Leslie GB Nissan 21:11.219 8 A Reid GB Nissan 21:20.533 9 Y Muller Fr Audi 21:24.033 10 P Kox Hol Honda 21:24.013 Monday's Round 2 result: mins secs 1 A Menu Swi Renault 42:43.116 2 R Rydell Swe Volvo 42:45.716 3 J Thompson GB Honda 43:23.626 4 J Plato GB Renault 43:26.106 5 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 43:30.009 6 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 43:32.375 7 P Kox Hol Honda 43:33.453 8 P Radisich NZ Peugeot 43:48.381 9 J Bintcliffe GB Audi 43:56.269 10 M Neal GB Nissan 42:46.043 @ 1 lapF.RENAULT:- Brazilian Aluizio Coelho set a new lap record as he won round one of the Formula Renault Sport Championship. His teammate Doug Bell was second after passing Tim Mullen late in the race.
min secs 1 A Coelho Brz Tatuus 17:38.091 2 D Bell GB Tatuus 17:48.150 3 T Mullen GB V Diemen 17:53.546 4 V Meira Brz V Diemen 17:57.044 5 J Font Sp Tatuus 18:08.017 6 C Clark GB Tatuus 18:08.127 Star Cup 9 R Kerr GB Tatuus 18:12.423RENAULT SPIDERS:- Daniel Eaves enjoyed a clear run to the finish line after pole winner David Shaw retired with engine trouble. Jamie Hunter led in the early stages, but eventually had to be content with second after a mistake saw him drop down the field.
mins secs 1 D Eaves 17:21.695 2 J Hunter 17:23.328 3 D Vercoe 17:26.990 4 N Hart 17:27.181 5 D Henderson 17:27.392 6 S Hill 17:37.992FORD FIESTA'S:- Alan Morrison won a frantic duel for victory after pole starter Rae Claydon led the opening skirmishes. Morrison said: "It was a good clean race and it could have been anybody's up until the last lap."
mins secs 1 A Morrison 19:36.611 2 R Claydon 19:36.816 3 S Clarke 19:38.658 4 C Stancombe 19:40.466 5 J Levy 19:55.542 6 N Gordon 19:57.850F.FORD:- Craig Murray dominated the first round of the Championship as he stormed to victory ahead of Derek Hayes. Murray overtook Hayes in the first lap and never relinquished the lead to give his Mark Gardner Racing team their first win.
Leading times: min secs 1 C Murray 18:34.521 2 D Hayes 18:41.088 3 J Button 18:41.317 4 M Ambrose 18:55.165 5 R Collard 19:00.124 6 T Field 19:00.015 14.04.98 - TOURING CARSAlain Menu has welcomed this season's rule changes even though they cost him points at Thruxton on Monday. The drivers' champion had to start back in 17th place for the 'sprint race' after the new 'one-shot' showdown which forms the grid. His qualifying lap time was disallowed after he missed out the chicane. "It's fair enough, rules are rules," he said. "The new procedure was designed to spice up the action. It's just a pity it was me who suffered this time."
17.04.98CATALUNYA RALLY:- Mitsubishi are targeting their second consecutive victory in this event, with world champion Tommi Makkinen triumphing for the team last year. He will drive the new Evolution V, which is making its rally debut on Monday, while Richard Burns will drive the latest version of the Carisma GT. Uwe Nittel will drive the older version of the Carisma GT. Makkinen said: "I think we can do very well this year. My new Lancer seems very good on asphalt roads."
Oxfordshire-based Richard Burns believes that the Catalunya Rally, which begins on Monday, will be a closely-fought affair. Mitsubishi driver Burns, who is third in the standings, said: "Competition is so close that I do not think there will be any decisive factors. Everyone will get up to the limit pretty quickly. I do not think there is a clear favourite, which is good. I want to be in the top three. I will be frustrated with anything less."
Colin McRae will be looking to make up for lost time in Spain. After a number of setbacks in the early events, the Scot won the Portuguese Rally in his Subaru to get his title ambitions back on track. However, he will face stiff opposition ` not least from championship leader Carlos Sainz, who will be competing on home territory. The fifth round of the world championship features 19 times stages, totalling 250 miles.
Subaru have signed up Jarno Kytolehto in a bid to win a fourth consecutive FIA World Rally Championship. Kytolehto, and co-driver Arto Kapanen, will contest the Neste Rally in Finland in August. "I am very happy about this challenge because for me Subaru is one of the best cars out there," said Kytolehto. "It is vital that we begin our testing programme as soon as possible to get used to the car properly. I am quietly confident we can do a good job."
JAPANESE F3:- Scotland's Peter Dumbreck has moved his base to Japan in a bid to land a Formula One drive by 2000. The 24-year-old was third in last year's British Formula Three Championship and leads the All-Japan Formula Three Championship. He is out to extend his advantage in the second round of the series in Tsukuba on Sunday. "It was either Japan or Germany," he said. "I chose Japan as it is a better stepping stone to a higher level."
RENAULT SPIDERS:- David Shaw waited until the final hour of testing before narrowly pipping Nick Hart to the fastest opening time. Last year's champion Bryce Wilson was involved with set up work for his team and finished third, while first round winner Dan Eaves finished fifth.
Testing times: mins secs 1 D Shaw 1:18.348 2 N Hart 1:18.375 3 B Wilson 1:18.386 4 J Hunter 1:18.506 5 D Eaves 1:18.759 6 D Henderson 1:18.831F.RENAULT:- Championship leader Aluizio Coelho took 1.5 seconds off the lap record to head testing at Donington on Friday. Teammates Doug Bell and Tor Sriachavanon clinched the next two places, while Chris Buncombe was the best STar Cup runner in overall sixth.
Times: mins secs 1 A Coelho Tatuus 1:08.532 2 D Bell Tatuus 1:09.187 3 T S'chvanon Tatuus 1:09.512 4 T Mullen Van Diemen 1:09.544 5 J Bender Van Diemen 1:10.090 6 C Buncombe Tatuus 1:10.109 20.04.98CATALUNYA RALLY:- Frenchman Didier Auriol opened up a commanding lead after seven stages of the Catalunya rally, the fifth leg of the World Championship. Auriol, driving a Toyota Corolla, holds a 16.8-second advantage over Spaniard Jesus Puras in a Citroen Xsara. "It was a perfect day for me today with no problems at all," said Auriol, who is chasing his 18th championship win. Belgian Bruno Thiry held third position while Britain's Richard Burns was fifth in his Mitsubishi Lancer.
