01.07.99F1:- Damon Hill has refused to rule out the possibility that next week's British Grand Prix will not be his last. The former world champion completed an amazing U-turn on Wednesday when he decided not to retire now and said he would bow out at Silverstone. But after returning to the track for a two-day test session Hill refused to confirm his retirement plans. Hill quipped: "If we sort the car out and are a second quicker than McLaren and Ferrari I will definitely stay on."
Damon Hill said he felt happier with his car than he had all year and announced he would give to charity all profits from his last grand prix. During testing he lapped faster than team-mate and French GP winner Heinz- Harald Frentzen and joked afterwards about having second thoughts. Hill said: "I'm not doing the British Grand Prix for profit. I will be giving every penny I make to the Down's Syndrome Association and Leukaemia Research."
02.07.99F1:- Damon Hill's decision to race at the British Grand Prix has been slammed by Ferrari star Eddie Irvine. He said Hill would be upstaged by his fellow drivers and added: "If he drives into a wall and ends up with a bad limp he will be a very sick puppy. "I think he would be better going to Silverstone and doing a few laps in the road car and waving at everyone because he is going to get murdered. If you look at his performances up to now what's the point?"
SILVERSTONE TESTING Thursday's leading times: mins secs 1 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:26.369 2 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:26.615 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:27.106 4 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:27.305 5 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 1:27.546 6 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:27.646 7 O Panis Fr Prost 1:27.651 8 D Hill GB Jordan 1:28.109 9 J Villeneuve Can BAR 1:28.112 10 J Herbert GB Stewart 1:28.322Williams will lose one of their major sponsors at the end of the 1999 season. Rothmans International have announced that they will not continue their deal next year.
BTCC (Donington Park):- Reigning champion Rickard Rydell topped the timesheets in testing for Sunday's 13th and 14th rounds. With just minutes of the day's second session remaining, Rydell set the fastest time of 1:21.02 , beating David Leslie by less than tenth of a second. "I am very pleased with the results, but it is only testing," said Rydell. "I think we are still a couple of tenths behind the Nissans in race trim, but hopefully we can out-qualify them and stay ahead throughout the race."
BTCC (Croft):- Testing times (Fri): mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:21.029 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:21.120 3 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 1:21.176 4 L Aiello Fr Nissan 1:21.243 5 P Kox Hol Honda 1:21.347 6 J Thompson GB Honda 1:21.413 7 J Boullion Fr Renault 1:21.601 8 M Neal GB Nissan 1:21.639 9 J Plato GB Williams 1:21.719 10 Y Muller Fr Vauxhall 1:22.302 03.07.99BTCC (Croft):- Honda's James Thompson captured pole for rounds 13 and 14 of the series at his home track. The Honda driver has now taken the top grid spot on four occasions this year and said: "I'm really pleased but I need to get a good start." David Leslie was second quickest in qualifying for round 13. Rickard Rydell had to settle for second place behind Thompson for the 14th round and added: "I made a mistake on my first lap which cost me some time."
Round 13 qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 J Thompson GB Honda 1:21.459 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:21.582 3 P Kox Hol Honda 1:21.723 4 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:21.807 5 L Aiello Fr Nissan 1:21.845 6 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 1:22.019 7 J Plato GB Williams 1:22.051 8 A Menu Swi Ford 1:22.086 9 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 1:22.123 10 JC Boullion Fr Renault 1:22.342 Round 14 qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 J Thompson GB Honda 1:21.028 2 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:21.373 3 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:21.468 4 L Aiello Fr Nissan 1:21.492 5 M Neal GB Nissan 1:21.669 6 A Menu Swi Ford 1:21.692 7 J Plato GB Williams 1:21.789 8 P Kox Hol Honda 1:21.851 9 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 1:21.864 10 Y Muller Fr Vauxhall 1:21.924 SEAT JIM CLARK MEMORIAL RALLY:- LEADERBOARD after 5 of 27 stages (interim) hr min sec 1 G Evans SEAT 24:08.0 2 T Laukkanen Renault 24:10.4 3 M Rowe Renault 24:12.2 4 R Baumschlager Volkswagen 24:37.9 5 N Wearden Vauxhall 24:39.2 6 D Buckley Mitsubishi 24:49.0 7 M Higgins Volkswagen 24:57.0 8 J Kytolehto Vauxhall 25:03.2 9 M Brown SEAT 25:22.5 10 T Gardemeister SEAT 25:29.0Gwyndaf Evans set a blistering pace on stage four, Dunglass, to take the overall lead of the SEAT Jim Clark Memorial Rally. The Renault's of Martin Rowe and Tapio Laukkanen are finding Evans a hard man to catch. Both are complaining of slippery stages and no grip. Toni Gardemeister had a puncture in stage four and has lost a few minutes. Justin Dale also fell foul of a puncture on stage four, losing about 10 seconds in the Peugeot.
Jarmo Kytoletho said he was suffering snatchy brakes on the earlier stages so the service crew changed the brake pads between stage four and five. This did not improve the handling of his Vauxhall Astra so they will be reverting back to harder pads. Vauxhall teammate Neil Wearden says "The car feels really good, I'm nowhere near its limit." "I know I can catch cars on the next stages" added Wearden.
Reports coming in from the field indicate that the opening stages on the SEAT Jim Clark Rally are very slippery. All the Ferodo Super 1600 Cup contenders spun in stage 12, Fogo, with Marku Ramanen damanging the front of the Citroen Saxo. Series leader Justin Dale has extended his lead by over two minutes in the Peugeot 106 from the two Protons of Charlie Jukes and Mats Andersson. The Rally continues through the night before finishing in Duns at 8am.
Good tyre choice by Vauxhall's Neil Wearden allowed him to take the third fastest time on the 10-mile Swinton stage of the event. "As it is drying out we have been able to go faster and the tyres are working well," he said. "It is still very hard to judge the conditions as one corner can be dry and the next have standing water." Wearden is pressing his Vauxhall team-mate Jarmo Kytolehto for sixth place overall.
Barbara Armstrong lost time on stage 13 when she hit a bank and lost all the power steering fluid in the SEAT. She then had to complete the next two- and-a half stages before it was fixed in service. Team-mate Toni Gardemeister also lost power steering on stage 15 and dropped about one minute. Meanwhile, Gwyndaf Evans spun twice on stage 12 and then had the engine cut out intermittently on the 10-mile Swinton stage.
Local driver Dom Buckley has reportedly gone out of the rally after producing a stunning drive in his Mitsubishi over the first 15 stages. Buckley went off at a flat-out bend on stage 16 and he was seen with steam coming out of the engine. Gwyndaf Evans and Martin Rowe also went off at the same point, although both have continued. The rally will have a rest halt between stages 18 and 19 before the final stages are completed.
Renault driver Tapio Laukkanen extended his lead over the first part of leg two of the Duns rally. However, his team-mate Martin Rowe went off on a fast left-hander and lost several seconds. Rowe revealed: "I am pleased to have finished this leg after such a large moment on SS17. I was flat out in sixth gear and when I reached the braking area the car lost traction and slid into a field. I was very lucky to escape."
LEADERBOARD after 18 of 27 stages (interim) hr min sec 1 T Laukkanen Renault 1:35:43.0 2 M Rowe Renault 1:36:47.4 3 G Evans SEAT 1:39:18.6 4 N Wearden Vauxhall 1:39:40.1 5 J Kytolehto Vauxhall 1:39:49.5 6 T Gardemeister SEAT 1:40:15.1 7 M Higgins Volkswagen 1:40:18.7 8 R Baumschlager Volkswagen 1:42:01.6 9 N Simpson Volkswagen 1:42:40.8 10 N Buckley Mitsubishi 1:42:47.2 F.VAUXHALL (Croft):- Round eight qualifying times (Sat): mins secs 1 J Dalziel 1:23.236 2 S Hodgetts 1:23.400 3 R Dalziel 1:23.406 4 D Scandian 1:23.595 5 R Bell 1:23.719 6 G Paffett 1:23.760 7 M Pavlovic 1:23.785 8 H Mutoh 1:24.177 9 V Apple 1:24.183 10 G Turkington 1:24.189F.RENAULT (Croft):- Antonio Pizzonia took advantage of a crash by Leighton Walker to grab pole position for Sunday's seventh round. Both drivers went under the lap record during qualifying but Walker hit a tyre barrier at 80mph and Pizzonia went on to finish fastest unchallenged.
Round seven qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 A Pizzonia Brz 1:20.783 2 L Walker GB 1:20.973 3 R Austin GB 1:21.345 4 C Breeze GB 1:21.600 5 D Barrett GB 1:22.065 6 M Boost GB 1:22.066 VECTRA CHALLENGE (Croft):- Round seven qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 D Pinkney 1:34.817 2 M Ticehurst 1:34.834 3 G Pyper 1:34.849 4 J Yeomans 1:34.939 5 D Goode 1:35.223 6 P Cate 1:35.418 7 A Morrison 1:35.477 8 J Rhodes 1:35.832 9 R Collard 1:35.938 10 W Hughes 1:35.955F.FORD'S (Croft):- Nicolas Kiesa claimed his fourth pole position in eight races as Gary Catt showed his potential in fourth place. Karting graduate Catt, who scored his first championship point at Donington two weeks ago, was just five tenths of a second off Kiesa's fastest time.
Round eight qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 N Kiesa 1:23.373 2 R vd Ende 1:23.551 3 J Courtney 1:23.840 4 G Catt 1:23.968 5 C Murray 1:24.105 6 M Ambrose 1:24.182RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Croft):- Andy Priaulx beat the lap record to claim pole position for Sunday's race. Victory would leave him one short of Jason Plato's record of eight straight wins in the series.
Round seven qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 A Priaulx 1:30.069 2 T Masini 1:30.591 3 P Bennett 1:30.783 4 A Hildebrand 1:31.105 5 M Cole 1:31.333 6 J Dance 1:31.930FORD FIESTA'S (Croft):- Paul Rivett claimed his first pole of the season as series leader David Gibson's efforts were blighted by a broken engine mounting.
Round seven qualifying times (Sat): min secs 1 P Rivett 1:43.759 2 C Stancombe 1:44.132 3 M Burton 1:44.141 4 S Clarke 1:44.264 5 N Gordon 1:44.312 6 G Shedden 1:44.368RALLYING:- Harri Rovanpera beat Juha Kankkunen's Subaru by 31 seconds as the new SEAT Cordoba made an impressive debut in the Channel 4 Rally in Finland. Rovanpera entered the event with a view to developing the car for the World Rally Championship. He admitted: "The feeling with the car is much better than with the current SEAT WRC."
04.07.99F1:- It has been claimed that Jaguar are set to move into Formula One. The Sunday Times has reported that the Stewart-Ford team, which was bought out by Jaguar's parent company Ford, will be relaunched under the Jaguar banner. The newspaper also says that the new owners will totally revamp the team, who are currently sixth in the Constructors' Championship. Jaguar have made their name in motor sport in the Le Mans 24-Hour - winning the endurance race seven times.
BTCC (Croft):- Local hero James Thompson won round 13 of the British Touring Car Championship in front of a record crowd. Thompson's Honda Accord crossed the line in a time of 20 mins 54.199secs ahead of David Leslie in a Nissan. Leslie took runner-up spot in 20:54.888 after closing regulary on Thompson in the final stages of the sprint race. A fierce battle developed for the final podium spot which was eventually won by Peter Kox in a Honda as he edged out Rickard Rydell's Volvo for third place.
Round 13 result (Sun): min secs 1 J Thompson GB Honda 20:54.199 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 20:54.888 3 P Kox Hol Honda 21:04.754 4 R Rydell Swe Volvo 21:05.261 5 L Aiello Fr Nissan 21:05.715 6 J Plato GB Williams 21:06.669 7 V Rad'mecker Bel Volvo 21:08.027 8 Y Muller Fr Vauxhall 21:08.774 9 J Cleland GB Vauxhall 21:09.500 10 M Neal GB Vauxhall 21:10.004Reigning champion Rickard Rydell made up for losing the opening race as he clinched victory in round 14. Rydell's maiden win of 1999 was a combination of tactical awareness by the TWR team and some fine driving. The Swede's Volvo came home in a time of 42mins 09.303secs just ahead of race 13 winner James Thompson. Thompson finished in 42:09.761 after trying in vain to pass Rydell in his Honda while Laurent Aiello took third place in a Nissan in 42:18.014.
Round 14 result (Sun): mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 42:09.303 2 J Thompson GB Honda 42:09.761 3 L Aiello Fr Nissan 42:18.014 4 D Leslie GB Nissan 42:18.592 5 M Neal GB Nissan 42:23.093 6 J Plato GB Williams 42:31.200 7 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 42:31.551 8 Y Muller Fr Vauxhall 42:41.996 9 P Kox Hol Honda 42:45.357 10 A Reid GB Ford 42:49.454 DRIVER STANDINGS 1 L Aiello Fr Nissan Prim 141 pts 2 J Thompson GB Honda Accord 118 3 D Leslie GB Nissan 107 4 J Plato GB Renault Lag 82 5 M Neal GB Nissan Prim 77 = R Rydell Swe Volvo S40 77 MANUFACTURER STANDINGS 1 Nissan 277 pts 2 Honda 176 3 Renault 135 4 Vauxhall 118 5 Volvo 124 INDEPENDENT STANDINGS 1 M Neal GB Nissan Prim 198 pts 2 M Blair GB Vauxhall Vec 110 3 L Brookes GB Honda 67 4 P Cook GB Honda Accord 36SEAT JIM CLARK MEMORIAL RALLY:- Tapio Laukkanen dominated the SEAT Jim Clark Rally in the Renault to extend his overall lead in the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship. "The Megane went perfectly, which helped me to a comfortable win without having to push too hard," he said. Team-mate Martin Rowe finished second after a slightly more eventful rally. "The wet stages were tricky but I enjoyed the event. Tapio looks set for the Championship but I'll be pushing hard on the next two events," he added.
Gwyndaf Evans held his third place on what turned out to be a very challenging event. "The stages have been very demanding to drive. Towards the end of Leg Two the roads dried up and we were able to maintain our position," he commented. Both of Evans' SEAT team-mates suffered power steering problems throughout the event. This did not prevent Barbara Armstrong from taking the Ladies Cup and being top Scottish driver.
Neil Wearden's charge in the Vauxhall earned him fifth overall after various dramas early on Friday. "I'm disappointed that I couldn't beat Gardemeister, but I should be pleased. "If anyone had told me that when I was travelling backwards at 100mph on Friday that I would finish fifth I would have been very happy," he said. Vauxhall Motorsport boss, Mike Nicolson added: "I think Neil sort of came of age on this rally. He raised his game to a very high level."
Justin Dale secured the Ferodo Super 1600 title with two Championship events still remaining. Dale produced his best performance to date, setting the fastest time on stage 20 after an aggressive tyre choice. Dale admitted: "This is the first time I have ever set a quickest overall time on the British Rally Championship." The Peugeot driver has also been awarded the Michelin 'Star of the Rally' award for this performance.
Volkswagen maintains second place in the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship with three Golfs all achieving top-10 positions on the Jim Clark Rally. Mark Higgins in the leading Golf suffered several problems, including time penalties after service. "We were never in contention after taking the penalties, but we gave it everything we could on the final leg," revealed Higgins. Neil Simpson took the Greenergy Diesel Golf to its best-ever finish in ninth.
Dave West took his first ever victory in the Skoda Trophy when he won the seventh round, held in conjunction with the Jim Clark Memorial Rally. West moved ahead on the fifth stage and was never troubled once the series pace setter eased off to keep his 17-point Championship lead. Twins, Daniel and Clive Dunbabin threw the Championship wide open when they crashed through a wall. Dunbabin had a 10-point lead on the series until this incident.
RESULT after 27 stages: hr min sec 1 T Laukkanen Renault 2:27:45.0 2 M Rowe Renault 2:29:13.7 3 G Evans SEAT 2:30:57.8 4 T Gardemeister SEAT 2:31:37.8 5 N Wearden Vauxhall 2:32:01.0 6 M Higgins Volkswagen 2:32:09.2 7 J Kytolehto Vauxhall 2:32:54.0 8 R Baumschlager Volkswagen 2:34:21.8 9 N Simpson Volkswagen 2:37:46.9 10 J Milner Toyota 2:39:04.8 DRIVERS 1 Laukkanen 124 2 Rowe 88 3 Gardemeister 75 4 Evans 69 5 Higgins 68 6 Baumschlager 68 MANUFACTURERS 1 Renault 64 2 Volkswagen 37 3 SEAT 36 4 Peugeot 24 5 Vauxhall 25 6 Proton 16 F.VAUXHALL(Croft):- Round eight result (Sun):mins secs 1 J Dalziel 15:33.155 2 R Dalziel 15:34.123 3 R Bell 15:39.057 4 M Pavlovic 15:41.515 5 G Turkington 15:42.358 6 M Franchitti 15:50.071 7 I Brown 16:03.920 8 S Marsh 16:08.166 9 R Bruschi 16:09.759 10 S Hignett 16:29.224F.RENAULT (Croft):- Antonia Pizzonia and Leighton Walker both crashed at the first bend leaving Rob Austin to win a thriller. But while Walker retired, Pizzonia recovered to come through the field to be runner-up just a second behind.
Round seven result (Sun): mins secs 1 R Austin GB 25:38.445 2 A Pizzonia Brz 25:39.792 3 M Boost GB 25:41.215 4 T Ferrier GB 25:46.980 5 C Clark GB 25:48.726 6 P Nilsson GB 25:50.497 VECTRA CHALLENGE (Croft):- Round seven result (Sun):mins secs 1 M Ticehurst 19:30.376 2 D Pinkney 19:32.66 3 J Yeomans 19:44.238 4 P Cate 19:48.774 5 J Rhodes 19:49.236 6 D Goode 19:51.077 7 M Turner 19:54.245 8 J Barclay 19:57.256 9 G Holmes 20:12.869 Only nine finishers F.FORD (Croft):- Round eight result (Sun): mins secs 1 N Kiesa Den 19:35.477 2 R van der Ende Hol 19:35.881 3 C Murray GB 19:40.987 4 M Ambrose GB 19:49.116 5 J Courtney Aus 19:49.574 6 G Catt GB 19:50.328 7 J Carlsen Den 19:51.289 8 R Dahlgren Swe 19:55.442 9 M Taylor GB 19:56.176 10 J Jones US 19:56.613RENAULT SPIDER CUP Croft):- Andy Priaulx clinched victory in round seven ahead of Tobia Masini. The win leaves Priaulx one short of Jason Plato's record of eight straight wins in the series.
Round seven result (Sun):min secs 1 A Priaulx 18:11.643 2 T Masini 18:14.150 3 P Bennett 18:25.560 4 A Hildebrand 18:29.170 5 J Dance 18:33.452 6 M Cole 18:43.059 F.FIESTA'S (Croft):- Round seven result (Sun):mins secs 1 P Rivett 19:44.739 2 S Clarke 19:45.350 3 N Gordon 19:45.939 4 G Shedden 19:46.621 5 G Howell 19:52.424 6 D Gibson 19:56.265 7 N Beaumont 19:56.565 8 D Buxton 19:57.179 9 H Taylor 19:58.018 10 M Cullen 19:58.319F.NIPPON:- Peter Dumbreck's hopes of a winning return in his first Formula Nippon race since his Le Mans 24-Hour crash have been dashed at the Suzuka GP circuit. After qualifying his Team Leyjun in third place for Sunday's 35-lap race, the Scot made a good start but was hit by two cars in a first-lap incident. Despite returning after repairs and putting in good times, erratic handling of the car forced Dumbreck to retire. Despite the disappointment, Dumbreck remains fourth in the championship.
