October 1999 News


01.10.99

RALLYING:- Toyota are pressing ahead with plans to quit the world rally championship at the end of the season to concentrate on an eventual Formula One challenge. A spokeswoman said that officials had been informed that a decision to quit rallying for Formula One had been made. However, she added: "There has been no official confirmation. An official announcement will be made by Toyota in Japan by the end of the year." Toyota said in January that it hoped to return to Formula One by 2003.
 

SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP:- New champion Jon Burn heads the entry list for the final round ` the Park Systems Furnitage Stages Rally. He revealed: "I have not won a rally outright this year so it is win or bust on Saturday." Recent McRae Rally winner Neale Dougan and double Scottish champion Murray Grierson will be bidding to thwart his hopes of success. John McKeown, Neil Buckley and Gary Adam will all be aiming to seal the runner-up spot in the championship.

Leading entries for Park Systems Furniture Stages Rally:
 1 J Burn/ S Quirk    MG Metro
 2 N Dougan/D Redpath Ford Escort
 3 M Grierson/C Roy   Subaru Impreza
 4 A Horne/J Howie    MG Metro
 5 J Carty/F Bell     MG Metro
 6 J McKeown/F Regan  Ford Sierra
 7 D Weston/D Robson  Mitsubishi Lancer
 8 N Buckley/S Boyles Mitsubishi Lancer
 9 G Clark/E Daniel   Ford Escort
10 Gary/Gordaon Adam  Mitsubishi Lancer
 

F.FORD EUROCUP:- Craig Murray will be looking to extend his lead when the championship resumes in Holland on Sunday. The Scot, who won at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, has a 13-point advantage over Dutch driver Ricardo van der Ende. The Dutchman is one of the few drivers in the field with experience of the revised Zandvoort circuit. Other drivers who could do well are Nicolas Kiesa, Renaud Derlot and Jorg Hardt, while Irishman Peter Walsh will be looking to be in contention.
 
 
 
 

02.10.99

CAMBRIAN RALLY
Final positions after 9 stages:  Pens
 1 Gary Smith      Ford          60.49
 2 A Pinker        Mitsubishi    61.13
 3 G Thomas        Ford          61.10
 4 D McG'gle       Mitsubishi    61.34
 5 P Morgan        Peugeot       62.58
 6 G Mills         Ford          63.13
 7 N Elsmore       Nissan        63.15
 8 B Bell          Ford          63.22
 9 R Bradbury      Ford          63.36
10 P Squires       Ford          63.30
Retired I Joel Ford, T Bengry M'bishi
 

SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP:- Andy Horne and Jim Howie rounded off the Scottish season with a win. Neale Dougan was the early leader till his head gasket failed. New Scottish champion Jon Burn then took the lead. Burn looked on course for his first victory of the season but he lost four minutes with a puncture on the final stage to finish his chances. Keith Robathan took Group N honours with second place. John McKeown's third spot secured his runner-up position behind Burn in the championship.

Result after 9 stages:           Pens
 1 Horne/Howie      MG Metro     42.38
 2 Robathan/Forrest M'shi Lancer 44.16
 3 McKeown/Regan    Ford Sierra  44.18
 4 Weston/Robson    M'shi Lancer 44.34
 5 Gary/Gordon Adam M'shi Lancer 44.37
 6 Smith/Carstairs  Ford Escort  44.58
 7 Walker/Martin    Mazda 323    45.02
 8 Wood/Parker      Vaux Astra   45.14
 9 Kelly/Lancer     M'shi Lancer 45.25
10 Hamilton/Brown   Ford Escort  45.35
 
 
 
 
 

03.10.99

F1:- Ferrari have announced that Michael Schumacher will not race in the final two grands prix of the season. In a statement, the Italian team said that the former world champion "maintains his physical condition is not up to the rigors of a race". Schumacher broke a leg in the British Grand Prix in July and had hoped to make a comeback in the Malaysia race on October 17. He will test for Ferrari at Mugello this week.
 

RALLYING:- Two people were killed and six injured when a competitor in the 12th Rally of Corte in France lost control of a Peugeot and plunged into the crowd.
 

EFDA EUROSERIES (Zandvoort):- Tomas Scheckter claimed his eighth pole position of the year in qualifying for the penultimate round of the series. The 19-year-old will also start the final round from the front row, while title rival Darren Malkin will start in fifth and fourth places. Scheckter has won six races this season and has a 19-point lead over Malkin. "I thought I could have been on pole for the second race too. I really want to win both races and equal the record for the number of race wins," he said.

Race one qualifying result:
                     mins secs
1 T Scheckter   SA    1:41.728
2 P Edwards     US    1:42.199
3 J Reyntjes    Hol   1:42.224
4 D Malkin      GB    1:42.357
5 J Bleekemolen Hol   1:42.373

Race two qualifying result:
1 J Bleekemolen Hol   1:42.094
2 T Scheckter   SA    1:42.282
3 T Sato        Jpn   1:42.564
4 P Edwards     US    1:42.614
5 D Malkin      GB    1:42.761
 
 
 
 

04.10.99

F1:- Michael Schumacher escaped unhurt after spinning out of a Ferrari test session at Mugello. The German, who is still battling back to fitness after breaking his leg at Silverstone in July, slightly damaged his car when it hit the barriers. He walked back to the pits unaided and then went out again in the spare car. Schumacher announced on Sunday that he had not recovered enough to appear in the final two grands prix of the season in Malaysia and Japan.

Ferrari star Michael Schumacher has defended his decision not to race again this season, despite being fit enough to take part in a test session. "I am not in a condition where I could sustain a grand prix," he said. "My will to win might get the better of my physical abilities and could be risky." He completed 69 laps in groups of five or six at a time in his test session at Mugello and he added: "It went well." His best time was a respectable one minute, 27.287 seconds.
 

CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING
Driver ratings (October 4)        Points
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One   894
 2 J Gordon      US  NASCAR        886
 3 E Irvine      GB  Formula One   831
 4 N Heidfeld    Ger F3000         823
 = D Jarrett     US  NASCAR        823
 6 HH Frentzen   Ger Formula One   786
 7 JP Montoya    Col Champ Cars    775
 8 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   755
 9 D Franchitti  GB  Champ Cars    733
10 J Burton      US  NASCAR        731
 

EFDA EUROSERIES (Zandvoort):- Tomas Scheckter claimed the championship in style by winning the penultimate round of the series. The 19-year-old is now the most successful Euroseries driver of all time after his triumph. Out of the 20 rounds held, he won seven races, was second seven times, was on the podium 14 times, had eight pole positions and eight fastest race laps. Scheckter was second behind Paul Edwards in the final race of the season in Holland.

Race one result:      mins secs
1 T Scheckter   SA    25:55.783
2 D Malkin      GB    26:06.452
3 J Bleekemolen Hol   26:07.725
4 C McKenna     Chl   26:17.634
5 B Visser      Hol   26:20.026

Race two result:
1 P Edwards     US    26:42.960
2 T Scheckter   SA    26:47.269
3 J Bleekemolen Hol   26:55.683
4 T Sato        Jpn   26:57.046
5 D Malkin      GB    27:04.688
 
 
 
 

06.10.99

2000 F1 CALENDAR
March 12 Australian GP, Melbourne
March 26 Brazilian GP, Sao Paulo
April 9  San Marino GP, Imola *
April 23 Spanish GP, Barcelona *
May 7    French GP, Magny-Cours *
May 21   European GP, Nurburgring *
June 4   Monaco GP, Monte Carlo
June 18  Canadian GP, Montreal
July 2   British GP, Silverstone *
July 16  Austrian GP, Spielberg *
July 30  German GP, Hockenheim
Aug 13   Hungarian GP, Budapest
Aug 27   Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps
Sept 10  Italian GP, Monza
Sept 24  American GP, Indianapolis
Oct 8    Japanese GP, Suzuka
Oct 22   Malaysian GP, Kuala Lumpur
* to be confirmed
 

F3 (Silverstone):- Marc Hynes was quickest in testing ahead of title rival Luciano Burti as the duo step up their tussle with just two rounds left to go. Burti was third behind Jenson Button who was less than a tenth of a second slower than championship leader Hynes.

Testing times (Wed):       mins:secs
1 M Hynes       GB         1:15.104
2 J Button      GB         1:15.199
3 L Burti       Brz        1:15.347
4 M Davis       GB         1:15.538
5 K Kolby       Den        1:15.567
6 A Coelho      Brz        1:15.590
 

RALLYING:- Formula One TV pundit Tony Jardine will drive a Proton Compact in this year's Network Q Rally of Great Britain. Jardine is a regular competitor in the British round of the World Championship and joins Sweden's Mats Andersson in spearheading the Proton challenge. The event starts in Cheltenham on November 21.
 

2000 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
Jan 20-23    Rally of Monte Carlo
Feb 10-13    Rally of Sweden
Feb 24-27    Safari Rally, Kenya
Mar 16-19    Rally of Portugal
Mar 30-Apr 2 Rally of Catalonia, Spain
May 11-14    Rally of Argentina
June 8-11    Acropolis Rally, Greece
July 13-16   Rally of New Zealand
Aug 17-20    Rally of Finland
Sep 28-Oct 1 Tour of Corsica, France
Oct 12-15    Rally of San Remo, Italy
Nov 9-12     Rally of Australia
Nov 23-26    Rally of Great Britain
 
 
 

07.10.99 - NATIONAL SALOON CUP (Silverstone)

Three drivers go into the 14th and final race of the season vying for the championship title. Joint points leaders Simon Harrison and Toni Roukonen will grab the Cup if they win in the final round. Mark Lemmer will need to win and hope his rivals finish third or lower.

Championship positions:
1 S Harrison     Honda      145 pts
= T Ruokonen     Peugeot    145
3 M Lemmer       Honda      138
4 R Moen         Honda      125
5 D Eaves        Peugoet    122
 
 
 
 

08.10.99

F1:- Ferrari have announced that Michael Schumacher will compete in the final two grands prix of the season. In a statement, Ferrari said: "After three days of testing at Mugello and Fiorano, Michael saw there had been an improvement in his physical condition. Therefore he has decided to take part in the two final and very important races of the season." The next grand prix is in Malaysia on October 17 and the final race is in Japan on October 31.
 

F3:- (Silverstone):- Marc Hynes was quickest in testing ahead of title rival Luciano Burti as the duo step up their tussle with just two rounds left to go. Burti was third behind Jenson Button who was less than a tenth of a second slower than championship leader Hynes.

Testing times (Wed):       mins:secs
1 M Hynes       GB         1:15.104
2 J Button      GB         1:15.199
3 L Burti       Brz        1:15.347
4 M Davis       GB         1:15.538
5 K Kolby       Den        1:15.567
6 A Coelho      Brz        1:15.590
 

NATIONAL SALOON CUP (Silverstone):- Championship rivals Simon Harrison and Toni Ruokonen remained top of the testing times for Sunday's race. The two are level on points heading into the last round and third title contender Mark Lemmer was only fifth.