Positions after stage 7 (end of day 1) hrs mins sec 1 D Auriol Fr Toyota 1:19.03.8 2 J Puras Sp Citroen 1:19.20.6 3 B Thiry Bel Ford 1:19.25.1 4 G Panizzi Fr Peugeot 1:19.26.7 5 R Burns GB Mitsubishi 1:19.30.3 6 P Bugalski Fr Citroen 1:19.34.0 7 F Loix Bel Toyota 1:19.40.9 8 C Sainz Sp Toyota 1:19.48.0 9 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 1:19.51.9 10 C McRae GB Subaru 1:20.04.8DUKERIES RALLY:- The Dukeries Rally will be held on June 20 and will be sponsored for a third year by Sutton Auto Factors. The event features 11 special stages covering some 45 miles of forestry tracks and is the premier rally in the east Midlands.
GERMAN TOURING CARS:- Opel claimed a double in the STW Championship (German Super Touring Cars) in Hockenheim. Uwe Alzen led a Vectra one-two in the sprint race, ahead of Manuel Reuter, who then won the main race.
21.04.98F1: THE SAN MARINO GP
Mika Hakkinen leads the championship by 12 points and is confident of defending that advantage as the drivers prepare for the first European race of 1998. "I am not too worried about going back to Europe," said the Finn. "Imola is a different type of circuit to Argentina and I am sure we will improve the car. The tyre situation is now closer to what we would expect. I cannot say yet what Imola will be like from the point of view of tyres but I believe we can do a good job."
Ferrari have not won at Imola since Patrick Tambay was victorious in 1983 but the tifosi will be hoping Michael Schumacher can end that drought. The circuit is just a few miles from the Ferrari factory and Schumacher said: "We have made a big step forward on McLaren since the first two races. It is thanks to the new wider front tyres from Goodyear and I am confident we can make another step forward. We have a revised exhaust system that should be used for Imola."
If Jacques Villeneuve is to have any chance of retaining his title he needs a run of significant point collecting. The Canadian is not a fan of San Marino and is known to have been unhappy with his Williams car this year. Williams have a good record at Imola but Villeneuve's team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen said: "I am not sure we will have the improvements by Imola. I hope we have them by Silverstone. With the arrival of new people McLaren have the perfect package."
Damon Hill's problem last year with Arrows was lack of car reliability. The former world champion has found that with new team Jordan but has been left wanting in the horsepower stakes. Hill has finished in all races this season - even in Argentina where he and Johnny Herbert collided - and he won in Imola for Williams in 1995 and 1996. Jordan and Hill are refusing to panic about the lack of points and promising testing times suggest the team are progressing on the right lines.
Rubens Barrichello never looks forward to Imola after fellow Brazilian Ayrton Senna was killed there in 1994. "Going back is always difficult for me because of the memory of Ayrton but I am a professional and I have to get on with my job," said the Stewart driver. "We have discovered that the car is good at changing directions, so I am confident it will run well on a track that is known for its chicanes. At Imola race strategy is crucial. If it rains tactics will play a big part."
Tyrrell's hopes are high for round four of the campaign after both Ricardo Rosset and Toranosuke Takagi finished in Buenos Aires. Takagi has been particularly impressive and managing director Harvey Postlethwaite said: "The signs are that he is going to be very good. He clearly has the speed but as least as importantly is that he uses his head in the cockpit. I think he will come into his own once he has more races under his belt."
Gearbox problems have hit Prost's bid this season but driver Jarno Trulli believes the potential is still greater than last season. He said: "The potential is greater but we have not been able to exploit it. Changes were necessary to enable the team to break through into the top level of Formula One. If at the start of the season we could have developed the Prost-Peugeot AP01 rather than make the gearbox reliable we would be up among the top teams."
The Imola race is set to last for 62 laps, or 189.906 miles (305.660km). Imola staged its first non-championship Formula One race in 1979 and its first grand prix in 1981. Nelson Piquet won the 1981 race and Didier Pironi and Patrick Tambay then won the next two races for Ferrari. The San Marino circuit is named after Enzo Ferrari and son Dino. However, Ferrari have not won at the track since 1983.
1997 result: 1 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 3 E Irvine GB Ferrari 4 G Fisichella It Jordan 5 J Alesi Fr Benetton 6 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren Fastest lap (record): M Hakkinen Ger Williams 1:25.531 Previous winners: 1997 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 1996 D Hill GB Williams 1995 D Hill GB Williams 1994 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1993 A Prost Fr Williams 1992 N Mansell GB Williams 1991 A Senna Brz McLaren 1990 R Patrese Brz Williams 1989 A Senna Brz McLaren 1988 A Senna Brz McLaren 1987 N Mansell GB WilliamsTOURING CARS:- Nigel Mansell has completed a shakedown test for Ford Mondeo Racing ahead of his first full test later this week. The double world champion completed two runs of the handling circuit at The Motor Industry Research Association in a 1997-spec BTCC Ford Mondeo. He said afterwards: "I feel we've achieved quite a lot. I now have an appreciation of the car and the team." His full test will be alongside regular drivers Will Hoy and Craig Baird at Silverstone on Thursday and Friday.
CATALUNYA RALLY:- Frenchman Didier Auriol kept the lead for the second successive day, and now holds an overall time of 3 hours, 10 minutes and one second. Freddy Loix of Belgium lies 41.6 seconds behind. Sainz, currently with a six point advantage in the world standings, is in third place, completing the Toyota Corolla domination. Finland's Tommi Makinen is in fourth place in the three day rally, the fifth event of the World Rally season.
Positions after stage 13: hrs mins sec 1 D Auriol Fr Toyota 3:10.01.9 2 F Loix Bel Toyota 3:10.43.5 3 C Sainz Sp Toyota 3:11.00.9 4 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 3:11.01.2 5 R Burns GB Mitsubishi 3:11.06.6 6 P Bugalski Fr Citroen 3:11.09.0 7 G Panizzi Fr Peugeot 3:11.26.0 8 B Thiry Bel Ford 3:11.43.1 9 F Delecour Fr Peugeot 3:11.54.6 10 C McRae GB Subaru 3:12.14.8F.FORD:- Teenager Jenson Button continued his pre-race form setting the fastest time in preparation for the second round. The Somerset driver, third in the opening round at Thruxton, was closely followed by team-mate Derek Hayes.