06.07.99F1:- A new trial date of November 19 has been set over the death of Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994. The first trial saw Williams-Renault boss Sir Frank Williams, technical director Patrick Head and former team manager Adrian Newey all acquitted. The prosecution appealed over the acquittals of Head and Newey - leading to this new trial. Senna died of head injuries following a crash during the San Marino Grand Prix when he crashed at Tamburello.
The Williams team have confirmed a new commercial agreement with BMW, who are to start supplying the team with engines next year. From next season, the team will be known as the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and will have a new livery. BMW will help Williams in securing additional sponsorship investments. The move marks the end of Williams' link with the Rothmans Tobacco Group. Frank Williams said the link provided a "sound commercial foundation."
THE BRITISH GP
Damon Hill will end his Formula One career in his home country on Sunday. There had been fears that the French race last month would be his finale because he allegedly feared he would not do himself justice at Silverstone. The tifosi were out in force in Britain in 1998 and Finnish flags abounded for eventual world champion Mika Hakkinen. However, it was almost as if there was a collective sigh of disappointment when Hill spun out - with most of the 100,000 crowd just wanting to see him.
Former world champion Damon Hill hopes the superb atmosphere at Silverstone will help him to achieve a fitting finale to his Formula One career. Ahead of his last race in front of around 100,000 fans on Sunday, the Jordan driver confirmed: "I am hoping for something special. I will need that famous second-a-lap which racing in front of your home crowd is supposed to give drivers. Whatever happens, I will be out there to enjoy it."
Damon Hill knows that he will be the centre of attention ahead of his finale on Sunday. However, Hill insists he will remain focused on consolidating Jordan's third place in the constructors' standings. "I intend to get the best from the British Grand Prix weekend," confirmed the former Williams driver. "That will require enormous concentration so I apologise in advance because I may not be able to answer every request for autographs."
Former world champion Damon Hill has savoured victory only once in Britain. He gave Williams the spoils in the 1994 season and apart from 1995 and 1998, they have won every race since 1991. One of the biggest crowd responses at the circuit came in 1997. Hill had yet to gain a point for his then team Arrows. Near the end he moved into sixth spot and the cheers for him were louder than for winner Jacques Villeneuve.
Damon Hill has won 22 races - a record that puts him in the top-10 all-time list for victories - but he has only triumphed once in a British race. That came in 1994 and Hill said in his book of that season: "I felt all weekend I was going to win it. I remember driving to the circuit just knowing I was going to win the race. Those last few laps are agony - you are just willing it on to the finish. It is just not over until you have crossed the line."
When Damon Hill won the 1994 British Grand Prix his efforts in the Williams left him exhausted. "At the time there was some confusion about the number of laps and I was not sure if I had another lap to do," he revealed in his book of the season. "Just as I got past the line the chequered flag was unfurled. Then I got handed this whopping great big Union Jack. It was about 12 feet long. I had used up my energy driving so I had difficulty handling this flag."
Jordan star Damon Hill began his Formula One career at Silverstone so it is perhaps fitting that it will end at the Northamptonshire track. Hill initially preferred motorcycling, while shaking off the mantle of being the son of the late Graham Hill - a two-time Formula One champion. At the 1992 British Grand Prix, Hill qualified in 26th place for Brabham. The former motorcycle dispatch rider finished in 16th place, in a race won by fellow Briton Nigel Mansell.
The highpoint of Damon Hill's career came in 1996 when he helped Williams to the driver and constructor titles. Hill led from start to finish in the final race of the season at Suzuka to take the crown ` his eighth 1996 win. The 38-year-old has won 22 races after more than 100 grands prix and has achieved 20 pole positions. His first victory was in Hungary in the 1993 season and his last win was at rain-hit Spa in 1998 - the first time Jordan took the top spot on the podium.
Team boss Eddie Jordan believes Damon Hill's record in Formula One will hold up well in comparison to his peers after he quits the sport on Sunday. "His results will always show he was one of the sport's great winners," confirmed Jordan. Hill's team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen said: "When Damon retires we will lose a strong character in Formula One and a great ambassador for the sport. There is not really a replacement for what he represents in the sport."
The Formula One season reaches the halfway point on Sunday, with world champion Mika Hakkinen currently eight points clear in the title race. This time last year, Schumacher seized the initiative at Silverstone to claim his first British Grand Prix victory. The German, who excels in wet conditions, actually clinched the win in the pits. Mika Hakkinen has never won the British Grand Prix and McLaren last won the race in 1989 with Alain Prost.
Mika Hakkinen will be keen to stay on course for back-to-back titles by gaining revenge over Michael Schumacher for last year's British result. The German won the race in the pit-lane as he took a 10-second stop-go penalty on his last lap, issued because he ignored a yellow flag. Some observers felt that second-placed Hakkinen should have been awarded the race because he crossed the line. An appeal was held but it was adjudged that the result would stand.
Championship leader Mika Hakkinen believes Stewart-Ford could produce a shock by vying for honours with McLaren and Ferrari this weekend. On paper, Jordan appear to be the biggest threat to the top two on what is their home circuit. However, Finn Hakkinen said: "I think Stewart are going to come up and surprise us with their performance." Stewart are currently sixth in the Constructors' Championship, 46 points behind leaders Ferrari.
Finnish star Mika Hakkinen is confident of success in Northamptonshire. "The Championship is tough at the moment and of course Michael is just eight points behind with nine races to go, so lots can happen," he said. "However, I feel confident and quite comfortable at the moment but things can change so quickly so I do not want to panic or take any kind of stress. Last year was the greater pressure, even though I had a bigger gap. At the moment there is no pressure."
For once, it is Michael Schumacher who is under pressure as Ferrari target their first driver's crown in 20 years. The double world champion is only eight points behind Mika Hakkinen but there have been rumours that even the usually-loyal tifosi are frustated. There were whispers that the seemingly- infallible German has cost the team points in 1998 and 1999, while rivals McLaren can get more from the car. However, realists know that only a fool would write off Schumacher.
Michael Schumacher is on course for a second British win in a row after completing a competent test session at Silverstone. Schumacher and his Ferrari team-mate Eddie Irvine spent a few days at the circuit in a bid to work on the set-up and aerodynamic balance of the car. The German topped the list on the final day of testing, with a time of one minute, 26.552 seconds. He was followed by Damon Hill and Championship rival Mika Hakkinen.
Team boss Eddie Jordan believes Heinz- Harald Frentzen has repaid the Irishman's faith in his ability. Frentzen was written off after enduring a disappointing time at Williams but gave Jordan their second victory by triumphing in France last time out. Jordan said: "I said when we launched the car that Heinz would be a surprise but even I did not know how much. He is the driver of the season. I never had any doubts because I always knew he was quick."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen will not be filling team-mate Damon Hill's boots on the stage. Hill has long been known as a guitarist in Jordan's post-Silverstone concert. This year Eddie Jordan and friends will play a charity event at Stowe School. "I have been asked if I should learn an instrument so I can join Eddie when he is on the drums," said Frentzen. "But the only instrument I can play is revving up the engine on the throttle."
Ralf Schumacher proved the Silverstone circuit suited him last year. The Williams driver, then turning out for Jordan, had to start the race from the back of the grid because of a technical infringement. He still managed to finish sixth and said: "Silverstone is one of the most exciting and demanding tracks. It is difficult to find a compromise between aerodynamical downforce because of the high-speed wind corners and drag and the long straights."
Alex Zanardi goes into his third British Grand Prix still bidding to earn those elusive Championship points. The Italian raced in Northamptonshire for Lotus in 1993 and 1994. "Silverstone has been modified a lot since I last raced there so last week's test was a good opportunity for me. It is the 'temple of British motor racing' although a lot of people do not agree with that any more. Williams and myself want to do well."
Stewart-Ford's Rubens Barrichello knows more about Silverstone than any other circuit on the Formula One calendar. The Brazilian said: "Most people automatically assume that I know more about Interlagos than any other track. In fact, I know more about Silverstone because I have driven in junior formulae in Britain for so long, incuding Formula Three. I must have driven 180,000km round Silverstone. It is a circuit where you are forever playing with the set-up."
British American Racing boss Craig Pollock has admitted that there is still work to be done with the team. BAR bought out Tyrrell last year and Pollock said: "On paper, it probably does not look as if we have done too badly in the first half of the season. By our standards we are not yet at the level we want to be. We have covered a huge amount of ground very quickly and that may be one of the reasons we have not yet achieved the results we want."
Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve is unconcerned that he has yet to notch a point this year. The Canadian said: "It is easy for people to forget that we are a first- year team and that we are quicker than first-year teams have ever been. "If you look at it that way, the situation does not look that bad. We are way below our expectations and that is why it is frustating. We came in as a big team so are not seen or judged as a new team."
Arrows are hoping to turn their four- day test session at Silverstone into concrete results on Sunday. Pedro de la Rosa and Toranosuke Takagi concentrated on tyre testing and engine mapping but also tried out new aerodynamic parts. Technical director Mike Coughlan said: "It should give us a better opportunity to improve because we were able to test there sufficiently. Our car will feature new aerodynamic parts for the race."
CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING Driver ratings (July 6) Points 1 M Hakkinen Fin Formula One 1099 2 M Schumacher Ger Formula One 1003 3 J Gordon US NASCAR 990 4 D Jarrett US NASCAR 818 5 JP Montoya Col Champ Cars 793 6 N Heidfeld Ger German F3 773 7 J Burton US NASCAR 763 8 M Martin US NASCAR 760 9 D Coulthard GB Formula One 724 10 E Irvine GB Formula One 706 F.PALMER AUDI (Donington Park):- Testing times (Tue): secs 1 T Serjala Fin 32.21 2 D Hayes NI 32.26 3 D Hill US 32.49 4 M Smyth GB 32.61 5 A Wilcox GB 32.79 6 R Lyons NI 33.02 7 R Kerr GB 33.03 = R Tarling GB 33.03 9 T Mullen NI 33.05 10 E Redfern GB 33.09 07.07.99F1: THE BRITISH GP
Eddie Jordan believes that Michael Schumacher may be losing his edge over his Formula One rivals. "Now that he has a family and two kids and the amount of testing there is, Michael may not quite have the same edge as before," Jordan said. Jordan added that Schumacher's Ferrari teammate Eddie Irvine was now much more closely matched with the German. "I am not sure whether Eddie has caught up with Michael or whether Michael has fallen a little bit into the field."
Prost driver Jarno Trulli is fairly upbeat about the team's progress, even though they have only picked up two points so far. Trulli said: "If you want to look at the first part of the 1999 season, I think that it is quite positive. We have made a huge step since 1998 but we have also made an important step since the start of the season. The Prost Peugeot AP02 is now quite competitive and the car has undergone a certain evolution."
David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert will be vying for the position of top British driver after the departure of Damon Hill. Scot Coulthard achieved that feat by finishing third overall last season but he has been upstaged by Irvine in 1999. The Ferrari driver is 14 points clear of his McLaren rival, while the luckless Herbert has only taken two points for Stewart. Irvine is the only Briton to have won a race this year, the Australian opener.
Eddie Irvine would love to win a race at a circuit where he used to sneak in as a teenager. The Northern Ireland-born driver admitted: "There was a hole I used to come through every year at Silverstone. I never knew why they did not seal it up. It would be great to win again this weekend but that really depends on what happens to Michael Schumacher. If he has problems that will be my chance but the track is all high-speed corners and Michael excels at that."
Eddie Irvine has admitted that it can be frustrating being very much a number two to Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. He was denied some points in the last race in France when he was prevented from overtaking a struggling Schumacher and had to settle for sixth place. The 33-year-old, who is just six points behind the German, said: "I could have beaten Michael quite easily. I could then have overtaken Ralf Schumacher and maybe Rubens Barrichello as well and got on the podium."
Stewart and Jordan have been linked with Eddie Irvine, should he decide to move out from under the shadow of Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. A straight swap involving Stewart's Rubens Barrichello has been mooted but Irvine is still dropping McLaren hints. McLaren chief Ron Dennis had said such a deal is unlikely. Irvine said: "Ron wants someone who can beat Michael Schumacher. That is all that matters. If Billy Connolly could beat Michael he would be at McLaren."
David Coulthard is hoping his home race marks an upturn in fortunes. The Scot could not have had more bad luck if he had driven his McLaren straight through a mirror factory. His latest retirement came when he was leading the last race in France but Coulthard commented: "I certainly do not think I am fated. The record is not a true reflection of my performance. People look at results. They only remember the winner, not who was leading."
McLaren's David Coulthard believes his run of indifferent form is down to "Nigel Mansell syndrome". He confirmed: "For years Nigel could not get the run, could not get the win then suddenly he did. This will change. If you are running at the front enough then eventually the car is going to make the distance and you will win. I know I am driving well and if the car will go the distance, which it will, then I will get the job done."
A victory on Sunday would prevent David Coulthard finishing another season as Mika Hakkinen's support act. "If you look at the table I am way down in seventh place, which is hardly a reflection of my personal performance," said Coulthard. "Points-wise you have to say there is a bit of a gap. I still have the opportunity to go for race wins, so I just have to get on with it. My focus before the race will be getting the very best out of the car."
Stewart driver Johnny Herbert is another Briton who is due a change of fortune on Sunday. Herbert, who clinched victory at Silverstone for Benetton in 1995, has finished just one race in seven this year because of technical problems. The Brentwood-born star said; "It has been a frustrating start to the season but I will not let it get me down. Silverstone would be a good place for it to change. I just have to wait for my luck to alter."
Johnny Herbert feels his Stewart-Ford could provide him with a points finish on Sunday because of the form of team- mate Rubens Barrichello this year. The Brazilian has tasted life on the podium and claimed a pole position and Herbert said: "Rubens' performances have shown the car is competitive." Ford's recent œ100m takeover of Stewart has produced the inevitable rumours about team personnel. However, Herbert said: "I believe I am safe. I have a two-year deal."
Johnny Herbert can still vividly remember his 1995 British triumph. "Crossing the line and seeing all the flags was a great feeling. Everybody wants to win their home grand prix, especially if it is a first," he said. "For me, it was also a lot to do with the accident I had at Brands Hatch, which nearly wrecked my career. It was all about getting back to fitness and reaching a point where I had a chance of winning. Doing so at Silverstone made it much more special."
Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 60 laps or 191.64 miles. Michael Schumacher set the fastest race lap last year with a time of one minute, 35.704 seconds. He also holds the lap record with 1:24.475, set in 1997. Silverstone played host to the first ever round of the World Championship in 1950 - two years after it opened. The Northamptonshire circuit had been a wartime airfield.
Copse Corner at Silverstone is named after the nearby Seven Copses Wood and Maggotts is named after Maggotts Moor. Becketts Corner and Chapel Curve are near the ruins of Thomas a Beckett Chapel and Abbey Curve is near the site of Luffield Abbey. Hangar Straight used to stand next to two aircraft hangars and Stowe derives from the famous school. Club Corner is named after the RAC Club in Pall Mall and Woodcote after the location of Surrey's RAC Club.
Recent winners: 1998 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1997 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1996 J Villeneuve Can Williams 1995 J Herbert GB Benetton 1994 D Hill GB Williams 1993 A Prost Fr Williams 1992 N Mansell GB Williams 1991 N Mansell GB Williams 1990 A Prost Fr Ferrari 1989 A Prost Fr McLaren 1988 A Senna Brz McLaren 1987 N Mansell GB WilliamsBRITISH F3 (Silverstone):- Britain's Marc Hynes will be hoping to boost his title hopes in round nine of the series on Saturday. The 21-year-old goes into the 18-lap race just five points behind Championship leader Luciano Burti. Jenson Button, who is fourth, will be pushing hard for glory, along with sixth-placed Matt Davies. Andrew Kirkaldy is bidding to give Stewart Racing a victory in the grand prix support race, the one honour to have eluded them in recent years.
F3000:- Kid Jensen Racing's Nicolas Minassian is optimistic ahead of Saturday's race after both of the team's cars finished the recent round in Magny-Cours. Driver Minassian said: "I am confident because the team is getting stronger race by race. I love racing at Silverstone and after living in the UK for more than three years it feels like home. I really like the British fans and the atmosphere they create is unique during the season."
MGF CUP:- Warren Hughes is keen to extend his lead at the top of the standings in Saturday's round seven. He will face strong competition from Jamie Hunter and Matt Kelly, who are joint second. Hunter knows Silverstone well because he is a racing instructor at the circuit and also won an MGF Cup race at the Northamptonshire track last month. Whoever wins the 1999 title will be given a new MGF car as well as the prize money.
BRITISH GTs:- A record entry of more than 40 cars will contest the fifth round on Sunday. Eight GT1 cars will head the field, with AM Racing, EMKA Racing McLaren, Blue Coral Slick 50 and Newcatle United Lister Storm set to feature strongly. The leading GT2 cars include the Lister Storm of Rob Schirle and David Warnock and the Porsche 911 of Calum Lockie and Peter Cook. The invitation class for Marcos Mantis cars has a 12-strong field, incuding Edward Horner and Michael Caine.
NATIONAL SALOON CUP:- The series faces its biggest meeting of the season on Sunday as one of the British Grand Prix support races. Cambridge's Simon Harrison heads the entries in his Honda Integra but Mark Lemmer is likely to push him all the way after winning round seven. Norwegian Roger Moen will miss the race because of an arm injury, so his Honda will be raced by Stephen Day. The Peugeots of Dan Eaves and Toni Ruokonen could also be up with the pace in the two-litre saloon event.
BTCC:- Team Dynamics have written to Damon Hill offering him the chance to test their Nissan Primera. Dynamics made history in the British Touring Car Championship this season when Matt Neal became the first independent to win a race outright. Hill is leaving Formula One after Sunday's Silverstone race and Dynamics' Richard Tait said: "Other Formula One stars have raced in the BTCC. If Damon wants to race on, he would bring thousands of fans to the BTCC."
08.07.99F1:- Rising German star Nick Heidfeld has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Damon Hill at Jordan. The 22-year-old currently leads the Formula 3000 championship, one step down from Formula One, having won three of the four races so far this season. Jos Verstappen is said to have failed to impress during testing for Jordan. Hill is refusing to confirm that Sunday's British Grand Prix will be his last race, saying: "We will see what happens after that."
BRITISH F3 (Silverstone):- Round 9 qualifying times (Thu):min secs 1 J Button GB Renault 1:43.822 2 L Burti Brz Honda 1:43.882 3 M Hynes GB Renault 1:44.095 4 N Karthikeyan Ind Honda 1:44.139 5 K Kolby Den Honda 1:44.471 6 A Coelho Brz Renault 1:44.927 F3000 (Silverstone):- Round 5 qualifying times (Thu):min secs 1 N Minnassian Fr 1:37.711 2 B Junqueira Brz 1:38.053 3 N Heidfeld GB 1:38.165 4 S Ayari Fr 1:38.440 5 N Fontana Arg 1:38.241 6 S Sarrazin Fr 1:38.677MGF CUP (Silverstone):- Warren Hughes was quickest in qualifying for Saturday's seventh round. Nick Carr, winner of round two, just managed to snatch second spot ahead of Alastair Lyall.