Testing times (Fri):        min:secs
1 S Harrison   Honda        1:33.226
2 T Ruokonen   Peugeot      1:33.727
3 D Eaves      Peugeot      1:34.059
4 M Norden     Nissan       1:34.370
5 M Lemmer     Honda        1:34.905
6 S Clarke     Honda        1:35.195
 

BRITISH GT'S (Silverstone):- Tim Sugden turned in a stunning last lap to lead GT1 testing ahead of Julian Bailey in the Lister Storm. In GT2, there is less than a second covering the four leading cars with Cor Euser quickest by a tenth of a second.

Leading testing times:
GT1                            min secs
1 T Sugden/S O'Rourke McLaren  1:15.894
2 J C-Walter/J Bailey Lister   1:16.024
3 J Morrison/S Walker Porsche  1:20.842
GT2
1 C Euser/C Lockie    Marcos   1:21.778
2 T Erdos/A Purvis    Marcos   1:21.865
3 I Astley/ M Youles  Lotus    1:22.110
 

MGF CUP (Silverstone):- A field of over 25 race-prepared MGFs will take part in the final round of the series this weekend. Ex-Formula Three driver Warren Hughes has already wrapped up the Championship so the battle for second place will take centre stage. Chesterfield's Jamie Hunter won the previous round at Brands Hatch and currently holds second spot, with Nick Carr 29 points behind. "There are 31 points up for grabs so I have to win the race," admitted Carr.
 

SAN REMO RALLY:- Round 12 of the World Championship runs from Monday to Wednesday, with a number of drivers still in with a chance of taking the crown. On Monday there are six timed special stages totally 215km and Tuesday's second leg near Acqui Terme features eight special stages of nearly 168km. The rally finishes on Wednesday after four more stages totalling a further 111km of competition. The threat of rain on the mountain roads will make tyre choice crucial.

The outcome of the drivers' championship is still an open affair with three rounds remaining. Tommi Makinen is tied with Didier Auriol at the top of the standings, while Carlos Sainz, Richard Burns and Juha Kankkunen could also win it. The surface and the format of the Sanremo Rally should suit Freddy Loix. However, the Belgian has had a disappointing season so far and he was hit by another retirement in the previous round in Japan.

World Rally Championship leader Tommi Makinen and fellow Finn Risto Mannisenmaki won the rally last year. They have high hopes of repeating that success after a thorough test in Italy in which they tried improved transmission and brakes. "We need a win now that the Championship is so close. I am confident we can do it," said Makinen. "My Mitsubishi is in great shape and I enjoy driving on tarmac. I think we have an excellent chance."

Didier Auriol has a successful record in Sanremo, having chalked up victories in 1990, 1991 and 1994. The Toyota star jointly leads the series with Tommi Makinen and said: "I like Sanremo very much, especially the stages on the first and third legs. It is not too narrow and not too fast, so it is enjoyable and nice to drive on these types of roads. The second leg is different, maybe more slippery. Tommi and I will be very evenly matched from now on."

Colin McRae is no longer in contention for the title but the fact that the new Ford Focus has been in the running at all has been a boost for the team. The Scot insisted before the season began that it would a learning campaign for the team and the car and they could reap rewards next year. However, in the last three years in the Sanremo Rally he has been first twice and second once. Former champion McRae crashed out of the last round in China.

Subaru have been in superb form recently but their chances of glory were hit by a poor start to the season. The team have won in Argentina, Greece and Finland and Britain's Richard Burns has had a resurgence in confidence and believes he can win anywhere. However, the Subaru has not been too effective on asphalt this year. Burns' team-mate Juha Kankkunen is two points ahead of him in the overall driver andings but is known to prefer gravel surfaces.

Vauxhall Astra driver Neil Wearden will compete in his second World Championship round of the season when he contests the Sanremo Rally. Wearden made his Championship debut in a 1600cc car in this event back in 1997 and the Italian fans gave him the nickname the mad Englishman. He said: "It would be great to win Formula 2 in Sanremo. It is probably my most important rally of the year. These spectators are really into rallying and watch in their thousands."
 
 
 
 

09.10.99

NATIONAL SALOON CUP (Silverstone):- Simon Harrison continued to set the pace by taking pole in qualifying for the season's final round. He finished half a second quicker than the Peugeot of championship rival Toni Ruokonen with title outsider Mark Lemmer back in fourth.

Qualifying times (Sat):     min:secs
1 S Harrison   Honda        1:32.378
2 T Ruokonen   Peugeot      1:32.841
3 D Eaves      Peugeot      1:33.377
4 M Lemmer     Honda        1:34.055
5 M Norden     Nissan       1:34.412
6 R Moen       Honda        1:34.517
 

BRITISH GT'S (Silverstone):- Julian Bailey produced a storming lap to put Lister Storm into pole position at Silverstone. In GT2 the positions remained unchanged from the opening session when Thomas Erdos produced a scorching lap.

Qualifying times (after second session)
GT1                            min secs
1 T Sugden/S O'Rourke McLaren  1:15.356
2 G Lister/M W'linder Porsche  1:15.807
3 J C-Walter/J Bailey Lister   1:17.077
GT2
1 T Erdos/A Purvis    Marcos   1:19.719
2 I Astley/ M Youles  Lotus    1:20.385
3 C Euser/C Lockie    Marcos   1:20.952
 

NEWS:- Lord Hesketh has resigned as chairman of the British Racing Drivers' Club after a boardroom row over ownership of the Silverstone circuit. Brands Hatch Leisure chief executive Nicola Foulston had made a UK Pound 43m bid to buy the track after her company secured the rights to the British GP from 2002. She dropped the bid last month after opposition from Hesketh.
 
 
 
 

10.10.99

F3 (Silverstone):- The fight for the title took a controversial turn when Luciano Burti was disqualified after driving into Marc Hynes just yards after the start. They finished third and fourth, which would have put them on equal points going into next Sunday's final round. However, Burti's disqualification promoted Hynes to third and he leads the series by 14 points. Burti can only clinch the crown if he wins the last race and Hynes is lower than sixth.

Luciano Burti insisted that he did not mean to steer into rival Marc Hynes. The move led to the Brazilian's disqualification and he said: "It was very unfortunate what happened between Marc and I at the start. I really did not mean to do that, although no-one here is going to believe it."

"It has been a good-natured series until today. I would rather have left here with a smaller points lead than have it get like this," added Hynes.

Round 15 result (Sun):       mins secs
 1 J Button      GB  Renault 28:15.956
 2 M Davies      GB  Honda   28:21:700
 3 M Hynes       GB  Honda   28:23.137
 4 A Coelho      Brz Renault 28:24.647
 5 K Kolby       Den Honda   28:25.450
 6 N Karthikeyan Ind Honda   28:33.863
 7 A Kirkaldy    GB  Honda   28:44.160
 8 T Sato        Jpn Honda   28:45.280
 9 M O'Connell   GB  Toyota  28:45.752
10 Y Igarashi    Jpn Honda   28:58.951
L Burti was disqualified after finishing third

Positions after 15 of 16 rounds:   Pts
 1 M Hynes     GB  Manor M'trsport 203
 2 L Burti     Brz Stewart Racing  189
 3 J Button    GB  Promatecme      168
 4 K Kolby     Den Fortec M'sport  137
 5 M Davies    GB  Fortec M'sport  107
 6 M K'thkeyan Ind Carlin M'sport  104
 7 A Kirkaldy  GB  Stewart Racing   64
 8 M Bentwood  GB  Speedsport       50
 9 A Coelho    Brz Promatecme       42
10 A Yoong     Mal Alan Docking     37

NATIONAL CLASS
1 M O'Connell GB  Rowan Racing    220
2 J Bender    US  Carlin M'sport  124
3 J Smith     GB  Jeremy Smith    111
 

BRITISH GT'S (Silverstone):- Geoff Lister and Magnus Wallinder scored a resounding victory in the final round of the Championship. Julian Bailey and Jamie Campbell were forced to retire early on due to a clutch problem which left Wallinder and Lister with a substantial lead. The major drama of the race was a thrilling battle for the GT2 category which was won by the Lister Storm of William Hewland and Thorkild Thyrring. Hewland drove a superb opening stint which was sealed by Thyrring.

Result (Sun):
GT1                           mins:secs
1 G Lister/M W'linder Porsche 50:23.477
2 J Morrison/S Walker Porsche 36 laps
3 M Quaife/S Duerden  Quaife  35 laps
4 J Ma'ati/G Mortimer Marcos  33 laps
GT2
1 W Hewl'd/T Thyrring Lister  36 laps
2 T Erdos/A Purvis    Marcos  36 laps
3 I Astley/ C Ellis   Lotus   35 laps
4 P Hardman/N Sp'nger Lister  35 laps
 

NATIONAL SALOON CUP (Silverstone):- In an action-packed final round of the season, Simon Harrison won the race and the championship title. Harrison was two seconds ahead of rival Toni Ruokonen, who won his battle for second place with Mark Lemmer.

Result (Sun):              mins:secs
1 S Harrison   Honda       19:10.447
2 T Ruokonen   Peugeot     19:12.786
3 M Lemmer     Honda       19:21.889
4 D Eaves      Peugeot     19:26.499
5 S Clarke     Honda       19:43.925
6 I Griswold   Honda       19:47.473
 

MGF CUP (Silverstone):- Jamie Hunter took the lead early on and after a defensive drive claimed a deserved win. Matt Kelly took second as championship leader Warren Hughes came third.

Result (Sun):         mins:secs
1 J Hunter            19:31.608
2 M Kelly             19:32.864
3 W Hughes            19:38.989
4 A Lyall             19:43.685
5 N Carr              19:49.272
6 P Johnson           19:53.764
 

TVR TUSCAN CHALLENGE (Silverstone):- Ian McKellar Junior clinched the title by finishing second after a dramatic showdown with Michael Caine.

Result (sun):
Race One:             mins:secs
1 B Verdon-Roe        17:17.067
2 M Caine             17:20.897
3 I McKellar Jnr      17:28.275

Race Two:
1 M Caine             10:04.484
2 I McKellar Jnr      10:07.271
3 M Jordan            10:07.725

Championship Points:
1 I Mckellar               1159
2 M Caine                  1159
3 P Hindley                1020
 
 
 
 

11.10.99

SAN REMO RALLY:- France's Francois Delecour edged out compatriot Gilles Panizzi to lead the event after the opening day. Panizzi had won four of the six special stages before Delecour triumphed in the sixth to jump just two seconds ahead of his Peugeot stablemate. Britons Colin McRae and Richard Burns were fifth and eighth while Carlos Sainz crashed out on the last stage. Organisers handed Delecour a two-minute penalty before the start after he was seen cycling on parts of two stages.

Toyota have confirmed that they are pulling out of the World Championship after the 1999 season and will enter Formula One in 2002. Toyota revealed their decision before the Sanremo Rally got underway. They said they would be using Toyota chassis and engines in Formula One but did not say if they were buying a team or starting from scratch. Toyota are currently heading the constructors' standings and driver Didier Auriol is joint leader.

Positions after 6 stages:    hr min secs
 1 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot    1:10.54.8
 2 G Panizzi   Fr  Peugeot       @  2.0
 3 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot       @ 29.4
 4 P Bugalski  Fr  Citroen       @ 29.9
 5 C McRae     GB  Ford          @ 35.6
 6 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi    @ 37.6
 7 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota        @ 40.0
 8 R Burns     GB  Subaru        @ 55.1
 9 A Aghini    It  Toyota        @ 56.0
10 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi    @ 57.0
 

RALLYING:- Hyundai have decided not to run their new Accent WRC in the 1999 Network Q Rally of Great Britain.

