April 1999 Motorsport News

EUROCAR:- The 1999 Eurocar season begins on Easter Monday at Mallory Park. Top two from last year, Stevie Hodgson and Mike Jordan moving on, this year is expected to be the most open for years. Last year's V6 champion Peter Falding starts as one of the favourites.

Leading times: (Fri) mins secs
 1 R Tarling         1:13.781
 2 T Mullen          1:14.070
 3 J Keen            1:14.439
 4 B Wirdheim        1:14.504
 5 A Booth           1:14.899
 6 D Faulkner        1:15.138
 7 A Wilcox          1:15.358
 8 T Serjala         1:15.404
 9 R Lyons           1:15.439
10 C Hall            1:15.685

SAFETY DEVICES NATIONAL CH'SHIP:- John Price heads for the Epynt Military Rangers in the Brecon Beacons for the second round on Sunday. Chris Griffiths is always quick on Epynt and Chris Wood was leading Price last time out before a puncture dropped him down the leaderboard. Lyndon Barton will be hoping for better luck this year after being involved in a bad accident 12 months ago. Dave Turnbull also competes as the drivers hope there is no repeat of the snow that fell in last year's rally.

BTCC (Donington Park):-
Friday's testing times:
 1 D Leslie      Nissan    1:10.148
 2 L Aiello      Nissan    1:10.220
 3 V Radermecker Volvo     1:10.483
 4 P Kox         Honda     1:10.539
 5 R Rydell      Volvo     1:10.780
 6 J Plato       Renault   1:10.851
 7 Y Muller      Vauxhall  1:10.883
 8 JC Boullion   Renault   1:11.063
 9 A Menu        Ford      1:11.149
10 J Thompson    Honda     1:11.269

BTCC (Donington Park):- Matt Neal became the first independent driver to secure pole as he led the way for Monday's feature race. Neal smashed the circuit record in the process in the Nissan Primera GT and said: "I can't believe it. The team are overjoyed. It's fantastic." Honda set the pace amongst the works teams, closely followed by the revitalised Ford team. James Thompson, second fastest, said: "I'd like to congratulate Matt. We are a little short of track time."

James Thompson claimed pole for Monday's Sprint race ahead of Matt Neal after a tense round of qualifying. Six different drivers held pole during the session before Thompson finally edged ahead in his Honda Accord. "Considering the trouble we had in testing on Friday, I'm very pleased with our performance today," he said. "Initially our aim is just to win races and if the championship becomes a possibility that's great. If a chance is there you must be ready to take it."

Round two qualifying times (Sun):mins secs
 1 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:10.018
 2 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:10.187
 3 P Kox         Hol Honda    1:10.217
 4 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:10.254
 5 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:10.373
 6 J Plato       GB  Renault  1:10.394
 7 R Rydell      Swe Volv     1:10.594
 8 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:10.738
 9 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault  1:10.752
10 J Cleland     GB  Vauxhall 1:10.903

SPIDER CUP (Donington):- Spider Cup rookie Phil Bennett caused a shock in qualifying by setting the sec nd quickest time. He split his more experienced teammates Andy Priaulx and Tobia Masini at the front of the grid for Monday's race.

Leading qualifying times (Sun):
                      min secs
1 A Priaulx           1:18.179
2 P Bennett           1:18.384
3 T Masini            1:18.422
4 D Vercoe            1:18.433
5 B McLoughlin        1:18.499
6 S Hill              1:18.615

Leading qualifying times (Sun):
                    mins secs
 1 D Scandian        1:12.200
 2 G Paffett         1:12.428
 3 J Hanson          1:12.531
 4 G Turkington      1:12.534
 5 R Bell            1:12.605
 6 R Dalziel         1:12.635
 7 S Hodgetts        1:12.671
 8 T McQuarrie       1:12.860
 9 H Mutoh           1:12.870
10 J Dalziel         1:13.075

VECTRA SRi'S:- Robert Collard grabbed pole position for Monday's round one race. "I'm really pleased to be on pole for my first Vectra Challenge race," he said. "We had a gameplan for qualifying and it worked."

Leading  qualifying times (Sun):
                      min secs
1 R Collard           1:20.695
2 J Rhodes            1:20.889
3 M Ticehurst         1:21.004
4 A Morrison          1:21.013
5 G Coomes            1:21.247
6 J Yeomans           1:21.404

F.RENAULT (Donington):- Antonio Pizzonia took pole position for Monday's opening race but then crashed heavily at 130mph, leaving his team rushing to make repairs in time. Top Star Cup runner Tom Ferrier qualified in fifth place.

Leading qualifying times (Sun):
                      min secs
1 A Pizzonia          1:09.204
2 R Austin            1:09.696
3 K Raikkonen         1:09.888
4 P Nilsson           1:10.216
5 T Ferrier           1:10.387
6 C Breeze            1:10.394

F.FIESTA'S:- Neal Gordon maintained his fine recent record at Donington by claiming pole for the opening round of the series. The London driver headed a close field with Michael Cullen finishing second fastest and Simon Clarke third.

Leading qualifying times (Sun):
                      min secs
1 N Gordon            1:30.173
2 M Cullen            1:30.168
3 S Clarke            1:30.376
4 M Engledew          1:30.445
5 D Gibson            1:30.451
6 D Buxton            1:30.536

F.FORD (Donington Park):- Marcos Ambrose claimed pole position for round one as less than a second covered the top 15 drivers. The Australian was followed closely by Nicolas Kiesa and Neil Shanahan.

Leading qualifying times (Sun):
                      min secs
1 M Ambrose           1:12.761
2 N Kiesa             1:12.785
3 N Shanahan          1:12.864
4 C Murray            1:13.945
5 R van der Ende      1:13.027
6 J Courtney          1:13.114

BTCC (Donington):- Matt Neal scooped a massive 250,000 as he roared to a stunning victory in the second round of the Championship. The privately-funded 32-year-old Midlands racer clinched the cash pay- out, becoming the first independent driver to win a BTCC race. He said: "It's awesome. I can't put it into words. I have been in this for seven years and the team have had lots of good and bad times." James Thompson finished second but earlier took the Sprint Race.

Round one result (Mon):       mins secs
 1 J Thompson    GB  Honda    21:51.403
 2 A Menu        Swi Ford     21:53.497
 3 J Plato       GB  Renault  21:55.454
 4 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   21:55.906
 5 M Neal        GB  Nissan   21:56.065
 6 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 21:56.734
 7 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    22:01.084
 8 J Cleland     GB  Vauxhall 22:03.788
 9 P Kox         Hol Honda    22:03.997
10 V Radermecker Bel Volvo    22:05.140

Round two result (Mon):       mins secs
 1 M Neal        GB  Nissan   21:51.403
 2 J Thompson    GB  Honda    @   2.094
 3 J Plato       GB  Renault  @   4.051
 4 J Cleland     GB  Vauxhall @   4.503
 5 V Radermecker Bel Volvo    @   4.662
 6 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault  @   5.331
 7 P Kox         Hol Honda    @   9.681
 8 R Spence      GB  Renault  @  12.385
 9 L Brookes     GB  Honda    @  12.594
10 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall @  13.737

1 J Thompson GB  Honda Accord  29 pts
2 M Neal     GB  Nissan Prim   23
3 J Plato    GB  Renault Lag   20
4 A Menu     Swi Ford Mondeo   12
= J Cleland  GB  Vauxhall Vec  12

1 Honda                33 pts
2 Nissan               29
3 Renault              25
4 Vauxhall             17
5 Ford                 12

1 M Neal     GB  Nissan Prim   35 pts
2 L Brookes  GB  Honda Accord  15
3 R Spence   GB  Renault Lag   10

RENAULT SPIDER'S (Donington):- Andy Priaulx led all the way to claim his first-ever victory in the event in the first race of the season. Teammate Tobia Masini took second after Duncan Vercoe hit gearbox problems while Simon Hill just edged into third.

Result (Mon):        mins secs
1 A Priaulx          18:30.551
2 T Masini           18:41.893
3 S Hill             18:59.069
4 B McLoughlin       18:59.190
5 M Cole             18:59.352
6 O Mildenhall       18:59.792

F.VAUXHALL (Donington):-
Round 1 result (Mon):mins secs
 1 G Paffett        22:08.073
 2 R Dalziel        22:15.054
 3 R Bell           22:17.929
 4 S Hodgetts       22:25.032
 5 T McQuarrie      22:30.027
 6 J Hanson         22:30.227
 7 R Dalziel        22:32.161
 8 D Patrick        22:33.520
 9 S Hignett        22:38.851
10 M Pavlovic       22:39.815

VECTRA SRi CHALLENGE:- Robert Collard took the opening round to become the first ever independent driver to win a Challenge race.

Result of round 1 (Mon):min secs
1 R Collard          19:13.262
2 M Ticehurst        19:13.608
3 J Rhodes           19:16.422
4 A Morrison         19:17.354
5 J Yeomans          19:21.965
6 D Goode            19:24.242

Championship points
1 Collard     16pts
2 Rhodes      12
3 Morrison    10

F.RENAULT (Donington):- Antonio Pizzonia led all the way from pole position to win the opening round of the Formula Renault Championship. Rob Austin came second with Finn Kimi Raikkonen third. Tom Ferrier in fourth place won the Star Cup division.

Result of round 1 (Mon):min secs
1 A Pizzonia         23:25.771
2 R Austin           23:30.420
3 K Raikkonen        23:32.617
4 T Ferrier          23:40.754
5 L Walker           23:43.157
6 G Jones            23:51.148

F.FIESTA'S (Donington):- Michael Cullen claimed the spoils but he was pushed hard by Daniel Buxton. Buxton snatched the lead with a lap to go but Cullen hit back to win by two 10ths of a second after pole man Neal Gordon had spun.

Round one result (Mon):min secs
1 M Cullen            18:20.163
2 D Buxton            18:20.440
3 M Burton            18:21.979
4 D Gibson            18:26.406
5 C Turkington        18:31.144
6 N Padley            18:31.830

F.FORD (Donington):- Craig Murray charged from fourth place on the grid to clinch victory after a four-car battle for the lead. Nicolas Kiesa finished runner-up while Marcos Ambrose took third spot.

Result of round 1 (Mon):min secs
1 C Murray           22:16.488
2 N Kiesa            22:18.135
3 M Ambrose          22:21.761
4 N Shanahan         22:22.002
5 M Taylor           22:28.599
6 R van der Ende     22:31.164

International Automobile Federation president Max Mosley has been reported as saying that he would be in favour of having 20 races a season. In recent years there have been 16 or 17 grands prix a year but more and more countries want to stage a race. Mosley is quoted in a German publication, saying: "We are currently discussing the issue. "In my opinion there should be 20 races every year. That would solve a big political problem."

Championship leader Eddie Irvine is hungry for more success after ending an 82-race wait for a win in Australia. He knows his hopes of victory on Sunday could be thwarted by team-mate Michael Schumacher as the Ulsterman's contract says he must give way to the German. However, Irvine said: "I have got the winning feeling, I quite like it and I want some more. Hopefully with the steps we have been making I can now beat the McLarens on pure speed."

Eddie Irvine believes his luck may finally have changed now he has had his first win. "God was with me in Melbourne. God has never been with me in Brazil but I had never been on the winner's rostrum before. Things are changing," he said. "I have got a good feeling about the race in Brazil and I like the circuit, even though it is very bumpy. I am going there to win, although I have to hope Michael (Schumacher) breaks down."

Michael Schumacher has insisted that he can win the drivers' crown this year. Since finishing eighth behind victorious Ferrari team-mate Eddie Irvine in Australia, Schumacher has hogged the test sessions. His car was lapping more than a second slower than the McLarens in Melbourne but Schumacher said: "I still believe I can win the world title in this car. The problem we had in Melbourne was with the mechanical set-up. Now we have a better understanding of the car."