Leading qualifying times (Thur): mins secs 1 W Hughes 2:11.994 2 N Carr 2:12.605 3 A Lyall 2:12.725 4 M Hazell 2:12.745 5 P Johnson 2:12.961 6 V Martin 2:12.984BRITISH GT'S (Silverstone):- Magnus Wallinder and Geoff Lister headed the charge for Grand Prix glory by setting the pace in the first qualifying session for the fifth round. Wallinder's Porsche lapped nearly a second faster than the McLaren of Chris Goodwin and James Munroe and Lister said afterwards: "That went very well." In GT2 the Lister Storm of Rob Schirle and David Warnock were top of the times Friday's second session sees GT2 have the first ten minutes to themselves and teams will be pushing the Lister pair.
Round 5 qualifying times (Thu):mins secs 1 Wall'r/Lister Porsche GT1 1:44.682 2 Munroe/Goodwin McLaren GT1 1:45.645 3 Bailey/C-W'ltr Lister GT1 1:45.753 4 O'Rourke/S'gdn McLaren GT1 1:45.872 5 Dean/Luby Sintura GT1 1:48.263 6 Morrison/G'ley Porsche GT1 1:49.067 Round 5 qualifying times (Thu):mins secs 1 Schirle/W'nock Lister GT2 1:51.138 2 C'gham/Konig Viper GT2 1:55.597 3 Hewland/Th'ing Lister GT2 1:55.666 4 Ayles/Westwood Porsche GT2 1:56.269 5 Cook/Lockie Porsche GT2 1:56.330 6 Erdos/Purvis Marcos GT2 1:57.298F.RENAULT:- Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia recorded Formula Renault's fastest ever lap at Snetterton to lead after testing. British pair Leighton Walker and Rob Austin also both finished inside the previous lap record.
Leading testing times (Thur): mins secs 1 A Pizzonia Brz 1:07.775 2 L Walker GB 1:08.399 3 R Austin GB 1:08.480 4 M Boost GB 1:09.081 5 P Nilsson GB 1:09.213 6 J de Pourtales Fr 1:09.215RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Snetterton):- Andy Priaulx, the Renault Spider Cup points leader, was quickest in testing at Snetteton. Priaulx and touring car racer Paula Cook both finished inside Priaulx's previous race lap record.
Leading testing times (Thur): mins secs 1 A Priauix 1:16.135 2 P Cook 1:16.527 3 M Cole 1:16.848 4 P Bennett 1:17.242 5 J Dance 1:17.405 6 T Masini 1:17.500CHAMP CARS:- Mark Blundell will return to the cockpit this weekend following a two- month absence because of injuries sustained in a testing accident. Blundell fractured a vertebrae in his neck when he hit the wall at the St Louis one-mile oval after a mechanical failure in his Reynard Champ Car. He was back in the car on Wednesday for testing and will line up with other CART riders at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. "I feel great now and I'm itching to get back to the racing," he said.
09.07.99F1: THE BRITISH GP
David Coulthard is looking for improvement from his McLaren in Saturday's qualifying battle. He said: "My car's being a little bit cheeky so I just need to slap it into place for tomorrow. I had one little spin which was driver-related and nothing to do with the car but even with these tyres it's slippy out there. The atmosphere and the feeling I get when I'm out of the car is one of my favourites."
Outspoken Ferrari star Eddie Irvine poured scorn on his new-found status as British number one ahead of Sunday's showdown at Silverstone. He said: "Being in Formula One is all about being world number one. Being British number one doesn't hold any significance to me. If I wanted to be British number one then I would still be doing British Formula Three. Being British number one doesn't carry any more weight - although it might sell a few more hats."
Friday's practice times: 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:26.981 2 R Schumacher Ger Williams 1:27.004 3 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:27.061 4 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:27.155 5 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:27.158 6 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:27.327 7 D Hill GB Jordan 1:27.381 8 P Diniz Brz Sauber 1:27.931 9 J Villeneuve Can BAR 1:27.981 10 A Zanardi It Williams 1:28.162 11 R Zonta Brz BAR 1:28.238 12 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:28.472 13 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:28.546 14 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 1:28.595 15 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:28.740 16 J Trulli It Prost 1:28.883 17 L Badoer It Minardi 1:29.130 18 J Herbert GB Stewart 1:29.201 19 M Gene Sp Minardi 1:29.416 20 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 1:29.439 21 T Takagi Jpn Arrows 1:29.630 22 O Panis Fr Prost 1:30.372Damon Hill's former team Arrows will be powered by Supertec engines next season in a bid to beef up competitiveness. The Oxfordshire-based outfit, which has not won a grand prix in 335 races, have decided to switch to outside suppliers after previously building its own unit. Arrows chief Tom Walkinshaw said: "This contract with Supertec will give Arrows Grand Prix the opportunity to compete at the highest level. The Supertec engine has obviously proved its competitiveness this year."
NATIONAL SALOON CUP (Silverstone):- Friday qualifying times 1 T Ruokonen Peugeot 2:07.874 2 D Eaves Peugeot 2:07.968 3 S Day Honda 2:08.707 4 S Harrison Honda 2:08.716 5 M Lemmer Honda 2:09.263 6 G Burnett Nissan 2:09.699F.VAUXHALL (Snetterton):- Yugoslavian Milos Pavlovic was fastest in testing for Saturday's Round Nine of the Formula Vauxhall Championship. Britain's Robert Bell was second, just ahead of championship leader Ryan Dalziel and America's Danica Patrick.
Leading testing times (Fri):mins secs 1 M Pavlovic Yug 1:10.059 2 R Bell GB 1:10.134 3 R Dalziel GB 1:10.283 4 D Patrick US 1:10.297 5 J Dalziel GB 1:10.345 6 H Mutoh 1:10.400VAUXHALL VECTRA'S (Snetterton):- Alan Morrison was fastest in testing for Saturday's Round Eight of the Vauxhall Vectra SRi V6 Championship. James Rhodes was second, just ahead of championship leader Dave Pinkney while Mark Ticehurst was fourth.
Leading testing times (Fri): mins secs 1 A Morrison GB 1:18.663 2 J Rhodes GB 1:18.738 3 D Pinkney GB 1:18.758 4 M Ticehurst GB 1:18.873 5 G Pyper GB 1:18.970 6 J Yeomans GB 1:19.020CHAMP CARS:- Mark Blundell, who has been out since May 4 after fracturing a vertebrae in his back in a testing accident, will miss the next three CART contests. The Briton had hoped to compete in the Texaco/Havoline 200 at Road America this weekend, but will not return until the Grand Prix of Detroit on August 8. "Although the injury is healing, he has not fully recovered," said CART chief orthopedic consultant Terry Trammell. "After talking to Mark, we felt he should sit out the next three races,"
10.07.99F1: THE BRITISH GP
Former world champion Damon Hill was delighted after he saved his best qualifying performance of 1999 for his home circuit. Hill told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I am pleased with the result but it has no bearing on career decisions or anything like that. "It is just good for the team because it gives us a chance of more points in the Constructors' Championship. Being in sixth place also means there is a better chance of a podium place."
Mika Hakkinen is on course to extend his lead in the Championship after taking pole position for Sunday's race. The Finn said: "The car was working extremely well. The race could well be very exciting, although overtaking is so difficult here." Michael Schumacher had to settle for the second quickest qualifying time after running wide on his last lap. "I tried to do more than what the car was capable of but I had the first run to fall back on," he revealed.
David Coulthard, who has yet to win a race in 1999, was reasonably content with third place on the grid. "I am not happy to be so far off the pace in qualifying," he admitted. "However, under the circumstances it is understandable because I have not been able to get the back end of the car strong all weekend. With that you lose a bit of confidence and it is easy on a circuit like this to lose a fair bit of time so my main concern was not to slip further down."
This year's Belgian Grand Prix could be scrapped if the plan to ban tobacco advertising gets the go-ahead. The race on August 29 is in danger because of a regional council's ruling - which is being challenged - to outlaw advertising by cigarette companies. FIA boss Max Mosley warned that if the law remains then teams might decide not to race at Spa-Francorchamps. He said: "I don't know if that is going to happen this year but I suspect it might. It would be a great shame."
Saturday qualifying times: mins secs 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:24.804 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 1:25.223 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:25.594 4 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:25.677 5 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 1:25.991 6 D Hill GB Jordan 1:26.099 7 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:26 194 8 R Schumacher Ger Williams 1:26.438 9 J Villeneuve Can BAR 1:26.719 10 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:26.873 11 J Herbert GB Stewart 1:26.873 12 P Diniz Brz Sauber 1:27.196 13 A Zanardi It Williams 1:27.223 14 J Trulli It Prost 1:27.227 15 O Panis Fr Prost 1:27.543 16 R Zonta Brz BAR 1:27.699 17 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:27.857 18 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:28.010 19 T Takagi Jpn Arrows 1:28.037 20 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 1:28.148 21 L Badoer It Minardi 1:28.695 22 M Gene Sp Minardi 1:28.772BRITISH F3 (Silverstone):- Marc Hynes took over the leadership of the championship after a narrow victory in the ninth round. Hynes pipped fellow Briton Jenson Button by less than four tenths of a second at the end of the 15 lap race. Former leader Luciano Burti of Brazil finished third, almost five seconds adrift of Hynes. Hynes has now established a lead of three points over Burti at the head of the championship as they head for the tenth race of the season at Snetterton.
Round nine result (Sat): mins secs 1 M Hynes GB Honda 26:24.564 2 J Button GB Renault 26:24.947 3 L Burti Brz Honda 26:29.348 4 K Kolby Den Honda 26:30.569 5 N K'keyan Ind Honda 26:39.942 6 M Davies GB Honda 26:46.931 7 T Scheckter SA Honda 26:47.160 8 T Spouge GB Opel 26:49.523 9 M Bentwood GB Honda 26:54.847 10 D Bell GB Honda 26:54.943F3000:- David Jensen celebrated his first Formula 3000 win as boss of Kid Jensen Racing when French driver Nicolas Minassian won at Silverstone. Minassian and teammate Andrea Piccini of Italy had both suffered mechanical failure when leading previous races, but this time Minassian held on. The win gave the team their first points of the season. Brazil's Bruno Junqueira was second with championship leader Nick Heidfeld behind him.
Round five result (Sat): mins secs 1 N Minassian Fr K J'sen 1:07:48.722 2 B Junqueira Brz Honda 1:07:51.437 3 N Heidfeld Ger Honda 1:07:52.998 4 S Ayari Fr Toyota 1:08:06.193 5 N Fontana Arg Honda 1:08:07.455 6 F Montagny Fr Renault 1:08:17.085 7 S Sarrazin Fr Honda 1:08:18.830 8 A Piccini It Opel 1:08:20.539 9 D Saelens Bel Honda 1:08:21.374 10 J Watt Den Honda 1:08:35.262CHAMP CARS (Elkhart Lake):- Michael Andretti held on to his pole position in final qualifying for Sunday's Texaco-Havoline 200. Andretti started the session on provisional pole after topping times in Friday's session. However he soon found himself third, trailing rookie sensation Juan Montoya and Gil de Ferran. He then turned in his pole-winning lap of 100.206 seconds (145.428mph) with his last lap of the day at the very end of the 30 minute session.
Qualifying times (Fri): secs 1 M Andretti US Ford 101.354 2 J Montoya Col Honda 101.642 3 P Carpentier Can Mercedes 101.869 4 M Gidley US Honda 101.976 5 G Moore Can Mercedes 102.016 6 T Kanaan Brz Honda 102.034 7 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford 102.077 8 G de Ferran Brz Honda 102.243 9 P Tracy Can Honda 102.344 10 M Papis It Ford 102.498 14 D Franchitti GB Honda 102.597 11.07.99F1: THE BRITISH GP
Michael Schumacher has had surgery after breaking his right leg in two places in a crash on the first lap. The injury is expected to keep him out for six weeks, meaning he will miss at least three grands prix. Schumacher's brakes appeared to lock up and he crashed into a tyre barrier. Red flags were already out to stop the race after two cars stalled at the start. Ferrari have said that a problem with the rear brakes was the probable cause though the team is still investigating.
Northampton General Hospital, where Michael Schumacher was taken for treatment on his broken leg, said the operation had been successful. Chief executive David Wilson said: "He was assessed by the surgical team and found to have a straightforward fracture of the right tibia and fibula. These injuries were reduced - put back together - during a surgical procedure which was uncomplicated. The operation was successful and he is now recovering."
Mika Hakkinen was unable to take advantage of Michael Schumacher's absence, retiring on the 36th lap. The World Championship leader had problems with his back left wheel after his first pit stop, and he returned to the pits a lap later. He set the fastest lap from 11th, but the wheel then flew off, forcing him back into the pits again. He was able to rejoin once more after a lengthy stop, but was eventually unable to continue.
The race got off to an unforgettable start, with the red flag coming out to stop the race immediately after two cars stalled. However, this was not enough to prevent Michael Schumacher's crash, and it took 40 minutes for his shattered car to be cleared and the race to resume again. At the restart, Pedro de la Rosa was left on the grid, so the safety car was forced to come out. The safety car came out again later when Jacques Villeneuve retired.
Pit-stop fortunes played a large part in the race and helped David Coulthard to victory ahead of Eddie Irvine. Coulthard was able to get ahead of the Ferrari driver after the first round of pit stops when Irvine overshot his mark and took longer than he wanted. He maintained his lead and both drivers had very quick second stops, enabling Coulthard to hang on to his advantage. The gap between the top two was never very large, Coulthard winning by under two seconds.
After all the build-up to his last British Grand Prix, Damon Hill had a very satisfying race, staying among the leaders before taking fifth spot. Pit-stop strategy also meant that for a minute and a half the Silverstone crowd had the chance to acclaim Hill as he led the race. The leaders took their second pit stop before Hill, allowing him his brief moment in front before he too came in. Nevertheless, it was a strong drive from Hill after recent disappointments.
David Coulthard said he felt "absolutely fantastic" after his first British Grand Prix victory. "It was more nerve-wracking than at any time in my career because it has been such a long time without a win," he said of his first win for 14 months. "This is definitely the best feeling I have had in my career." Coulthard praised his team after his pit-stops enabled him to rejoin ahead of Eddie Irvine. "The win is down to my mechanics," he said.
McLaren boss Ron Dennis was delighted with David Coulthard's success, McLaren's first win in a British Grand Prix since Alain Prost in 1989. "It was a tremendous race from David with excellent work from the team in the pits," he commented. "It was disappointing for Mika who suffered a left hand rear wheel problem which we will fully investigate. We decided to retire the car. Overall this was an historic weekend for the TAG McLaren Group."
Second-placed Eddie Irvine said that a pit-stop mistake had cost him victory after he overshot his mark when making his first stop of the race. "I overshot a bit at my first pit-stop and that took us a bit too long and ultimately cost me the race," he said. Of Michael Schumacher's accident,Irvine said: "He just came flying past me with all four wheels locked." The result marked the first time British drivers had taken the top two places in their home race since 1965.
Damon Hill was delighted with his fifth spot but has not said when there will be news about his racing future. "I did the best I could," he said. "It feels like a victory for myself after the nonsense we have had over the last couple of weeks. "It was very emotional at the end of the race because I got a big reception and I want to thank everyone for that." Of his retirement, he added: "I think we are going to have a few beers and think about it. No decision today."
Eddie Jordan was delighted with the performance of his cars, describing it as a "fantastic result" to have two drivers in the top five. "It was a very reliable race for Jordan. We have some more speed to come and we will have it for the next race. We've pulled away one more point from Williams, five from Benetton and five from Stewart so it's been a good day." As for Damon Hill, Jordan said: "After Damon's performance today, I am not so sure he will want to stop."
Johnny Herbert saw his points hopes dashed when he incurred a stop-go penalty for overtaking John Alesi when the safety car was on. "It's such a shame to come away empty- handed when I had a real chance to pick up points," he said. He thought that the stop-go penalty was harsh. "I could sense Alesi had a problem. I had to swerve to avoid him. If I had braked I would have been passed by the cars behind me on the restart," he commented.
Finnish star Mika Hakkinen is confident of success in Northamptonshire. "The Championship is tough at the moment and of course Michael is just eight points behind with nine races to go, so lots can happen," he said. "However, I feel confident and quite comfortable at the moment but things can change so quickly so I do not want to panic or take any kind of stress. Last year was the greater pressure, even though I had a bigger gap. At the moment there is no pressure."
World Champion Mika Hakkinen retained his advantage at the head of the drivers' standings, but was forced to retire after damaging a brake disc. Having led from pole position, Hakkinen never recovered from a pit stop of 27.6 seconds to try to fix his wheel. "The race was going really well for me, but then my rear wheel came off," he said. "Fortunately I was just at the entrace to the pit lane. Despite going back out the team came on the radio and said I should retire."
Ralf Schumacher was left to represent his family after brother Michael's crash, and he held himself together to claim third spot. "I'm not sure what happened," he said afterwards of the incident. "He seems to be all right. That's the most important thing. "When your brother has an accident it is not nice to go back in the car," he added of having to race on. "I had a team relying on me and I had to concentrate on my job."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen followed up his win in France with another points finish, coming home in fourth spot. "This was another good race result," he said. "We were very close to third place but we were not quick enough in the first two thirds of the race. Although I caught up with Ralf at the end I was not able to overtake him. Michael's accident looked really bad and I am thinking about him and how he is," he said of his compatriot Michael Schumacher's crash.
Rubens Barrichello lost his top six position when a puncture forced him to make a pit stop 13 laps from home. "It's terrible bad luck," he admitted. "To have to throw away points like that is frustrating." He rejoined in 13th and made a spirited run to finish eighth. "I was charging because you never know what can happen. I was really pleased with the way I fought back. It's not very easy to overtake in these cars,but I think I showed it can be done."
Jacques Villeneuve failed to finish again for BAR having been forced to start in the spare car after suffering gearbox problems at the start. "Having to restart in the spare car was not ideal as it had quite a lot of oversteer," he said. "We adjusted the front wing at my scheduled stop to try and improve the problem and that did help. I don't know why the car suddenly stopped. We are still waiting to find out. Reliability is still not sorted."
Benetton saw both their drivers finish, with Giancarlo Fisichella just outside the points in seventh and Alexander Wurz 10th. "In the race the car went better than it had in practice," said Fisichella. "The problems with balance remain and we still have a lot of work to do." Wurz said: "It was a tough race and I had a good fight throughout. "We just need to work more on our qualifying performance."
