April 2000 Motorsport News


F1:- Arrows have unveiled a two-seater Formula One car and their test driver Mark Webber is set to be the main driver for a select few passengers. It comes two years after McLaren built their two-seater.

BTCC (Brands Hatch):-
Testing times (Fri):             secs
 1 R Rydell      Swe Ford       46.216
 2 A Menu        Swi Ford       46.371
 3 G Tarquini    It  Honda      46.434
 4 A Reid        GB  Ford       46.453
 5 J Plato       GB  Vauxhall   46.502
 6 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall   46.506
 7 M Neal        GB  Nissan     46.516
 8 J Thompson    GB  Honda      46.517
 9 T Kristensen  Den Honda      46.524
10 V Radermecker Bel Vauxhall   46.718

Qualifying times (Sat):
 1 D Faulkner   Ire          1:14.765
 2 T Mullen     GB           1:14.939
 3 M Santavirta Fin          1:14.958
 4 T Serjala    Fin          1:15.144
 5 J Keen       GB           1:15.341
 6 J Carlsen    Den          1:15.373
 7 B Jouanny    Fr           1:15.437
 8 B Jesson     Fr           1:15.586
 9 M Cioci      It           1:15.656
10 J vd Ende    Hol          1:15.728

Qualifying times (Sat):
 1 T Serjala    Fin          1:14.096
 2 J Keen       GB           1:14.189
 3 A Simonsen   Den          1:14.213
 4 J Carlsen    Den          1:14.256
 5 T Mullen     GB           1:14.264
 6 M Santavirta Fin          1:14.264
 7 M Cioci      It           1:14.282
 8 B Jouanny    Fr           1:14.295
 9 R Kerr       GB           1:14.315
10 D Hayes      GB           1:14.382

CATALUNYA RALLY:- World championship leader Richard Burns leads the field after the first leg but fellow Briton Colin McRae is close behind in his Ford. Armin Schwarz won the fifth stage to give Skoda their first stage win in the world championship. Schwarz clocked a time 2.3 seconds faster than world champion Tommi Makinen and 14.5 seconds quicker than event leader Burns. Burns said: "I am surprised how good my times are compared to everyone else."

Colin McRae defied the rain in Spain to finish the first day in second spot, 8.0 seconds beind leader Richard Burns. "It's been very muddy, especially on the fourth stage which was more like gravel than asphalt and very slippery," he said. "The Focus feels good and I feel confident with it." McRae hopes for better weather on Saturday to ensure consistency in tyre choice. "Then I'm confident we'll be challenging for the lead," he said.

Positions after 6 stages:
(Day 1)                      Hr min sec
 1 R Burns     GB  Subaru     1:02.48.1
 2 C McRae     GB  Ford          @ 08.0
 3 C Sainz     Sp  Ford          @ 24.2
 4 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi    @ 24.7
 5 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot       @ 53.6
 6 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot       @ 54.6
 7 G Panizzi   Fr  Peugeot       @ 59.9
 8 M Martin    Est Toyota      @01.24.5
 9 A Schwarz   Ger Skoda       @01.25.9
10 A Navarra   It  Toyota      @01.29.8

Colin McRae seized the overall lead from overnight leader and fellow Briton Richard Burns on the second day. McRae, eight seconds adrift after the first day, moved clear on the stage from Gratallops to Escaladei. Burns clawed back some of the deficit late on but he stands stands more than four seconds behind McRae. Carlos Sainz in the other Ford is in third position ahead of reigning world champion Tommi Makinen, well off the pace in fourth place.

Colin McRae was delighted with his second-day showing - in a week when he hinted he would leave Ford if the performance of his car did not improve. McRae leads the event and confirmed: "It has been a great day, although it is a little close for comfort in the top three." The Scot added: "The closeness of the competition is amazing. "We drove flat out for almost 48km and the fastest three cars were separated by only six tenths of a second."

Positions after 11 stages:
(end of day 2)               Hr min sec
 1 C McRae     GB  Ford       2:57:41.5
 2 R Burns     GB  Subaru     2:57.21.8
 3 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       2:57.26.8
 4 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 2:57.52.9
 5 G Panizzi   Fr  Peugeot    2:58.11.9
 6 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    2:58.47.6
 7 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot    2:58.49.7
 8 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi 3:00.34.7
 9 D Auriol    Fr  SEAT       3:00.52.2
10 M Martin    Est Toyota     3:01.13.5


F1:- FIA president Max Mosley has warned Brazilian Grand Prix organisers that they may lose the race next year after the problems in qualifying last week. The session was stopped three times after advertising hoardings crashed on to the Interlagos circuit. Race officials have been called to see the FIA in Paris next Thursday. Mosley told Five Live: "One must always listen to both sides but they certainly risk a substantial fine and possibly having their race banned."

ALMS:- Allan McNish collected more American Le Mans Series points as he ran through the field on a mixed day for his Audi team in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Scot, who won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1998, began the three-hour race from fifth place but quickly forced his way up the field to third. However team-mate Rinaldi Capello then spun into a tyre wall losing 30 minutes and the team finished in 20th place. BMW's JJ Lehto won the race with David Brabham second for Panoz.

Sunday's result:            mins:secs
 1 D Faulkner   Ire         25:56.276
 2 T Mullen     GB          25:57.368
 3 T Serjala    Fin         26:02.389
 4 M Santavirta Fin         26:07.056
 5 J Carlsen    Den         26:08.274
 6 J vd Ende    Hol         26:09.258
 7 R Kerr       GB          26:12.093
 8 J Keen       GB          26:14.677
 9 M Cioci      It          26:19.138
10 B Besson     Fr          26:30.687

Sunday's result:            mins:secs
 1 T Serjala    Fin         18:50.798
 2 J Carlsen    Den         18:55.457
 3 M Santavirta Fin         19:03.297
 4 J Keen       GB          19:03.800
 5 R Kerr       GB          19:08.859
 6 R Tarling    GB          19:10.954
 7 P Edwards    US          19:16.318
 8 M Cioci      It          19:17.320
 9 B Jouanny    Fr          19:19.101
10 C Hohenadel  Ger         19:20.378

CATALUNYA RALLY:- Colin McRae triumphed to secure his first victory in the championship for more than a year. McRae, who incurred a 10-second penalty in his Ford on the opening stage of the final leg, finished 5.9 seconds ahead of Subaru driver Richard Burns. Burns's second place extended his championship lead to nine points over reigning champion Tommi Makinen. Carlos Sainz earned his second successive podium finish in third position, 11.7 seconds behind McRae.

Colin McRae was a relieved man after holding off the challenge of Richard Burns for his first win in a year. "I'd forgotten what it feels like to win," he said. "I was confident we could do it going into the final stage but there was always a small worry though I felt the time would be enough to beat Richard. If the car runs like that for the rest of the year I'll be very happy and now we must concentrate on taking the title fight to him in the next few rallies."

Final result:                Hr min sec
 1 C McRae     GB  Ford       4:07:13.0
 2 R Burns     GB  Subaru     4:07.18.9
 3 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       4:07.24.7
 4 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 4:07.53.2
 5 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    4:09.04.7
 6 G Panizzi * Fr  Peugeot    4:09.23.9
 7 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi 4:11.25.5
 8 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot    4:11.49.4
 9 A Navarra   It  Toyota     4:12.18.4
10 M Martin    Est Toyota     4:12.42.0
* one minute penalty: slow garage stop

DRIVER STANDINGS               Pts
1 R Burns      GB   Subaru      28
2 T Makinen    Fin  Mitsubishi  19
3 M Gronholm   Fin  Peugeot     17
= C Sainz      Sp   Ford        17
5 C McRae      GB   Ford        14
6 J Kankkunen  Fin  Subaru      11

1 Subaru         41 pts
2 Ford           31
3 Mitsubishi     24
4 Peugeot        22
5 SEAT            7
6 Skoda           5

TOUR OF EPYNT:- John Price is aiming for his fourth victory in a row in today's Prosport Tour of Epynt. He will lead the field away in his Metro 6R4 but faces a strong challenge from Chris Griffiths, who usually goes well on the military ranges. Griffiths was runner-up last year and will be out to go one better. The event also marks the second round of the Ford Racing Ka Rally Championship, with Clive Williams currently leading the series.


F1:- David Coulthard has lost his appeal over his disqualification from second place at the Brazilian Grand Prix. The McLaren driver was stripped of his six points after last month's race when the front wing of his car failed an inspection by stewards. McLaren argued that the bumpy track contributed to the problem. An FIA statement said: "All competitors were subjected to the rigours of the circuit from practice onwards and steps could have been taken for adjustments."

David Coulthard remained philosophical after losing his appeal over his Brazilian disqualification. The Scot revealed: "Obviously the result is not what I had hoped for. It is Imola this weekend and I am looking forward to getting into the rhythm at one of my favourite tracks. That is what I am concentrating on." McLaren International managing director Martin Whitmarsh added: "We will not allow this to obscure our focus on the world championship."

The McLaren team issued a statement after David Coulthard lost his appeal. McLaren said: "David Coulthard's West McLaren Mercedes MP4-15 started the Brazilian GP in fully legal trim. "But due to the nature of the circuit substantial damage was encountered to the underside of the car and the front- wing end plate moved on its axis. This resulted in the distance between the reference plane and the lowest part of the front-wing end plate being two millimetres less than is permissible."

Britain's Jenson Button has been confirmed as the youngest driver to claim a point in Formula One after David Coulthard's appeal blow. Coulthard had been confident of being reinstated to second place at the Brazilian Grand Prix. However, the FIA's appeal body threw out McLaren's protest. It means that 20-year-old Williams rookie Button will be promoted from seventh to sixth ` and into the points ` in only his second race.

