03.01.98 - PARIS-DAKAR RALLY Third stage mins secs 1 P Lartigue Fr Protruck 22:44 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 6:21 3 P Wambergue Fr Toyota @ 6:43 4 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 6:47 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi 1:07:51 2 P Lartigue Fr Protruck @ 0:20 3 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 2:04 4 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 3:03 5 P Wambergue Fr Toyota @ 4:24 04.01.98F1:- Williams are set to paint their cars bright red for this year's Championship instead of their blue-and-white design, according to the 'Sunday Times'.
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY Fifth stage hr mins secs 1 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi 2:51:18 2 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 0:06 3 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 0:56 4 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 1:44 5 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 8:24 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi 4:00:05 2 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 1:14 3 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 3:51 4 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 12:33 5 L Ragland US Protruck @ 20:01 05.01.98RALLYING:- Ford have made engine modifications to the official Escort rally cars ahead of the opening round of the 1998 FIA World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo. Juha Kankkunen and Bruno Thiry have been delighted with the pre-season testing before the January 18-21 race.
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY - Sixth stage hr mins secs 1 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi 3:32:47 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 1:13 3 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 1:21 4 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 4:22 5 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 10:37 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi 7:34:05 2 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 2:38 3 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 4:23 4 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 12:41 5 J K'schmidt Ger Buggy @ 42:33 06.01.98F1:- German prosecutors are investigating whether to bring charges against Michael Schumacher over the collision with Jacques Villeneuve last year. They have started the probe after a man from Frankfurt filed a complaint. Chief prosecutor Hans Bernhard Jansen said: "We are investigating to see whether there was anything punishable by law." The FIA wiped out the Ferrari ace's 1997 points after the Jerez incident. Legal opinion is charges are unlikely.
Belgian Grand Prix organisers have been given another week to see if they can reach an agreement with the government over tobacco advertising. Race chiefs have asked the FIA for more time and they will decide next week whether to grant the plea or axe the race from the 1998 calendar. Belgium's tobacco advertising ban is due to be enforced from 1999. The FIA had given organisers until December 31 to challenge the decision, which could go to the supreme court.
Ferrari are going to unveil their new car for this year on Wednesday. It has a V10 engine designed by Paolo Martinelli and was tested this week. Sauber team manager Max Welti has resigned after two-and-a-half-years in charge. The team will be restructured by owner Peter Sauber for this season. Leo Ross will take over the role of technical director.
RALLYING:- Subaru are hoping the combined talents of Colin McRae and Piero Liatti will earn them the manufacturers' world title for the fourth consecutive year. The partnership of McRae and Nicky Grist continues and they will be joined by Liatti and Fabrizia Pons. Kenneth Eriksson will drive a third Subaru Impreza but will focus on events where his command of the territory is invaluable to their title chances. Only two cars are registered for points in the manufacturers' championship.
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY - seventh stage hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 3:31.35 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 03.07 3 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 03.51 4 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 10.27 5 J K'schm'dt Ger Buggy @ 13.49 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi 11:08.47 2 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 01.16 3 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 09.58 4 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 13.25 5 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:02.37 07.01.98F1:- Ferrari president Luza di Montezemolo believes his F1 team is in with a good chance for the first time in years of the world drivers' championship title. Montezemolo, speaking as the 1998 Formula One Ferrari F300 was unveiled in Italy, said: "If we do not win then we will have failed." Ferrari's former world champion Michael Schumacher spoke of his determination to deliver the goods this year. He said he is: "well, relaxed, motivated and strong for next season".
Ferrari's Irish driver Eddie Irvine has spoken of his delight at the new car unveiled by the legendary Italian team. "This year we have pulled out all the stops," Irvine enthused. "We've done everything that we can do. It's good to know you are starting on a level footing with all the other teams. It's not so nice when the car beside you is a second a lap faster. I am really looking forward to going in and having a chance, for the first time really since my Formula 3000 days"
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY - eighth stage hr mins secs 1 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi 4:07.02 2 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 03.38 3 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 06.04 4 J K'schm'dt Ger Buggy @ 11.06 5 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 14.29 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 15:20.43 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 01.10 3 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 05.04 4 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 26.06 5 J Klein'dt Ger Buggy @ 59.27 08.01.98F1:- Nigel Mansell is backing Damon Hill to launch a major challenge to Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher in this year's world championship. Mansell said: "Eddie Jordan did brilliantly last year in developing the car and with Damon on board it could make all the difference. "Eddie and his team are ready to win and I think that will happen this year. They are up there with the top teams and will be a major threat. They could put pressure on the others."