Result after 60 laps Hr min sec 1 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:32.30.1 2 E Irvine GB Ferrari @ 01.9 3 R Schumacher Ger Williams @ 27.4 4 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan @ 27.8 5 D Hill GB Jordan @ 38.6 6 P Diniz Brz Sauber @ 53.6 7 G Fisichella It Benetton @ 54.6 8 R Barrichello Brz Stewart @ 1.08.6 9 J Trulli It Prost @ 1.12.0 10 A Wurz Aut Benetton @ 1.12.1 11 A Zanardi It Williams @ 1.17.1 12 J Herbert GB Stewart @ 1.17.7 13 O Panis Fr Prost @ 1.20.5 14 J Alesi Fr Sauber @ 1 lap 15 M Gene Sp Minardi @ 2 laps 16 T Takagi Jpn Arrows @ 2 laps Did not finish completed R Zonta Brz BAR 41 laps M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 35 laps J Villeneuve Can BAR 29 laps L Badoer It Minardi 6 laps Did not start P De La Rosa Sp Arrows M Schumacher Ger Ferrari DRIVER STANDINGS 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 40 pts 2 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 32 = E Irvine GB Ferrari 32 4 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 26 5 D Coulthard GB McLaren 22 6 R Schumacher Ger Williams 19 7 G Fisichella Ita Benetton 13 8 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 10 9 D Hill GB Jordan 5 10 J Herbert GB Stewart 2 = P Diniz Brz Sauber 2 12 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 1 = O Panis Fr Prost 1 = J Alesi Fr Sauber 1 = A Wurz Aut Benetton 1 = J Trulli It Benetton 1 CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS 1 Ferrari 64 pts 2 McLaren 62 3 Jordan 31 4 Williams 19 5 Benetton 14 6 Stewart 12 7 Sauber 3 8 Prost 2 9 Arrows 1MGF CUP (Silverstone):- Warren Hughes held of the challenge of Alastair Lyall to win round seven. Hughes started from pole and had Lyall breathing down his neck in the early stages before pulling out a lead, while Jamie Hunter the overtook Lyall.
Round seven result (Sat):mins secs 1 W Hughes 23:50.415 2 J Hunter 23:57.581 3 A Lyall 23:58.340 4 N Carr 23:58.450 5 B Benham 23:04.478 6 D Mason 23:04.598 BRITISH GT'S (Silverstone):- Round 5 GT1 result (Sun): mins secs 1 Wall'r/Lister Porsche 51:41.192 2 Bailey/C-W'ltr Lister 51m 3 Dean/Luby Sintura 4 Munroe/Goodwin McLaren 26 laps Round 5 GT2 result (Sun): 1 Schirle/W'nock Lister 26 laps 2 Hewland/Th'ing Lister 26 laps 3 Erdos/Purvis MarcosNATIONAL SALOON CUP (Silverstone):- Peugeot took the top two positions when Toni Ruikonen claimed victory despite Dan Eaves making he better start. The race was reduced to eight laps after a multi-car incident forced the first attempt to be halted.
Round 8 result (Sun): 1 T Ruokonen Peugeot 2 D Eaves Peugeot 3 S Harrison Honda 4 S Day Honda 5 M Lemmer Honda 6 D Small HondaCHAMP CARS (Elkhart Lake):- Christian Fittipaldi took his first ever Champ car victory in the Texaco- Havoline 200 at Road America. The nephew of Emerson Fittipaldi, who enjoyed three victories at the circuit, benefited when Juan Montoya was forced out of the race. Championship leader Montoya looked certain for victory with an 11-second lead before gearbox problems intervened Fittipaldi, in his fourth season in the championship, was followed in by teammate Mario Andretti.
Race result (Sun): 1 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford 1hr 37mins 2 M Andretti US Ford @ 1.060 sec 3 A Fernandez Mex Ford 55 laps 4 G Moore Can Mercedes " " 5 M Papis It Ford " " 6 T Kanaan Brz Honda " " 7 M J'rdain Jr Mex Ford 54 laps 8 R Gordon US Toyota " " 9 A Unser Jr US Mercedes " " 10 R Hearn US Toyota " " 18 D Franchitti GB Honda 34 laps 12.07.99F1:- Michael Schumacher has ruled out any chance of winning the drivers championship this year. The Ferrari star, who had a 12-inch plate inserted into his leg following his crash at Silverstone on Sunday, also said: "I'm lucky to be alive. Improvements made in the cars over the last few years is what helped me escape with only a broken leg. I'm going to be out of action for two to three months and realise I have no chance of the championship this year."
FIA president Max Mosley says initial enquiries suggest Michael Schumacher's crash at Silverstone was probably caused by mechanical failure. Mosley also defended the gravel tracks which had come in for criticism from some drivers. He said: "We have been looking for some years for a better way of doing it. It is difficult to find improvements." Meanwhile, Finnish driver Mika Salo has been reported to be in line to stand in for Schumacher at Ferrari.
Damon Hill could be set to end the guessing game today about his future in Formula One. The Jordan driver refused to be drawn on his plans after his fifth place in the British Grand Prix, but his team now need him to make up his mind. Jordan begin tes ing again on Tuesday and boss Eddie Jordan said: "It is up to him but the team is behind him. I'm quite confident that we haven't seen the end of Damon in Grand Prix racing."
Finnish star Mika Hakkinen is confident of success in Northamptonshire. "The Championship is tough at the moment and of course Michael is just eight points behind with nine races to go, so lots can happen," he said. "However, I feel confident and quite comfortable at the moment but things can change so quickly so I do not want to panic or take any kind of stress. Last year was the greater pressure, even though I had a bigger gap. At the moment there is no pressure."
NEWS:- Brands Hatch Leisure PLC have announced plans to take over the British Racing Drivers Club, owners of the Silverstone circuit, for about £43m. Brands Hatch said it intended to make a formal offer to the BRDC membership, which numbers around 540, if its plans gain a sufficient level of support. A BRDC members' meeting in April though rejected any idea of selling the Silverstone track. Brands Hatch will host the British Grand Prix for six years from 2002.
F.FORD (Snetterton):- Nicolas Kiesa completed the final preparations for Saturday's ninth round by setting the fastest time in pre- race testing. The Dane was quickest in three of the four sessions as points rival rolled his Mygale in the second session.
Testing times (Mon): min secs 1 N Kiesa Den 1:10.480 2 C Murray Sco 1:10.777 3 R vd Ende Hol 1:10.817 4 J Courtney Aus 1:11.018 5 M Ambrose Aus 1:11.052 6 T Sisley Eng 1:11.236FORD FIESTA'S:- Gordon Shedden was quickest in pre-race testing at Snetterton, despite suffering a high-speed spin at Esses. The Dunfermline driver, second on his Fiesta debut here last November, headed Mark Burton and Nick Padley.
Testing times (Mon): min secs 1 G Shedden Sco 1:27.701 2 M Burton Eng 1:28.109 3 N Padley Eng 1:28.224 4 D Buxton Eng 1:28.260 5 G Howell Eng 1:28.289 6 D Gibson Eng 1:28.349 13.07.99F1:- Ferrari have announced that Mika Salo will stand in for Michael Schumacher while the German fights back to fitness from a broken leg. The 32-year-old Finn has driven in Formula One for Lotus, Tyrrell, Arrows and BAR. Salo has raced three times this season for BAR, replacing Ricardo Zonta after he was injured in Brazil. Schumacher's injury will give his team- mate Eddie Irvine the chance to stake a claim for the drivers' crown.
Michael Schumacher has left Northampton General Hospital after surgery on the broken leg he suffered in Sunday's British Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver will spend a week at a private Swiss clinic before returning to his home near Geneva. He is expected to miss at least four races and knows his title hopes for 1999 are over. Surgeons inserted a foot-long pin into his right leg after he fractured his tibia and fibula.
Northampton General Hospital surgeon Bill Ribbans is pleased with the progress of Michael Schumacher following his operation. After the German had left hospital after surgery on a broken leg, he said: "He is desperate to get back to motor racing as soon as possible. Injuries such as this would, in a normal person, take anything from three to four months to heal. However, Michael is clearly a very determined and fit gentleman."
Michael Schumacher's dramatic crash at Silverstone may have been caused by a loose screw in the braking system. A Ferrari statement said: "What has been established so far is that the accident was caused by a sudden loss of pressure in the rear brake circuit. This was due to the loosening of a brake bleed nipple on the left rear caliper. Ferrari will continue to try to establish the reasons for this failure," they added.
Formula One chiefs have defended the gravel traps at Silverstone following Michael Schumacher's crash at Stowe. In a statement, the FIA said: "The gravel trap performed satisfactorily in a worst-case situation. Despite much comment there are no simple answers to the problem of slowing an out-of-control car. The measures are under constant review." The black box from his Ferrari showed Schumacher braked at 191mph and hit the tyre wall at around 67mph.
Professor Sid Watkins has admitted that he was amazed at Michael Schumacher's presence of mind after his crash at Stowe in Sunday's British Grand Prix. Formula One medical chief Watkins said: "He gave me two instructions. One as to call his wife to tell her that he was okay. The other was to call Ferrari director Jean Todt to tell him the brakes had failed and to check the car." Ex-world champion Schumacher broke a leg in the accident.
Italian Formula One driver Giancarlo Fisichella walked away unscathed after wrecking his Benetton car in practice. Fisichella was coming out of the first curve at an estimated 150kph when his car lost all grip and slammed into the safety barrier. Driver error rather than a mechanical failure was believed to have been the cause of the crash. A spokesman said: "Let's just say that Giancarlo had a bit too much faith in himself."
Damon Hill will decide his future during a holiday in Spain this week. The latest development in the long- running saga emerged when his Jordan team revealed Hill had jetted off to his villa in southern Spain. The driver was originally scheduled for a test session with the team at Monza but has instead opted for a break. "Damon has taken a few days off to go away and think things through," said a Jordan spokeswoman. "We do not expect anything until Friday."
RALLY OF NEW ZEALAND:- New Zealand plays host to the ninth round of the 14-event series from Thursday to Sunday. Tommi Makinen leads the drivers' race for glory, while Toyota ` the only team to have scored points in every round in 1999 ` head the manufacturers' list. This year's rally moves to a new base in the centre of the country's largest city Auckland. The 27 stages run over a competitive distance of 400.84km and the super- special Manukau City stage remains.
Championship leader Tommi Makinen believes this event could provide him with his third win of 1999. It is one of the few rallies he has yet to win but revealed: "I am sure it will be a very good rally for me. We had a good result last year, coming third in spite of some little problems, so I do not see why we cannot do well." Fellow Mitsubishi driver Freddy Loix added: "We have done a useful test in Finland and we are confident the car can work well."
Colin McRae knows he needs a good result in New Zealand if he is to be in with a chance of taking the title. The Briton is 13 points behind leader Tommi Makinen and admitted: "In terms of the Championship, we really need a victory here. It will not mean the drivers' title is beyond us if we do not win but with just six rounds remaining we need to close the gap on those ahead of us." The Ford driver has claimed just three points in the last four events.
History favours Subaru in this event with four wins in six years and Richard Burns is hoping to boost that record. Burns triumphed last time out in the Acropolis Rally and said: "The competition is hotting up. I am level-pegging in the World Championship standings with my home rival Colin McRae, who has been strong here over the years. I am also looking out for my team-mate Juha Kankkunen but I suspect everybody should also be looking out for me."
Following his victory in the 1998 Rally of New Zealand, Carlos Sainz became the most successful driver in the history of the FIA World Championships. This year the Toyota Castrol Team driver and co-driver Luls Moya are looking to win the event for a second successive year. Sainz admitted: "Without doubt this is one of the best events in the championship for me. There are no stones, bumps or holes in the roads so you can drive flat out."
Didier Auriol, who is currently just four points behind championship leader Tommi Makinen in the driver standings, has a good record in New Zealand. The Frenchman, co-driven by Denis Giraudet, gave the Toyota Castrol Team a one-two result when he finished four seconds behind Carlos Sainz last year. Auriol revealed: "We need to get points because it will be very hard to beat Makinen in Finland next month. We've just finished a test and I found some things that were really good."
SEAT Sport will enter the youngest works team in New Zealand when it contests round nine of the series. Drivers Harri Rovanpera, 33, and Toni Gardemeister, 24, will drive a pair of Cordoba WRCs. Rovanpera said: "I like New Zealand a lot. It is a very good rally because the stages are so nice to drive. They are quite fast and flowing. I think the power of the SEAT engine and the Cordoba chassis will be perfect for this event."
F3:- South African driver Tomas Scheckter will begin Formula 3 testing in Switzerland on Wednesday, driving the Bemani Racing Dellara-Open. The 18-year-old Scheckter, son of Ferrari's last Formula One World champion Jody, is currently third in the EFDA Euroseries. He enjoyed his first win of the season two weeks ago in Hockenheim. "It's a fantastic opportunity. I'm not sure what I want to do next year so I'm keeping my options open," he said.
CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING Driver ratings (July 13) Points 1 M Hakkinen Fin Formula One 1027 2 J Gordon US NASCAR 990 3 M Schumacher Ger Formula One 938 4 D Jarrett US NASCAR 825 5 J Burton US NASCAR 790 6 N Heidfeld Ger F3000 779 7 JP Montoya Col Champ Cars 757 8 M Martin US NASCAR 752 9 E Irvine GB Formula One 735 10 D Coulthard GB Formula One 711 14.07.99F1:- Former world champion Damon Hill has confirmed that he will carry on in Formula One for the rest of the season. Hill, fifth at the British Grand Prix, said: "I am looking forward to helping Jordan achieve their highest ever Constructors' Championship position." Team chief Eddie Jordan added: "We are all extremely pleased with Damon's decision. His contribution to this massive team effort is invaluable. We are all eagerly anticipating the last eight races."
Damon Hill's decision to retire at the end of the season is no great surprise after he finished fifth in Sunday's British Grand Prix. Hill revealed in the middle of June that he was quitting Formula One at the end of 1999. However, after a poor performance at the French Grand Prix he then hinted that he might retire immediately. He decided to race at Silverstone and was in the points and will end his career in Japan in October.
Eddie Irvine knows he may never have a better chance to become world champion. Ferrari's bid to land their first drivers' title in 20 years rests with Irvine after Michael Schumacher broke a leg in the British Grand Prix. Irvine told Gazzetta dello Sport: "I am well aware that my job has now changed. Before I have always raced for Michael, as laid down by my contract. Now everything has changed. I will be racing for me, for Ferrari's world championship, for my world title."
Former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi has revealed that he is surprised that the Italian team have chosen Mika Salo to stand in for Michael Schumacher. The Finn will join up with Eddie Irvine while Schumacher recovers from the broken leg he suffered at Silverstone. However, Sauber star Alesi feels Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer, who races in Formula One for Minardi, should have been given a chance. Alesi told Italian TV: "For me, there is no contest. Badoer wins hands down."
BTCC:- Snetterton will make history on Saturday when rounds 15 and 16 of the British Touring Car Championship will be held after dark. The move will give the races a Le Mans- type atmosphere. Drivers can reach speeds of over 140mph around the 1.95m circuit, which is one of the most demanding in Britain. Laurent Aiello leads the driver championship, followed by James Thompson, and Nissan have the advantage in the manufacturer standings.
Laurent Aiello is unlikely to encounter too many problems with the after-dark races. Aiello won the Le Mans 24-Hours at the first attempt with Porsche in 1998 and this year finished fourth with Audi. He admitted: "If my Le Mans experience does give me an advantage I will be quite pleased. I do not know how strong the lights are at Snetterton but sometimes these circuits can be just as bright during the day."
Frenchman Laurent Aiello set the second fastest time in official testing on his first visit to Snetterton last month. However, he still believes he has a lot to learn about the Norfolk track. "Two days are not really enough to learn everything about a circuit. I am confident with the racing line but off-line I could be struggling. I do not know where all the dips and holes are but the team have prepared well for this event and I am looking forward to it," said the Nissan driver.
TOCA chief executive Alan Gow, who runs the BTCC, is behind the innovation of night racing. "It should be a great spectacle," commented Gow. "There is something about running after dark that gets the adrenalin pumping and both TOCA and the circuit have put a lot of effort into it. The only thing we cannot control is the weather but if we get a fine summer's evening it will be a great show and a fantastic atmosphere."
James Thompson is refusing to give up on his title ambitions. He confirmed: "I could not believe it when all these people were saying the title battle was as good as over after only 10 races." Honda star Thompson, who is second in the standings, added: "I get paid to win and I do not like coming second. There was no way I was ever going to give up the chase. It only takes one weekend's results to change the whole complexion of the championship."
Rickard Rydell had to wait until the last round before claiming his first win of the season. The 1998 champion has been hit by a number of non-finishes and said: "We have been competitive all year. In the races I have not finished I was leading once, second twice and third twice so if I had banked all those points I would be right up there. My immediate target is to get as high up the drivers' table as possible. I cannot begin to think about the title."
Vauxhall's John Cleland has had plenty of experience of night racing and believes Saturday's races will be no more difficult than day racing. "I would say that when it comes to driving at Snetterton in the dark, I am the most experienced of all the touring car drivers currently racing," he said. "I do not think that will give me a big advantage. It does not take drivers long to get used to circuits. Racing in the dark or racing in daylight, it is no big deal to me."
Jason Plato will be chasing his second win of the season in rounds 15 and 16 on Saturday. The Oxford-based Renault driver has been on the podium a further three times but needs a win soon to keep alive any title hopes. Meanwhile, Matt Neal will be bidding to extend his lead in the Michelin Cup for Independents. He is 89 points clear of Mark Blair, with Lee Brookes in third place and Paul Cook in fourth.
15.07.99F1:- Mika Salo is ready to thwart fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen's bid to secure a second world title. Salo has been taken on by Ferrari as a stand-in for Michael Schumacher while the German recovers from a broken leg. Hakkinen and Salo both raced in the British Formula Three Championship in 1990, with Hakkinen winning the series. "I used to beat him all the time in those days," said Salo. "I am sure I can do it again in Formula One. I will be driving until Michael is fit."
RALLY OF NEW ZEALAND:- Britain's Colin McRae is lying in third place after the only stage on the first day of the event. Large crowds braved heavy rain to watch the floodlit 2.1km Super Special and the home fans were rewarded as Possum Bourne clocked the fastest time. The New Zealander was 0.3 seconds ahead of McRae's team-mate Thomas Radstrom. Richard Burns was sixth, while Didier Auriol's Toyota failed to start but he eventually left 12 minutes late and is in 13th place.
Leading positions after 1 stage:mins secs 1 P Bourne NZ Subaru 1:29.2 2 T Radstrom Swe Ford 1:29.7 3 C McRae GB Ford 1:29.7 4 H Rovanpera Fin Peugeot 1:29.8 5 J Kankkunen Fin Subaru 1:30.0 6 R Burns GB Subaru 1:30.2 7 F Loix Bel Mitsubishi 1:31.1 8 C Sainz Sp Toyota 1:31.5 9 T Garmeister It SEAT 1:31.9 10 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 1:32.0F.PALMER AUDI (Donington):- The Formula Palmer Audi series enters the half-way point in the championship with the standings closer than ever. Northern Ireland's Richard Lyons has stolen the title lead from Richard Tarling by just four points. There have been five different winners from the opening eight races and the top six are covered by only 24 points. The next race is at Donington on Sunday and any one of 10 or more drivers could take the spoils this time out but it is likely to be too close to call.