ITV pundit Tony Jardine got to grips with the Proton Compact in testing for his first outing at the Bulldog Rally on October 23. "The handling is amazing," Jardine enthused. "It inspires confidence even on the slippery stuff."
 

F3000:- Italian Andrea Piccini has been confirmed for a second season with Kid Jensen Racing in the F3000 Champinship.
 
 
 
 

12.10.99
F1: THE MALAYSIAN GP
Michael Schumacher's manager Willi Weber has slammed the Ferrari star's decision to make his comeback in the last two races of the season. Schumacher, who broke his right leg in a crash at Silverstone in July, intends to return for the Grands Prix in Malaysia and Japan. But a concerned Weber told German daily Die Welt: "What happens if he has another accident? He won't only be compromising his health, but also next season."

The Formula One campaign moves to a new circuit this Sunday as the battle for the championship heads towards what looks to be another dramatic climax. Not since Austria in 1997 has the series taken in a new track and it may mean the fans will see an open race. The teams all lack experience at the track, which could lead to surprises. Motorcycle Grand Prix riders have described it as a wide circuit - up to 22m in places - with a smooth, non-abrasive surface.

Michael Schumacher's decision to race in the final two grands prix of the season is a major boost for his title- chasing team-mate Eddie Irvine. Schumacher broke a leg at Silverstone in July and had stated that he would not be back until next year. However, last week he announced a dramatic U- turn and said: "The belief that I would be able to make it has grown bit by bit. What was important was seeing how much the team wanted me there."

Eddie Irvine is delighted that Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher is returning to action on Sunday. Irvine is two points behind leader Mika Hakkinen with two races left and he and Schumacher are set for a role reversal. The Irishman, who for so long was very much a number two to the German, can now count on Schumacher's help. "It is fantastic," admitted Irvine. "It is just what the whole team needed. At Sepang we are going to be in really great shape. Watch out McLaren."

Ferrari star Michael Schumacher has insisted that he was not bluffing when he originally said he would not be racing again this season. "I was not bluffing," he claimed. "It is one thing to go for a walk in the park and it is another to endure a Formula One Grand Prix. I am not 100 per cent but I have realised I have got to be there. I had to convince myself and the practice sessions at Mugello and Fiorano gave me confirmation."

The title race has gone down to the wire in recent years but Mika Hakkinen could take the crown on Sunday. If the Finn triumphs in Sepang and Eddie Irvine finishes out of the points Hakkinen will clinch the spoils. Hakkinen has secured an impressive 11 pole positions this year but his confidence has taken a battering after some below-par race performances. He last won a grand prix in Hungary in August and has picked up four wins in 1999 to Irvine's three.

David Coulthard goes into Sunday's race on the back of a good testing session in Barcelona. The Scot topped the times on the third and final day at the circuit on October 8, just edging out his McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen. Coulthard will be eager to improve on fourth place in the driver standings. However, it seems likely that team orders will also come into play with the title battle involving Hakkinen so finely poised.

Eddie Jordan is tipping Damon Hill to reproduce his old form on Sunday and in the final race of the season in Japan. His team will be putting the disappointment of the European Grand Prix last month behind them. "Heinz- Harald Frentzen still has a chance of improving on third place in the drivers' standings," said Jordan. "I also think Damon will have two good races. They will be the last two of his F1 career. I would not be surprised if he pulled off something special."

Technical chief Mike Gascoyne believes Jordan's cars will cope well with the new circuit. "They have been running very competitively and there is no reason to believe this will not be the case at Sepang," he said. "All the drivers will go out early on the first day to find their way around the track but within 20 laps they will find the racing line. The hot, humid weather will be the biggest problem."

Williams' hopes of sealing third place in the Constructors' Championship could come to an end in Malaysia. Jordan can make the spot their own on Sunday but whatever happens in the final two races, Williams' acquisition of Ralf Schumacher has been a success. Ironically, he replaced Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who struggled with Williams but who has found a new lease of life with Schumacher's former team Jordan. Poor luck has robbed Schumacher of a 1999 win but he may go well in Sepang.

Johnny Herbert goes into Sunday's race on a high after securing a victory in the European Grand Prix. The Briton revealed: "I am still feeling really pumped up. It has done an enormous amount for my confidence. I can enter the last two races of the season feeling good about myself and eager to end the season on a high. I have been inundated with messages from well-wishers, which makes it all worthwhile. I knew I had it in me to win races and am keen to do it again."

Stewart driver Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he has been getting to know the new grand prix circuit in a novel way. "I have been learning the circuit on PlayStation," he said. "From what I have seen it looks quite difficult ` a lot of hairpins and hard braking areas. "I know we can expect hot and humid weather so I have trained accordingly. Back home in Brazil I have been doing a lot of jogging at midday when the temperature is high."

BAR driver Jacques Villeneuve is looking forward to the challenge presented by a new circuit. "I have never been to Sepang before but I am really looking forward to driving on a new track," he confirmed. "I have been quite competitive on new circuits in the past, such as the A1-Ring in Austria two years ago, and I hope to do the same again. I know that I like Asia so I hope that it will bring me luck and we will get positive results."

Arrows have made modifications to the rear suspension and undertray of their cars ahead of the 15th and penultimate round this weekend. Driver Pedro de la Rosa put the cars through their paces at Santa Pod before they were shipped abroad. The team have picked up only one point so far and are making plans for 2000. They have been working on the A21, which will be powered by a Supertec engine, and which is likely to have a first test run in early January.

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 56 laps or 192.855 miles. Sepang is the only circuit on the 1999 calendar never to have hosted a Formula One grand prix. Malaysia has staged motorcycle races, with Sepang playing host to the Grand Prix and World Superbikes series. Sepang is a medium to high downforce circuit like Silverstone or Barcelona. The main straight is of a similar length to the one in Spain.
 

SAN REMO RALLY:- Colin McRae became the second British casualty when h crashed out on the 13th stage of 18 special stages. McRae misjudged a bend and spun off, destroying his Ford Focus after he had earlier broken Peugeot's monopoly by winning the ninth stage. Burns was forced to retire with transmision problems which dealt a severe blow to his slim title hopes. France's Gilles Panizzi, driving a Peugeot, led the rally ahead of team mate Francois Delecour.

Positions after 14 stages:   hr min secs
 1 G Panizzi   Fr  Peugeot    3:08:59.3
 2 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot    3:09:02.1
 3 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 3:09:22.2
 4 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota     3:09:49.0
 5 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi 3:11:19.4
 6 A Aghini    It  Toyota     3:11:48.6
 7 S J-Joseph  Fr  Ford       3:12:29.3
 8 J Kankunnen Fin Subaru     3:12:32.0
 9 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    3:13:25.7
10 G Cunico    It  Subaru     3:13:32.3
 
 

CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING
Driver ratings (October 12)      Points
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One   894
 2 J Gordon      US  NASCAR        886
 3 E Irvine      GB  Formula One   831
 4 D Jarrett     US  NASCAR        823
 = N Heidfeld    Ger F3000         823
 6 HH Frentzen   Ger Formula One   786
 7 JP Montoya    Col Champ Cars    775
 8 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   755
 9 D Franchitti  GB  Champ Cars    733
10 J Burton      US  NASCAR        731
 
 
 

13.10.99

SAN REMO RALLY:- Finland's Tommi Makinen stormed to victory on the final stage. Makinen, driving a Mitsubishi, completed the 18th Colle Langan 2 stage ahead of Frenchman Gilles Panizzi to win the event by 18 seconds. The Finn moved six points clear of Didier Auriol in the overall standings and it is now impossible for Richard Burns to win the drivers' title. France's Francois Delecour, who had led for much of the race, was forced to retire due to an electrical problem.

Final positions:             hr min secs
 1 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 4:26:45.0
 2 G Panizzi   Fr  Peugeot    4:27:03.0
 3 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota     4:27:27.2
 4 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi 4:29:58.1
 5 A Aghini    It  Toyota     4:30:35.2
 6 J Kankunnen Fin Subaru     4:30:45.5
 7 S J-Joseph  Fr  Ford       4:30:59.5
 8 M Groenholm Fin Peugeot    4:31:25.8
 9 G Cunico    It  Subaru     4:32:35.2
10 A Navarra   It  Ford       4:34:47.3

DRIVER STANDINGS
1 T Makinen    Fin  Mitsubishi  58 pts
2 D Auriol     Fr   Toyota      52
3 C Sainz      Sp   Toyota      38
= J Kankkunen  Fin  Subaru      38
5 R Burns      GB   Subaru      35
6 C McRae      GB   Ford        23

MANUFACTURER STANDINGS:
1 Toyota        103 pts
2 Subaru         79
3 Mitsubishi     74
4 Ford           36
5 SEAT           18
6 Skoda           3
= Peugeot         3
 

F3 (Thruxton):- The destination of the championship will be decided on Sunday in the final race of the 16-round season. Marc Hynes left Siverstone last weekend with a dominant 14-point lead in the series and only needs to finish fifth or higher to clinch the title. Nearest challenger Luciano Burti missed out at Silverstone after a clash with Hynes just after the start of the race. Burti must finish in the top two if he is to win the title but Jenson Button could still snatch the runner-up spot.
 

F.PALMER AUDI (Thruxton):- The championship comes to a thrilling climax on Sunday when the final two rounds are played out at Thruxton. Richard Tarling is three points ahead of Richard Lyons with Damien Faulkner and Tim Mullen 12 points behind.

Leading standings after 15 rounds:
1 R Tarling     GB        175 pts
2 R Lyons       GB        172
3 D Faulkner    Ire       163
4 T Mullen      NI        161
5 J Keen        GB        135
6 S Hancock     GB        131
= R Kerr        GB        131
 
 
 
 

14.10.99 - F1

Michael Schumacher has been declared fit to compete in Sunday's race after passing two medical tests. The German is returning to the track after breaking his right leg in the British Grand Prix back in July. Schumacher had to show the FIA medical commission he could hop on his right leg for 10 feet and get out of the driver's seat in under five seconds. He has said his goal at the weekend is to finish ahead of current championship leader Mika Hakkinen.

Arrows team boss Tom Walkinshaw has implied that there may be changes to his driver line-up next season. Although Pedra De La Rosa is expected to be retained, there is a question mark over Tora Takagi. "Tora is very quick over a single lap but he lacks consistency over a race distance," Walkinshaw said. With the team set to be boosted by the new Supertec engine, Walkinshaw said there would be "no excuses" for not performing next season.
 
 
 

15.10.99

F1: THE MALAYSIAN GP
Michael Schumacher made a blistering return to Formula One - and Jacques Villeneuve also grabbed the limelight. Schumacher clocked the fastest time in the morning on his comeback after a seven race lay-off with the broken leg he suffered in the British Grand Prix. He led with 1:44.824 but ended the day fifth overall with 1:42.875 as Villeneuve (1:42.407) went quickest in a drier afternoon session. Next came David Coulthard, Jean Alesi and Eddie Irvine. Mika Hakkinen was 8th.

