01.09.98F1:- Jordan have denied reports that they have released Ralf Schumacher. It would have him free to join Williams but, in a statement, Jordan said: "We will vigorously defend the writ issued by Ralf Schumacher in the High Court." The court hearing is set to take place within 10 days but Schumacher's agent Willi Weber had said: "Ralf is free. Jordan are no longer in talks with him. Negotiations with Williams are underway but, apart from that, I do not wish to say any more."
TOURING CARS:- DRIVER STANDINGS (after 22 rnds): 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo S40 223 pts 2 A Reid GB Nissan 190 3 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 175 4 J Thompson GB Honda Accord 164 5 J Plato GB Renault Lag 133 CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS 1 Nissan 246 pts 2 Renault 231 3 Volvo 228 4 Honda 191 5 Vauxhall 155 INDEPENDENTS 1 T Rustad 224 pts 2 R Gravett 192 3 M Neal 184 CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING Driver ratings (September 1) Points 1 M Schumacher Ger Formula One 1041 2 A Zanardi It Champ Car 1033 3 J Gordon US NASCAR 1008 4 M Hakkinen Fin Formula One 986 5 M Martin US NASCAR 840 6 D Coulthard GB Formula One 802 7 D Jarrett US NASCAR 775 8 B Schneider Ger GTs 691 9 J Villeneuve Can Formula One 684 10 E Irvine GB Formula One 673 02.09.98 - F1Ferrari's fanatical fans vented their fury at David Coulthard as he tested at Monza ahead of the Italian Grand Prix on September 13. After Sunday's collision in Belgium with the Tifosi's idol Michael Schumacher, Coulthard was booed every time he went on to the circuit. The fans also put up banners, although track officials removed them. He allegedly had beer cans thrown at him at Spa and the race reception could be worse at Ferrari's home track.
McLaren have hit back at Ferrari over Sunday's incident in Belgium between David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. In a statement, they said: "It is our regret that it occurred and that its interpretation by Ferrari challenged the integrity of our team and driver. It is clear that the incident was accidental and a consequence of the actions of both drivers involved, who were competing in appalling conditions. "At no time did David Coulthard apply the brakes or lift from the throttle."
Ferrari have refused to let the row die down over Michael Schumacher's crash with McLaren's David Coulthard in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. The Italian team claimed Coulthard was at fault and the Scotsman's action made the accident inevitable. Ferrari said Coulthard ignored blue flags and never allowed Schumacher to go by as required by regulations. A statement said they would make no further comment on what happened and considered the incident closed.
Wednesday's times: min secs 1 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:23.527 2 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:24.736 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:24.773 4 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:25.081 5 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:25.234 6 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:25.305 7 JP Montoya Col Williams 1:25.564 8 J Trulli It Prost 1:25.619 9 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:25.714 10 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:25.833 16 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:27.568 04.09.98MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Martin Rowe hopes home advantage will work in his favour when he aims to become the British Rally Champion at next week's Manx International Rally. Rowe, who hails from the Isle of Man, is currently tied on points with Gwyndaf Evans, having led the title race since round one back in March. The 27-year-old said: "I have not come all this way to have the title snatched from my grasp at the end. Whoever finishes ahead wins the title and I aim to do it with a victory."
SCOTTISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:- The outcome of this year's championship will be decided this weekend in Saturday's Little the Jewellers Speyside Stages Rally. The event will see Jim Carty and Jimmy Paterson resuming their year-long duel for the title, but both will be wary of the challenge by Andy Horne. The event is being organised by Horne's home club, 63 Car Club, and the driver is in determined mood. Horne warned: "I am ready now as I have ever been."
RALLYING:- Richard Burns has signed a three-year contract with Subaru. He has been with Mitsubishi for the last three years.
06.09.98F1:- Formula One chief Max Mosley has urged Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard to end their feud after colliding in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. The FIA president told a German newspaper that Schumacher was not beyond criticism and that he had been punished several times in the past. Mosley said: "I hope the two drivers are going to meet and talk it out. They should shake hands. I have been told the telemetrics show it was a normal racing accident."
CHAMP CARS:- Scotland's Dario Franchitti claimed his fifth pole position of his career on Saturday for the Vancouver Indy. Franchitti won the fourth pole of the season with his best lap of 1 minute 4.130 seconds on the 2.899-kilometer temporary street circuit. Alex Zanardi, closing in on his second consecutive CART FedEx championship title, started Saturday's final round on provisional pole. But the Italian ended the day a disappointing third.
Qualifying (Sat): min secs 1 D Franchitti Honda 1:04:130 2 B Herta Ford 1:04.218 3 A Zanardi Honda 1:04:420 4 G Moore Mercedes 1:04:620 5 T Kanaan Honda 1:04:624 6 M Andretti Ford 1:04:651 7 P Tracy Honda 1:04:679 8 S Pruett Ford 1:04:680 9 H C-Neves Mercedes 1:04:699 10 R Hearn Ford 1:04:781 07.09.98F1:- Johnny Herbert is to join Stewart Ford next season in a two-year deal. The 34-year-old Briton currently races for Sauber but has only managed to earn one point so far in a season beset by ill-fortune and car problems. Rubens Barrichello and Jos Verstappen are Stewart's 1998 drivers, Verstappen replacing Jan Magnussen halfway through the season. It would appear likely that Barrichello will stay with the team, although Stewart have not confirmed that.
Johnny Herbert is delighted after making the decision to leave Sauber for Stewart Ford next year. He said. "The team, though still in its infancy, has already made a big impression in Formula One. "I believe that with the chassis improvements and with Ford pushing ahead with their engine programme, I can help the team to the top." Stewart chairman Jackie Stewart said: "It is nice to have a British driver who has so much experience."
CHAMP CARS (Vancouver):- Scotland's Dario Franchitti won his second consecutive CART race while Alex Zanardi's fourth place was enough to clinch his second straight PPG Cup. Franchitti passed American Michael Andretti on the 80th lap for the lead and six laps later he finished 3.437 seconds ahead of the American. By winning from the pole, Franchitti collected an additional $330,000 bonus. Despite winning his title, Zanardi, who has won six races this year, apologised afterwards for a "bad performance".
Molson Indy Vancouver result (Sun): 1 D Franchitti Honda 86 2 M Andretti Ford 86 3 S Pruett Ford 86 4 A Zanardi Honda 86 5 Al Unser Jnr Mercedes 86 6 M Gugelmin Mercedes 86 7 A Ribeiro Mercedes 86 8 JJ Lehto Mercedes 86 9 M Papis Toyota 86 10 M Jourdain Jnr Ford 86 12 M Blundell Mercedes 86 DRIVER STANDINGS: Points 1 A Zanardi It Honda 218 2 J Vasser US Honda 126 3 A Fernandez Mex Ford 120 4 G Moore Can Merc-Benz 118 5 M Andretti US Ford 109 09.09.98F1:- Jordan have released German driver Ralf Schumacher from his contract so that he can join another Formula One team for the 1999 season. Schumacher, brother of two times world champion Michael, was anxious to leave Jordan and is reportedly keen to join the Williams team. He had been due in the High Court where a contract wrangle was due to be heard. All parties have agreed to keep the terms of the settlement confidential, according to a Jordan press release.
Damon Hill clinched his 22nd victory and the first for Jordan at Spa and will be targeting a repeat on a circuit he knows well. The 1996 world champion won at Monza in 1994 and 1995 while driving for the Williams team. Jordan were fourth in the Italian Grand Prix last season, with Giancarlo Fisichella securing the points. They lost him to Benetton after legal battles and, ironically, now have a similar situation with Ralf Schumacher.
F3 (Thruxton):- With just three races left in the championship, the leading contenders will be fighting for valuable points in Round 14 on Sunday. Title leader Mario Haberfield of Paul Stewart Racing will be looking for his fourth win of the season. He said: "I am confident I will do well and I will be pushing as hard as possible because the championship is not won yet." Enrique Bernoldi, lying just five points behind him, will hope he fails.
10.09.98F1: THE ITALIAN GP
Heinz-Harald Frentzen has said his move to Jordan is a swap deal which will see Ralf Schumacher join Williams. Frentzen confirmed he will leave Williams at the end of the season to link up with Damon Hill. He said: "Basically we have swapped. Ralf wants to drive for Williams and I want to drive for Jordan - so as you can see it is a swap. But it remains to be seen who will get the better end of the deal. I believe Jordan is the team of the future."
Tensions will be running high on Sunday following the dramatic events in the last grand prix in Belgium. The Tifosi will be eager for Michael Schumacher to put one over McLaren after the collision between the German and David Coulthard at Spa. McLaren star Mika Hakkinen leads Schumacher by seven points with just three rounds left. Coulthard won at Monza last year but Schumacher sent his supporters wild in 1996 with a win for Ferrari.
After the infamous Spa incident with Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard was booed during testing at Monza in preparation for Sunday's race. The Scot insisted he was unaffected by the reaction from the Ferrari fans. Meanwhile, Ferrari are hoping a new version of its F300 car will make a wining debut on its home track. Schumacher said: "We will not recapture a full second but it will boost confidence. There is no reason why we should not be competitive."
Jacques Villeneuve has no chance of regaining his title but will be eager to get back on to the points trail. In the three races before Belgium, he had finished in the top six and had been on the podium twice, with third places in Germany and Hungary. He said: "They have destroyed the track a bit at Monza and it is not as much fun as it was to drive. It is a track where everybody expects plenty of overtaking but last year there was none, which was surprising."
Williams driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen loves the challenge that the Monza circuit presents. "The spectators always get a good show at Monza because it is a true high- speed racetrack," said the German, who was third in Italy last year. "We drivers have to give our best as we run the cars with so little wing it takes all of our strength and skill to control them through corners." The Williams team are still searching for their first win of 1998.