Ferrari star Michael Schumacher has hit out at the new tyres introduced into the sport this season. He told a German newspaper: "My goal is to push my limits and at the moment I cannot do that. The new tyres make the cars substantially slower." The front tyres have an additional fourth groove. Double world champion Schumacher finished a disappointing eighth in the opening race of the 1999 campaign - the Australian Grand Prix.

McLaren's season begins on Sunday after Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were both forced to retire with mechanical problems in Australia. A repeat of last year would be a boost to the Woking-based team because Hakkinen and Coulthard achieved a one- two in Interlagos. Before Hakkinen's Brazilian win, the race had been dominated by Williams and Benetton in recent years. McLaren's last Brazilian triumph before 1998 was in 1993 with Ayrton Senna.

Damon Hill will be hoping to go the distance on Sunday after he failed to complete a lap in Australia when he was shunted into the gravel. The Briton was overshadowed by new Jordan team-mate Heinz-Harald, who was second in Melbourne. It has been said that there is less pressure on Jordan after they claimed their maiden win in 1998. However, team boss Eddie Jordan has insisted that it just means there are new milestones to reach.

Williams driver Ralf Schumacher is hoping to build on the podium finish he achieved Down Under. He was third in his first race since leaving Jordan and revealed: "Last year I was not lucky at Interlagos as I slid into the gravel on th first lap. If it is dry and the other teams have no reliability problems it will become difficult for us to be in front. However, the weather there changes very fast. With stormy rainfall and wet conditions I would be optimistic."

Formula One's newest team British American Racing are aiming to make an impression on Sunday. Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta both know the track and team manager Greg Field said: "We have made good progress on reliability issues. We have accumulated a substantial amount of test mileage, split between Silverstone and Barcelona. We are looking forward to Brazil and seeing how Ricardo goes on a circuit he knows well."

Johnny Herbert made his Formula One debut at Jacarepagua in Brazil back in 1989 and is confident ahead of his second race for Stewart on Sunday. Herbert, who was fourth at Interlagos in 1993, said: "The circuit has a good variety of corners - fast and slow - so the car should be suited to it. "Our chances are just as good as they were in Melbourne, if not better. Rubens (Barrichello) could have won and I probably would have been in the points seeing how the race panned out."

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello is relishing the chance to race in front of his home fans. "Naturally it is very special for me," he confirmed. "Apparently all the tickets are sold out and that means the home support will be fantastic. I am confident we can beat our 1998 qualifying times by at least a second. Turn one is extra special, firstly because of the name Senna and secondly because as you enter the first part the spectators are very close to the cars."

Arrows took advantage of the five-week break between the first two races of 1999 and carried out a two-day test session at Silverstone. They worked on engine development, chassis set-up and the aerodynamics. Pedro de la Rosa, who was sixth in Australia, also took part in a two-day straight-line test at the Lurcy Levis track in France. On top of that, he and team-mate Toranosuke Takagi worked on their fitness with the Arrows physio.

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 72 laps or 309.024km. Mika Hakkinen clocked the fastest lap in Brazil last year with a time of one minute, 19.337 seconds. Interlagos is one of only two circuits on the Formula One calendar that runs counter-clockwise ` the other track being Imola. Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard lapped the entire field bar Michael Schumacher and Alexander Wurz when finishing first and second last year.

DAKAR RALLY:- The Dakar rally will bypass Europe in the year 2000, beginning in Senegal and ending in Egypt.

F1:- McLaren duo Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard will be hungry for success in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix after both failed to finish in Melbourne. Team boss Ron Dennis warned: "We have extracted the optimum testing time in the five-week gap between the Australian and Brazilian races. "We want to marry competitive performance with reliability." Hakkinen's McLaren was the fastest car in Australia until he was forced out with a mechanical problem.

VECTRA SRI CHALLENGE (Thruxton):- James Rhodes followed up his second place in the opening round of the challenge at Donington by setting the pace in testing. Mark Ticehurst was sixth 10ths of a second behind.

Leading testing times (Thur):
                       min secs
1 J Rhodes             1:27.136
2 M Ticehurst          1:27.745
3 J Yeomans            1:28.023
4 R Collard            1:28.039
5 A Morrison           1:28.695
6 G Pyper              1:28.697

F.VAUXHALL (Thruxton):- Championship leader Gary Paffett set the pace in testing for round three. The 18-year-old edged out Milos Pavlovic and Robert Bell.

Leading testing times (Thur):
                       min secs
1 G Paffett            1:20.113
2 M Pavlovic           1:20.339
3 R Bell               1:20.409
4 J Dalziel            1:20.702
5 J Hanson             1:20.716
6 G Turkington         1:20.979

CHAMP CARS (Motegi):- Adrian Fernandez clocked the fastest practice lap in Japan, driving the same car he won the race in last year. The Mexican driver led everyone on the oval with a time of 25.732 seconds and Brazilian Mauricio Gugelmin was second quickest and Paul Tracy third. Britain's Dario Franchitti was 12th quickest and Mark Blundell 18th. The session was cut short because of a collision between Michael Andretti and Juan Montoya and the Colombian was fined for the incident.

Firestone Firehawk 500 practice (Thu):
 1 A Fernandez  Mex Ford      25:732
 2 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes  25:742
 3 P Tracy      Can Honda     25.801
 4 J Vasser     US  Honda     25:802
 5 M Andretti   US  Ford      25:879
 6 G Moore      Can Mercedes  25:907
 7 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford      25:913
 8 J Montoya    Col Honda     25:923
 9 T Kanaan     Brz Honda     25:940
10 M Papis      It  Ford      25:990
12 D Franchitti GB  Honda     26:007
18 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes  26:147

World champion Mika Hakkinen set the fastest time after the rain-hit opening practice sessions for Sunday's race. David Coulthard was second quickest and Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine were third and fourth. Damon Hill had a disastrous time because of technical problems and was only 21st fastest, just ahead of last- placed Jacques Villeneuve. Rubens Barrichello was sixth fastest on his home track and his Stewart team-mate Johnny Herbert was 13th.

Friday practice times:        min secs
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:18.881
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:19.352
 3 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:19.621
 4 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:19.772
 5 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:20.309
 6 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:20.338
 7 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:20.359
 8 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:20.431
 9 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:20.562
10 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:20.671
11 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:20.779
12 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:20.824
13 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:20.934
14 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:21.009
15 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:21.116
16 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:21.773
17 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:21.897
18 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:22.355
19 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:22.494
20 S Sarrazin    Fr  Minardi  1:22.578
21 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:32.229
22 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:36.568

F.PALMER-AUDI (Thruxton):- The new campaign begins on Sunday with some of the finest young talent in British motorsport on show. Twenty-four drivers will be racing identical 250bhp Audi turbo-charged cars ` a concept introduced by ex-Formula One star Jonathan Palmer. Justin Wilson won the inaugural series in 1998 and that has earned him a FIA Formula 3000 berth this year. The quality of the field is such that as many as 20 drivers could secure podium finishes.

Richard Tarling and Topi Serjala are among the favourites for the series. Tarling was third last year and Finn Serjala was one place behind but they will face strong competition. The Irish contingent of Richard Lyons, Tim Mullen, Derek Hayes and Damien Faulkner are tipped to shine. Hayes won the inaugural FPA Winter Series in November. There are also challengers from Holland, New Zealand and the US.

American FPA challenger Derek Hill is the son of 1961 Formula One world champion Phil. Richard Lyons begins the new season on Sunday having won the final Winter Series race on his FPA debut. Paul Munn moves into the championship after racing in Formula First last year and the 20-year-old works at Silverstone as a racing instructor. Testing has gone well and he said: "I have been getting used to the car in dry conditions and am more confident."

1999 entry list:
Jeroen Bleekemolen         Hol
Andrew Booth               NZ
Romain Dumas               Fr
Damien Faulkner            Ire
Charles Hall               GB
Sam Hancock                GB
Derek Hayes                NI
Derek Hill                 US
Justin Keen                GB
Robbie Kerr                GB
Richard Lyons              NI
Mark McLoughlin            GB
Tim Mullen                 NI
Paul Munn                  GB
James Pickford             GB
Edward Redfern             GB
Topi Serjala               Fin
Jeff Shafer                US
Martyn Smith               GB
Richard Tarling            GB
Jonathan Tee               GB
Danny Watts                GB
Bjorn Wirdheim             Swe
Adam Wilcox                GB

UK F3:- Fortec Motorsport duo Matthew Davies and Kristian Kolby are targeting podium finishes in round three this weekend. Davies claimed his first points finish of 1998 at Silverstone two weeks ago, while Kolby was second. Kolby said: "We have always been strong at Thruxton in the past and had a good test here last week. We have improved the car since the last race and I am looking forward to securing another top spot. Hopefully I can achieve that."

MGF CUP (Thruxton):- At least 25 cars will be on the grid for the second round on Sunday. The 1999 opener at Silverstone was won by Warren Hughes, who snatched the lead from pole-sitter Piers Johnson. One of the title favourites, Matt Kelly could be the main opposition. He started halfway down the field at Silverstone but forced his way up to third place with a storming drive. Married couple Jamie Hunter and Judit Forro-Hunter will also be taking part.

BTCC Testing (Thruxton):
                              min secs
 1 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:15.716
 2 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    1:16.088
 3 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:16.405
 4 J Plato       GB  Renault  1:16.543
 5 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   1:16.589
 6 V Radermecker Bel Volvo    1:16.649
 7 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:16.782
 8 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:16.833
 9 P Kox         Hol Honda    1:17.002
10 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:17.279

MINTEX NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP:- Championship leader Marcus Dodd will be aiming to get the better of local favourite Brian Lyall when the Granite City Rally begins tonight. Aberdonian Lyall knows the stages better than anyone, while Murray Grierson - who has won the event twice - will also be competing. Defending series champion Roger Duckworth is likely to feature strongly in the event, which ends on Saturday. Boyzone star Shane Lynch is one of the 34 1400cc entries.

Top 10 seeds:
 1 B Lyall/A Cook     Subaru
 2 M Dodd/J Bennie    Ford Escort
 3 R D'wrth/M Br'mfld Subaru
 4 M Grierson/S Merry Subaru
 5 K McKinstry/N Orr  Subaru
 6 A Burton/R Morgan  Peugeot
 7 S Petch/P Croft    Ford Escort
 8 W Ph'lskrk/E Evans Subaru
 9 M H'rrsn/L Jenkins MG Metro
10 D Buckley/N Ewing  Porsche

CHAMP CARS (Motegi):- Gil de Ferran claimed pole position for Saturday's race after setting a new track record in Japan. He clocked a time of 25.463 seconds, with an average speed of 219mph, for the fifth pole of his career. His fellow Brazilian Mauricio Gugelmin was second quickest and Max Papis was third fastest. Scottish driver Dario Franchitti was 11th in 25:641 and Mark Blundell was 16th in a time of 25.912 in his Reynard-Mercedes.

Firestone Firehawk 500 qualifying (Fri)
 1 G de Ferran  Brz Honda     25:463
 2 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes  25:530
 3 M Papis      It  Ford      25:547
 4 A Fernandez  Mex Ford      25:555
 5 M Andretti   US  Ford      25:566
 6 G Moore      Can Mercedes  25:593
 7 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford      25:608
 8 B Herta      US  Ford      25:612
 9 P Jones      US  Ford      25:630
10 P Tracy      Can Honda     25.637
11 D Franchitti GB  Honda     25:641
16 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes  25:912

Mika Hakkinen will start on pole and David Coulthard is also on the front row of the grid as McLaren bid to repeat last year's one-two in Brazil. Michael Schumacher was unable to match their speed, qualifying in fourth spot. He was pipped for third place by Rubens Barrichello, who put in a flying lap in front of his home crowd. His Stewart team-mate Johnny Herbert was 10th, Eddie Irvine was sixth and Damon Hill overcame early problems in the session to be seventh quickest.