Michael Schumacher came through his first track outing since breaking his leg in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone with no problems. The German star led in morning practice and finished the day fifth overall in the Ferrari. He said: "I am glad to say I felt absolutely no pain and so I was able to concentrate fully on the driving. We are not far off the pace and I have enough time to improve so I am confident for tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve enjoyed a rare trouble-free day as he set the fastest time for the BAR-Supertec team in Friday's practice session. He said: "The car was like a little bit of magic today. The track is very nice to drive on. It has some very demanding corners where it's difficult to find the braking points. The surface is also more slippery than I expected." BAR-Supertec chairman Craig Pollock said: "We proved we are competitive."

David Coulthard has said he expects to be asked to sacrifice his slim title chances to support McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen in Sunday's race. "Mika is in the best position so I fully understand the team taking the view that I will support Mika in the race," he said. "My personal desire is to race and try to win, but it is going to be a very close battle with Ferrari." McLaren team boss Ron Dennis said no decision on team orders had been taken.

Friday's practice times:     mins secs
 1 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:42.407
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:42.519
 3 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:42.701
 4 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:42.725
 5 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:42.875
 6 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:43.006
 7 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:43.042
 8 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:43.153
 9 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:43.311
10 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:43.349
11 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:43.403
12 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:43.417
13 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:43.500
14 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:43.677
15 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:43.793
16 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:44.818
17 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:44.968
18 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:45.164
19 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:45.397
20 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:45.833
21 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:46.690
22 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:49.451
 

TOUR OF MULL RALLY:- The 30th Phillips Tour of Mull Rally runs until Sunday, with Callum Duffy heading the entry list. Despite a recent health scare, he is determined to take his place at the head of the 150-car field. Three-times runner-up Chris Griffiths is hoping to go one better this year but the Oswestry driver faces some tough competition. British tarmac champion John Price is tipped to feature, along with Eddie O'Donnell and James MacGillivray.

Leading entries:
 1 C Duffy/H Duffy      Ford Escort
 2 C Griffiths/A Davies Subaru Impreza
 3 J Price/C Broad      MG Metro
 4 E O'Donnell Jnr/Snr  Ford Escort
 5 J M'cGlvray/B K'nedy Mitsubishi L
 6 D Hall/G Williams    Ford Escort
 7 S Davies/L Hastie    Ford Escort
 8 J Cressey/I Grindrod Vauxhall Astra
 9 B Bird/P Pulleyn     Vauxhall Astra
10 D Harper/L Reger     Vauxhall Astra
 

F3000:- It has been reported that Jason Watt, who was runner-up to Nick Heidfeld in the Formula 3000 Championship, has been badly hurt in a motorcycle accident. His Nova Racing team said that the Dane lost control of the bike during a magazine shoot on Wednesday. It is believed that he is paralysed but it is not known to what extent. Watt won the final round of the F3000 series in Germany and dedicated it to Uruguayan Gonzalo Rodriguez, the driver killed in practice for a CART race.
 

BRITISH GT'S:- The Blue Coral Slick 50 Racing and Newcastle United Lister Storm teams will both appeal to the RAC after the rulings of an eligibility appeal panel. The panel met on October 5th to consider appeals from both teams following protests over the technical eligibility of the cars concerned. It is expected that the outcome of the fresh appeals will not be known for several weeks. The provisional results of the championship follow.

GT1 Driver standings          Pts
 1 Bailey/C-W'ltr Lister      177
 3 Wall'r/Lister  Porsche     157
 5 O'Rourke/S'gdn McLaren      98
 7 Dean/Luby      Sintura      59
 9 Munroe         McLaren      55
10 Goodwin        McLaren      43

GT2 Driver standings            Pts
1 Warnock        Lister/Porsche 149
2 Schirle        Lister/Porsche 134
3 Youles         Lotus/Porsche  109
4 Fuller/F'thrgl Porsche        104
6 Astley         Lotus          102
 

CHAMP CARS (Surfers Paradise):-
Friday qualifying times:      secs
 1 P Tracy      Can Honda    92.700
 2 M Andretti   US  Ford     93.135
 3 J Montoya    Col Honda    93.479
 4 B Herta      US  Ford     93.645
 5 D Franchitti GB  Honda    93.851
 6 G de Ferran  Brz Honda    93.937
 7 T Kanaan     Brz Honda    93.966
 8 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes 94.109
 9 P Carpentier Can Mercedes 94.152
10 J Vasser     US  Honda    94.245
25 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes 96.540
 
 
 
 

16.10.99

F1: THE MALAYSIAN GP
Michael Schumacher made a spectacular return to Formula One by scorching to pole position for Sunday's race. He shrugged off his three-month lay-off with a broken leg to take top spot for the maiden race on the 50m Sepang circuit by a margin of almost a second. Eddie Irvine boosted his title hopes by taking second place to complete a dream front row grid line-up for Ferrari. Championship leader Mika Hakkinen took fourth place for McLaren, with team- mate David Coulthard third.

Michael Schumacher said he was stunned to have grabbed pole position for Sunday on his racing comeback. "I could never have expected this," he said. "We expected to be strong but to be a second ahead is very surprising. The team did a great effort. I did 40 laps on Friday and almost 40 laps today and am feeling in good shape so my leg should not be a problem." Schumacher also confirmed he would let team-mate Eddie Irvine pass him if they were one and two on the final lap.

David Coulthard has admitted he will do everything possible to help McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen's title bid. The pair start Sunday's race third and fourth on the grid after Michael Schumacher took pole spot ahead of Ferrari colleague Eddie Irvine. "I will not be making it difficult for Mika to pass me," he said. "Ferrari have a bit of a gap and we have some work to do. Michael is a better driver than Eddie so that explains part of it."

Saturday's qualifying times: mins secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:39.688
 2 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:40.635
 3 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:40.806
 4 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:40.866
 5 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:40.937
 6 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:41.351
 7 A Wurz        Aus Benneton 1:41.444
 8 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:41.558
 9 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:42.050
10 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:42.087
11 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:42.110
12 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:42.208
13 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:42.310
14 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:42.380
15 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:42.522
16 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:42.885
17 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1: 2.933
18 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:42.948
19 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:43.563
20 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:43.579
21 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:44.321
22 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:44.637
 
 

TOUR OF MULL RALLY:- Chris Griffiths took the lead after the first leg of the rally. The three-times runner-up moved ahead on the second stage and set fastest times on five of the next six to stay ahead after 67 miles. John Price was quickest on the opening "Super Special" but was unsettled by the bumps on the Mull roads. Last year's winner Callum Duffy crashed out on the fourth test as did Eddie O'Donnell while George Hill went out on the second.

Results (Sat):                h  m  s
 1 Grif'ths/Dav's Subaru Imp  1:52.08
 2 Hall/Williams  Ford Escort 1:53.22
 3 M'vray/Kennedy Mitsubishi  1:53.37
 4 Price/Broad    MG Metro    1:54.49
 5 Guy/Bell       Vauxhall A  1:56.10
 6 J Cope/T Cope  Ford Escort 1:57.19
 7 Harper/Reger   Vauxhall A  1:57.56
 8 Cressey/Gr'rod Vauxhall A  1:58.05
 9 Bonniwell/C'll Ford Escort 1:59.44
10 Barry/Whit'ker Mitsubishi  2:00.22
 

CART (Surfers Paradise):- Dario Franchitti broke his own lap record to claim pole position for Sunday's Gold Coast Indy race. The Scot broke the record he set last year by 0.585 seconds, lowering the mark to one minute, 31.703 seconds. Franchitti had trailed rookie Juan Montoya in the Championship by 13 points going into the weekend but pulled one back for taking pole. It was also confirmed that the race will stay in Australia until at least 2003. The current deal ends next year.

Saturday's qualifying times: mins:secs
 1 D Franchitti GB  Honda     1:31.703
 2 B Herta      US  Ford      1:32.595
 3 S Pruett     US  Toyota    1:32.616
 4 P Tracy      Can Honda     1:32.700
 5 M Andretti   US  Ford      1:32.899
 6 J Montoya    Col Honda     1:33.018
 7 A Fernandez  Mex Ford      1:33.072
 8 T Kanaan     Brz Honda     1:33.233
 9 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes  1:33.271
10 C da Matta   Brz Toyota    1:33.399
23 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes  1:34.847
 
 
 
 

17.10.99

F1: THE MALAYSIAN GP
Mika Hakkinen has been crowned world drivers champion after Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher were sensationally thrown out of the race. Irvine had won it after being allowed to overtake his Ferrari team-mate near the end but afterwards the FIA said their cars did not meet regulations. Hakkinen was promoted to race winner, giving him an unassailable 12 point lead over Irvine with one race left. Ferrari have confirmed they are appealing against the decision.

Ferrari's appeal against the decision to disqualify Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher should be heard in Paris or Geneva possibly next week. The team said the breach of regulations did not improve the performance of the duo's cars. Ferrari press officer Claudio Berro agreed the deflector panels may not conform to regulations but added: "We need to check the technical situation. We checked if the parts conformed but it's too early to give an explanation."

Before Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher were thrown out of the race, the German had allowed his team-mate to overtake him and win. Schumacher led the race late on but let the Irishman through on lap 53. Mika Hakkinen finished third but has been declared the race winner following the FIA decision. Johnny Herbert followed up his win in the last race by taking second but Damon Hill went out on the first lap and David Coulthard retired on lap 15.

Damon Hill's race was over before he had completed one lap after he was nudged out by Giancarlo Fisichella. The Benetton driver visited the pits after he too was shunted by another car and he was also forced to retire. Michael Schumacher, who was competing in his first race since breaking a leg at Silverstone in July, made a perfect start from pole position. However, he let Ferrari team-mate Eddie Irvine through on lap three before being overtaken by David Coulthard.

Former world champion Damon Hill's hopes of improving on his total of seven points ended at the second corner of the first lap. The Briton said: "I felt somebody go up the back of my car." When asked about the conditions for drivers in Formula One's newest race, Hill quipped: "I could not tell you. I was not out there long enough." Hill will bow out of the sport after the final race of the season in Suzuka on October 31.

David Coulthard's race ended on lap 15 when he was hit by car problems, while trying to put pressure on race leader Eddie Irvine. Coulthard, who had started in third on the grid, had eased McLaren's problems by overtaking Michael Schumacher to move into second place. The Scot said: "I suddenly lost power and it did not come back so I had to coast to a halt. It was very disappointing because I was having a good race."

Stewart's season is going from strength to strength and they now lie fourth in the constructors' championship, having overtaken Williams. Johnny Herbert finished second, having been passed by Mika Hakkinen late in the race, and Rubens Barrichello took third place. The team, who were hit by car problems and poor luck in the first half of the season, now have 41 points. They will race under the Jaguar name in 2000 after being taken over by Ford.
 