Damon Hill clinched his 22nd victory and the first for Jordan at Spa and will be targeting a repeat on a circuit he knows well. The 1996 world champion won at Monza in 1994 and 1995 while driving for the Williams team. Jordan were fourth in the Italian Grand Prix last season, with Giancarlo Fisichella securing the points. They lost him to Benetton after legal battles and, ironically, now have a similar situation with Ralf Schumacher.
Arrows star Mika Salo is still recovering from the crash at Spa but is looking forward to Sunday's race. "I am still recuperating from a stiff neck and shoulders from the crash but am feeling much better," he said. "I was more injured mentally as I felt bad about myself and the team not being able to compete in the race after all the work and effort. Monza is a good track with lots of straights and some useful corners. The atmosphere is always great."
Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 53 laps or 305.772km (189.998 miles). Jean Alesi started on pole for Benetton last year, eventually finishing second. Monza was the setting for one of the closest finishes in Formula One history in 1969 when just 0.19 seconds covered the top four finishers. Jackie Stewart, who will be running a team on Sunday, won the race. Ferrari have had just one Monza victory since Gerhard Berger won in 1988.
Monza is a very low dowforce circuit and low wing level makes grip poor in the low speed turns. A number of teams are expected to confirm oe decide on their driver line- ups for the 1999 campaign over the Italian Grand Prix weekend. Sunday's race will be the 69th to carry the Italian Grand Prix title. Monza first held the race in 1922 and apart from a few visits to Torino, Milan and Livomo, the event has been held at the circuit since.
1997 result: 1 D Coulthard GB McLaren 2 J Alesi Fr Benetton 3 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 4 G Fisichella It Jordan 5 J Villeneuve Can Williams 6 M Schumacher GB Ferrari Fastest race lap: M Hakkinen 1:24.808 (record) Previous winners: 1997 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1996 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1995 J Herbert GB Benetton 1994 D Hill GB Williams 1993 D Hill GB Williams 1992 A Senna Brz McLaren 1991 N Mansell GB Williams 1990 A Senna Brz McLaren 1989 A Prost Fr McLaren 1988 G Berger Aut Ferrari 1987 N Piquet Brz WilliamsTOURING CARS (Oulton Park):- Rickard Rydell and Anthony Reid go into Sunday's rounds 23 and 24 targeting victories that could take either driver closer to the title. After this weekend, only the twin-race showdown at Silverstone remains. Rydell has a 33-point lead over Reid but the Scot said: "Rickard and the whole Volvo team are rattled. "Their behaviour at Brands Hatch showed that. They are under intense pressure, having tried and failed to win the title on four previous occasions."
Renault have won seven out of eight of the last races at Oulton Park and Alain Menu and Jason Plato will be aiming to keep up that record. They are still in with a chance of the manufacturers' crown, lying 15 points behind leaders Nissan. Meanwhile, the Autosport Cup for Independents' title could be decided in Sunday's rounds. Tommy Rustad could take the crown from incumbent Robb Gravett with a class victory in one of the races.
Vauxhall's John Cleland and Derek Warwick are looking to consolidate their top 10 positions on Sunday. Both have tasted victory this year and recent testing at Oulton park suggests they could savour success again. "It is a difficult circuit to get right every time," said Cleland. "Lap times are under one minute and everybody is so close round there. If we can be in the top 10 after qualifying we have a good chance of being on the podium."
Leading testing times (Thu): secs 1 J Thompson GB Honda 59:230 2 A Menu Swi Renault 59:432 3 P Kox Hol Honda 59:473 4 A Reid GB Nissan 59:550 5 R Rydell Swe Volvo 59:668 6 W Hoy GB Ford 59:748 7 J Plato GB Renault 59:763 8 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 59:805 9 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 59:814 10 G Morbidelli It Volvo 59:888 MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY LEADERBOARD after 4 of 24 stages (interim) min sec 1 Rowe/Ringer Renault 12:34 2 Higgins/Mills Nissan 12:47 3 McRae/Senior Volkswagen 12:50 4 Evans/Davies SEAT 12:55 5 Armstrong/Richrdsn SEAT 13:18 6 Laukkanen/Lindst'm Renault 13:19 7 Kytolehto/Kapanen Vauxhall 13:21 8 Mann/Cook Proton 13:27 9 Higgins/Kennedy Subaru 13:28 10 O'Callaghan/Harris Ford 13:32SEAT driver Gwyndaf Evans is making a steady start to his Championship title bid as his rival Martin Rowe takes the lead on Leg 1 of the Sony Manx Rally. "I'm finding conditions difficult and having trouble getting traction in the sand and water. "We've changed the springs to lower and soften the suspension", he added. Team-mate Barbara Armstrong says "I'm trying to build up a buffer between myself and Stephanie I'm not taking risks but I'm driving as hard as I can.
Drama started early in the Ladies battle for the Mobi1 1 Championship as Stephanie Simmonite suffered brake trouble on the first stage. This allowed SEAT driver Barbara Armstong to take a 30 second lead from the Ford driver after two stages. The Ford team hope to be able to sort this at service as the Simmontes need to win the Ladies event to retain their Championship title for the fourth year. The Rally returns to Douglas overnight and restarts at 09.05 on Friday.
RALLYING:- Didier Auriol will drive for Toyota in the World Rally Championship for the next two seasons. The Frenchman won the 1994 title with the team and has driven for Toyota in five of the last six seasons. He is fifth in the current campaign and will continue to partner Carlos Sainz in the 1999 and 2000 seasons. "I am pleased that it is possible to continue with Toyota," said Auriol. "It is well known that there were some other teams interested in me."
F.FORD (Oulton Park):- Testing times (Thu): mins secs 1 J Button 1:09.750 2 T Sisley 1:10.371 3 D Hayes 1:10.475 4 J Pickford 1:11.106 5 J Bleekemolen 1:11.499 6 M McKenna 1:11.627F.VAUXHALL JUNIOR:- Antonio Pizzonia could win the Formula Vauxhall Junior title at Oulton Park this weekend. The Brazilian needs to score four more points than closest rival Richard Lyons on Sunday.
SKODA TROPHY:- Steve Head, James Slack and Tim Green head to Belgium this weekend, hoping to establish an advantage in the Skoda Trophy rally series. Green has a one-point lead over Slack ahead of the penultimate round. Head is currently in third place.
11.09.98F1: THE ITALIAN GP
Friday's free practice times: 1 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:24.987 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:25.246 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:25.690 4 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:26.053 5 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:26.159 6 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 1:26.528 7 J Trulli It Prost 1:26.748 8 D Hill GB Jordan 1:26.838 9 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:26.885 10 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:26.886 11 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:27.709 12 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:27.541 13 O Panis Fr Prost 1:27.676 14 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:28.066 15 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 1:28.098 16 T Takagi Jpn Tyrrell 1:28.135 17 J Verstappen Hol Stewart 1:28.606 18 E Tuero Arg Minardi 1:28.847 19 S Nakano Jpn Minardi 1:28.849 20 M Salo Fin Arrows 1:29.603 21 P Diniz Brz Arrows 1:53.671 did not compete: J Alesi MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY LEADERBOARD after 17 of 24 stages (interim) hr min sec 1 Rowe/Ringer Renault 2:07:33 2 Laukkanen/Lindstrom Renault 2:07:55 3 Kytolehto/Kapanen Vauxhall 2:12:45 4 Higgins/Kennedy Subaru 2:14:06 5 Mann/Cook Proton 2:14:46 6 O'Callaghan/Harris Ford 2:17:18 7 Armstrong/Richard'n SEAT 2:18:01 8 Simmonite/Simmonite Ford 2:18:38 9 McShea/Cassidy Mitsubi'i 2:18:40 10 McGarrity/Carroth's Mitsubi'i 2:19:50Gwyndaf Evans has retired his SEAT Ibiza on stage 16 with engine failure, after suffering problems through the previous two stages. This crowns Manxman Martin Rowe as the Mobil 1 British Rally Champion for 1998 even if he does not finish the event. This is the first time in 41 years that Renault have won the Championship. SEAT Teammate Barbara Armstrong has backed off and is now taking it steady to maintain her lead over the Simmonites in their Ford.
12.09.98F1: THE ITALIAN GP
Michael Schumacher was pleased after clinching Ferrari's first pole position of the 1998 season. Schumacher said: "It was time for us to have our first pole position. I'm happy it came at Monza. Hopefully I can keep Jacques (Villeneuve) in second place. He will be my back-up plan. I don't think that's what he wants, but I'm confident I can deal with it. I'm feeling pretty confident, certainly nowhere near as bad as I have done going into other races."
Mika Hakkinen admitted that he could be hampered by having to get past Jacques Villeneuve at Monza on Sunday. Villeneuve finished second fastest in final qualifying behind Michael Schumacher and third placed Hakkinen is concerned about the possibilities. "Jacques holds one of the keys to this race, but we will have to wait and see for definite tomorrow," said Hakkinen. "To be third is a big surprise but it's not dented my confidence. The race will hopefully be a different story."
Jacques Villeneuve is relishing the prospect of throwing a spanner in the works of the title outcome at Monza. The reigning champion finished between Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher in qualifying and he said: "It's certainly going to be an interesting race. "I can assure them (Schumacher and Hakkinen) that I will be going for it. The only way I can win the race is if I am ahead going into the first chicane, which will give Michael and Mika other things to worry about."
Damon Hill failed to recapture his Spa form and could only manage the 14th best time in qualifying. "This qualifying result is very disappointing as the car is very good here," he said. "The possibility was there to have been in the top six. Our strategy was perfect but I just never managed to get a clear lap because of traffic." Team-mate Ralf Schumacher was sixth quickest and added: "Our timing and strategy were pretty much perfect."