Mika Hakkinen was delighted by his pole position, but then had a warning for his rivals. "We have not reached the maximum performance from the car yet," he said. "We've been working on the car all the time to make it better. I always knew I would be threatened during qualifying, but felt I had a little in reserve." Teammate David Coultard qualified second and said "That was the most competitive I have been in Brazil. I feel very strong and confident."

Local boy Rubens Barrichello took third place on the grid, equalling Stewart's best effort, and said: "That shows what happened in Australia was not a bluff. The lap when I got third was the best in my life. But last year was the best of my life and I only got 13th or 14th. It's great to finally have a good car." Barrichello added that achieving such a good lap in his home race meant a great deal to him. "It was such a great feeling waving to the fans I almost came out of the car.

Jacques Villeneuve will have to start Sunday's race from the back of the grid after officials found his car was running on illegal fuel. Stewards said a fuel sample was "not the same as the one which had been approved for use by the relevant competitor prior to the event". Meanwhile BAR teammate Ricardo Zonta will miss the race after suffering a leg injury in a crash in practice. He must rest for 10 days and hopes to make his return at Imola.

Saturday's qualifying times:  min secs
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:16.568
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:16.715
 3 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:17.305
 4 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:17.578
 5 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:17.810
 6 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:17.843
 7 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:17:884
 8 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:17.902
 9 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:18.334
10 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:18.374
11 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:18.506
12 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:18.636
13 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:18.684
14 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:18.716
15 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:19.194
16 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:19.452
17 S Sarrazin    Fr  Minardi  1:20.016
18 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:20.075
19 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:20.096
20 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:20.710
21 J Villeneuve  Can BAR
   R Zonta out after practice crash

GRANITE CITY RALLY:- Marcus Dodd, secured his second successive win with a dramatic late success on the Printergraph Granite City Rally. Brian Lyall, who had taken the lead after Dodd lost top gear, was stopped on the penultimate stage when he broke a wheel and suffered a flat tyre. The Aberdonian, rally winner for the last two years, lost 10 minutes in the stage and retired. Dodd now leads the championship by eight points from Kenny McKinstry.

Final positions after 11 stages:penalty
 1 M Dodd/J Bennie    Ford Es  1:08.37
 2 K McKinstry/N Orr  Subaru   1:09.38
 3 R D'kwrht/R B'mfld Subaru   1:10.37
 4 D Buckley/N Ewing  Porsche  1:11.32
 5 S Petch/P Croft    Ford Es  1:11.42
 6 J Carty/F Bell     MG Metro 1:12.40
 7 J Burn/S Quirk     MG Metro 1:12.52
 8 G Kellam/G M'pth   M'bushi  1:14.18
 9 N Buckley/S Boyles M'bushi  1:14.20
10 V Wetton/J Haigh   Mi'bishi 1:14.22

CHAMP CARS (Motegi):- Adrian Fernandez won his second straight race after taking the lead on lap 53 and holding on to the finish. The Japan race ended under a yellow caution flag after Greg Moore, who was running second, spun out on turn four with two laps left. Gil de Ferran and Christian Fittipaldi were second and third. Dario Franchitti and Mark Blundell were forced to retire. Blundell, who had posted the fastest warm-up time, went out on lap 78 with handling problems.

Firestone Firehawk 500 result:Laps
 1 A Fernandez  Mex Ford      201
 2 G de Ferran  Brz Honda     201
 3 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford      201
 4 G Moore      Can Mercedes  201
 5 M Andretti   US  Ford      200
 6 T Kanaan     Brz Honda     200
 7 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes  200
 8 R Gordon     US  Toyota    200
 9 H Castro-N   Brz Mercedes  199
10 R Hearn      US  Toyota    198
22 D Franchitti GB  Honda    contact
24 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes mechanical

World champion Mika Hakkinen held off the challenge of Michael Schumacher to claim his first victory of the season. Hakkinen took the lead after both drivers had taken their one pit stop, and despite Schumacher's persistence he held on to win by 4.9 seconds. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was third for his second podium finish of the season, while Melbourne winner Eddie Irvine had to settle for fifth. David Coulthard, Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert were all forced to retire.

Mika Hakkinen's victory was not without drama as gearbox problems looked like they would force him out of the race in the third lap. Hakkinen had led from pole position, but he slowed dramatically when he had trouble finding his gears. The Finn persevered and had moved back into second spot when leader Michael Schumacher took his pit stop. Hakkinen was able to open up enough advantage to lead after his pit stop, and he then held off Schumacher to win.

Eddie Irvine stayed on top of the driver's championship by finishing fifth, but a late pit stop cost him a higher position. It was unclear why he was called in from third, but the delay allowed Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Ralf Schumacher to get ahead of him. Frentzen's second podium finish of the season sees him share second spot in the championship with Mika Hakkinen. Schumacher is just behind the pair, ahead of brother Michael.

David Coulthard had a forgettable race when problems with his car forced him to retire after 22 laps. The McLaren driver had already had a disastrous start, stalling at the start and eventually rejoining three laps into the race. Although he quickly posted what was then the fastest lap of the day, he soon encountered further problems. Despite his attempts to keep the car running, he was eventually forced to pull out of the race.

Damon Hill's miserable start to the season continued when he had to retire after 10 laps. His Jordan had a small clash with the Benetton of Alexander Wurz which damaged his steering. Fellow Brit Johnny Herbert was forced to retire his Stewart on lap 14 after it developed hydraulic problems. Teammate Rubens Barrichello led for a time but retired on 42 laps when third when his engine started smoking, to the disappointment of the home crowd.

Mika Hakkinen was relieved to claim victory after gearbox problems almost forced him out early in the race. "I thought that would be it for me," he said "But the team told me to continue and suddenly the gears came back." Later in the race Hakkinen had to try and take advantage of Michael Schumacher's pit-stop in order to build up a lead. "I could have gone quicker but I had traffic," he reflected. "There was lots of traffic so I lost about a second."

Michael Schumacher was philosophical about his second spot which gave him his first points of the season. "It could have been worse. It could have been third or fourth," he said. "We planned pit stops to our best knowledge to keep him behind us but he was able to put in some fast laps and join the circuit in front of me." Schumacher said he could cope with the current gap in performance between his car and the McLaren, adding: "I know what to expect in the further races."

Damon Hill was annoyed about the clash with Alexander Wurz which put him out of the race after ten laps. "I was extremely disappointed and rather angry," he commented. "I did not think it was very good driving from Alexander as I had outbraked him and won the corner and he kept coming over until we hit. The knock damaged my suspension and put me out of the race. Luck has not been on my side for the first two races, but things will get better."

Eddie Jordan was delighted for Heinz- Harald Frentzen after his second podium finish of the season. "It's a dream come true for him," he said. "He drove very well today, and the strategy we selected after yesterday's qualifying worked well. The atmosphere in the team is great. Damon Hill has played a key role in building our confidence. McLaren and Ferrari are still dominant, but I'd like to think we can continue to be there competing."

Result after 72 laps:        Hr min sec
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:36.03.8
 2 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari     @ 04.9
 3 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan     one lap
 4 R Schumacher  Ger Williams   one lap
 5 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari    one lap
 6 O Panis       Fr  Prost       2 laps
 7 A Wurz        Aus Benetton    2 laps
 8 T Takagi      Jap Arrows      3 laps
 9 M Gene        Sp  Minardi     3 laps

DID NOT FINISH            Laps completed
10 P De La Rosa  Sp  Arrows       52
11 J Villeneuve  Can BAR          49
12 A Zanardi     It  Williams     43
13 R Barrichello Brz Stewart      42
14 P Diniz       Brz Sauber       42
15 G Fisichella  It  Benetton     38
16 S Sarrazin    Fr  Minardi      31
17 J Alezi       Fr  Sauber       27
18 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren      22
19 J Trulli      It  Prost        21
20 J Herbert     GB  Stewart      15
21 D Hill        GB  Jordan       10

1 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari   12 pts
2 M Hakkinen    Fin  McClaren  10
= H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan    10
4 R Schumacher  Ger  Williams   7
5 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari    6
6 G Fisichella  It   Benetton   3
7 R Barrichello Brz  Stewart    2
8 P de la Rosa  Sp   Arrows     1
= O Panis       Fr   Prost      1

1 Ferrari       18 pts
2 Jordan        10
= McLaren       10
4 Williams       7
5 Benetton       3
6 Stewart        2
7 Arrows         1
= Prost          1

Sunday's first round result:mins secs
 1 R Lyons     GB            15:26.27
 2 R Tarling   GB            15:26.28
 3 D Faulkner  Ire           15:26.34
 4 A Wilcox    GB            15:26.37
 5 D Hayes     GB            15:26.37
 6 B Wirdheim  Swe           15:26.37
 7 R Dumas     Fr            15:26.38
 8 J Keen      GB            15:26.38
 9 R Kerr      GB            15:26.41
10 S Hancock   GB            15:26.41

BRITISH F3 (Thruxton):-
Sunday's round three result:  mins secs
 1 J Button    GB  Renault    23:42.508
 2 A Kirkaldy  GB  Mugen-Hon  23:44.369
 3 M Hynes     GB  Mugen-Hon  23:44.808
 4 K Kolby     Den Mugen-Hon  23:51.052
 5 M Davies    GB  Mugen-Hon  23:53.041
 6 A Yoong     Mal Mugen-Hon  23:53.960
 7 M O'Connell GB  Toyota     23:54.354
 8 M Bentwood  GB  Mugen-Hon  23:55.860
 9 A Coelho    Brz Renault    23:58.745
10 T Spouge    GB  Speiss-Opl 23:59.110

MGF CUP (Thruxton):-
Sunday's round two result:  mins secs
 1 N Carr                   18:19.440
 2 P Johnson                18:19.649
 3 M Kelly                  18:20.507
 4 M Hazell                 18:22.792
 5 R Mears                  18:23.466
 6 J Hunter                 18:24.668
 7 D Mason                  18:25.319
 8 H Kangas                 18:25.617
 9 D Loudoun                18:28.222
10 W Hughes                 18:29.230

F1:- Ricardo Zonta is set to leave hospital - two days after gashing a foot in a crash in practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The British American Racing driver is due to have 20 stitches taken out on April 19 and then start a programme of physical therapy. It is not known if Zonta will be fit for the San Marino Grand Prix on May 2. The Brazilian made his Formula One debut in the opening race of the season in Australia last month.

RALLYING:- Gwyndaf Evans will make his competitive debut in South America next month when he and co-driver Howard Davies contest the Rally of Argentina. The seventh round of the 1999 World Championship is based in Cordoba and takes place from May 22 to 25. He faces long gravel stages, high altitude and rocky terrain in the event "I am very excited and looking forward to rallying in Argentina," said the SEAT driver. "It's a tough event but not as specialised as some others."

RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Silverstone):- Rookie Chris Buncombe led the field in testing, eclipsing round one winner Andy Priaulx.

Leading test times:   min secs
1 C Buncombe          1:40.451
2 A Priaulx           1:40.570
3 T Masini            1:41.563
4 D Vercoe            1:41.638
5 S Hill              1:41.920
6 O Mildenhall        1:42.054

F.RENAULT (Silverstone) Points leader Antonio Pizzonia clocked the fastest testing time but Britain's Leighton Walker was only just behind. Gavin McFayden was the fastest Star Cup runner, while Markus Winkelhock - son of the late Formula One star Manfred - will race in this weekend's round two.