Result after 56 laps:        hr min sec
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:36.48.2
 2 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:36.56.0
 3 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:37.10.7
 4 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:37.13.3
 5 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:37.32.9
 6 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:37.39.4
 7 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:37.10.0
 8 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:37.36.4
 9 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:38.14.5
NOT CLASSIFIED
10 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      48 laps
11 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   44 laps
12 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   30 laps
13 L Badoer      It  Minardi  15 laps
14 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  14 laps
15 R Schumacher  Ger Williams  7 laps
16 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows    7 laps
17 R Zonta       Brz BAR       6 laps
18 O Panis       Fr  Prost     5 laps
19 D Hill        GB  Jordan    0 laps
DNS J Trulli     It  Prost

Disqualified:                 mins:secs
  E Irvine       GB  Ferrari  1:36.38.4
  M Schumacher   Ger Ferrari  1:36.39.5

DRIVER STANDINGS
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  72 pts
 2 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  60
 3 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   53
 4 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  48
 5 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 33
 6 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  32
 7 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  23
 8 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  18
 9 G Fisichella  Ita Benetton 13
10 M Salo        Fin Ferrari  10
11 D Hill        GB  Jordan    7
== J Trulli      It  Prost     7
13 A Wurz        Aut Benetton  4
14 P Diniz       Brz Sauber    3
== J Alesi       Fr  Sauber    3
16 O Panis       Fr  Prost     2
 = P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows    1
 = M Gene        Sp  Minardi   1

CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS
1 McLaren   120 pts
2 Ferrari   102
3 Jordan     60
4 Stewart    41
5 Williams   33
6 Benetton   17
7 Prost       9
8 Sauber      6
9 Arrows      1
= Minardi     1
 

F3 (Thruxton):- Marc Hynes clinched the title after finishing fourth at Thruxton. Hynes' adversary Luciano Burti won round 16 but it wasn't enough and he finished second overall.

1 L Burti        22:23.183
2 K Kolby        23:34.502
3 W Hughes       23:37.114
4 M Hynes        23:41.576
5 T Spouge       23:44.037
 

CART (Surfers Paradise):- Dario Franchitti once again tops the driver standings after winning the Gold Coast Indy after leading for the majority of the race. The Scot trailed Juan Montoya by 12 points going into the race but the Colombian rookie failed to finish. He appeared to lock his wheels while running third and his car slid into the tyre barrier. Franchitti will now go into the final race of the season - the Marlboro 500 on October 31 - with a nine-point lead.

Dario Franchitti paid tribute to his Kool Team Green team and boss Barry Green after his victory on the Gold Coast put him top of the standings. "What can you say about that? We came here hoping for a 22-point weekend and were just working towards that and it happened. It's amazing," he said. "It's nice to win in Australia. Barry told me I had to win here and we finally did it for him." Franchitti leads going into the final race of the season on October 31.

Sunday's result:          hr:mn:secs
 1 D Franchitti GB  Honda   1:58:40
 2 M Papis      It  Ford     @00:02
 3 A Fernandez  Mex Ford     @00:07
 4 B Herta      US  Ford     @00:10
 5 M Andretti   US  Ford     @00:11
 6 T Kanaan     Brz Honda    @00:11
 7 P Tracy      Can Honda    @00:11
 8 R Gordon     US  Toyota   @00:19
 9 S Pruett     US  Toyota   @00:21
10 G Salles     Brz Mercedes @00:26
19 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes DNF lap 33

Driver standings          Points
1 D Franchitti GB  Honda    209
2 J Montoya    Col Honda    200
3 P Tracy      Can Honda    161
4 M Andretti   US  Ford     151
5 M Papis      It  Ford     133
6 A Fernandez  Mex Ford     120
 
 
 
 

18.10.99

CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING
Driver ratings (October 18)       Points
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One   922
 2 J Gordon      US  NASCAR        869
 3 D Jarrett     US  NASCAR        832
 4 N Heidfeld    Ger F3000         823
 5 H-H Frentzen  Ger Formula One   818
 6 E Irvine      GB  Formula One   781
 7 D Franchitti  GB  Champ Cars    779
 8 JP Montoya    Col Champ Cars    739
 9 J Burton      US  NASCAR        704
10 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   703
 

IRL:- Greg Ray secured his first Indy Racing League title by finishing third in the final race of the season - the Lone Star 500 in Texas. Kenny Brack's title hopes ended after he went out with tyre problems in an event won by Mark Dismore.
 

USF2000:- Daniel Wheldon clinched the first title of his career by winning both races in the USF2000 season finale in Florida.
 

PROTON COUPE CUP:- Robert Ross took victory in the Proton Coupe Cup race at Brands Hatch, the 13th and final round of the series.
 

GERMAN SUPERTOURING:- Uwe Alzen is the provisional winner of the 1999 STW Championship after the Opel Holzer driver won the 17-lap Sprint race at Nurburgring. He followed up by finishing second in his Vectra in the 33-lap Main race.
 

PORSCHE'S:- Peter Chambers underlined his position as Pirelli Porsche Cup champion with a commanding victory in the 13th and last round at Thruxton.
 
 

F.PALMER AUDI (Thruxton):-
Round 16 results:        mins secs
 1 Robbie Kerr      GB   15:08.804
 2 Richard Tarling  GB   15:10.180
 3 Derek Hayes      NI   15:10.526
 4 Damien Faulkner  Ire  15:19.731
 5 Justin Keen      GB   15:19.808
 6 Richard Lyons    NI   15:20.884
 7 Danny Watts      GB   15:21.136
 8 J Bleekemolen    NL   15:21.528
 9 Adam Wilcox      GB   15:22.032
10 Martyn Smith     GB   15:22.179

Round 17 results:        mins secs
 1 Robbie Kerr      GB   15:18.701
 2 Bjorn Wirdheim   SWE  15:19.455
 3 Tim Mullen       NI   15:21.548
 4 Sam Hancock      GB   15:22.678
 5 Richard Tarling  GB   15:24.599
 6 Martyn Smith     GB   15:25.073
 7 Damien Faulkner  IRE  15:27.823
 8 Adam Wilcox      GB   15:28.140
 9 Andy Booth       NZ   15:28.605
10 J Bleekemolen    NL   15:29.978

Final championship positions
                        Points
 1  Richard Tarling      210
 2  Richard Lyons        198
 3  Damien Faulkner      192
 4  Tim Mullen           188
 5  Robbie Kerr          179
 6  Justin Keen          157
 6= Sam Hanock           156
 8  Tepi Serjala         146
 9  Jeroen Bleekemolen   143
10  Derek Hayes          141
11  Martyn Smith         138
12  Adam Wilcox          134
 

F1:- Ferrari's Paris appeal against the disqualification of Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher from the Malaysian Grand Prix will be heard on Friday. At least three members of the FIA's court of appeal, made up of 15 lawyers or judges with a background in motor sport, will meet at 8.30am BST. Irvine and Schumacher finished first and second in Sepang but were thrown out because of car irregularities. The team are claiming that it did not give them an advantage in the race.

The FIA have said the International Court of Appeal's decision over the Ferrari drivers will be final and it is likely to be announced on Saturday. The appeal date has been set for Friday and in a statement the FIA said: "The court hears all the parties involved and their lawyers. "Any competing team that may be significantly affected by the decision may also request a hearing." If Ferrari lose the appeal Mika Hakkinen will retain his world title.

Ferrari chief Jean Todt has insisted that his cars took no advantage from the illegal deflector that led to their drivers being disqualified on Sunday. He told Gazzetta dello Sport: "Soon after the race, the stewards told us that they had found an irregularity in our cars. It was a bolt from the blue. We still do not know why the part did not conform. Anyway, it did not give us any advantage from the performance point of view."

Jean Todt has accepted responsibility for the car problems that led to the disqualification of Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher in Malaysia. The Frenchman confirmed: "I feel responsible because I am the director of sporting management. I am the chief and therefore I am always going to be the one responsible. Clearly there is a technical problem." Todt offered to resign following the disqualification but it was turned down by chairman Luca di Montezemolo.

McLaren have released a statement on Ferrari's disqualification saying that the rules must be adhered to. "The fact that the outcome of the Malaysian Grand Prix can decide this year's World Championship is irrelevant," the statement said. "The more important the outcome of a race the more important it is that the rules are applied consistently. We sympathise with Ferrari, but this matter has to be put into a wider context," it added.

Eddie Irvine has admitted that he was stunned that his Ferrari was disqualified from the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday. "I cannot believe that they are taking the points and the leadership of the world championship from me for something like that," he exclaimed. "The punishment is too harsh compared to the crime. I am relying on Ferrari's ability to defend themselves. As a driver, I cannot make appeals."

Eddie Irvine only learned of his disqualification when his flight from Malaysia to Macao made a stopover at Bangkok on Sunday. He said: "It seems impossible to me to lose a World Championship over this. Everybody in Formula One knows that things like this give you little or no advantage at all. I hope the judges decide the punishment was too heavy. I am convinced that the final decision will take account of people's good faith."

Michael Schumacher revealed that he felt sorry for his Ferrari team after the Malaysian disqualifications but he was philosphical about the ruling. While on holiday on an Indonesian island, the German confirmed: "I felt very sorry for the team because they did all that work for nothing. "These things happen and anyway what could I do about it? It will be all very different if at Suzuka I was going there to help the team try and win the championship."

Mika Hakkinen may have been provisionally crowned champion for the second year running on Sunday but he is uneasy over the decision. The disqualification of the Ferrari duo promoted him to first place in the Malaysian Grand Prix and gave him an unassailable 12-point lead. However, he said: "I do not really like it. It is not the way to win a title. It does not feel good to me. They won the race fair and square on the track."

The man who designed the car in which South African Jody Scheckter claimed Ferrari's last driver title 20 years ago believes their appeal will fail. Ferrari have not disputed that the deflector panels on their cars did not conform to the rules but they insist it did not give them an advantage. However, designer Mauro Forghieri said: "We will probably be talking about this for a lifetime. If the rules were broken the appeal stands little chance of succeeding."
 

CART:- FedEx Championship leader Dario Franchitti has admitted that he could be driving in Formula One in 2001. The Scot, who won the Gold Coast Indy in Australia on Sunday, is contracted to the Florida-based Kool Green team until the end of next year. "I see myself in the CART series until the end of 2000 and if I do a good enough job and attract the right deal I could be in Formula One," he said. "By deal I mean a competitive car. It is very important that is done right."
 
 
 
 

19.10.99 - F1

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he would like the 1999 title battle to be settled in the final race at Suzuka on October 31. The disqualification of Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher in Malaysia provisionally handed the crown to McLaren's Mika Hakkinen. Ferrari face an appeal on Friday but Ecclestone told The Sun: "What happened in Malaysia is bad for the sport. I would like what the public want - to see a great finish in Japan."

Bernie Ecclestone is vice-president of FIA but has no influence on the court of appeal's decision. The hearing over the Ferrari disqualification will be heard in Paris on Friday. "FIA's appeal court is as independent as any appeal court in the land," Ecclestone told The Sun. However, Ecclestone does admit he would like to see rule changes and added: "I have campaigned for years that the rules and regulations are too tight."

If Ferrari's appeal over their Sepang disqualifications is unsuccessful, Eddie Irvine says it is not just him who will lose out. Before Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, this season had proved to be Irvine's best chance of taking the title. However, he told The Express: "It is not just about how Eddie Irvine feels. I feel for those people who have slogged their guts with early starts and late-night finishes all year and my dad will take this harder than me."