Mercedes have said they will put the disappointment of losing David Coulthard's appeal behind them and concentrate on the next race. Ahead of Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Mercedes sports director Nobert Haug admitted: "Of course we are very disappointed. "We thought we had our chances but we have to accept this decision and concentrate on the next race." Ferrari, who won an appeal last season, refused to comment.

DTM:- British Touring Car Championship driver James Thompson will race an Audi TT Coup in the new German Touring Masters. The 25-year-old joins reigning BTCC champion Laurent Aiello and German Super Touring Car Champion Christian Abt in the Abt Sportsline team. Gary Townsend and Martin Johnson are the latest drivers to join the Elf Clio RenaultSport UK Cup field.


The International Automobile Federation's World Council are set to consider reducing the number of European races in Paris on Thursday. They will meet as calls grow to include China, South Korea, South Africa and the Middle East on the calendar. Eleven out of the current 17 races are in Europe. The council will also hear from Brazilian race organisers as to why an advertising hoarding fell on to the track, bringing a stop to qualifying.

David Coulthard has insisted that losing the appeal over his Brazilian disqualification will not affect his championship chances. McLaren's bid to have the Scot reinstated to second place was thrown out on Tuesday and leaves the team pointless and trailing Ferrari. "They have not won the championship yet and we are not going to give it to them," vowed Coulthard. "We can turn things around and will not allow this to affect team morale."

Championship leader Michael Schumacher is wary of the McLarens going into Sunday's third race of the season. The Ferrari star has a 20-point lead over world champion Mika Hakkinen after two straight victories. However, the German said: "It is certainly fantastic but the McLarens are going to be very competitive. I have been working on the set-up, the aerodynamics of the car, which are a bit different for Imola compared to Australia and Brazil."

A victory on Sunday would take the pressure off Mika Hakkinen, who is aiming for his third title in 2000. The Finn failed to finish in two of the first three races in 1999 but still managed to claim the crown so a win in Imola would get him back on track. He is 20 points behind Michael Schumacher but at this stage last year he was 10-6 ahead. His McLaren team are also yet to get off the mark following David Coulthard's Brazilian disqualification.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello is looking forward to his first race on Italian soil as a Ferrari driver. He said: "After the disappointment of not finishing my home race it would be great to take a win in Imola where I am sure it will be a similar atmosphere. The Italian fans are something special and racing for Ferrari automatically makes you a son of Italy, whatever nationality you might be." The former Stewart driver added: "It should be an exciting weekend."

David Coulthard has insisted that he will be firmly focused on the Imola race but he must be gutted to have been deprived of a second place in Brazil. A target of the critics after a below- par campaign in 1999, the Scot was delighted to finish second in last month's Interlagos race. An illegal wing on his McLaren ensured that he was stripped of the six points, despite an appeal. He was second at Imola in 1999 and a repeat show will get him back on track.

Williams have exceeded their expectations, so much so that a victory would not seem beyond Ralf Schumacher. "After our strong performances in Melbourne and Sao Paulo I am looking forward to Imola," he confirmed. "I must say that I am really enjoying driving the FW22 but the brakes are punished in a hard way at Imola. Last year I was ninth in qualifying but retired on the 28th lap while in fourth place. This year I hope to see the chequered flag."

Jenson Button may have been handed his first point after David Coulthard's disqualification but he wants to earn more through his driving. He said: "The Williams team have got off to a good start. Both cars ran strongly at Interlagos and given how demanding the circuit is our performance is testament to the team's hard work and experience. Balance and grip are important at San Marino and given the passionate tifosi it is an experience I am relishing."

Eddie Irvine will be hoping for his first finish of the season at a track where he was feted by fans when he drove there with Ferrari. The Jaguar star quipped: "The last few times I came here I was driving for a well-known local team. Given that I still live part of the year in Italy this will be special. Despite all the chicanes they have introduced it is still a challenging way to spend a Sunday afternoon and the Acque Minerale corners are great fun."

Johnny Herbert is keen to kickstart his season on Sunday and help Jaguar to their first points. "I really like this circuit, although there are too many chicanes now," stated the Briton. "I am looking forward to it as I had a great race at Imola last year. Unfortunately I did not get the result. My engine blew up just short of the finish when I was running fifth. We should be in a position to get into the points this time."

Boss Eddie Jordan has admitted that his team need to work on their qualifying. "Winning points in Brazil was of vital importance to us," he said. "Seeing both cars finish in the top six proved that we have a fast car and two competitive drivers. We need to work on our qualifying as in Brazil it seemed everything that could go wrong did go wrong. If we can qualify in the top three rows we should finish on the podium."

Italian driver Jarno Trulli does not see Imola as a home race because he has not raced much in his country. He admitted: "The funny thing is that I have not driven that much in Italy. I have raced more in Germany. You could almost say that Hockenheim and the Nurburgring are my home races and now Silverstone because of Jordan. When I entered F1 people did not know who I was because Jarno is a Finnish name and I had been driving in Germany so people could not work it out."

Ricardo Zonta is hoping that he can put the problems he encountered in Brazil behind him at Imola. Zonta said: "We did not perform as well as we would have liked in Brazil because of mechanical problems. The engineers now know what those problems were, though, so we should have them fixed for San Marino. The chassis and engine are good and if we can get back to the reliability we had in Australia, there is no reason why we can't get some points."

Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa is quietly confident of a good run at Imola. The Arrows driver said: "The car is definitely quick and if we can qualify a bit higher up in Imola we can finish in the points." Fellow Arrows driver Jos Verstappen feels the San Marino circuit has the type of track that will suit his car. The Dutchman said: "It is a circuit where you need traction and downforce and I think our car works well on this sort of track."

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 62 laps or 189.784 miles. Imola is a medium downforce track with a smooth surface and high grip levels. Michael Schumacher clocked the fastest race lap in last year's San Marino Grand Prix with a time of one minute, 28.547 seconds on lap 45. Mika Hakkinen crashed out on lap 18 last year after making a mistake. Rubens Barrichello was third and dedicated the result to Ayrton Senna.

BTCC:- On Sunday Brands Hatch plays host to the opening two rounds of the 2000 campaign, which is set to be one of the most competitive seasons for years. Former champions Alain Menu and Rickard Rydell will be driving for the Ford Mondeo team and Honda have ex-Formula One driver Gabriele Tarquini on board. A newcomer to the series will be Dane Tom Kristensen, who was third in the German equivalent last year. Michelin Cup for Independents holder Matt Neal is set to feature strongly.

Three Britons will be bidding to become the first home-grown BTCC champion since 1995 this season. James Thompson, Jason Plato and Anthony Reid will be vying for glory. Yorkshireman Thompson said: "Hopefully I will have enough speed, guile and experience to win the championship. Honda have put a lot into the BTCC." However Plato insisted: "Thompson and Honda are not going to have it all their own way. I firmly believe we have the winning car."

Independent driver Matt Neal could be the dark horse of the series after making his name last year by winning a race without manufacturer support. The Stourbridge star has been playing down his title chances but was quickest in two pre-season tests. He drives a Nissan Primera but could have a rival for the independents' crown by another Nissan man. Glasgow's Colin Blair will be competing in his first BTCC in a car similar to that run by Neal.

The 2000 season will herald the introduction of Class B - for cars less technologically developed than the Super Tourers of the main series. Ex-Super Tourers James Kaye and Mark Lemmer head the entrants for this section, along with former one-make saloon car champion Alan Morrison. Success ballast will also play a role in this year's championship. The top-three in each race will have weight added to their cars for the entire time at the next meeting.

Brands Tyre supplier Michelin will have an effect on the outcome of the series, thanks to new rules. Tyre warmers are banned, which will give drivers less grip in the early stages of a race. There are no intermediate tyres this year, only slick and wet-weather, so the choice of tyre in greasy conditions will be particularly difficult. Rounds one and two will be held on the famous 2.62-mile grand prix layout at Brands Hatch.

Brands BBC Grandstand will be showing the Brands Hatch rounds live on Sunday. American actor Jason Priestley is taking time out from a play on the West End to attend the meeting as a VIP guest of BTCC organisers TOCA. Support races include the Slick 50 Formula Ford Championship, Ford Credit Fiesta Championship and the Formula Renault Championship. The Sprint Race is at 12.45pm and lasts for 14 laps (36.7 miles) and the 4pm feature race is 28 laps (73.4 miles).

F3000:- Kid Jensen Racing drivers Andrea Piccini and Bas Leinders will begin their second season in the series in Saturday's 2000 opener. Piccini said: "I am confident that we have a competitive car and I should perform better this year as I now have a lot more experience. I like the Imola circuit so I think we can achieve good results." Leinders added: "The objective for the first race is to qualify in the top 10 and finish the race in the points."

F.RENAULT 2000:- Scotsman Robin Liddell will contest the Formula Renault 2000 Championship with Haywood Racing this season. German Wesley Grogor lines up with Tim Sugden Motorsport, female Japanese TV star Keiko Ihara with Mach 1 Racing and Briton Dillon Battistini has switched to Falcon Motorsport.


F.RENAULT (Brands Hatch):- Scot Ryan Dalziel topped the times in final testing ahead of Sunday's opening round of the series. Winter series winner Kimi Raikkonen and Briton Leighton Walker were just adrift, with Danny Watts fourth.

Leading testing times (Thu): min secs
1 R Dalziel    GB            1:25.529
2 K Raikkonen  Fin           1:25.881
3 L Walker     GB            1:26.116
4 D Watts      GB            1:26.156
5 M McLoughlin GB            1:26.460
6 J Dalziel    GB            1:26.554

RENAULT CLIO CUP (Brands Hatch):- Daniel Buxton hit top form in final testing for Sunday's opening round, finsihing 4/10ths up on second fastest Jim Edwards Jnr. Peter Sowerby kept up his pre-season promise with the third fastest time and Edwards' father Jim Snr was fourth.