Saturday's qualifying times: min secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:25.289 2 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:25.561 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:25.679 4 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:25.987 5 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:26.159 6 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:26.309 7 A Wurz Aus Benetton 1:26.567 8 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:26.637 9 O Panis Fr Prost 1:26.681 10 J Trulli It Prost 1:26.794 11 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:26.817 12 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 1:26.836 13 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:27.247 14 D Hill GB Jordan 1:27.362 15 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:27.510 16 M Salo Fin Arrows 1:27.744 17 J Verstappen Hol Stewart 1:28.212 18 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 1:28.286 19 T Takagi Jpn Tyrrell 1:28.346 20 P Diniz Brz Arrows 1:28.387 21 S Nakano Jpn Minardi 1:29.101 22 E Tuero Arg Minardi 1:29.417TOURING CARS (Oulton Park):- Anthony Reid boosted his chances of the drivers' title with a double pole positions for rounds 23 and 24. Reid dominated qualifying for the feature race, making the most of damp conditions to head off Nissan teammate David Leslie and Rickard Rydell. The Scotsman repeated the feat on a slightly drier track, recording his 11th pole of the year. With four rounds left, 33 points separate Reid and current leader Rydell and it looks likely to go to the wire.
Qualifying times for round 23 (Sat): secs 1 A Reid GB Nissan 59:032 2 J Thompson GB Honda 59:200 3 A Menu Swi Renault 59:235 4 D Leslie GB Nissan 59:289 5 Y Muller GB Audi 59:457 6 J Plato GB Renault 59:574 7 P Kox Hol Honda 59:601 8 G Morbidelli It Volvo 59:695 9 M Neal GB Nissan 59:889 10 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:00:075 Qualifying times for round 24 (Sat): mins secs 1 A Reid GB Nissan 1:05.982 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:06.193 3 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:06.442 4 Y Muller Fr Audi 1:06.541 5 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 1:06.680 6 J Thompson GB Honda 1:06.698 7 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:06.746 8 J Plato GB Renault 1:06.798 9 A Menu Swi Renault 1:06.885 10 R Gravett GB Honda 1:06.927MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Martin Rowe has given Renault the best finish possible to this year's rallying by winning the Sony Manx International Rally. This gives Renault the Driver's and Manufacturer's titles as well as the outright win for the second year in a row. This is the first time Renault and Rowe have won the Championship. Team mate Tapio Laukkanen, brought his Renault home in second place in spite of gearbox problems throughout the day.
On winning the Sony Manx Rally and Mobil 1 Rally Championship Martin Rowe commented: "It's finally sinking in and it's a great feeling. It means a great deal to my career." "A major reason that we were successful is that the team has gelled together and we've had good support from Michelin. Yesterday Gwyndaf came over and said he was pleased for me. That's one of the good things about rallying."
Barbara Armstrong has taken the Ladies Title for the first time, leaving the Simmonite sisters four minutes adrift. This is the first time SEAT and Barbara have taken the Ladies title and is even more outstanding when Barbara revealed that she is carrying a shoulder injury. Barbara had dislocated her shoulder when out training and has since been undergoing physio at every service. Co driver John Richardson has been working the handbrake and helping as much as possible.
Jarmo Kytolehto managed to stuggle through last minute gearbox problems to give the Vauxhall team their best equal finish this year. "It was very difficult and especially slippery under the trees, just a small mistake could put us out" said the Fin. Alister McRae took six fastest stage times out of the seven stages today in his bid to regain lost time. "Losing so much time so early was very disappointing, but we've certainly hard some fun getting it back" he said.
The Egglestone brothers, having found that it was quicker if co-driver Steve worked the handbrake managed to stay ahead of Manxman Rob Watson. This has given them the British Junior Championship in their CFM Vauxhall Astra. "I have never driven such an intensely competitive rally. I had to really turn the wick up to win the Junior. I'm really chuffed that with Steve's help on the handbrake we did it" said Stuart Egglestone.
LEADERBOARD after 24 stages (interim) hr min sec 1 Rowe/Ringer Renault 3:13:01 2 Laukkanen/Lindst'm Renault 3:16:57 3 Higgins/Kennedy Subaru 3:21:39 4 Kytolehto/Kapanen Vauxhall 3:22:53 5 O'Callaghan/Harris Ford 3:24:45 6 McRae/Senior Volkswagen 3:26:05 7 Armstrong/Richar'n SEAT 3:26:34 8 McGarrity/Carrot's Mitsubishi 3:29:22 9 Simmonite/Simmon'e Ford 3:30:34 10 Woodside/Harryman Mitsubishi 3:30:45 DRIVERS STANDINGS 1 Rowe 164 2 Evans 153 3 McRae 133 4 Laukkanen 127 5 Wearden 102 MANUFACTURERS STANDINGS 1 Renault 190.5 2 SEAT 188 3 Volkswagen 165.5 4 Ford 144 5 Vauxhall 141 VECTRA SRi CHALLENGE (Oulton Park):- Round 13 qualifying times:mins secs 1 F Figueiredo 1:13.766 2 M Blair 1:13.795 3 S Graves 1:13.817 4 J Yeomans 1:14.557 5 M Nichol 1:14.753 6 P Sears 1:15.513 F.VAUXHALL JUNIOR (Oulton Park) Round 15 qualifying times:mins secs 1 R Lyons GB 1:10.967 2 A Pizzonia Brz 1:11.213 3 J Fourie SA 1:11.375 4 T Scheckter SA 1:11.500 5 L Walker GB 1:11.749 6 G Parfett GB 1:11.762F.RENAULT (Oulton Park):- Aluizio Coelho was quickest in the wet qualifying session and was over a second ahead of his nearest rival. He could be crowned champion on Sunday. Star Cup rivals Robbie Kerr and Gavin Jones were third and fifth.
Round 14 qualifying times (Sat): mins secs 1 A Coelho Brz 1:07.469 2 D Bell GB 1:08.582 3 R Kerr GB 1:08.617 4 T Mullen GB 1:08.899 5 G Jones GB 1:09.065 6 JJ Font Ven 1:09.089F.FORD (Oulton Park):- Jenson Button coped best with the frequent showers that made qualifying a difficult task. The Slick 50 Championship leader did not completely dominate the conditions, and spun off at Druids and Lodge.
Qualifying times (Sat): mins secs 1 J Button Mygale 1:11.588 2 N Kiesa Van Diemen 1:11.664 3 D Hayes Mygale 1:12.068 4 C Murray Van Diemen 1:12.230 5 M Ambrose Van Diemen 1:12.238 6 T Sisley Van Diemen 1:12.469FORD FIESTA'S (Oulton Park):- Less than a tenth of a second split championship contenders Alan Morrison and Simon Clarke. Neal Gordon, equal second in the title standings, crashed into the Lodge corner gravel trap and finished 20th.
Qualifying times (Sat): mins secs 1 A Morrison 1:16.181 2 S Clarke 1:16.234 3 P Cate 1:16.449 4 M Cullen 1:16.569 5 D Gibson 1:16.622 6 R Claydon 1:16.711RALLYING:- Juha Kankkunen has been released from his contract to drive for the Ford World Rally team on the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship. Kankkunen's two-year deal, which started at the beginning of the 1998 season, will now end after the final round of this year's championship. Ford World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson said: "We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Juha. We are grateful for his help and wish him all the best for the future."
13.09.98F1: THE ITALIAN GP
Michael Schumacher was delighted with his race win after nearly blowing his title chances at the start of the race. The German began on pole but slipped behind the McLarens and team-mate Eddie Irvine as the grand prix began. "It felt like I was walking rather than racing," he said. "It was a terrible start. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. I lost a lot of positions but thankfully Eddie let me pass to get back in the race."
Eddie Irvine's second place behind Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher ensured there will be parties in Italy. The Ulsterman has not been on the podium since the British Grand Prix in July but Silverstone marked his sixth top-three placing of 1998. He joked: "It had been getting quite boring being on the podium but not as boring as not being up there." Irvine admitted the car gave him problems and added: "I was not happy with it. It was very stiff to drive."
A brake problem cost Mika Hakkinen a clear lead in the title race as he and Michael Schumacher now both head the standings with 80 points. Hakkinen, who finished fourth, said: "It led to my high-speed spin late in the race and I was lucky to come out of that without stalling. "While I was spinning I was thinking 'this will mean zero points' but fortunately I managed to keep going. I am still very positive and will fight to win the championship."
David Coulthard's race ended on lap 16 when his engine gave out while he was leading the race. The Scot's exit coincided with Michael Schumacher edging out Mika Hakkinen to head Ferrari's home grand prix. Coulthard looked to be on a different race strategy to team-mate Hakkinen because he had been allowed to surge past the Finn. Hakkinen and Coulthard had made perfect starts to sweep past Schumacher, who initially slipped down to fourth.
David Coulthard believed he could have beaten Michael Schumacher - if he had not been hit by a car problem and been forced to retire. His engine failed and Coulthard admitted: "It was very disappointing. There was no warning. I lost power and then the engine just blew. I was on a one-stop strategy and was going well and felt I demonstrated it was possible to beat Michael. Now the title race is going to the wire, which is what the public wants."
Damon Hill produced a superb drive to finish sixth in Italy. The Jordan star, who gave the team their first ever win at Spa this year, started way down in 14th on the grid after disappointing qualifying session. However, he soon moved up to sixth and, despite his two-stop strategy was able to retain that positon. Ralf Schumacher was third and Jordan are now in with a good chance of finishing third in the battle for the constructors' placings.
World champion Jacques Villeneuve's race ended after 37 laps. The Canadian said: "During the whole of my race I was locking front wheels and in the end I locked my rear wheels, causing me to spin. We were running too little downforce to keep up down the straights and not enough through the corners." Team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen was seventh and added: "I missed my pit signals and board so ran out of fuel just after Ascari but reached my pit."