TWR Group have agreed a new long-term sponsorship agreement with global software developer Baan, with a view to developing the Arrows team.
 
 
 
 

20.10.99

F1:- Ferrari will discover on Saturday whether their appeal against disqualification at the Malaysian Grand Prix has been successful or not. FIA president Max Mosley said the result of the appeal would be revealed at a morning press conference. FIA bosses have stressed that its appeal panel is strictly impartial and will not be influenced. Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher were disqualified because of problems with the deflectors on their cars.

The FIA have stressed that its appeals panel will make an impartial ruling on Ferrari's Sepang disqualifications. In a statement, the sport's governing body said that the five judges selected are "completely independent of anyone involved in motor sport." "The FIA would like to stress that these judges will not be influenced by any outside opinion, irrespective of the person who expresses it."

Stewart will oppose any bid to overturn Ferrari's Sepang race disqualifications according to the Independent. A spokesman told the paper: "We feel that if Ferrari are found to have contravened the rules then the disqualification should hold." Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher finished first and second in Malaysia but were thrown out because of problems with the deflectors on the cars. The FIA are going to consider their appeal in Paris on Friday.

Johnny Herbert has warned his future team-mate Eddie Irvine to expect the worst from Friday's appeal hearing. "I had a very similar problem with my barge board on my Sauber in the French Grand Prix in 1996," confirmed Herbert, who now drives for Stewart. "We did not appeal because it was something that was difficult to fight against. We had broken the rules." Stewart have been taken over by Ford and will race as Jaguar next season and Irvine is leaving Ferrari to join them.
 

CART:- The Hawaiian CART Super Prix, which was scheduled for Honolulu on November 13, has been cancelled after promoters failed to come up with the prize money. The event was intended to have a $10m purse - with the winner taking $5m - and the top 12 CART drivers and four others were set to compete. Tuesday was the deadline for organisers to deposit the prize money but they could only raise $5m. Dario Franchitti is the leading CART driver ahead of the October 31 finale.
 

RALLYING:- Skoda have announced that Bruno Thiry is to drive for them in the Rally of Great Britain next month. The Belgian will line up alongside Armin Schwarz for the final round of the World Championship.
 
 
 
 

22.10.99

F1:- Eddie Irvine will have to wait until Saturday to find out if the appeal against Ferrari's disqualification in the Malaysian Grand Prix has been won. After nearly four hours Irvine left the Automobile Club de France in central Paris where five judges had heard to the appeal. He said: "I don't know whether it went well or badly. Let's just wait until Saturday morning." Ferrari insist the illegal deflector boards did not improve performance.
 

BULLDOG RALLY:- Saturday's final round of the series, the Bulldog Rally in Shrewsbury, sees a titanic battle for showroom category Group N honours. Local driver Roger Davies is level with ex-English Rally champion Kevin Stevens on top of the standings on 111 points with Richie Holfeld third on 103. Gwyndaf Evans leads the 100-car field away at 7.30am in Welshpool. Kenny McKinstry and Andrea Hall have already clinched the overall and Formula Two titles.
 

NETWORK Q RALLY:- Entries have closed for the Network Q Rally of Great Britain and the event has attracted the highest number of manufacturers for any event this year. The seeded entry list contains 12 manufacturers and 26 cars and is headed by championship leader Tommi Makinen. British drivers Colin McRae and Richard Burns will also be keen for success in their home event. Martin Brundle will drive in the event for the second time. He lost out in snow in his previous effort in 1996.
 

BRITISH GT's:- Martin Short has said he will race a GT3 TVR Cerbera in next season's Privilege Insurance British GT Championship.
 
 
 

23.10.99

F1:- Ferrari have won their appeal against the disqualification of Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher from last week's Malaysian Grand Prix. This means the result stands and Irvine regains the lead in the world driver standings and the destiny of the title will be decided in Japan next weekend. The duo were thrown out of Sunday's race after stewards discovered a technical problem with their cars.

Eddie Irvine was ecstatic after hearing that Ferrari had won their appeal - and that the title race was back on. He said: "It's fantastic. It's a great triumph for the whole team. I never thought people would consider that Ferrari had broken the rules. We fully deserved the result on the track and it has been given back to us. Now I am going to be thinking only about next Sunday, about Suzuka, and winning these titles - the drivers' and the constructors' championships."

FIA president Max Mosley insisted F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's criticism of the disqualification decision had not influenced the appeal outcome. FIA president Max Mosley said: "The court of appeal criticised, I think with some justification, our methods of measurement. There was also criticism by the court as to the regulation itself. Those two criticisms of the methods of measurement are going to be looked into very carefully."

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis has said the decision to uphold Ferrari's appeal was a "bad day for the sport." He said: "I am convinced that Ferrari's miscalculation was a mistake. The regulations state the car must comply. Everyone wants an exciting race in Japan, but I think the price we have paid for that one race is too great." A written statement from the team said: "In this case, we felt, along with many motor sport experts, that there was no room for interpretation."

Paul Stewart said his Stewart-Ford team accepted the decision to restore the Malaysian Grand Prix result. "Before we got to Paris we were under the impression this was a clear-cut case of a breach of the FIA technical regulations by Ferrari," he said. "Fresh evidence was presented at the hearing by the FIA which acknowledged the level of infringement was half that of the original measurement taken. As the court was satisfied, we accept the decision to uphold the appeal."

Eddie Irvine can guarantee himself his first ever drivers' world crown if he wins next week's Japanese Grand Prix. The title is up for grabs again after Ferrari won their appeal and Irvine will be determined to take it in his final race for the team. If Mika Hakkinen wins at Suzuka and Irvine is second then the pair would have the same amount of points in the driver standings. But the Finn would retain the title after winning more races this season.
 
 

MINTEX NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP - BULLDOG RALLY
Leading positions after 9 stages:
 1 G Smith/A Wynn     Escort    1:15:17
 2 W P'kirk/E Evans   MG Metro  1:15:24
 3 S Petch/P Croft    Escort    1:15:56
 4 V Wetton/J Haigh   M'bishi   1:16:17
 5 G M'winter/P Cl'ke Escort    1:17:00
 6 G Mills/D Jones    Sierra    1:17:01
 7 D H'phreys/I Pryce M'bishi   1:17:02
 8 W Sisson/N Sisson  M'bishi   1:17.28
 9 M Perrott/J Brown  M'bishi   1:17:28
10 R Davies/R Skinner Escort    1:17:48
 
 
 
 
 

25.10.99

F1:- Eddie Irvine has warned his McLaren rivals not to try any tricks in the final race of the season on Sunday. Mika Hakkinen and Irvine will be fighting to take the drivers' crown in Japan and the Finn will be looking to team-mate David Coulthard to help him. Irvine said that the McLaren duo may "play games and push me back into Stewarts, Williams and Jordans". He added: "It could cause problems and we have got to be careful. We cannot afford to relax."
 

FORD FIESTA'S (Brands Hatch):- Gareth Howell followed up his win in he final round of the Ford Credit Fiesta Zetec Championship by winning the opening round of the winter series. The Bromley-based 18-year-old held of Colin Stancombe after early leader Mac Engledew was forced to retire, while Paul Rivett finished third.

Result:                   mins secs
1 G Howell          Eng   12:12.979
2 C Stancombe       Eng   12:13.190
3 P Rivett          Eng   12:13.816
 

CHAMPION SPARK PLUG WORLD RANKING
Driver ratings (October 25)       Points
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin Formula One   892
 2 E Irvine      GB  Formula One   881
 3 J Gordon      US  NASCAR        838
 4 D Jarrett     US  NASCAR        838
 5 N Heidfeld    Ger F3000         823
 6 H-H Frentzen  Ger Formula One   798
 7 D Franchitti  GB  Champ Cars    779
 8 JP Montoya    Col Champ Cars    739
 9 J Burton      US  NASCAR        732
10 D Coulthard   GB  Formula One   703
 
 
 
 

26.10.99

F1:- Next year's British Grand Prix at Silverstone has been brought forward to April instead of its traditional spot in mid-July. The move has been made to reduce transportation costs although some have suggested that April could produce a more thrilling race in the wet. The race is set for April 23 which is also Easter weekend. The season starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 12 and ends in Malaysia on October 22.

2000 F1 CALENDAR
March 12 Australian GP, Melbourne
March 26 Brazilian GP, Sao Paulo
April 9  San Marino GP, Imola
April 23 British GP, Silverstone
May 7    Spanish GP, Barcelona
May 21   European GP, Nurburgring
June 4   Monaco GP, Monte Carlo
June 18  Canadian GP, Montreal
July 2   French GP, Magny-Cours
July 16  Austrian GP, Spielberg
July 30  German GP, Hockenheim
Aug 13   Hungarian GP, Budapest
Aug 27   Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps
Sept 10  Italian GP, Monza
Sept 24  American GP, Indianapolis
Oct 8    Japanese GP, Suzuka
Oct 22   Malaysian GP, Kuala Lumpur

Bernie Ecclestone is to sell up to half of his Formula One empire as a first step to a Stock Exchange flotation. Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, part of Germany's Deutsche Bank, said it had signed contracts to buy up to half of Formula One Holdings. The deal is thought to value Ecclestone's business at about 1.6bn. Scott Lanphere, director at MGPE, said: "F1 is the world's leading sporting brand name. It attracts more viewers than any other annually held event."

Honda will return to Formula One next year in collaboration with British American Racing. Spokesman Hideki Hirate said Honda and BAR will develop the race chassis for the team, to be called British American Racing Honda. Hirate said Honda has developed an F1 engine, code named RA0003, which will power the team's cars next season. Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta are expected to start track-testing the new package in December
 
 
 
 

27.10.99 - F1: THE JAPANESE GP

The FIA court of appeal's decision to overturn Ferrari's Malaysia disqualifications has ensured that the title race goes down to the wire again. Any decision they had made would have been deemed controversial after Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher were stripped of their one-two in Sepang. Some pundits feel the disqualifications should have stood. However, it means that Irvine and Mika Hakkinen and Ferrari and McLaren still have much to race for on Sunday.

Eddie Irvine will be hoping that his favourite circuit will help him take the drivers' crown on Sunday. The Northern Ireland-born Ferrari star had a stint in Japanese Formula 3000 from 1991 to 1993. He stated: "Suzuka is my favourite circuit. It is like my home grand prix because I raced in Japan for three years and had a lot of fun there." Irvine began the year without a victory but has now had four wins and leads rival Mika Hakkinen by four points.

Eddie Irvine has admitted that his bid to become Ferrari's first driver champion in 20 years would be easier if he had a five-point lead. He is four points clear of Mika Hakkinen but if he finishes second to the Finn, the pair will be level. However, Hakkinen would keep his title because he would have had more wins. Irvine confirmed: "The situation is still very open but if Mika breaks down at the start then I can really have fun because I really love the circuit."

McLaren's Mika Hakkinen still firmly believes he can become the first driver since Michael Schumacher to win back- to-back titles. Schumacher achieved the feat in 1994 and 1995 while at Benetton. Hakkinen looked favourite to follow suit after Schumacher broke a leg in this year's British Grand Prix but the Finn's campaign has been hit by errors. His jittery form allowed Eddie Irvine to mount a challenge, although a Suzuka win will give Hakkinen the crown.