Leading test times (Mon):    min secs
1 A Pizzonia         Brz      1:27.341
2 L Walker           GB       1:27.620
3 R Austin           GB       1:28.178
4 K Raikkonen        Fin      1:28.532
5 C Breeze           GB       1:28.941
6 G Brusatin         It       1:29.473

VAUXHALL VECTRA'S (Silverstone):- Mark Ticehurst was quickest in testing for round two of the series. His Liquid Petroleum Gas-powered Vectra is not eligible for Championship points so second-fastest James Rhodes gave himself a boost ahead of the race.

Leading test times:   min secs
1 M Ticehurst         1:39.177
2 J Rhodes            1:39.832
3 D Pinkney           1:40.132
4 G Pyper             1:40.213
5 A Morrison          1:40.539
6 D Goode             1:40.817

BRITISH TOURING CARS:- Matt Neal will be aiming to build on his successes in the opening rounds at Donington when the Championship moves to Silverstone this weekend. Neal became the first privately-funded entrant to win a round of the BTCC, thereby securing a payout of 250,000. He is second in the standings and topped the times in official testing at Silverstone, so is understandably optimistic ahead of Sunday's races. "I do not like to be too confident but hope to be at the sharp end," he said.

James Thompson leads the series after a win and a second place at Donington and many pundits have tipped him to land the title this season. "Without reading too much into the first two races, yes we have made a great start," he admitted. "The Accord is a new car and it is only going to get stronger. I want to win the title and I am ready to win it. If it means coming second every time and not winning a race that is what I will do."

Jason Plato overcame the late arrival of the 1999 Renault Laguna to claim two podium finishes at Donington so he is eyeing a repeat display on Sunday. He revealed: "Everyone in this team has worked extremely hard to get the package together. It was a massive boost to go well straight out of the box and we know there is an awful lot of potential still to be exploited." The British driver is currently third in the standings.

Nissan won two of the four races at Silverstone last year so David Leslie is hoping to put the team's setbacks at Donington behind him. Both Nissans failed to finish the feature race after starting at the back of the grid, although Leslie notched fourth place in the sprint race. "We had such a trouble-free pre-season, then as soon as it mattered everything seemed to go wrong at once," he said. "Hopefully, we have now got all our problems out of the way for 1999."

Rickard Rydell is hoping to bounce back from his poor start to the campaign over the Easter weekend. "We struggled to find a good handling balance throughout last weekend and were working the tyres a bit hard, especially in race trim," he said. "We have made quite a few changes since last weekend and seem to have found a better set-up." The Swedish driver is aiming to become the first driver in the modern era to retain the title.

Vauxhall's Yvan Muller and John Cleland will use the build-up to Sunday's races to work on finding the right qualification set-up for the Vectra. Oxford-based Muller confirmed: "We still have work to do to improve the car, especially for qualifying. I think for the sprint race we need to be on the front two rows to be able to win or finish on the podium." Cleland added: "We know we are quick in the race, we proved that at Donington, we just have to be quick all weekend."

Matt Neal is clear favorite for the Michelin Cup but his rivals are hoping his battles at the front of the grid will lead to more retirements. Lee Brookes, Russell Spence, Mark Blair and Paula Cook are all ready to step in should his Cup bid falter. Brookes claimed points in both races at Donington, despite only taking delivery of his Honda Accord just days earlier. Arena Motorsport made their debut at the circuit and their driver Spence scored points in the feature race.

CHAMPION SPARK PLUG RANKINGS:- The rankings are in their third year and are a way of determining the world's best drivers. The roll-on format means the drivers start with the previous season's points total and they lose a proportion of these each time they race. Points are awarded to the top 10 finishers in each race and the amount depends on the rating of that championship and the number of rounds. Formula One, for example, is rated 10 and NASCAR and Champ Cars 9.5.

Driver ratings (April 13)        Points
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One  1110
 2 J Gordon      US  NASCAR       1007
 3 M Schumacher  Ger Formula One  1006
 4 A Zanardi     It  Formula One   973
 5 M Martin      US  NASCAR        835
 6 U Alzen       Ger FIA GT        817
 7 K Ludwig      Ger FIA GT        773
 8 E Irvine      GB  Formula One   769
 9 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   737
10 JP Montoya    Col F3000         720
Excluding latest FIA GT results

FORMULA FORD (Silverstone):- Frank Diefenbacher dominated the testing ahead of Sunday's second round. The German edged out Tom Sisley as a freak hailstorm washed out much of the test session.

Testing times (Tues):  min secs
1 F Diefenbacher       1:26.262
2 T Sisley             1:26.543
3 N Kiesa              1:26.609
4 B Horne              1:26.688
5 M Ambrose            1:26.835
6 J Courtney           1:27.123

FORMULA VAUXHALL (Silverstone):- Brazilian teenager Daniel Scandian was quickest in testing for round two of equalled his time later in the session. Only Paston Racing's Stefan Hodgetts stopped a Team JLR clean sweep at the top of the times.

Test times (Tues):    min secs
1 D Scandian           1:25.69
2 S Hodgetts           1:25.75
3 R Bell               1:25.69
4 J Hanson             1:25.97
5 J Dalziel            1:26.04
6 G Paffett            1:26.22

F.FIESTA'S (Silverstone):- Colin Stancombe set the pace for Sunday's second round but David Gibson equalled his time later in the session. Early-season pace-setters Daniel Buxton and Mark Burton were third and fourth fastest and pre-season title favourite Neal Gordon was fifth.

Test times (Tues):     min secs
1 C Stancombe          1:47.416
2 D Gibson             1:47.416
3 D Buxton             1:47.504
4 M Burton             1:47.510
5 N Gordon             1:47.743
6 M Cullen             1:47.949

F.PALMER AUDI:- Thrifty Car Rental have agreed to become the 1999 title sponsor for the Formula Palmer Audi Championship.

14.04.99 - F1
Harvey Postlethwaite, the former managing director of the Tyrrell team, has died after suffering a heart attack The 55-year-old had been heading Honda's operation to rejoin F1 in 2001. Eddie Jordan said: "The news of Harvey's death has come as a shock. We had been talking only recently about new projects he was working on. Harvey was an academic and true gentleman. He was always so committed and enthusiastic. This is a sad blow to Formula One."

SOMERSET STAGES RALLY:- The first forest round of the Super 106 Cup, the Somerset Stages Rally, takes place this weekend based in Minehead. The event is inundated with Peugeot 106 GTIs who will compete over 40 miles of twisting roads in Exmoor and on the infamous Porlock toll road. Current Championship leader Martin Sansom, alongside Phil Wells, leads the Super 106 Cup contingent away. Norther Ireland drivers Mark Fisher and Gordon Noble are also in the field with Devonians Tom Hookway and Jayson Brown.

EUROCAR:- Sunday's Eurocar meeting at Pembrey will see drivers competing for the inaugural Tom Pryce Memorial Trophy. It will be presented to winning driver by Tom's father Jack.

F1:- Finnish driver Mika Salo is in line to replace injured Brazilian Ricardo Zonta in the British American Racing team for next month's San Marino Grand Prix. Zonta is recovering from leg injuries he suffered during practice for last weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix. "We're extremely pleased that Ricardo is making such a rapid recovery," said BAR chief Craig Pollock. "We are now just waiting to hear what the doctors have to say about a likely date for his return."

Michael Schumacher set the best time in wet conditions during Friday's testing session in Maranello, Italy. The German completed 134 laps with a best time of one minute, 07.115 seconds on the wet and 1:05.995 when the circuit was only damp.

BRITISH TOURING CARS (Silverstone):- David Leslie clocked the fastest time in Friday's official testing for rounds three and four of the Championship. Leslie lapped more than a quarter of a second quicker than his nearest rival Alain Menu with Laurent Aiello third. "It's always very nice to be on top," said Leslie. "We have had a very constructive day." Independent driver Matt Neal, who won the previous race, suffered a different fate after engine problems stopped him completing a timed lap.

Official testing times (Fri):mins secs
 1 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:22.690
 2 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:22.972
 3 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   1:23.014
 4 J Plato       GB  Renault  1:23.188
 5 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    1:23.309
 6 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:23.332
 7 P Kox         Hol Honda    1:23.368
 8 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault  1:23.488
 9 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:23.499
10 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:23.734

CATALUNYA RALLY:- The Catalunya Rally is the newest World Championship rally in Europe and the likelihood of wet weather makes it a tough test for the drivers. The event, which runs from Monday to Wednesday, was voted rally of the year in 1996 and 1997. Drivers face almost 400km in 19 stages in this fifth round of the series. Leg two will be the hardest section, with the drivers tackling almost 110km in just three stages, the longest of which is nearly 46km.

Colin McRae is firmly entrenched in the race for the title following two straight wins in Kenya and Portugal. The Catalunya Rally is the first true all-asphalt event of the season and is the only new surface left on which the Ford Focus has to test its potential. McRae said: "It has proved its speed on ice, snow, rocky tracks and gravel. Althought the Focus is still heavier than our rivals, the team has reduced the weight significantly since Portugal and I am confident of a podium finish."

Simon Jean-Joseph will make his second Championship appearance in the Focus for the Ford Martini team. The 29-year-old asphalt expert made his debut for the team in Monte Carlo and said: "I think the Focus is getting better all the time. Since I competed in Monte Carlo the engine, gearbox and driveability have improved and the car feels very stable, which is what you need for asphalt. This is my first Catalunya Rally but the conditions should suit me."

World Championship leader Tommi Makinen has a history of putting on spectacular performances in Catalunya and took a superb victory for Mitsubishi in 1997. He is aiming for his third win of the year in the pace-setting Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. "We had a very good test for this rally in the south of France and we have made small changes to the car. I like driving on tarmac and I think our Michelin tyres will be very strong," said Makinen.

Bruno Thiry will drive alongside Richard Burns as one of Subaru's nominated entries for the first time this season in Spain. All three of the entered cars, including that of Juha Kankkunen, will be reinforced by the debut of the 'fly- by-wire' transmission. The Impreza WRC99's transmission is the latest in a line of semi-automatic gearboxes, first introduced in 1991. Two weeks of testing have also produced advances in trye performance.

Spain's Carlos Sainz will be bidding to improve his title hopes while delighting the home spectators. Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya triumphed in the event in 1992 and 1995 and Sainz admitted: "Of course for me it is one of the best places to score a victory. "I think Catalunya has always been very tight. The differences between the cars are very small but I am certain we will be in the fight. However, the weather, and the wind in particular, can be tricky."

SEAT Sport are aiming to win their 'home' round of the Championship. The team are based in Barcelona, 100km from the rally venue, and Piero Liatti is confident he can give the Spanish fans something to cheer. In his four previous Catalunya events, Liatti has finished second twice ` 1996 and 1997 ` and third once, in 1995. "I really believe I can win this," he insisted. "I have a very good feeling because we have worked very hard to improve the car on asphalt."

The Catalunya Rally is the third of seven World Championship rounds that will be contested by Skoda. It also marks the Octavia WRC's debut on an all-asphalt event and Armin Schwarz, who is a past winner in Spain, drives the leading entry. "It will be a big challenge," he admitted. "We had a very positive test in France but we still have a lot to learn about the car's behaviour. It is not easy to fine-tune a chassis to cope with the demands of asphalt."

MGF CUP:- Piers Johnson has been excluded from the results of the MGF Cup second-round race at Thruxton last weekend. The Harrow-based driver took second place on Sunday, as he had in the opening round at Silverstone in March, and was leading the MGF championship. Race scrutineers sealed the car after the event and, after inspection, issued a technical non-compliance report. No details of the report will be made public and it has yet to be announced whether Johnson will appeal.

F3000:- Edenbridge Racing have signed Oliver Gavin and Jamie Davies for the Formula 3000 team. Gavin was 1995 British Formula Three champion and Davies was fourth in last year's F3000 championship.

