June 1996 Motorsport News

02.06.99 - F1
Williams duo Ralf Schumacher and Alessandro Zanardi both suffered blown engines in a testing session in Monza on Wednesday. However, Schumacher had already set the fastest time of 1min 29.96 seconds. Prost test driver Stephan Sarrazin also suffered from a blown engine, though teammate Jarno Trulli and Sauber's Jean Alesi came through without mishaps. Ferrari are testing on Thursday with test driver Luca Badoer. Michael Schumacher is on a week's holiday.

F1:- Ricardo Zonta has returned to the cockpit of a British American Racing car - seven weeks after injuring a foot in a practice crash in Brazil. He carried out a test session at Silverstone, although poor weather and engine problems hit his circuit time. "The past seven weeks have been very frustrating but now I am just so glad to be able to drive again," he said. "I can see already that the technical development since Brazil has made a difference to the handling of the car."

BRITISH F3:- The seventh round of the championship takes place at Croft on Sunday with the title battle hotting up. Luciano Burti leads the way by four points from Marc Hynes having won two of the last three races to establish his advantage. Hynes led at the start of the campaign by winning the opening two races but dropped back at Oulton Park. However, he was quickest in testing for this Sunday's race and will be keen to get back to winning ways.

Aside from the top two, many other drivers will be keen for high finishes on Sunday. Third-placed British driver Jenson Button will be looking to get back on the podium after his recent run of consistent scores. Kristian Kolby was second at Oulton Park and will be looking for his first race win, while teammate Matt Davies will also aim to challenge. Round Five winner Narain Karthikeyan is also expected to run well.

ACROPOLIS RALLY:- The World Championship moves into the second half of the season on Greece's Acropolis Rally, which runs from Sunday to Wednesday. After seven rallies in just over four months, four different manufacturers have tasted victory. The temperature could be the biggest problem in Greece as it often soars above 30 degrees Celsius. It is similar to the Safari Rally in that respect but coolling key areas in the car is more difficult in Greece.

Colin McRae and Nicky Grist are aiming to become the first pairing to secure a hat-trick of wins this season. McRae and co-driver Grist have already won in Kenya and Portugal and believe they can achieve success in a rally that is known to drain drivers' energy. "You should not feel any more tired in Greece if you have done your training properly," said McRae. "So long as you maintain the right level of fluid intake during the day and you are fit you should be okay."

Colin McRae and his Ford Focus team have been testing the car ahead of the Greece event in a bid to get the Scot's title hopes back on track. "We will have tested the Focus on rough roads and in the heat to check it is ready and I will have trained in the high Greece temperatures," said McRae. "Although the Safari Rally in Kenya is probably hotter, you do not drive flat out all the time. Greece is more of a sprint event. You drive at your limits on every stage."

The Subaru team go into the event on the back of an impressive one-two result in Argentina. Britain's Richard Burns was runner-up to Juha Kankkunen in that round and it was the second time he had looked in with a chance of victory this year. He revealed: "Argentina proved that we should have the best combination of car and tyres for Greece. With the best equipment for the job, I will be aiming to be not just the first Subaru home but the first car home."

The Acropolis is one of the few major rallies that Championship leader Tommi Makinen has yet to win. However, he insisted: "The rally is always really hard for the car but I think we can do well. I want to win very much and make up for some bad luck recently. I want to increase my lead in the Championship." The Greek round has long been regarded as Europe's roughest rally because the bumpy, abrasive mountain tracks are littered with big rocks.

Mitsubishi's Freddy Loix and Sven Smeets believe they can challenge for honours because the Belgians are more than familiar with the mountain stages. "It will be good to do a rally I know a little bit," said Loix. "It will be difficult, of course, with so many good cars and drivers. The Mitsubishi Carisma is very strong and I think we can get a good result. An Acropolis car will have a stronger body shell, extra ground clearance and a few other adjustments."

Carlos Sainz has three Greek victories to his credit and gave Toyota their only Acropolis success in 1990. Sainz is still the sport's most successful driver, with 22 wins from 105 World Championship events compared to Juha Kankkunen's 22 from 136. "This is the hardest European rally and there are a lot of factors to take into consideration," admitted the Spaniard. "The surface is very abrasive, the heat very intense and, consequently, tyre wear is more significant."

Skoda Motorsport will be represented by two of its new Octavia WRCs. Manager Pavel Janeba said: "Our five- day test in Greece was encouraging but we must not forget that we are still at the dawn of a four-year programme. "Skoda is renowned for building durable cars and I am satisfied with the results of our latest test. Ultimately, we know there is no better proving ground than the actual stages and the Acropolis is always a stern test of strength."

Hyundai Motor Sport are aiming to close the gap on Renault in the FIA two-litre World Cup for Manufacturers. The French outfit extended their advantage after Hyundai's bad luck in Catalunya and their absence from Corsica and Argentina. Kenneth Eriksson and Alister McRae have been working on their stamina. McRae is competing in Greece for the first time and said: "By all accounts, you have to find a pace that will not damage the car."

SEAT Sport have contested the Acropolis Rally twice before - winning the two- litre Formula Two category in both 1997 and 1998. Piero Liatti is regarded as an asphalt expert but nevertheless relishes the challenge presented by Greece. The Italian was fourth in 1996 and sixth last year and added: "You can drive fast but it is also important to be careful on the stages. It is easy to destroy the car on the rocky roads."

MINTEX NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP:- Poole's Marcus Dodd will be aiming to get his title ambitions back on track in Saturday's Kerridge Rally. Dodd won the opening two rounds of the series but had to retire his Ford Escort on last month's Manx Rally and slipped to third in the Championship. Round four takes Dodd back on to his favoured gravel surface for some of the mid-Wales forest stages. Kevin Stevens has a nine-point lead in the Group N category, while Peter Thornton heads the Formula Two list.

1 R Duckworth/M Broomfield  Subaru Impreza
2 M Dodd/J Bennie           Ford Escort
3 K McKinstry/N Orr         Subaru Impreza
4 S Petch/P Croft           Ford Escort
5 A Burton/R Morgan         Peugeot Cosworth

(after three rounds):
1 K McKinstry   Subaru Impreza  67pts
2 S Petch       Ford Escort     60
3 M Dodd        Ford Escort     50
4 K Stevens     Mitsubishi L    44
5 R Duckworth   Subaru Impreza  37

F1/CHAMP CARS:- CART Champ Car driver Dario Franchitti has revealed that his dream would be to drive for Ferrari in Formula One. The Scot is contracted to the US series until the end of 2000 but then he is likely to switch to Formula One, having been linked with a number of teams. "I love Ferrari cars, I love them to eath," admitted the 26-year-old, whose parents are Italian. There is just something about them and one day it would be a special thing to be asked to drive for Ferrari."

MGF CUP:- Alastair Lyall is determined to secure a podium place at Silverstone, which is staging a double-header on Saturday. Lyall and close rival Warren Hughes have tangled twice this season, with Hughes claiming two victories. Matt Kelly and Nick Carr will also be among the 27 drivers contesting the 20- lap event. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Katherine Legge is being tipped as a top driver of the future after displaying brilliance behind the wheel this year.

BRITISH F3 (Croft):- Marc Hynes moved back into a share of the lead in the Championship after winning round seven at Croft. The Tetbury-based driver is level with Luciano Burti, 30 points clear of the rest of the field. Hynes was on pole for the 25-lap race and led at the start and after the safety car intervened he led Burti for the rest of the race. "Burti and I may have the same number of points but I have more wins so I feel I am leading," he said.

Result (Sun):                mins:secs
 1 M Hynes     GB   Mugen-H  33:52.909
 2 L Burti     Brz  Mugen-H  33:53.982
 3 N Kar'keyan Ind  Mugen-H  34:10.663
 4 T Spouge    GB   Opel     34:12.741
 5 A Coelho    Brz  Renault  34:16.426
 6 T Sr'avanon Thai Mugen-H  34:26.701
 7 M Bentwood  GB   Mugen-H  34:27.550
 8 Y Igarashi  Jpn  Mugen-H  34:27.854
 9 D Bell      GB   Mugen-H  34:29.333
10 M O'Connell GB   Toyota   34:29.794

Championship standings (after 6 rounds)
1 L Burti     Brz  Stewart     94 pts
= M Hynes     GB   Manor M'rt  94
3 J Button    GB   Prom'ecme   61

ACROPOLIS RALLY:- Finland's Marcus Gronholm has won the the 1.7-mile special stage which comprised the first day of the event in Athens on Sunday. Gronholm, driving a Peugeot and making his first appearance in the rally, finished 0.1 seconds ahead of Belgian Freddy Loix driving a Mitsubishi. Spain's Carlos Sainz in a Toyota came third 0.4 seconds behind Loix. Race officials shortened the course's length after drivers' concerns over the quality of the roads.

Leading positions after 1 stage:min sec
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot     02.15.6
 2 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi  02.15.7
 3 C Sainz     Sp  Toyota      02.16.0
 4 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota      02.16.3
 = C McRae     GB  Ford        02.16.3
 6 T Radstrom  Swe Ford        02.16.5
 7 R Burns     GB  Subaru      02.16.7
 8 P Liatti    It  SEAT        02.17.0
 9 A Schwarz   Ger Skoda       02.17.3
10 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot     02.17.4

DRIVER STANDINGS               Pts
1 T Makinen    Fin  Mitsubishi  32
= D Auriol     Fr   Toyota      32
3 C McRae      GB   Ford        23
= C Sainz      Sp   Toyota      23
5 P Bugalski   Fr   Citroen     20
6 J Kankkunen  Fin  Subaru      18

1 Toyota         67 pts
2 Mitsubishi     41
3 Subaru         36
4 Ford           35
5 SEAT            8

MGF CUP (Silverstone):- Jamie Hunter profited from a downpour at the famous track to take his first chequered flag in the competition. Rounds four and five were held within a few hours of each other, but were completely different in nature. For round four the weather was fine and Warren Hughes came from second on the grid to win after taking an early lead. In the next race, the track was under several inches of water. Hunter, who works at Silverstone as an instructor, took the race early and won with ease.

Provisional race 8 result:
                   mins secs
 1 J Hunter         21:27.19
 2 M Kelly          21:31.31
 3 B Heerey         21:34.53
 4 B Benham         21:37.98
 5 D Mason          21:38.94
 6 W Hughes         21:40.50
 7 M Hazell         21:42.77
 8 D Loudoun        21:42.93
 9 A Lyall          21:45.56
10 P Johnson        21:52.55

MINTEX CHAMPIONSHIP:- Dorset ace Marcus Dodd reasserted his authority with an emphatic victory as he stormed home in Mid-Wales. Dodd and John Bennie steered their Ford Escort to fastest times on seven of the 10 stages to win by nearly two minutes. Ulsterman Kenny McKinstry in a Subaru Impreza came second but he still leads the championship by 14 points though Dodd is pushing him hard. Ian Gwynne took third place in another Subaru with the Banbury man going fastest in stage nine.

Result after 10 stages (Sat):  PENALTY
 1 Dodd/Bennie    Ford Escort  1:19.59
 2 McKinstry/Orr  Subaru       1:21.58
 3 Gwynne/O'G'an  Subaru       1:22.10
 4 D'worth/B'fld  Subaru       1:22.53
 5 Per'ott/Sankey Mitsubishi   1:24.31
 6 Har'son/K'son  MG Metro     1:24.59
 7 Smith/Wynn     Escort       1:25.06
 8 Phi'kirk/Evans MG Metro     1:25.45
 9 Wetton/Haigh   Mitsubishi   1:25.47
10 Gough/Beddoes  Mitsubishi   1:26.20

CHAMP CARS:- Scotland's Dario Franchitti will be fourth on the grid for Sunday's Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin. Franchitti will take the lead in the championship if he wins the race on America's oldest oval track, emulating Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell. Brazil's Helio Castro-Neves claimed his first ever pole on a circuit where he was runner-up last year. Defending race champion Jimmy Vasser was second with Greg Moore also ahead of Franchitti.

Qualifying times (Sat):       min secs
 1 H Castro-N   Brz Mercedes  0:21.931
 2 J Vasser     US  Honda     0:22.088
 3 G Moore      Can Mercedes  0:22.133
 4 D Franchitti GB  Honda     0:22.135
 5 J Montoya    Col Honda     0:22.252
 6 P Tracy      Can Honda     0:22.271
 7 C da Matta   Brz Toyota    0:22.286
 8 P Carpentier Can Mercedes  0:22.341
 9 R Moreno     Brz Mercedes  0:22.408
10 A Barron     US  Toyota    0:22.411

F.NIPPON:- Scotland's Peter Dumbreck finished second in the Formula Nippon 48-lap race in Japan to Dutchman Tom Coronel after starting from pole position. Dumbreck is now fourth in the standings after four rounds of the 10-race Formula Nippon Championship.

ACROPOLIS RALLY:- Colin McRae leads in Athens after the final stage of Monday thanks to some tactical penalties from a fellow Brit. Britain's Richard Burns has elected to take a 30 second time penalty and start Tuesday's stage in fourth place. He ended the final stage of Monday with a 16 second lead but elected to collect the penalty by clocking in at the final time control three minutes late. Burns believes that by starting behind he would run on a road swept clean by his three main rivals' cars.

Richard Burns admitted that it was a tactical decision to drop 30 seconds and hand over the lead after day two. The Subaru driver said: "I'm sure this decision will prove worth its weight in gold. Last year I was first on the road and I know how frustrating it was." Colin McRae, who will lead off on Tuesday after Burns' decision, admitted though: "It does not worry me too much. Last year, being second on the road, I scored fastest time on the opening stage, so we'll see what happens."

Leading positions after 8 stages:
                             Hr min sec
 1 C McRae     GB  Ford       1:20.03.1
 2 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 1:20.11.8
 3 C Sainz     Sp  Toyota     1:20.16.6
 4 R Burns     GB  Subaru     1:20.16.7
 5 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi 1:20.20.7
 6 J Kankkunen Fin Subaru     1:20.26.5
 7 P Liatti    It  SEAT       1:20.47.5
 8 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot    1:22.14.7
 9 M Martin    Est Toyota     1:22.41.3
10 A Schwarz   Ger Skoda      1:23.33.1

R Burns penalised 30 seconds on stage
for not stopping in his service area.

CHAMP CARS:- Britain's Mark Blundell hopes to be given the all-clear to race again soon after his serious accident last month. The former Formula One driver fractured his neck when his car hit a concrete wall during a test session in Missouri but only discovered the injury later. "They said it would be at least five weeks for the bone to fuse back so the time scale looks about right," he said. "If everything goes to plan I will be in the car again on Monday 14th for testing. Then I will be in Portland."

Dario Franchitti is hoping the switch from oval tracks to road courses will boost his CART FedEx title hopes. The 26-year-old Scot lies joint second after Sunday's Milwaukee Mile and a repeat of his three wins on roads last year would see him take the lead. "Things are ticking along nicely," said the Edinburgh-born driver. "I am not predicting the championship, I am just glad we are in the hunt for it. This is the point of the season that I really like."

Result (Sun):
 1 P Tracy      Can Honda     225 laps
 2 G Moore      Can Mercedes  @5.88secs
 3 G de Ferran  Brz Honda     same lap
 4 P Carpentier Can Mercedes  same lap
 5 J Vasser     US  Honda     same lap
 6 J Montoya    Col Honda     same lap
 7 A Fernandez  Mex Ford      same lap
 8 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford      same lap
 9 D Franchitti GB  Honda     same lap
10 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes  same lap

US FF2000:- Britain's Daniel Wheldon claimed the third win of his USF2000 campaign at the mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Wheldon qualified second on the grid and won the race despite suffering a broken clutch early in the race.