Mika Hakkinen was provisionally handed his second title before Ferrari's Malaysia disqualifications were overturned but he may yet triumph. He won at Suzuka last year to clinch the drivers' title and he said: "The events of the last week are behind us. "I am, as always, focusing on the next race. I will do my best to win the race and the championship." The Finn, who was publicly seen crying after retiring from the Italian Grand Prix, could end up crying tears of joy.

Michael Schumacher could have a say in whether his Ferrari team-mate secures the world title. Many observers feel that Schumacher would have taken his third title if he had not broken a leg at Silverstone back in July. Instead, on his return in Sepang, the supporting role was reversed when he gave up the chance of a win for Irvine. "I will do everything to help the stable and Eddie get as good a result at Suzuka as in Malaysia," he said.

David Coulthard can repay McLaren boss Ron Dennis by helping Mika Hakkinen to glory on Sunday. Dennis has allowed both drivers to compete in races on equal terms this year - a move that is believed to have displeased Hakkinen. It has been reported that the Finn feels he has lost out on points because of the decision. If Coulthard helps Hakkinen's title bid, it will also improve his chances of finishing third overall.

Team boss Eddie Jordan believes that if his former driver Eddie Irvine wins the title it will be good for Formula One. "Eddie has his own ways and is not everybody's cup of tea but he would be very good for the sport," insisted fellow Irishman Jordan. "He would be a sensational champion. I have fallen in love with him easily and fallen out of love with him easily. The time span is usually 18 months but you are usually only champion for 12 months so that would be okay."

Stewart star Johnny Herbert believes that his future team-mate Eddie Irvine can take the title. Irvine is leaving Ferrari to join Herbert for the 2000 season, with the Stewart team being renamed Jaguar. Herbert claimed: "Eddie can do it. He won in Malaysia so there is no reason why he cannot do it in Japan but I am sure McLaren will be quicker in Suzuka. In some ways Eddie would be worthy of the title but in some ways maybe not. With his character - probably not."

Damon Hill is determined to end his career on a high on Sunday. The former world champion, who won at Suzuka in 1994 and 1996, is bringing down the curtain on his Formula One career after this season's finale. "I would love to end the season with a good result," said Hill. "The Suzuka circuit is one I enjoy driving on. It holds many happy memories for me, so I hope I have more luck than in Malaysia and finish, like the team, on a high."

The Japanese Grand Prix will herald the end of an era, with Britain's Damon Hill retiring after the race. Thirty-nine-year-old Hill left it late to enter Formula One, competing in his first race in 1992, but he won the drivers' title with Williams in 1996. His record in such a short space of time is impressive. In over 100 starts, he has achieved 22 victories and 20 pole positions and last season gave Jordan their first ever win when triumphing at Spa.

Whatever happens on Sunday, Jordan will finish the season in their highest ever position in the constructors' list. Jordan have outgunned the likes of Williams to secure third spot but want to consolidate that place in Japan. Managing director Trevor Foster said: "Both Damon Hill and Heinz-Harald Frentzen are competitive at Suzuka. Damon won the 1996 world championship and had some of the best drives of his career at Suzuka, such as the 1994 race when he beat Michael Schumacher."

Ralf Schumacher has had a good first year with Williams and would love to end the season with a victory on a circuit he knows well. "Suzuka is one of my favourite tracks," admitted the German. "It places many demands on the cars and the drivers. Through the fast, sweeping S curves mechanical grip is very important. Then through the Degner and Spoon Curves the need shifts to aerodynamic grip from downforce. In the first Spoon you brake very late into the corner."

Alex Zanardi has failed to get in the points on his return to Formula One but will be out to change that in Japan. "The Suzuka circuit is an extremely interesting track," he commented. "I hope that the FW21 will adapt to it. Being a very similar circuit to Spa from some points of view , I hope that our car will behave as well as it did in Belgium. I am definitely looking forward to the race in Japan. I would say that Suzuka is a 'true' track."

British American Racing are still optimistic that their first season will not end without any points. In common with a number of other drivers, Jacques Villeneuve says that Suzuka is one of his favourite tracks. "Together with Spa in Belgium, Suzuka is one of my favourite tracks," said the Canadian. "The circuit adopts the shape of the landscape and its high-speed corners are very spectacular. I think our car should suit Suzuka."

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 53 laps or 310.582km. The 1998 Japanese race decided the titles for Mika Hakkinen and McLaren. Michael Schumacher clocked the fastest lap last year with a time of one minute, 40.190 seconds on lap 19. Suzuka is a medium downforce circuit with corners of all speeds. It is a low-grip surface with bad bumps and the figure of eight configuration is unique to the current calendar.
 
 
 
 

28.10.99

F1:- Ferrari have replaced the controversial bodywork on their cars prior to Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, even though it has been passed as legal. The team are taking no chances despite the reinstatement which followed disqualification in Malaysia. "We could have remained as we were," Ferrari sports chief Jean Todt said. "We will be very careful about the legality aspect of our cars, so we will make a double or triple check before the race."
 
Damon Hill, who retires from the sport after Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, could return as a future team boss. Hill said it would be a "tantalising dream" to try and emulate Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost who moved from driver to owner. "If you cannot win as a driver, to win as a team owner would be the next best thing," he said. "Jackie and Alain have done it. I have no definite plan to do that but I would not write anything off."
 

CART:- Scotland's Dario Franchitti can clinch the title in the final race of the CART championship season at California Speedway on Sunday. Franchitti leads Colombian Juan Montoya by nine points going into the race. "I know we're capable of getting the job done and we just need to get on with it," he said. Montoya said: "I should have won the championship a few races ago but it's been mistake after mistake. It's a shame but you have to deal with it."
 
 
 
 

29.10.99
 

F1: THE JAPANESE GP
Mika Hakkinen has thrown down the gauntlet to title rival Eddie Irvine ahead of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix showdown in Suzuka. Hakkinen dominated the day to finish quickest, while Irvine was 10th. However, David Coulthard was lucky to walk away when he crashed into a tyre barrier, though his car was badly damaged. The Scot was second fastest. Damon Hill, on his last grand prix weekend, was 16th fastest, while Johnny Herbert was 20th.

David Coulthard was happy to be able to walk away after his car suffered a 110mph accident in practice at Suzuka. "I am okay," Coulthard said. "I think a tyre hit a kerb and the car snapped back on me quicker than I expected and there was not much of a run-off area. "But the damage to the car looks far more serious than it is." Team-mate Mika Hakkinen, who was quickest during the day, said: "I am more confident now than I was before the start of practice."

Eddie Irvine was not downhearted after practice, despite being only tenth quickest on a day dominated by title rival Mika Hakkinen. "I would have preferred to be first, but Friday is Friday," he said. "The car was not handling that well. Even if Mika is on pole it won't be the end of the world because he has been on pole 11 times this season and only won four races. I think we will be able to challenge them," he added.

Friday's practice times:     mins:secs
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:41.746
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:41.894
 3 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:42.215
 4 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:42.529
 5 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:42.718
 6 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:42.925
 7 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:42.953
 8 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:43.047
 9 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:43.235
10 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:43.375
11 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:43.399
12 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:43.430
13 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:43.485
14 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:43.599
15 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:43.652
16 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:43.720
17 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:43.776
18 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:43.804
19 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:43.916
20 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:44.179
21 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:44.423
22 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:45.543
 
 
 
 
 

30.10.99

F1: THE JAPANESE GP
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher took pole position for Sunday's deciding race after a thrilling qualifying session. The former champion traded places with reigning title holder Mika Hakkinen before finally grabbing top spot. Hakkinen will be alongside him on the front row, ahead of team-mate David Coulthard and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Championship leader Eddie Irvine ran off with seven minutes left and then saw Frentzen snatch fourth place on the grid as the session drew to a close.

Eddie Irvine insists he can still be champion despite qualifying only fifth. He said: "I can still do it but it is 50/50 the way I see it. It is going to be a weird race. I have got the 'A' team on my side in Michael and Ross Brawn (technical director). In Michael I have got the best guy, that's for sure. I was pushing like hell because I thought I could have got third. When you push, sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong."
 
Michael Schumacher said he was confident Eddie Irvine would be in the reckoning despite his indifferent showing in qualifying. He said: "If I win, he just needs to be fourth and at the moment he's well placed to do that. We made improvements and the cars were better. Normally when we're fast in qualifiers we're fast in the race, so I'm not worried about Sunday." Mika Hakkinen said: "I have to make a good start. That's the big thing."

Saturday's qualifying times: mins:secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:37.470
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:37.820
 3 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:38.239
 4 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:38.696
 5 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:38.975
 6 O Panis       Fr  Prost    1:39.623
 7 J Trulli      It  Prost    1:39.644
 8 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:39.706
 9 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:39.717
10 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber   1:39.721
11 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:39.732
12 D Hill        GB  Jordan   1:40.140
13 R Barrichello Brz Stewart  1:40.140
14 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:40.261
15 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:40.303
16 A Zanardi     It  Williams 1:40.403
17 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:40.740
18 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:40.861
19 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows   1:41.067
20 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:41.529
21 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:41.708
22 L Badoer      It  Minardi  1:42.515
 

BTCC:- Vauxhall have confirmed they will run three cars in the 2000 Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship. The third Vectra will be piloted by Belgian Vincent Radermecker who signed a contract for the 2000 BTCC at the works team Banbury base. He joins Yvan Muller and Jason Plato in the team next year.
 

CART:- Marlboro 500, Fontana, California
(Friday qualifying times):     secs
 1 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes  31.044
 2 M Papis      It  Ford      31.116
 3 J Montoya    Col Honda     31.277
 4 J Vasser     US  Honda     31.308
 5 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford      31.313
 6 M Andretti   US  Ford      31.316
 7 C da Matta   Brz Toyota    31.324
 8 S Pruett     US  Toyota    31.334
 9 P Tracy      Can Honda     31.343
10 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes  31.361
11 D Franchitti GB  Honda     31.448
 
 
 
 
 

31.10.99

F1: THE JAPANESE GP
Mika Hakkinen retained his world title after storming to victory in the final race of the season. Michael Schumacher, who was on pole, was upstaged by the Finn at the start and Hakkinen never looked back. Eddie Irvine led the standings before this race but was third - just behind team-mate Schumacher - but Ferrari have won the constructors' crown. Damon Hill failed to finish his final grand prix, David Coulthard also retired but Johnny Herbert was seventh.

Mika Hakkinen has admitted that he does not recommend last-race title deciders after retaining his crown with his fifth win of 1999. The Finn, who was seen crying in the woods after his Monza retirement back in September, is the seventh driver to take back-to-back titles. He said: "This year was very difficult. We had problems from the start. "Deciding the championship in the last grand prix is nerve-wracking. I do not recommend it to anyone."

McLaren star Mika Hakkinen is the first driver since Michael Schumacher in 1995 to win back-to-back titles. After virtually leading from start to finish in Suzuka to keep his crown, the 31-year-old said: "It is brilliant. "This is a different feeling to when I won the title the first time. I got the advantage over Michael at the start of the race. "Then I knew I just had to keep that position," added the Finn, who also won in Japan to take the title last year.