Jackie Stewart is remaining cautious about his team's prospects for the upcoming 1998 season. Stewart has always been confident his Ford-powered outfit would prove more competitive in their second year, but preparations have not run smoothly. "Quite often the second year is more difficult than the first. My key goal for 1998 is just consistent results. As long as we are consistent, we have a chance of being among the points and on the podium," said Stewart.
RALLYING:- Stephanie and Rachel Simmonite, seventh in the 1997 British Rally Championship, have been awarded the Lord Wakefield Trophy for outstanding achievement.
SILVERSTONE:- Silverstone will again be the only venue to host rounds of four FIA world-class championships in a single season this year, its' Golden Jubilee. As well as the Formula One meeting, the circuit also stages the Network Q RAC Rally and rounds of the FIA GT and F3000 International championships.
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY - ninth stage hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 7:53.00 2 J K'schm'dt Ger Buggy @ 10.49 3 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 13.17 4 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 34.47 5 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:34.49 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 23:13.46 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 14.27 3 J Klein'dt Ger Buggy @1:10.16 4 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:39.53 5 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:48.59 09.01.98BRITISH GT:- Privilege Insurance have confirmed they will continue supporting the British GT Championship this year. It is the third season they have backed the category.
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY 10th stage hr mins secs 1 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi 6:06:09 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 02:05 3 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 05:50 4 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 09:19 5 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 13:34 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 29:25:45 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 10:42 3 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:41:09 4 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:43:22 5 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @3:39:31 10.01.98 - PARIS-DAKAR RALLYSaturday's 11th stage was cancelled after bandits attacked race vehicles and stole one of them. An unidentified group of about eight men attacked two vehicles as they headed for the Taoudenni bivouac. Two medical cars and a service truck were sent to the scene but no injuries were immediately reported. Two Malian military patrols from Taoudenni were also dispatched, and a helicopter searched the area for the stolen truck.
12.01.98F1:- This year's Portuguese GP will not take place after the Portuguese government admitted that the renovation work at Estoril would not be completed on time. "I have informed the FIA that there is no realistic hope of completing the work in time," said Economy Minister Joaquim Pina Moura. The FIA had given Portugal a deadline of December 31. But they subsequently extended it and the Grand Prix was to go ahead as planned in October.
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY 11th stage hr mins secs 1 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi 3:37:52 2 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 01:17 3 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 11:53 4 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 16:21 5 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 24:19 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 33:04:54 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 09:25 3 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:58:26 4 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @2:04:11 5 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @3:50:07 13.01.98F1:- Jackie Stewart kept an air of reality at the launch of his second Stewart Racing Formula One car in Essex. "We still have a great deal to learn," he admitted. "In many ways 1998 will be more difficult than our first year. People might say if only we can be reliable we will be competitive. That's asking too much too soon I expect a conservative year, of consolidation." The team's only point scoring race last season came from Rubens Barrichello, who finished second in Monaco.
Ferrari's second day of testing in Fiorano, Italy ended early after a series of technical checks. Michael Schumacher only completed 21 laps in his new F300 as his car spent most of the day in the pits having a new gearbox fitted. Spokesman Claudio Berro said tests were going well with the car now having completed 143 laps in total. Schumacher will shortly fly to Jerez in Spain where teammate Eddie Irvine is testing tyres for next season.
RALLYING:- Legend Roger Clark, who won the RAC Rally on two occasions, has died in hospital after suffering a stroke. The 58-year-old recorded his RAC triumphs in 1972, Britain's first win at the event since 1959, and 1976. Clark also won the British Championship on four occasions and shot to fame driving his own Mini Cooper before joining Ford in 1966. He retired after the World Rally Championship in 1980 but made a return at the Rally of Wales in 1995.
Tony Mason paid tribute to Roger Clark after the death of the British rally legend at the age of 58. Mason was Clark's co-driver when he won the first of his two RAC Rallies. He said: "It must be remembered that Roger Clark did change the face of British rallying. He was the first to conquer the Scandinavians. You only get a genuine British world- beater in any sport maybe once a decade, and he was one. There really was no-one to touch Roger back then."