After eight stages: 1 Richard Lyons 90pts 2 Richard Tarling 86 3 Tim Mullen 78 4 Damien Faulkner 73 5 Robbie Kerr 71 6 Sam Hancock 66 7 Justin Keen 65 8 Martyn Smith 59 9 Jeroen Bleekemolen 58 = Derek Hayes 58RALLYING:- A repeat of his success 12 months ago on the Enterprise Printing Rally will see Marcus Dodd take a big step towards his first Mintex Rally Championship. Dodd and navigator John Bennie lead nearly 100 entries away from Swansea on Saturday morning for the six stages in the Neath and Afon Vales. The finish of the race is back in Swansea around 4.30pm. Ulsterman Kenny McKinstry and Steve Petch, winner of the rally in 1994, pose the biggest threat to Dodd.
Top 10 seeds: 1 M Dodd/J Bennie Ford Escort 2 K McKinstry/N Orr Subaru Impreza 3 S Petch/P Croft Ford Escort 4 R D'worth/M B'field Subaru Impreza 5 M Harrison/J Kitson MG Metro 6 I Gwynne/S O'Gorman Subaru Impreza 7 W Ph'liskirk/E Evans MG Metro 8 M Perrott/J Brown Mitsubishi 9 E Boland/D Morrissey Ford Escort 10 V Wetton/J Haigh Mitsubishi 16.07.99F1:- The Stewart Grand Prix team have announced that Paul Stewart is to be appointed Chief Operating Officer. He will undertake a full-time position, responsible for running the team, plus managing the new liaison with Ford. "I am pleased to have been appointed and look forward to working closely with the team and my father Jackie, who remains Chairman and Chief Executive. These are exciting times for Stewart and great prospects lie ahead. Under Ford the team have resources."
BTCC (Snetterton):- Honda's James Thompson set the fastest time in official testing for the inaugural night meeting. Thompson, with two wins and two podiums in the last four races, maintained the pressure on leader Laurent Aiello by outpacing him with just minutes to go. Thompson said: "I'm very pleased with the progress we have made today. Snetterton is possibly not one of our best circuits, so it is even more satisfying to be right on the pace. We are looking strong for Saturday."
Friday's times: 1 J Thompson GB Honda 1:08.327 2 L Aiello Fr Nissan 1:08.387 3 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:08.712 4 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 1:08.734 5 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:08.823 6 P Kox Hol Honda 1:08.947 7 J Plato GB Renault 1:08.999 8 M Neal GB Nissan 1:09.055 9 Y Muller Fr Vauxhall 1:09.120 10 JC Boullion Fr Renault 1:09.354 17.07.99F1:- Reports from Germany have claimed that Ferrari are planning to redesign a car so that Michael Schumacher can get in the cockpit despite his broken leg. German newspapers have alleged that chief technician Ross Brawn believes the cockpit could be revamped with heavy padding for Schumacher's leg. It is also suggested that Schumacher could work a gas pedal with his hand. Schumacher is expected to be out for at least two months following his crash in the British Grand Prix.
CHAMP CARS:- Brazil's Gil de Ferran won a heated duel with Dario Franchitti to take pole position for the Toronto Molson Indy. De Ferran, earning his second pole in three races, recorded a 57.373s lap to dump Franchitti into second with 12 minutes left of the 30-minute session. Moments later, he lowered the mark to 57.143s to cement his position. "I did a pretty good lap and the next time I looked up Gil was two tenths of a second faster. My only problem was not being fast enough," said Franchitti.
Molson Indy final qualifying (Sat):secs 1 G de Ferran Brz Honda 57.143 2 D Franchitti GB Honda 57.383 3 M Andretti US Ford 57.649 4 J Vasser US Honda 57.688 5 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford 57.760 6 P Tracy Can Honda 57.804 7 T Kanaan Brz Honda 57.941 8 J Montoya Col Honda 58.157 9 B Herta US Ford 58.320 10 G Moore Can Mercedes 58.404RALLY OF NEW ZEALAND:- Tommi Makinen is on course for his first New Zealand victory, ending day three at the top of the leaderboard. British hopes ended on the second day with the retirements of Colin McRae and Richard Burns but France's Didier Auriol was not quite so unlucky. He lost a wheel on his Toyota but was able to struggle to the service area and is fifth. "We ran wide. The back end slid off the road and we hit a rock, which ripped off the left rear wheel," said Auriol.
Tommi Makinen kept his nerve in difficult muddy conditions to hold the lead at the end of the third day. "It was a good day like we planned," Makinen said. "The last two stages were more difficult due to the rain." Makinen has never won the event, but added: "I will have no pressure, although for the final 80 kilometres I will be listening to the car." Juha Kankkunen is second, one minute 37 seconds behind Kankkunen, while Toni Gardemeister is in third spot.
Leaderboard after 20 stages: hr mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin M'tsbishi 3:21.28 2 J Kankkunen Fin Subaru 3:23.05 3 T Gardemeister Fin SEAT 3:24.00 4 T Radstrom Swe Ford 3:25.58 5 D Auriol Fr Toyota 3:27.33 6 P Bourne NZ Subaru 3:27.49 7 C Sainz Sp Toyota 3:29.42 8 M Kahle Aut Toyota 3:33.09 9 F Loix Bel M'tsbishi 3:34.34 10 G Trelles URG M'tsbishi 3:35.08F.PALMER AUDI (Donington):- Championship leader Richard Lyons finished one 10th of a second ahead of Finn Topi Serjala to clinch pole position for Sunday's round 10. Round nine poleman Justin Keen was third fastest, just ahead of a rejuvenated Jeroen Bleekemolen. Damien Faulkner and Derek Hill were fifth and sixth fastest. Serjala, who starts from the front row in both of Sunday's races, is expected to feature strongly in this hotly-contested series.
Round 10 qualifying times (Sat): mins secs 1 R Lyons GB 1:31.817 2 T Serjala Fin 1:31.929 3 J Keen GB 1:32.032 4 J Bleekemolen Hol 1:32.042 5 D Faulkner Ire 1:32.057 6 D Hill US 1:32.061 7 D Hayes GB 1:32.098 8 T Mullen GB 1:32.116 9 S Hancock GB 1:32.149 10 E Redfern GB 1:32.183RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Snetterton):- Andy Priaulx came back from fourth on lap one to win and equal Jason Plato's record of eight straight victories. Mark Cole and James Aspinall claimed career-best second and fifth places.
Saturday's result: mins secs 1 A Priaulx 19:24.132 2 M Cole 19:26.077 3 P Bennett 19:45.119 4 A Hildebrand 19:46.776 5 J Aspinall 19:47.086 6 J Dance 19:56.421FORD FIESTA'S (Snetterton):- Championship leader David Gibson set the pace in night testing ahead of the historic race. He was just under two 10ths of a second faster than midweek testing pace-setter Gordon Shedden.
Testing times (Fri): mins secs 1 D Gibson 1:27.997 2 G Shedden 1:28.162 3 H Taylor 1:28.524 4 P Rivett 1:28.632 5 S Clarke 1:28.687 6 M Cullen 1:28.749F.RENAULT (Snetterton):- Antonio Pizzonia stretched his points lead and set a new lap record as he claimed victory. Rob Austin and Leighton Walker followed him home, while Star Cup winner Dan Barrett took fourth place.
Result (Sat): mins secs 1 A Pizzonia 19:40.372 2 R Austin 19:44.519 3 L Walker 19:45.290 4 D Barrett 20:16.745 5 C Breeze 20:17.761 6 T Ferrier 20:22.356F.FORD (Snetterton):- Ricardo van der Ende took his third victory of the season after gear selection problems forced early leader Nicolas Kiesa to retire. The Dutch ace saw his lead vanish when the safety car was deployed after Peter Gray and Mark Taylor retired.
Saturday's result: mins secs 1 R van der Ende 27:14.645 2 T Slaley 27:16.402 3 M Ambrose 27:16.472 4 C Murray 27:21.526 5 J Courtney 27:21.619 6 J Carlsen 27:21.898FORD FIESTA'S (Snetterton):- Neal Gordon will start the race from pole position after getting in front with five minutes of the session left. He lines up alongside teenager Gareth Howell, while points leader David Gibson is sixth.
Qualifying times (Sat): mins secs 1 N Gordon 1:28.124 2 G Howell 1:28.345 3 G Shedden 1:28.388 4 I Churchill 1:28.442 5 N Padley 1:28.518 6 D Gibson 1:28.570F.VAUXHALL (Snetterton):- Milos Pavlovic took his first Formula Vauxhall win in dramatic fashion after Ryan Dalziel led across the line. Dalziel was penalised 10 seconds for overtaking a back-marker while the safety car was out, a move not allowed. The decision also moved Stefan Hodgetts into second, with Dalziel dropping down to third place. "I though I had won. To get the penalty was very disappointing as I thought I'd done the right thing. I am going to win the next one now," said Dalziel.
Saturday's result: 1 M Pavlovic 26:27.707 2 S Hodgetts 26:27.793 3 R Dalziel 26:31.056 4 H Mutoh 26:31.377 5 T McQuarrie 26:31.863 Overall standings: 1 R Dalziel GB 102 points 2 R Bell GB 85 3 M Pavlovic Yug 71 4 G Paffet GB 67 5 S Hodgetts GB 44MINTEX SERIES:- Kenny McKinstry won his second rally of the season, taking the Swansea-based Enterprise Printing Rally. McKinstry and co-driver Noel Orr took the lead after main rival Marcus Dodd crashed shortly after the start of the opening stage. Ian Gwynne was second, despite having a broken hand, and defending Mintex champion Roger Duckworth was third. Mark Perrott won the Group N category, while Graham Middleton took the two- wheel drive Formula 2 section.
Result after 6 stages: Pens 1 K McKinstry/N Orr Subaru 1:07.47 2 I Gwynne/S O'Gorman Subaru 1:08.21 3 R D'worth/M B'field Subaru 1:08.56 4 S Petch/P Croft Ford 1:09.03 5 M Harrison/J Kitson Metro 1:09.41 6 W Ph'liskirk/E Evans Metro 1:09.53 7 M Perrott/J Brown M'tsbhi 1:10.25 8 E Boland/D Morrissey Ford 1:11.47 9 W Sisson/N Sisson M'tsbhi 1:12.00 10 R Davies/R Skinner Ford 1:12.07EFDA EUROSERIES (Donington):- Tomas Scheckter grabbed his second successive victory in the series to take second place in the title race, four points behind Carlos Domingos. The South African started from the second row of the grid but was able to get past leader Paul Edwards on the seventh lap to race away and win. Edwards was eventually forced out after contact with Christian Mackenna. Domingos struggled throughout the race with a brake problem but was still able to claim third spot.
18.07.99F1:- Eddie Irvine believes Michael Schumacher's absence may take the pressure off Ferrari as they search for their first drivers' title in 20 years. Ferrari's hopes rest with Irvine while Schumacher recovers from a broken leg. Speaking at a promotional event in Budapest, Irvine said: "People will just be more relaxed because Michael can be very demanding to work for. We need to make less mistakes but that might happen because Michael is not there so there is less pressure."
INDY RACING LEAGUE (Atlanta):- Scott Sharp won the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 after taking the lead with 31 laps remaining of the 208-lap event. The race finished under caution after rookie Jacues Lazier spun on the back- stretch two laps from the finish. Sharp edged out Robby Unser to claim his fourth IRL victory and his first of the season. "We have been working hard and changing so many things to try and make the car better and better. I prayed for this and had to be patient," said Sharp.
Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 result (Sat) (208 laps) hr min sec 1 S Sharp US 2:11.23 2 R Unser US @ 42 3 K Brack Swe 208 laps 4 E Salazar Chi 208 5 B Calkins US 208 6 J Lazier US 207 7 E Cheever Jnr US 207 8 D Hamilton US 207 9 D Beechler US 207 10 J Kite US 207BTCC (Snetterton):- The first ever night meeting of the British Touring Car Championship produced a dramatic evening of racing, with David Leslie winning round 15. He took the lead after Nissan team-mate Laurent Aiello suffered clutch failure and the Scot set up a lead of nearly a second a lap over Rickard Rydell. The safety car was brought out because of debris, enabling Rydell to close in. However, Leslie burst ahead again when racing resumed and finished one-and-a- half seconds clear of the Swede.
Saturday's round 15 result: mins secs 1 D Leslie GB Nissan 23:44.201 2 R Rydell Swe Volvo 23:45.785 3 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 23:46.169 4 J Plato GB Renault 23:46.430 5 JC Boullion Fr Renault 23:46.950 6 P Kox Hol Honda 23:47.662 7 M Neal GB Nissan 23:49.283 8 A Menu Swi Ford 23:49.672 9 J Thompson GB Honda 23:49.857 10 W Hoy GB Renault 23:52.425Peter Kox claimed his maiden win in round 16, which was also the first ever BTCC triumph for a Dutchman. David Leslie, who had looked set for victory after earning a 10-second lead, was second after smoke appeared from his Nissan four laps from home. Kox said: "I am really happy. It has taken too long for this first win but now I hope it is the first of many." "We are not sure what broke yet but I could barely brake and steer and could not hold off Peter," added Leslie.
Saturday's round 16 result: mins secs 1 P Kox Hol Honda 40:45.358 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 40:49.187 3 Y Muller Fr Vauxhall 40:52.504 4 JC Boullion Fr Renault 41:06.537 5 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 41:06.915 6 J Plato GB Renault 41:08.560 7 L Aiello Fr Nissan 41:08.728 8 R Rydell Swe Volvo 41:11.839 9 A Menu Swi Ford 41:13.688 10 M Neal GB Nissan 41:15.392 DRIVER STANDINGS 1 L Aiello Fr Nissan Prim 147 pts 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 135 3 J Thompson GB Honda Accord 120 4 J Plato GB Renault Lag 95 5 R Rydell Swe Volvo S40 92 6 M Neal GB Nissan Prim 82 MANUFACTURER STANDINGS 1 Nissan 312 pts 2 Honda 198 3 Renault 162 INDEPENDENT STANDINGS 1 M Neal GB Nissan Prim 234 pts 2 M Blair GB Vauxhall Vec 110 3 L Brookes GB Honda 72RALLY OF NEW ZEALAND:- World champion Tommi Makinen claimed his first New Zealand victory to boost his chances of retaining his crown. He finished ahead of fellow Finns Juha Kannunen and Toni Gardemeister. Makinen is the only driver to have won three 1999 rallies and said: "We began hard and built up a big lead. Since then we have had a relaxed drive." British hopes had ended on the second day of the event, with Colin McRae and Richard Burns both being forced out with car problems.
Tommi Makinen was thrilled with the win that gave him a commanding lead in the World Championship race. The Finn is now 11 points ahead of Didier Auriol in the standings after his third victory of the season. "It's an excellent result, very good indeed," he said. "It will be nice to go to my home rally in Finland with this kind of result. It's incredible to have such a good lead in the World Championship."
Final leaderboard after 27 stages:hr mins secs 1 T Makinen Fin M'bishi 4:11.07.1 2 J Kankkunen Fin Subaru 4:12.44.1 3 T Gardemeister Fin SEAT 4:13.56.1 4 D Auriol Fr Toyota 4:17.22.9 5 P Bourne NZ Subaru 4:17.55.4 6 C Sainz Sp Toyota 4:19.23.0 7 M Kahle Ger Toyota 4:25.44.2 8 F Loix Bel M'bishi 4:26.34.2 9 G Trelles Uru M'bishi 4:28.32.2 10 H Al Wahaibi Oma M'bishi 4:30.21.2 DRIVER STANDINGS 1 T Makinen Fin Mitsubishi 46 Pts 2 D Auriol Fr Toyota 35 3 C Sainz Sp Toyota 30 4 J Kankkunen Fin Subaru 24 5 C McRae GB Ford 23 = R Burns GB Subaru 23 MANUFACTURER STANDINGS: 1 Toyota 78 pts 2 Mitsubishi 59 3 Subaru 52 4 Ford 35 5 SEAT 12 6 Skoda 3F.PALMER AUDI (Donington):- Justin Keen headed off a fierce challenge from the in-form Topi Serjala to win round nine and move up the series standings. The victory has pushed the Briton from 10th to fourth overall. Sam Hancock was third and Tim Mullen fourth, while Derek Hill secured his best-ever finish in fifth spot, just ahead of Adam Wilcox. Richard Lyons could only manage eighth position after taking a wild spin on the circuit.
Round nine result (Sun): mins secs 1 J Keen GB 18:30.415 2 T Serjala Fin 18:32.873 3 S Hancock GB 18:34.882 4 T Mullen GB 18:39.655 5 D Hill US 18:40.170 6 A Wilcox GB 18:41.976 7 D Hayes GB 18:42.425 8 R Lyons GB 18:45.110 9 D Faulkner Ire 18:45.644 10 R Tarling GB 18:48.462 Round 10 result (Sun): mins secs 1 R Lyons GB 20:34.802 2 T Serjala Fin 20:35.171 3 J Keen GB 20:35.979 4 D Faulkner Ire 20:39.263 5 D Hayes GB 20:39.666 6 J B'molen Hol 20:41.503 7 T Mullen GB 20:41.903 8 E Redfern GB 20:45.582 9 R Tarling GB 20:46.298 10 A Wilcox GB 20:46.530EFDA EUROSERIES (Donington Park):- Britain's Darren Malkin drove superbly to win his fourth EFDA race and take the lead in the points table. Malkin held off a mid-race challenge from American Paul Edwards after starting from pole. An over-ambitious move by Carlos Dominqos cost Edwards second place as both drivers spun off on lap eight. Tomas Scheckter took his chance and moved into second spot and had to settle for the runner-up place for the sixth time in the series.
Round seven result: mins secs 1 D Malkin GB 19:15.410 2 T Scheckter SA 19:18.410 3 P Edwards US 19:22.880 4 T Sato Jpn 19:28.583 5 F Masullo Brz 19:28.960 6 C Hall GB 19:32.170 7 J Rentjens Hol 19:33.002 8 M Graham GB 19:35.969 9 G Anapoli It 19:36.432 10 M Keohane Ire 19:40.095FORD FIESTA'S (Snetterton):- Neal Gordon boosted his title chances with a pole to flag victory in the inaugural Fiesta night race. The Hunstanton driver fended off Irishman Michael Cullen, who spun on the final lap.
Round eight result: mins secs 1 N Gordon 25:26.227 2 G Howell 25:29.637 3 D Buxton 25:30.151 4 N Padley 25:30.374 5 G Shedden 25:30.658 6 M Burton 25:31.071 VAUXHALL VECTRA'S (Snetterton):- Round eight result: mins secs 1 A Morrison 18:42.227 2 G Pyper 18:43.059 3 M Ticehurst 18:49.203 4 D Pinkney 18:53.490 5 R Collard 18:55.818 6 J Yeomans 18:57.922 7 G Coomes 18:58.283 8 J Rhodes 18:58.903 9 P Cate 18:59.424 10 M Turner 19:01.379 19.07.99F1:- Formula One chiefs are looking into plans for safer run-off areas at circuits in the wake of Michael Schumacher's crash at Silverstone. FIA technical advisor Peter Wright said: "Maybe in some cases you would be better off with a specially designed tarmac than gravel. It is not the perfect solution but it is something that we are looking at very seriously." FIA chief Max Mosley admitted: "Gravel was not efficient in Michael's case."