BRITISH TOURING CARS (Silverstone):- Nissan drivers Laurent Aiello and David Leslie dominated qualifying by sharing pole for rounds three and four. Independent star Matt Neal made it a Nissan 1-2-3 for the sprint race after a stunning lap in the one-shot event. Aiello mastered the drying conditions of this morning's session to secure the first pole of his BTCC career. Leslie was slightly despondent with third place for the feature race, but made up for it with a fine one-shot display for his first pole of the year.

Round three qualifying (Sat):mins secs
 1 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:22.900
 2 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   1:23.013
 3 M Neal        Fr  Nissan   1:23.293
 4 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    1:23.356
 5 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:23.395
 6 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:23.454
 7 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:23.549
 8 J Plato       GB  Renault  1:23.612
 9 V Rad'mecker  Bel Volvo    1:23.640
10 P Kox         Hol Honda    1:23.768

Round four qualifying (Sat): mins secs
 1 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   1:22.885
 2 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    1:22.952
 3 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:23.175
 4 J Plato       GB  Renault  1:23.362
 5 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:23.427
 6 V Rad'mecker  Bel Volvo    1:23.537
 7 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:23.591
 8 P Kox         Hol Honda    1:23.627
 9 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault  1:23.660
10 Y Muller      Ger Vauxhall 1:23.686

SOMERSET STAGES RALLY:- Ian Joel clinched victory by a margin of 20 seconds from Theo Bengry who finished runner-up for the second year in a row. Having won the event for the past two years, Steve Winter could only manage third this time after receiving a one minute penalty. Pete Littler looked to be on course for a win but he rolled his Escort Cosworth on the penultimate stage. Marcus Dodd won the Peugeot 106 Super Cup and also took the Formula Two award.

Provisional result after 12 stages:
                           min sec
 1 Joel/Wood    Escort Cos  45:47
 2 Bengry/F'bk  Mitsubishi  46:07
 3 Winter/Dyson Metro 6R4   46:24
 4 Crook/Crook  Sierra Cos  47:13
 5 B'ger/S'bury Opel Manta  47:56
 6 Dodd/Bennie  Peugeot 106 48:51
 7 McShea/C'idy Peugeot 106 49:21
 8 Burnell/S'sn Peugeot 106 49:28
 9 Sansom/Wells Peugeot 106 49:34
10 Meadows/O'ey Proton Com  49:46

CART (Long Beach):-
Provisional qualifying results (Sat):
 1 D Franchitti  Honda    61.805
 2 J Montoya     Honda    61.956
 3 B Herta       Ford     62.189
 4 T Kanaan      Honda    62.332
 5 M Papis       Ford     62.363
 6 A Fernandez   Ford     62.434
 7 J Vasser      Honda    62.514
 8 C Fittipaldi  Ford     62.664
 9 M Andretti    Ford     62.694
10 P Tracy       Honda    62.731
13 M Blundell    Mercedes 62.840

RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Silverstone):- First round winner Andy Priaulx set the fastest-ever Spider Cup lap to claim pole position for Sunday's round two. Teammate Tobia Masini was second ahead of series newcomer Ben McLoughlin who pushed Simon Hill back to fourth place.

Qualifying times (Sat):  mins:secs
1 A Priaulx              1:31.860
2 T Masini               1:32.514
3 B McLoughlin           1:32.781
4 S Hill                 1:32.782
5 D Vercoe               1:32.796
6 C Buncombe             1:33.509

F.RENAULT (Silverstone):- Antonio Pizzonia set the fastest ever Sport lap at Silverstone to claim pole for round two of the championship.

Qualifying times (Sat):  mins:secs
1 A Pizzonia Br          1:20.986
2 R Austin GB            1:21.764
3 N Stelandre B          1:22.187
4 L Walker GB            1:22.197
5 K Raikkonen            1:22.416
6 T Ferrier GB           1:22.547

VAUXHALL VECTRA'S (Silverstone):-
Provisional round two qualifying times:
                  mins secs
 1 R Collard       1:39.087
 2 D Goode         1:39.944
 3 J Yeomans       1:40.046
 4 J Rhodes        1:40.170
 5 G Pyper         1:40.570
 6 A Morrison      1:40.782
 7 M Ticehurst     1:41.944
 8 P Cate          1:43.078
 9 C Boon          1:43.784
10 G Coomes        1:44.132

F.FORD (Silverstone):- Championship leader Craig Murray ekpt up the pressure by taking second place on the grid, but Nicolas Kiesa was not to be denied the front row spot.

Qualifying times (Sat): mins:secs
1 N Kiesa                1:25.441
2 C Murray               1:25.690
3 F Diefenbacher         1:25.828
4 M Ambrose              1:25.841
5 R van der Ende         1:26.093
6 R Dahigren             1:26.174

F.FIESTA'S (Silverstone):- Neal Gordon secured his second straight pole of the season as eight-tenths of a second covered the top 11 cars. Mark Burton took second in the closing stages of the session, with leader Michael Cullen finishing third.

1 N Gordon             1:46.053
2 M Burton             1:46.238
3 M Cullen             1:46.264
4 C Stancombe          1:46.266
5 G Shedden            1:46.513
6 D Gibson             1:46.547

BRITISH TOURING CARS (Silverstone):- The 1998 Le Mans winner Laurent Aiello opened his BTCC account with victory in the Sprint Race. He began it in second place on the grid behind Nissan team-mate David Leslie but took control of the 15-lap event early on. Leslie made an error at the Abbey hairpin on the first lap and Aiello went ahead. The battle of the race was for third place, Rickard Rydell edging past Matt Neal on lap one and holding him off.

Round three result (Sun):    mins secs
 1 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan  21:16.158
 2 D Leslie      GB  Nissan  21:17.836
 3 R Rydell      Swe Volvo   21:24.342
 4 M Neal        GB  Nissan  21:24.633
 5 J Thompson    GB  Honda   21:25.420
 6 J Plato       GB  Renault 21:32.402
 7 A Reid        GB  Ford    21:34.789
 8 J Boullion    Fr  Renault 21:35.281
 9 P Kox         Hol Honda   21:36.135
10 A Menu        Swi Ford    21:38.165
A shower of rain 30 minutes before the 30-lap Feature Race allowed Jason Plato to triumph. David Leslie, James Thompson, Anthony Reid and Matt Neal abandoned their grid slots in favour of a quick change to intermediate tyres. It ensured Plato could make a quick start from fourth place and outdrag pole man Laurent Aiello and Rickard Rydell to claim an early lead. Rydell later went out after damaging his steering in a clash with Plato.

Round four result (Sun):      mins secs
 1 J Plato       GB  Renault  43:54.811
 2 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault    @ 9.283
 3 J Thompson    GB  Honda      @13.262
 4 P Kox         Hol Honda      @15.194
 5 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan     @25.043
 6 D Leslie      GB  Nissan     @32.666
 7 J Cleland     GB  Vauxhall   @35.464
 8 A Reid        GB  Ford     @1:03.103
 9 P Cook        GB  Honda    @1:11.204
10 L Brookes     GB  Honda    28 laps
* Yvan Muller disqualified for his car
being below minimum ride height

1 J Thompson GB  Honda Accord  45 pts
2 J Plato    GB  Renault Lag   41
3 M Neal     GB  Nissan Prim   31
4 D Leslie   GB  Nissan Prim   26
5 L Aiello   Fr  Nissan Prim   22

1 Nissan               67 pts
2 Renault              62
= Honda                62
4 Vauxhall             25
5 Volvo                22

1 M Neal     GB  Nissan Prim   55 pts
2 M Blair    GB  Vauxhall      25
3 P Cook     GB  Honda Accord  16
= L Brookes  GB  Honda         16

CHAMP CARS:- Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan notched his first pole at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Dario Franchitti had begun the day on provisional pole but was pipped by Kanaan and left in second spot after being forced to use a back-up car. The Scot crashed his Reynard Honda in the morning practice session and said: "It was frustrating. We were just not fast enough today." Mark Blundell was 12th quickest in the session in his Mercedes-Reynard.

Long Beach qualifying times:   min secs
 1 T Kanaan     Brz Honda      1:01.109
 2 D Franchitti GB  Honda      1:01.133
 3 B Herta      US  Ford       1:01.280
 4 M Papis      It  Ford       1:01.343
 5 J Montoya    Col Honda      1:01.388
 6 A Fernandez  Mex Reynard    1:01.574
 7 G de Ferran  Brz Honda      1:01.617
 8 G Moore      Can Mercedes   1:01.727
 9 J Vasser     US  Honda      1:01.796
10 P Tracy      Can Honda      1:01.842
12 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes   1:01.954

RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Silverstone):- Andy Priaulx extended his points lead with a lights-to-flag win in round two of the series. Simon Hill was runner-up to move into joint second place with Tobia Masini.

Race result (Sun):      mins:secs
1 A Priaulx             23:21.029
2 S Hill                23:41.976
3 T Masini              23:44.457
4 P Bennett             23:55.806
5 N Dudfield            24:01.080
6 J Aspinall            24:01.881

F.RENAULT SPORT (Silverstone):- Carl Breeze finished second in round two but secured maximum points and the series lead after race-winner Antonio Pizzonia was excluded. Jean de Pourtales inherited second spot and moved up to runner-up overall.

Qualifying times (Sat):  mins:secs
1 C Breeze         GB    19:25.050
2 J de Pourtales   Fr    19:37.244
3 P Nilsson        GB    19:42.836
4 G Brusatin       It    19:48.549
5 E Goddard        SA    19:51.247
6 G McFayden       GB    20:06.936

VAUXHALL VECTRA'S (Silverstone):-
Sunday result:    mins secs
 1 M Ticehurst    24:18.140
 2 J Yeomans      24:26.321
 3 D Goode        24:27.683
 4 P Cate         24:28.527
 5 A Morrison     24:29.802
 6 G Coomes       24:34.911
 7 M Turner       24:39.987
 8 C Boon         24:45.387
 9 R Collard      24:54.302
10 J Barclay      24:58.093

FORD FIESTA'S (Silverstone):-
Sunday's result:      mins secs
1 N Gordon            25:03.382
2 M Burton            25:04.948
3 D Gibson            25:04.680
4 C Stancombe         25:05.571
5 M Cullen            25:05.699

Spanish driver Jesus Puras surprised the world championship contenders by by leading in a Formula Two Citroen. Puras won the second and third stages on the first leg after the opening stage was cancelled because of concerns over spectator safety. He led by 5.6 seconds from Carlos Sainz, in a WRC Toyota, and Citroen teammate Philippe Bugalski. Colin McRae has refused to quit the event despite being out of contention due to turbo-booster problems.

Positions after Stage 8:   hr min secs
 1 J Puras     Sp  Citroen  1:27.19.4
 2 P Bugalski  Fr  Citroen  1:27.26.4
 3 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota   1:27.29.7
 4 C Sainz     Sp  Toyota   1:27.36.8
 5 T Makinen   Fin Makinen  1:27.53.7
 6 F Loix      Bel M'bishi  1:28.15.5
 7 R Burns     GB  Subaru   1:28.29.7
 8 A Schwarz   Ger Skoda    1:28:46.2
 9 A Lopes     Por Peugeot  1:28.50.4
10 B Thiry     Bel Subaru   1:29:04.7
33 C McRae     GB  Ford     1:34.44.9

JORDAN:- Jordan boss Eddie Jordan has been included in the list of celebrities for the Hall of Fans - a themed area in football's Premier League Hall of Fame. Famous and non-famous fans are being chosen for the Hall of Fans in London's County Hall and Jordan has been chosen because of his love for Coventry.

RALLY OF CATALUNYA:- France's Philippe Bugalski driving a Citroen leads the Rally of Catalunya with just five special stages between him and a record victory. Bugalski finished six stages south of Barcelona with a lead of 17 seconds from fellow Frenchman Didier Auriol. Britain's Richard Burns is sixth in his Subaru after being penalised a minute for jump-starting a stage. Colin McRae has been forced to retire from the race after two days of problems with his car.