Benetton finished pointless in the quest to clinch third place in the constructors' championship. They are battling with Williams and Jordan but suffered a setback when Alex Wurz failed to finish and Giancarlo Fisichella was only eighth. Wurz revealed: "I had a problem with my gearbox for nearly the whole of the race and in the end it blew up." Chief executive David Richards added: "Clearly the work that we have to do in the next few weeks is critical."
Stewart star Rubens Barrichello finished 10th but was denied a better placing by a troublesome fuel flap at his two pit stops. Managing director Paul Stewart said: "The race was a mixed bag for us. "Rubens clearly had a chance to finish eighth but the first pit stop cost us about 30 seconds when the fuel cap would not open. Jos Verstappen had driven a competitive race until we retired him with a gearbox problem."
Tyrrell achieved their best overall result of the year, with Toranosuke Takagi finishing ninth and Richardo Rosset taking 12th place. Takagi revealed: "The Monza Grand Prix is totally different from any event I have ever experienced before. Four times I overtook drivers but they then cut across the chicanes and re-passed me. It was annoying but a lesson for me. For some reason, my second set of tyres caused the car to oversteer."
Race result after 53 laps: hr min sec 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:17.09.6 2 E Irvine GB Ferrari @37.9 3 R Schumacher Ger Jordan @41.1 4 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren @55.6 5 J Alesi Fr Sauber @61.8 6 D Hill GB Jordan @66.6 7 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams one lap 8 G Fisichella It Benetton one lap 9 T Takagi Jpn Tyrrell one lap 10 R Barrichello Brz Stewart one lap 11 E Tuero Arg Minardi two laps 12 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell two laps 13 J Trulli It Prost three laps Not classified/did not finish: 14 J Verstappen Hol Stewart 39 laps 15 J Villeneuve Can Williams 37 laps 16 M Salo Fin Arrows 32 laps 17 A Wurz Aut Benetton 24 laps 18 D Coulthard GB McLaren 16 laps 19 O Panis Fr Prost 15 laps 20 S Nakano Jpn Minardi 13 laps 21 J Herbert GB Sauber 12 laps 22 P Diniz Brz Arrows 10 laps DRIVERS' STANDINGS 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 80 pts 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 80 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren 48 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 38 5 J Villeneuve Can Williams 20 6 A Wurz Aut Benetton 17 = D Hill GB Jordan 17 8 G Fisichella It Benetton 15 9 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 14 10 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 13 11 J Alesi Fr Sauber 9 12 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 4 13 M Salo Fin Arrows 3 = P Diniz Brz Arrows 3 15 J Herbert GB Sauber 1 = J Magnussen Den Stewart 1 = J Trulli It Prost 1 CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS 1 McLaren-Mercedes 128 pts 2 Ferrari 118 3 Williams-Mecachrome 33 4 Benetton 32 5 Jordan 31 6 Sauber-Petronas 10 7 Arrows 6 8 Stewart 5 9 Prost 1TOURING CARS:- Anthony Reid won round 24 of the BTCC championship at Oulton and secured the constructors' title for Nissan, having earlier finished second in the sprint. Reid also cut Rickard Rydell's lead at the top of the drivers' championship to 11 points, but the Swede can claim the crown at Silverstone next Sunday. "I would have liked to win twice, but I can't complain. It's going to be an exciting climax," Reid said. Tommy Rustad clinched the Autosport Cup for Independents for DC Cook.
Round 23 result (Sun): mins secs 1 J Thompson GB Honda 20:21.174 2 A Reid GB Nissan 20:21.686 3 A Menu Swi Renault 20:22.519 4 D Leslie GB Nissan 20:23.431 5 Y Muller GB Audi 20:24.346 6 J Plato GB Renault 20:29.147 7 P Kox Hol Honda 20:31.756 8 W Hoy GB Ford 20:32.402 9 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 20:32.714 10 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 20:35.350 11 R Rydell Swe Volvo 20:35.920 Round 24 result (Sun): mins secs 1 A Reid GB Nissan 45:25.368 2 J Plato GB Renault 45:33.114 3 Y Muller Fr Audi 45:35.037 4 R Rydell Swe Volvo 45:39.576 5 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 45:42.940 6 W Hoy GB Mondeo 45:49.890 7 M Neal GB Nissan 45:56.918 8 T Rustad Nor Renault 45:59.190 9 G Morbidelli It Volvo 46:10.774 10 T Harvey GB Peugeot 46:16.135 DRIVER STANDINGS (after 24 rnds): 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo S40 231 pts 2 A Reid GB Nissan 220 3 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 185 4 J Thompson GB Honda Accord 179 5 J Plato GB Renault Lag 150 CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS 1 Nissan 264 pts 2 Renault 244 3 Volvo 233 4 Honda 203 5 Vauxhall 162 INDEPENDENTS 1 T Rustad 251 pts 2 R Gravett 212 3 M Neal 211VAUXHALL VECTRA SRi CHALLENGE (Oulton Park):- Mark Blair was crowned 1998 champion with one round left to go, even though rival Simon Graves won Sunday's race. Several hours after Graves came in ahead of Blair, race officials excluded the winner from the race results. They had objected to contact made when Graves battled past Blair on the very first lap. Afterwards Blair said: "It is not really the way I would really want to win but the officials have made their decision and that is that."
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after 13 of 14 rounds)Pts 1 M Blair * 150 2 S Graves 125 3 F Figueiredo 113 4 J Yeomans 72 5 D Pinkney 58 6 G Coomes 54 = P Sears 54 8 M Ticehurst 45 9 M Nicol 42 10 C Boon 28 * 1998 ChampionF.VAUXHALL JUNIOR (Thruxton):- Teenage Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia clinched the title after taking second place in the penultimate round. "I'm very happy to be champion," he exclaimed. "I've had a very good year and have learnt a lot about racing. I knew what I had to do today." Leighton Walker won the race after moving into the lead on the second lap in a burst that took him past two cars. He survived a challenge from Pizzonia after the safety car was used for two laps which narrowed his advantage.
Round 15 result (Sun): mins secs 1 L Walker GB 20:40.958 2 A Pizzonia Brz 20:41.260 3 T Scheckter SA 20:42.248 4 J Hanson GB 20:43.241 5 R Lyons GB 20:44.950 6 G Pyper GB 20:45.000 Championship standings (after 15 rds) 1 A Pizzonia Brz 195 points 2 R Lyons GB 156 3 T Scheckter SA 97 4 J Fourie SA 74 5 R Bell GB 69F.RENAULT (Oulton Park):- The title fight is going down to the wire after Doug Bell clinched victory when Aluizio Coelho, who could have taken the crown, slid wide. Robbie Kerr won the Star Cup with eighth spot, despite a jammed throttle.
Round 14 result (Sun): mins secs 1 D Bell GB 19:39.252 2 A Coelho Brz 19:39.820 3 V Meira Brz 19:53.130 4 C Clark GB 19:55.181 5 JJ Font Ven 20:01.713 6 G Brusatin It 20:18.219 8 R Kerr GB 20:40.064RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Oulton Park):- Half a second separated the top seven in qualifying for the 14th round. Points leader Nick Hart was fourth behind Dan Eaves, while James Aspinall was a career-best eighth fastest.
Qualifying times (Sun):mins secs 1 D Eaves 1:05.539 2 J Hunter 1:05.630 3 A Priaulx 1:05.646 4 N Hart 1:05.771 5 D Vercoe 1:05.939 6 T Masini 1:05.982CHAMP CARS:- Scotland's Dario Franchitti will make his seventh front row start of the season in the Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca. He held provisional pole going into the final qualifying session but was pipped for the top spot by Bryan Herta, who clocked one minute, 08.146 seconds. "I gave it everything out there," admitted Franchitti. "We are struggling with the balance of the car but are not too far away from the ideal set-up." Fellow Briton Mark Blundell was 15th fastest in qualifying.
Grand Prix of Monterey qualifying (Sat) min secs 1 B Herta Ford 1:08.146 2 D Franchitti Honda 1:08.354 3 J Vasser Honda 1:08.452 4 G Moore Mercedes 1:08.482 5 A Zanardi Honda 1:08.524 6 A Fernandez Ford 1:08.530 7 A Unser Jnr Mercedes 1:08.579 8 S Pruett Ford 1:08.589 9 M Gugelmin Mercedes 1:08.685 10 G de Ferran Honda 1:08.690 15 M Blundell Mercedes 1:08.845 14.09.98F1:- Ferrari chief Jean Todt was delighted by his team's one-two in the home grand prix at Monza but knows it is too early to start celebrating. The Italian team are within reach of their first drivers' title in 19 years after Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine were first and second on Sunday. Todt admitted: "I am a superstitious man. Things do not work out how you think so I am not saying anything. "No guessing about the future from me. Things are equal now."
RALLYING:- Britain's Richard Burns will be joined by Juha Kankkunen and Bruno Thiry as part of a Subaru three-pronged attack on the World Championship next year. Subaru have snapped up Ford duo Kankkunen and Thiry to replace Piero Liatti in a surprise move. Colin McRae started the driver merry-go-round when he decided to leave Subaru for Ford. Kankkunen said: "I want to be in the best car in the world and, for me, Subaru has the best."
CHAMP CARS:- Bryan Herta beat off champion Alex Zanardi to record his first ever race victory on Sunday. The 83-lap race had only one caution through the first 67 laps but suffered numerous yellows therafter. At the end Herta, in his 71st career start, managed to hold off Zanardi in a two-lap sprint to the finish. Scotland's Dario Franchitti, who had started on the front row, came in fourth, while Mark Blundell withdrew after 31 laps due to throttle problems.