CHAMP CARS (Toronto):- Dario Franchitti jumped in front on the first lap and led wire-to-wire to win the CART Molson Indy on the temporary road course at Exhibition Place. Franchitti, who started from pole here the previous two years but did not finish either race, had a change of luck after starting second. It was his first victory of the season and the fourth of his career. He powered in front of pole-sitter Gil de Ferran on the first lap and never looked back.
Molson Indy result: mins secs 1 D Franchitti GB Honda 1:56.27 2 P Tracy Can Honda @ 2.624s 3 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford 95 4 R Moreno Brz Ford 95 5 M Papis It Ford 95 6 A Fernandez Mex Ford 95 7 S Pruett US Toyota 95 8 J Vasser US Honda 95 9 Al Unser Jnr US Mercedes 95 10 PJ Jones US Ford 95USFF2000:- Daniel Wheldon has extended his lead in the USF2000 championship after finishing second at Atlanta. The race was reduced from 34 laps to 18 after an accident. "This is the sort of circuit where it can be dangerous to deviate from the white line, so I came here to bag as many points as possible," Wheldon said. "I was lucky because whilst the red flags were out we noticed the radiator had started leaking. If the race had continued, I wouldn't have."
CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING Driver ratings (July 19) Points 1 M Hakkinen Fin Formula One 1027 2 J Gordon US NASCAR 990 3 M Schumacher Ger Formula One 938 4 D Jarrett US NASCAR 825 5 J Burton US NASCAR 790 6 N Heidfeld Ger German F3 779 7 M Martin US NASCAR 752 8 E Irvine GB Formula One 735 9 JP Montoya Col Champ Cars 721 10 D Coulthard GB Formula One 711 20.07.99 - F1: THE AUSTRIAN GPMichael Schumacher has described how helpless he felt in the seconds before the crash at Silverstone in which he broke his right leg. Speaking to magazine Motorworld, Schumacher said: "You think frantically of anything you can do to slow down. Everything is moving so fast that I almost had no choice but to fatalistically let it happen to me." The German had praise for the attention he received afterwards, adding: "The medical care was optimal."
Eddie Irvine may never get a better chance to claim the world title so you can be sure the forthright Ferrari star will grab the opportunity with relish. After living so long in the shadow of Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, Irvine knows that all the Italian team's efforts will now be focused on him. Schumacher is likely to be sidelined for at least four races after breaking his leg at Silverstone. It is now up to Irvine to give Ferrari their first drivers' crown in 20 years.
Britain's Eddie Irvine goes into Sunday's race pledging to try and give Ferrari the drivers' title. "Ferrari did not hire me to win the world championship but this is what they have asked for now and I am going to try my best to deliver," he said. Irvine is now in the unusual position of being the team's number one driver and claimed: "It is everybody's dream." Recent tests at Monza went well and he added afterwards: "With the car I had there, Mika Hakkinen can be beaten."
Mika Salo has no illusions about his role at Ferrari. His job will be to help keep the team at the top of the constructors' list, while at the same time being a support act to new number one Eddie Irvine. "The drivers' championship is not my objective, although I will obviously do the best I can," commented the Finn. Former Tyrrell driver Salo is standing in for Michael Schumacher while the German recovers from the broken leg he suffered earlier this month.
It has been a hectic fortnight for Mika Salo. Just days after being confirmed as Ferrari's number three driver, the Finn married long-time girlfriend Japanese model Noriko Endo in Helsinki. Salo fitted it between testing at Fiorano, where he has been getting used to the car ahead of Sunday's race. "Fiorano is a similar kind of track to Austria but for the moment I am just trying to get to know my F399 as quickly as I can," admitted Salo.
David Coulthard will be hoping he can carry his change of luck with him to the Austrian Grand Prix. Coulthard seemed out of the title race after being dogged by bad luck this year, but his win at Silverstone has kick-started his season. The Scot is 18 points behind team-mate Mika Hakkinen in the title standings, but another good result could give him a chance of the championship. He finished second in Austria last year after starting 14th on the grid.
Mika Hakkinen will be bidding to repeat last year's victory at the A1-Ring when he takes to the track on Sunday. McLaren dominated the 1998 race, with Hakkinen and David Coulthard giving the Woking-based team a one-two. Hakkinen is just eight points clear of Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher, with the latter set to be out for two to three months with a broken leg. Finn Hakkinen was forced to retire from the last round at Silverstone so will be keen to resume his title chase.
Damon Hill will be happy to concentrate on racing now that he has cleared up the speculation surrounding his future. The former World champion was expected to quit after Silverstone but after a solid fifth place, he decided to see out the season. Now he is set on helping his Jordan team in the constructor standings. "I am looking forward to helping the Jordan team achieve their highest ever constructors' championship position," he said.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen will drive through the pain barrier to further both his own and his team's ambitions. He has been diagnosed as having two hairline fractures of the knee after his crash in Canada, and doctors have advised him to take a six-week break. However, he has been testing at Monza in preparation for Sunday's race, and regards the pain as worthwhile. "It really hurts under the right knee, but I wanted to make these tests," he said. "It's very important for us."
Williams driver Ralf Schumacher, who finished third in the British Grand Prix, has revealed that he is not a big fan of the Austrian circuit. "Personally, I am not in love with the A1-ring as I feel the circuit is missing something," he confirmed. "Maybe this is because I knew the old track, which was more exciting with its fast corners. In the past, the main problem was the surface, which has very little grip, especially on the Friday and Saturday."
The Stewart team will be hoping that the misfortunes which robbed them of points at Silverstone will not have followed them to Austria. Rubens Barrichello was running well when a puncture pushed him down the field, though he did well to come back to finish eighth. Johnny Herbert looked set for a top six finish when bad luck intervened. He was given a ten second penalty for overtaking while the safety car was out and eventually came in 12th.
Arrows built up to Sunday's round nine of the championship with a three-day test session at Monza. Pedro de la Rosa completed 82 laps and worked on race simulation as well as new set-ups and aerodynamic changes. Toranosuke Takagi took to the wheel on the third day and tried out two different suspension set-ups. The Oxfordshire-based team have picked up just one point so far and will be keen to finish higher than last year, when they were seventh with six points.
Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 71 laps or 189.57 miles. The old Osterreichring was transformed into the A1-Ring in time for the 1997 race as Formula One returned to Austria after a 10-year break. Austria held its first grand prix in 1964 at Zeltweg. The Osterreichring hosted the race between the 1970 and 1987 campaigns. Jacques Villeneuve holds the lap record at the A1-Ring with a time of one minute, 11.814 seconds.
INTERVIEW WITH ALEX WURZ
Austrian driver Alexander Wurz is still looking for his first victory and would be delighted if he were to achieve that in front of his home fans on Sunday. He made his grand prix debut in Canada in 1997, deputising for Benetton for the sick Gerhard Berger in Canada. Wurz, 25, eventually went on to secure a permanent drive with the team. He grabbed the headlines by finishing third in the 1997 British Grand Prix and if Benetton can again find the recipe for glory will be one to watch.
What sort of circuit is the A1-Ring?
It is one of the few circuits where the design makes overtaking possible. The A1-Ring has three low-speed corners and longer straights in between where outbraking is possible. It has quite a slippery surface and the characteristics change throughout the weekend the more rubber that there is on the circuit. Austria is not quite as tough on the brakes as Hockeheim or Monza but is quite hard nonetheless.
Is the circuit particularly challenging for you and the B199?
I always consider all circuits to be a challenge. In Austria you must be very precise and cannot make even a small mistake as only the line has grip, so if you slide off you will not get a good lap time. Will there be any improvements on the B199? No, the car will be standard. We have identified some key issues relative to the problems suffered at Silverstone but we cannot make these changes in time for Austria.
What do you expect from this race?
I hope I can score some points but everything depends on qualifying and of course a good race strategy. We must get a good grid position as this is important in Formula One these days and I am also hoping for lots of fans with Austrian flags.
Do you feel any extra pressure as it is your home grand prix?
I do not feel any extra pressure. The pressure is always quite high at all races as it is a world championship.
Is there a special feeling driving in front of your Austrian fans?
At your home grand prix it is always extra busy with more local media, more activities to do, more fans and more people I know. It is a very special feeling to drive in front of your home crowd and I am proud to have a race in my country. Austria is very small compared with other countries in the world and the grand prix is a good worldwide advertisement for the country.
What are your feelings about the season so far?
It has been a tough season. At the start of the year the car was very heavy so I was over the weight limit. There have been a few things that have not gone as I would have liked but the season is not over yet. You have to remember that last year after Silverstone, Jordan only had one point but then finished fourth in the constructors' championship. So we should not make any judgement until the season is over.
What are your objectives for the rest of the season?
We have had a few problems on the medium downforce circuits like Silverstone, Imola and Magny-Cours. The team is now working very hard to improve the situation. It will take a few weeks until we have a solution, then we will certainly be more competitive. Hopefully we will regularly score points during the rest of the season.
What do you do to escape from F1?
I like to go to the mountains and forests for running, mountain biking, climbing and hiking. I also like to listen to music, read and just chill out with friends. I love sleeping and need about nine hours.
How do you keep fit with the busy testing and racing schedule?
The most important thing is to have a good level of fitness at the beginning of the season. Your lifestyle should be like that of a top athlete.
22.07.99 - F1Eddie Irvine has hit back at Ferrari team boss Jean Todt over claims that he lost vital seconds at the British Grand Prix by overshooting the pit-stop mark. Todt left the track with the injured Michael Schumacher and Irvine has defended himself over his actions. "Jean was not at the race. I was not trying to beat Coulthard, I was trying to beat Mika Hakkinen. "He did not know that I was racing Hakkinen and I had pulled his lead down from seven seconds to four."
23.07.99F1: THE AUSTRIAN GP
Friday's practice times: 1 D Hill GB Jordan 1:13.303 2 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:13.325 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:13.376 4 R Zonta Brz BAR 1:13.685 5 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:13.696 6 R Schumacher Ger Williams 1:13.711 7 P Diniz Brz Sauber 1:13.740 8 J Villeneuve Can BAR 1:13.840 9 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:13.883 10 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:13.923 11 J Herbert GB Stewart 1:14.008 12 A Zanardi It Williams 1:14.049 13 L Badoer It Minardi 1:14.203 14 M Gene Sp Minardi 1:14.333 15 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 1:14.558 16 M Salo Fin Ferrari 1:14.608 17 J Trulli It Prost 1:14.724 18 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:14.785 19 O Panis Fr Prost 1:15.028 20 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:15.107 21 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 1:15.651 22 T Takagi Jpn Arrows 1:16.067MGF CUP:- The 1999 MGF Cup Championship is at the halfway stage with ex-Formula Three star Warren Hughes out in front with five wins out of seven this year. This weekend will give him the chance to take maximum points with a double- header in Knockhill, Scotland. Despite Hughes' massive lead, the fight to close the gap is hotting up with several competitors in the frame. Nick Carr, the only other driver to win a race this year, is enjoying a good season, as he holds onto third place.
QUINTON STAGES RALLY:- BTRDA Rally series returns to mid- Wales on Saturday for the Quinton Stages Rally. Llandrindod Wells plays host to 125 crews who will contest six special stages in classic forests in the area. First car away will be the Nissan Sunny of Nik Elsmore who has scored maximum points in all four championship events he has contested so far. Behind him are current leader Martin Meadows in his Proton Compact and the Peugoet 306S of Phil Morgan.
24.07.99F1: THE AUSTRIAN GP
Mika Hakkinen was relieved to take pole after being forced into the spare car during the qualifying session. "I lost all power before the second corner," he said. "It was a worrying moment so I'm glad to get pole." Second placed David Coulthard said: "I am disappointed not to get pole but I'm confident with the car and think I am in very good shape for the race." Eddie Irvine, who had brake problems, described third place on the grid as "not a bad place to be for the start."
McLaren drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were quick to highlight the problems of new Ferrari number one Eddie Irvine after qualifying. Hakkinen said: "Eddie may not say so, but he is feeling the pressure believe me. He is number one now. I've been there and he is under pressure." Coulthard, who pushed Irvine back into third place, added: "I am surprised at such a large gap to Eddie. If Eddie says he had brake problems I am not going to disbelieve him.
McLaren look set to keep faith with Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard at the wheel of their cars next season. Coulthard said: "I have had contract talks with Ron Dennis and with several others, but I expect to be staying here with Mika next year. We haven't signed a piece of paper yet, but I trust them. They've have always done what they said they would. I have no reason to think anything other than that we will be back together again next year."
Damon Hill was disappointed after he failed to translate his good form of Friday into Saturday's qualifying. Hill was 11th fastest, after being quickest in Friday's practice, and said: "Whatever we had yesterday did not work today. We had a difficult morning and qualifying was not much better. There were no real problems but the runs did not produce the results we expected. We will just have to work on getting the right set-up for the race."
Qualifying times (Sat): 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:10.954 2 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:11.153 3 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:11.973 4 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 1:12.266 5 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:12.342 6 J Herbert GB Stewart 1:12.488 7 M Salo Fin Ferrari 1:12.514 8 R Schumacher Ger Williams 1:12.515 9 J Villeneuve Can BAR 1:12.833 10 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:12.850 11 D Hill GB Jordan 1:12.901 12 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:12.924 13 J Trulli It Prost 1:12.999 14 A Zanardi It Williams 1:13.101 15 R Zonta Brz BAR 1:13.172 16 P Diniz Brz Sauber 1:13.223 17 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:13.226 18 O Panis Fr Prost 1:13.457 19 L Badoer It Minardi 1:13.606 20 T Takagi Jpn Arrows 1:13.641 21 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 1:14.139 22 M Gene Sp Minardi 1:14.363MGF CUP:- Alistair Lyall is in pole position for round eight on Sunday ahead of David Mason with veteran driver Warren Hughes third on the grid. The double header should give Lyall a chance to improve on his best placing this season when he finished third at Silverstone earlier this month. The drivers struggled to come to terms with Knockhill's infamous Buffus Dip and McIntyre corners. As a result the pits were unusually busy as teams changed set-ups.
Qualifying times for race 8 (Sat): mins secs 1 Lyall MGF 59.928 2 Mason MGF 59.986 3 Hughes MGF 1:00.011 4 Kelly MGF 1:00.034 5 Benham MGF 1:00.046 6 Carr MGF 1:00.157 7 Johnson MGF 1:00.292 8 Kangas MGF 1:00.305 9 Hazell MGF 1:00.378 10 Armes MGF 1:00.497 QUINTON STAGES RALLY Leading positions after stage 6 (Sat): mins secs 1 Smith/Clarke Escort 47:55 2 Bengry/F'brook Mitsubishi 48:06 3 Bell/Spooner Escort 48:10 4 Gough/Beddoes Mitsubishi 48:14 5 Midwinter/Wynn Escort 48:25 6 Jones/Lewis Subaru 48:44 7 Bradbury/Thomas Escort 48:50 8 Davis/Williams Mitsubishi 48:59 9 B'inger/S'bury Opel 49:03 10 Th'pson/Mck'lay Escort 49:07 25.07.99F1: THE AUSTRIAN GP
Eddie Irvine's victory has made him a serious contender for the drivers' championship as he is now just two points behind leader Mika Hakkinen. It was also vindication for the Ferrari driver, who has had to take on the responsibility of being his team's number one driver. Irvine's position in the team has changed following the injury Michael Schumacher sustained at Silverstone. Ferrari have not had a world champion for 20 years.
Championship leader Mika Hakkinen recovered from a disastrous start to finish third. His car was touched by team-mate David Coulthard's on the opening lap as the Scot tried an overtaking move. Hakkinen was forced off the track but kept the engine running before rejoining at the back of the field and forcing his way towards the front. Despite a superb effort from the Finn to work his way back up, he was unable to challenge for victory.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen maintained his consistent form this season with fourh place to further help Jordan in the constructors' championship. It was also a good day for local driver Alexander Wurz, who enjoyed his best result of the season in fifth. Pedro Diniz completed the point-scoring for Sauber, though a number of drivers had challenged for sixth spot. Diniz's team-mate Jean Alesi might have had a chance of a points finish before he retired near the end of the race.
Mika Salo and Johnny Herbert were victims of the clash between Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. As traffic slowed to avoid Hakkinen's McLaren, Salo rammed the back of Herbert's car. Salo, in his first race for Ferrari, was forced into a pit stop for a new nose cone. He rejoined in last place and eventually finished ninth. Herbert spent four laps in the pits having a new rear wing fitted. He came home in 14th spot.
The Stewart-Ford team is hoping to recruit Michael Schumacher, according to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. Ford-Motorsport chief Martin Whitaker told the paper: "I would be doing my job badly if I did not try and recruit the best driver in the world. You can build the best car in the world but it is useless if you do not have the best driver. So Ford must speak with Michael Schumacher." Schumacher has an exit clause in his Ferrari contract, which runs to 2002.
Race winner Eddie Irvine said he was "surprised" to beat the McLarens of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen. Nevertheless, he pointed out that he "knew we'd be faster in the race than in the qualifying. The pit-stop strategy did the job for us." Irvine had left his stop late, allowing him to build a commanding lead. "David was pushing me very hard at the end and I wished the chequered flag would hurry up," he added. It was the nicest chequered flag I've seen."
Eddie Irvine used his victory as a platform against those who had doubted his ability to take over from Michael Schumacher's as Ferrari's number one. "The Italian papers criticised us when we were not close in practice. They didn't take into consideration how much fuel we were running," he said. "This just shows how little they know. I have proved that I can do the job. There is a long way to go for the championship with seven races left but this win really helps."
David Coulthard apologised to Mika Hakkinen after the race for the incident which saw the Finn forced to the back of the field. "It was my nightmare scenario. Not only did I force my team-mate off but I also finished second to a Ferrari," he said. "I misjudged the corner," he admitted of the moment when his car touched the back of Mika Hakkinen's. Coulthard finished just behind Eddie Irvine and said he believed he might have had a chance of victory.
Mika Hakkinen would not be drawn after the race on the clash with David Coulthard which forced him to the back of the field. "Whatever happened is no longer important and I appreciate David's apologies," he said. "The result is acceptable. To come here and score points was important and we have done that." Hakkinen had to carve his way through the field to gain a podium finish, and he said it had been "very enjoyable."
McLaren boss Ron Dennis refused to blame David Coulthard for the incident which forced Mika Hakkinen off at the start in Austria. Hakkinen was able to recover to finish third, behind his team-mate, but Dennis said: "It probably cost us the race but I am not angry. David's apology and Mika's acceptance of it reflects the maturity of their relationship." McLaren are second in the constructors' standings, two points behind Ferrari.
Damon Hill had little to say after coming home in eighth spot, noting that "it all went wrong on the first lap. I lost a couple of places in the first two corners and then lost about five places because Herbert's rear wing came off and I went the wrong side of him." Heniz-Harald Frentzen picked up three points for the Jordan team by finishing in fourth place. Boss Eddie Jordan said: "We were not really quick enough, but we came away with more points, which is important."
Johnny Herbert had the consolation of recording the second fastest lap after rejoining the race four laps down following a clash with Mika Salo. "I got boxed in a bit coming to the first corner," he said of the incident. "I was hit from behind by Salo and I lost my rear wing." Herbert questioned whether it was worth continuing with the chance of points gone, but was glad he did. "The pressure was off so I was able to enjoy myself while still pushing hard."