EFDA:- South African Tomas Scheckter leapt to the top of the 1999 EFDA Euroseries points tables after claiming fourth and second in races at Spa-Francorchamps.

F1:- Eddie Irvine has claimed in an interview that he could be replacing David Coulthard at McLaren next season. He said: "McLaren have an excellent car - Ferrari haven't said yet whether they want to keep me or get rid of me." Irvine has also said that he is a better driver than world champion Mikka Hakkinen, and that Michael Schumacher has "great weak points."

"Hakkinen is very fast, but he too has major weak points," the Ulsterman told Autosprint magazine.

BTCC (Croft):-
Leading testing times (Tues): min secs
 1 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    1:23.058
 2 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:23.180
 3 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:23.402
 4 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:23.863
 5 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:23.940
 6 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:24.058
 7 J Cleland     GB  Vauxhall 1:24.342
 8 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   1:24.877
 9 V Radermecker Bel Volvo    1:24.905
10 J C Boullion  Fr  Renault  1:24.934

ACROPOLIS RALLY:- Colin McRae was forced to pull out of the event after the 15th stage because of transmission failure. It comes two weeks after he failed to finish the Rally of Argentina in his Ford Focus. However, there was better news for fellow Briton Richard Burns, who leads the event after day three. Burns, who was penalised 30 seconds for returning to the garage too late on day two, fared better than team-mate Juha Kankkunen, who retired on stage 11.

Richard Burns was delighted to storm into a 17.2 second lead on the penultimate leg of the Acropolis Rally, winning half of the eight stages. "It was an excellent day. We lost some time with a gearbox problem and I went off on one of the stages," Burns said. "Without that, we could have had a 50- second lead. I'm confident of victory now, because all the remaining stages have been run before. They will be rougher, but, if we take it sensibly, we should win."

Tommi Makinen suffered with a front differential problem, but was able to finish the day in third position, 35.1 seconds adrift of leader Richard Burns. "It's been very good today. The gravel has given us a lot of wheelspin and made it hard on the tyres, but it has been better than I thought," he said. "There's still a lot of work to do on the final leg, but we should get the car back to top condition." Reigning champion Makinen added: "I will go flat out on the final leg."

Leading positions after 16 stages:
                             Hr min sec
 1 R Burns     GB  Subaru     3:18.27.7
 2 C Sainz     Sp  Toyota     3:18.44.9
 3 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 3:19.02.8
 4 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi 3:20.11.5
 5 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot    3:22.56.2
 6 M Martin    Est Toyota     3:25.00.1
 7 J Kirkos    Gr  Ford       3:28.44.1
 8 T Arai      Jpn Subaru     3:29.08.3
 9 A Bakhashab SA  Toyota     3:29.47.6
10 L Climent   Sp  Subaru     3:29.53.3
Liatti crashed & retired on stage 16

Driver ratings (June 8)          Points
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Formula One  1082
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One  1063
 3 J Gordon      US  NASCAR        964
 4 M Martin      US  NASCAR        822
 5 N Heidfeld    Ger German F3     787
 6 A Zanardi     It  Formula One   784
 7 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   739
 8 JP Montoya    Col Champ Cars    727
 9 J Burton      US  NASCAR        710
10 D Jarrett     US  NASCAR        704

NEWS:- Organisers of next year's US Grand Prix in Indianapolis want Nigel Mansell to compete in a one-off race. Mansell heads a list of names which may also include Jackie Stewart, Alain Prost and Mario Andretti for a 'Race of Legends' to support the main event. Mansell has not raced since competing in last year's British Touring Car Championship for Ford. The Grand Prix on September 24 2000 will be the first in the States for nine years.

ACROPOLIS RALLY:- Richard Burns won his first rally of the season, and Subaru's second in a row, when he sealed victory in Greece. Burns finished one minute, 1.3 seconds ahead of Carlos Sainz with reigning world champion Tommi Makinen, who still leads the overall standings, in third. Sainz's bid to close the gap ended in the day's third stage when he lost over 30 seconds with suspension problems. Makinen recovered from similar problems on the final stage to increase his overall lead over Didier Auriol.

Britain's Richard Burns was delighted to atone for missing out on victory in Argentina with his success in Greece. "It would have been great to win both the Argentinian and Acropolis rallies. But this success has made it easier to forget what happened last," Burns said. All in all I am ecstatic. "I could go flat out in this rally because the Subaru could take it - and that is saying something in Greece." Co-driver Robert Reid said: "We aren't thinking of the world title yet."

Final positions after 21 stages:hr min sec
 1 R Burns     GB  Subaru     4:21.21.2
 2 C Sainz     Sp  Toyota     4:22.22.5
 3 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 4:25.01.2
 4 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi 4:25.33.6
 5 M Martin    Est Toyota     4:30.02.7
 6 J Kirkos    Gr  Ford       4:35.17.7
 7 L Climent   Sp  Subaru     4:35.25.1
 8 A Bakhashab SA  Toyota     4:36.18.5
 9 T Arai      Jpn Subaru     4:37.05.6
10 F Dor       Fr  Subaru     4:39.16.4

DRIVER STANDINGS               Pts
1 T Makinen    Fin  Mitsubishi  36
2 D Auriol     Fr   Toyota      32
3 C Sainz      Sp   Toyota      29
4 C McRae      GB   Ford        23
= R Burns      GB   Subaru      23
6 P Bugalski   Fr   Citroen     20

1 Toyota         73 pts
2 Mitsubishi     48
3 Subaru         46
4 Ford           35
5 SEAT            8
6 Skoda           3

BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:- The Volkswagen GTI is on course for a hat-trick of wins in the Scottish International Rally, which takes place on Friday and Saturday. The car came out on top in 1997 and 1998 and team leader Mark Higgins believes another win is possible. "It is a real attack event. It will be flat-out from the word go and whoever wins will need a lot of luck as well as a strong car," he added. Higgins is currently second in the standings after two events.

Tapio Laukkanen believes his bid to become the first Scandinavian in 16 years to claim the British crown could hinge on his Scottish Rally efforts. The Finn heads the series by 10 points after winning round two and he confirmed: "A win in Scotland would really put the pressure on the others. I could start to think more about good points finishes to consolidate my lead instead of having to risk everything. Scotland is my favourite event because the stages are quite quick."

Gwyndaf Evans is looking for an upturn in fortune after completing a successful two-day test session. He sid: "I am very hopeful that the latest developments we have made to the SEAT Ibiza will benefit us during the Scottish Rally. It is a tough event and it has not always been very kind to me but it is a great challenge and one I am looking forward to. Usually it is an event that rewards the brave and committed."

Toni Gardemeister will be making his debut in the event, driving a SEAT Ibiza Evo 2 kit car prepared by Daventry-based SBG Sport. The Finn and co-driver Paavo Lukander recently finished a sensational third overall in the San Marino Rally - a round of the Italian Championship. Gardemeister said: "We were pleased with that result because the Italian drivers are very quick on home turf. "We were second on the Pirelli Rally and will try for another good result."

Warrington twin brothers Daniel and Clive Dunbabin are aiming to defend their advantage in the Skoda Trophy. They have a 10-point lead in the one- make series, which runs in conjunction with the Mobil 1 Championship. This weekend constitutes the fifth and sixth rounds of the campaign and has attracted a 20-car field. James Slack is likely to to be the Dunbabins' biggest threat and Slack said: "It is vital that I keep the pressure on Daniel this weekend."

Ceredigion driver Charlie Jukes is out to maintain his form of the previous round when he was third in his class in only his second event in the Proton. "Looking at our times after the event, we are regularly on the pace of the front-runners in the class and I would not rule out a higher finish," he said. Barbara Armstrong returns to her local event after recovering from a near- career ending shoulder injury. She said: "It runs past my old school and the church where I was christened."

Sarah Murray will be using a hired Nissan Micra in the Scottish Rally after an accident in testing last week. She said: "After having to withdraw from the previous round because of a last-minute mechanical problem, we cannot afford to miss any others." Proton had to withdraw Jenny Davies' entry after a testing accident. She earned maximum points to boost her women's title hopes in the last round but said: "I have been around long enough to know these things happen."

F1:- Jackie Stewart has sold his grand prix team to Ford in a deal believed to be worth around 100m. The three-time world champion established the Milton Keynes-based outfit with son Paul in 1996 and the deal has ended months of speculation. Stewart will stay on as chairman and chief executive and Paul will remain as deputy chairman. Scotsman Stewart retired from Formula One after winning his third title in the 1973 season.

Ford have revealed they have no plans to change team personnel after acquiring the Stewart team. Chief executive and president Jac Nasser said: "Ford Motor Company have a long and very successful record in auto racing. "Our latest move will allow us to take our performance to the next level." Stewart chairman Jackie Stewart added: "To be competitive and to win the great benefits available a team needs strong financial support. Ford offers that."

Eddie Jordan has said he is not putting Damon Hill under any pressure to decide his future with the team. Hill's contract expires this year but Jordan said: "He's at a difficult stage of his career with the media trying to find out what he's going to do. Even I do not ask him and I have more right than most to ask." Jordan also backed Hill to pick up some points, adding: "There is no doubt he has it in him and our third place rests as much on him as anyone else."

Championship leader Michael Schumacher will be bidding for a hat-trick of Montreal victories on Sunday. The German secured the spoils for Ferrari in 1997 and 1998, while he also won the race for Benetton in 1994. He said: "We have to continue our test programme to find further improvements but I am confident we will be in the points in the next few races." Schumacher goes into the grand prix with a six-point cushion over close rival and world champion Mika Hakkinen.

Paddock talk over where he could be next season is threatening to overshadow Eddie Irvine's superb form. The Ferrari star is third in the standings and has been linked with a number of teams for the 2000 campaign and he claims he has a slim pay packet. "I earn very little - at least compared to what other drivers who are as good as me make," he revealed. "Last year, two teams offered me more than I would have got by staying at Maranello and I did not go."

World champion Mika Hakkinen has warned his rivals that his McLaren car is improving with every race. The Finn said: "Our car is not at its best performance yet and there is still more potential, both with the engine and the chassis. It was great to be top of the podium again in Barcelona and we will be looking for a repeat in Canada." Hakkinen has never won the Canadian Grand Prix and failed to finish last year after qualifying in second spot.

A victory for David Coulthard would ease the pressure from critics who have suggested he could be replaced at McLaren next season. The Scot has not won a race since last April's San Marino Grand Prix and is fifth in the drivers' Championship. Coulthard started last year's race in pole position but failed to finish. There has been much speculation about his form and place at McLaren but he has always risen above the reports and just concentrated on the job in hand.

Damon Hill will be hoping he has better luck in Montreal this year after being forced to retire while running in third place in 1998. Jordan won their first Championship points in Canada in 1991. "Canada usually produces a good race because of the high number of stops and the hairpins, which actually do provide overtaking opportunities," said Hill. "The best thing is Montreal itself. It is a great city, full of friendly people who give you a great reception."

Williams driver Ralf Schumacher will be bidding to end his record of never having finished a grand prix in Canada. "Montreal is not a permanent race track so it is difficult to set up the car correctly in the short time we have," admitted the German. "The track is very dirty, especially on Friday morning. It takes until after the first part of Saturday's free practice to get a good layer of rubber on it. You must use the kerbs a lot to get a good lap time."

Alex Zanardi is set to be watched by some of his former CART colleagues. He said: "I am looking forward to going back there as I will be closer to all my old friends in America. I know it is not exactly America but it is close. Many of the people I met there while I was running in CART will come to say hello. With regards to results, I am confident that we are about to identify and definitively solve the problems that we have had so far."

The Montreal race is renowned for its high retirement rate but Johnny Herbert will be aiming to rise above that record - and his 1999 ill fortune. The Stewart star admitted: "I like the Montreal track a lot. It is not a difficult circuit to learn but it is not always easy to be quick there. It is a mix of fast straights, slow corners and hairpins and set-up is crucial. It is a bit of a trade-off where downforce is concerned. I find the track very challenging."

Stewart driver Rubens Barrichello has established a good record at Montreal in recent years. The Brazilian said: "I qualfied third in 1997 and finished fifth in the race last year. With the improvement in performance we have made this season I will be looking for another good qualifying position. The circuit is notoriously hard on brakes but that is one of the areas where the the SF3 has been impressive this season."

Jacques Villeneuve has failed to finish any race in 1999 but believes his home grand prix could provide him with his first points of the season for BAR. Ahead of the race at the cir uit named after his father Gilles, he said: "My car is going quicker and quicker. We have had moments of great frustration but we are a good team and the frustration is quickly forgotten." Villeneuve was running third for half of the last race in Barcelona before being forced to retire.

Prost have been using osteopath Pierre Baleydier as part of their bid to find a formula for success. He looks after drivers Olivier Panis and Jarno Trulli and said: "They both do two or three hours of sport a day. Drivers, no matter what their shape, have highly-developed upper bodies and they lose three or four kilos a race. Testing between races keeps the neck and forearm muscles up to scratch but my big problem is trying to control the drivers rather than pushing them.

Benetton have made adjustments to their cars to cope with the low downforce at the circuit. Technical director Pat Symonds said: "We have a completely new front and rear wing package to deal with the requirements of this circuit. The circuit is used only once a year so is generally dirty and slippery for the first practice session. Montreal traction is always at a premium and there is usually relatively high fuel consumption."

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 69 laps or 305.049km. Michael Schumacher claimed the fastest lap time last year, clocking one minute, 19.379 on the 48th lap. Montreal is a medium downforce track with a low grip level as it is a part street, part permanent circuit that is only used once every 12 months. The Gilles Villeneuve Circuit has been the home of the Canadian Grand Prix since 1978 and it is rare for even half the competitors to finish the race.

LE MANS 24-HOURS:- Martin Brundle set the fastest time in the Toyota GT-One in the first qualifying session. Brundle improved by two seconds to three minutes, 29 seconds. Eric van der Poele had been leading but after 40 minutes his Japanese-run Nissan R391 hit the tyre wall though he escaped serious injury. Thierry Boutsen set the second fastest time in his Toyota GT-One with the Panoz Roadster of David Brabham in third place.