Grand Prix of Monterey results (Sun): hr min secs 1 B Herta Ford 1:55:13.472 2 A Zanardi Honda @ 00.343 3 T Kanaan Honda @ 03.779 4 D Franchitti Honda @ 04.402 5 J Vasser Honda @ 07.174 6 A Unser Jnr Mercedes @ 07.863 7 A Fernandez Ford @ 09.129 8 P Tracy Honda @ 09.278 9 C Fittipaldi Ford @ 09.666 10 M Andretti Ford @ 10.193 25 M Blundell Mercedes 31 laps 15.09.98F1:- Ford have completed the purchase of British-based racing engine specialist Cosworth Racing from Audi AG.
CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING Driver ratings (September 15) Points 1 M Schumacher Ger Formula One 1081 2 J Gordon US NASCAR 1063 3 A Zanardi It Champ Car 1035 4 M Hakkinen Fin Formula One 1016 5 M Martin US NASCAR 850 6 D Jarrett US NASCAR 781 7 D Coulthard GB Formula One 769 8 J Montoya Col F3000 744 9 N Heidfeld Ger F3000 736 10 E Irvine GB Formula One 726 17.09.98F1:- Alex Zanardi appears set to return to Formula One next season despite refusing to confirm his future plans. Zanardi clinched his second consecutive CART title and said he had decided if he would accept an offer from Williams but could not reveal his decision yet. However he said: "I'm in a position to take advantage of an extraordinary situation and I would be a fool not to. "More time is needed to put things right. It will be up to my employer to decide any official announcement."
TOURING CARS:- The championship will be decided in the final race for the first time since 1993 as Rickard Rydell and Anthony Reid both have a chance of victory. Rydell holds an 11 point advantage, and Reid knows he must win both Sprint and Feature races on Sunday to become the first British title winner since 1995. "The car has been working really well," he said. "We have to go there with the aim of winning both races." Reid's Nissan team have already won the manufacturers' championship.
Volvo's Championship leader Rickard Rydell is fully aware of what he needs to do to win the title on Sunday. A top three finish in both races would be enough, but the last time the event came to the Silverstone track, Rydell could only manage a fifth place. "We've got to make our car quicker for Silverstone," he admitted. "It's not one of the tracks best suited to us. We just have to qualify as well as we can and then race as well as we can. All we can do is our best - it's close."
Last time at Silverstone it was the Ford team who upset the formbook during a wet afternoon in Northamptonshire. Will Hoy took a memorable win in a rain hit Feature Race. The 1991 champion will doubtless hope for bad weather. The Vauxhall team of John Cleland and Derek Warwick have three wins between them and improving Audi and Peugeot teams will also bid to finish well. Victory for Matt Neal will earn him &156;œ100,000 as the first Independent to win a race outright.
Nigel Mansell's involvement in the event for the third time this season has seen a huge rise in ticket sales. Circuit bosses at Silverstone are predicting a record crowd to witness the deciding final rounds on Sunday. The Formula Ford and Formula Renault Sport titles are also going to be decided, and there is action in the Renault Spider and Ford Fiesta events. Spectators are promised a party at the end of the meetings that will include a display by the famous Red Arrows team.
RALLYING:- The SEAT team have confirmed that Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Howard Davies will contest Rally Australia. The Welsh duo, who have won three rounds of this year's British Rally Championship, will undergo their second race in a SEAT Ibiza Evo 2 Kit car. "I've never been to Australia before and it's a fantastic opportunity for me to go there and compete with a top team like SEAT," said Evans. "Ohter drivers have told me it's a difficult rally due to the surface."
18.09.98F1:- Australia have been urged to keep in step with the proposed ban of tobacco sponsorship in 2006. It comes after reports claimed tobacco advertising would take effect after the 2000 Melbourne race, in a deal between state and federal governments. Victorian state Premier Jeff Kennett said: "You are not going to be able to run this event with different continents having different rules." The FIA has agreed to look for other forms of sponsorship after 2006.
TOURING CARS (Silverstone):- Rickard Rydell got the better of Championship rival Anthony Reid in the final official testing session ahead of Sunday's finale. He lapped the circuit in one minute, 23.224 seconds and was just inside the lap record as he topped the times. He admitted: "It is certainly a better position than last week at Oulton Park and the car feels better than it ever has at Silverstone." Reid was fourth fastest and is 11 points behind Rydell.
Leading testing times (Fri): mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:23.224 2 J Plato GB Renault 1:23.296 3 P Kox Hol Honda 1:23.382 4 A Reid GB Nissan 1:23.506 5 A Menu Swi Renault 1:23.670 6 Y Muller Fr Audi 1:23.743 7 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 1:23.751 8 J Thompson GB Honda 1:23.752 9 W Hoy GB Ford 1:23.782 10 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:23.835NATIONAL MACADAM RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:- The Championship reaches its climax with the Wexford Stages Rally in Ireland this weekend. John Price has already been confirmed as champion but the battle is still on for second and third places. Steve Scott, Terry Rooke and Chris Griffiths are all in with a chance of claiming the runner-up spot. The Championship regulars will be joined by three-times former champion Pete Doughty, who will be giving his Ford Escort world rally car an outing.
F.PALMER AUDI STANDINGS (after round 11): (three rounds dropped) Pts 1 R Tarling GB 147 2 D Turner GB 146 3 J Wilson GB 144 4 P Clarke GB 131 5 T Serjala Fin 124 6 D Faulkner Ire 122 7 F Maluhy Brz 110 8 J Keen GB 99 9 S White Aus 91 10 S Nakazawa Jpn 89 19.09.98TOURING CARS:- Rickard Rydell gave his hopes of becoming Sweden's first champion a huge boost with pole for the sprint race. The Volvo driver outpaced his arch rival Anthony Reid by more than two tenths of a second, leaving the Scot third behind James Thompson. Reid and Rydell will line-up fourth and fifth respectively in the feature race, David Leslie taking pole for the newly crowned championship team Nissan. Weather conditions were tricky, with the track drying rapidly at the end.
Round 25 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:23.364 2 J Thompson GB Honda 1:23.421 3 A Reid GB Nissan 1:23.579 4 Y Muller Fr Audi 1:23.592 5 A Menu Swi Renault 1:23.671 6 P Kox Hol Honda 1:23.814 7 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:23.983 8 W Hoy GB Ford 1:24.176 9 G Morbidelli It Volvo 1:24.272 10 D Warwick GB Vauxhall 1:24.340 Round 26 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs 1 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:23.628 2 Y Muller Fr Audi 1:23.804 3 J Thompson GB Honda 1:23.955 4 A Reid GB Nissan 1:24.069 5 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:24.089 6 P Kox Hol Honda 1:24.186 7 A Menu Swi Renault 1:24.286 8 J Plato GB Renault 1:24.292 9 G Morbidelli It Volvo 1:24.347 10 P Radisich NZ Peugeot 1:24.401NATIONAL MACADAM CHAMPIONSHIP:- Eamonn Boland leads the Wexford Stages Rally after day one. The Wexford-based driver, who won the event last year, was three-quarters of a minute ahead of John Price. Paul Harris crashed out on the third stage and Steve Hendy also retired.
mins 1 E Boland Ford Escort 38:58 2 J Price MG Metro 39:44 3 D O'Donovan Ford Sierra 39:58 4 P Doughty Ford Escort 40:12 5 B Fowden Ford Escort 40:43 6 C Griffiths Subaru Impreza 41:08RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Silverstone):- Dan Eaves took pole position for the title-decider on Sunday and picked up two bonus points in the process. His rivals for the championship Jamie Hunter and Nick Hart were second and fourth fastest.
Round 15 qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 D Eaves 1:32.133 2 J Hunter 1:32.477 3 A Priaulx 1:32.576 4 N Hart 1:32.648 5 L Adams 1:32.884 6 D Vercoe 1:33.050F.RENAULT (Oulton Park):- Juan Font took his maiden pole position as an incorrect tyre gamble on a damp track left Doug Bell and Al Coelho in ninth and 10th on the grid. Coelho needs to finish in only 11th place to win the championship while Bell must win to stand any chance.
Round 15 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs 1 J J-Font Ven Tatuus 1:30.986 2 V Meira Brz V-Diemen 1:31.606 3 T Mullen GB V-Diemen 1:31.644 4 G Jones GB Tatuus 1:31.704 5 R Kerr GB Tatuus 1:31.875 6 T Sri'vanon Cz Tatuus 1:31.907FORD FIESTA'S (Silverstone):- Just five points separate tilte rivals Simon Clarke, Alan Morrison and Neal Gordon heading into Sunday's climax. David Gibson swept to his second victory in Saturday's race as a crash at the start ended Morrison's hopes.
Round 14 result (Sat): mins secs 1 D Gibson Ford Fiesta 12:43.480 2 C Stancombe Ford Fiesta 12:44.086 3 N Gordon Ford Fiesta 12:44.241 4 M Cullen Ford Fiesta 12:44.373 5 H Taylor Ford Fiesta 12:51.031 6 D Buxton Ford Fiesta 12:54.106F.FORD (Silverstone):- A late race charge to second place was enough to make Jenson Button the 1998 Slick 50 Formula Ford champion. He survived a collision with teammate Derek Hayes as Daniel Wheldon clinched his fourth win of the season.