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY 12th stage hr mins secs 1 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi 7:36:35 2 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi @ 2:46 3 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 6:17 4 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 27:32 5 J K'schmidt Ger Buggy @ 35:27 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 40:34:15 2 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 12:56 3 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:55:40 4 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @2:40:22 5 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @4:14:53 14.01.98F1:- The International Automobile Federation have postponed a decision on whether to drop the Belgian Grand Prix from the 1998 calendar until February 15. Spa-Francorchamps organisers are pushing for a tobacco advertising ban, due to begin in 1999, to be scrapped. However, the Portuguese race has been dropped because work on the Estoril track would not be finished in time. China and South Africa have been listed as reserve races and a decision on the replacement venue will be made soon.
David Coulthard believes the arrival of engineering guru Adrian Newey from Williams is a major boost for McLaren. The Scottish star and team-mate Mika Hakkinen finished on the podium in the Australian Grand Prix in 1997 and they are aiming for a repeat this year. The season gets underway in Melbourne on March 8 and last year's winner Coulthard said: "I do not see any reason why we cannot win again. Adrian, the other engineers and reliability will see us out in front."
Rubens Barrichello wants to improve on last season's high spot - second place in Monaco ` even if it reduces the Stewart executive chairman to tears. Jackie Stewart could not hide his emotions after the Brazilian's superb drive in the principality. "The new regulations might give smaller and younger teams a bigger chance and our 1998 car has had more development time," said Barrichello. "For the first time we will have a Ford engine created specifically for us."
TOURING CARS:- Craig Baird has filled the final works seat in the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship. The New Zealander will race a Ford Mondeo alongside Will Hoy. The move ends speculation that former Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell was in talks for the drive.
15.01.98 - F1Benetton have unveiled their new car for the 1998 season and the team believe it will help them challenge Williams and Ferrari for the title. They want to return to the glory days of 1994 and 1995 when former driver Michael Schumacher led them to glory. Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz will be driving the B198 this season after making their names last year. Technical director Pat Symonds said: "I am confident we have everything in place now to return to the top."
Michael Schumacher believes last season's controversial collision with Jacques Villeneuve in Jerez has not damaged his reputation. The German was stripped of his 1997 points after the incident but revealed: "I certainly do not feel that my reputation has gone down. I believe most people do not reduce the season down to one race. I am well aware the season ended badly for me but I have to look to the future. I have said I made a mistake."
McLaren Mercedes have secured a sponsorship deal with soft drink firm Cadbury Schweppes. Arrows have teamed up with the University of Oxford Said Business School in a bid to attract more sponsors to the team. They will give the Oxfordshire-based team marketing advice and in return will have their name on the cars and driver suits free of charge.
Belgian Formula One fans are seeking help from the European Union to try and force the FIA to drop their threat to axe the Belgium race this year. The fans are using the same lawyer - Jean-Louis Dupont - who represented footballer Jean-Marc Bosman in his fight over transfers.
16.01.98TOURING CARS:- Team Mondeo have appointed Spaniard Rafael Campillos as race engineer for the new season. It follows the news that four-times New Zealand Touring Car champion Craig Baird will join Will Hoy in the works Ford team.
1998 BTTC CALENDAR APRIL 12/13 Thruxton * 25/26 Silverstone (International circuit) MAY 3/4 Donington Park (GP circuit) * 16/17 Brands Hatch (Indy circuit) 24/25 Oulton Park (Fosters circuit) * JUNE 13/14 Donington Park (National circuit) 27/28 Croft JULY 25/26 Snetterton AUGUST 1/2 Thruxton 15/16 Knockhill 30/31 Brands Hatch (Indy circuit) * SEPTEMBER 12/13 Oulton Park (Fosters circuit) 26/27 Silverstone (International circuit) OCTOBER 17/18 Donington Park Tourist Trophy * Donates Bank HolidayMONTE CARLO RALLY:- Tommi Makinen faces a tough challenge if he is to retain his world title. Championship regulations have been tightened - in a bid to attract competitors and the public - and six constructors have well-matched cars. The 1998 opener begins on Monday and Subaru - aiming for a third constructor title - have two cars in Monte Carlo. Colin McRae heads their charge and he said: "It is a tricky event. The crew with the most luck will probably be the ones with the champagne." Subaru drivers Nigel Heath and Chris Pattison are the only private British entrants to be taking part in next week's Monte Carlo Rally.