Leading test times:min secs 1 J Button 1:25.356 2 D Hayes 1:25.649 3 S Wheldon 1:25.678 4 R van der Elde 1:25.874 5 P-C Morland 1:26.223F3:- Bristol's Ben Collins set the pace in the testing for the fourth and fifth rounds with fellow Briton Marc Hynes in second place. Championship points leader Enrique Bernoldi was fifth, one place behind his closest challenger Mario Haberfeld.
Leading test times: min secs 1 B Collins Speiss-Opel 1:25.356 2 M Hynes Renault 1:25.649 3 K Kolby Mugen-Honda 1:25.678 4 M Haberfeld Mugen-Honda 1:25.874 5 E Bernoldi Renault 1:26.223 22.04.98F1:- Michael Schumacher believes Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix will be a two-way battle between McLaren and Ferrari. The German, who is hoping to give the Italian team their first win at Imola since 1983, said: "It is an affair between Ferrari and McLaren. I do not think any other team will be able to compete for victory." Schumacher has been linked with McLaren after his Ferrari deal expires at the end of 1999 but he added: "I have not taken any decision yet."
Damon Hill was tipped to give Jordan their first race win but the former world champion admits there is work to be done before that can be achieved. "I would certainly be nervous about claiming we could win a race this year," said Hill. "We should be able to push ourselves and be qualifying regularly in the top six places and taking podium finishes. I am confident that can be achieved because I can see the developments that are already coming through."
TOURING CARS:- Rickard Rydell is out to extend his lead in the championship on Sunday. The 29-year-old Swede triumphed in the first round at Thruxton but he said: "I know it is not going to be easy to finish in front at Silverstone. "By winning round two, Alain Menu proved Renault are still going to be the team to beat this season." Rydell and team-mate Gianni Morbidelli clocked quick times in testing at Silverstone last month and were only eclipsed by Honda's James Thompson.
Renault's Alain Menu and Jason Plato dominated at the Northamptonshire circuit last season. The pair won every race between them and Oxford-based Plato said: "It is a circuit I know well and where the Renault Laguna has a great record. I qualified in the top three for all the races there last year and won the final one too, so the omens are good. Silverstone has plenty of overtaking spots, which is great for fans, and the new rules have added more drama."
John Cleland and Derek Warwick are confident the 1998 Vauxhall Vectras will be among the front-runners during the course of the season. Cleland earned a fourth place at Thruxton and Warwick a fifth. "I think we as a team knew that if we got through Thruxton with a good result ` which we did ` we would be looking at a good season," said Warwick. "We expect to be more competitive this weekend. I am feeling very good about the car."
Nissan duo Anthony Reid and David Leslie both claimed podium places at Silverstone in 1997 and will be aiming for repeat performances. Leslie revealed: "The Primera GT handles really well. "Both Anthony and I qualified in the top five at Thruxton, yet we were giving away three or four miles per hour through the speed traps. Therefore, the chassis must be spot on. We have made some improvements to increase our chances."
Audi Sport UK have prepared a new bodyshell for John Bintcliffe to use in this weekend's races. The Harrogate driver crashed twice in testing before the opening rounds at Thruxton and repairs could not be made in time for Silverstone.
CATALUNYA RALLY:- Didier Auriol claimed his first World Championship win since Corsica in 1995 with an impressive drive in Spain. However, Toyota will not be rewarded with 10 points in the manufacturers championship as Auriol was not registered by the team. Only Carlos Sainz and Freddy Loix have been nominated for points by the team. Loix finished second, while Sainz was seventh after being hit with a puncture problem on the final day. Finn Tommi Makinen was third.
Colin McRae's championship hopes suffered a setback when he was forced to retire on stage 16. The Scot, who won the last round in Portugal, was forced out with a rear left drive-shaft problem. McRae admitted: "It has been one of those rallies where nothing has gone as we have planned. It is obviously a massive disappointment after Portugal." The event was won by Didier Auriol in a Toyota, while Britain's Richard Burns was fourth.
Alister McRae and Kenneth Eriksson were seventh and eight respectively in the F2 category. It was the Hyundai Motor Sport team's first attempt at a world championship tarmac rally and both Hyundai Coupes performed well. "I really enjoyed this event," said McRae. "The car has not had a problem and is going to be a strong F2 world championship contender." Eriksson added: "Apart from a slipped clutch the car had good reliability."
Britain's new star Richard Burns moved into second place in the championship after fighting to finish fourth. The 29-year-old from Oxford showed his remarkable consistency at the top level by again finishing unscathed to rack up ten consecutive championship finishes. He said was "pretty pleased" with his performance and went on to praise the new improved Mitsubishi used in Spain. "The latest car is already better than the old one, but there's still untapped potential to come," he promised.
Final positions after 19 stages:hrs mins sec 1 D Auriol Fr Toyota 4:18.36.9 2 F Loix Bel Toyota 4:19.30.3 3 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 4:19.46.3 4 R Burns GB Mitsubishi 4:20.10.4 5 P Bugalski Fr Citroen 4:20.28.3 6 G Panizzi Fr Peugeot 4:20.44.0 7 C Sainz Sp Toyota 4:21.05.7 8 F Delecour Fr Peugeot 4:21.24.6 9 U Nittel Ger Mitsubishi 4:22.45.6 10 R Madeira Por Toyota 4:25.24.5 C McRae retired on stage 16 Driver standings: Points 1 C Sainz Sp Toyota 22 2 R Burns GB Mitsubishi 18 3 J Kankkunen Fin Ford 16 4 C McRae GB Subaru 14 = T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 14 = D Auriol Fr Toyota 14 Manufacturer standings: 1 Mitsubishi 32 pts 2 Toyota 31 3 Ford 23 4 Subaru 21CHAMP CARS:- Mark Blundell will be competing in the 1998 version of the Motorola-backed Reynard Mercedes-Benz in round four of the series this weekend. The team decided to use the 1997 car for the first three CART races of the campaign but Blundell has been testing the new model since January. He said: "We have put points on the board in all three races so far but I am now hungry for podium finishes. It is early days yet and the championship is still wide open."
F1:- Michael Doohan escaped injury when he hit a wall in Jacques Villeneuve's Formula One championship-winning car in a special test in Barcelona. The four-times world 500cc motorcycling champion spun the Williams as Villeneuve watched from the pits.
F.RENAULT:- Brazilian series leader Aluizio Coelho topped the times in testing for Sunday's second round at Silverstone. He headed a Manor Motorsport lock-out of the top three positions.