Positions after 14 stages:  hr min sec
 1 P Bugalski  Fr  Citroen   3:14.33.1
 2 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota    3:14.50.8
 3 C Sainz     Sp  Toyota    3:16.16.6
 4 F Loix      Bel Mit'bishi 3:16.21.7
 5 T Makinen   Fin Mit'bishi 3:16.42.3
 6 R Burns     GB  Subaru    3:17.50.7
 7 K Kankkunen Fin Subaru    3:17.58.9
 8 B Thiry     Bel Subaru    3:18.15.1
 9 O Gomez     Sp  Renault   3:19.03.7
10 L Clement   Sp  Subaru    3:19.29.1
Overnight leader Puras retired. McRae retired on second day

PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Round two of the six-round Mobil 1 British Rally Championship takes place over the weekend when the drivers converge on Kielder Forest. The 1997 British champion Mark Higgins is confident of success in the event, which starts and finishes in Carlisle and covers 128.21 competitive miles. Higgins said: "The new Golf put up a very creditable showing on its debut in Wales last month. We had some small problems but nothing that cannot be ironed out."

Defending champion Martin Rowe claimed maximum driver points in round one of the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship but did not win the Rally of Wales. David Higgins upstaged the works boys by notching victory, although the Production Cup driver was not eligible for Championship points. Renault driver Rowe will be aiming to take the full honours this time. However, he is likely to be pressed hard by Vauxhall duo Neil Wearden and Jarmo Kytolehto.

Gwyndaf Evans' campaign starts on Saturday after he failed to score any points in the opening round in Wales. The SEAT driver admitted: "We were unlucky on the Rally of Wales and have put that retirement behind us. "We had a reminder of how difficult it is to succeed at this level, despite all the best preparation in the world. I am sure the Ibiza will be competitive in Kielder. We won the Pirelli Rally last year and since then have made a number of improvements."

Reigning British women's champion Barbara Armstrong is pumped up for the weekend's action. The Scot has recovered from a career- saving operation to repair a badly dislocated shoulder ` thanks to daily visits to a gym. In a recent test she matched fellow SEAT driver Gwyndaf Evans' times. She said: "The recent test in Kielder proved I am almost back to full fitness and now I have the strength to steer the car out of a difficult situation."

Charlie Jukes and co-driver Cliff Simmons are hoping for a change in luck this weekend. The pair failed to finish the opening round of the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship because of a broken driveshaft on their Proton Compact SRi. Jukes said: "We were getting to grips with the new car in Wales and got as high as third in the 1600cc category. We now have a better idea of what to expect and can pace ourselves in what is going to be a demanding event."

The third and fourth rounds of the Skoda Trophy take place in conjunction with the Pirelli International Rally. Daniel Dunbabin and James Slack head the 23-car field after both took one set of maximum points after the opening two rounds of the one-make series. Dunbabin said: "It was a little disappointing not to take both sets of maximum points in Wales." Pre-season favourite Steve Head was hit by driveshaft problems in the first leg so will be banking on a change of luck.

The Peugeot Sport 106 Maxi team are aiming to build on their lead in the Ferodo Super 1600 Cup. After a successful test session in Scotland, driver Justin Dale said: "Unlike last year we are not having to take giant steps in car development. "Having got one win under our belt I am hopeful of another." Co-driver Andrew Bargery added: "After demolishing the opposition in Wales by over five minutes we are looking forward to the increased competition."

The Pirelli International Rally is based in Carlisle and consists of 11 stages. Leg one starts at 9.25am on Saturday and is made up of four asphalt stages at Carlisle airport and gravel stages in Kershope, Chirdonhead and Falstone. The second leg is scheduled to begin at 7am on Sunday morning. It starts with the four long gravel stages in Pundershaw, Bewshaugh, Newcastleton and Ash Kirk forests before finishing in Carlisle.

F1:- Honda have confirmed that they will continue to develop their own F1 team next season despite the death of project leader Harvey Postlethwaite. Postlethwaite died of a heart attack last week and was a link between Honda Racing Development, and the company's Japanese headquarters. With no obvious replacement available, it had been suggested Honda's Japanese bosses would halt the project. Honda have cancelled planned testing at Barcelona as a mark of respect.

RALLY OF CATALUNYA:- World champion Tommi Makinen did not disguise his disappointment after finishing in third position. "The result is not what I'd hoped for," he said, before adding "We made some fastest times and it was excellent." Teammmate Fredddy Loix was one place lower and commented: "Compared with last year we are missing a little speed but it's early days so I'm happy." SEAT's Piero Liatti said: "Each stage we were more competitive on asphalt, it was important to gain information."

Final positions:            hr min secs
 1 P Bugalski  Fr  Citroen   4:13.45.6
 2 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota    4:14.17.4
 3 T Makinen   Fin Mit'bishi 4:16.06.7
 4 F Loix      Bel Mit'bishi 4:16.21.0
 5 R Burns     GB  Subaru    4:17.47.5
 6 J Kankkunen Fin Subaru    4:18.32.9
 7 B Thiry     Bel Subaru    4:18.46.9
 8 O Gomez     Sp  Renault   4:19.34.3
 9 C Sainz     Sp  Toyota    4:20.05.6
10 L Climent   Sp  Subaru    4:20.14.4

DRIVER STANDINGS                Pts
1 T Makinen    Fin  Mitsubishi  26
2 D Auriol     Fr   Toyota      23
3 C McRae      GB   Ford        20
4 C Sainz      Sp   Toyota      16
5 P Bugalski   Fr   Subaru      10
6 J Kankkunen  Fin  Subaru       8

1 Toyota         44 pts
2 Mitsubishi     32
3 Ford           26
4 Subaru         18
5 SEAT           17

BRITISH F3 (Brands Hatch):- Jenson Button set the fastest time in testing ahead of Sunday's rounds four and five. The first 17 cars were separated by just three-quarters of a second as Button edged out Luciano Burti and Marc Hynes in the session. Fortec Motorsport duo Matt Davies and Kristian Kolby were fourth and fifth quickest at the Kent circuit. Warren Hughes, driving the new Ralt Formula Three chassis with a radical carbon-fibre gearbox, was 10th.

Test times (Thur):            secs
 1 J Button      GB  Pr'tcme 42:610
 2 L Burti       Brz Stewart 42:641
 3 M Hynes       GB  Manor   42:655
 4 M Davies      GB  Fortec  42:667
 5 K Kolby       Den Fortec  42:673
 6 N Karthikeyan Ind Carlin  42:724
 7 A Yoong       Mal Alan D  42:748
 8 A Kirkaldy    GB  Stewart 42:832
 9 M O'Connell   GB  Rowan   42:867
10 W Hughes      GB  Ralt    42:912
Marc Hynes goes into Sunday's rounds four and five with a 10-point lead in the Championship. However, he is likely to come up against a strong challenge from Jenson Button, who won the previous round in only his third Formula Three race. Nineteen-year-old Button is now second in the standings. Andrew Kirkaldy started from pole in the last race before finishing second so is likely to feature in the 25-lap, 30.5-mile event.

Matt Davies will be determined to shine at the Kent track, where he is a circuit instructor. His Fortec Motorsport team-mate will also be focused on success after taking pole in the Silverstone round and finishing second. Narain Karthikeyan claimed his first win in the UK at Brands and Toby Scheckter is out to make an impression in his first Formula Three season. Luciano Burti did lead the previous race before having engine problems.

23.04.99 - F1
BMW, who will return to Formula One with Williams next season, are ready to start track-testing their new engine. "The development is now so far advanced that we are faced with the first test drives," BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger said of the new V10. "They will take place away from the usual race tracks to shield the team from public pressure." BMW added that the tests would be carried out using a 1998 Williams chassis, with Joerg Mueller driving.

BRITISH F3 (Brands Hatch):- Narain Karthikeyan of Indonesia will be on pole for Sunday's fourth round after topping hte times in qualifying. British duo Matthew Davies and Jenson Button will start in third and fourth positions respectively.

Round four qualifying times (Sat):
 1 N Karthikeyan Ind Carlin  42:253
 2 L Burti       Brz Stewart 42:305
 3 M Davies      GB  Fortec  42:349
 4 J Button      GB  Pr'tcme 42:378
 5 A Yoong       Mal Alan D  42:385
 6 M Hynes       GB  Manor   42:385
 7 K Kolby       Den Fortec  42:535
 8 M O'Connell   GB  Rowan   42:591
 9 A Kirkaldy    GB  Stewart 42:642
10 A Coelho      Br  Renault 42:743

LEADERBOARD after 7 of 11 stages
(interim)                   hr min secs
 1 Laukkanen     Renault     1:02:09.2
 2 Rowe          Renault     1:02:54.1
 3 D Higgins     Subaru      1:03:01.7
 4 M Higgins     Volkswagen  1:03:07.7
 5 Gardemeister  SEAT        1:03:13.0
 6 Evans         SEAT        1:03:33.3
 7 Kytolehto     Vauxhall    1:04:00.1
 8 Easson        Mitsubishi  1:04:31.5
 9 Buckley       Mitsubishi  1:04:47.6
10 Mann          Proton      1:04:49.5
Round two of the Championship produced mixed fortunes for the crews. Barbara Armstrong's rally came to an end on stage three when a track control arm broke. The Renault's of Tapio Laukkanen and Martin Rowe were locked in a battle for overall, with Tapio extending his lead over the last two stages of the day. Rowe had earlier lost time when he clipped a bale at Carlisle airport.

Vauxhall driver Neil Wearden hit a tyre in stage four, damaging a driveshaft, and had to complete stage five before fixing the problems at service. The Proton's of Mats Andersson and Jenny Davies have also had a mixed day. Andersson had gear problems on stage three which he fixed himslef, losing only a few minutes. Jenny Davies suffered two punctures on stage six.

Leader Tapio Laukkanen said: "I wanted to be the fastest man today. And I went all out to set the fastest times, which I have done. My strategy tomorrow will be the same and to attack early on to build a rally winning advantage." Teammate Martin Rowe, lying second added: "Tommorrow is going to be a big fight as I have no option but to give it max attack to catch Tapio."

Gwyndaf Evans finished day one of the Pirelli Rally on a charge after troubles n the SEAT. Early steering problems led to Gwyndaf burning his hands and arms putting the belt back on the car between stages four and five. He said: "The pulley broke on stage three and the new one wasn't fully set up, so we lost the belt in stage four. It was hard driving without power steering and my arms have never been pumped up so much, even in the gym."

Jarmo Kytolehto reported brake bias problems on stage one, but this was fixed at service. He maintained a steady pace throughout the next stages, holding a good position on the leaderboard. On stage six he lost the rear brakes when a stone damaged a union and the brake fluid was lost. This was fixed in service before the final stage of the day and he ends the day in seventh overall.

In the Production Cup, David Higgins is charging hard in the Barretts Subaru, hoping to repeat his Vauxhall win, and beat brother Mark in the Volkswagen. Fellow Production Cup contender David Mann rattled between two gate posts on stage six, destroying the fibre glass wheel arch extensions. He then went off and had to drive alongside the stage until he could find a way back past a bank. He said: "That was a bit exciting."

Finnish driver Marku Ramanen leads the Ferodo Super 1600 Cup in his Honda. He completely rebuilt the car after the Vauxhall Rally of Wales and only just finished it before this event. The Honda is currently running standard brakes so half way through the longer stages Ramanen loses the brakes. Super 1600 Cup leader Justin Dale lies 18 seconds behind Ramanen in the Peugeot 106 Maxi.

Sutton Bonington's James Slack won the third round of the 1999 Skoda Trophy which runs in conjunction with the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship. Slack, runner up last year, held off a fierce challenge from Daniel and Clive Dunbabin to finish 18 seconds ahead. Slack said: "It started badly. I damaged a driveshaft at Carlisle Airport but a couple of fastest times moved me back up the leaderboard." Dave West survived a broken geabox to take third overall in his Felicia.