Round 14 result (Sat): mins secs 1 D Wheldon V-Diemen 17:22.970 2 J Button Mygale 17:28.569 3 M McKenna Mygale 17:33.233 4 N Kiesa V-Diemen 17:33.640 5 J Ble'molen Swift 17:34.069 6 M Ambrose V-Diemen 17:40.116 F.VAUXHALL JUNIOR (Silverstone):- Round 16 qualifying times (Sat):min secs 1 A Pizzonia Brz 1:25.190 2 L Walker GB 1:25.321 3 T Scheckter SA 1:25.344 4 R Lyons GB 1:25.412 5 J Fourie SA 1:25.936 6 T Sato Jpn 1:26.037 7 R Bell GB 1:26.307 8 J Hanson GB 1:26.322 9 G Pyper GB 1:26.407 10 J Dalziel GB 1:26.417 VAUXHALL VECTRA SRi V6 (Silverstone):- Round 14 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs 1 S Graves Vaux Vectra 1:35.305 2 M Blair Vaux Vectra 1:35.354 3 J Yeomans Vaux Vectra 1:35.451 4 F Figueiredo Vaux Vectra 1:35.650 5 J Rhodes Vaux Vectra 1:36.049 6 G Coomes Vaux Vectra 1:36.334 7 P Sears Vaux Vectra 1:36.385 8 D Pinkney Vaux Vectra 1:36.410 9 M Ticehurst Vaux Vectra 1:36.814 10 P Cate Vaux Vectra 1:36.899 FIA GTs (A1-Ring):- Round 8 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs 1 Ludwig/Zonta Mercedes 1:22.166 2 Sch'der/Webber Mercedes 1:22.419 3 Lagorce/Tinseau Mercedes 1:23.592 4 Mayl'der/Bouchut Mercedes 1:23.771 5 Tiemann/Gounon Mercedes 1:23.824 6 Bartels/Ange'lli Porsche 1:24.042GERMAN TOURING CARS:- Wolfgang Scholz was killed when he lost control of his car in a touring car event at the Nurburgring on Saturday and spun into a wall. The 40-year-old German died in an ambulance taking him to a helicopter. The Nurburgring is hosting next Sunday's Luxembourg F1 Grand Prix.
20.09.98TOURING CARS:- Rickard Rydell took the title after finishing second in the Sprint Race, while Anthony Reid's hopes disappeared in a clash with James Thompson. Thompson was in second place on the third lap and rebuffed Reid's efforts to pass and in the confusion the Honda star slipped to sixth. Reid rejoined the track in eighth and Thompson went on to win the race. However, Reid did claim the consolation prize of winning the Feature Race ahead of David Leslie for a Nissan one-two.
Championship runner-up Anthony Reid admitted afterwards: "The title was not won or lost this weekend. The foundations were laid much earlier in the year and I have always been playing catch-up. I would like to congratulate Rickard. He has done a great job, even if he did get a little hot under the collar at Brands Hatch." James Thompson, who won round 25, said: "I got a good start but was marvelling at how good Rickard's was."
After clinching the drivers' title with measured performances at Silverstone, Rickard Rydell revealed that he could not quite believe it. "It has not really sunk in yet because there has been so much tension. We tried our best at Oulton Park and it did not work so all week we have been focused. It is an enormous relief to win the Championship in the first race. It meant I was able to enjoy myself in the Feature Race."
Ex-Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell jovially reflected on his last weekend of driving in the BTCC. Mansell was at the wheel of a new Ford Mondeo which was built specifically for his appearance at the season finale. "I finished!" joked Mansell after taking the chequered flag in both of his races on the Silverstone track. "It's been a terrific experience to come to the championship and have this opportunity. It's been a great learning experience and a lot of fun."
Round 25 result (Sun): mins secs 1 J Thompson GB Honda 26:16.080 2 R Rydell Swe Volvo @ 2.193 3 Y Muller Fr Audi @ 3.842 4 J Plato GB Renault @ 4.024 5 A Reid GB Nissan @ 8.488 6 P Radisich NZ Peugeot @13.508 7 D Warwick GB Vauxhall @16.211 8 J Cleland GB Vauxhall @20.043 9 A Menu Swi Renault @21.944 10 W Hoy GB Ford @22.768 14 N Mansell GB Ford 26:43.184 Round 26 result (Sun): mins secs 1 A Reid GB Nissan 43:30.180 2 D Leslie GB Nissan @ 2.310 3 R Rydell Swe Volvo @ 2.842 4 J Thompson GB Honda @ 8.359 5 Y Muller Fr Audi @11.482 6 J Plato GB Renault @13.347 7 P Kox Hol Honda @19.899 8 W Hoy GB Ford @31.368 9 T Rustad Nor Renault @43.678 10 D Warwick GB Vauxhall @53.746 11 N Mansell GB Ford 44:27.272 FINAL 1998 DRIVER STANDINGS: 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo S40 254 pts 2 A Reid GB Nissan 239 3 J Thompson GB Honda Accord 203 4 A Menu Swi Renault Lag 187 5 J Plato GB Renault Lag 163 FINAL 1998 CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS 1 Nissan 273 pts 2 Volvo 245 3 Renault 244 4 Honda 222 5 Vauxhall 162 FINAL INDEPENDENTS STANDINGS 1 T Rustad 251 pts 2 R Gravett 212 3 M Neal 211NATIONAL MACADAM CHAMPIONSHIP:- Eamonn Boland triumphed for the second consecutive year after completing the 17-stage Wexford Stages Rally nearly two minutes ahead of Donal O'Donovan. Championship winner John Price had a rare retirement when his Metro left the road late in the race.
hr min sec 1 E Boland Ford Escort 1:39.40 2 D O'Donovan Ford Sierra 1:41.30 3 P Doughty Ford Escort 1:42.04 4 B Fowden Ford Escort 1:44.06 5 C Griffiths Subaru Impreza 1:45.28 6 G Midwinter Ford Escort 1:46.28F.RENAULT (Oulton Park):- Doug Bell stormed from ninth on the grid to win the final round but sixth place was enough for Al Coelho to clinch the title. The duo ended the series with seven wins a piece and Coelho wins the chance to test a Williams Formula One car.
Round 15 result (Sun): 1 D Bell GB Tatuus 16:51.031 2 V Meira Brz V-Diemen 16:55.596 3 JJ Font Ven Tatuus 16:57.206 4 T Mullen GB V-Diemen 16:57.818 5 R Austin GB Tatuus 16:58.234 6 A Coelho Brz Tatuus 16:59.076FORD FIESTA'S (Silverstone):- Peter Cate became the ninth different winner of the season as Alan Morrison won a three-way battle to clinch the Championship by two points. Cate was never headed during the race and Neal Gordon was second.
Round 15 result (Sun):mins secs 1 P Cate 18:01.571 2 N Gordon 18:01.763 3 M Engledew 18:03.005 4 S Clarke 18:03.663 5 R Claydon 18:09.457 6 A Morrison 18:09.465F.FORD (Silverstone):- hampion Jenson Button secured his sixth victory of the season as the series drew to a close. Oliver Smith took the First Division crown but could not prevent Andy Charsley repeating his Saturday win.
Round 15 result (Sun): mins secs 1 J Button Mygale 17:21.685 2 N Kiesa V-Diemen 17:24.918 3 D Wheldon V-Diemen 17:26.247 4 D Hayes Mygale 17:30.738 5 M Ambrose V-Diemen 17:31.120 5 T Sisley V-Diemen 17:35.069 F.VAUXHALL JUNIOR (Silverstone):- Round 16 result (Sun): mins secs 1 A Pizzonia Brz 17:20.919 2 R Lyons GB 17:25.462 3 L Walker GB 17:25.483 4 T Scheckter SA 17:25.826 5 G Paffett GB 17:37.275 6 G Pyper GB 17:37.479 7 J Dalziel GB 17:37.940 8 T Sato Jpn 17:38.824 9 R Bell GB 17:39.526 10 M Taylor GB 17:41.400 FINAL STANDINGS 1 A Pizzonia 210 pts 2 R Lyons 178 3 T Scheckter 113 VAUXHALL VECTRA SRi V6 (Silverstone):- Round 14 result (Sun):mins secs 1 F Figueiredo 19:28.454 2 J Yeomans 19:33.621 3 P Sears 19:38.350 4 G Coomes 19:39.895 5 M Ticehurst 19:42.883 6 P Cate 19:46.646 7 M Nichol 19:50.294 8 S Deeks 19:55.128 FINAL STANDINGS 1 M Blair 150 pts 2 F Figueiredo 128 3 S Graves 125RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Silverstone):- Dan Eaves took pole position for the title-decider on Sunday and picked up two bonus points in the process. His rivals for the championship Jamie Hunter and Nick Hart were second and fourth fastest.
Round 15 qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 D Eaves 1:32.133 2 J Hunter 1:32.477 3 A Priaulx 1:32.576 4 N Hart 1:32.648 5 L Adams 1:32.884 6 D Vercoe 1:33.050FIA GTs (A1 Ring):- Mercedes driver Klaus Ludwig, who is retiring at the end of the season, won his last European sportscar race. He turned the tables on series leaders Bernd Schneider and Mark Webber and narrowed their lead to three points.
Round 8 result - 116 laps (Sun):hr min sec 1 Ludwig/Zonta Mercedes 2:47.34.9 2 Sch'der/Webber Mercedes @ 32.0 3 McNish/Dalmas Porsche 115 laps 4 Bartels/A'lelli Porsche 115 laps 5 Tiemann/Gounon Mercedes 115 laps 6 Bscher/Lees McLaren 112 laps 21.09.98F1:- Jerry Forsythe has joined the board of British American Racing as a director and limited partner. Forsythe is chairman of the Indeck group of companies and is founder and owner of Forsythe Racing. He has been successful in North America - with the Player's-Forsythe team of Greg Moore and Patrick Carpentier in the Fedex Championship. BAR bought out Tyrrell and Jacques Villeneuve will be driving for them in their debut season in 1999.
CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING Driver ratings (September 21) Points 1 M Schumacher Ger Formula One 1081 2 J Gordon US NASCAR 1073 3 A Zanardi It Champ Car 1052 4 M Hakkinen Fin Formula One 1016 5 M Martin US NASCAR 918 6 D Coulthard GB Formula One 769 7 D Jarrett US NASCAR 744 = J Montoya Col F3000 744 9 N Heidfeld Ger F3000 736 10 E Irvine GB Formula One 726 22.09.98 - F1Alex Zanardi is to return to the Formula One circuit next season to lead Williams' challenge for honours. Zanardi will be joined at Williams by Ralf Schumacher. Italian driver Zanardi's return to Formula One after a three-year absence ends a remarkable stint in CART racing in America. Driving for the Target/Chip Ganassi team, Zanardi won the Rookie of the Year title in 1996 and followed that up by winning consecutive drivers' titles.