Leading times: mins secs 1 A Coelho Tatuus 1:21.743 2 D Bell Tatuus 1:22.266 3 T Sriachavanon Tatuus 1:22.440 4 T Mullin V Diemen 1:22.559 5 V Meira V Diemen 1:22.995 6 JJ Font Tatuus 1:23.301 Star Cup 1 R Kerr Tatuus 1:23.574RENAULT SPIDERS:- Nick Hart headed the closest ever Spider test session with less than a second covering the top six. Former British Hillclimb champion Andy Priaulx makes his Spider debut in place of Andreas Demetriou after he set the 10th fastest time.
Leading time: min secs 1 N Hart 1:32.845 2 D Shaw 1:32.861 3 D Eaves 1:33.268 4 J Hunter 1:33.398 5 D Vercoe 1:33.543 6 D Henderson 1:33.819 23.04.98F1:- Jordan have worked on Ralf Schumacher's starts after the German failed to go past the first lap in Australia and Brazil and spun out in Argentina. The team are still looking for their first points and technical director Gary Anderson said: "It covered more than just the physical start. It included the psychology behind a good start. Ralph has tended to become too flustered on the starting grid. He seems far more relaxed about it all."
PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Alister McRae believes he can put his title hopes back on track in the Pirelli International Rally, which begins at Carlisle Airport on Saturday. McRae and his Volkswagen co-driver David Senior have been testing in Cumbria's Kielder Forest in their quest for victory on that course. "We covered 80 stage miles in Kielder without missing a beat," said McRae. "We were trying some suspension and steering modifications. I am confident that we are going to go well."
Gwyndaf Evans is spearheading the SEAT charge in the Pirelli International Rally and believes the Ibiza Evo 2 kit car will be suited to the course. "All things being equal, Kielder will suit the Ibiza," said the Welshman. "The forest roads are quite technical. They are narrow, very fast and you have got to keep the car straight and clean at all times. If you make the slightest mistake, the deep ditches on either side of the road will make you pay dearly."
The Vauxhall Astra kit car and driver Jarmo Kytolehto are being tipped as dark horses after the vehicle made its debut in last month's Rally of Wales. Kytolehto and co-driver Arto Kapanen worked their way up to fifth before being halted 45 miles from the finish when a rock holed the radiator. "For a first outing it was very encouraging," said Vauxhall motorsport manager Mike Nicholson. "However, we must remember the whole season is dedicated to development."
Reigning British women's champion Stephanie Simmonite finished eighth overall in the Rally of Wales and is aiming to build on that performance. The 28-year-old Bradford-based Ford Escort driver admitted: "I am going to the Pirelli on a high after Wales. We would like to continue that sort of speed and good result. Finishing eighth has helped me psychologically. I said at the start of the year I wanted top 10 finishes and I have done just that."
F3:- Enrique Bernoldi will be aiming to maintain his impressive form in the two 30-lap races that make up rounds four and five on Sunday. The Brazilian leads the championship after winning the first two rounds and clinching second spot in round three. Bernoldi's team-mate Marc Hynes was on the podium in the last round. Mario Haberfeld is second in the standings after giving Paul Stewart Racing their first win of the season three weeks ago at Silverstone.
Walsall's Martin O'Connell heads the British challenge this weekend. The TOM'S Racing driver has earned two second places and after initially racing with the team in a race-by-race deal could be battling for the title. Other Britons taking part include Ben Collins, who has been quick in testing and qualifying, and Martin Donnelly Racing driver Jamie Spence. Finland's Miku Santavirta will make his first appearance after racing in Japanese Formula Three last year.
VECTRA CHALLENGE:- Round two of the Vauxhall Vectra SRi V6 Challenge takes place at Silverstone on Sunday and Simon Graves will be bidding to extend his lead in the series. Graves won at Thruxton on his debut, with Flavio Figueiredo pushing him hard before taking second place.
F.VAUXHALL JUNIOR:- Silverstone also plays host to round two of the Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship on Sunday. Eighteen-year-old Richard Lyons passed pre-season favourite Antonio Pizzonia to win round one at Thruxton.
24.04.98F1: THE SAN MARINO GP
Friday practice times min secs 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:27.617 2 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:27.940 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:28.088 4 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:28.644 5 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:28.891 6 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:28.963 7 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:29.028 8 O Panis Fr Peugeot 1:29.175 9 D Hill GB Jordan 1:29.246 10 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 1:29.470 11 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:29.516 12 M Salo Fin Arrows 1:29.828 13 A Wurz Aus Benetton 1:29.864 14 T Takagi Jpn Tyrrell 1:30.190 15 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:30.223 16 P Diniz Brz Arrows 1:30.795 17 J Trulli It Prost 1:30.804 18 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:30.849 19 E Tuero Arg Minardi 1:31.954 20 S Nakano Jpn Minardi 1:32.052 21 J Magnussen Den Stewart 1:32.196 22 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 1:32.554TOURING CARS:- Nissan's David Leslie topped the timesheets at Silverstone on Friday in official testing for this weekend's British Touring Car Championships. Leslie made the best of the tricky wet weather to set a time more than two tenths quicker of his nearest rival. With eight different makes of car in the top 10 the prospects for a competitive pair of races on Sunday could not be stronger. Honda's Dutch signing Peter Kox ran Leslie closest.
Nigel Mansell finished his first full test in a BTCC Ford Mondeo at Silverstone and proclaimed it a very useful introduction. The 1992 Formula One World Champion said: "It's been very fruitful. I've learned an awful lot about the team, the car and the way its performed."
"By doing these days I'll be able to transpose what I've learned when I get into the '98 car. I've been very sensible, and it's been very interesting," added Mansell.
Top nine practice times (Fri):min secs 1 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:24.530 2 P Knox Hol Honda 1:24.809 3 G Morbidelli It Volvo 1:24.824 4 W Hoy GB Ford 1:24.864 5 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 1:24.899 6 J Bintcliffe GB Audi 1:24.906 7 T Rustad Nor Renault 1:25.010 8 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:25.048 9 P Radisich NZ Peugeot 1:25.461 25.04.98F1: THE SAN MARINO GP
David Coulthard will be aiming for one of his renowned fast starts after taking pole for Sunday's grand prix. After a see-saw qualifying battle with McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen, the Scot said: "I went wide at one of the corners and thought I had lost pole. The start could be quite tight as there is a kink before you get to the first corner. There is the potential for an incident but I am hoping to keep clear of that sort of thing."