Leading testing times (Thu): min secs
1 D Buxton                   1:41.668
2 J Edwards Jnr              1:42.010
3 P Sowerby                  1:42.319
4 J Edwards Snr              1:42.585
5 R Pearson                  1:42.796
6 J Templeman                1:43.131

RALLYING:- The China Rally has been dropped from this year's world championship calender, the FIA has announced. The rally had been scheduled to take place from September 7 to 10. China's first world championship rally last September was criticised by some drivers over safety standards and a poor number of spectators. The FIA has deferred a decision over the Monte Carlo Rally until June. It has been suggested that the rally could lose its world championship status.

CART:- Scotland's Dario Franchitti hopes to give his title hopes a major lift in the second round this weekend. The 26-year-old collected two points in Miami two weeks ago when he returned to the cockpit after fracturing his pelvis in pre-season testing. That has left him in 11th place and he said: "I am glad to have the first race behind me. We were very competitive in Nazareth last year, so I am hoping we can pick-up where we left off."

MGF CUP:- The second of this season twelve rounds of the 'thealphaclub.com MGF Cup' takes place at Croft this weekend. Jamie Hunter, the 1999 championship runner-up, will be hoping snatch the lead away from Alastair Lyall, who won the opening round at Thruxton.

BRITISH GTs:- Former Le Mans and touring car driver David Leslie will drive in the Privilege Insurance British GT Championship this weekend. The Scot is to race in the second round at Croft for NCK Motorsport.

F1:- The organisers of the Brazilian Grand Prix have been fined $100,000 after qualifying was disrupted by advertising hoardings falling onto the track. Sport governing body the FIA issued the fine and said it had asked organisers "to carry out an urgent study" on hoardings at the Interlagos circuit. The March 25 session was stopped three times after hoardings fell, with one clipping Jean Alesi's Prost. Organisers had been threatened with a fine or losing the race.


Motor racing's top official Max Mosley has claimed that a team cheated during last season's World Championship. The FIA president refused to name the team but said retrospective action could be taken against them. The team is believed to have been running a form of traction control which was banned in the late 1990s. Mosley said: "We became aware of it over the winter but we do not have 100% proof at the moment. When we do we will have a word with them."

Championship leader Michael Schumacher set a blistering pace in opening practice for Sunday's race. Schumacher delighted Ferrari's fanatical fans by dominating both sessions, along with teammate Rubens Barrichello 0.4 seconds further back. By contrast, McLaren had something of a day to forget although David Coulthard did survive an excursion along the grass to finish third quickest. Mika Hakkinen was back in sixth while Jenson Button struggled in 20th.

Jenson Button was philosophical with 20th place after Friday's practice. "When I came into Formula One I always knew there would be ups and downs," he said. "This first year is still a learning year for me. I am not where I want to be in first practice, but it is where I am when qualifying is over that counts." Button, racing on the San Marino track for the first time, added: "This is a very difficult circuit to learn, it's very narrow."

Practice times (Fri):         min:secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:26.944
 2 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:27.317
 3 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:27.372
 4 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:27.730
 5 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:27.795
 6 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:28.021
 7 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:28.139
 8 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:28.236
 9 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:28.372
10 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:28.444
11 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:28.555
12 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar   1:28.566
13 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:28.771
14 J Alesi       Fr  Prost    1:28.950
15 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  1:28.952
16 J Verstappen  Hol Arrows   1:28.975
17 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:29.097
18 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:29.113
19 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:29.307
20 J Button      GB  Williams 1:29.326
21 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:29.412
22 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      7:53.474

BTCC (Brands Hatch):- Alain Menu sent a warning to his rivals for the championship with a superb display ahead of Sunday's opener. The Swiss star was in dominant form setting the fastest testing time by more three tenths of a second. Menu can now goes into Saturday's two qualifying sessions, to decide the starting grids for Sunday's Rounds One and Two in a very confident mood. Scotland's Anthony Reid was second quickest with Honda's Danish ace Tom Kristensen, coming third in a Honda.

Testing times (Fri):         mins secs
 1 A Menu       Swi Ford      1:27.389
 2 A Reid       GB  Ford      1:27.720
 3 T Kristensen Den Honda     1:27.925
 4 M Neal       GB  Nissan    1:28.050
 5 G Tarquini   It  Honda     1:28.254
 6 R Rydell     Swe Ford      1:28.313
 7 J Thompson   GB  Honda     1:28.387
 8 Y Muller     Fr  Vauxhall  1:28.597
 9 J Plato      GB  Vauxhall  1:28.654
10 V Rad'mecker Bel Vauxhall  1:29.932

F3 (Croft):- Tomas Scheckter knows he faces a tough task if he is to take victory in the second round this weekend. The South African started from pole position in the opening round at Thruxton and finished second in the rain-soaked race. He said: "Croft is a difficult circuit and one of which I have very little experience. A lot will depend on the weather again." Two 30-minute qualifying sessions take place on Saturday for Sunday's race.

BRITISH GT’S (Croft):- Calum Lockie and Cor Euser shot to the top of the testing times in the second session, but were only narrowly ahead of Ian Astley and Chris Ellis.  "It's going to be very tight," promised Astley, looking ahead to Sunday's race.

Leading Testing times:        min secs
1 Lockie/Euser    Marcos      1:20.341
2 Ellis/Astley    Lotus       1:20.627
3 Schirle/Warnock Lister      1:21.420

GTO category:
1 Short/Barff     TVR         1:24.906
2 Sumpter/Jordan  Porsche     1:24.915
3 Fuller/F'gill   Porsche     1:25.255

NATIONAL SALOONS (Croft):- Tobia Maini continued his impressive start in saloon racing with the quickest time in Friday's practice. Matt Kelly and Simon Harrison took second and third spots. Qualifying is on Saturday and the race is Sunday.

Testing times:               mins secs
1 T Masini        Honda       1:30.964
2 M Kelly         Nissan      1:31.333
3 S Harrison      Ford        1:31.693
4 R Moen          Peugeot     1:31.849
5 T Ferrier       Alfa Romeo  1:32.482
6 G Pyper         Alfa Romeo  1:32.936

MGF CUP (Croft):- Jamie Hunter has set himself the task of snatching the lead away from Alastair Lyall in the second round of the series this weekend. Lyall stormed to victory in the opening race at Thruxton a fortnight ago but Hunter did well to push him hard after a suspected puncture on the warm-up lap Brian Heerey also has high hopes despite a spectacular crash at Thruxton Others to look out for include David Mason, who finished third two weeks ago, Nick Carr and Suzi Hart-Banks.


Mika Hakkinen made it three out of three as he claimed pole position in the final seconds of qualifying. The Finn, who claimed pole in the first two grand prixs this year, led for much of the hour but looked to have been pipped by Michael Schumacher. The German delighted the travelling Ferrari tifosi with the fastest time in his third and last qualifying run. That lasted only briefly as Hakkinen squeezed in 0.091 seconds faster with teammate David Coulthard third.

Michael Schumacher was far from happy with his performance, despite ending McLaren's donimation of the front row this season. The German said: "I am very upset about myself. I made a very bad mistake in my third run. I was four-tenths up and I just destroyed it. Being on the front row gives me some pleasure, but not the pleasure I wanted and wanted to give the tifosi. We will be on the front row so it is still looking good."

Qualifying times (Sat):       min:secs
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:24.714
 2 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:24.805
 3 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:25.014
 4 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:25.242
 5 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:25.871
 6 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:25.892
 7 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar   1:25.929
 8 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:26.002
 9 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:26.124
10 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:26.238
11 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:26.281
12 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:26.336
13 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:26.349
14 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:26.814
15 J Alesi       Fr  Prost    1:26.824
16 J Verstappen  Hol Arrows   1:26.845
17 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:27.051
18 J Button      GB  Williams 1:27.135
19 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:27.253
20 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  1:28.161
21 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:28.333
22 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:28.361

Formula One chiefs have unveiled a new safety system designed to protect drivers in high-speed crashes. The Head and Neck Support System is designed to prevent serious head movement and neck strain in the event of an accident. "This is a major step forward in the search to introduce ever improved safety standards in Formula One," said IAF president Max Mosley. The system will become mandatory in all F1 cars from January 2001.

BTCC (Brands Hatch):- Ford dominated the opening qualifying session of the new Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch. Alain Menu and Rickard Rydell are in pole and second respectively for both of Sunday's races. French driver Yvan Muller in his Vauxhall ensured that he would start from third in both events. Last season's leading independent Matt Neal took his Nissan to fourth quickest for Round 1.

Round 1 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs
 1 A Menu       Swi Ford      1:27.902
 2 R Rydell     Swe Ford      1:28.073
 3 Y Muller     Fr  Vauxhall  1:28.210
 4 M Neal       GB  Nissan    1:28.466
 5 J Thompson   GB  Honda     1:28.516
 6 A Reid       GB  Ford      1:28.664
 7 J Plato      GB  Vauxhall  1:28.767
 8 G Tarquini   It  Honda     1:28.776
 9 T Kristensen Den Honda     1:29.256
10 V Rad'mecker Bel Vauxhall  1:29.568

Round 2 qualifying times (Sat):mins secs
 1 A Menu       Swi Ford      1:27.655
 2 R Rydell     Swe Ford      1:27.793
 3 Y Muller     Fr  Vauxhall  1:27.896
 4 A Reid       GB  Ford      1:28.018
 5 T Kristensen Den Honda     1:28.057
 6 M Neal       GB  Nissan    1:28.067
 7 J Thompson   GB  Honda     1:28.091
 8 J Plato      GB  Vauxhall  1:28.436
 9 G Tarquini   It  Honda     1:28.607
10 V Rad'mecker Bel Vauxhall  1:29.191

F.RENAULT (Brands Hatch):- Danny Watts on the battle for pole position ahead of Ryan Dalziel and Leighton Walker for Sunday's race.  Finn Kimi Raikkonen and Richard Lyons both suffered problems and will start from 7th and 19th respectively.