Leading first qualifying times (Wed):
 1 M Brundle   GB  Toyota    3:29.930
 2 T Boutsen   Bel Toyota    3:30.801
 3 D Brabham   Aus Panoz     3:33.711
 4 J Lehto     Fin BMW       3:34.109
 5 C Bouchet   Fr  AMG       3:34.138
 6 B Schneider Ger AMG       3:34.366
 7 U Katayama  Jpn Toyota    3:34.755
 8 M Webber    Aus AMG       3:35.301
 9 J Wink'hock Ger Team BMW  3:37.055
10 M Alboreto  It  Audi      3:37.140

1999 entry list:
 1 M Brundle     GB  Toyota Motorsport
   E Collard     Fr
   V Sospiri     It
 2 T Boutsen     Bel Toyota Motorsport
   A McNish      GB
   R Kelleners   Ger
 3 U Kataymama   Jpn Toyota Motorsport
   T Suzuki      Jpn
   K Tsuchiya    Jpn
 4 M Webber      Aus AMG Mercedes
   J-M Gounon    Fr
   M Tiemann     Ger
 5 C Bouchut     Fr  AMG Mercedes
   P Dumbreck    GB
   N Heidfeld    Ger
 6 B Schneider   Ger AMG Mercedes
   P Lamy        Por
   F Lagorce     Fr
 7 M Alboreto    It  Audi Sport Joest
   R Capello     It
   L Aeillo      Fr
 8 E Pirro       It  Audi Sport Joest
   F Biela       Ger
   D Theys       Bel
 9 S Ortelli     Fr  Audi Sport UK
   S Johansson   Swe
   C Abt         Ger
10 A Wallace     GB  Audi Sport UK
   J Weaver      GB
   P McCarthy    GB
11 J Magnussen   Den Panoz M'sport
   J O'Connell   US
   M Angelelli   It
12 D Brabham     Aus Panoz M'sport
   E Bernard     Fr
   B Leitzinger  US
13 A Montermini  It  Courage (Nissan)
   A Caffi       It
   M S'ttarella  It
14 H Pescarolo   Fr  Pescarolo (Porsche)
   M Ferte       Fr
   P Gay         Fr
15 P Martini     It  Team BMW
   Y Dalmas      Fr
   J Winkelhock  Ger
17 J Lehto       Fin BMW (Schnitzer)
   J Muller      Ger
   T Kristensen  Den
18 B Auberlen    USA Price+Bscher (BMW)
   S Soper       GB
   T Bscher      Ger
19 H Kato        Jpn Team Go (BMW)
   H Matsushita  Jpn
   A Nakaya      Jpn
21 D Cottaz      Fr  Nissan M'Sports
   F Ekblom      Swe
   M Goossens    Bel
22 S Motoyama    Jpn Nissan M'Sports
   M Krumm       Ger
   E Comas       Fr
23 E v de Poele  Bel Nissan M'Sports
   M Kageyama    Jpn
   A Suzuki      Jpn
24 Y Terada      Jpn Aut'e (Scott-Ford)
   F Freon       Fr
   R Donovan     GB
25 C Tinseau     Fr  DAMS (Lola-Judd)
   F Montagny    Fr
   D Terrien     Fr
26 J Lammers     Hol Konrad (Lola-Ford)
   T Coronel     Hol
   P Kox         Hol
27 D de Radigues Bel Kremer (Lola-Ford)
   T Saldana     Sp
   G Orbell      SA
29 C Pescatori   It  JB  (Ferrari)
   J Policand    Fr
   M Baldi       It
31 P Gache       Fr  Riley & Scott-Ford
   G Formato     SA
32 M Apicella    It  Riley & Scott-Ford
   C Rosenblad   Swe
50 M Breyner     Por Chrysler Viper
   P Breyner     Por
   T Breyner     Por
51 O Beretta     MC  Viper ORECA
   K Wendlinger  Aut
   D Dupuy       Fr
52 T Archer      US  Viper ORECA
   J Bell        GB
   M Duez        Bel
53 J-P Belloc    Fr  Viper ORECA
   D Donohue     US
   S Ayari       Fr
54 P Belmondo    Fr  Chrysler Viper
   M Rostan      Fr
   T Monteiro    Por
55 E Clerico     Fr  Chrysler Viper
   J-C Lagniez   Fr
   G Martinolle  Fr
56 N Amorin      Por Chrysler Viper
   J Hugenholtz  Hol
   T Seiler      Swi
57 T Erdos       Br  Chrysler Viper
   C Vann        GB
   C Glasel      Ger
60 K Iketani     Jpn Freisinger (Porsche)
   M Jurasz      Aut
61 W Kaufmann    Ger Freisinger (Porsche)
   M Ligonnet    Fr
   E Palmberger  Ger
62 C Hurtgen     Ger Roock (Porsche)
   V Vosse
   A Ahrle       Ger
64 F Konrad      Aut Konrad (Porsche)
   P Kitchak     US
   C Slater      US
65 P Goueslard   Fr  Chereau (Porsche)
   J-L Chereau   Fr
66 M Monteiro    Fr  Estoril (Porsche)
   M Monteiro    Fr
   M Maisonneuve Fr
67 J von Gartzen Ger Larbre (Porsche)
80 D Muller      Ger Champion (Porsche)
   B Wollek      Fr
     Huisman     NL
81 U Alzen       Ger Manthey (Porsche)
   L Riccitelli  It
     Huisman     NL
83 M Neugarten   Bel MacQ'an (Porsche)
   G MacMillan   GB
84 T Perrier     Fr  P'ective (Porsche)
   J-L Ricci     Fr

Previous winners:
1998 McNish GB Nielsen Den Cobb  US     (Porsche 911 GT1)
1997 A'reto It Joh'on Swe Kri'sen Den   (Porsche WSC95)
1996 Reuter Ger Wurz Aut Jones US       (Porsche WSC95)
1995 Dalmas Fr Lehto Fin Sekiya Jpn     (McLaren F1 GTR)
1994 Dalmas Fr H Haywood US M Baldi It  (Dauer Porsche 962LM)
1993 Brabham Aus Helary Fr Bouchut Fr   (Peugeot 905B)
1992 Warwick GB Dalmas Fr Blundell GB   (Peugeot 905)
1991 Herbert GB Gachot Bel Weidler Ger  (Mazda 787B)

F.FORD (Donington Park):- Marcus Ambrose reaffirmed his title ambitions with a fine performance in testing at Donington. The Australian clocked his best lap time during the final session of the day, with Swede Robert Dahlgren second.

Test times:           mins secs
1 M Ambrose            1:39.485
2 R Dahlgren           1:39.930
3 J Courtney           1:40.223
4 P Gray               1:40.405
5 J Carlsen            1:40.445
6 R Austin             1:40.843

FORD FIESTA'S (Donington Park):- David Gibson topped the times in the test session. The 21-year-old headed Stancombe Vehicle Engineering team-mates Paul Rivett and Simon Clarke.

Test times:           mins secs
1 D Gibson             2:02.792
2 P Rivett             2:02.985
3 S Clarke             2:03.172
4 N Beaumont           2:03.271
5 N Gordon             2:03.336
6 M Burton             2:03.458

Ferrari's Eddie Irvine topped the times after the opening practice sessions for Sunday's race. Reports this week suggested Irvine could replace David Coulthard at McLaren but the Scot responded by claiming the second quickest time. Michael Schumacher was just behind him, with Jean Alesi fourth quickest and Giancarlo Fisichella fifth. World champion Mika Hakkinen was down in seventh, Damon Hill 14th and Johnny Herbert 16th.

Eddie Irvine's chances of driving with McLaren next season may have ended over his comments about David Coulthard. Irvine has claimed he is better than Coulthard and hinted that he would not mind moving from Ferrari to take his place at McLaren. McLaren boss Ron Dennis said: "I take great exception to other drivers' opinions and desires and wishes being voiced in such a way. David's position in this team has never been more secure."

David Coulthard has reacted to the rumours linking Ferrari's Eddie Irvine with the Scotsman's seat at McLaren. It comes on a day when McLaren boss Ron Dennis has underlined his support for his driver. Coulthard said: "There is more chance of Nigel Mansell making a comeback. We all knew Irvine to McLaren was never going to happen. It is pleasing to hear what Ron said but he was only saying publicly what he has been saying privately all along."

Jackie Stewart says that money does not matter despite becoming the richest "Ford factory worker" in history after selling his Formula One to Ford. Stewart marked his 60th birthday still celebrating the &156;100m sale of his team. Stewart, who has worked with the American car giant for 35 years, said: "I have always seen myself as a Ford factory worker. Financially I have never been at risk for the last 30 years so I don't think it is going to make any difference."

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has backed grand prix drivers who are calling for changes to their tyres. Drivers are complaining that grooved tyres, introduced by FIA president Max Mosley, make overtaking impossible. Ecclestone said: "We must go back to wide slick tyres to get more grip and more overtaking. The theory has been we need to slow the cars down in the corners for safety. It's Max Mosley's ambition to do it with tyres but I don't know why."

Friday's practice times:     mins secs
 1 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:20.576
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:20.664
 3 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:21.276
 4 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:21.510
 5 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:21.724
 6 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:21.810
 7 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:21.950
 8 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:22.002
 9 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:22.021
10 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:22.167
11 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:22.454
12 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:22.506
13 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:22.649
14 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:22.734
15 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:22.892
16 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:23.177
17 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:23.778
18 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:23.824
19 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:23.826
20 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:23.996
21 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:24.131
22 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:24.462

LE MANS 24-HOURS:- Martin Brundle starts Le Mans from pole position in his Toyota GT-One after his time was not beaten from the first qualifying session. The ex-Formula One driver heads a Toyota one-two on the grid with Belgium's Thierry Boutsen. A confident Brundle said: "I am very confident and feel in tip-top shape for the race. This performance is a tribute to the preparation and effort that everyone at Toyota has put in since last year."

Australia's Mark Webber was unharmed after a horrific crash in the second practice session for the gruelling endurance race. His Mercedes lost its rear hood and fin, flipped over and skidded 200 metres on its roof before coming to rest near a security barrier. His car had been travelling at an estimated speed of 343kph. However, he emerged from the car unaided and was able to walk away from the incident unhurt.

Positions after final qualifying (Thu):
 1 M Brundle   GB  Toyota    3:29.930
 2 T Boutsen   Bel Toyota    3:30.801
 3 T Krist'sen Den BMW       3:34.109
 4 B Schneider Ger AMG       3:34.366
 5 D Brabham   Aus Panoz     3:33.711
 6 J Wink'hock Ger Team BMW  3:37.058
 7 C Bouchut   Fr  AMG       3:34.138
 8 U Katayama  Jpn Toyota    3:34.755
 9 M Alboreto  It  Audi      3:37.140
10 M Webber    Aus AMG       3:35.301

Michael Schumacher led the way after the final practice session ahead of qualifying for Sunday's race. The German, who leads the Championship by six points, was just over two 10ths of a second ahead of David Coulthard. World champion Mika Hakkinen was third fastest but careered into a tyre barrier just before the end of the final session. Eddie Irvine was fourth quickest, Damon Hill was 12th and Johnny Herbert was a place further back in his Stewart.

Saturday's practice times:   mins secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:19.281
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:19.543
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:19.568
 4 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:19.631
 5 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:19.940
 6 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:20.162
 7 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:20.261
 8 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:20.275
 9 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:20.396
10 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:20.485
11 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:20.754
12 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:20.785
13 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:20.861
14 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:20.919
15 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:20.924
16 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:20.935
17 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:21.022
18 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:21.235
19 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:21.810
20 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:22.039
21 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:22.205
22 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:22.730

SCOTTISH RALLY:- The two Renault Megane Maxi drivers end leg 1 of the RSAC Scottish Rally in the best position to challenge for the overall lead on Leg 2. Laukkanen lost time at the end of stage six with a puncture: "Luckily it happened near the end of the stage and I've kept my overnight place. The car has run perfectly apart from the gearbox change after stage two and I've made the right tyre choices." Rowe commented: "I'm now in a good position to attack Tapio tomorrow."

Volkswagen's astonishing turbodiesel Golf made rapid progress in the RSAC Scottish Rally. Driven by Neil Simpson, the Greenergy Golf saw many of the petrol rivals fall by the wayside. The only problems they had were early on when the car hit a large rock on the first stage of the day, Dalbeattie. "We were lucky not to destroy a wheel on that first stage" said Simpson, "Other than that we've had a great day and we're pleased with the progress."

The Ferodo Super 1600 Cup saw a change of leadership on the last stage of the day when Mats Anderson took the Proton Compact SRi into the lead. "Claire and I decided to really go for it on the last stage. I think it was the fastest I've ever driven." Anderson commented. Anderson started the 19 mile stage two seconds down from Justin Dales' Peugeot and ended up leading by five. Fin Marku Raminen in the Honda lies third in the Super 1600 Cup.

Barbara Armstrong, on her home event, has suffered from dust more than most starting the event 10th on the road. SEAT's 'First Lady of Rallying' has now recovered fully from her shoulder injury and set eighth fastest F2 time on stage one, Dalbeattie. "It's the closest stage to my home and I have a good feel for the roads. On the next stage Gwyndaf pulled out in front of us after his puncture and we lost a minute in his dust."

Gwyndaf Evans took fastest F2 driver on the opening stage of the RASC Scottish Rally today, but lost the lead on the next stage. The SEAT Cupra Sport driver had to stop his Ibiza 'Evo 2' Kit Car to change a puncture, dropping to 24th overall. He has driven at the same pace for the remaining stages with a sensational recovery to seventh place. "All we can do now is continue to drive flat out and see what happens." said the Welshman.

The Barratts Subaru of David Higgins continues to dominate the Production Cup category for four wheel drive cars. Scot Keith Robathon, competing in his first British Championship season lies sixth in this category after an eventful day. The Mitsubishi suffered a puncture in stage one. The heater then started to steam up the car, competing with the dust to make visibility very bad. Robathan now reports the brake fluid is overheating and they're losing brakes.

LEADERBOARD after 6 of 12 stages
                             hr min sec
 1 T Laukkanen    Renault     1:00:26.1
 2 M Rowe         Renault     1:00:57.9
 3 D Higgins      Subaru      1:01:10.9
 4 T Gardemeister SEAT        1:02:15.4
 5 D Mann         Proton      1:03:31.5
 6 N Simpson      Volkswagen  1:03:36.7
 7 G Evans        SEAT        1:03:38.8
 8 S Egglestone   Ford        1:04:04.0
 9 G Cox          Mitsubishi  1:04:08.4
10 R Baumschlager Volkswagen  1:04:18.7

Tapio Laukkanen won his second successive event for Renault when he took maximum points on the RSAC Scottish Rally. The Renault Megane Maxi driver took the lead on stage two and held it for the duration of the two day event. Renault team-mate Martin Rowe fought off a challenge from SEAT's Toni Gardemeister to hold on to second. Fellow SEAT driver Gwyndaf Evans climbed from 24th to fifth after a puncture lost him three minuntes.

On winning the RSAC Scottish Rally Renault driver Tapio Laukkanen commented:"Job done!"

"We had a couple of punctures early on and it wasn't as easy as it might have looked. The Renault Megane was running very well and we had some luck with the punctures today." Team mate Martin Rowe had less luck with his puncures and co-driver Derek Ringer commented: "Second was as high as we could go."

Drive of the rally must go to Gwyndaf Evans who lost three minutes on stage two with a puncture. This dropped the SEAT driver from first to 24th overall when he stopped to change the tyre. "We only had one problem and that cost us the chance to fight for victory." commented Gwyndaf. "We were unlucky to suffer a puncture halfway through the long 19 mile Ae stage and had no option but to stop and change it."

David Higgins led the Production Cup category in the Barratts Subaru from the start. Despite couple of punctures early in the day and a broken driveshaft on stage 11 he finished three minutes clear of the nearest rival. Australian Marty Beckton took a well deserved third in the Cup, cleary enjoying the dusty conditions on day one. "Bonza!,so pleased to give Team Teroson such a good finish," said Beckton.

The battle for the Ferodo Super 1600 Cup was close right up to the last stage of the RSAC Scottish Rally. Final honours went to Justin Dale in the Peugeot who fought hard with Proton driver Mats Anderson. Just three seconds separated the two at the start of the last stage after Fin Marku Ramanen suffered clutch problems. "I'm absolutely delighted," said Dale. "I took some risks on the penultimate stage and went flat out, but it paid off."