BRITISH RALLYING:- Jason Plato will take part in the opening round of the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship on February 21. Plato, who was third for Williams- Renault in last year's British Touring Car Championship, will partner Renault UK's Tapio Laukkanen and Martin Rowe. The Silverstone Rallysprint will be 30-year-old Plato's debut in the sport. Team principal of Williams Touring Car Engineering Frank Williams said: "We are optimistic that with no cars near him he will finish unscathed."
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY 15th stage hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 4:33.39 2 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 2.16 3 J Schlesser Fr Buggy @ 7.11 4 P Alliot Fr Nissan @ 24.29 5 J K'schmidt Ger Buggy @ 30.33 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 61:45:32 2 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @2:00:19 3 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @2:09:27 4 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @6:05:39 5 J-L Sch'lsr Fr Buggy @8:19:28F.PALMER AUDI - Darren Turner has decided to compete in Formula Palmer Audi this season. Turner won the McLaren/Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award in 1996 - when he was runner-up in the Formula Renault Sport Championship. The 23-year-old made his Formula Three debut last season and has tested with the McLaren, Jordan and Arrows Formula One teams. Edward Moore from Bath has also signed up for FPA. He has won the Castle Combe Driver of the Year Award twice.
17.01.98F1:- Ferrari superstar Michael Schumacher has targeted McLaren as the biggest threat to his team's challenge for the world championship this season. "They are first on my list," he said. "They were very strong last season and with the new people they have, they should be our most dangerous opponents." He dismissed Jacques Villeneuve, adding "As world champion he must have plenty of confidence but so have I." Schumacher confirmed he would honour his contract at Ferrari until 1999.
PARIS-DAKAR RALLY 16th stage hr mins secs 1 J Schlesser Fr Buggy 1:37.36 2 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 2.23 3 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @ 2.08 4 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @ 6.56 5 J K'schmidt Ger Buggy @ 7.21 Overall standings: hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Fr Mitsubishi 64:59:48 2 K Shinozuka Jpn Mitsubishi @1:41:43 3 B Saby Fr Mitsubishi @1:54:58 4 H Masuoka Jpn Mitsubishi @5:53:23 5 J-L Sch'lsr Fr Buggy @8:14:53 18.01.98 - PARIS DAKAR RALLY Final Positions hr mins secs 1 J Fontenay Mitsubishi 65:25:48 2 K Shinozuka Mitsubishi 67:11:42 3 B Saby Mitsubishi 67:24:59 4 H Masuoka Mitsubishi 71:21:25 5 J Schlesser Buggy 73:36:37 6 P Alliot Nissan 77:05:41 7 D Housieaux Nissan 78:46:22 8 T de Lavergne Nissan 79:18:13 9 M Prieto Mitsubishi 83:08:48 10 B ten Harkel Mitsubushi 88:52:03 19.01.98F1:- Damon Hill is looking forward to locking horns with Michael Schumacher this year - with a little help from the German's younger brother Ralf. Hill, facing a fresh challenge with Jordan, said: "Ralf wants to beat his brother more than anything else, so we should get on just fine. I'm straining at the leash and can't wait to come out fighting. I'm not here to make up the numbers. You must be realistic. It will be tough for us to fight for the title."
Damon Hill is confident he can give Jordan their first Grand Prix win and put last year's problems behind him. At the launch of the Jordan Mugen-Honda 198 at the Albert Hall, Hill revealed: "The desire is there to win. I am raring to go now. I'm confident the package is a competitive one." A number of rule changes have been brought in for the new season and Hill added: "There is more scope for adaptability, which should favour me."
Jordan insist there will be no team orders despite the arrival of former world champion Damon Hill. Hill will partner Ralf Schumacher and team owner Eddie Jordan said: "We have not got a number one and number two driver in our team. Jordan have a policy that each driver is given an equal opportunity to display their talents. If we were in with a chance of the title that could change but no driver is more important than the team."
Jordan have launched their new car and announced a new sponsorship deal with NatWest Bank. The Silverstone-based outfit unveiled its new chassis at the Royal Albert Hall with ex-world champion Damon Hill at the wheel of the Jordan Mugen-Honda. NatWest's Patrick Boylan said: "We are delighted to support a British team with a British world champion driver." Jordan have replaced the snake on the nose of the car with a hornet for the new season.