Leading qualifying times (Sat):min secs
1 D Watts      GB            1:25.196
2 R Dalziel    GB            1:25.227
3 L Walker     GB            1:25.594
4 C Breeze     GB            1:25.685
5 M McLoughlin GB            1:25.755
6 J Jones      USA           1:25.784

RENAULT CLIO CUP (Brands Hatch):- Daniel Buxton snatched pole on his final qualifying lap from Jim Edwards junior for Sunday's opening round. Rookie Jason Templeman will line up in seventh for his first-ever car race, while Fiesta championi David Gibson has work to do from 15th.

Qualifying times (Sat):      min secs
1 D Buxton                   1:40.816
2 J Edwards Jnr              1:40.974
3 R Pearson                  1:41.262
4 S Clarke                   1:41.291
5 D Davies                   1:41.360
6 P Sowerby                  1:41.542

FORD FIESTA’S (Brands Hatch):- Gordon Shedden started his championship career in style with pole position for Sunday's opening round. He was ahead of Nick Beaumont bu over 0.6 of a second. Gareth Howell, Nick Padmore, Nick Padley and Terence Clark completed the top six.

Qualifying times (Sat):      min secs
1 G Shedden                  1:50.829
2 N Beaumont                 1:51.513
3 G Howell                   1:51.529
4 N Padmore                  1:51.955
5 N Padley                   1:52.075
6 T Clark                    1:52.333

F3 (Croft):- Danish star Nicolas Kiesa claimed his first Formula 3 pole for round two. Kiesa was second quickest in the morning session but improved in the second period after a tussle with championship leader Antonio Pizzonia. Takuma Sato improved from eighth in the morning to finish third.

Qualifying times (Sat):      mins secs
1 N Kiesa         Spiess Opel 1:13.953
2 A Pizzonia      Mugen Honda 1:14.064
3 T Sato          Mugen Honda 1:14.365
4 T Scheckter     Mugen Honda 1:14.376
5 N Kartikeyan    Mugen Honda 1:15.525

BRITISH GT’S (Croft):- Ian Astley and Chris Ellis reversed the testing time results to claim pole for the Mike Haines Racing Lotus. Calum Lockie and Cor Euser, who were fasest on Friday, were two tenths of a second behind in their Marcos.

Qualifying times:             min secs
1 Ellis/Astley    Lotus       1:19.215
2 Lockie/Euser    Marcos      1:19.487
3 Schirle/Warnock Lister      1:20.234

GTO category:
1 Simmons/Lister  Porsche     1:24.199
2 Short/Barff     TVR         1:24.318
3 Sumpter/Jordan  Porsche     1:24.484

NATIONAL SALOONS (Croft):- Round one winner Dan Eaves will start on pole on Sunday alongside Peugeot team-mate Toni Ruokonen. Richard Cuene-Grandidier rolled his Proton GTi during the session, causing it to be halted for a while.

Qualifying times (Sat):      mins secs
1 D Eaves         Peugeot     1:29.623
2 T Ruokonen      Peugeot     1:29.741
3 T Masini        Honda       1:30.772
4 M Kelly         Nissan      1:30.788
5 S Harrison      Ford Focus  1:30.940
6 R Moen          Peugeot     1:31.533

MGF CUP (Croft):- Alastair Lyall put in a series of blistering laps to take pole position for the second round. Lyall beat off challenges from Nick Carr and Jamie Hunter, who both put in lap times less than two tenths of a second off the leader's pace. "The car was handling well and I managed to put together some really quick laps," said Lyall. David Mason, Vince Martin and Suzi Hart-Banks completed the remainder of the top six placings.

Leaderboard after stage six:  Penalty
 1 McKinstry/Orr  Subaru Imp  0:42:36
 2 Dodd/Bennie    Subaru Imp  0:42:56
 3 Finlay/Kennedy Ford Focus  0:43:15
 4 Lyall/Forrest  Subaru Imp  0:44:37
 5 Petch/Croft    Ford Escort 0:44:46
 6 Horne/Howie    ARG Metro   0:45:01
 7 Mann/Cook      Mitsubishi  0:45:18
 8 Weston/Robson  Mitsubishi  0:45:30
 9 Perrott        Mitsubishi  0:46:07
10 Buckley/R'path Mitsubishi  0:46:27


Michael Schumacher surged to his third win out of three races in 2000 after a brilliant piece of pit-stop strategy by his Ferrari team. Mika Hakkinen had looked set for a win but he lost the lead after a pit stop. Schumacher came in after the Finn for his second stop on lap 48 but still came out ahead of the world champion, who had to settle for second place. David Coulthard was third, Eddie Irvine was seventh, Johnny Herbert was 10th and Jenson Button retired on lap six.

Michael Schumacher under-played his third win in a row and said he hoped the Italian fans were happy with the home victory. The German's triumph obviously sent the tifosi wild and he stated: "I apologised to them yesterday when I did not get pole position. I hope everyone is happy now and I am looking forward to the next race." Schumacher is 24 points ahead of Mika Hakkinen, who earned his first points of the year with a second-place finish.

Michael Schumacher has admitted that he was lucky not to be overtaken at the start after a poor getaway. The race winner, who qualified in second place, conceded: "It was a poor start, similar to Suzuka last year. I was lucky that nobody went by." He then added that the next race at Silverstone - where he broke a leg last year - holds no fear for him. He commented: "I said then that that could have happened anywhere and any time. I go there with normal feelings."

Jenson Button's race ended on the sixth lap after his engine blew up and he careered on to the gravel. The incident also ended Marc Gene's race because the Minardi driver went off after sliding on the oil left behind by the Williams car. It completed a miserable weekend for Button, who was handed his first point after the disqualification of David Coulthard from the Brazilian race. Rookie Briton Button had qualified down in 18th place.

Mika Hakkinen got a perfect start from pole position but the Finn's McLaren team-mate David Coulthard dropped down a place to fourth The Scot was overtaken by Rubens Barrichello but it was former world champion Jacques Villeneuve who got the best start of all. Villeneuve moved up from ninth to fifth in his BAR. Heinz-Harald Frentzen's 100th grand prix ended on lap five when a car problem hit his hopes.

Mika Hakkinen was understandably disapointed after leading the field for most of the race only to finish second to Michael Schumacher. "It is disappointing," conceded the world champion. "There were two situations that cost me a lot of time. After the first stop a piece of metal destroyed the floor and the car was difficult to drive after that. Later I almost stopped and lost a lot of time. It is disappointing. The mechanics had done a fabulous job."

David Coulthard bounced back from his Brazilian disqualification to take third place. The Scot lost ground to Rubens Barrichello at the start to slip to fourth place but eventually beat the Brazilian out of the pits after a stop. He said: "I was trying to pass Michael Schumacher at the first corner. I had to back off to avoid touching and that allowed Rubens to get past me. I had to hope my guys got me out quicker at the stop and they did."

Rookie Jenson Button was philosophical after his Imola race ended on lap six. His exit looked to be down to an engine problem but Button said: "It felt like the engine but I do not want to say too much about it at the moment." Button had been struggling on the circuit over the weekend but added: "I went much better in the warm-up session and was 11th fastest overall. After that I was confident of getting into a good position but it was not to be. That happens."

Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine was upbeat after finishing just outside the points in seventh spot. "This was a very positive weekend," he insisted. "We qualified in the top seven again and I ran very competitively in the race. "I had a race-long battle with Jarno Trulli. I was quicker than he was but just could not get by. I had a bad start because of a clutch problem. It certainly cost me some points but I am encouraged."

Johnny Herbert and his Jaguar team will be out to build on his 10th place at the next race - which is the Briton's home event at Silverstone. "We have a bit of an unreliability problem with the starts and from what I hear Eddie had the same problem so we need to look at that," claimed Herbert. "The car did not feel too bad considering the amount of fuel in it. The good thing is that we both finished. Now we have to push ahead and test new developments."

Ralf Schumacher failed to finish a race for the first time this season. He had looked on course for a points finish but commented: "After the start I had to slow down to avoid a crash and lost four places and dropped to ninth. When Jacques Villeneuve went in for his pit stop I could push a bit more but unfortunately I experienced some problems with the fuel pressure." The former Jordan driver added: "That is why I could not finish the race for the first time this year."

Benetton chief Flavio Briatore says the team will concentrate their efforts on the next race in Britain after a poor display in Imola. "We did not manage to have a competitive car for either of the drivers for this race," he revealed. "We also made a mistake in the choice of tyres on Fisichella's car so this was a race to forget and we must now look ahead to Silverstone." Alexander Wurz was ninth and Giancarlo Fisichella was 11th.

Arrows failed to get close to a points finish, with Jos Verstappen finishing 14th and Pedro de la Rosa retiring. Verstappen said: "I made a good start and I think I overtook five people. The car was running fine until lap 11 when something happened with a front wheel. I changed tyres and then everything felt all right and the car ran without any further problems." De la Rosa added: "It felt as if something broke at the back of the car coming into Piratella and I went off."