David Coulthard has vowed to pick up his first victory of the season after claiming pole position at Imola. He said: "I feel I should have won two races already this season so I want to make sure I take that step onto the winner's podium this time. I handed a win over in Melbourne and the incident with Michael Schumacher cost me in Argentina. Now I really feel it is my turn for a victory which will boost my championship chances."
Damon Hill will start Sunday's grand prix from seventh on the grid after a strong qualifying session for Jordan. "I am so much more encouraged by this result," said Hill, whose best race position so far is eighth. "Both cars look so much better and the difference has been very obvious this weekend. We have consistently been able to run close to the front. I would have liked to have held on to the fourth place I had but the competition is very tight."
Saturday qualifying times: min secs 1 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:25.973 2 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:26.075 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:26.437 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:27.169 5 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:27.273 6 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:27.390 7 D Hill GB Jordan 1:27.592 8 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 1:27.645 9 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:27.866 10 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:27.937 11 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:28.111 12 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:28.191 13 O Panis Fr Prost 1:28.270 14 M Salo Fin Arrows 1:28.798 15 T Takagi Jpn Tyrrell 1:29.073 16 J Trulli It Prost 1:29.584 17 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:29.641 18 P Diniz Brz Arrows 1:29.932 19 E Tuero Arg Minardi 1:30.649 20 J Magnussen Den Stewart 1:31.017 21 S Nakano Jpn Minardi 1:31.255 22 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 1:31.482TOURING CARS:- British young guns James Thompson and Jason Plato dominated qualifying for Sunday's two rounds of the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone. Thompson will start the first sprint race from pole position after setting the fastest time in the thrilling One Shot Showdown qualifying session. Plato qualified first for the longer feature race, which incorporates mandatory pit stops. David Leslie will start from second place in both races.
Round three qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 J Thompson GB Honda 1:23.859 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:23.943 3 J Plato GB Renault 1:24.373 4 G Morbidelli It Volvo 1:24.599 5 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 1:24.600 6 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:24.617 7 P Kox NL Honda 1:24.736 8 Y Muller Fr Audi A4 1:25.029 9 W Hoy GB Ford 1:25.134 10 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:25.240 Round four qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 J Plato GB Renault 1:24.948 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:25.157 3 A Menu Swi Renault 1:25.699 4 J Thompson GB Honda 1:25.842 5 Y Muller Fr Audi A4 1:26.129 6 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 1:26.228 7 W Hoy GB Ford 1:26.298 8 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:26.365 9 P Kox NL Honda 1:26.681 10 T Harvey GB Peugeot 1:26.753PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Martin Rowe sealed a dramatic win in the opening leg of the Pirelli International Rally to maintain his 100% record in Mobil events. Rowe capitalised on a mistake by his Renault teammate Tapio Laukkanen to extend his lead in the series to 11 points having secured the maximum 64. Laukkanen was leading when he clipped a bridge and sustained a puncture. "I just drove at a steady pace and took no chances. We didn't go particularly fast," admitted Rowe.
Gwyndaf Evans has been struggling with a misfire throughout the day but has held onto second place in the SEAT. The engine mapping system has been changed, so he will be challenging for the lead on leg 2. Third placed Jarmo Kytolehto reports a trouble-free day with the new Vauxhall Astra although he's found it hard being first car on the road. Barbara Armstrong continued to hold off the Simmonite Sisters and said: "No problem with the car."
There was a very close battle for the Production Cup with Jeremy Easson in the Mitsubishi taking it by one second from David Mann's Proton. Both drivers have reported driving as hard as they can, and the cars are running well with no problems. This year has been a better event for Mann than last year when his car was stolen just before the start. In the Ferodo Super 1600 category Christer Steen in a Skoda has held onto the lead throughout the day.
LEADERBOARD after 5 of 9 stages (interim) min sec 1 Rowe/Ringer Renault 0:59:30 2 Evans/Davies SEAT 0:59:34 3 Kytolehto/Kapanen Vauxhall 0:59:35 4 Laukkanen/Jarvi Renault 0:59:36 5 Easson/Rabbett Mitsubishi 0:59:47 6 Mann/Cook Proton 0:59:48 7 Cox/Griffiths Mitsubishi 0:59:59 8 Tuohino/Aho Mitsubishi 1:00:01 9 Ipatti/Kajula Mitsubishi 1:00:21 10 Steen/Westman Skoda 1:00:27 Provisional Championship points DRIVERS MANUFACTURERS 1 Rowe 64 1 Renault 90.5 2 Evans 53 2 SEAT 88 3 Wearden 44 3 Ford 65 4 Armstrong 32 4 Vauxhall 63 5 Simmonite 30 5 Peugeot 62 6 Volkswagen 48.5 7 Proton 32Both days of the Pirelli Rally are scoring opportunities for the Mobil 1 RAC British Rally Championship.
F3 (Brands Hatch):- Mario Haberfeld is targeting his second victory after earning pole position for both round four and five on Sunday. The Brazilian gave Paul Stewart Racing their first win of the season at Silverstone three weeks ago. He clocked a time of 41.395 seconds to claim pole for rond four, while championship leader Enrique Bernoldi was second quickest. Haberfeld bettered that time by clocking 40.711 for round five and he looks a good bet for at least one win.
Round four qualifying times (Sat):secs 1 M Haberfeld Brz Honda 41.395 2 E Bernoldi Brz Renault 41.576 3 B Collins GB Opel 41.612 4 M O'Connell GB Toyota 41.855 5 K Kolby Den Honda 41.917 6 W Hughes GB Renault 42.130 7 M Bentwood GB Honda 42.197 8 A Yoong Mal Renault 42.248 9 L Burti Brz Honda 42.271 10 J Spence GB Renault 42.275 Round five qualifying times (Sat):secs 1 M Haberfeld Brz Honda 40.711 2 M Hynes GB Renault 40.749 3 W Hughes GB Renault 40.765 4 L Burti Brz Honda 40.786 5 E Bernoldi Brz Renault 40.834 6 J Spence GB Renault 40.863 7 M O'Connell GB Toyota 40.867 8 K Kolby Den Honda 40.873 9 R Mauricio It Honda 40.935 10 B Collins GB Opel 40.945F.RENAULT (Silverstone):- Aluizio Coelho claimed pole position for round two on Sunday. The points leader set the fastest qualifying time on a wet track, with team-mate Doug Bell second quickest.