MONTE CARLO RALLY:- World champion Tommi Makinen gained the lead after the first day of the opening rally of the World Championship. The Finnish driver improved over the final stages of the day on the 474km route from Monte Carlo to Gap. After being behind by 14 seconds after the first two stages, Makinen went into the lead and had a 68-second lead over former world champion Carlos Sainz. Scotland's Colin McRae is in fifth in the Subaru Impreza, almost two minutes adrift of Makinen.
Positions after stage 6: (end of Leg 1) hrs mins secs 1 Makinen/M'maki Mitsubishi 1:26:57 2 Sainz/Moya Toyota 1:28:06 3 Liatti/Pons Subaru 1:28:15 4 Burns/Reid Mitsubishi 1:28:39 5 McRae/Grist Subaru 1:28:48 6 Kankkunen/Repo Ford 1:29:07 7 Thiry/Prevot Ford 1:30:02 8 Nittel/Thorner Mitsubishi 1:30:34 9 Lundgard/Ped'n Toyota 1:32:10 10 Auriol/Giraudet Toyota 1:32:15 20.01.98F1:- Alain Prost unveiled his new car - and then took a swipe at Damon Hill for joining Jordan and not his team. Prost said: "I was very disappointed - more with the way it was done than with anything. Now I realise I would have had a lot of doubts about Damon's motivation." Asked to comment on reports that Hill felt the Prost team would have been too French for him, Prost said: "I don't know about that - maybe the other one is going to be too Irish for him."
The Prost Peugeot team launched a new era when they unveiled their new car for the 1998 season in Barcelona. The car is the first to be powered by Peugeot's latest V10 engine and is an important development for the team according to Alain Prost. "What's very important to me is how we envisage to work together for the future both technically and at the human level," he said. "I believe we are going in the right direction," he added.
Williams duo Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jacques Villeneuve dominated the first day of testing in Montmelo. Frentzen, driving the old Williams car but on the new grooved tyres that will come into force this season, was quickest with a lap of 1:21.38. Villeneuve, driving the new model but with the old style tyres, completed 26 laps with a fastest time of 1:24.64. Damon Hill completed three laps in the Jordan, clocking a best time of 1:27.39 during the session.
MONTE CARLO RALLY:- Overnight leader Tommi Makinen will undergo tests in hospital after crashing out of the Monte Carlo Rally. The world champion went off the road before the halfway point of stage seven and was forced to retire from the race. Makinen has only recently recovered from pneumonia and a spokesman said he was suffering from the after-effects. Carlos Sainz took over as leader while Richard Burns is in third in the Mitsubishi and Colin McRae fourth in the Subaru.
Positions after stage 13: (end of leg two) hrs mins secs 1 Sainz/Moya Toyota 3:22:10 2 Kankkunen/Repo Ford 3:23:05 3 Burns/Reid Mitsubishi 3:24:09 4 McRae/Grist Subaru 3:24:15 5 Liatti/Pons Subaru 3:24:17 6 Thiry/Prevot Ford 3:24:27 7 Nittel/Thorner Mitsubishi 3:28:11 8 Panizzi/Panizzi Peugeot 3:30:03 9 Kremer/Wicha Toyota 3:30:43 10 Delecour/G'loup Peugeot 3:34:44 21.01.98F1:- Damon Hill has launched his driving career with Jordan in Barcelona and he has hailed the performance of his car. Hill steered the Jordan Mugen-Honda for 40 laps under sunny skies in a best time of 1min 26.33secs. "It felt great to be back in the driving seat and my new car felt fantastic. It is wonderful to feel the adrenaline pumping again," he said. Hill was third fastest behind Williams drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jacques Villeneuve.
Tyrrell launched their last car before the takeover by British American Racing and are aiming to leave the Formula One scene in style this season. Team boss Ken Tyrrell confirmed: "We intend to go out this year with a bang, so we have put everything into designing the car. We are aiming for podium places and we think we have the car to get a few." The Surrey-based team are still looking for a second driver to partner the inexperienced Toranosuke Takagi.
MONTE CARLO RALLY:- Colin McRae drove his Subaru to third spot but Carlos Sainz clinched victory to equal the record of 21 World Championship wins. The Spaniard is now on a par with four-times world champion Juha Kankkunen, who was runner-up to Sainz. Scottish star McRae improved on his overnight position of fourth but had too much ground to make up on the leaders in the season's opening race. Sainz had taken over the lead after Tommi Makkinen crashed out on Tuesday.