Result after 62 laps:        hr min sec
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:31.39.7
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:31.40.9
 3 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:32.30.7
 4 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:33.09.0
 5 J Villeneuve  Can BAR        one lap
 6 M Salo        Fin Sauber     one lap
 7 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar     one lap
 8 P Diniz       Brz Sauber     one lap
 9 A Wurz        Aut Benetton   one lap
10 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar     one lap
11 G Fisichella  It  Benetton   one lap
12 R Zonta       Brz BAR       one lap
13 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi   two laps
14 J Verstappen  Hol Arrows  three laps
15 J Trulli      It  Jordan    DNF

16 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows    49
17 R Schumacher  Ger Williams  45
18 J Alesi       Fr  Prost     25
19 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost     22
20 J Button      GB  Williams   5
21 M Gene        Sp  Minardi    5
22 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan     4

 1 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   30 pts
 2 R Barrichello Brz  Ferrari    9
 3 G Fisichella  It   Benetton   8
 4 R Schumacher  Ger  Williams   6
 = M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren    6
 6 J Villeneuve  Can  BAR        5
 7 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan     4
 = D Coulthard   GB   McLaren    4
 9 J Trulli      It   Jordan     3
10 R Zonta       Brz  BAR        1
 = J Button      GB   Williams   1
 = M Salo        Fin  Sauber     1

1 Ferrari       39 pts
2 McLaren       10
3 Benetton       8
4 Jordan         7
= Williams       7
5 BAR            6
6 Sauber         1

BTCC:- Alain Menu held off a late challenge by Yvan Muller to make a winning start to the new Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship campaign at Brands Hatch. Menu was in pole position for the curtain-raiser and he kept in front, though the winning marginm of 0.818secs was too close for comfort. Jason Plato made it a winning double for Britain when he roared home first in the second race of the afternoon. He was commanding in his first drive for Vauxhall with a great tactical win.

Round 1 result (Sun):        mins secs
 1 A Menu       Swi Ford     21:03.676
 2 Y Muller     Fr  Vauxhall 21:04.484
 3 R Rydell     Swe Ford     21:10.576
 4 J Plato      GB  Vauxhall 21:10.824
 5 A Reid       GB  Ford     21:12.059
 6 J Thompson   GB  Honda    21:12.979
 7 T Kristensen Den Honda    21:13.664
 8 V Rad'mecker Bel Vauxhall 21:17.375
 9 M Neal       GB  Nissan   21:19.206
10 C Blair      GB  Honda    21:19.764

Round 2 result (Sun):        mins secs
 1 J Plato      GB  Vauxhall 58:45.206
 2 A Reid       GB  Ford     58:46.385
 3 Y Muller     Fr  Vauxhall 58:46.698
 4 R Rydell     Swe Ford     58:57.872
 5 V Rad'mecker Bel Vauxhall 59:01.277
 6 G Tarquini   It  Honda    59:24.870
 7 A Menu       Swi Ford     59:27.504
 8 C Blair      GB  Honda    59:59.092
 9 J Kaye       GB  Honda    59:05.404
10 M Lemmer     GB  Honda    59:10.074

F.RENAULT (Brands Hatch):- Danny Watts led all the way from pole position to win a thrilling opening round from Leighton Walker. Finn Kimi Raikkonen, almost out of fuel, finished third, ahead of a five-car train covered by under a second.

Result (Sun):               min secs
1 D Watts      GB           27:06.925
2 L Walker     GB           27:07.985
3 K Raikkonen  Fin          27:10.512
4 C Breeze     GB           27:10.627
5 R Dalziel    GB           27:10.860
6 M McLoughlin GB           27:11.013

RENAULT CLIO CUP (Brands Hatch):- Jim Edwards junior was declared the winner when the race was stopped because of an accident on lap five. Daniel Buxton had taken the lead when the accident happened, but Edwards was ahead of Buxton on the previous lap from which the result was taken.

Result (Sun):                min secs
1 J Edwards Jnr              7:03.187
2 D Buxton                   7:03.473
3 S Clarke                   7:04.652
4 J Edwards snr              7:09.353
5 R Pearson                  7:09.890
6 M Jackson                  7:10.285

CART (Nazareth):- The Bosch Spark Plu Grand Prix has been postponed until May 27 after two inches of snow fell at the track. The chief steward had no choice other than to reschedule the event after teams arrived at the circuit to find their equipment covered in ice. It could not be delayed until Monday because further snow is expected. Britain's Mark Blundell, who qualified in 19th place, said: "I grew up in England so I know some pretty cold days but this is a little over the top."

Qualifying times (Sat):      seconds
 1 J Montoya     Col Toyota   19.255
 2 C Fittipaldi  Brz Ford     19.306
 3 H C-Neves     Brz Honda    19.359
 4 P Tracy       Can Honda    19.362
 5 G de Ferran   Brz Honda    19.391
 6 K Brack       Swe Ford     19.409
 7 R Moreno      Brz Ford     19.417
 8 T Kanaan      Brz Mercedes 19.552
 9 A Fernandez   Mex Ford     19.552
10 P Carpenter   Can Ford     19.554
14 D Franchitti  GB  Honda    19.695
19 M Blundell    GB  Mercedes 19.969

F3 (Croft):- Antonio Pizzonia made it two wins from two races when he crossed the line ahead of Tomas Scheckter. Scheckter set the fastest lap as he chased the leader, but was still 4.6secs behind at the chequered flag. Pizzonia's win puts him eight points ahead of Scheckter in the championship.

Result (Sun):                mins secs
1 A Pizzonia    Mugen Honda  30:02.796
2 T Scheckter   Mugen Honda    @ 4.610
3 M Bentwood    Mugen Honda    @15.159
4 G Bruni       Mugen Honda    @17.480
5 T Sato        Mugen Honda    @25.060

F3000 (Imola)
Race result:
 1 N Minassian  Supernova  1:11.06.160
 2 B Junqueria  Petrobas   1:11.08.404
 3 M Webber     European   1:11.08.838
 4 J Melo       Petrobas   1:11.11.038
 5 T Enge       Mysap.com  1:11.12.004
 6 F Gollin     Coloni     1:11.22.271
 7 S Sarrazin   Mysap.com  1:11.23.031
 8 J Wilson     Nordic     1:11.25.388
 9 F Alonso     Astromega  1:11.30.212
10 M Haberfeld  Fortec     1:11.40.624

BRITISH GT’S (Croft):- Calum Lockie and Cor Euser pipped Neil Cunningham and Stepehen Day to win the second round after a superb race. In the GTO category, a late charge took Mike Jordan and Mark Sumpter to victory over Paul Fuller and Marcus Fothergill.

Result (Sun):               hr min secs
1 Lockie/Euser    Marcos     1:09.968
2 Cunningham/Day  Chrysler   1:11.251
3 Leslie/Byford   Marcos     1:30.295

GTO category result (Sun):
1 Jordan/Sumpter  Porsche    1:41.006
2 Fuller/F'thgill Porsche    1:43.421
3 Butler-H/Ryan   Marcos     1:04.876

NATIONAL SALOONS (Croft):- Finnish ace Toni Ruokonen clinched a fine victory in an action-packed second round at Croft. Matt Kelly took second spot with Simon Harrison third, but Dan Eaves, who was on pole, was forced to retire.

Result (Sun):
1 T Ruokonen      Peugeot
2 M Kelly         Nissan
3 S Harrison      Ford Focus
4 T Masini        Honda
5 T Ferrier       Alfa Romeo
6 P Andrews       Ford Focus

Final result:                 Penalty
 1 McKinstry/Orr  Subaru Imp  1:01.36
 2 Finlay/Kennedy Ford Focus  1:02.06
 3 Dodd/Bennie    Subaru Imp  1:04.00
 4 Lyall/Forrest  Subaru Imp  1:04.29
 5 Petch/Croft    Ford Escort 1:05.04
 6 Mann/Cook      Mitsubishi  1:05.30
 7 Horne/Howie    ARG Metro   1:05:39
 8 Wetton/Robson  Mitsubishi  1:06.11
 9 Perrott/M'nsll Mitsubishi  1:06.28
10 R'bthn/Mc'Ints Mitsubishi  1:07.10


F1:- Benetton driver Giancarlo Fisichella has claimed that cheating is still going on in the sport. Speaking on Italian radio he alleged: "Electronics in Formula One? The important thing is for everyone to be on the same level." Without going into details he claimed: "Someone is still cheating." The FIA will be introducing new rules from the British Grand Prix to outlaw speed-control electronics when entering and leaving the pits.

Championship leader Michael Schumacher has insisted that Silverstone holds no fears for him even though he broke his leg at the circuit last season. Schumacher said: "I do not feel strange or anything about going back there. Perhaps I will feel a little different when I arrive at Stowe corner for the first time but I do not think so. It does not matter where it happens if you arrive with no brakes. It can happen anywhere. I just hope the run-off area has better protection."

Mika Hakkinen has conceded he faces a huge task to catch Michael Schumacher after the German made it three wins out of three with victory at Imola. Hakkinen is aiming for a third straight world drivers' crown but is already 24 points behind Schumacher. The Finn had looked on course to win at Imola but his chances were hampered by mechanical problems with his McLaren. He admitted afterwards: "It's a hell of a gap to make up and the only way I'm going to do it is by winning races."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen and his wife Tanja are celebrating the birth of a daughter, who they have named Lea. Frentzen drove Tanja to hospital at around midnight on Sunday ` just a few hours after he failed to finish the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola.

MGF CUP (Croft):- Jamie Hunter took the honours in round two and believes he has a good chance of winning the series this season. Alastair Lyall was on pole but Hunter took the lead on lap two and those positions remained unchanged for the rest of the race.

Round two results:     mins secs
1 J Hunter             20:18.152
2 A Lyall              20:19.534
3 D Mason              20:27.758
4 M Ticehurst          20.37.164
5 N Carr               20:40.499
6 V Martin             20:41.110

AUTOBYTEL LOTUS CHAMPIONSHIP (Brands Hatch):- Adam Wilcox led from the lights to the flag to claim a win in the first race of the series. The safety car waas sent out after Mark Fullalove spun and Peter Cate went off but Wilcox managed to hold off Martin Donnelly, who was in the celebrity car.

Round one result:
1 A Wilcox        Nortel Networks
2 M Donnelly      Celebrity Car
3 B Devlin        Team Norfolk
4 S Marsh         Toshiba
5 E Horner        Corus Hotels
6 N Failkener     CyberExtruder.com


F1:- Johnny Herbert has been told that his place at Jaguar is not under threat. Rumours surfaced at Imola that Luciano Burti was being lined up to replace him but Jaguar Racing chairman Neil Ressler has told him he is safe. "I will be here for a good while yet," said Herbert. "Neil told me there was no problem and I've got his support." Herbert did not end this year's first two races and was 10th on Sunday but added: "I turned things around in 1999 and am confident of doing it again."