F.PALMER AUDI (Brands Hatch):-
Leading round two qualifiers:
1 R Lyons     NI     45.725
2 T Serjala   Fin    46.286
3 D Faulkner  Ire    46.496
4 D Hayes     NI     46.640
5 D Watts     GB     46.854

Leading round three qualifiers:
1 T Mullen    NI     44.539
2 S Hancock   GB     44.650
3 R Kerr      GB     44.658
4 J Keen      GB     44.732
5 R Tarting   GB     44.738

BRITISH F3 (Brands Hatch):- Narain Karthikeyan became the first Indian driver to win a round after starting each race in pole position. He said: "The car was very good. It's a good day for me, Indian motorsport and my country. "I hope this will wake people there up to what I am doing and tget them to support me." Earlier, Brazilian Luciano Burti took the day's opening round when he capitalised on a first lap mistake by the Indian.

Round four result (Sun):     mins:secs
 1 L Burti       Brz Honda   18:18.430
 2 N Karthikeyan Ind Honda   18:18.667
 3 M Hynes       GB  Honda   18:19.158
 4 M O'Connell   GB  Toyota  18:19.487
 5 A Yoong       Mal Honda   18:20.724
 6 M Bentwood    GB  Honda   18:21.000
 7 K Kolby       Den Honda   18:21.868
 8 J Button      GB  Renault 18:25.788
 9 T Scheckter   ZA  Honda   18:28.004
10 Y Igarashi    Jap Honda   18:28.515

Round five result (Sun):     mins:secs
 1 N Karthikeyan Ind Honda   18:00.604
 2 A Yoong       Mal Honda   18:07.881
 3 L Burti       Brz Honda   18:09.414
 4 M Davies      GB  Honda   18:09.525
 5 M O'Connell   GB  Toyota  18:11.225
 6 M Hynes       GB  Honda   18:12.168
 7 J Button      GB  Renault 18:12.841
 8 M Bentwood    GB  Honda   18:14.929
 9 Y Igarashi    Jam Honda   18:19.426
10 A Coelho      Brz Renault 18:19.924

F.PALMER AUDI (Brands Hatch):-
Round two result:    mins secs
1 R Lyons     NI     16:07.327
2 D Faulkner  Ire    16:07.769
3 T Serjala   Fin    16:08.949
4 D Hayes     NI     16:10.226
5 R Tarling   GB     16:11.582

Round three result:  mins secs
1 S Hancock   GB     18:53.933
2 R Kerr      GB     18:54.278
3 T Mullen    NI     18:54.721
4 R Tarling   GB     18:55.046
5 J Keen      GB     18:55.563

PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Tapio Laukkanen's win in the Pirelli International breaks the run of bad luck which has dogged his British Championship chances. "After all the problems of last year it's finally been quite easy to win my first International rally," he said. "My car ran without any problems from start to finish and I'd like to thank the team for giving me the car to be able to win this event in." Tapio now leads the Championship after Martin Rowe's poor fortunes.

Martin Rowe was unlucky to see his rally coming to an end on the penultimate stage. The transmission on the Renault broke on stage 10, leaving the car in fourth on a long straight. "I'm gutted. My luck finally ran out when I least needed it to," he said after the race. Martin has had a long run of consistency and the retirement was his first since 1997, when he had to pull out on the same stage.

Toni Gardemeister finished second overall after a blistering run through the last stage put him 0.6 seconds clear of Volkswagen's Mark Higgins. "We drove the last stage at absolute maximum to try and take second place," he said. "The tyres were like slicks at the end." "I'm delighted to have finished so well and gain some valuable points." This was only Gardemeister's second visit to Kielder. His last effort was on the 1996 snow-bound RAC Rally.

Volkswagen's Mark Higgins accelerated into second position in the Mobil Rally Championship after a strong run in the new Golf GTi. Higgins and co-driver Bryan Thomas were delighted with their placing although disappointed not to overhaul the SEAT. "Toni Gardemeister in the SEAT just pipped us on the last stage which was a shame," Higgins said. "To be second in the Championship after two rounds is an excellent performance. The whole team can be proud."

Daniel and Clive Dunbabin extended their lead of the Skody Trophy, run in conjunction with the Pirelli Rally. They held off a fierce challenge from Dave West over the final day's four stages in the Kielder complex. "It was a tough event, but a cracking result" said Daniel Dunbabin, "It was just what I needed and means I've extended my lead in the Trophy." The fifth and sixth rounds of the Skoda Trophy will be held alongside the RSAC Scottish Rally on June 11/12.

Result after 11 stages:       hr min sec
 1 LAUKKANEN     Renault       2:02:28.7
 2 GARDEMEISTER  SEAT          2:03:52.8
 3 M HIGGINS     Volkswagen    2:03:53.4
 4 D HIGGINS     Subaru        2:03:59.7
 5 BUCKLEY       Mitsubishi    2:05:15.9
 6 EVANS         SEAT          2:05:36.1
 7 KYTOLEHTO     Vauxhall      2:06:04.5
 8 EASSON        Mitsubishi    2:07:04.0
 9 BAUMSCHLAGER  Volkswagen    2:08:56.7
10 SIMPSON       Volkswagen    2:09:16.1

1 Laukkanen    60  1 Renault    32
2 M Higgins    50  2 Volkswagen 21
3 Kytolehto    42  3 Vauxhall   16
4 Baumschlager 34  4 Peugeot    12
5 Rowe         32  5 SEAT       12
6 Wearden      32  6 Proton      6

TOUR OF CORNWALL:-Chris Wood won the event after finishing in Newquay with a 42-second advantage over Gary Midwinter. Safety Devices Championship leader John Price was third and it ensured he narrowly widened the gap overall between himself and Chris Griffiths. The second and final day of the rally was contested in torrential rain. First-day casualties had included the Escort Cosworths of Phil Henderson and Dave Turnbull and also the Darrian of John Harland.

Result after 28 stages:     hr min sec
 1 C Wood       MG Metro      1:51.31
 2 G Midwinter  Ford Escort   1:52.13
 3 J Price      MG Metro      1:53.11
 4 C Griffiths  Subaru Imp    1:54.22
 5 J Mercer     MG Metro      1:55.19
 6 L Barton     MG Metro      1:57.54
 7 M Welch      Ford Escort   1:57.56
 8 M Worley     Mitsubishi L  1:58.12
 9 A Orchard    Ford Escort   1:58.48
10 S Furzeland  MG Metro      2:01.13

NASCAR BUSCH:- NASCAR officials had to study a photo- finish camera before Terry Labonte was awarded victory in the race. The 120,000 crowd were still waiting to hear long after the finish whether Labonte or Joe Nemechek had triumphed in Talladega. Labonte claimed the honours by just inches - in what was the closest finish in NASCAR history. Nemechek revealed: "Man that is a tough one to lose like that. I cannot believe the way this race finished."

F1:- British American Racing have confirmed that Mika Salo will stand in for Richardo Zonta in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix. Zonta suffered a cut tendon in his foot during a high-speed crash in Brazil just over two weeks ago.

Driver ratings (April 26)        Points
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One  1110
 2 J Gordon      US  NASCAR       1069
 3 M Schumacher  Ger Formula One  1006
 4 A Zanardi     It  Formula One   973
 5 M Martin      US  NASCAR        879
 6 E Irvine      GB  Formula One   769
 7 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   737
 8 U Alzen       Ger FIA GT        735
 9 J Burton      US  NASCAR        726
10 D Jarrett     US  NASCAR        714

F1:- BMW tested their new V10 engine for the first time at their Miramas track in France as part of the build-up to a Formula One comeback in 2000. In a statement, the German manufacturer said: "For the first time in 12 years a Formula One car powered by a BMW engine took to the track." Their partners Williams provided a 1998 chassis and the car was driven by German Joerg Mueller. BMW quit Formula One at the end of 1987 after supplying engines for Benetton.

Ferrari star Eddie Irvine leads the championship by two points ahead of Sunday's third round. The Imola race is the first European event of the season and also signals the start of a busy period for the drivers, with a race every fortnight. Imola was opened in 1952 and staged its first non-championship Formula One grand prix in 1979. The circuit was revamped after the fatal crashes of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in 1994.

Michael Schumacher is unconcerned that he is trailing both team-mate Eddie Irvine and world champion Mika Hakkinen in the driver standings. The German revealed: "There are new developments to come in time for Imola. They should help us close the gap even more, I am not worried abuot the points situation as we are still at a very early stage in the season." Schumacher was second behind Hakkinen in the last race but was nearly five seconds behind the Finn.

Mika Hakkinen gave McLaren the spoils in the last round in Brazil but there are still reliability fears over the car ahead of Sunday's third round. Mercedes-Benz boss Norbert Haug said: "We are clearly in a position to win further races but we do not have a big advantage and have to do a better job. We must keep working hard if we are to win more races. It is one thing being in a position to theoretically win but it is another to actually be in a position to win."

David Coulthard will not be pressing the panic button, despite his failure to net any points in 1999. At this stage in 1998 he had 12 points but he insisted: "I am disappointed not to have scored any points when there were points to be taken. However, there is no point dwelling on mechanical problems. It is disappointing about the reliability but in terms of performance you can pay for making a quick car because you compromise on some parts."

Former world champion Damon Hill is hungry for success after being forced out of the first two races - by Jarno Trulli and Alexander Wurz. "Overtaking relies on the co-operation of the guy being overtaken," said Hill. "However, when you are a young driver in the sport you do not want to give way. I used to be the same. I remember being hauled over the coals by Ayrton Senna in my first season. I thought it was fantastic, me talking to him and him saying I was the bad guy."

Jordan will begin Sunday's race as the only taem to line up with two former winners at Imola. Damon Hill won the race for Williams in 1995 and 1996 and Heinz-Harald Frentzen triumphed in 1997, also for Williams. Team boss Eddie Jordan said: "Imola has certainly suited both our drivers in the past, which is a good omen. Jordan have had an excellent start to the 1999 season and it is great to arrive at the start of the European season in second place."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen believes his Jordan team-mate Damon Hill will bounce back from his spate of bad luck. Hill suffered early retirements in Australia and Brazil, while new boy Frentzen secured two podium finishes in the races. However, Frentzen said: "When it goes wrong with me I think Damon will be up there to make the points. He is very good at striking back and I think he will be up there at the front in Imola."

Williams driver Ralf Schumacher has completed a thorough testing programme ahead of Sunday's race in a bid to get into the points. The German is fourth overall in the driver standings with seven points. He admitted: "Imola is a track where you need a combination of both handling and power. As far as handling goes I am satisfied with the Williams FW2 as it felt good in Australia and Brazil, We still have to improve in qualifying though."

Britain's Johnny Herbert is keen to earn his first points at a circuit that he enjoys visiting. The Stewart driver said: "The atmosphere at Imola is fantastic, with the noise and excitement generated by the tifosi. Imola has been kind to me. I have had some good races there over the years, although perhaps not the results. The car should be suited to the circuit and should be able to handle the numerous chicanes."

Rubens Barrichello believes the third race of the season will provide his Stewart team with their toughest test so far. The Brazilian confirmed: "We have been very competitive in the first two races of the season but now we have to prove we can keep it going. Imola should provide a true indication of where we stand in relation to the other teams. I believe we can show we are capable of doing well for the whole season."

British American Racing will be keen to claim some points after the disappointments of the races in Australia and Brazil. "As the nature of the circuit has changed, chassis set-up has moved from low downforce settings to higher levels," said engineer Jock Clear. "The first two races have given us data on which to base improvements. Imola offers a combination of the chicanes and quick turns of Melbourne and the longer curves of Brazil."