Volkswagen driver Raimund Baumschlager has moved into third overall in the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship on the RSAC Scottish Rally. Baumschlager's strong finish also consolidates Volkswagen's second position in the Manufacturer's title. "I'm very pleased to score points. The final three events are on asphalt and I feel these events will suit me and the car very well." he commented. Neil Simpson in the Diesel VW Golf crashed out on the third last stage.

Carnforth's Steve Head followed up his success on the fifth round of the Skoda Trophy by taking victory on the sixth round, held on the RSAC Scottish Rally. "It's been a very successful weekend" said Head. "After all my earlier disappointments, it's nice to have luck on my side." Championship leader Daniel Dunbabin lost time with a puncture but a high rate of attrition lifted him to fifth. The seventh round of the Skoda Trophy will be the SEAT Jim Clark on July 2/4.

LEADERBOARD after 12 stages  hr min sec
 1 T Laukkanen    Renault     1:57:23.6
 2 M Rowe         Renault     1:59:24.8
 3 T Gardemeister SEAT        1:59:45.7
 4 G Evans        SEAT        2:00:25.8
 5 D Higgins      Subaru      2:00:42.0
 6 G Cox          Mitsubishi  2:03:38.1
 7 M Beckton      Subaru      2:04:37.5
 8 R Baumschlager Volkswagen  2:05:43.4
 9 J Porter       Ford        2:07:01.3
10 K Robathan     Mitsubishi  2:07:04.0

DRIVERS       Pts
1 Laukkanen    92
2 Rowe         60
3 Baumschlager 54
4 Gardemeister 53
5 Higgins      50
6 Evans        44

1 Renault    48
2 Volkswagen 30
3 SEAT       24
4 Peugeot    20
5 Vauxhall   16
6 Proton     11

Michael Schumacher claimed pole position for Sunday's race - the 21st top grid position of his career. Mika Hakkinen, who had had a perfect qualifying record this season, made a late bid to usurp the Ferrari star but only managed the second quickest time. Eddie Irvine was third fastest, just ahead of David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Johnny Herbert was 10th quickest but former world champion Damon Hill was down the grid in 14th place.

Championship leader Michael Schumacher was delighted after earning a record fourth pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix. "I am delighted to get pole ` my first of the season ` but I expected it because we have been going well all weekend," he said. "It is a real shame that Eddie is not on the front row with me. That would have been good for Ferrari. This looks like a lucky circuit for me but we will have to see in the race."

Stewart driver Johnny Herbert believes his qualifying performances are improving with every race. The Briton will start in 10th place on the grid and said: "I am definitely getting there. "I feel like it is going to click into place for me soon. I am still losing time and traction during the lap. I found an improvement in the car from Friday's practice session by making a set-up change that is aimed at improving stability."

Saturday's qualifying results:mins secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:19.298
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:19.327
 3 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:19.440
 4 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:19.729
 5 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:19.930
 6 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:20.158
 7 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:20.378
 8 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:20.459
 9 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:20.557
10 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:20.829
11 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:21.000
12 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:21.076
13 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:21.081
14 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:21.094
15 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:21.252
16 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:21.302
17 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:21.467
18 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:21.571
19 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:21.693
20 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:22.613
21 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:22.808
22 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:23.387

World champion Mika Hakkinen scored his second victory in a row to take lead in the championship race. The Finns' McLaren, which also won in Spain, drove a faultless race and took advantage when leader Michael Schumacher crashed out on lap 30. The race was effectively over when the safety car came out after Heinz-Harald Frentzen went off on lap 66. It led Hakkinen, second placed Giancarlo Fisichella and third-placed Eddie Irvine all the way home.

Race winner Mika Hakkinen was grateful that it was Michael Schumacher that had crashed out and not himself. The Finn never lost the lead after the German crashed out and said: "When I saw Michael going off I didn't know what happened, but it was good for me. I knew something would happen either for me or Michael because it always does at this race. These things turn around and perhaps these guys (Ferrari) now have difficulties."

Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve were two of the four victims claimed by the final corner of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. Schumacher, who was leading and had looked in total control of the race, went out atfer 29 laps and Villeneuve followed on lap 35. The course of the race altered once more when David Coulthard tried to pass Eddie Irvine on the 40th lap. Both drivers went off and slipped down the field as they struggled back on.

Michael Schumacher made no attempt to excuse the error which saw him lose the lead of the race and the championship. The Ferrari star was one of four drivers to lose control at the last chicane and slam into the wall. He said: "It was clearly my mistake. There was a lot of dust and dirt in that area and I simply lost control. The car was perfect and I have to apologise to the team. I usually make one mistake a season so hopefully this was it."

Eddie Irvine seemed unconcerned by the tussle with David Coulthard that saw both drivers go off on the 40th lap. The Ferrari driver was lying second when Coulthard's McLaren tried to pass at the first chicane but he fought back to claim a podium place at the finish. "David got a run at me and he ran very wide and I thought he had gone off. But I took the turn and then I suddenly heard a clump behind me where David had hit. But I managed to keep going," he said.

David Coulthard blamed Eddie Irvine for causing their collision at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. The McLaren driver said: "I went round the outside of Eddie at the first corner and, somehow, I don't know how, managed not to go off. "It was perfectly fair until then, but going into the second corner Eddie was far too aggressive as he kept his line. He can't expect me to become invisible and he hit me before I had a chance to do anything."

Jarno Trulli nearly caused a repeat of last year's five-car pile up at the first corner. The Italian lost control of his Prost heading into the bend and slid across the grass and into Rubens Barrichello's Stewart and Jean Alesi's Sauber. Unlike 1998 though, the race continued with the safety car out. Michael Schumacher had cut across rival Mika Hakkinen from pole to retain his lead with Eddie Irvine in third in the second Ferrari.

Damon Hill's race came to an end in the sixteenth lap as a momentary lapse saw his Jordan crash into a wall. The 1996 World Champion admitted it had been purely driver error and said: "It was an accident. I crashed the car. I lost control of the vehicle. The track is slippery but I crashed and it's my mistake." Hill had earlier started the race with water-soaked overalls to try and contend with the searing heat at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit.

Result after 69 laps:       hr min secs
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:41:35.7
 2 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:41:36.5
 3 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:41:37.5
 4 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:41:38.1
 5 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:41:38.5
 6 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:41:39.4
 7 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:41:40.7
 8 M Gene        Sp  Minardi   one lap
 9 O Panis       Fr  Prost     one lap
10 L Badoer      It  Minardi   two laps

DID NOT FINISH:        Laps completed
11 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan       65
12 A Zanardi     It  Williams     50
13 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows       41
14 J Villeneuve  Can BAR          34
15 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren      29
16 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows       22
17 D Hill        GB  Jordan       14
18 R Barrichello Brz Stewart      14
19 R Zonta       Brz BAR           2
20 A Wurz        Aut Benetton      0
21 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber        0
22 J Trulli      It  Prost         0

 1 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   34 pts
 2 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   30
 3 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari   25
 4 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan    13
 = G Fisichella  Ita  Benetton  13
 6 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   12
 = R Schumacher  Ger  Williams  12
 8 R Barrichello Brz  Stewart    6
 9 D Hill        GB   Jordan     3
10 J Herbert     GB   Stewart    2

1 Ferrari       55 pts
2 McLaren       46
3 Jordan        16
4 Williams      15
5 Benetton      11
6 Stewart        8
7 Prost          2
= Sauber         2
9 Arrows         1

LE MANS 24-HOURS:- BMW led the field after 17 hours following Toyota's second serious crash of the race. The V12 driven by Tom Kristensen, Jyrki Lehto and Jorg Muller maintained its' four lap lead over Joachim Winkelhock, Pierluigi Martini and Yannick Dalmas. Its' main rival, Toyota's Thierry Boutsen, Ralf Kelleners and Allan McNish, went out after 12 hours after colliding with a privately-owned car. Boutsen suffered collarbone and back injuries and was taken to hospital.

Martin Brundle was forced to pull out of the event after six hours because of continuing hydraulic problems. The ex-Formula One driver, who had been on pole position, suffered an accident in his Toyota at the second chicane on the Mulsanne. He managed to limp on for a while but the GT One was eventually pushed off the track. Brundle, Emmanuel Collard and Vincenzo Sospiri had been favourites for the endurance race.

Mercedes withdrew from the race after five hours when a car driven by Briton Peter Dumbreck flew off the track before entering the Mulsanne straight. The car was thrown 30 metres into the air and somersaulted five times before crashing into trees but Mercedes said the Scot was not injured. The German team then pulled their one remaining car from the race. A third, driven by Mark Webber, had not started the race after a similar incident in the warm-up session.

Positions after 17 hours:
 1 Kristensen/Lehto/Muller   BMW
 2 Winkelhock/Martini/Dalmas BMW
 3 Katayama/Tsuchiya/Suzuki  Toyota
 4 Pirro/Biela/Theys         Audi
 5 Bscher/Auberlen/Soper     BMW
 6 Brabham/Bernard/Leitz'ger Panoz
 7 Cottaz/Goossens/Ekblom    Nissan
 8 Alboreto/Capello/Aiello   Audi
 9 Caffi/Montermini/Sch'rlla Courage
10 Beretta/Wendlinger/Dupuy  Chrysler
11 Archer/Bell/Duez          Chrysler
12 Donohue/Belloc/Ayari      Chrysler
13 Pescarolo/Ferte/Gay       Courage
14 Alzen/Muishan/Riccitelli  Porsche
15 Niamorin/H'holtz/Seiler   Chrysler

BMW claimed their first-ever win in the event when Pierluigi Martini crossed the line to the delight of teammates Joachim Winkelhock and Yannick Dalmas. They completed 365 laps, two ahead of the Toyota trio of Ukyo Katayama, Keiichi Tsuchiya and Tishio Suzuki. The Japanese crew were in the frame until 55 minutes from the end when a tyre exploded. Long-time BMW leaders Tom Kristensen, JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller crashed out with less than four hours remaining.

While Yannick Dalmas was part of the team that brought BMW their first-ever victory in the event, it was his fourth win in Le Mans. The Frenchman also triumphed with Peugeot in 1992, with Porsche two years later and with McLaren in 1995. Only Belgium's Jacky Ickx with six wins and Britain's Derek Bell with five can boast a better record. Dalmas jumped in the car for an extra lap of honour after the race with Pierluigi Martini at the wheel.

Martin Brundle was forced to pull out of the event after six hours because of continuing hydraulic problems. The ex-Formula One driver, who had been on pole position, suffered an accident in his Toyota at the second chicane on the Mulsanne. He managed to limp on for a while but the GT One was eventually pushed off the track. Brundle, Emmanuel Collard and Vincenzo Sospiri had been favourites for the endurance race.

Scottish driver Peter Dumbreck has said he is fortunate to be relatively unscathed after he was involved in a horrific crash early on in the race, Dumbreck's Mercedes became airborne at a speed of 150mph at a crest in the road and somersaulted five times before crashing into trees. "I'm a little bit stiff and my elbows and knees are sore but most of all I feel a bit tired," he said. "I feel very, very lucky not to be more seriously hurt."

Final positions:
 1 Winkelhock/Martini/Dalmas BMW
 2 Katayama/Tsuchiya/Suzuki  Toyota
 3 Pirro/Biela/Theys         Audi
 4 Alboreto/Capello/Aiello   Audi
 5 Bscher/Auberlen/Soper     BMW
 6 Caffi/Montermini/Sch'rlla Courage
 7 Brabham/Bernard/Leitz'ger Panoz
 8 Cottaz/Goossens/Ekblom    Nissan
 9 Pescarolo/Ferte/Gay       Courage
10 Beretta/Wendlinger/Dupuy  Chrysler
11 O'Connell/Mag'sen/Ang'lli Panoz
12 Archer/Bell/Duez          Chrysler
13 Alzen/Muishan/Riccitelli  Porsche
14 Niamorin/Hug'holtz/Seiler Chrysler
15 Breyner/Breyner/Breyner   Chrysler
16 Clerico/Lagniez/Mart'olle Chrysler
17 Belmondo/Monteiro/Rostan  Chrysler
18 Konrad/Kitchak/Slater     Porsche
19 Muller/Wollek/Maylander   Porsche
20 Hurtgen/Ahrle/Vosse       Porsche
21 Perrier/Ricci/Nourry      Porsche
22 Erdos/Vann/Glasel         Chrysler

Race retirements:
Kristensen/Martini/Dalmas    BMW
Donohue/Belloc/Ayari         Chrysler
Haupt/Robinson/Price         Porsche
Matusmita/Kato/Nakaya        BMW
Lammers/Kox/Coronel          Lola
Weaver/Wallace/McCarthy      Audi
Boutsen/Kelleners/McNish     Toyota
Palmberger/Kaufmann/Ligonnet Porsche
Saldana/Orbell/Deradigues    Kremer
Jarier/Bourdais/Dethoisy     Porsche
Monteiro/Monteiro/Mais'euve  Porsche
Motoyama/Krumm/Comas         Nissan
Brundle/Collard/Sospiri      Toyota
Tinseau/Montagny/Terrien     Lola
Schneider/Lamy/Lagorce       Mercedes
Bouchut/Heidfeld/Dumbreck    Mercedes
Terada/Freon/Donovan         Autoexe
Policano/Baldi/Pescatori     Ferrari
Apicella/Rosenblad/Lewis     Riley/Sc't
Johansson/Ortelli/Abt        Audi
Gache/Formato/Thevenin       Riley/Sc't
Lintott/Jurasz/Iketani       Porsche

F1:- David Coulthard is worried his title dreams are over for another year after his seventh place finish in Canada. The Scot now trails McLaren teammate and championship leader Mika Hakkinen by 22 points. "It is going to be incredibly difficult for me now that I have had another non- score," he said. "But I will just keep trying and trying and keep improving. Mika is really quick and the luck has been with him this season rather than me."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen should be fit for the French Grand Prix in a fortnight despite being detained overnight in hospital after a crash in Montreal. Frentzen smashed into a tyre barrier when lying second just three-and-a-half laps from the end of the Canadian GP. Formula One medical chief Professor Sid Watkins said: "He has a bruised left leg and right shoulder but there is no reason for him not to race in two weeks "The head rest played a major role in protecting him in the crash."

SPORTSCARS:- Belgian driver Thierry Boutsen is to retire from racing following the Le Mans accident which left him with a fractured vertebra low in his back. "I have been considering everything for some time and have now decided that this was my last race," he said. "I have now retired from motorsport and will focus on my family and aviation business," he added. The 41-year-old is comfortable in hopsital in Paris and will have an operation on Wednesday.

Le Mans winners BMW have said they may not return to defend their title in France next year. It was BMW's first ever-victory at the event but they are likely to focus their resources almost exclusively on a return to Formula One next season. Spokesman Gerhard Berger said: "We don't know what our decision will be but this result won't affect it." Mercedes' participation next year is also in doubt after they withdrew this year following a series of crashes.

BTCC:- This weekend will see the 11th and 12th rounds of the Championship take place on Donington's famous Grand Prix track. The Melbourne loop that extends the National circuit behind the pit complex will give drivers two additional overtaking chances. Back in April Matt Neal recorded a historic maiden victory on the circuit in front of almost 30,000 fans. He became the first privately-funded driver to win a round of the modern British Championship.

Nissan's Laurent Aiello is halfway to securing the &156;250,000 on offer to any driver winning four races in a row. The Frenchman has won six of this season's 10 rounds so far and could scoop the jackpot from TOCA if he wins both races this weekend. It is the second time this year the BTCC rookie has been on the verge of completing a clean sweep at two successive meetings. He is currently 48 points clear at the top of drivers championship.