RALLYING:- Subaru and Prodrive rally team boss David Richards has acquired the rights to the world rally championship. A consortium led by Richards will now have total control of television, media, sponsorship and licensing for the championship as a whole.


F1:- Silverstone has not given up hope of staging the British Grand Prix from 2002 despite losing the rights to the race to rival circuit Brands Hatch. "This is still the most viable venue," said Silverstone Circuits supremo Denys Rohan. "We would love to stage it, but only if we get it on the right terms. "Brands Hatch have the contract to stage the race, but don't have the venue to stage it. If they do not get planning permission then the contract will lapse."

TESTING TIMES (Silverstone):-
Wednesday's times:
 1 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:30.279
 2 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:30.958
 3 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:31.019
 4 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:31.027
 5 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:31.028
 6 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:31.036
 7 HH Frentzen   Ger Jordan   1:31.041
 8 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:31.197
 9 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:31.647
10 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:31.921

CART:- The American CART series is coming to Europe in 2001. CART chief executive officer Andrew Craig confirmed the open-wheel racing series will make its European debut next year in England or Germany. The race is expected to take place in the autumn to avoid clashing with Formula One and a second European race could be added in 2002. The possible English venue is Rockingham, near Corby, and German one is at Laustizring - both oval tracks.

19.04.2000 - F1: THE BRITISH GP

Johnny Herbert has dismissed rumours that he could be replaced at Jaguar following this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Autosport magazine said that Hebert was set to lose his place to Jaguar's Brazilian test driver Luciano Burti. Herbert responded: "(Jaguar chairman) Neil Ressler said to me that he knows nothing about it. He said that they are fully behind me, that they understand the problems I have been going through."

Officials at Silverstone have extended the tyre wall at Stowe corner - where Michael Schumacher crashed last year - ahead of this Sunday's race. The increase of one tyre in height and two in depth follows Ricardo Zonta's crash there in testing last week. Silverstone spokesman Peter Morris said that talks were held with FIA safety delegates following Zonta's crash. "It was deemed that work needed to be done, so we have done it to be ready for this Sunday's race," he said.

Jordan will bid to prove they can compete with Ferrari and McLaren in the British Grand Prix on Sunday - the 150th race for the team. The Silverstone-based team have had a mixed start to the season. However, technical director Mike Gascoyne insisted: "We are closer to Ferrari and McLaren but we have not proved that so far. We are right behind the top two teams. I think we should qualify a close fifth and sixth."

Michael Schumacher will not allow complacency to hinder his bid to make it four wins out of four on Sunday. He is 21 points clear of Ferrari team- mate Rubens Barrichello and claimed: "I did not expect such a big lead this year. I am very surprised at McLaren. "We seem to have the speed and the reliability. I am not saying we are better but we are making the maximum out of our opportunities. However, it is still very early in the championship. A lot can happen."

Championship leader Michael Schumacher has no fears about returning to the track where he broke a leg in 1999. However, the Ferrari star has revealed that he did fear that his career might be over after he crashed into a tyre barrier at Stowe last year. "We had a test there last week and I am assuring you that I will not have any strange feeling," he said. "I was very lucky. You feel instantly that it is the end of your career but slowly you come back to normal."

Rubens Barrichello insists he is still a realistic title contender despite team-mate Michael Schumacher's storming start to the season. The Ferrari driver said: "Michael is the toughest team-mate I have ever had but I am determined to make sure I am the toughest he has ever had." Barrichello also predicted a closer duel if there are wet conditions. "I am more of a technical driver on the wet. I am curious to see how we compete on a wet track," he added.

World champion Mika Hakkinen has admitted that he has a battle on his hands if he is going to secure his third title in a row. He is 24 points behind all-conquering Michael Schumacher and conceded: "It is a heck of a gap to make up." He believes he can catch the German but added: "The only way to make it up is to win races." Hakkinen was second to Schumacher in Britain in 1998, when the Ferrari star won the race in the pits.

David Coulthard wants a second straight win in his home race and has said that a win this year would mean more to him. The Scot notched his first British win last year after Michael Schumacher crashed out, Mika Hakkinen retired and Eddie Irvine made an error. "Victory this time would mean so much more," confirmed Coulthard. "To get a proper race victory you have to beat all your main rivals. I have not had many lucky wins but Silverstone was one of them."

If David Coulthard triumphs on Sunday he will be the first Briton to claim back-to-back British wins since Nigel Mansell in 1992. However, Coulthard would also get McLaren's title bid back on track. Coulthard insisted: "I still think I have go the quickest car in the field so I have got a great opportunity. Ferrari are making the most of what they have and we are not. They have not beaten us in a hard, straight fight on the track. My concern is the weather."

Britain's newest Formula One driver Jenson Button is optimistic ahead of his British Grand Prix debut. Button has only raced once at Silverstone - in Formula Three - but he said: "Over the past month we have tested at Silverstone. I have developed a reasonably good understanding of the circuit and what it has to offer. The FW22 feels good and balanced in both wet and dry conditions and I am not worried about the weather."

Williams star Ralf Schumacher is unconcerned about the weather ahead of Sunday's race. The switch from July to April means rain is a stronger possibility but Schumacher insisted: "The FW22 feels good in both wet and dry conditions. For me, Silverstone is one of the most exciting tracks on the calendar. The combination of high, medium and low speed corners makes it challenging to find a good set-up. It also has a great atmosphere because of the fans."

Jordan may have lost British driver Damon Hill this season but a win for the Silverstone-based team would still delight many in the bumper crowd. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was fourth last year - just ahead of then team-mate Hill - while Jarno Trulli finished ninth for Prost. Technical director Mike Gascoyne said: "It is important to have two drivers scoring points. They are different drivers but in qualifying they push each other on."

Former Ferrari favourite Eddie Irvine has revealed that he does not really consider the British Grand Prix to be his home race. He confirmed: "I have never really considered it to be much of a home race as I did not spend a lot of time racing at Silverstone early in my career. Of course for Jaguar it will be an important weekend, appearing before their home crowd for the first time. It will be interesting to see how much green there is in the grandstands."

Eddie Irvine has admitted that Silverstone is not one of his favourite circuits on the calendar. "I am not that keen on Silverstone as a track and overtaking is difficult, although it does have one or two challenging corners," said Irvine. "Technically it is quite difficult to get the set-up right. We have all done four days testing here last week but sod's law says the track conditions will have changed for this weekend."

Johnny Herbert is looking forward to Sunday's home race - at a track where he savoured victory in 1995. He commented: "It is good to come back to Silverstone because the support for British drivers is always good. There is a real warmth that goes around. This year should be particularly good, bearing the Jaguar name, so it would great to get a result there. The engine issues we had earlier this season put us back a bit but I think we are on the right track now."

Benetton believe they will be ready for anything on Sunday, particularly as their test session at Silverstone was hit by poor weather. Rain is a possibility for the race and technical director Pat Symonds said: "Work on the cars proved them to be competitive in wet and dry conditions. For the final day of the test some new aerodynamic developments were tried which proved to be successful. These will be used for the British Grand Prix."

British American Racing are hopeful that their recent testing problems will not hamper their race ambitions. Car problems meant the session ended early but chief engineer Steve Farrell stated: "I see no reason why we cannot qualify both cars in the top 10." Driver Ricardo Zonta had an accident in testing and added: "It is a shame we lost time during the test after the suspension problem with my car. "We had just come up with a really good wet set-up."

The 1995 winner Johnny Herbert takes you through a lap of the circuit. To start a qualifying lap, you come out of Woodcote really getting on the power as early as you possibly can to get as much speed as you can to start the lap. You go into Copse - probably my favourite and one of the most demanding grand prix corners as you cannot see the apex of the track - really fast. You leave the car in fifth gear, turn in, sixth gear, little bit of foot brake, cannot see the apex.

With all the testing we do here you get to anticipate where the apex is. The adrenaline you get going through Copse is a big kick, which gives you an incentive for the rest of the lap. You exit Copse very hard, straight on the throttle very hard, using all the track, using the kerb on the exit, which makes the car a little nervous. Entering the left turn at Maggotts, still in top gear, it is a quick flick to the right into Becketts. The thing here is to keep the car flowing.

Becketts is difficult as you get a lot of understeer so you must concentrate hard in order to get the right line as you come out on to the Hangar Straight. You exit out of Becketts, really running wide, using all the kerb, keeping all that pace to go down the Hangar Straight. You can have a bit of a look round here but not for long. You are ready to go into Stowe really deep. It is high-speed entry and you brake very deep going into the corner.

The car is getting lighter with a little bit of movement normally from the back and as you come into the apex the front starts to wash away. You will use a lot of kerb on the exit and you may see some people actually drop a wheel on to the dirt. As you enter Vale you are on a high. It is one of the most difficult parts. It is very slow into the left-hander, you brake and the front end always locks up a lot because you have come over the crest.

You must be careful not to run wide and lose all your pace for Club and Abbey. Club itself is not very difficult, except the circuit is off-camber. Once the car settles you exit using the whole track, using the kerb. Abbey is a good corner. You do not take much speed in but still have to brake really hard. The front gets a little bit loose, you turn in and you will be fighting to keep it on line, using the kerb but not too much or it will go off line.

Now you have to be really careful about how you get out of the corner because if you get on the power too early you get a lot of wheelspin. On the right-hand kink you can get a big flick and you have to come off. You lose a lot of speed, a lot of time, and you do not need that. Through Farm now and into Bridge, which has a lot of compression so you get a lot more grip, which is exhilarating. It is a bit bumpy here, which makes the car jump and move around a little bit.