Rubens Barrichello seemed destined for a points finish when his engine failed on lap 55 with the Stewart driver sitting in fourth place. "The car felt good and my pace was consistent," Barrichello said. "It's frustrating when you get the chance for points and they disappear like that. We have lost points too often this year when well placed." Team boss Paul Stewart was disappointed but said that Barrichello had "proved once again we can run at the front."
Mika Salo promised Ferrari fans better after finishing ninth in his first drive for the Italian team. "I learned a lot," he said. "I know that I have to score points for Ferrari in the Championship. Now that I have more experience with the car I think that will be possible." Of his first lap clash with Johnny Herbert, Salo said: "I was carrying a bit too much speed and hit Herbert. I'm not happy with my race result."
It was yet another disappointing day at the track for Jacques Villeneuve, who was in the points for the first half of the race before retiring his BAR. "I was pleased with my start and in the first part of the race there was a lot of action," he said. "Things were looking good until lap 34 when something in the driveshaft broke. We put in a lot of work and effort this weekend and I feel sorry for the guys because they've been working hard for no result so far."
Result after 71 laps Hr min sec 1 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:28.12.4 2 D Coulthard GB McLaren @ 00.3 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren @ 22.3 4 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan @ 52.8 5 A Wurz Aut Benetton @ 1.06.4 6 P Diniz Brz Sauber @ 1.10.9 7 J Trulli It Prost @ 1 lap 8 D Hill GB Jordan @ 1 lap 9 M Salo Fin Ferrari @ 1 lap 10 O Panis Fr Prost @ 1 lap 11 M Gene Sp Minardi @ 1 lap 12 G Fisichella It Benetton @ 3 laps 13 L Badoer It Minardi @ 3 laps 14 J Herbert GB Stewart @ 4 laps 15 R Zonta Brz BAR @ 8 laps Did not finish 16 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 17 J Alesi Fr Sauber 18 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 19 A Zanardi It Williams 20 J Villeneuve Can BAR 21 T Takagi Jpn Arrows 22 R Schumacher Ger Williams DRIVER STANDINGS 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 44 pts 2 E Irvine GB Ferrari 42 3 M Schumacher Ger Ferrari 32 4 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 29 5 D Coulthard GB McLaren 28 6 R Schumacher Ger Williams 19 7 G Fisichella Ita Benetton 13 8 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 10 9 D Hill GB Jordan 5 10 P Diniz Brz Sauber 3 = A Wurz Aut Benetton 3 12 J Herbert GB Stewart 2 13 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 1 = O Panis Fr Prost 1 = J Alesi Fr Sauber 1 = J Trulli It Benetton 1 CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS 1 Ferrari 74 pts 2 McLaren 72 3 Jordan 34 4 Williams 19 5 Benetton 16 6 Stewart 12 7 Sauber 4 8 Prost 2 9 Arrows 1 MGF CUP (Knockhill):- Result for race 8 (Sun):mins secs 1 M Kelly MGF 20:21.293 2 J Hunter MGF 20:21.391 3 D Mason MGF 20:23.715 4 N Carr MGF 20:27.687 5 M Hazell MGF 20:31.510 6 M Humphrey MGF 20:31.675 7 V Martin MGF 20:32.179 8 M Nordon MGF 20:32.220 9 S King MGF 20:33.409 10 H Kangas MGF 20:40.324 Result for race 9 (Sun):mins secs 1 D Mason MGF * 20:20.229 2 N Carr MGF 20:21.057 3 M Humphrey MGF 20:24.234 4 M Nordon MGF 20:26.953 5 W Hughes MGF 20:28.620 6 M Kelly MGF 20:30.011 7 P Johnson MGF 20:30.138 8 H Kangas MGF 20:35.011 9 D Loudon MGF 20:39.004 10 S King MGF 20:39.268 * car later excluded in scrutineeringBRITISH F3 (Snetterton):- Luciano Burti led all the way as he claimed victory in the 10th round of the Championship. The Brazilian held off rival Marc Hynes to go three points clear of the Briton in the driver standings. Burti took pole position for the race, set the fastest lap time and also survived a spell behind the safety car. "This is a good result for us," he said. "I think the championship is now between me and Hynes. He is quick and his team is good but so are we."
Round 10 result (Sun): mins:secs 1 L Burti Brz Honda 28:26.057 2 M Hynes GB Honda 24:26.515 3 M Davies GB Honda 24:27.345 4 K Kolby Den Honda 24:28.255 5 M O'Connell GB Toyota 24:32.250 6 D Bell GB Honda 24:33.058 7 N Karthikeyan Ind Honda 24:37.583 8 T Spouge GB Opel 24:40.666 9 W Carway Ire Honda 24:44.526 10 T Sato Jpn Honda 24:48.019 11 J Button GB Renault 24:52.029 Positions after 10 of 16 rounds: Pts 1 L Burti Brz Stewart 142 2 M Hynes GB Manor 139 3 N K'keyan Ind Carlin 94 4 J Button GB Promatecme 85 5 K Kolby Den Fortec 79 6 M Davies GB Fortec 66 7 A Yoong Mal Alan Docking 37 8 A Kirkaldy GB Stewart 46 9 M Bentwood GB SpeedSport 30 10 A Coelho Brz Promatecme 24 26.07.99F1:- David Coulthard has been assured that his job with McLaren is safe, despite the error which damaged team-mate Mika Hakkinen's title hopes in Austria. "What happened does not in any way affect next year," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis. "Why would it? It has nothing to do with next season." Coulthard added: "I would be very surprised if what happened in one race decided my future." McLaren are expected to formally retain Hakkinen and Coulthard shortly.
CART (Michigan):- Tony Kanaan won the US 500 for his first CART FedEx Series success after taking the lead when Max Papis ran out of fuel half a lap from the end. Papis, who had never led in his first 50 CART races, held a lead of just over three seconds at the start of the final lap but he spluttered to a halt. Scotland's Dario Franchitti had to settle for fifth place in his Honda. Title rival Juan Montoya came second and Franchitti stands 13 points behind him in the driver standings.
Final result (Sun): laps 1 T Kanaan Brz Honda 250 2 J Montoya Col Honda 250 3 P Tracy Can Honda 250 4 M Andretti US Ford 250 5 D Franchitti GB Honda 250 6 A Fernandez Mex Reynard 250 7 M Papis It Ford 250 8 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford 250 9 J Vasser US Honda 249 10 P Carpentier Can Mercedes 248 Driver standings: Points 1 J Montoya Col Honda 129 2 D Franchitti GB Honda 116 3 M Andretti US Ford 107 4 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford 101 5 A Fernandez Mex Ford 95USFF2000:- Briton Daniel Wheldon has lost the lead in the championship after a nightmare weekend at Road Atlanta, widely regarded as one of the toughest tracks. In the first of the weekend's two races, Wheldon qualified third on the grid, but an electrical problem meant he could only finish in 26th place. Wheldon qualified fourth on the grid for the second race but was forced to retire after he was hit from the rear. "It's really frustrating to come away from Atlanta with nothing," he said.
PORSCHE CUP:- Peter Chambers notched two wins in the ninth round of the 1999 Pirelli Porsche Cup at Knockhill on Sunday to extend his lead in the championship standings. Mike Salmon and Paul Mace also had victories at the event.
27.07.99F1: THE GERMAN GP
Eddie Irvine has conceded that Mika Hakkinen is still the favourite to land his second world title, despite the Ferrari star's triumph in Austria. Irvine clinched his second win of the year at the A1-Ring and told Gazzetta dello Sport: "The Championship is certainly more interesting now. Hakkinen is the number one threat in the points table and I am going to make a fight of it. However, Mika is still the favourite. He is faster at the moment."
Mika Hakkinen will be keen to return to winning ways on Sunday. The Finn last savoured victory in Canada in early June and his hopes of success were dashed in Austria last weekend by team-mate David Coulthard. Coulthard collided with Hakkinen on the first lap, leaving the world champion to fight through the tail-enders before clinching a superb third place. "I was very upset because David cost me the race but I have accepted it was a mistake," admitted Hakkinen.
McLaren have insisted that team orders will not be issued for Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard until it is strictly necessary in the title race. Team chief Ron Dennis said: "There is a provision in both drivers' contracts for team orders. We will not use them until it is mathematically necessary and that is not the situation at the moment." Hakkinen currently leads the championship and is 16 points ahead of Scotsman Coulthard.
Damon Hill was fourth in last year's German Grand Prix and a repeat result would boost Jordan's hopes of finishing third in the constructor standings. Jordan look well on course for their best-ever result, thanks mainly to the exploits of the rejevenated German Heinz-Harald Frentzen. However, critics of Hill have forgotten that he led the team to fourth place overall last year. Hill did not begin to find his form until the second half of 1998.
It will be up to Ralf Schumacher to fly the flag for his family at his home circuit, with brother Michael still recovering from his broken leg. "On no other circuit do you feel the atmosphere so strongly as you do in the infield of the Hockenheim track," revealed the Williams driver. "It is one of my three home circuits, along with Monaco and the Nurburgring and I have always enjoyed racing there. To enjoy the long straights you need a powerful engine or it is boring."
Rubens Barrichello has already put his disappointing Austrian race behind him. The Stewart star was fifth with just six laps remaining when the Ford engine blew on his car. "I am a pretty positive sort of guy," said the Brazilian. "You cannot dwell on the past because Formula One moves at such a pace. Our rate of development has been very good this year. We have improved a different aspect of the car and engine package at every single race."
Much has been made of David Coulthard's rotten luck but Johnny Herbert has surpassed the Scot in that department. An enforced trip to the pits at Silverstone denied him a possible points finish and an unlucky collision foiled him in Austria. Herbert says concentration will be the key on Sunday. "I find it more mentally demanding," he said. "Concentration is crucial because you are travelling in a straight line at full throttle for long periods."
Alex Zanardi has not competed at Hockenheim since his time with Lotus and is still chasing his first points of 1999 with Williams. "Hockenheim is a circuit I like with its great motordrome for the fans," said Zanardi. "It is a good track for overtaking but, at the moment, we are not very fast on the straights and it may not be our best race but we will try very hard." Damon Hill gave the Oxfordshire-based team their last Hockeheim win in 1996.
British American Racing driver Jacques Villeneuve has finished third twice in three starts at the German Grand Prix. The Canadian has yet to finish a race for Formula One's newest team and would relish his luck changing in round 10 of the championship. Senior race engineer Jock Clear admitted: "Jacques struggled at Hockenheim in the first two years. However, last year we found the secret to fast times there. He is definitely looking forward to the race."
Ricardo Zonta is hoping that his knowledge of the German circuit will pay dividends on Sunday. "I have raced there for the last three years," he confirmed. "In 1996, in Formula 3000, we had two races there and I finished sixth in the first but a gear problem ensured I was 11th in the other after running second. In 1997, I won the race and soon after that got an invitation to do my first Formula One test. Last year, in the FIA GT race, I was second at Hockenheim."
Team chief Alain Prost has refused to comment on reports that manufacturers Peugeot are pulling out of the sport. It has been rumoured that Peugeot are set to end their partnership with the French team. Ex-world champion Prost said: "This sort of question leads to one reply - no comment." "However, I cannot deny that something is happening as far as the future is concerned. I can say nothing more for the moment."
Prost want to re-sign Jarno Trulli for the 2000 campaign. Team boss Alain Prost said: "Problems exist. Jarno is asking questions. I would really like to keep him but the market is open. "I am giving myself another month before naming the drivers for 2000." Arrows driver Toranosuke Takagi is searching for his first 1999 points. He qualified in 15th spot at Hockenheim last year and was 13th in the race.
Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 45 laps or 307.022km. David Coulthard achieved the fastest lap time in last year's race, clocking one minute, 46.116 on lap 17. Jacques Villeneuve claimed his first podium finish of 1998 at Hockeneheim, finishing third despite problems with the rear of the FW 20. Hockenheim was first used for racing in 1939 when it consisted of little more than two straights linked by a couple of hairpins.
RALF SCHUMACHER ON THE GERMAN GP
Ralf Schumacher has climbed out from under the shadow of brother Michael and proved himself in Formula One after just under three years in the sport. The German made his debut with Jordan in the 1997 Australian Grand Prix and had two years with the team before moving on to Williams. Williams' 19 points so far in 1999 have all come from Schumacher. He goes into Sunday's race in front of of his home crowd without his brother, who is sidelined with a broken leg.
Do you have any special memories of competing at Hockenheim?
I have good memories about the circuit from my many ADAC-Junior and Formula Three races. Most of the time it is difficult to find a reasonable set-up there. You need mechanical grip in the slow infield as well as little aerodynamical downforce for the long straights. You can also improve your time by using the kerbs.
Do you think that having two grands prix so close somehow affects the performance of the teams?
I do not think so. As far as I know there were no great crashes in Zeltweg and therefore the teams will have no problem to build up the cars as usual.
This is your second race without your brother. How does it affect you?
It does not influence me so heavily. We generally do not have much time together at races. In the evening I sometimes miss having dinner with him.
What are your feelings about this season so far?
I am satisfied with the season so far and I am sure that the Winfield Williams team will do well for the rest of the season.
What is your target for this season?
My target is to finish within the points as often as possible. Hockenheim will be difficult because of the long straights. Budapest should be easier. For the rest of the season I do not want to predict anything.
What would your advice be to young drivers who want to enter, and succeed, in Formula One?
To win as many grands prix as possible and to concentrate 100 per cent on motor racing.
From a technical point of view, how are things within the Williams team?
The team is working very hard to plug the gap to the front running teams. The atmosphere is good and I have a good relationship with the team.
Next year Williams F1 have BMW as a partner and engine supplier. How do you see next season?
We are all pleased about the co-operation with BMW, although we are sure that everything, especially in the first year, will be difficult. What is your opinion about the current 'difficulties of overtaking' in F1?
Overtaking was always difficult. It is also a matter of circumstances. Remember back to Magny-Cours, there were many overtaking manoeuvres.
Is there any special greeting you wish to dedicate to the German crowd?
I wish the German crowd an interesting race with many overtaking actions and hopefully I will finish in the points for the Winfield Williams F1 team.
ULSTER RALLY:- The Volkswagen team heads to Ulster with drivers Mark Higgins and Raimund Baumschlager aiming to repeat past successes on Friday and Saturday. Higgins won the rally outright on his last visit in 1997, the year he went on to win the drivers' title. "I have fond memories of the event but it demands respect and often throws up a surprise or two," he explained. "We've got the Golf working better over the bumps now. In fact, the whole car is improving every time we try it."
Although victory has so far eluded Raimund Baumschlager, steady results have kept the team in second place in the manufacturers' title race. And former Austrian champion Baumschlager is hoping his fourth place in last year's Ulster Rally will stand him in good stead. He commented: "It was not only our first Ulster Rally but also our first British Championship round. This year we can tackle it with some experience of the conditions."
Gwyndaf Evans will hope the new Spanish-built engine in his SEAT car will help him to extend his fantastic record on Ulster's country lanes. Last year's winner has been one of the fastest drivers in this year's series and looks a good bet to go well again. "This year you have to drive flat out all the time to get a good result," he explained. "That has been our tactic pretty much all season. With a bit of luck, we can win it agin for sure," he added.
Toni Gardemeister, with three podium finishes, has been the revelation of the season so far. The flying Finn is tackling each course for the first time but is aiming to snatch second place in the championship from reigning champion Martin Rowe. "The Jim Clark Memorial Rally was very good experience ` it was my first asphalt rally since Monte Carlo," Gardemeister revealed. "The Ibiza is fantastic and we have the confidence to drive flat out."
The latest Vauxhall Astra Formula 2 kit car will make its debut in the penultimate round of the series. It could give Neil Wearden and his Irish co-driver Trevor Agnew their best chance of glory this year. Wearden admitted: "With this new car we have the potential to do even better than we did on the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, where we finished fifth. It is the latest development model and, after the test we had last week, I feel pretty positive we will do well."
Following his record-breaking top-10 finish in the Jim Clark memorial Rally, Neil Simpson is aiming even higher in his turbo-diesel 1.9 litre Golf. Simpson hopes the bumpy lanes will suit the car's massive torque levels and boost its challenge to the supremacy of petrol power in British rallying. "The Ulster roads are really tight and twisting, unlike anything else in rallying," he said. Co-driver Mike Gibson's knowledge of the course will also be a big asset.
The Peugeot Sport 106 team travel to Belfast in the knowledge the Ferodo Super 1600 title is already in the bag. Justin Dale of Longparish and Brighton based Andrew Bargery have won three of the four rounds to date and secured the crown at the Jim Clark Memorial Rally. And according to Dale, there's still plenty left in the tank. "With the pressure now off, we can now show what we and the car are really capable of. You can rest assured we will be doing all we can to prove it was no fluke."
New Proton driver Geoff Jones is hoping that an impressive week of testing will give him and the team a good chance. Jones, who has not driven the Compact since the beginning of 1998, revealed: "I was amazed how much the car has developed in just over a year. "I enjoy competing in Ireland. With the atmosphere and friendly people, there is nowhere quite like it." Charlie Jukes will also be in a Proton Compact for the Acrylicon team in his first Ulster Rally.
The Super 106 Cup joins the premier British Rally Championship in Belfast with series leader Martin Sansom very comfortable on the asphalt surface. Sansom, just pipped at Millbrook by Dave Pattison, willl retain the lead after this round so may prefer to go for points rather than an outright win. Irish trio Rory Galligan, Paul Crossen and Seamus Donnelly will look to make the most of their local knowledge. Mark Fisher too will want to build on a solid drive in the Sligo Rally.
The penultimate round of the Skoda Trophy takes place in Northern Ireland on Friday and Saturday. The event has attracted 13 of the championship's 24 registered drivers, with the main battle set to be between James Slack and Daniel Dunbabin. Slack has a 17-point lead but dropped scores will come into operation after this rally and the Leicestershire man must drop at least 17 at this stage. With seven scores counting from nine rounds, Dunbabin is poised for success.
Subaru's David Higgins is hoping to clinch the Production Cup category of the championship this weekend. Higgins and co-driver Chris Patterson have a 33-point lead but know that outright victory on the Ulster asphalt will be a tough task. "I regard the Ulster Rally as the most technically demanding event of the series," said Higgins. "A good result in Ireland has always eluded me but I feel this year with the Barretts team I have a good chance."
BTCC:- There are just 10 rounds left in this year's thrilling Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship as the series moves on to Thruxton. Nissan's Laurent Aiello won both races at the high-speed Hampshire circuit back in May and the talented Frenchman has been on top ever since. But David Leslie hit prime form at Snetterton and looks the man most likely to eat into Aiello's lead. BBC TV will be live at the circuit to see who will take the chequered flag.
Fiery Scot David Leslie made a slow start to the year but hasn't looked back since scoring his first win of the season at Donington in June. He capitalised on Laurent Aiello's mechanical mishaps in the last two rounds at Snetterton to come away with well-deserved first and second places. "I'm just a dozen points behind Laurent and am determined to make my experience count this weekend," he declared. "Thruxton is one of my favourite circuits as well."