Laurent Aiello has said he cares more about the results this weekend than the possible &156;250,000 bonus he could earn for taking both races this weekend. "For sure I'll be looking for the money but if it comes it comes," he said. "It is more important for us to pick up points in the championship and we will not throw away a good finish just to try to win both races. "We have an excellent chance to win the title and my target for Donington is to keep the gap between me and the rest."

Matt Neal has said he does not believe he can win the title even though he is currently second in the standings. Neal, who celebrated victory at Donington in April, has finished on the podium three more times. "I reckon the top three by the end of the season will be Laurent Aiello, Jason Plato and David Leslie," he said. "I am really pleased with what we have achieved so far this year but I still think the works guys will get it together and then come past us."

James Thompson, who along with Matt Neal won at Donington in April, needs another victory to revive his fading title challenge. The Honda driver has scored points in all but one of this year's races and said: "We were quick out of the blocks but the others have caught up a bit. "It was encouraging to be back among the front-runners in testing recently and we need to carry that pace forward. At Donington we will try to reproduce the form we showed there in April."

John Cleland produced Vauxhall's best qualifying performance of the season at Oulton Park although he was the victim of a first corner pile-up. "Qualifying has been the problem all year," said Cleland who won twice at Donington last year. Ford are still searching for their first win of the year although Alain Menu and Anthony Reid were third and fourth in round nine. "That result showed Ford is probably the best of the rest," said Reid.

Renault's Jason Plato will be hoping for better fortunes at Donington this year after two retirements in the previous two rounds. His strong run of form in the second half of the season has given him the chance to challenge Laurent Aiello. Meanwhile independent driver Mark Blair will receive plenty of local support. The Matlock-based driver has produced some excellent performances in his debut season and has completed nine out of 10 races this year.

CHAMP CARS:- Mark Blundell has been frustrated in his bid to resume his racing career following the crash that could have paralysed him. Blundell, who fractured his neck in an accident last month, had hoped to begin driving in readiness for this Sunday's FedEx CART race in Portland, USA. But the former Formula One driver has been told it will be several more weeks before he can drive again. "It's frustrating not to be able to drive again," said Blundell.

FORMULA PALMER AUDI (Brands Hatch):- Just one second covered the top twenty drivers in Monday's testing session. Justin Keen was quickest, four thousandths of a second ahead of Tim Mullen. Danny Watts led for most of the day before finishing seventh.

Monday's testing times
                    min sec
1 J Keen            1:23.78
2 T Mullen          1:23.82
3 J Bleekemolen     1:23.87
4 R Lyons           1:23.90
5 R Dumas           1:23.97
6 S Hancock         1:23.98

F1:- German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen will compete for Jordan in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours on Sunday week, his team has confirmed. Frentzen spent a night in hospital after crashing out of the Canadian Grand Prix, but has now been released and is resting at home in Monaco. "I am fine but rather bruised," the driver said. Team boss Eddie Jordan added: "Everyone in the team is looking forward to seeing him in Magny-Cours next week."

Driver ratings (June 15)        Points
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One  1091
 2 M Schumacher  Ger Formula One  1018
 3 J Gordon      US  NASCAR       1002
 4 M Martin      US  NASCAR        800
 5 N Heidfeld    Ger German F3     787
 6 D Jarrett     US  NASCAR        771
 7 J Burton      US  NASCAR        754
 8 JP Montoya    Col Champ Cars    727
 9 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   716
 = E Irvine      GB  Formula One   716

F1:- Damon Hill has announced he is retiring from Formula One at the end of the current season. Hill, who took the world crown in 1996 for Williams, has struggled to regain his form for Jordan this season and failed to finish in Montreal on Sunday. The 38-year-old raced in his first grand prix in 1992 and has notched 22 wins since then. He gave Jordan their first ever victory last year in Belgium after joining the team from Arrows.

Damon Hill's decision to quit at the end of the year comes in a season where there has been much speculation about his future. In a statement, Hill said: "After much reflection, I have decided not to continue racing in Formula One after the end of the 1999 season." Team boss Eddie Jordan praised Hill for his contribution to the sport. "This is a sad but typically brave and honest decision by one of Britain's great sporting heroes," he added.

Jordan driver Damon Hill has emerged as a star of Formula One in his own right after initially being in the shadow of his late, great father Graham. Hill, 38, admitted: "Despite being a late starter to F1, at the age of 32, I am very proud of my record. I won 22 grands prix and the world championship in just seven seasons. F1 has afforded me many incredible opportunities and I will cherish some fantastic memories. I have fulfilled my ambitions and am very fortunate."

Damon Hill's rise up the ranks from test driver to world champion was aided by the support of his family. After revealing that he is quitting at the end of the season, Hill added: "I would like to thank all those who have had to work with me. That is from the caterers to the team owners. You survived me. Well done. I would especially like to thank my wife Georgie, who has had the greatest burden to bear. Also, to my loyal fans - you were incredible throughout."

Eddie Jordan and his Formula One backroom staff have come in for particular praise from Damon Hill, following his retirement announcement. Hill confirmed: "To Eddie Jordan and the whole Benson and Hedges Mugen Honda team, thank you for your support. I know that Spa will be only the first of many victories. I am committed to giving you everything I can in order to secure your highest possible placing in the Constructors' Championship."

Jordan supremo Eddie Jordan called Damon Hill "a wonderful ambassador for motorsport worldwide". The Irishman said: "Damon was a great world champion and a wonderful ambassador for motorsport worldwide. His results will show he was one of the sport's great winners. He brought to Jordan a level of professionalism. It was an honour for me personally and for the whole Jordan team that he achieved the first grand prix victory for a Jordan car in Belgium last year."

Ferrari star Michael Schumacher has admitted that he was surprised to discover that Damon Hill was quitting the sport at the end of the season. The German, who has had many duels on the track with the British star, confirmed: "I was very surprised when I heard that Damon was retiring. It is a real pity for F1. Despite his age, Damon was still going strong. I think he will be a loss to the sport. We had some great and interesting battles on the track."

1960: Born in Hampstead, September 17.
1982- Worked as motorcycle despatch.
1985: rider to fund his racing career.
1984: Crowned Champion of Brands riding a Yamaha 350cc motorcycle. Also had first car win in Formula Ford 1600 at Brands Hatch.
1985: Finished third in Esso Formula Ford 1600 Championship and fifth in Townsend Thoresen Formula Ford 1600 Championship with six wins. Was third at Formula Ford Festival.
1986: Finished ninth in Formula Three Championship.
1987: Was fifth in Formula Three Championship, scoring two wins.
1988: Finished third in Formula Three Championship, with another two wins. Raced twice in International Formula 3000 Championship.
1989: Racing restricted because of a lack of finance.
1990: Competed in International Formula 3000 Championship, best result was second place at Brands Hatch.
1991: Best result of third in International Formula 3000 Championship - also fourth place at Le Mans. Took over from Mark Blundell as official test driver for the Williams Grand Prix team.
1992: Retained as test driver. Made Grand Prix debut in Britain for Brabham, finishing 16th.
1993: Joined Alain Prost in Williams Grand Prix team. First win in Hungary followed by victories in Belgium and Italy - finished third overall in the championship in first full season.
1994: Partnered Ayrton Senna at Williams, becoming unofficial number one after Senna died in San Marino Grand Prix. Beaten to championship by Michael Schumacher by one point.
1995: Finished second to Schumacher again. Jacques Villeneuve replaces David Coulthard as partner at Williams for the 1996 season.
1996: Williams terminate negotiations concerning a contract for 1997. Hill wins World Championship and agrees to join Arrows team for 1997 season. Awarded the OBE and named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
1997: Hill manages just seven points all season for Arrows. It is announced that he will join Jordan in a two-year deal.
1998: After a disappointing start to the season as an Arrows driver, he recovers well to win the Belgian Grand Prix. Finishes sixth in the World Championship with 20 points.
1999: Fails to finish in four of the season's first six Grand Prix. Announces his retirement days after crashing out of the sixth, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Grand Prix statistics
Starts: 111   Pole positions:  20
Wins:    22   Total points:   359
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has undergone heart surgery. The FIA vice-president had a coronary artery by-pass graft operation at the London Chest Hospital. Consultant cardiac surgeon John Wright desribed the operation as "routine" and added: "Bernie will be back in the fast lane in a couple of weeks." Ecclestone, who was later discharged from hospital, agreed to undergo the surgery at the request of his wife and FIA medical chief professor Sid Watkins.

SPORTSCARS:- The FIA is to carry out an urgent safety review of GT racing after the two severe crashes during Le Mans. Peter Dumbreck's Mercedes flew off the track into trees during the race after Mark Webber, also in a Mercedes, had had a similar accident in the warm-up. An FIA statement read: "The FIA has been asked to examine the introduction of technical regulations to prevent GT cars becoming airborne. The FIA is concerned that such incidents might involve spectators."

BRITISH F3 (Brands Hatch):-
Testing times:               mins secs
 1 N Karthikeyan Ind Honda    1:19.184
 2 J Button      GB  Renault  1:19.541
 3 M Hynes       GB  Honda    1:19.685
 4 M Davies      GB  Honda    1:19.804
 5 K Kolby       Den Honda    1:19.818
 6 L Burti       Brz Honda    1:19.913
 7 A Kirkcaldy   GB  Honda    1:19.986
 8 A Coelho      Brz Renault  1:20.257
 9 T Spouge      GB  Opel     1:20.572
10 D Bell        GB  Honda    1:20.799

F1:- Damon Hill's decision to quit Formula One at the end of the season will leave a big void in Britain. The former world champion accounts for more than 60 per cent of all the sales of motor sport mechandise in Britain. Michael Schumacher manages a 33 per cent share but Hill easily outsells the other Britons. Meanwhile, Hill is being tipped to follow a career in television and is believed to have had talks about becoming an ITV pundit.

BTCC (Donington Park)
Testing times (Thu):         mins secs
 1 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:35.369
 2 P Kox         Hol Honda    1:35.775
 3 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    1:35.969
 4 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   1:36.143
 5 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:36.170
 6 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:36.329
 7 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:36.390
 8 J Plato       GB  Williams 1:36.436
 9 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:36.451
10 V Radermecker Bel Volvo    1:36.629

SPORTSCARS:- Toyota GT-One driver Thierry Boutsen has begun his fight back to fitness after being injured in last weekend's Le Mans 24-Hour race. The Belgian had a five-hour operation on a fractured vertebra in a Paris hospital on Wednesday but is expected to make a full recovery. During the surgery, a graft of hip bone was used to complete the repair of the third lumbar vertebra. He will recuperate in Paris before returning to his Monte Carlo home.

BRITISH GTs:- Tim Sugden was quickest in testing for the fourth round of the Privilege Insurance British GT Championships at Brands Hatch. Sugden and Steve O'Rourke clocked 1:21,895 in the McLaren F1-GTR, with Magnus Wallinder second in 1:22.638 in the Porsche 911GT1.

MGF CUP:- Warren Hughes will be hoping to stretch his lead in the MGF Cup this weekend in round six at Brands. He leads Matt Kelly by 26 points in the drivers' championship.

BTCC (Donington Park):- James Thompson and David Leslie dented Laurent Aiello's hopes of clinching jackpot victories in rounds 11 and 12. Laurent would scoop &156;250,000 for four consecutive wins if he triumphed in Sunday's two races. However, it was Thompson who claimed pole position in qualifying for the sprint race, while Leslie followed suit for the feature race. If Thompson wins, his race engineer Peter Harrison will be forced to keep a commitment to dye his hair blonde.

Round 11 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs
 1 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:35.969
 2 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    1:35.993
 3 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   1:36.057
 4 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:36.057
 5 J Plato       GB  Williams 1:36.385
 6 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:36.472
 7 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:36.492
 8 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:36.614
 9 P Kox         Hol Honda    1:36.676
10 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault  1:36.817

Round 12 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs
 1 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:35.919
 2 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:36.193
 3 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   1:36.401
 4 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    1:36.556
 5 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:36.660
 6 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:36.702
 7 J Plato       GB  Williams 1:36.864
 8 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault  1:36.923
 9 V Radermecker Bel Volvo    1:37.066
10 J Cleland     GB  Vauxhall 1:37.370

F.PALMER AUDI (Brands Hatch):-
Qualifying times (Sat):      mins secs
 1 R Tarling     GB           1:23.479
 2 J Keen        GB           1:23.657
 3 R Kerr        GB           1:23.710
 4 T Mullen      GB           1:23.720
 5 R Lyons       GB           1:23.846
 6 J Bleekemolen Hol          1:24.005
 7 S Hancock     GB           1:24.075
 8 T Serjala     Fin          1:24.188
 9 J Shafer      US           1:24.243
10 B Wirdheim    Swe          1:24.261

BRITISH F3 (Brands Hatch):-
Qualifying times (Sat):     mins secs
 1 L Burti       Brz Honda    1:18.674
 2 N Karthikeyan Ind Honda    1:18.754
 3 J Button      GB  Renault  1:18.867
 4 A Kirkaldy    GB  Honda    1:19.091
 5 M Davies      GB  Honda    1:19.140
 6 A Coelho      Brz Renault  1:19.172
 7 M Hynes       GB  Renault  1:19.178
 8 K Kolby       Den Honda    1:19.278
 9 T Scri'chvnon Tha Honda    1:19.287
10 T Spouge      GB  Opel     1:19.560

BRITISH GT'S (Brands Hatch):- Magnus Wallinder forced the Blue Coral Slick 50 Racing Porsche on to pole position for the fourth round. The Swede took advantage of cool conditions in the second qualifying session to break the one minute, 21 seconds barrier. He said: "We knew the potential and the cooler conditions helped us." In GT2, the morning time set by the Lister Storm of Rob Schirle and David Warnock was not bettered by any of their rivals later on.

Final qualifying times (Sat):mins secs

1 Lister/Wallinder   Porsche  1:20.932
2 Bailey/Campbel-W   Lister   1:21.515
3 Goodwin/Munroe     McLaren  1:22.040
4 Sugden/O'Rourke    McLaren  1:22.169

1 Schirle/Warnock    Lister   1:25.812
2 Hewland/Thyrring   Lister   1:26.217
2 Erdos/Purvis       Marcos   1:26.787
4 Cook/Lockie        Porsche  1:29.264

NATIONAL SALOON CUP (Brands Hatch):- Mark Lemmer triumphed in a fierce battle for pole position, finishing seven hundreths of a second faster than Simon Harrison. Lemmer said: "The car is really good round here. I knew that lap would be there or thereabouts."

Qualifying times (Sat):
1 M Lemmer      Honda     1:39.283
2 S Harrison    Honda     1:39.353
3 D Eaves       Peugeot   1:39.890
4 S Day         Honda     1:39.934
5 T Ruokonen    Peugeot   1:40.491
6 S Clarke      Honda     1:41.713

MGF CUP (Brands Hatch):- Warwickshire's Nick Carr put in a storming lap to take pole position - pipping close rivals Warren Hughes and Matt Kelly. Qualifying was split into two sessions after Brian Heerey went into the tyre wall, leaving tyres across the track.

Round six qualifying times (Sat):
1 N Carr               1:42.828
2 W Hughes             1:42.897
3 M Kelly              1:43.331
4 R Armes              1:43.390
5 J Hunter             1:43.611
6 M Humphrey           1:43.731

RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Donington Park):- Andy Priaulx maintained his 100 per cent qualifying record with his sixth straight pole position, ahead of team- mates Phil Bennett and Tobia Masini. Mark Cole was a close fourth and Anders Hildebrand a best-ever fifth, despite a brush with the barriers.