Into Priory, which is off-camber like Club, so as soon as you turn the front understeers and you are playing around with the throttle and the brake. You are trying to get the thing to hang in there. It is very easy to run wide. Probably the worst part of the track is Brooklands. You brake very deep and it is very easy to lock up. The corner has a very, very slow pace and you have to just try to get out of it as smoothly as you can. You do not want any wheelspin or flicking.

It is important not to be fighting the car as you will be losing time. Into Luffield, again very difficult, as it is basically a long hairpin. You get a lot of understeer going in and because of that you get a bit of a slide at the rear and the car moves around a hell of a lot and is on edge. Traction on the exit is not really a problem here. You must get on the power as early as you can to go hard through Woodcote to complete the lap.

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 60 laps or 191.566 miles. Mika Hakkinen clocked the fastest lap in the 1999 race with a time of one minute, 28.309 seconds on lap 28. Michael Schumacher holds the lap record at Silverstone with a time of one minute, 24.475 seconds in 1997. Silverstone's high-speed corners mean it is a physical circuit for drivers. The race has been moved from the usual July date and rain is a possibility.


F1:- Britain's Jenson Button has admitted that he is surprised by the weight of expectation from fans over his chances in Sunday's British Grand Prix. It will be the 20-year-old's maiden home race and he said: "The reaction in Britain has been a little surprising. At testing last week it was weird to see hundreds of fans waiting for me all day but it has fired me up. It is a little premature to make judgements on my rate of success but so far so good."

F.PALMER AUDI (Donington):-
Leading test times:       mins secs
 1 J Keen          GB      1:30.075
 2 R Kerr          GB      1:30.176
 3 D Hayes         GB      1:30.301
 4 D Faulkner      Ire     1:30.336
 5 B Besson        Fr      1:30.452
 6 T Serjala       Fin     1:30.474
 7 B Allart        Bel     1:30.479
 8 R Tarling       GB      1:30.481
 9 P Edwards       US      1:30.620
10 B Jouanny       Fr      1:30.650


F1:- Silverstone officials ended the second practice session early as the weather turned events into a farce. David Coulthard's efforts were cut short when he had to park his car just off the track because of a problem. Officials had to red flag the session because the vehicle that went to haul away the car got stuck in the grass. Coulthard helped marshalls push the McLaren back on to the track and it was decided that the times from the morning session would stand instead.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen set the fastest time in the first - and the only official - practice session for Sunday. The German was half-a-second ahead of the field for Silverstone-based Jordan. Eddie Irvine was second quickest but his Jaguar team-mate Johnny Herbert stopped on the track early on after another car setback and was 22nd. David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen were third and fourth fastest, Jenson Button was 11th but championship leader Michael Schumacher was 21st.

Michael Schumacher described conditions as "dangerous" after heavy rain caused a number of cars to spin off the track during practice. The Ferrari star, who broke a leg at Silverstone last year, said: "In these conditions it is impossible to drive and it is also dangerous. I had a problem aquaplaning and it was impossible to see what was going on in front or to judge the distance of cars. The big problem here is that the rain does not drain away quickly enough."

Friday's practice times:     mins secs
 1 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:27.683
 2 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar   1:28.169
 3 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:28.525
 4 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:28.659
 5 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:28.705
 6 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:28.845
 7 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:29.083
 8 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:29.111
 9 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:29.214
10 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:29.537
11 J Button      GB  Williams 1:29.775
12 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:30.214
13 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:30.279
14 J Verstappen  Hol Arrows   1:30.313
15 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:30.593
16 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:30.643
17 J Alesi       Fr  Prost    1:30.656
18 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:31.006
19 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  1:31.250
20 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:31.322
21 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:36.425
22 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:39.690

Team boss Frank Williams has admitted that no decision has been taken yet about whether Jenson Button will be offered another contract for next year. Williams said: "We do not want to reach any decision prematurely. He has exceeded our expectations and is available if we should so choose. There are certain other factors involved in the decision anyway." Ex-Williams test driver Juan Montoya, currently in the CART FedEx series, has been linked with the team.

The British Grand Prix could return to its traditional July date next year because of fears that Sunday's race could be ruined by poor weather. There has been a drop in corporate bookings and it is believed that Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is ready to revert to a July date. Silverstone chief executive Denys Rohan confirmed: "Everyone has taken a bath on hospitality. It is an important race for the British teams and they are not happy."

All public car parking at Silverstone, with the exception of coaches, will be closed on Saturday. Heavy rain during the build up to the event has caused damage and flooding to car parks and the action will enable the track cope with vehicles on Sunday. Silverstone have apologised to all F1 fans who had tickets for Saturday and have promised refunds. Sunday ticket holders are strongly advised to leave plenty of additional time for their journey.

BTCC (Donington Park):- James Thompson withdrew from this weekend's two rounds on medical advice after suffering from the effects of mild concussion. The 25-year-old Yorkshireman picked up the injury following a crash at Brands Hatch at fortnight ago. During testing at Donington, the Honda driver complained of headaches after setting the quickest time. It is hoped that Thompson will recover in time for the next BTCC meeting at Thruxton, Hampshire, on April 30-May 1.

Series leader Jason Plato is unconcerned about the extra 40kg he will have in his Vauxhall Vectra. Plato won round two on his debut for the team but stated: "For once I do not mind driving a heavy car. The car can take the extra weight. "I do not think it will have a crucial effect on the car's performance. If it does make a difference, I hope to be quicker than the others by more than that anyway. I am chuffed I am leading but it is only by two points."

Vauxhall Vectra driver Yvan Muller believes tyre rules could cause more problems than the new ballast regulations this year. Pre-heating tyres to optimum temperature for qualifying is banned this season. "The weight should not be a problem for qualifying," said the Frenchman. "There is a problem though, it is the cold tyres. You just have to remember for the first couple of corners that the car will not have full grip."

Round one winner Alain Menu is hoping for more success on a track that he enjoys competing on. The ex-champion confirmed: "Donington Park is a good circuit and I think the car will be competitive there. This year's Mondeo has already proved it can win races and I am looking forward to another good weekend. I always look forward to racing at Donington because it is the scene of some of my best races. I know I am quick round there."

Michelin Cup for independents champion Matt Neal is hoping to improve on his performance in the opening rounds. Neal did not finish in round two, which means that newcomer Colin Blair heads the division - the first time since 1998 that Neal has not topped the list. However, Donington is a lucky track for Neal because he won a race outright there last year to earn £250,000. Qualifying is on Sunday and the 18-lap sprint race and 36-lap feature race are at 12.45pm and 3.30pm on Monday.

Independent champion Matt Neal is not ruling out a repeat victory after making his name at Donington with a win last season. Neal admitted: "We are hoping to do the same. The results from Brands do not reflect how competitive we are and how well the Team Dynamics Nissan is going. I was so proud of the team at Brands. They have all worked so hard to give me the car and set-up to do well. Unfortunately things did not work out so the championship starts here."

Class B made a debut in the Brands Hatch openers, with Northern Ireland driver Alan Morrison winning the first race and crashing out in the second. His Peugeot needed a lot of work on it but he will be raring to go on Monday. Bintcliffe Sport Racing's second class B driver Robert Collard missed the first two races of 2000 because his Nissan Primera was not ready. He will make his BTCC debut over Easter, while James Kaye will be out to retain his lead in the division.

F3000:- Britain's Darren Manning claimed his first pole position in only the second F3000 qualifying session of his career at Silverstone. Manning, 25 next week, defied the lashing rain to take top spot for Arden Team Russia. The Knaresborough-born driver took pole by just 0.171-of-a-second from Australia's Mark Webber with fellow Yorkshireman Justin Wilson third. Manning said: "The conditions were pretty terrible."

22.04.2000 - F1: THE BRITISH GP

Rubens Barrichello will be on pole for Sunday's race after clocking the fastest qualifying time amid a frantic last few minutes of the session. Heinz-Harald Frentzen will join him on the front row for Jordan's 150th race and Mika Hakkinen was third quickest. Jenson Button, who waas beset by problems in the first practice run-out, produced a superb drive to be sixth. David Coulthard was fourth quickest, Michael Schumacher fifth, Eddie Irvine ninth and Johnny Herbert 14th.

Rubens Barrichello was delighted after he stole the limelight from Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher to take pole position for Sunday's race. Nearly the whole field went out on a last lap in the final minutes of qualifying to take advantage of the drying conditions. However, it was the Brazilian - who has yet to win a race - who was able to claim the third pole of his career. He admitted: "I am delighted but I have to say I like these conditions."

Jenson Button was understandably delighted with his sixth place in qualifying for Sunday's race. The Williams star said: "It's great to get sixth because my day had been pretty terrible until then. I made a mistake this morning and ended up in the gravel and Eddie Irvine ended up there too, damaging my car. It's going to be quite an amazing feeling to start alongside Michael Schumacher. I must say thanks to my team for doing a good job."

Saturday's qualifying results:mins secs
 1 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:25.703
 2 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:25.706
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:25.741
 4 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:26.088
 5 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:26.161
 6 J Button      GB  Williams 1:26.733
 7 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:26.786
 8 J Verstappen  Hol Arrows   1:26.793
 9 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar   1:26.818
10 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:27.025
11 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:27.164
12 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:27.253
13 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:27.301
14 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:27.461
15 J Alesi       Fr  Prost    1:27.559
16 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:27.772
17 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:27.806
18 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:28.110
19 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:28.135
20 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:28.205
21 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:28.253
22 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  1:29.174

Silverstone chiefs could face a bill of up to £4m after advising car-driving fans with tickets to stay away from today's qualifying session. Flooding has forced the closure of spectator car parks and organisers want people to stay at home to give the area time to recover for Sunday's race. Many fans slammed organisers, claiming they had ruined this year's event. One, Sue Ryan from Liverpool, said: "I think it's totally and utterly disgraceful what's happened."