Honda's James Thompson will want to make up the ground he lost on Laurent Aiello and David Leslie when Yvan Muller forced him off at Snetterton. But he knows his car is not ideally suited to the Thruxton track. He admitted: "Our car is probably better on other types of track with fewer high-speed sweeping corners. When the racing is this close though, anything can happen. I did not have any luck at Snetterton so maybe I will get some this time round."
Ford drivers Alain Menu and Anthony Reid will be relishing the prospect of returning to Thruxton. They won the corresponding races last year driving for different teams but are now behind the wheel of the Mondeo. The team will hope the pair reproduce the form they showed at the circuit in May when their podium hopes were dashed by unfortunate crashes. Reid, the current lap record holder at Thruxton, confirmed: "I expect this to be one of our stronger circuits."
Frenchman Yvan Muller is hoping for another fine performance to follow his brave effort at Snetterton this month. Depsite several excursions off the circuit, the flamboyant Muller still managed to drive his Vectra into third place in the night race. "It is possible we can make the podium again at Thruxton but we will need better luck than last time," he said. "I had punctures there earlier this year and I don't want that again. If we qualify right we can have a good race."
Vauxhall's double champion John Cleland regards Thruxton as one of his favourite circuits. The Scottish star is as determined as ever to taste the victory champagne while also admiring the contribution of live television coverage of the BTCC. "Thruxton always seems to produce good racing and I think live television at the BTCC is great," said Cleland. "It's put the BTCC up into the premier league of sport. It's live on the day, and you get to see all the tension."
Matt Neal hit the jackpot at Easter in his Nissan Primera when he became the first independent driver in modern times to win a round. The Stourbridge man has recorded three podium finishes since that famous win including one at Thruxton and could surprise the bigger names. That said, Neal himself faces a strong challenge for independent honours with Will Hoy now at Arena International. The former BTCC champion looked good in their Renault Laguna at Snetterton.
CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING Driver ratings (July 27) Points 1 M Hakkinen Fin Formula One 1025 2 J Gordon US NASCAR 959 3 M Schumacher Ger Formula One 873 4 D Jarrett US NASCAR 841 5 N Heidfeld Ger German F3 816 6 E Irvine GB Formula One 784 7 J Burton US NASCAR 773 8 JP Montoya Col Champ Cars 746 9 D Coulthard GB Formula One 738 10 M Martin US NASCAR 726 28.07.99F1:- Eddie Irvine has cast doubts on whether Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher will ever return to Formula One after his dramatic crash at Silverstone. The Ulsterman, who is only two points behind championship leader Mika Hakkinen, is Ferrari's number one driver in Schumacher's absence. "I could not say if I was in his position with a wife and two children whether I would do it all again," Irvine told a German magazine. "Who knows if he'll come back at all?"
RALLY RANKINGS:- Subaru star Richard Burns has retained his lead over Colin McRae in the Rally driver rankings. The Englishman overtook McRae in early July and both men's positions remained unchanged after their respective retirements in the Rally of New Zealand McRae's younger brother Alister has moved up to third place, ahead of reigning British champion Martin Rowe. Dominic Buckley has slipped down three spots to 10th but Neil Wearden has climbed 15 places to make the top 20.
Top 10 1 Richard Burns 2 Colin McRae 3 Alister McRae 4 Martin Rowe 5 Gwyndaf Evans 6 Marcus Dodd 7 David Higgins 8 John Price 9 Kenny McKinstry 10 Dominic Buckley VAUXHALL VECTRA'S (Thruxton):- Testing times (Wed): 1 R Collard 1:26.566 2 A Morrison 1:27.226 3 G Coomes 1:27.274 4 M Ticehurst 1:27.296 5 J Yeomans 1:27.340 6 G Pyper 1:27.391 F.VAUXHALL (Thruxton):- Testing times (Wed): 1 R Bell 1:19.769 2 R Dalziel 1:19.781 3 G Paffett 1:20.002 4 S Hodgetts 1:20.247 5 M Pavlovic 1:20.332 6 J Dalziel 1:20.438 FORD FIESTA'S (Thruxton):- Testing times (Wed): 1 M Burton 1:36.692 2 G Shedden 1:36.735 3 G Howell 1:37.071 4 D Buxton 1:37.110 5 C Turkington 1:37.131 6 C Stancombe 1:37.142 F.FORD (Thruxton):- Testing times (Wed): 1 R van der Ende 1:19.269 2 J Courtney 1:19.398 3 C Murray 1:20.190 4 P Gray 1:20.206 5 M Taylor 1:20.229 6 M Ambrose 1:20.262 29.07.99F1:- Michael Schumacher could miss the rest of the season after his broken leg, sustained at the British Grand Prix, has not healed as quickly as hoped. "Michael has not made the step forward we would have expected," his manager Willi Weber was quoted as saying. "Michael will not come back unless he is 100% fit. It could be 12 to 16 weeks now - it is all up to the doctors." Ferrari are reportedly optimistic that he can return for their home Grand Prix in Italy in mid-September.
RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Thruxton):- Testing times (Thu): 1 T Masini 1:25.608 2 A Priaulx 1:26.051 3 M Cole 1:26.403 4 P Bennett 1:27.109 5 O Mildenhall 1:28.055 6 A Hildebrand 1:28.219 F.RENAULT (Thruxton):- Testing times (Thu): 1 A Pizzonia 1:14.203 2 R Austin 1:14.872 3 M Boost 1:15.970 4 C Breeze 1:16.109 5 L Walker 1:16.216 6 P Nilsson 1:16.329 F3000 (Hockenheim):- Grid Positions for Sunday 1 M Wilson Brz Petrobras 1:59.828 2 B Junqueira Brz Petrobras 2:00.161 3 F Montagny Fra DAMS 2:00.069 4 G Rodriguez Uru Astromega 2:00.295 5 N Heidfeld Ger WEST Comp 2:00.574 6 S Sarrazin Fra Gauloises 2:00.580 7 E Bernoldi Bra Red Bull 2:00.744 8 S Ayari Fra Cica 2:00.585 9 N Fontana Arg Fortec 2:00.992 10 J Watt Den Super Nova 2:00.918 30.07.99F1: THE GERMAN GP
Friday practice times: 1 J Trulli It Prost 1:45.677 2 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:46.225 3 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:46.243 4 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:46.411 5 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:46.418 6 O Panis Fr Prost 1:46.516 7 M Salo Fin Ferrari 1:46.542 8 D Hill GB Jordan 1:46.851 9 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:46.859 10 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:46.886 11 M Gene Sp Minardi 1:46.913 12 A Zanardi It Williams 1:47.043 13 R Schumacher Ger Williams 1:47.334 14 P Diniz Brz Sauber 1:47.513 15 J Villeneuve Can BAR 1:47.513 16 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:47.551 17 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 1:47.802 18 J Herbert GB Stewart 1:47.985 19 L Badoer It Minardi 1:48.953 20 R Zonta Brz BAR 1:48.978 21 T Takagi Jpn Arrows 1:49.059 22 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 1:49.207Eddie Irvine has launched his latest verbal attack on David Coulthard by dismissing the Scot's title chances on the eve of the German Grand Prix. The 33-year-old Ferrari driver said he believes Coulthard's McLaren teammate Mika Hakkinen is his only rival. Irvine said: "I can beat David any day of the week so that is one half of the McLaren stable beaten." Irvine saw off Coulthard in last week's Austrian Grand Prix and Hakkinen admitted: "Eddie is very close."
ULSTER RALLY:- Vauxhall's Neil Wearden has survived a day of rallying that many would prefer to forget. The Lancashire driver suffered a mild miss-fire early in the day, but held his pace to take the overall lead: "I hope the boys in the Black Bull will have a pint ready for me!" he joked at the end of leg 1. "On a more serious level tomorrow's plan is to start gently on the tricky early stages and then pick the pace up throughout the day".
Gwyndaf Evans summed up Leg one of today's eventful rally: "There were a lot of incidents today - typical of the Ulster Rally. The roads encourage you to drive fast and tend to give you a false sense of security. The stages are very slippery even in these dry conditions, as there is a lot of dust on top of the dry asphalt. There is always a lot of retirements here, and this year's Ulster Rally is no different."
Volkswagen's amazing Greenery Diesel Golf is lying in second place on the Stena Line Ulster Rally. "I'm delighted with the TDi, it hasn't missed a beat all day. We're in good shape to challenge for the overall lead on Leg two" commented Neil Simpson. Proton is the only other manufacturer with both cars still in then event. Team boss Kerrie Flaus commented:"Both cars have run fautlessly. I'm pleased considering we are not running the more powerful 'kit' specification."
Peugeot's Justin Dale has been showing his 'giant killing' abilities today, taking the 1600cc 106 to new heights. "With the Ferodo Super 1600 Cup title already decided I've been able to push really hard today. The difference in the pace is cleary starting to show. I'm able to aim for a good position in the Formula Two category." commented Dale. Justin nearest rival in the 1600 class, Marku Ramanen retired on stage nine with clutch problems.
Dave West took the lead of the Skoda Trophy, run in conjunction with the British Rally Championship when Martin Newcombe rolled on stage three. The father and son team had set fastest time on the opening stages before handing the lead to West. West, driving an almost standard Skoda Felica 1300 holds a slender advantage over Simon Brough for rally honours. Championship leader Daniel Dunbabin lies fifth overall which is enough to consolidate his title bid.
The Mobil 1 British Rally Championship was joined by the Peugeot 106 Cup for this event. Local Ballinamallard driver Mark Fisher received a boost in his overall challenge for the title when current leader Martin Sansom ran into trouble. Sansom, from Sidcup, driving an identical Peugeot ran into trouble on stage four. He managed to limp his way through the next two stages but was forced to retire leaving Fisher to take the lead.
LEADERBOARD after 9 of 20 stages (interim) hr min sec 1 N Wearden Vauxhall 1:03:12.1 2 N Simpson Volkswagen 1:03:40.4 3 D Higgins Subaru 1:04:09.1 4 D McGarrity Subaru 1:04:56.3 5 M Higgins Volkswagen 1:05:17.8 6 G Evans SEAT 1:05:24.7 7 S Whitford Mitsubishi 1:05:25.0 8 N Elsmore Nissan 1:05:36.5 9 J Dale Peugeot 1:05:57.7 10 J Porter Ford 1:06:15.8 31.07.99F1: THE GERMAN GP
Johnny Herbert escaped serious injury after being involved in a 210mph crash during Saturday's final practice. Herbert was near to where Britain's former world champion Jim Clark was killed in 1968 when the rear wing of his car collapsed and he lost control. He hit a barrier and slid backwards for 200 yards but only bruised his thumb. "It was a case of getting ready for the impact and all it needed was a small bump on the circuit and I could have been turned upside-down," he said.
Mika Hakkinen was delighted at claiming the 100th pole for McLaren in the home race of engine suppliers Mercedes. He said: "It makes it pretty special. It is a very important race for Mercedes. I had to fight for pole position and it was really enjoyable. It was extremely close, but that's how it should be." David Coulthard was forced to use the spare car after damage caused by tread coming off a tyre. He said: "It was an attention-grabbing moment."
David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen may not have their McLaren contracts renewed next season. Team boss Ron Dennis said he would look at other drivers before deciding if he would re-sign the duo. "We would not be fulfilling our professional obligations if we didn't evaluate all the options," he said. "We are fortunate in having quite good cars and that allows us some degree of luxury in regards to the quantity of drivers that want to drive for us."
Final qualifying times: mins:secs 1 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:42.950 2 H-H Frentzen Ger Jordan 1:43.000 3 D Coulthard GB McLaren 1:43.288 4 M Salo Fin Ferrari 1:43.577 5 E Irvine GB Ferrari 1:43.769 6 R Barrichello Brz Stewart 1:43.938 7 O Panis Fr Prost 1:43.979 8 D Hill GB Jordan 1:44.001 9 J Trulli It Prost 1:44.209 10 G Fisichella It Benetton 1:44.338 11 R Schumacher Ger Williams 1:44.468 12 J Villeneuve Can BAR 1:44.508 13 A Wurz Aut Benetton 1:44.522 14 A Zanardi It Williams 1:45.034 15 M Gene Sp Minardi 1:45.331 16 P Diniz Brz Sauber 1:45.335 17 J Herbert GB Stewart 1:45.454 18 R Zonta Brz BAR 1:45.460 19 L Badoer It Minardi 1:45.917 20 P de la Rosa Sp Arrows 1:45.935 21 J Alesi Fr Sauber 1:45.962 22 T Takagi Jpn Arrows 1:46.209ULSTER RALLY:- Neil Wearden drove a tactical rally to win his first ever Mobil 1 British Championship event for Vauxhall. "We knew beforehand that the rally would be tricky. We used our heads a little bit and it paid off. It's not just that others have crashed out, the car is even better than it was on the previous event. I had dust in my eyes and couldn't see well for some of time and my hands are blistered from changing gear, but I really enjoyed the event." he added.
Tapio Laukkanen clinched the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship title, in spite of a big accident on Leg 1. "Yesterday I made the first mistake of the year when I went off and it very nearly cost us the finish and my first rally title." he commented. "I'm delighted as it has been a dream year, plus a hard route to the top. I want to thank everyone involved in the Renault team as the Megane has be the perfect car and also Michelin for giving me the best tyres available."
Mats Andersson and Claire Mole have finished second in the Ferodo Super 1600 class and seventh F2. Teammate Geoff Jones was less fortunate when he rolled the Compact on stage 15 ending a long battle with Andersson. Team Manager, Harry Hockly commented: "With both cars driving on the limit you have to accept this can happen. "But we are delighted with Mats' result. It's our best ever result on the British Championship."
David Higgins survived a small off on Leg 2 to take the Production Cup title for this year in the Barratts Subaru. The Production Cup category was won by Johnny Milner but this was not enough to rob Higgins of the title. Milner survived a brush with Mike Brown's SEAT on Leg 1 which bent the suspension. On Leg 2 his hard driving pushed the car so hard he knocked the top mounting off on a heavy landing.
The Skoda Trophy, run in conjunction with the British Rally Championship was won by Dave West, but the title will not be decided until the next event. The dramatic retirement of James Slack during the opening leg threw the title race wide open again and the advantage back to the Dunbanin brothers. A finish inside the top seven on the final round, at the Manx Rally, will give Dunbabin the Skoda Trophy. Simon Brough took a useful third place in his Felica to keep up the pressure.
LEADERBOARD after 20 stages (interim) hr min sec 1 N Wearden Vauxhall 2:47:34.4 2 G Evans SEAT 2:49:25.3 3 M Higgins Volkswagen 2:50:38.5 4 D McGarrity Subaru 2:55:57.9 5 N Simpson Volkswagen 2:56:49.0 6 J Milner Toyota 2:57:03.8 7 J Dale Peugeot 2:57:25.2 8 S Whitford Mitsubishi 2:57:43.6 9 D Higgins Subaru 2:57:47.9 10 T Laukkanen Renault 2:58:19.6 DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Laukkanen 144 2 Evans 97 3 Higgins 93 4 Rowe 88 5 Wearden 83 6 Gardemeister 75 MANUFACTURERS 1 Renault 70 2 SEAT 48 3 Volkswagen 46 4 Vauxhall 41 5 Peugeot 33 6 Proton 21BTCC (Thruxton):- Rickard Rydell produced a superb performance to secure double-pole for rounds 17 and 18 on Sunday. The reigning champion's efforts eclipsed those of current championship leader Laurent Aiello who had to settle for a second and third spot. Aiello's teammate David Leslie also had to be content with a second and third. Swede Rydell's Volvo S40 has dominated Thruxton qualifying this season, taking all four pole positions on offer, to add to three out of four last year.
Round 17 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:15.100 2 L Aiello Fr Nissan 1:15.397 3 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:15.528 4 J Thompson GB Honda 1:15.953 5 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 1:15.957 6 M Neal GB Nissan 1:16.221 7 A Menu Swi Ford 1:16.252 8 J Plato GB Williams 1:16.304 9 P Kox Hol Honda 1:16.492 10 Y Muller Fr Vauxhall 1:16.642 Round 18 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs 1 R Rydell Swe Volvo 1:15.408 2 D Leslie GB Nissan 1:15.558 3 L Aiello Fr Nissan 1:15.570 4 V Radermecker Bel Volvo 1:15.706 5 J Plato GB Williams 1:16.194 6 J Thompson GB Honda 1:16.351 7 A Menu Swi Ford 1:16.602 8 M Neal GB Nissan 1:16.653 9 Y Muller Fr Vauxhall 1:16.842 10 P Kox Hol Honda 1:16.940 FORD FIESTA'S (Thruxton):- Round 9 result: 1 N Padley 19:46.705 2 M Burton 19:46.715 3 G Shedden 19:49.349 4 N Gordon 19:49.616 5 D Buxton 19:52.600 6 G Howell 19:53.087 Qualifying times (round 10) 1 G Shedden 1:36.177 2 P Rivett 1:36.405 3 D Gibson 1:36.688 4 N Beaumont 1:36.793 5 S Clarke 1:36.900 6 M Burton 1:36.911 RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Thruxton):- Qualifying times (Sat): mins secs 1 A Priaulx 1:24.835 2 M Cole 1:25.282 3 T Masini 1:25.339 4 P Bennett 1:25.585 5 O Mildenhall 1:26.799 6 A Hildebrand 1:26.977F.RENAULT (Thruxton):- Antonio Pizzonia became the first driver in the history of the event to break the one minute, 14 second mark at Thruxton as he took pole position. He finished ahead of teammates Rob Austin and Leighton Walker with the trio saying tyre wear will be crucial.
Qualifying times (Sat): 1 A Pizzonia 1:13.895 2 R Austin 1:14.484 3 L Walker 1:14.836 4 M Boost 1:15.250 5 P Nilsson 1:15.424 6 C Breeze 1:15.611 F.FORD (Thruxton):- Qualifying times (Sat): mins secs 1 R van der Ende 1:18.287 2 J Courtney 1:18.806 3 N Kiesa 1:18.936 4 M Ambrose 1:18.949 5 T Sisley 1:19.014 6 P Gray 1:19.637 VAUXHALL VECTRA CHALLENGE (Thruxton):- Qualifying times (round 9):mins secs 1 A Morrison 1:26.015 2 R Collard 1:27.045 3 M Ticehurst 1:27.247 4 G Coomes 1:27.433 5 J Rhodes 1:27.706 6 J Yeomans 1:27.772 F.VAUXHALL (Thruxton):- Qualifying times (round 10):mins secs 1 R Dalziel 1:18.300 2 S Hodgetts 1:18.407 3 G Paffett 1:18.488 4 M Pavlovic 1:18.490 5 J Dalziel 1:18.730 6 R Bell 1:18.842 F3000 (Hockenheim):- Saturday's result: 1 B Junqueira Brz Petrobras 1:01.17 2 M Wilson Brz Petrobras 1:01.18 3 S Sarrazin Fra Gauloises 1:01.22 4 G Rodriguez Uru Astromega 1:01.25 5 E Bernoldi Bra Red Bull 1:01.42 6 F Montagny Fra DAMS 1:01.52 7 J Watt Den Super Nova 1:01.53 8 D Saelens Bel Super Nova 1:02.00 9 J Davies GB Euro FR 1:02.02 10 O Martini It Draco ES 1:02.03