Round six qualifying times (Sat):
1 A Priaulx           1:46.480
2 P Bennett           1:46.763
3 T Masini            1:46.957
4 M Cole              1:46.977
5 A Hildebrand        1:47.822
6 N Greensall         1:48.168

FORD FIESTA'S (Donington Park):- David Gibson claimed pole position as the Stancombe Vehicle Engineering team completed a top-three clean sweep. Meanwhile, Michael Cullen returned to form with the fourth best time.

Round six qualifying times (Sat):
                         mins secs
1 D Gibson        GB      2:02.952
2 P Rivett        GB      2:03.291
3 C Stancombe     GB      2:03.431
4 M Cullen        Ire     2:03.572
5 M Burton        GB      2:03.597
6 M Engledew      GB      2:03.634

F.RENAULT SPORT (Donington Park):- Rob Austin ended team-mate Antonio Pizzonia's 100 per cent pole position record by claiming the top grid spot for Sunday's race. Pizzonia was second quickest and Leighton Walker a close third.

Round six qualifying times (Sat):
1 R Austin          GB     1:35.476
2 A Pizzonia        Brz    1:35.535
3 L Walker          GB     1:35.699
4 C Breeze          GB     1:36.078
5 N Stelandre       Bel    1:36.128
6 P Nilsson         GB     1:36.683

VECTRA CHALLENGE (Donington Park):- Mark Ticehurst gave the unique liquid petroleum gas-powered Vauxhall Vectra its first pole position. He said: "The car was fantastic. You have to go quick early to make the most of the tyres and it paid off."

Round six qualifying times (Sat):
1 M Ticehurst          1:50.061
2 D Pinkney            1:50.101
3 A Morrison           1:50.378
4 J Rhodes             1:50.443
5 G Pyper              1:50.543
6 R Collard            1:50.994

F.FORD (Donington Park):- Nicolas Kiesa extended his championship lead after over-heating problems forced Marcos Ambrose to settle for second. Craig Murray took third after a long tussle with Ricardo van der Ende ended with the two making contact with each other on the final lap.

Round six qualifying times (Sat):
                     mins secs
1 N Kiesa       Den  23:21.311
2 M Ambrose     Aus  23:24.141
3 C Murray      Sco  23:38.359
4 R Dahlgren    Swe  23:41.828
5 J Courtney    Aus  23:42.109
6 G Caton       Eng  23:42.522

F.VAUXHALL (Donington Park)
Round seven qualifying times (Sat):
                       mins secs
 1 R Dalziel            1:39.217
 2 G Paffett            1:39.470
 3 R Bell               1:39.639
 4 S Hodgetts           1:39.847
 5 M Pavlovic           1:40.009
 6 J Dalziel            1:40.194
 7 V Apple              1:40.373
 8 G Turkington         1:40.420
 9 D Scandian           1:40.474
10 T McQuarrie          1:40.571

BTRDA SERIES: Dukeries Rally
Top 10 after 5 stages:mins secs
 1 N Elsmore              23.49
 2 S Black                24.26
 3 P Griffiths            24.26
 4 R Archer               24.48
 5 M Johnson              24.55
 6 G Handley              24.59
 7 D Howells              25.08
 8 P Beards               25.11
 9 D Poyser               25.21
10 R Hill                 25.25

F1:- Team boss Eddie Jordan has denied that he had had talks with other drivers before Damon Hill announced he was quitting at the end of the season. The Jordan supremo told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I had not spoken to anybody but now I am obliged to find a new driver and Damon will help me with that." He said reports linking Jordan with Eddie Irvine were unfounded. Jordan also said contractual terms meant it was up to Hill if he did finish the season with the team or not.

BTCC (Donington Park):-
Round 11 result (Sun):        mins secs
 1 J Thompson    GB  Honda    34:12.522
 2 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   34:13.135
 3 J Plato       GB  Williams 34:20.386
 4 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 34:21.988
 5 A Menu        Swi Ford     34:22.660
 6 J Cleland     GB  Vauxhall 34:26.418
 7 P Kox         Hol Honda    34:28.977
 8 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault  34:31.719
 9 M Neal        GB  Nissan   34:33.363
10 V Radermecker Bel Volvo    34:35.706

Round 12 result (Sun):       mins secs
 1 D Leslie      GB  Nissan  49:43.198
 2 L Aiello      Fr  Nissan   @  0.228
 3 J Thompson    GB  Honda    @ 16.708
 4 R Rydell      Swe Volvo    @ 20.522
 5 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall @ 22.173
 6 A Menu        Swi Ford     @ 24.648
 7 M Neal        GB  Nissan   @ 27.580
 8 J Plato       GB  Williams @ 28.733
 9 A Reid        GB  Ford     @ 44.962
10 JC Boullion   Fr  Renault  @ 54.533

1 L Aiello   Fr  Nissan Prim  125 pts
2 J Thompson GB  Honda Accord  88
3 D Leslie   GB  Nissan        87
4 J Plato    GB  Renault Lag   72
5 M Neal     GB  Nissan Prim   69

1 Nissan              241 pts
2 Honda               136
3 Renault             122

1 M Neal     GB  Nissan Prim  165 pts
2 M Blair    GB  Vauxhall Vec 100
3 L Brookes  GB  Honda         57

F.PALMER AUDI (Brands Hatch):- Robbie Kerr claimed his maiden FPA win in one of the most exciting races seen in the series. The eighth round took place in tricky, wet-but-drying conditions and the lead changed numerous times. Richard Tarling, who headed the series before this weekend, spun off during the warm-up lap and had to start from the back of the field. He finished 13th after a torrid race that included several collisions and Richard Lyons is now overall leader.

Round eight result (Sun):  mins secs
 1 R Kerr        GB        26:07.802
 2 T Mullen      GB        26:08.535
 3 R Lyons       GB        26:12.108
 4 S Hancock     GB        26:12.221
 5 B Wirdheim    Swe       26:16.083
 6 J Bleekemolen Hol       26:18.099
 7 D Hayes       GB        26:18.413
 8 D Faulkner    Ire       26:20.057
 9 T Serjala     Fin       26:20.157
10 A Booth       NZ        26:20.620

1 R Lyons       90 pts
2 R Tarling     86
3 T Mullen      78

BRITISH F3 (Brands Hatch):- India's Narain Karthikeyan secured his second victory of the season in round eight of the competition. He was just under six seconds ahead of Brazil's Luciano Burti in second spot, who was just clear of British driver Andrew Kirkcaldy. Kirkcaldy was followed home by three more British drivers, Marc Hynes, Matthew Davies and Jenson Button. Karthikeyan, who also recorded the fastest lap, had been second quickest in qualifying behind Burti.

Result (Sun):                mins secs
 1 N Karthikeyan Ind Honda   29:00.707
 2 L Burti       Brz Honda   29:06.555
 3 A Kirkcaldy   GB  Honda   29:07.488
 4 M Hynes       GB  Renault 29:07.896
 5 M Davies      GB  Honda   29:08.339
 6 J Button      GB  Renault 29:08.746
 7 K Kolby       Den Honda   29:11.106
 8 A Coelho      Brz Renault 29:19.311
 9 T Scri'chvnon Tha Honda   29:22.545
10 M Bentwood    GB  Honda   29:22.908

BRITISH GT'S (Brands Hatch):-
Round 4 result:
GT1                          mins secs
1 Bailey/Campbel-W   Lister  51:17.067
2 Wallinder/Lister   Porsche 51:41.192
3 Sugden/O'Rourke    McLaren 51:19.128
4 Goodwin/Munroe     McLaren 51:44.671
5 Greasley/Morrison  Porsche 51:57.450

1 Schirle/Warnock    Lister   34 laps
2 Erdos/Purvis       Marcos   34 laps
3 Cook/Lockie        Porsche  34 laps
4 Cunningham/Konig   Chrysler 33 laps

Race 10 result (Sun):
1 M Lemmer      Honda    16:48.474
2 S Day         Honda    16:50.965
3 S Harrison    Honda    16:52.673
4 D Eaves       Peugeot  16:56.693
5 T Ruokonen    Peugeot  16:57.453
6 S Clarke      Honda    17:03.992

FORD FIESTA'S (Donington Park):-
1 C Stancombe            24:59.243
2 D Gibson               25:00.503
3 M Burton               25:02.726
4 P Rivett               25:12.740
5 D Buxton               25:13.525
6 M Engledew             25:14.236

MGF CUP (Brands Hatch):-
Round six result (Sun):
 1 W Hughes            14:18.110
 2 R Armes             14:24.375
 3 D Mason             14:26.127
 4 J Hunter            14:26.244
 5 A Lyall             14:30.426
 6 M Hazell            14:30.908
 7 B Benham            14:34.072
 8 M Mercer            14:34.768
 9 V Martin            14:35.919
10 P Johnson           14:36.056

Round nine result (Sun):
 1 I McKellar          16:26.776
 2 M Caine             16:26.858
 3 S Gugliemi          16:27.378
 4 J Campbell-Walter   16:27.508
 5 S Sutcliffe         16:30.902
 6 T Hood              16:31.113
 7 S Hyde              16:31.113
 8 T Dunlop            16:31.170
 9 A Ward              16:33.367
10 S Cole              16:33.940

CART (Portland):- Colombian Juan Montoya claimed his third pole of the season ahead of the GI Joe's 200. The CART rookie clocked a track record top lap of 121.808mph and said: "We are up front and that is important. "The driver's level is harder on the road courses than the ovals. I like the road courses better because that is where I learned how to drive." Brazilian Helio Castro-Neves was second quickest, while Scotland's Dario Franchitti was 12th quickest.

Qualifying times (Sat):          secs
 1 J Montoya    Col Honda       58.193
 2 H Castro-N   Brz Mercedes    58.282
 3 G de Ferran  Brz Honda       58.339
 4 B Herta      US  Ford        58.359
 5 A Fernandez  Mex Reynard     58.364
 6 P Tracy      Can Honda       58.403
 7 J Vasser     US  Honda       58.403
 8 P Carpentier Can Mercedes    58.437
 9 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford        58.479
10 M Papis      It  Ford        58.491
12 D Franchitti GB  Honda       58.642

RENAULT SPIDER CUP (Donington Park):- Andy Priaulx picked up his sixth victory in a row and is now within sight of Jason Plato's record of eight straight Spider Cup wins. Phil Bennett came in second, while there was a caree-best fifth place for Anders Hildebrand.

Round six result (Sun):
1 A Priaulx           25:10.000
2 P Bennett           25:16.847
3 M Cole              25:17.583
4 T Masini            25:18.290
5 A Hildebrand        25:41.480
6 J Dance             25:42.155

F.RENAULT SPORT (Donington Park):- Antonio Pizzonia triumphed in a race that had five changes of leadership. Leighton Walker had headed the field after Rob Austin spun and Pizzonia went in front only to go off. Walker retook the lead before suffering car problems.

Round six result (Sun):
1 A Pizzonia        Brz    22:41.762
2 N Stelandre       Bel    22:47.645
3 C Breeze          GB     22:49.331
4 R Austin          GB     22:57.127
5 L Walker          GB     22:59.569
6 M Boost           GB     23:02.677

VECTRA CHALLENGE (Donington Park):-
Round six result (Sun):
1 M Ticehurst         18:47.017
2 D Pinkney           18:49.096
3 J Rhodes            18:58.066
4 J Yeomans           19:01.019
5 R Collard           19:01.451
6 G Coomes            19:02.241

F.FORD (Donington Park):- Nicolas Kiesa leads the series by 28 points after earning his second win of the weekend. Jesper Carlsen secured a season-best third place and Joanna Clarke became the first woman to win a round of the First Division category.

Round seven result (Sun):
1 N Kiesa         Den  20:04.144
2 M Ambrose       Aus  20:05.888
3 J Carlsen       Den  20:11.173
4 R van der Ende  Hol  20:13.423
5 T Sisley        GB   20:14.661
6 C Murray        GB   20:18.860

F.VAUXHALL (Donington Park):-
Round seven result (Sun):mins secs
 1 R Dalziel           24:52.523
 2 R Bell              24:54.097
 3 G Paffett           24:54.531
 4 M Pavlovic          25:02.991
 5 G Turkington        25:08.334
 6 D Scandian          25:13.701
 7 J Dalziel           25:15.976
 8 T McQuarrie         25:16.860
 9 H Mutoh             25:18.743
10 M Franchitti        25:20.052

BTRDA SERIES: Dukeries Rally
Result after 11 stages: mins secs
 1 B Bell/P Spooner       45.04
 2 S Crook/A Crook        45.11
 3 P Littler/A Marbank    45.14
 4 I Joel/G Wood          45.34
 5 J Thompson/D McKinlay  45.55
 6 R Lapley/S Wood        46.21
 = A Elliott/G Wilcock    46.21
 8 J Perrott/N Parry      46.30
 9 G Kellam/G Morpeth     46.32
10 S Larby/S Staddon      46.37

F1:- The Prost team has appointed Alan Jenkins as its new technical director. Group president Bernard Dudot will take on a strategic function, mapping out the team's racing future.

CART (Portland):- Dario Franchitti is second in the standings after finishing third in the Budweiser GI Joe's 200 CART race. The Scot is on 85 points ` five behind Colombian Juan Montoya, who finished second behind Brazilian Gil de Ferran at the Portland event. It was de Ferran's first CART win of the season. A poor pitstop ended Montoya's hopes of victory. He had looked set to triumph after Helio Castro-Neves went out with electrical problems when leading.

Race result (Sun):             Laps
 1 G de Ferran  Brz Honda       98
 2 J Montoya    Col Honda       98
 3 D Franchitti GB  Honda       98
 4 A Fernandez  Mex Reynard     98
 5 P Tracy      Can Honda       98
 6 B Herta      US  Ford        98
 7 R Moreno     Brz Ford        98
 8 M Papis      It  Ford        98
 9 P Carpentier Can Mercedes    98
10 C da Matta   Brz Toyota      98

22.06.99 - F3000
Kid Jensen Racing had an exacting two days at Silverstone for the fifth and final FIA Formula 3000 test of 1999. Ahead of Saturday's race at Magny-Cours drivers Nicolas Minassian and Andrea Piccini both completed around 140 laps. Before heading to his home country, Frenchman Minassian said: "I have been living in England for three years now but it is always great to be back home. "I know the circuit like the back of my hand and we should be at the front. I am happy with our progress."

Portman Racing have pulled out of the 1999 International Formula 3000 Championship and Piers Portman is considering the future of his team.

F1:- Next year's Formula One season will start in Malaysia on February 20, three weeks earlier than this year's opening in Australia. Other changes have been included to accommodate the United States Grand Prix, which will be the penultimate race of the season at Indianapolis. France will be earlier than this year and Canada later, to be followed by the British Grand Prix. The Monaco race has been moved and will take place on June 4.

Eddie Jordan says the driver he chooses to replace Damon Hill could be a bit of a surprise." Jordan told Autosport magazine he intends to draw up a shortlist of four or five potential drivers. "They may not be top drivers now, but drivers we believe would respond to the atmosphere inside Jordan," he said. "We've always been identified by things that don't follow a pattern; bringing on a young sportscar driver or someone from series in Japan or America."

Damon Hill admitted that he might quit before the end of the season if his performances did not improve. The former world champion insists he wants to see out the campaign but said: "I am trying to overcome difficulties. I want to go out with a bang and it would be a great way to finish with a win at Suzuka, but I don't want to damage Jordan's prospects this year." He blamed a loss of competitiveness and enjoyment plus time away from his wife and four children for his decision.