Leading qualifying times (Sat): 1 A Coelho Brz Tatuus 1:30.635 2 D Bell GB Tatuus 1:31.923 3 JJ Font Yug Tatuus 1:32.060 4 P Edwards US Tatuus 1:32.894 5 V Meira Brz V Diemen 1:32.913 6 T Mullen GB V Diemen 1:33.785 Star Cup 8 R Kerr GB Tatuus 1:34.195VECTRA CHALLENGE (Silverstone):- Mark Blair was delighted after earning the first pole position of his career. "We knew after testing the car was good and Silverstone is probably my favourite circuit," he said. "It seems to suit my driving style."
Leading qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 M Blair Vaux Vectra 1:34.986 2 S Graves Vaux Vectra 1:35.266 3 F Figueiredo Vaux Vectra 1:35.329 4 P Sowerby Vaux Vectra 1:35.950 5 G Coombes Vaux Vectra 1:36.398 6 D Edmonds Vaux Vectra 1:36.454FORMULA FORD (Silverstone):- Somerset driver Jenson Button will start only his second ever race from pole position after clocking the fastest time for round two. He said: "The team got me hyped up and I set a good time on my second lap."
Leading qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 J Button Mygale 1:25.612 2 D Hayes Mygale 1:25.736 3 C Murray Van Diemen 1:25.806 4 D Wheldon Van Diemen 1:25.971 5 PC Morland Mygale 1:26.112 6 T Sisley Van Diemen 1:26.366RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Silverstone):- David Shaw claimed his second pole position in a row for round two at Silverstone on Sunday.
Leading qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 D Shaw Ren Spider 1:32.562 2 J Hunter Ren Spider 1:32.660 3 N Hart Ren Spider 1:32.660 4 D Vercoe Ren Spider 1:32.921 5 D Eaves Ren Spider 1:33.121 6 T Masini Ren Spider 1:33.47FORD FIESTA'S (Silverstone):- Simon Clarke could hardly believe his own eyes as he qualified on pole position for round two on Sunday. He said: "I kept coming past the pits thinking the pit board will be showing second. I'm over the moon."
Leading qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 S Clarke Ford Fiesta 1:47.291 2 C St'combe Ford Fiesta 1:47.561 3 A Morrison Ford Fiesta 1:47.580 4 R Claydon Ford Fiesta 1:47.586 5 D Gibson Ford Fiesta 1:47.592 6 N Gordon Ford Fiesta 1:47.746 F.VAUXHALL JNR:- Leading qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 R Lyons GB Vaux Jun 1:37.789 2 R Bell GB Vaux Jun 1:37.885 3 G Pyper GB Vaux Jun 1:38.212 4 T Scheckter SA Vaux Jun 1:38.224 5 A Pizzonia Brz Vaux Jun 1:38.802 6 J Hanson GB Vaux Jun 1:39.156 MGF CUP (Brands Hatch) Round six qualifying times (Sat): secs 1 J Rhodes 52.251 2 M Kelly 52.356 3 N Carr 52.365 4 S Warburton 52.388 5 A Lyall 52.435 6 B Sollis 52.450 F3000 (Imola) Round two result: mins secs 1 J Watt Den Bla Avis 1:16.38 2 K Mollekens Arden 1:16.39 3 G Rodriguez Astromega 1:16.39 4 N Heidfeld West Comp 1:16.41 5 A Couto Powerteam 1:16.47 6 B de R'bourg Super Nova 1:16.48CHAMP CARS (Nazareth):- Britain's Mark Blundell had a miserable time in practice ahead of Sunday's race and could only manage the 23rd fastest time in Pennsylvania. "We had trouble sorting out the set-up for this oval, particularly the bumpy sections," he revealed. "We had a rear end problem which reduced my track time and has left us with a little extra ground to make up." Helio Castro-Neves was fastest, with Scotland's Dario Franchitti eighth quickest in his Reynard Honda.
Friday practice times: lap time seconds 1 H Castro-N Brz Merc-Benz 18:888 2 G Moore Can Merc-Benz 18:962 3 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford 19:008 4 M Gugelmin Brz Merc-Benz 19:077 5 M Andretti US Ford 19:080 6 A Fernandez Mex Ford 19:081 7 P Tracy US Honda 19:115 8 D Franchitti GB Honda 19:137 9 P Carpentier Can Merc-Benz 19:167 10 T Kanaan Brz Honda 19:238 23 M Blundell GB Merc 19:671 26.04.98F1: THE SAN MARINO GP
Championship leader Mike Hakkinen's race ended on lap 17 and in his 100th grand prix. The Finn, who was lying in second behind team-mate David Coulthard, was forced out with gearbox problems. Meanwhile, Alex Wurz and Damon Hill collided at the start and both had to make pitstops. Austrian Wurz eventually withdrew from the race with gearbox problems on lap 13 but Hill carried on before retiring with five laps left.
Michael Schumacher had looked to be closing in on race winner David Coulthard on the last two laps but the Scot was always confident of victory. "I was not worried about Michael," he said. "I had a lead of over 20 seconds after the pitstop and I just made sure I was not hard on the brakes or tyres. I think our car was running quicker. I was never going to be as quick on old tyres but I think I had enough in hand. He might have been able to catch me but probably could not have passed me."
Ferrari star Michael Schumacher admitted that he always felt it was unlikely that he would catch eventual winner David Coulthard. "It was very obvious to me he was just cruising," said the German, who had the tifosi in raptures with second place, while team-mate Eddie Irvine was third. "I was always pushing," added Schumacher. "I never give up until the chequered flag comes down. However, I did not really think I had a chance of winning."
McLaren's Mika Hakkinen was philosophical after he had his first retirement of the season. "I am obviously very disappointed but I have had a lot of things happen to me in my career. There is nothing I can do about it now. These things happen in the sport," he said. Hakkinen had threatened to run away with the championship and led the drivers' race by 12 points before the Imola race.
Ulsterman Eddie Irvine turned in another superb performance to claim the final place on the podium. However, he had a poor start and was overtaken by world champion Jacques Villenueve, although he was able to turn the tables on the Canadian later. "I made a mistake at the first chicane but I was back in front after refuelling later on and managed to maintain the gap," said Irvine. Villeneuve was fourth, with Williams team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen fifth.
Damon Hill had his first retirement of the season but believes his Jordan had its best performance of the season. "It has been very positive," said the 1996 world champion. "We have been qualifying better and racing better. "I do not think you can compare any of our previous performances with this," he added after going out with an air pressure problem late on. He had battled back to seventh position after a first-lap pitstop and said: "We needed to show we are competitive."