23.09.98F1: THE LUXEMBOURG GP
Points finishes for Jordan on Sunday would take the team a step nearer their target of third place in the constructors' championship this season. They are challenging Benetton and Williams for that honour and it follows a remarkable turnaround in fortunes. Before their home race at Silverstone in July, Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher had failed to win a single point. Since then they have hit form and the efforts of the backroom staff and Honda culminated in the win by Hill at Spa.
Tyrrell race engineer David Brown admits that The Nurburgring is not a popular circuit with some drivers. "It is a new circuit and many people tend not to like it, partly, I suspect, because of the track it sits next to," he revealed. "If it was situated somewhere like Spain it might be more highly regarded. After the high-speed challenges of Spa and Monza it seems tame by comparison. There are no really fast corners, just one reasonably quick S bend."
Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 67 laps or 305.235km (189.664 miles). The inaugural Luxembourg Grand Prix was staged last year and was won by Williams' Jacques Villeneuve, with Benetton's Jean Alesi finishing second. Michael Schumacher collided with brother Ralf on the first corner of last year's race and did not finish what was his 100th grand prix. The Nurburgring has also staged the German Grand Prix as well as the Grand Prix of Europe.
The old Nurburgring circuit was built around 70 years ago and was about 30km in length. Accidents on the old track ensured that it was replaced in 1984 by the modern, purpose-built circuit, which was built alongside the old one. Mika Hakkinen took pole in last year's Luxembourg Grand prix with a time of one minute, 16.602 seconds. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has yet to stage a Formula One grand prix on its own territory.
1997 result: 1 J Villeneuve Can Williams 2 J Alesi Fr Benetton 3 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 4 G Berger Aut Benetton 5 P Diniz Brz Arrows 6 O Panis Fr Prost Fastest race lap: H-H Frentzen 1:18.805 (record) Previous winners at The Nurburgring: 1997 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1996 J Villeneuve Can Williams (Grand Prix of Europe) 1995 M Schumacher Ger Benetton (Grand Prix of Europe) 1985 M Alboreto It Ferrari (German Grand Prix) 1984 A Prost Fr McLaren (Grand Prix of Europe)Formula One has been labelled 'boring' by critics in recent years but whatever happens in the last two races, the 1998 campaign cannot be given that tag. Germany hosts the penultimate grand prix of the season on Sunday with Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher both leading the drivers' race on 80 points. The constructors' title has also yet to be decided, with McLaren heading Ferrari by 10 points. On top of that, Williams, Benetton and Jordan are all chasing third place.
McLaren chief Ron Dennis is banking on his team to show their strength of character to clinch the driver and constructor crowns. The Woking-based outfit last won the titles in 1991 but Dennis knows two wins in the last two races will bring about a return to the glory days. After McLaren's Monza misery, Dennis said: "It could have been a lot worse. We are still in there. We will fight all the way. This is motor racing, which is not a sport for faint hearts."
Michael Schumacher will once again have the public behind him in Sunday's race. He had the Tifosi cheering him on in the previous race as Ferrari secured a one-two on their own patch at Monza. This weekend it is the turn of the Germans to will him home to a win in the country of his birth. Schumacher won at The Nurburgring for Benetton in 1995. The track hosted that race under the banner of the Grand Prix of Europe.
Jacques Villeneuve goes into his penultimate race with Williams looking for a podium spot at his lucky circuit. "I always go there with great memories because I secured my first Formula One victory there in 1996," he said. "Last year I went into Michael Schumacher's land with confidence to win the race again, which put me right back in the championship fight. However, all the walls and grandstands are far away from the track. It is difficult to get a feel of the speed."
24.09.98F1:- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has denied reports suggesting it could host a Formula One Grand Prix as early as September 2000. An Indianapolis newspaper had reported that Speedway president Tony George and Bernie Ecclestone reached an agreement for F1's return to the States. Speedway spokesman Fred Nation revealed though: "The story that we have reached an agreement is simply not true. There has not been anything new on our efforts to bring Formula One here."
FOREST STAGES RALLY:- The biggest field for years is set to contest the event as the Mintex National Rally Championship reaches its penultimate round in Yorkshire. Around 122 cars are expected to do battle over seven stages in or around North York Moors on Saturday with 60 others contesting the Trackrod Rally. Reigning Mintex National and Scottish Champion Brian Lyall in a Ford Escort leads the opening mixed surface stage. Current leader Roger Duckworth and Murray Grierson follow behind.
The Mintex National Rally Championship is approaching its climax with a huge field of competitors taking part on Saturday around the North York Moors. Over three hours of spectacular action includes the main event for the Mintex Championship as well as a tense tussle for the Group N title. The 1996 Mobil 1/RAC British champion Gwyndaf Evans makes a special guest appearance in the SEAT Championship. The Trackrod Clubmans Rally follows the main event over the first five stages.
F.PALMER AUDI (Oulton Park):- Formula Palmer Audi returns to Oulton Park on Saturday for rounds 12 and 13 of the championship. The first half of the season produced six different winners from the first nine races and with just five to go the FPA title will see a close finish. Series leader Richard Tarling heads the championship by just one point from Darren Turner with Justin Wilson third. Other contenders for the title include Peter Clarke, Finland's Topi Serjala and Ireland's Damien Faulkner.
Thursday's leading testing times: mins secs 1 D Faulkner Ire 1:35.436 2 J Wilson GB 1:35.891 3 R Tarling GB 1:36.039 4 P Clarke GB 1:36.299 5 F Maluhy Brz 1:36.365 6 S Hancock GB 1:36.412BRITISH GTs (Spa):- The seventh and penultimate round of the 1998 Championship takes place in Belgium this weekend. The 4.33-mile long circuit is situated in the Ardennes forest and is a favourite of many drivers. Alex Portman has experienced the circuit before and said: "I love it and am looking forward to taking round the Harrier. It's nimble and handles well." John Greasley said: "The competition at the front is so intense that fractions of a second can mean first or second."
25.09.98F1: THE LUXEMBOURG GP
David Coulthard waded into the scrap for the World Championship by telling Michael Schumacher he was getting too old for the heat of battle. Coulthard believes there are cracks in 29-year-old Schumacher's armour, big enough for McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen to exploit in the title race. Coulthard said: "Michael has made a couple more mistakes this year than in the past. It could mean he is getting older or just driving too close to the edge."
Friday's free practice times: 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:19.689 2 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:20.325 3 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:20.326 4 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:20.461 5 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:20.577 6 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:20.841 7 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:21.014 8 H Frentzen Ger Williams 1:21.174 9 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:21.351 10 O Panis Fr Prost 1:21.391 11 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:21.538 12 D Hill GB Jordan 1:21.738 13 J Trulli It Prost 1:21.764 14 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:21.952 15 P Diniz Brz Arrows 1:22.485 16 J Verstappen Hol Stewart 1:22.566 17 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:22.603 18 T Takagi Jap Tyrrell 1:22.792 19 S Nakano Jap Minardi 1:22.967 20 E Tuero Arg Minardi 1:22.331 21 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 1:23.644 22 M Salo Fin Arrows 1:24.004Rubens Barrichello will be staying with the Stewart-Ford team for next season and will be partnered there by Britain's Johnny Herbert. The Brazilian has been with the team since they started in 1997. Team chief Jackie Stewart said: "Rubens re-signing and the arrival of Johnny Herbert is an important development for our team." Barrichello said: "I am confident and very motivated for next year. We have learned a lot in the first two years."
RALLYING:- Vauxhall have signed Neil Wearden, one of the hottest prospects in rallying, to join their two-car assault on next year's Mobil 1 British Championship. Wearden, 26, from Blackpool, convincingly won the Ferodo Super 1600 Cup category in a Honda Civic this season. He will partner Jarmo Kytolehto, who has produced some respectable drives in the Vauxhall Astre stage. Wearden said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me."
26.09.98F1: THE LUXEMBOURG GP
Michael Schumacher secured the 19th pole of his career as fellow title contender Mika Hakkinen was forced to settle for third place on the grid. Schumacher said: "It all went according to plan. It was very good. I was a bit too quick on my first run and had to make some adjustments but after that it was good. It was very exciting for the team." Meanwhile, Hakkinen added: "It is a disappointment. It is not what we expected. We wanted to do better."
Qualifying times: mins secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:18.561 2 E Irvine Ire Ferrari 1:18.907 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:18.940 4 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:19.048 5 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:19.169 6 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 1:19.455 7 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 1:19.522 8 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:19.569 9 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1:19.631 10 D Hill GB Jordan 1:19.807 11 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:20.493 12 R Bar'chello Brz Stewart 1:20.530 13 J Herbert GB Sauber 1:20.650 14 J Trulli It Prost 1:20.709 15 O Panis Fr Prost 1:21.048 16 M Salo Fin Arrows 1:21.120 17 P Diniz Brz Arrows 1:21.258 18 J Verstappen Hol Stewart 1:21.501 19 T Takagi Jpn Tyrrell 1:21.525 20 S Nakano Jpn Minardi 1:22.078 21 E Tuero Arg Minardi 1:22.146 22 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 1:22.822FOREST STAGES RALLY:- Marcus Dodd won a second successive victory in the Mintex National Rally Championship when he easily beat Martyn Harrison by almost 90 seconds. Dodd, in a Ford Escort World Rally Car, was quickest on six of the seven stages but his success was far from smooth. He hit a fellow competitor on the opening stage then had another coming together with Steve Petch at Oliver's Mount race track in Scarborough. Warren Philliskirk claimed a fine third and Steve Petch finished fourth.