Mika Hakkinen will be aiming to extend his advantage in the driver standings after regaining the initiative over Michael Schumacher in Canada. Hakkinen's McLaren team have been testing solidly before Sunday's race and the Finn revealed: "We are getting there with the reliability of the car. We know we can start really developing it now." He won in Montreal last time out and said: "I am looking forward to the race and am confident we can win again."

David Coulthard was sixth in the corresponding race last year but knows he needs a win now if his title hopes are not to be written off. The Scot requires a good qualifying performance but has been consistently pipped by McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen so far this season. He has been publicly backed by boss Ron Dennis and would love to give McLaren their first French win since 1989. Alain Prost won for McLaren that year at Le Castelet.

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari will be bidding to emulate last year's one-two in France on Sunday. The German claimed his 30th victory in the race and he and Eddie Irvine gave the Italian team their first top-two finish for eight years. Schumacher is also targeting his third straight win at Magny-Cours after triumphing in 1997. He will be keen to regain the lead in the Championship after being outgunned by Mika Hakkinen in Montreal.

Eddie Irvine will be keen for a high placing in France. The Ferrari driver sits in third spot in the driver standings, comfortably clear of Heinz-Harald Frentzen after his third place in Montreal. He has had a very consistent season to date, with Imola being the only race in which he has failed to score. However, having won at Melbourne and led the championship early on, Irvine will be looking for a challenging performance in Sunday's race.

The pressure is off Damon Hill somewhat now he has announced he is retiring at the end of the season but he will be as keen as ever to gain a top-six finish. Hill won in Magny-Cours for Williams during the 1996 campaign when he claimed the world title. The Briton has been upstaged by Heinz- Harald Frentzen for much of this season but last year he took a while to find his form and then reaped rewards. He knows the circuit and is also due a change in fortune.

Johnny Herbert goes into the race in bright spirits after picking up two points with fifth spot in Montreal. "It's relaxed me quite a bit," he commented. "I was frustrated at not finishing a race. Getting two points has given me the confidence to attack qualifying in a positive frame of my mind." Stewart added that Magny-Cours is a tough circuit, saying: "I've only had one point in seven races there so I'm desperate to put that right."

Rubens Barrichello is hoping to put the misery of his early departure from Montreal behind him in France. The Stewart driver said: "I am hoping for a longer race! May aim is to keep up my average or better in qualifying. Tyres are a big issue at Magny-Cours. As a driver you are conscious of looking after tyres in a race by not throwing the car around too much. Because of the mix of high speed corners and chicanes the car changes direction quite a lot."

Williams driver Ralf Schumacher would relish a repeat of his first French Grand Prix in 1997. He qualified third on the grid and finished in the points but last year a clash with Alexander Wurz forced him into the pits and he finished 16th. Schumacher said: "I like Magny-Cours, especially the left-right combination after the start, and the two chicanes give me a lot of fun. Because of the low grip level you need a car with good mechanical grip."

Alex Zanardi goes into the race still searching for his first points of the 1999 campaign. The Italian said: "What I hate about Magny-Cours is that it is so difficult to get to. Once I am there I really like some of the exciting turns, especially the chicanes that are very fast and difficult to get into. It is a track where I was never lucky in the past so I hope this year I will go against the odds."

Sunday's race will herald the first visit of British American Racing to the French track but their drivers know the circuit well enough. Team manager Robert Synge said: "Happily our drivers have experience of the place. Jacques Villeneuve has had three previous seasons in Formula One and Ricardo Zonta had a very impressive test here in 1998 with McLaren. Unusually, the track is sensitive to changes in ambient temperature."

The Prost-Peugeot team have carried out a three-day test session at the circuit in a bid to give their home fans something to cheer about. The objectives for Alain Prost's outfit were to test new parts for future races, including a new exhaust system. They also wanted to find the right set- up on the cars for the race. Drivers Olivier Panis and Jarno Trulli clocked up numerous laps but Trulli's efforts were hindered by a gearbox problem on day two.

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 72 laps or 305.814km. David Coulthard achieved the fastest lap in last year's race with a time of one minute, 17.523 seconds on lap 59. The 1998 French Grand Prix had to be restarted after Jos Verstappen's Stewart-Ford stalled on the grid. Magny-Cours has been the home of the French Grand Prix since 1991. It replaced the Paul Ricard Circuit, which had held the race for many years.

EUROCARS:- Drivers in the Eurocar V8 championship face the challenge of a new race format at the Mintex Raceday at Mallory Park on Sunday. The Max Power 100 will be the series' first 100km event, and it will in addition include mid-race fuelling and tyre changes. Favourite for victory must be championship leader Kevin Clarke, who has been nearly unbeatable recently. Other front runners include Mark Willis and Barry Lee.

Ferrari duo Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine set the fastest times in the second practice session after sitting out the first run-out. Schumacher clocked a lap time of one minute, 17.912 seconds to top the standings, while close rival Mika Hakkinen was third quickest. David Coulthard was fourth and Jean Alesi, who had earlier escaped unharmed in a high-speed crash, was seventh. Johnny Herbert was 10th quickest and Damon Hill was 12th.

Friday's practice times:     mins secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:17.912
 2 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:18.199
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:18.251
 4 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:18.468
 5 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:18.746
 6 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:18.779
 7 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:18.908
 8 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:18.950
 9 R Schumacher  Ger Jordan   1:19.069
10 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:19.266
11 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:19.491
12 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:19.591
13 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:19.651
14 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:20.002
15 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:20.121
16 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:20.285
17 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:20.528
18 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:20.655
19 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:20.681
20 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:21.418
21 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:21.506
22 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:21.928

RALLYING:- Skoda Motorsport will contest next month's Rally Bohemia, the Czech round of the European Rally Championship. The team will be represented on the all-asphalt event by two Octavia WRCs manned by Armin Schwarz/Manfred Hiemer and Emil Triner/Milos Hulka.

Rubens Barrichello gave Stewart their first pole position but former world champion Damon Hill initially failed to qualify for Sunday's race. The qualifying session was hit by rain but Jean Alesi and Olivier Panis gave the home crowd a boost by finishing second and third quickest. David Coulthard was fourth, Michael Schumacher sixth, Hakkinen 14th and Eddie Irvine just qualified in 17th. Hill was 18th and will be allowed to race after an appeal by Jordan.

Damon Hill will be allowed to take part in Sunday's race, despite failing to post the required qualifying time. Hill and four others missed out after deciding to leave it late to take to the track because of rain and Hill also suffered after his car caught fire. Jordan appealed to the stewards and Hill and the four other drivers were later given the go-ahead to compete in the grand prix. Qualification is set at 107 per cent of the pole-winner's time.

Race stewards decided to allow the five non-qualifiers to start the race because they said that the heavy rain had created exceptional circumstances. A number of drivers left it late to try and put in a lap in qualifying because of the conditions. The non-qualifiers were given starting positions relating to their practice times, under article 131 of the rules. Damon Hill will be 18th, Pedro de la Rosa 19th, Tora Takagi 20th, Luca Badoer 21st and Marc Gene 22nd.

Jean Alesi and Olivier Panis gave the home supporters something to cheer about by clocking the second and third fastest times in qualifying. The Frenchmen went out early, despite the wet conditions, and the gamble paid off. World champion Mika Hakkinen was last with just six minutes left of the session, while Eddie Irvine had two spins before ending up in the gravel. Britain's Johnny Herbert qualified in ninth place.

Damon Hill may consider retiring before the end of the season, despite his race reprieve in France. The former world champion admitted: "I would not want to be in a situation where I am damaging Jordan's chances. "On today's evidence, I am not helping. I did not perform well. I only want to race if I feel I can deliver and frankly I do not feel like I am." Next up is the British Grand Prix, which would give Hill a perfect swansong if he does want to go earlier.

Jordan's Damon Hill missed out on directly qualifying for the race by 0.003 of a second. He had to use the spare car when a fire broke out in his race car, sparked by a broken exhaust, and then the replacement car also caught fire. Hill is due to retire at the end of the season and his team boss Eddie Jordan had said he wanted him to stick to that and not leave earlier. Jordan said: "We are not about to do unethical things."

Rubens Barrichello was thrilled after giving Stewart their first pole. He said: "I feel fantastic. This is just great. I was out there at the right time. "This feels just like it did in Spa in 1994. Gary Anderson (Stewart's technical director) was with me at Jordan and here. We took the decision ourselves. When I was out there I knew I had to really push because I realised this was now or never. I am hoping for a podium place."

Qualifying times (Sat):      mins secs
 1 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:38.441
 2 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:38.881
 3 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:40.400
 4 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:40.403
 5 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:40.690
 6 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:41.127
 7 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:41.825
 8 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:42.096
 9 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:42.199
10 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:42.228
11 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:42.942
12 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:43.748
13 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:44.319
14 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:44.368
15 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:44.912
16 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:45.189
17 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:45.218
18 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:45.334
19 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:48.215
20 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:48.322
21 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:46.784
22 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:46.324                                          Final five qualified with practice times,
under article 131 of rules

CART (Cleveland)
Provisional qualifying (Fri):   secs
 1 G de Ferran  Brz Honda      57.745
 2 P Tracy      Can Honda      57.787
 3 B Herta      US  Ford       57.822
 4 M Andretti   US  Ford       57.853
 5 J Montoya    Col Honda      57.882
 6 G Moore      Can Mercedes   58.042
 7 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford       58.063
 8 C da Matta   Brz Toyota     58.080
 9 D Franchitti GB  Honda      58:173
10 A Unser Jnr  US  Mercedes   58.105

Heinz-Harald Frentzen gave Jordan their second grand prix victory after winning the pit-stop strategy battle. Mika Hakkinen had spun on lap 39 and slipped down the field but then recovered to lead the race. However, he lost the advantage when he had to refuel for a second time while Frentzen only needed one pit stop. Hakkinen was second, Rubens Barrichello third, Michael Schumacher fifth and Eddie Irvine sixth. Johnny Herbert, David Coulthard and Damon Hill retired.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen took the spoils while still recovering from the leg injuries he sustained in the Canadian Grand Prix a fortnight ago. The German's only other victory was at San Marino for Williams in 1997. His win also proved that Jordan are one of the teams to beat in wet conditions as the outfit's only other triumph was at Spa last year. Damon Hill took the honours that day, with the weather mirroring that at this year's French race.

Mika Hakkinen's hopes of triumphing in the race realistically ended on the 39th lap when he spun when in second place and slipped down the field. Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Michael Schumacher were able to overtake the Finn and by lap 45 the world champion was out of the points in eighth place. Schumacher put pressure on Frentzen before overtaking him and then took the lead off Rubens Barrichello. Hakkinen recovered and did regain the lead briefly but it was not enough.

David Coulthard's victory hopes ended after just nine laps when he was forced to retire with a mechanical failure. After taking the lead from Rubens Barrichello he looked set to open up a gap as his rivals battled their way through the field. However, he lost power and was forced to cruise into the gravel. His fourth retirement in seven outings looks to have virtually ended his chances of realistically challenging for the title.

David Coulthard had moved up from fourth to second by the start of the second lap. The Scot then bided his time and on the sixth lap surged past Rubens Barrichello ` who had been on pole ` to take the lead. Coulthard's team-mate Mika Hakkinen had stormed up the field from 14th and by lap seven was in sixth spot ` just behind rival Michael Schumacher. Damon Hill produced a superb move to overtake Eddie Irvine early on.

The safety car was brought out on the 26th lap after heavy rain began to fall at the French circuit. Visibility was a problem for the drivers and the cars were forced to parade around in a stilted fashion until 35 laps had been completed. Damon Hill, who had looked set to retire from the race after brushing an Arrows coming out of the pits, carried on but eventually pulled out on lap 31. It fuels speculation that he may quit before the end of the season.

Ferrari's Eddie Irvine did well to finish sixth after a pit-stop problem hindered his progress. He began the race in 17th spot after only just directly qualifying for the grand prix on the rain-hit Saturday. Irvine was then overtaken by Damon Hill at the start before beginning to make his way through the field. When he went into the pits with the black clouds looming, he caught out the crew and then a wrong tyre was put on, delaying him for over 40 seconds.

Damon Hill has admitted that the French Grand Prix may have been his last race for Jordan. After retiring from the grand prix, he confirmed: "It may well have been my last race for Jordan. There are a lot of things to think about." The former world champion had intended to quit at the end of the season. If he does give up the sport now it will disappoint thousands of British fans who were set to cheer him on at Silverstone on July 11.

Damon Hill does not know when he will decide whether he should race at Silverstone, but knows he faces a difficult decision. "I'd like to go to Silverstone and do well, but you have to ask if I can," he said. "At the moment I don't know if I can do that." "I appreciate there will be people at Silverstone wanting to see me race. "I wouldn't do it for the fans. I'd do it for myself and my family before I start thinking about fans," he added.

Former world champion Damon Hill said he had no complaints after failing to finish the race. "I do not really have anything to complain about," he said. "It is a bit of a shame actually. I had bad luck but did not go as well as I wanted. In the race I thought we could have maybe clawed our way through to do something and maybe then even finish in the points. It all went pear-shaped when an Arrows punctured my tyre."

Team boss Eddie Jordan said he would support Damon Hill in whatever decision the 38-year-old makes over his future. Hill has confirmed that he may have taken part in his last race for Jordan ` on a day when team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen once again upstaged him. After the German gave the Silverstone- based outfit victory, Jordan said: "I am aware of what Damon has said. These decisions must be made by the driver. Damon is truly one of the best people that I have ever met."

Race-winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen was only passed fit to take part a few days ago after being injured when he crashed into a wall in Canada two weeks ago. He is still limping but said: "When you are racing you do not feel the pain. "Out of the car it is painful but this is a great win for Eddie Jordan and the team, who did a great job. It was not a decision I took to make one pit stop. When I went in for wet- weather tyres I noticed the guys on refuelling were taking a long time."

Championship leader Mika Hakkinen knows that his mistake on the 39th lap almost certainly denied him a win. The McLaren driver conceded: "The spin cost me victory. That is the reason I was second but after all that happened that does not matter. It was a great race and great fun. I am not thinking about my lead in the drivers' standings. There are still nine races to go in the Championship." Hakkinen now leads rival Michael Schumacher by eight points.

David Coulthard was understandably disappointed after suffering yet another retirement. Coulthard, who had been leading the race, revealed: "It seemed to be an electrical failure. "Therefore I lost the engine, the gearbox, everything. It would just be nice to have any kind of luck." Coulthard has notched just 12 points and his failure to finish - through no fault of his own will no doubt once again herald rumours about his future.

Rubens Barrichello's third place equalled the Stewart team's best performance this year. The Brazilian led the race for 45 of the 72 laps after starting in pole and said: "I enjoyed the race tremendously. "I had some really good, clean battles out there with Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher. In a strange way I have a tinge of disappointment because with a little luck with the fuel I could have been on the top step."

Michael Schumacher described his race as "chaotic" after he finished fifth and allowed Mika Hakkinen to extend his lead in the drivers' championship. "My radio stopped working and I had to try and communicate with hand signals," he said. "I had trouble changing gears so I came in to change the steering wheel, but things did not improve." Sixth-placed teammate Eddie Irvine said: "Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Too many mistakes."