Johnny Herbert's run of bad luck continued as he retired on lap 12. The Briton failed to finish the last round in Buenos Aires after a collision with Damon Hill. This time he was hit by suspension and mechanical problems. He said: "Alexander Wurz and Damon Hill must have had something going on at the start and I got stuck behind that. Then I found myself trying to get past Jarno Trulli."
Stewart's Rubens Barrichello failed to complete the first lap after a collision with team-mate Jan Magnussen. The Dane was able to carry on for a few laps until he too was forced out with a gear problem. "I feel sorry for Jan because he had a good start," said Barrichello. "He obviously hit me very hard because the rear wing and floor were damaged." Magnussen revealed: "I was looking for a clear run. I have apologised to Rubens but really had nowhere to go."
Tyrrell looked set for two top 10 finishes until engine air compressor failures forced out Toranosuke Takagi Ricardo Rosset. Takagi had been as high as 10th and Rosset 12th. Japanese star Takagi said: "It is always very disappointing not to finish a race but even more so when there is no chance of a good result." Rosset added: "I passed four or five cars on the first lap then had to go on the grass to avoid Barrichello."
DRIVERS' STANDINGS 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 26 pts 2 D Coulthard GB McLaren 23 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 20 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 11 5 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 8 6 A Wurz Aut Benetton 6 7 J Villeneuve Can Williams 5 8 J Alesi Fr Sauber 3 9 J Herbert GB Sauber 1 = G Fisichella It Benetton 1 CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS 1 McLaren-Mercedes 49 pts 2 Ferrari 31 3 Williams-Mecachrome 13 = Benetton 7 5 Sauber-Petronas 4TOURING CARS (Silverstone):- David Leslie gave Nissan their first BTCC win for five years in round three, while 1991 champion Will Hoy earned his first victory since 1995 in round four. Champion Alain Menu, meanwhile, crashed out of both events and his Renault team-mate Jason Plato leads the drivers' title race. After his triumph Leslie admitted: "It may have looked easy but it was not. We had to guess most of the car settings. It all worked out well and I hope it is my first of many wins for Nissan."
Round three result (Sun): min secs 1 D Leslie GB Nissan 25:34.057 2 J Thompson GB Honda @6.600 3 J Plato GB Renault @7.090 4 D Warwick GB Vauxhall @11.118 5 R Rydell Swe Volvo @13.045 6 J Cleland GB Vauxhall @14.412 7 A Reid GB Nissan @17.729 8 G Morbidelli It Volvo @18.167 9 W Hoy GB Ford @22.673 10 Y Muller Fr Audi A4 @24.080 Round four result (Sun): min secs 1 W Hoy GB Ford 46:49.868 2 J Plato GB Renault 46:56.735 3 A Reid GB Nissan 47:01.680 4 P Radisich NZ Peugeot 47:09.811 5 G Morbidelli It Volvo 47:18.155 6 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 47:59.753 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 48:11.144 8 Y Muller Fr Audi A4 48:20.213 9 J Thompson GB Honda 48:23.897 10 C Baird NZ Ford 46:52.690 (one lap) DRIVER STANDINGS Pts 1 J Plato GB Renault Laguna 44 2 R Rydell Swe Volvo S40 36 3 J Thompson GB Honda Accord 36 4 A Menu Swi Renault Laguna 22 5 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 22 6 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 20 CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS 1 Renault 49 pts 2 Volvo 39 3 Nissan 35 4 Honda 35 5 Vauxhall 29 PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY LEADERBOARD after 9 stages (interim) hr min sec 1 Evans/Davies SEAT 2:01:08 2 Laukkanen/Jarvi Renault 2:01:35 3 Rowe/Ringer Renault 2:01:49 4 McRae/Senior Volkswagen 2:02:22 5 Ipatti/Kajula Mitsubishi 2:03:10 6 Cox/Griffiths Mitsubishi 2:03:16 7 Tuohino/Aho Mitsubishi 2:04:46 8 Wearden/Agnew Honda 2:05:18 9 Eriksson/Henriks'n Ford 2:05:26 10 Steen/Westman Skoda 2:06:04Gwyndaf Evans has won the Pirelli Rally for SEAT having taken the lead from Martin Rowe's Renault on stage six. This gives him maximum Mobil 1 Rally Championship points on Leg 2 and moves him up the Championship to second, one point off Martin Rowe. Gwyndaf was very pleased with the way the event went: "I am absolutely delighted for the whole team. They've worked hard all week and it's a just reward for everyone".
Alister McRae in the Volkswagen fought a frustrating rally to finish fourth overall in the Pirelli Rally. He suffered brake problems on both Legs of the event, at times completing stages with no brakes at all. "On the stages where we had no problems we were clearly quickest and without those difficulties, we could have been on the leaderboard on both days. "Now I look forward to the next round, my home event. I won in Scotland last year and am determined to do so again."
Tapio Laukkanen celebrated his first podium finish for Renault, finishing 25 seconds behind Gwyndaf Evans. Renault teammate Martin Rowe maintains his lead in the driver's Championship after finishing fourth overall. "I'm happy to have scored points again. That was our goal before the event," said Martin. Co-driver Derek Ringer added: "Our strategy was to make sure that we finished, if you want to win the title you must play a tactical game."