Mika Hakkinen got off to the perfect start in the 1999 finale. The Finn, who was edged out of pole position on Saturday by Michael Schumacher, stole a march on the German by beating him off the grid. Eddie Irvine was passed by Olivier Panis but moved into fourth spot behind the Frenchman by overtaking David Coulthard and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. After five laps, McLaren star Hakkinen had extended his lead over Schumacher to over three seconds.

Damon Hill failed to end his Formula One career on a high after his race finished with a retirement. After sliding into the gravel on lap 16, his 115th and final grand prix was eventually over on lap 22. His trip off the circuit led to the former world champion visiting the pits but after rejoining the race in 19th position he eventually admitted defeat. Olivier Panis, who had moved into third place at the start, was also hit by a race retirement.

David Coulthard's bid to help McLaren retain the constructors' crown failed when he went off on lap 40 ` leaving Ferrari to take the honour. The Scot looked to be running well but ran wide at a corner on the 34th lap and touched the barrier. He had to return to the pits to have a new nose fitted to his car but when he returned was given a blue warning flag to allow Michael Schumacher through. Coulthard struggled on before being forced to return to the pits for good.

Suzuka runner-up Michael Schumacher blasted David Coulthard for his tactics during the race. The German, who was left fuming at the Scot after crashing into the rear of his McLaren at Spa last season, said: "Mika Hakkinen is a great champion. "But the team should wonder why they asked a driver to do certain things. "If you are lapped you should give space. Coulthard was zig-zagging. I have to wonder whether what happened in Belgium was deliberate."

Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard were involved in a war of words after the race. Officials reportedly had to step in to cool down the encounter in the pits, which came after Michael Schumacher had questioned Coulthard's tactics. Coulthard fumed: "I cannot believe Michael is saying things like that. "It just shows Michael holds grudges and cannot admit mistakes. If I was weaving in front of him it certainly was not intentional."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis defended David Coulthard after Michael Schumacher accused the Scot of blocking him. "I do not think Michael's comment has done him any good," insisted Dennis. "The rules provide for drivers to take two corners before observing the blue flags. That is what David did. He has a high level of integrity. "After Malaysia, putting aside the other races where we had to suffer severe blocking strategies, I think it is silly for Michael to bring it up."

Eddie Irvine helped Ferrari to their first constructors' crown since 1983 but admitted that it was no substitute for the drivers' title. The Northern Ireland-born driver could only finish third in Suzuka. "We have constantly improved and won the constructors' title but it is not the one I or the team wanted. It is just a consolation prize," he said. Irvine, who had crashed in qualifying, was hampered by a sore neck he suffered in Saturday's session.

Damon Hill admitted that his non-finish in Japan underlined that his decision to retire from Formula One was the right one. "I have to acknowledge that Formula One is a thing of the past and that I made the right decision in retiring," revealed the 1996 world champion. "Things have not gone well since I have been in Japan." Hill, who has one of the largest followings of fans in the sport, added: "I was very disappointed."

Eddie Jordan was delighted after Heinz- Harald Frentzen secured another points finish by taking fourth spot. "He won more points than he ever has before, as did Benson and Hedges Jordan," commented the team boss. "We realised our dreams. This will be a season which hopefully I will remember as being the one that gave us the confidence for a serious breakthrough. "To Eddie Irvine, who we feel close to, we commiserate but to Mika it was a stylish championship win."

Stewart achieved their aim of finishing fourth in the constructors' standings ` pipping Williams by only one point. The team will be known as Jaguar next year and chief operating officer Paul Stewart said: "I am immensely proud of the whole team. "To have accomplished this in only our third year is quite outstanding." Driver Rubens Barrichello, who is leaving to join Ferrari, added: "It has been an absolute pleasure working with everyone in the Stewart-Ford team."

Johnny Herbert finished out of the points in seventh spot but can look back on the season with pride after bad luck hit him early in the year. "I was fighting to keep up with the pace for most of the race because I could not find enough low speed traction," he said. "The main task was to take fourth place in the championship, which we did. "We have made a big improvement this season and have laid solid foundations to take a step forward with Jaguar."

British American Racing ended their first season without a point but chairman Craig Pollock believes the team can build on the 1999 season. "Both drivers have run a very good race here at the last grand prix of the season," he insisted. "Today's achievement, thanks to the efforts of everyone back at Brackley and here, was to see both cars cross the finishing line. "I hope this is a good starting point and a sign for the season to come."

Result after 53 laps:        hr min sec
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:31.18.7
 2 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:31.23.8
 3 E Irvine      GB  Ferrari  1:32.54.4
 4 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:32.57.4
 5 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:32.58.2
 6 J Alesi       Fr  Sauber     one lap
 7 J Herbert     GB  Stewart    one lap
 8 R Barrichello Brz Stewart    one lap
 9 J Villeneuve  Can BAR        one lap
10 A Wurz        Aut Benetton   one lap
11 P Diniz       Brz Sauber     one lap
12 R Zonta       Brz BAR        one lap
13 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows    two laps

NOT CLASSIFIED:               laps completed
14 G Fisichella  It  Benetton      47
15 T Takagi      Jpn Arrows        43
16 L Badoer      It  Minardi       43
17 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren       39
18 M Gene        Sp  Minardi       31
19 D Hill        GB  Jordan        21
20 O Panis       Fr  Prost         19
21 J Trulli      It  Prost          3
22 A Zanardi     It  Williams       0

Fastest lap: M Schumacher 1:41.319 (31)
 

DRIVER STANDINGS
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   76 pts
 2 E Irvine      GB   Ferrari   74
 3 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan    54
 4 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   48
 5 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   44
 6 R Schumacher  Ger  Williams  35
 7 R Barrichello Brz  Stewart   21
 8 J Herbert     GB   Stewart   15
 9 G Fisichella  It   Benetton  13
10 M Salo        Fin  Ferrari   10
11 D Hill        GB   Jordan     7
 = J Trulli      It   Prost      7
13 A Wurz        Aut  Benetton   3
  = P Diniz       Brz  Sauber     3
15 O Panis       Fr   Prost      2
 = J Alesi       Fr   Sauber     2
17 P de la Rosa  Sp   Arrows     1
 = M Gene        Sp   Minardi    1
 

CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS
 1 Ferrari      128 pts
 2 McLaren      124
 3 Jordan        61
 4 Stewart       36
 5 Williams      35
 6 Benetton      16
 7 Prost          9
 8 Sauber         5
 9 Arrows         1
 = Minardi        1
 

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Melbourne - Eddie Irvine claimed his maiden win after 82 starts. Michael Schumacher was eighth and Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard retired. Standings: 1 E Irvine 10 points; 2 H-H Frentzen 6; R Schumacher 4.

BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX, Interlagos - Mika Hakkinen pipped Michael Schumacher to victory but David Coulthard again failed to finish. Irvine finished in fifth place. Standings: 1 E Irvine 12; 2 M Hakkinen & H-H Frentzen 10.

SAN MARINO GRAND PRIX, Imola - Mika Hakkinen crashed out after 17 laps when leading comfortably. Michael Schumacher won, David Coulthard was second and Eddie Irvine failed to finish for the only time in 1999. Standings: 1 M Schumacher 16; 2 E Irvine 12; 3 M Hakkinen/H-H Frentzen 10.

MONACO GRAND PRIX, Monte Carlo - Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine gave Ferrari a one-two, Mika Hakkinen was third and David Coulthard retired. Standings: 1 M Schumacher 26; 2 E Irvine 18; 3 M Hakkinen 14.

SPANISH GRAND PRIX, Barcelona - Mika Hakkinen led from pole to win ahead of team-mate David Coulthard. Michael Schumacher was third and Eddie Irvine fourth. Standings: 1 M Schumacher 30; 2 M Hakkinen 24; 3 E Irvine 21.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX, Montreal - Michael Schumacher ended Mika Hakkinen's qualifying dominance but retired from the race as the Finn won. Eddie Irvine was third in the thriller. Standings: 1 M Hakkinen 34; 2 M Schumacher 30; 3 E Irvine 25.

FRENCH GRAND PRIX, Magny-Cours - Heinz-Harald Frentzen triumphed in a rain-hit race ahead of Mika Hakkinen. Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard had led the race. Standings: 1 M Hakkinen 40; 2 M Schumacher 32; 3 E Irvine 26.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone - Michael Schumacher broke a leg after crashing out on the first lap. Mika Hakkinen retired and Eddie Irvine was runner-up to David Coulthard. Standings: 1 M Hakkinen 40; 2 M Schumacher & E Irvine 32.

AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX, A1-Ring - Eddie Irvine wins on his first outing as Ferrari team leader. David Coulthard shunted Mika Hakkinen on lap one but the Finn is third behind his McLaren team-mate. Standings: 1 M Hakkinen 44; 2 E Irvine 42; 3 M Schumacher 32.

GERMAN GRAND PRIX, Hockenheim - Mika Salo allowed Eddie Irvine through to head Ferrari's one-two but Mika Hakkinen went out with a tyre problem. Standings: 1 E Irvine 52; 2 M Hakkinen 44; 3 H-H Frentzen 33.

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX, Budapest - Mika Hakkinen secured pole position and another victory. David Coulthard forced Eddie Irvine into a late error to pip him to second. Standings: 1 E Irvine 56; 2 M Hakkinen 54; 3 H-H Frentzen & D Coulthard 36.

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX, Spa - David Coulthard overtook Mika Hakkinen at the first corner and went on to win. The annoyed Finn is second, while Eddie Irvine is fourth. Standings: 1 M Hakkinen 60; 2 E Irvine 59; 3 D Coulthard 46.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, Monza - Mika Hakkinen cried his eyes out in the woods after spinning out when leading. Heinz-Harald Frentzen won and entered the title race. Eddie Irvine was sixth. Standings: 1 M Hakkinen & E Irvine 60; 3 H-H Frentzen 50.

EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX, Nurburgring - Eddie Irvine was hampered by a poor Ferrari pit stop and was seventh, while Mika Hakkinen also struggled to fifth. Johnny Herbert won for Stewart-Ford. Standings: 1 M Hakkinen 62; 2 E Irvine 60; 3 H-H Frentzen 50.

MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, Sepang - Michael Schumacher returned and allowed Eddie Irvine to head a Ferrari one-two. The pair were later disqualified because of car irregularities and Mika Hakkinen provisionally took the title before Ferrari won their appeal. Standings: 1 E Irvine 70 M Hakkinen 66; 3 H-H Frentzen 51.

JAPANESE GRAND PRIX, Suzuka - Mika Hakkinen won to take the title as Eddie Irvine finished third. Standings: 1 M Hakkinen 76; 2 E Irvine 74; 3 H-H Frentzen 54.
 
 

CART:- Canadian Greg Moore was tragically killed in a horrific crash on the 10th lap of the final race of the season. The 24-year-old suffered massive head injuries when his car spun off the track and broke up on hitting a wall. Organisers decided to carry on with the race even after the news of Moore's death came through, although there will be no after-race ceremonies. Scotland's Dario Franchitti and Juan Montoya of Colombia are in contention to win the drivers' title.