Result after 7 stages mins secs 1 Dodd/Bennie Ford 67:07 2 Harrison/Jenkins Metro 68:26 3 Philliskirk/Evans Metro 68:32 4 Petch/Croft Ford 68:40 5 Duckworth/B'field Subaru 69:06 6 Grierson/Merry Subaru 69:06 7 Hill/Rabbett Mitsubishi 69:38 8 Jones/Lewis Subaru 69:43 9 Wetton/Haigh Mitsubishi 71:26 10 Holfeld/Grindrod Mitsubishi 71:40 F.PALMER AUDI (Oulton Park):- Result of Round 12 (Sat):mins secs 1 J Wilson GB 15:59.992 2 D Faulkner Ire 16:06.627 3 P Clarke GB 16:10.812 4 T Serjala Fin 16:11.366 5 A Booth NZ 16:13.382 6 J Keen GB 16:14.078 7 D Turner GB 16:17.461 8 S White Aus 16:17.544 9 F Maluhy Brz 16:19.129 10 R Tarling GB 16:23.690 Result of Round 13 (Sat):mins secs 1 J Wilson GB 16:03.030 2 A Booth NZ 16:07.353 3 T Serjala Fin 16:07.732 4 D Faulkner Ire 16:08.004 5 F Maluhy Brz 16:09.102 6 J Keen GB 16:12.374 F3000 (Nurburgring):- Result after 45 laps (Sat): hr mins secs 1 G Rodriguez Uru 1:12:37.085 2 J Watt Den 1:13:02.665 3 J Montoya Col 1:13:07.378 4 K Mollekens Bel 1:13:15.870 5 A Couto Por 1:13:16.787 6 T Enge Cze 1:13:19.408 BRITISH F3 (Spa-Francorchamps):- Saturday's final qualifying times: mins secs 1 L Burti Dallara 2:15.448 2 M Haberfield Dallara 2:15.478 3 D Saelens Dallara 2:15.722 4 F Montagny Martini 2:15.988 5 D Manning Dallara 2:16.042 6 M Karthikeyan Dallara 2:16.061 7 R Mauricio Dallara 2:16.125 8 K Kolby Dallara 2:16.224 9 A Pavicevic Dallara 2:16.324 10 E Bernoldi Dallara 2:16.355 27.09.98F1: THE LUXEMBOURG GP
Ferrari had a perfect start to the race, with Eddie Irvine briefly taking the lead from Michael Schumacher, who had been on pole position. However, the Ulsterman allowed Schumacher to go ahead before the end of the first lap. Schumacher was the first of the leaders to make a pitstop and it allowed Mika Hakkinen to head the race. The Finn then recorded some sensational lap times to build up an advantage and was still ahead after his lap 28 stop.
A superb effort by McLaren enabled Mika Hakkinen to retain his lead after his second pitstop. His rival Michael Schumacher looked set to usurp him after Hakkinen was held up by Rubens Barrichello and other traffic before diving into the pits. The stop was perfect though and he was out after a 6.9-second standstill. After a disappointing qualifying session, Hakkinen's car seemed to be handling the circuit better than the Ferrari when it mattered most.
Mika Hakkinen can afford to finish second behind Michael Schumacher in the final race in Japan and still claim his first Formula One crown. If the pair are tied on points at the end of the season the greater number of second-place finishes decides it. Obviously, the number of wins would normally be the criteria but if Schumacher wins in Suzuka he and the Finn will have seven each for 1998. If Hakkinen is second in Suzuka, he would have more runner-up places.
Modest Mika Hakkinen refused to get carried away after his victory put him ahead of rival Michael Schumacher in the drivers' standings. When asked if he was delighted with the triumph he took a while to answer before stating "Yes" and is obviously taking nothing for granted. "The situation is certainly different to what it was a couple of hours ago," said the McLaren star. "It keeps the team motivated for the final grand prix."
Ferrari star Michael Schumacher was disappointed after seeing Mika Hakkinen regain the advantage in the title race. The German admitted he was surprised to lose the lead after he and his rival had both had their first pitstops. "I knew it would be tight but I thought I could still be ahead," said Schumacher. "I am disappointed. After the first pitstop we had no chance. We have to accept we were not fast enough in the race. We are four points behind but it is not lost."
Britain's Johnny Herbert looks set to put this season down to experience after another retirement. Herbert is leaving Sauber for Stewart at the end of this campaign and admitted: "It was going quite well. "It was difficult at the beginning because of the understeer but I was working my way back up and looked set for a race with Jean Alesi. Then I was hit by a big engine problem, which was quite sudden, and that was it."
Jordan's hopes of taking third place in the constructors' race suffered a setback with Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher failing to win any points. Schumacher retired with a brake disc failure, while Hill could only finish in ninth place. "The weekend started badly for me here and I suffered as a consequence," said Hill. "I never really got a balance I was happy with. I gave it everything I had but could not make up the places."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen was happy to be able to keep Williams in with a chance of finishing third in the constructors' championship after a poor campaign. The German was fifth and said: "I was catching Eddie Irvine and it appeared he had a problem. When I was right on his tail, a Benetton caught up again and I lost a place to Giancarlo Fisichella. I think he went off because of some oil someone dropped, enabling me to fight back for my position."
Prost driver Olivier Panis believed there were encouraging signs for his team, even though he could only finish in 12th spot. "The team did its best and worked hard all weekend to prepare the car for a good race," he said. "It is encouraging because when we have a competitive car, on this kind of weekend, we will score points and may even get to the podium. I was just not able to pass the cars on a one-stop strategy."
Race result after 67 laps: hr min sec 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:32.14.7 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari @ 02.2 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren @ 34.1 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari @ 58.1 5 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams @01.00.2 6 G Fisichella It Benetton @01.01.3 7 A Wurz Aut Benetton @01.04.7 8 J Villeneuve Can Williams one lap 9 D Hill GB Jordan one lap 10 J Alesi Fr Sauber one lap 11 R Barrichello Brz Stewart two laps 12 O Panis Fr Prost two laps 13 J Verstappen Hol Stewart two laps 14 M Salo Fin Arrows two laps 15 S Nakano Jpn Minardi two laps 16 T Takagi Jpn Tyrrell two laps Did not finish (not classified): 17 E Tuero Arg Minardi 56 laps completed 18 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 53 laps 19 J Herbert GB Sauber 37 laps 20 R Rosset Brz Tyrrell 36 laps 21 J Trulli It Prost 6 laps 22 P Diniz Brz Arrows 6 laps DRIVERS' STANDINGS 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 90 pts 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 86 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren 52 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 41 5 J Villeneuve Can Williams 20 6 A Wurz Aut Benetton 17 = D Hill GB Jordan 17 8 G Fisichella It Benetton 16 9 H-H Frentzen Ger Williams 15 10 R Schumacher Ger Jordan 14 11 J Alesi Fr Sauber 9 12 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 4 13 M Salo Fin Arrows 3 = P Diniz Brz Arrows 3 15 J Herbert GB Sauber 1 = J Magnussen Den Stewart 1 = J Trulli It Prost 1 CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS 1 McLaren-Mercedes 142 pts 2 Ferrari 127 3 Williams-Mecachrome 35 4 Benetton 33 5 Jordan 31 6 Sauber-Petronas 10 7 Arrows 6 8 Stewart 5 9 Prost 1RALLYING:- The Proton works team will take part in the final round of the BTRDA National Rally Championship - the Cambrian Rally - on October 3. York's Jenny Davies and Sweden's Mats Andersson will be joining regular series contender Martin Meadows, who drives a similar Proton Compact SRi.
BRITISH GTs (Spa):- Sunday's result: min secs 1 O'Rourke/S'gdn McLaren 51:43 2 Batley/Reid Lister 52:55 3 McKellar/Flux Lister 52:57 4 Hewland/Evans Lister 53:02 5 Purvis/Erdos Marcos 54:08 6 Dean/Luby Chrysler 51:53 7 Warnock/Sch'le Porsche 52:51 8 Wall'r/Lister Porsche 52:56 9 Welz Porsche 53:56 10 Barrett/L'kie Porsche 51:55F3:- Mario Haberfeld became the British Formula Three champion with one race to go after winning in Belgium. The 22-year-old was briefly overtaken on the the first lap but took control after that and saluted his teammates as he crossed the finishing line. He is the eighth Brazilian to win the title and said: "I'm really pleased to take it. This title means a lot in Brazil due to the drivers who have won before and it is not an easy championship to win."
Sunday's result: mins secs 1 M Haberfield Dallara 32:11.900 2 D Manning Dallara 32:19.808 3 M Karthikeyan Dallara 32:23.702 4 E Bernoldi Dallara 32:24.514 5 K Kolby Dallara 32:25.688 6 A Yoong Dallara 32:28.427 7 M Fassler Mertini 32:28.869 8 B Collins Dallara 32:31.578 9 W Hughes Dallara 32:33.407 10 M Bentwood Dallara 32:39.055F.FORD EUROCUP (Spa):- Derek Hayes dominated the second round to move into the lead in the series. The Ulsterman powered past Slick 50 Formula Ford champion Jenson Button on lap five and was not threatened again. The series resumes at Hockenheim on October 11.
Second round result (Sun): 1 D Hayes 21:08.425 2 D Wheldon 21:14.112 3 J-C Ravier 21:14.195 4 J Svensson 21:17.984 5 J Button 21:18.111 28.09.98 CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING Driver ratings (September 28) Points 1 M Schumacher Ger Formula One 1098 2 M Hakkinen Fin Formula One 1085 3 J Gordon US NASCAR 1082 4 A Zanardi It Champ Car 1052 5 M Martin US NASCAR 928 6 D Coulthard GB Formula One 805 7 E Irvine GB Formula One 758 8 J Montoya Col F3000 756 9 D Jarrett US NASCAR 744 10 B Schneider Ger FIA GT 715