Johnny Herbert was hit by another retirement after just four laps. Gearbox problems forced him to make an early withdrawal and he revealed: "I was halfway through the first lap when I lost second gear. After a couple more laps I lost the other gears and the only option left was to cruise back to the pits and watch the rest of the race from there." Herbert will now be hoping his luck changes in his home grand prix at Silverstone in a fortnight.

Ralf Schumacher was delighted with his fourth-place finish after starting the race in the 16th grid position. "I managed to get a good start and afterwards I could quite easily overtake several cars," he said. "The safety car came out at the right moment because there was a lot of water on the track. When it went back in I felt quite comfortable and could also overtake my brother Michael. I always have a lot of pleasure when I am fighting with him."

Jacques Villeneuve was a victim of the appalling weather conditions in the middle of the race, spinning off at turn nine after 25 laps. He claimed: "The conditions were incredible. I do not think I have ever driven with so much rain. I was with Alexander Wurz and we were trying to join the rest of the field. When we reached the chicane, there was so much water there that I just went aquaplaning and spun off. The same happened to Wurz at the same time."

Benetton were disappointed after both drivers failed to finish. Giancarlo Fisichello went off on lap 42 and said: "I lost control of the car and went into the gravel. It is a pity because I had enough fuel to finish the race without stopping." Alexander Wurz lasted for 25 laps and added: "I saw Jacques Villeneuve spin off in front of me. I had no control at all and slid off on the straight. It was disappointing."

Result after 72 laps:        hr min sec
 1 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:58.24.3
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:58.35.4
 3 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:59.07.7
 4 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:59.09.8
 5 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:59.12.2
 6 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:59.13.2
 7 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:59.22.1
 8 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:59.22.8
 9 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:59.53.1
10 L Badoer      It  Minardi    one lap
11 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows     one lap

DID NOT FINISH (not classified):
                             Laps completed
12 G Fisichella  It  Benetton     42
13 D Hill        GB  Jordan       31
14 A Zanardi     It  Williams     26
15 J Villeneuve  Can BAR          25
16 A Wurz        Aut Benetton     25
17 M Gene        Sp  Minardi      25
18 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber       24
19 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren       9
20 P Diniz       Brz Sauber        6
21 J Herbert     GB  Stewart       4
DISQ T Takagi    Jpn Arrows  (was 11th) *

Used tyres reserved for de la Rosa
Fastest lap: Coulthard 1:19.227

 1 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   40 pts
 2 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   32
 3 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari   26
 4 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan    23
 5 R Schumacher  Ger  Williams  15
 6 G Fisichella  Ita  Benetton  13
 7 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   12
 8 R Barrichello Brz  Stewart   10
 9 D Hill        GB   Jordan     3
10 J Herbert     GB   Stewart    2

1 Ferrari       58 pts
2 McLaren       52
3 Jordan        26
4 Williams      15
5 Benetton      14
6 Stewart       12
7 Prost          2
= Sauber         2
9 Arrows         1

CART:- Juan Montoya secured pole position for the Cleveland Grand Prix. The Colombian, who is leading the chase for CART points, drove round the temporary road course at Burke Lakefront Airport at 133.448mph. Montoya replaced two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi with the Ganassi team after the Italian left the US to join the Williams Formula One outfit. Gil de Ferran clocked the second fastest time, while Scotland's Dario Franchitti was 10th quickest.

Final qualifying times (Sat):   secs
 1 J Montoya    Col Honda      56.813
 2 G de Ferran  Brz Honda      57.017
 3 M Andretti   US  Ford       57.238
 4 B Herta      US  Ford       57.414
 5 R Moreno     Brz Mercedes   57.478
 6 P Carpentier Can Mercedes   57.540
 7 G Moore      Can Mercedes   57.541
 8 P Tracy      Can Honda      57.575
 9 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes   57.597
10 D Franchitti GB  Honda      57:604

F1:- Damon Hill is expected to reveal in the next 24 hours whether he will quit before next month's British Grand Prix. Hill was forced to retire from the French GP and said: "It may well have been my last race for Jordan." The team's commercial director Ian Phillips told Radio 5 Live: "No decision has been taken at present. Damon slipped away after the race and has gone to discuss his future with his family. If he thinks he needs to step down, that's what he will do."

F.VAUXHALL (Croft):- Robert Bell heads the testing times for Round Eight. Scottish racer John Dalziel was second ahead of Brazilian Daniel Scandian and Stefan Hodgetts. Championship leader Ryan Dalziel was only sixth quickest.

Testing times:              mins secs
1 R Bell                      1:23.56
2 J Dalziel                   1:23.57
3 D Scandian                  1:23.66
4 S Hodgetts                  1:23.67
5 M Pavlovic                  1:23.72
6 R Dalziel                   1:23.81

VAUXHALL VECTRA CHALLENGE (Croft):- Mark Ticehurst was quickest in testing for Round Seven in the revoluntionary Liquid Petroleum Gas-powered Vectra. Dave Pinkney heads the conventionally- powered vehicles with Warren Hughes of Sunderland back in third.

Testing times:              mins secs
1 M Ticehurst                 1:32.86
2 D Pinkney                   1:32.97
3 W Hughes                    1:33.03
4 J Rhodes                    1:33.12
5 J Yeomans                   1:33.22
6 G Coomes                    1:33.37

CART:- Colombia's Juan Montoya won his fourth Championship Auto Racing Teams event of the season, capturing the Cart Cleveland Grand Prix. The rookie pole sitter overcame heavy rain that invoked a Cart time limit rule and shortened the race to 90 laps rather than 100. Montoya led a race-high four times for 76 laps and averaged 93.931mph. Brazil's Gil de Ferran was second, 10.604 seconds behind Montoya.

Result (Sun):               hr min sec
 1 J Montoya    Col Honda   2:01.04.277
 2 G de Ferran  Brz Honda      @ 10.604
 3 M Andretti   US  Ford     same lap
 4 P Tracy      Can Honda     "    "
 5 A Unser      US  Mercedes  "    "
 6 B Herta      US  Ford      "    "
 7 P Carpentier Can Mercedes  "    "
 8 R Moreno     Brz Ford      "    "
 9 R Gordon     US  Toyota   one lap
10 R Hearn      US  Toyota   two laps

EFDA EUROSERIES:- Fortec driver Darren Malkin claimed his third Formula EFDA Euroseries win in as many meetings at Hockenheim. He started round nine from second on the grid but surged past polesitter Tomas Scheckter on the first corner and never looked back.

YPRES RALLY:- Mitsubishi driver Freddy Loix won the Ypres Rally in Belgium. Loix and co-driver Sven Smeets recorded 10 fastest stage times and led the event after each leg. He was nearly 40 seconds ahead of Henrik Lundgaard.

F3000:- Marcelo Battistuzzi, of Norfolk-based Redgrave Racing, dominated the second round of the Formula 3000 Italia Championship at Monza. He claimed his and Redgrave's maiden win from pole position and now jointly leads the series.

F1:- A decision on Damon Hill's future may face a further delay because of contractual talks with Eddie Jordan. Jordan and the team's sponsors are thought to be keen for Hill to have a last hurrah in front of 100,000 British fans at Silverstone on July 11. Jos Verstappen is tipped to take Hill's place if he does decide to quit but the Dutchman insists that he has no idea if he will be racing at Silverstone. Verstappen confirmed: "I am just hoping and waiting."

Jos Verstappen admitted he liked the feel of the Jordan Mugen-Honda after he had completed 36 laps in the car. The Dutchman, who is being tipped to succeed Damon Hill at Jordan, was testing with Shinji Nakano as the team prepare for the British Grand Prix. Verstappen said: "It is very good to drive a top car. The car feels very good and is certainly quick. It is up to me to show how quick I can be." Nakano completed 27 laps and both men will be testing again on Wednesday.

Testing times (Tues):       mins secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:26.91
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:27.32
 3 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:27.92
 4 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:28.31
 5 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:28.63
 6 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:28.87
 7 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:28.89
 8 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:29.13
 9 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:29.66
10 J Verstappen  Hol Jordan   1:30.16
11 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:31.09
12 S Nakano      Jpn Jordan   1:31.12

BTCC (Croft):- The Auto Trader British Touring Championship reaches its halfway point this weekend as the series makes its annual visit to the north of England. The challenging Croft circuit, located just a few miles from Darlington, holds rounds 13 and 14 of the 1999 Series on Sunday, July 4. The fans will flock to the 2.13 mile circuit from all over the region hoping for a repeat of last year's result. That saw local hero James Thompson win in his Honda Accord.

Last year's winner James Thompson moved back to second spot in the championship with a win at Donington last weekend. "We are now back on track in terms of our championship challenge," he said. "Croft is my home circuit and one where I really enjoy racing. I won there last year and I would love to do so again. "We tested at the track a couple of weeks ago and succeeded in improving the car. We will also have some new technical developments this weekend, so I am very confident we can go well."

The man currently in pole position in the championship is Laurent Aiello. After winning six of the season's first 10 races the Frenchamn had a disappointing day at Donington last time out. Aiello said: "We had problems with understeer all weekend. We need to sort that out before Croft, because if not the others wil get even closer. I want to score as many points as possible to maintain my lead at the top of the table."

Laurent Aiello's Nissan teammate David Leslie is third in the championship and full of confidence after a win and second place at Donington. Despite Aiello's lead at the top of the standings, Leslie has not given up thoughts of the title. "The season is not even at half- distance yet," he said. "There is plenty of time to close the gap to Laurent and I will be aiming to build on last weekend to do just that," he added.

Reigning champion Rickard Rydell was the other winner at Croft last year. But it has been a tough start for the Swede and Volvo are still waiting for their first success in 1999. Rydell says: "We have shown we have the pace to run at the front. In all the races I have retired we have been in good positions." Renault's Jason Platop lies fourth in the championship. The Oxford ace says: "We have made good progress in testing and hopefully can maintain improvement."

Matt Neal, who is fifth overall in the standings, unsurprisingly leads the race for the Michelin Cup. With a victory and three further podium finishes already this year, his independent rivals are realistically battling it out for second place. Stourbridge driver Neal is 65 points clear of Mark Blair and Neal admitted: "We went very well at Croft in testing. The car felt very good throughout the test and we will have a new specification engine for the weekend."

Snetterton will play host to the first Super Touring night race to be held in the UK on July 17. Qualifying at the Norfolk circuit will take place from 11am to 4.30pm and the racing will begin after 6pm. Top of the bill will be rounds 15 and 16 of the BTCC but there will also be support races. To prepare for the night racing, around 20 giant lighting units will be brought in to illuminate the circuit for this innovative event.

JIM CLARK MEMORIAL RALLY:- The 1999 British Championship switches from forests to roads, with drivers battling it our for honours in Scotland from Friday to Sunday. Leg one begins at around 5pm on Friday and finishes after nine stages and 49 miles at nearly 2am. The second leg starts at 4pm on Saturday and includes another nine stages, totalling 57 miles. It restarts at 1.35am on Sunday and after nine stages and 57 miles should finish at around 8am.

Renault's Tapio Laukkanen is confident of holding onto his lead in the British Championship after the fourth round. "It's looking good, the car is working very well and I have a 32-point lead so I do not have to go flat out for a win anymore," said the Finn. The 29-year-old also admitted that his choice of tyres could prove crucial. "The stages are short but the intervals between services are long with not many opportunities to change tyres between wet and dry," he added.

Defending British champions Martin Rowe and Derek Ringer know they need a good result to narrow the gap at the top of the current standings. "It's going to be very competitive that is for sure," said Rowe. "Winning the Championship is now in the back of my mind after our retirement in the Pirelli Rally. Realistically it is out of sight for anyone who has dropped an event, unless Tapio fails to finish, so my plan is to take each event as it comes."

Vauxhall duo Neil Wearden and Jarmo Kytolehto will be bidding to step up their challenge in the British Rally Championship at the weekend. Both drivers have been hit by bad luck this season but Wearden is hoping that will change when he competes in the Jim Clark Rally for the first time. The 27-year-old said: "This is only my fifth event in the Astra and I have never done a tarmac round in this car. I am very much on a learning curve but I have been told I drive smoothly."

Jarmo Kytolehto is due a change of luck and will be hoping it happens in this weekend's event. He was robbed of a podium finish in the recent Scottish Rally after sliding into a ditch because of worn tyres. In the first round of the British Championship in Wales in March he had a puncture but did finish fourth. The Jim Clark Rally is playing host to the British Championship for the first time and Finn Kytolehto said: "A good result will put us back in the hunt."

Toni Gardemeister stands his best chance of winning a round in Mobil 1 this weekend when he contests the only new event in this year's series. The 24-year-old Finnish driver is no stranger to asphalt rallies. But the championship rookie has been at a disadvantage all year competing against drivers with knowledge of the English, Welsh and Scottish forests. Recent testing in Southern Ireland went well and Gardemeister is hopeful of a good performance.

Welshman Gwyndaf Evans is looking to impress this weekend. Neither Evans ` nor co-driver Howard Davies ` have driven in the race before and for Evans the experience will mean a lot to him. "Jim Clark was a very big boyhood hero of mine, he won nearly every race that I watched," said Evans. "I remember crying when my brother told me he had been killed. I was eight at the time and could not believe my hero was gone," he added.

Scotland's Barbara Armstrong will be aiming to finish the top lady driver for the third time in four events. Like many others, Armstrong has never contested the rally before, but her co- driver John Richardson has. "I have been told some of the stages are on low ground and very smooth and fast like the Manx," said Armstrong. "We've also got some new Pirelli night tyres which should be ideal for the conditions. I will also have to get my night driving glasses on," she added.

Proton's Mats Andersson and Claire Mole will be out to build on their superb second place in the 1600 class in the last round earlier this month. Andersson and co-driver Mole led the Scottish Rally at the halfway stage. Some of the closed public road stages in the Jim Clark event are just a stone's throw from Mole's house. Meanwhile, Martin Meadows will be making his debut as a works driver after impressing the Proton team in his own car in the Scottish Rally.

Justin Dale and co-driver Andrew Bargery currently lead the race for the Ferodo Super 1600 Cup by 19 points. The duo competed in the Jim Clark Rally last year and Dale said: "The Peugeot 106 Maxi is a delight to drive on this surface and the stages suit the car." Warrington twins Daniel and Clive Dunbabin lead the Skoda Trophy. However, they face tough competition at the weekend from Dave West, who will be difficult to beat in adverse conditions as he excels at night on wet roads.

F1:- Damon Hill has decided to make the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday July 11, his final race. The 38-year-old ` who was widely tipped to quit Formula One after last week's race in France - will now compete for the Jordan team for one last time. Hill confirmed his decision after three days of discussions with his family. "I am delighted to give Damon this opportunity to compete in front of both his sponsors and supporters," said team manager Eddie Jordan.

European watchdogs have voiced serious concerns about the current running of Formula One. They are also claiming that promoter Bernie Ecclestone broke EU competition laws when he obtained exclusive television broadcasting rights to F1. Initial results of a two-year inquiry could lead to huge changes in the way the sport is organised. The FIA have said that on receipt of the Commission's statement they will prepare a detailed response.

Driver ratings (June 30)         Points
 1 J Gordon      US  NASCAR       1021
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One  1019
 3 M Schumacher  Ger Formula One   993
 4 D Jarrett     US  NASCAR        794
 5 JP Montoya    Col Champ Cars    793
 6 M Martin      US  NASCAR        786
 7 N Heidfeld    Ger German F3     762
 8 J Burton      US  NASCAR        750
 9 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   724
10 E Irvine      GB  Formula One   666