DRIVERS 1 Rowe 86 2 Evans 85 3 Wearden 64 4 Laukkanen 47 5 McRae 46 6 Armstrong 45 = Simmonite 45 MANUFACTURERS 1 SEAT 120 2 Renault 115.5 3 Ford 87 4 Peugeot 82 5 Vauxhall 81 6 Volkswagen 76.5 7 Proton 32 F3 (Brands Hatch):- Round four result (Sun): mins secs 1 E Bernoldi Brz Renault 15:51.320 2 M O'Connell GB Toyota 15:51.821 3 M Haberfeld Brz Honda 15:54.302 4 B Collins GB Opel 15:56.221 5 W Hughes GB Renault 15:56.652 6 K Kolby Den Honda 15:57.753 7 M Hynes GB Renault 15:58.341 8 A Yoong Mal Renault 15:59.531 9 J Spence GB Renault 16:01.698 10 L Burti Brz Honda 16:04.232 Round five result (Sun): mins secs 1 L Burti Brz Honda 20:52.548 2 W Hughes GB Renault 20:53.328 3 M O'Connell GB Toyota 20:53.585 4 J Spence GB Renault 20:54.052 5 R Mauricio Honda 20:55.320 6 B Collins GB Opel 20:55.703 7 D Cook GB Opel 21:01.664 8 A Yoong Mal Renault 21:02.465 9 P Cook GB Opel 21:03.115 10 A Pavicevic Aus Honda 21:09.047 DRIVER STANDINGS 1 E Bernoldi Brz Renault 77 2 M O'Connell GB Toyota 57 3 M Haberfeld Brz Honda 53 4 W Hughes GB Renault 45 5 L Burti Brz Honda 42 6 M Hynes GB Renault 25 7 J Spence GB Renault 24 8 R Mauricio Brz Honda 20 9 B Collins GB Opel 17 10 A Yoong Mal Renault 15 F.VAUXHALL JNR (Brands Hatch):- mins secs 1 T Scheckter SA Vaux Jun 19:26.659 2 A Pizzonia Brz Vaux Jun 19:30.758 3 R Lyons GB Vaux Jun 19:31.166 4 J Fourie SA Vaux Jun 19:44.054 5 G Pyper GB Vaux Jun 19:44.999 6 J Hanson GB Vaux Jun 19:48.925 MGF CUP (Brands Hatch):- Race result (Sun): 1 M Kelly MG F 17:46.147 2 J Rhodes MG F 17:52.222 3 A Lyall MG F 17:59.442 4 R Mears MG F 18:02.356 5 M Hazell MG F 18:07.995 6 M Jones MG F 18:08.257TOUR OF CORNWALL:- John Price claimed his third wins out of three in the Safety Devices National Championship by triumphing in the Tour of Cornwall. Peter Lloyd was second overall in the two-day Newquay event.
Leading results (Sun): 1 J Price Metro 6R4 1:59.22 2 P Lloyd Metro 6R4 1:59.58 3 C Griffiths Subari Imp 2:00.05 4 S Hendy Escort Cos 2:00.16 5 S Allen Metro 6R4 2:02.16 6 M Dodd Escort RS2000 2:03.19 CHAMP CARS (Nazareth):- Grid for race: lap time seconds 1 P Carpentier Can Merc-Benz 18:419 2 G Moore Can Merc-Benz 18:628 3 M Andretti US Ford 18:636 4 G de Ferran Brz Honda 18:640 5 J Vasser US Honda 18:652 6 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford 18:658 7 B Herta US Ford 18:725 8 A Zanardi US Honda 18:729 9 B Rahal US Ford 18:819 10 P Tracy US Honda 18:822 17 D Franchitti GB Honda 19:004 21 M Blundell GB Mercedes 19:122 HEAVY RAIN POSTPONES RACE UNTIL MONDAY 27.04.98F1:- David Coulthard admits Ferrari could still be a threat to McLaren's title ambitions because of the consistency of Michael Schumacher. The Scot won the San Marino Grand Prix but Ferrari's Schumacher and Eddie Irvine were second and third. "I know I am capable of beating Michael when I am driving to my best but from my past form I have shown I am less consistent than him," said Coulthard. "The goal in my career is to make myself as consistent as him."
RALLYING:- Martin Rowe and Tapio Laukkanen are preparing for the next stage of the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship by flying to Corsica. The Renault pair, who were in the top three overall in the Pirelli International Rally at the weekend, have flown out to practice on asphalt. Laukkanen, in particular, needs to practice on the harder surface with the Ulster and Manx events on the schedule. He has impressed on gravel but said: "I want to get in 200 miles on tarmac."
CHAMP CARS (Nazareth):- Jimmy Vasser won the delayed Bosch Grand Prix in Pennsylvania just 1.4 seconds ahead of teammate Alex Zanardi. After Sunday's scheduled start was delayed by rain, a cold track on a chilly Monday morning caused several contenders to spin out. Using just two pit stops in a race slowed by caution six times, Vasser's Reynard Honda averaged 108.839mph. Briton Mark Blundell escaped without injury following contact with the wall in turn three.
Race result: Laps 1 J Vasser US Honda 225 2 A Zanardi US Honda 225 3 G Moore Can Merc-Benz 225 4 G de Ferran Brz Honda 225 5 P Tracy US Honda 225 6 B Rahal US Ford 225 7 R Gordon US Toyota 225 8 B Herta US Ford 224 9 T Kanaan US Honda 224 10 R Hearn US Ford 224 20 M Blundell GB Mercedes 118 21 D Franchitti GB Honda 145 DRIVER STANDINGS Points 1 G Moore Can Merc-Benz 51 2 A Zanardi US Honda 50 3 A Fernandez Mex Ford 41 4 G de Ferran Brz Honda 33 5 J Vasser US Honda 31 29.04.98 - TOURING CARSThe championship moves to Donington for rounds five and six this weekend and it promises to be a competitive affair. Four different drivers have triumphed in the opening races of the season, with last year's runaway champion Alain Menu not having it all his own way. Volvo's Rickard Rydell, Renault's Menu, Nissan's David Leslie and Ford's Will Hoy have all won races. However, it is Menu's Renault team-mate Jason Plato who heads the drivers' race after some consistent performances.
Renault star Jason Plato will be aiming to extend his lead in the championship over the Bank Holiday weekend. Qualifying is on Sunday, with the two races on Monday and Plato is a big fan of the Derbyshire circuit. "It is great to be leading the championship as we arrive at Donington ` a circuit I really like," he said. "So far I have been playing the percentage game, scoring good points in all four opening races, but it would be good to start winning soon."
Surprise Silverstone winner Will Hoy will be one of the few people praying for rain on Monday. He revealed: "The Mondeo needs more fine tuning to maximise its potential in dry conditions. However, no-one should count us out if we get some typical British Bank Holiday weather at Donington. Our win at Silverstone was no fluke. We got the tactics right and my pit crew were fantastic. It is clear no driver is going to dominate this year."
Ex-Formula One star Nigel Mansell is expceted at the circuit on Monday to cheer on the Ford squad. Mansell is expected to make his debut for the team in June. Other front-runners could be James Thompson, who has already been on the podium three times this season, and John Cleland and Gianni Morbidelli. Meanwhile, the Autosport Cup battle for the independents should feature strong challenges from Robb Gravett, Matt Neal and Mark Lemmer.
Nissan's Anthony Reid used to be chief instructor at Donington's racing school so should have some inside information. "On a flying lap the Primera GT rushes past the pits at 125mph toward the first bend," he said. "If you get your braking all wrong you could end up having an early pint in the Lodge pub on the left. People also get into trouble at the Old Hairpin, which is nothing like a hairpin. The knack is to get on to the left side to find the correct line."