Final positions after stage 18: (leg three) hrs mins secs 1 Sainz/Moya Toyota 4:28:00 2 Kankkunen/Repo Ford 4:28:41 3 McRae/Grist Subaru 4:29:01 4 Liatti/Pons Subaru 4:29:13 5 Burns/Reid Mitsubishi 4:29:23 6 Thiry/Prevot Ford 4:30:20 7 Nittel/Thorner Mitsubishi 4:34:21 8 Kremer/Wicha Toyota 4:37:40 9 Panizzi/Panizzi Peugeot 4:39:24 10 Delecour/G'loup Peugeot 4:40:02 22.01.98F1:- Tarso Marques has been released from his Minardi contract. The Brazilian, who was only 20 when he joined the team at the start of 1996, has impressed several other outfits. Negotiations are already believed to be underway with interested parties. Marques signed a three-and-a-half-year deal last June but team chief Giancarlo Minardi has been forced to let him go. "I would like to thank Giancarlo. He has done a lot for me," said Marques.
RALLYING:- Richard Burns believes he missed out on a podium place in the Rally of Monte Carlo because of his conservative approach to the event. The 27-year-old from Oxford was fifth on his World Championship debut but admitted: "This was all part of my education. I was there to learn. To that end, I did not take too many chances by pushing too hard and did not take too many risks on tyre choice. It probably cost me a place on the podium, which is frustrating."
F.PALMER AUDI:- Edward Redfern will be competing in Formula Palmer Audi next season. The 19-year-old has decided to step up from the Slick 50 Formula Ford Championship but Yap Motorsport will continue to back him.
MANSELL:- Ex-Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell has been banned from driving for six months after being stopped by police for speeding.
23.01.98 - F1Tarso Marques could join Tyrrell for the new season after opting out of his contract with Minardi. Tora Takagi has already been named as one of the team's drivers but Tyrrell want an experienced teammate with him. Riccardo Rosset, Norberto Fontana and Jean-Christophe Boullion are others in the frame for the Tyrrell spot. Marques, who made his Formula One debut last year, said: "I have reason to believe I'll be there on the starting grid in Melbourne."
28.01.98 - F1Patrick Head has revealed that Williams star Jacques Villeneuve is out to prove that he is a better driver than Ferrari rival Michael Schumacher. The Canadian pipped the German to the world title last season but Villeneuve knows that Schumacher is still seen by many as the best driver on the circuit. Williams technical chief Head confirmed: "I think that Jacques wants to prove that that idea is wrong. I expect him to tackle the task this year in a calm and determined way."
World champion Jacques Villeneuve believes Heinz-Harald Frentzen will be his main rival as he bids to retain his crown this season. Villeneuve says his Williams team-mate could even be more of a danger than Michael Schumacher. "You biggest threat is always your team-mate because you are working with the same car and same people," he said. "I expect McLaren, Ferrari and Michael Schumacher to be competitive but there could be a lot of other teams."
29.01.98F1:- Former World Champion Michael Schumacher has targetted McLaren as Ferrari's most dangerous opponents in the chase for the Formula One title. He said of McLaren: "I think they're the best team, both from the point of view of the car and of the drivers." The German admitted that new regulation tyres could also provide problems. As to whether Williams will benefit over the new Ferrari because of the miles covered in practice he said: "I don't think they'll have an advantage."
F.PALMER AUDI:- Swedish teenager Bjorn Wirdheim is the latest champion to agree to compete in Formula Palmer Audi this season. The 17-year-old won the Formula Ford series in Sweden with five victories and seven second places in 13 races. "The best way for me to enhance my reputation internationally was to race in Britain," he said. Jonathan Palmer said: "It's great to have another champion in the series. Formula Ford provides drivers with a very competitive training ground."
30.01.98 - F1Japanese driver Shinji Nakano will join the Minardi team for the 1998 Formula One season. Nakano drove for Prost in 1997, winning two points from 17 drives.
31.01.98 - ICE RACINGNigel Mansell's hopes of getting his Chamonix 24 Hours weekend off to a good start suffered an early blow when he spun out of qualifying. The former world champion completed only one lap of the 1.3-km ice circuit before he spun into the snow barriers at the first hairpin. He was unable to select a gear and was forced to walk back to the pits after abandoning his Ford Escort. Ford said the gearbox will be repaired before the opening heats.