Mika Salo drove the British American Racing Supertec 01 for the first time during a test at Jerez last week. The Finn is standing in for the injured Ricardo Zonta on Sunday and said: "It was great to be back behind the wheel of a Formula One car again. I was quite surprised to see how quickly I got down to competitive lap times. That is usually the sign of a good package. My job now is to make the most of the opportunity and do the best I can."

Williams driver Alex Zanardi will be racing in front of his home fans at the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday. Zanardi made his Formula One debut in 1991 for Jordan but really made his mark in the IndyCar and CART championships in America. The Italian left Jordan for Lotus for the 1993 and 1994 season and then raced in the Porsche Super Cup. He won the CART title in 1997 and in 1998, when he clinched the crown with four races still remaining.

Q: You were born in Bologna a few miles from Imola. How do you feel about racing in front of your home crowd?

A: It is nice to race in a place where I have many happy memories. Nevertheless it is a bit of a problem too. It is difficult to get passes these days and there are a lot of people I know in this area who want to come. They do not believe me when I say I cannot get them a pass. They think, being an F1 driver, I can have as many as I want but that is not the case.

Q: Do you like the Imola circuit?

A: They call this place my home circuit but in my home they have changed the furniture! They have modified the place since 1994. There will be a few new corners for me to learn. However, it is still a beautiful circuit although, for my personal taste, it used to be better. I have sweet and bitter memories of the track. In 1993 I had quite a good race and could have finished on the podium, but I did not - I went off.

Q: The start of the season has been quite unlucky for you. How do you feel about the races so far?

A: It is not really bad luck. Sometimes things happen that seem to be controlled by some sort of devil possessing the car. The problems I have had are not down to the way the car is prepared. It is just a new car, which will of course be weaker than a car that has been developed all season long. The car is not that weak.

Q: After two races you can already make comparisons between the championship you used to know and today's. What are the main differences?

A: Technically speaking, the cars that I drove in America are more similar to the F1 I left to today's sport. This is completely different. The FIA have made a lot of changes in recent times, especially the grooved tyres adn the narrow track. This has forced the drivers to revisit their driving style and attitude.

Q: What are the main differences between CART and Formula One?

A: The bottom line is that I am not happy with my results so far so I find the atmosphere in Formula One less harmonious at the moment. It is not because of the people, it is because things are not going the way that I want. I do not think you can import anything from CART to Formula One. They are two different worlds that were constructed in different ways a long time ago.

Q: How is the atmosphere at Williams?

A: The atmosphere is good but it could have been so much better if we were performing better. That is what everyone is aiming for.

Q: How do you get on with Ralf Schumacher?

A: Ralf is a very nice guy and I have to say that, even though I am older than him, in this first part I have learned more from him than what he has from me. It would have been the opposite if he had gone over to America.

Q: Has the birth of your first child Niccolo last September somehow affected your job on the track?

A: Well, with what Frank Williams is paying me I would not dare say yes. Off the track, Niccolo has made me more organised. I have less time for myself.

Q: Is there a special greeting you wish to dedicate to the Italian crowd?

A: I hope they can all go home safe and happy and not lose too much time in traffic after the race.

VAUXHALL VECTRA'S:- Mark Ticehurst was quickest in testing for Round Four of the Vauxhall Vectra SR1 V6 Challebge driving the Liquid Petroleum Gas-powered Vectra. Ticehurst clocked a time of 1m07.759s with less than a second covering the top-ten. Robert Bell (Team ULR) was quickest in testing of the Formula Vauxhall Championship at Oulton Park. Bell clocked a time of 1m00.513s.

BRITISH GTs (Silverstone):- Steve O'Rourke and Tim Sugden took the spoils in round one of the series. After 50 minutes of flat-out racing their McLaren F1-GTR finished just 2.3 seconds ahead of the Porsche of Magnus Wallinder and Geoff Lister. The Lister Storm of Julian Bailey and Jamie Campbell-Walter was third, while in the GT2 section, Jason Saunders and Stephen Day took the honours. Second in the class was David Warnock, who won the Daytona 24 Hours this year. He was partnered by Claudia Hurtgen.

Round one result after 38 laps:mins secs
 1 O'Rourke/S'gdn McLaren  GT1 51:09.82
 2 Wall'r/Lister  Porsche  GT1 51:12.22
 3 Bailey/C-W'ltr Lister   GT1 51:12.36
 4 S'ndrs/Ortelli Porsche  GT1 51:43.36
 5 Munroe/Goodwin McLaren  GT1 52:31.61
 6 Thyrring/G'ley Porsche  GT1 one lap
 7 Saunders/Day   Porsche  GT2 2 laps
 8 Hurtgen/W'nock Porsche  GT2 2 laps
 9 Erdos/Purvis   Marcos   GT2 2 laps
10 Fuller/F'thrgl Porsche  GT2 3 laps

BRITISH F3 (Silverstone):- Marc Hynes remains unbeaten in 1999 after triumphing in the second round. He crossed the line just two 10ths of a second ahead of Kristian Kolby in what was one of the closest finishes in the history of the Championship. Hynes led into the first corner from second on the grid and then he was never headed in the 22-lap event. "Just like last week the race was won at the start," he said. "It will not be as easy in the next race as, being a new team, we have no data on Thruxton."

Race result (Sun):           mins secs
 1 M Hynes       GB  Renault 28:12.036
 2 K Kolby       Den Honda   28:12.253
 3 L Burti       Brz Honda   28:27.553
 4 M O'Connell   GB  Toyota  28:30.085
 5 M Davies      GB  Honda   28:35.698
 6 J Button      GB  Renault 28:36.637
 7 A Kirkaldy    GB  Honda   28:41.771
 8 D Bell        GB  Opel    28:43.249
 9 Y Igarashi    Jpn Honda   28:47.454
10 T Scheckter   SA  Honda   28:51.968

1 M Hynes       GB  41pts
2 L Burti       Brz 24
= K Kolby       Den 24
4 J Button      GB  23

BRITISH TOURING CARS (Thruxton):- The British Touring Car Championship moves to the fastest track on the calendar on Bank Holiday Monday. Thruxton is playing host to rounds five and six of the series. The Championship is gearing up to be one of the most open for years, with four different drivers having won each of the races so far. James Thompson has a two-point lead over Jason Plato and the duo are the only drivers to have been on the podium more than once in 1999.

Championship leader James Thompson claimed his first race win at Thruxton back in 1995. He still holds the record for being the youngest ever winner of a BTCC round and the omens are good for the Yorkshireman in his bid for the title. The Honda driver won the opening round this year and since 1994 the winner of the first race has always gone on to take the crown. Thompson had double podium finishes at Thruxton last year.

Williams driver Jason Plato has found the formula for success early on this year, securing one victory and two spots on the podium. The team have overcome the problems caused by the late arrival of the 1999 Renault Laguna. Plato said: "The speed that the car has shown out of the box has been a massive boost for everyone who has worked so hard on the programme. There is a lot of pace to come from the car so we are in good shape."

Frenchman Laurent Aiello opened his BTCC account at Silverstone, claiming his first pole position and win - and he would relish a repeat on Monday. He revealed: "I am happy to have won so early in the year. Silverstone was an easy track to learn but Thruxton is totally unique. "We tested there recently and it is extremely demanding. You need to know all the bumps really well, otherwise you cannot be committed enough to set a quick time."

Reigning champion Rickard Rydell is out to kickstart his season on Monday. The Swede was second in the sprint race at Silverstone but a clash with eventual winner Jason Plato ended his drive in the feature race. "The Volvo has a lot of potential but there will be certain circuits where we go better than others," he said. "The Nissans will be strong again but we were as quick as them when we tested at Thruxton this month so hopes are high for a good weekend."

Ford Team Mondeo visit Thruxton on the back of a busy testing schedule in France and Spain. Swiss driver Alain Menu is looking forward to the challenge presented by the Hampshire circuit. He said: "Thruxton is the fastest circuit on the calendar with average speeds of over 100 miles per hour. "It is pretty much one long corner and very bumpy so the car twists and turns around a lot. You really have to fight with the car to set fast lap times."

Vauxhall star Yvan Muller is the only French driver in the series to have previous experience in the BTCC. He clinched a runner-up spot at Silverstone and admitted: "I was really happy to have such a good result. "We have proved that the car is competitive in the races but we have to work on our qualifying performance." Ford's Anthony Reid, meanwhile, holds the Thruxton lap record and will be keen to keep in touch with the Championship leaders on Monday.

The Michelin Cup runners have not lost heart, despite the fact that Matt Neal's form has catapulted him to the top of the standings. Neal's Nissan won the class comforatbly in the first three races of the season but Paula Cook triumphed in round four in her Honda Accord. "We have to make the most of our chances to score points, especially when Matt fails to finish," she said. "Matt is in a different league. His machinery is so much more competitive."

F3000 (San Marino):- After a successful fourth FIA two-day test at the A1-ring in Austria last week, the Kid Jensen Racing Team are set for their first race on Saturday. Nicolas Minassian and Andrea Piccini set the fourth and 17th fastest times out of 42 cars. Piccini said: "For the first time we tested on a circuit that I knew well and I was able to show my potential." Team principal David Jensen said: "I could not be more excited about our debut on the world stage."

MGF CUP (Oulton Park ):- When the lights go green for the third round of the MGF Cup on Monday ex-Formula Three driver Warren Hughes will hope to be leading the pack. Hughes, having picked up more grass than points at the previous race, will be aiming to be first home of the 190bhp MGFs. Project Motorsport driver Matt Kelly is also desperate to record his first victory of the season. But both drivers face stiff competition from Nick Carr, who won at Thruxton.

SKODA TROPHY:- Competitors in this years's Skoda Trophy one-make rally championship take a break from scoring points in their series on Saturday. Fourteen of the 24 registered drivers have been invited to take part in an exciting Rallysprint at Silverstone. The Skoda Felicia runners will be allowed three qualifying runs at the mixed surface track. The fastest eight will then enter the quarter-final before being whittled down to semi-finals and then the final.

VAUXHALL VECTRA'S (Thruxton):- Rob Collard will hope to close the gap on Challenge leader Jason Yeomans on his home circuit in Round Three. Collard won the opening round but was denied victory at Silverstone in the previous round by technical problems. Veteran Dave Pinkney of Stealth Touring meanwhile is racing in a car which won at the circuit last year in the hands of Mark Blair. Yeomans' Barwell teammates James Rhodes and Peter Cate will also mount strong challenges after settlig into Vectras.

World champion Mika Hakkinen headed another McLaren 1-2 in the unofficial practice session for the San Marino GP. Hakkinen, currently joint second in the driver's standings, finished the two hour-long sessions under two tenths ahead of teammate David Coulthard. Championship leader Eddie Irvine maintained the third place he held after the opening run. Former world champion Damon Hill gave his Jordan team something to smile about by going fourth fastest.

Rumours in San Marino say that Eddie Irvine may be going to Jordan next year. Eddie himself said: "I want to stay at with Ferrari. I don't know where this Jordan thing has come from. "I have spoken socially with Eddie Jordan and I still have friends at the team, but they have not even got an engine contract for next season yet."

Opening unofficial practice times:
                             mins secs
 1 M Hakinen     Fin McLaren  1:28.467
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:28.605
 3 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:29.046
 4 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:29.452
 5 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:29.534
 6 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:29.614
 7 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:29.630
 8 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:29.765
 9 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:29.792
10 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:29.808

PLAINS RALLY:- The BTRDA Rally Series reaches the halfway stage on Saturday with the running of the Plains Rally. Based in mid-Wales the rally is likely to see a battle between last year's winner Richard Gough and Mark Perrott. Also gunning for victory will be John Thompson, Brian Bell and Ian Joel. In the Formula Two category, Martin Meadows and Paul Griffiths will be up against Phil Morgan and Miles Johnston. Rupert Hopcraft and Mike Brown will also be seeking a win.