Bernie Ecclestone has said the British Grand Prix should stay at Silverstone and not move to Brands Hatch in 2002. Brands won the race rights for five years after Silverstone refused to pay the reputed £11m fee. "Silverstone have made a big effort which they haven't done in the past and it should stay here," he said. "I hope Brands Hatch and Silverstone can get their act together and sort things out. They could do it in 10 minutes if they wanted to."


David Coulthard drove a brilliant race to repeat his 1999 Silverstone victory and end Michael Schumacher's perfect winning start to the season. The Scot led most of the second half of the race after brilliantly overtaking Rubens Barrichello whose challenge ended with a spin shortly afterwards. Mika Hakkinen made it a one-two for McLaren by finishing second, 1.4 seconds behind the Scot. Schumacher was third and Jenson Button fifth in his first British race.

David Coulthard was understandably delighted to win again at Silverstone, especially after a small problem with his McLaren-Mercedes car. "I developed a small gearbox problem and was preparing myself for what might happen but it held together," he said. "I feel fantastic. To win your home Grand Prix two years in a row is great. I am confident going to Barcelona. We have always gone well on that circuit. It will be close with Ferrari but there is no reason why we can't win."

David Coulthard revealed he tried to emulate Nigel Mansell when he overtook Rubens Barrichello in the turning-point of the race. "I thought I was going to be stuck behind Rubens until the stop but he made a small mistake coming out of the last corner at Becketts," he said. "I remembered Nigel Mansell's move on Nelson Piquet a few years ago and thought I'd give it a go. It gave me the advantage for the pit-stop," he added.

Second-placed Mika Hakkinen said that the result of the race was decided in its first few seconds. "The start really decided the outcome of the race and it was unfortunate that I just lost grip while accelerating," he said. "I had a problem with my car in this morning's warm-up which meant that I didn't get a lot of track time to make final adjustments to our race set-up. As a result I was not happy with the balance of the car in the race."

Rubens Barrichello saw all his good work come to nothing as he spun out of the Grand Prix on lap 35. The Brazilian had led most of the race after starting on pole until David Coulthard overtook him with a neat move on Stowe on lap 29. Barrichello's race ended at the Stadium Complex when he spun round and drove on to the grass before going to the pits. His sudden appearance took his mechanics by surprise but there was little to do to revive his race.

Jenson Button was not overawed by his first British Grand Prix and was always in contention before finishing fifth. The young Briton made his mark as soon as the chequered flag fell by roaring past boyhood idol Michael Schumacher seconds after leaving the grid. Only a cracked exhaust pipe and a second pit stop halted his bid for a place on the podium. Button collected two points to add to the one he earned when David Coulthard was disqualified in Brazil.

Silverstone suffered more weather problems before the sun finally shone on Sunday's race. The morning's practice session was delayed by one hour and 40 minutes after early morning fog. It meant that the helicopter ambulance could not be used and racing was not allowed for safety reasons until the problem was resolved. Huge traffic jams blocked the M1, M40 and surrounding roads as fans made their way to the circuit.

McLaren team manager Ron Dennis praised Silverstone bosses for overcoming the problems which dogged the build-up to the race. "I'm delighted for Silverstone who persevered throughout the weekend and ultimately gave the public the chance to see a great race," he said. "The result was the perfect end to a less than perfect weekend for us. The team performed very well in solving the problems as quickly as they emerged."

Michael Schumacher was relieved to finish third after a terrible start. "I spent most of the race in eighth and was wondering how many points I would lose to the others so it has worked out well finishing third," he said. "I had a very good start. I had the option to go through the middle but there were too many cars. I tried to go through the grass which you can normally do here but because of the rain I was spinning and just going nowhere," he added.

Jenson Button was full of confidence for the future after finishing fifth in his first British Grand Prix. "I've now picked up three points from four races and been in the points each time I've finished and things are looking good for me," he said. Button overtook Michael Schumacher at the start and he added: "I was not sure what was going to happen there. It was only my fourth start so I have been practising and practising and it has paid off."

Jenson Button was full of praise for the home crowd after they cheered him on to fifth place. "On the last couple of laps you could see them jumping up and down obviously for David as well," he said. "It was good to be here in front of the home crowd and get a fifth and sixth in qualifying but I know the circuit a bit more than the others. The British Grand Prix was a great feeling and the team did an excellent job and came away with two points."

Williams boss Frank Williams was beaming after seeing Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button claim top five spots. "I am delighted with the result, almost better than we could have hoped for in a way," he said. "I liked the way Ralf dusted off his brother early on.”

"They beat us in the end but we were certainly much closer to the two currently dominating teams than we have been in the previous races. We now have a good way forward to follow," he added.

Benetton's weekend did not work out the way they had planned it with Giancarlo Fisichella finishing seventh and team- mate Alexander Wurz coming ninth. Managing director Flavio Briatore said: "It was the best result we could expect with our grid positions but it is a weekend we would much rather forget." Fisichella said: "I pushed all race but think this was as well as we could have done today." Wurz said: "I am disappointed not to have scored any points."

Jaguar duo Johnny Herbert and Eddie Irvine had to settle for 12th and 13th places after both stalled on their second pit stops, losing valuable time. "We're not disappointed," said Herbert. "We are still a small team that has to grow. We've found some reliability and must improve the engine and chassis." Irvine said: "It's difficult to understand why the car is so good in qualifying but a handful in the race. Until we have some quality testing we won't find the fix for the problems."

BAR boss Craig Pollock admitted he was disappointed that neither Jacques Villeneuve nor Ricardo Zonta were able to finish the race at Silverstone. "Unfortunately it wasn't progress today, it was regression," he said. We knew Jacques had a problem with the gearbox about five laps before he retired but were hoping he could hang on to the finish. Ricardo's progress was spectacular - and I think perhaps he was just caught out by his own speed."

Result after 60 laps:        hr:mn:sec
 1 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren   1:28:50
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren   1:28:51
 3 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari   1:29:10
 4 R Schumacher  Ger Williams  1: 9:31
 5 J Button      GB  Williams  1:29:47
 6 J Trulli      It  Jordan    1:30:09 1 lap behind
 7 G Fisichella  It  Benetton  1:28:53
 8 M Salo        Fin Sauber    1:29:15
 9 A Wurz        Aut Benetton  1:29:16
10 J Alesi       Fr  Prost     1:29:19
11 P Diniz       Brz Sauber    1:29:19
12 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar    1:29:21
13 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar    1:29:24
14 M Gene        Sp  Minardi   1:29:34
15 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi   1:29:40

   J Villeneuve  Can BAR       lap 56
   H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan    lap 54
   N Heidfeld    Ger Prost     lap 51
   R Zonta       Brz BAR       lap 36
   R Barrichello Brz Ferrari   lap 35
   P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows    lap 26
   J Verstappen  Hol Arrows    lap 20

 1 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   34 pts
 2 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   14
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   12
 4 R Barrichello Brz  Ferrari    9
 = R Schumacher  Ger  Williams   9
 6 G Fisichella  It   Benetton   8
 7 J Villeneuve  Can  BAR        5
 8 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan     4
 = J Trulli      It   Jordan     4
10 J Button      GB   Williams   3
11 R Zonta       Brz  BAR        1
 = M Salo        Fin  Sauber     1

1 Ferrari       43 pts
2 McLaren       26
3 Williams      12
4 Benetton       8
= Jordan         8
6 BAR            6
7 Sauber         1

BTCC (Donington Park):- Former champion Rickard Rydell bagged pole for rounds three and four. The Swede proved to just have the edge over his teammates Alain Menu and Anthony Reid, beating both by only hundreths of a second. Ford Team Mondeo completed a 1-2-3 in both rounds and Rydell said: "It's a great feeling to have two pole positions and the team should do well." Matt Neal was the fastest independent runner but was put to the back of the grid after failing a ride-height check.

Sunday's round 3 qualifying times:
 1 R Rydell      Swe  Ford     1:10.021
 2 A Reid        GB   Ford     1:10.078
 3 A Menu        Swi  Ford     1:10.093
 4 G Tarquini    It   Honda    1:10.294
 5 T Kristensen  Den  Honda    1:10.705
 6 P Kox         Hol  Honda    1:11.161
 7 Y Muller      Fr   Vauxhall 1:11.220
 8 J Plato       GB   Vauxhall 1:11.288
 9 V Radermecker Bel  Vauxhall 1:11.337
10 C Blair       GB   Nissan   1:12.586

Sunday's round 4 qualifying times:
 1 R Rydell      Swe  Ford     1:09.299
 2 A Menu        Swi  Ford     1:10.003
 3 A Reid        GB   Ford     1:10.051
 4 G Tarquini    It   Honda    1:10.099
 5 T Kristensen  Den  Honda    1:10.109
 6 P Kox         Hol  Honda    1:10.268
 7 M Neal        GB   Nissan   1:10.523
 8 V Radermecker Bel  Vauxhall 1:10.665
 9 Y Muller      Fr   Vauxhall 1:10.762
10 J Plato       GB   Vauxhall 1:11.092

PORSCHE SUPERCUP:- Richard Burns escaped unhurt from a sickening crash in the traditional pre- Grand Prix event at Silverstone. The British world rally driver was a guest in the 12-lap race when he crashed out soon after the start. Burns lost control of his Porsche on a high-speed bend with the car barrel-rolling into a crash barrier. However even though there was huge damage to his car, Burns emerged quickly and waved to the crowd to show that he had not been injured.

Richard Burns was in cheerful mood despite an horrific-looking crash in the pre-Grand Prix event at Silverstone "It's not put me off. I'd love to come back next year and give it another go because I've really enjoyed the occasion," said Burns. "I'm just disappointed for the team because the car was destroyed all because of somebody else's mistake but there was nothing I could do." The world rally star was unscathed after crashing soon after the start.

F3000 (Silverstone):-
Saturday's result after 40 laps:
                             mins secs
 1 M Webber    Aus Arrows     1:22.24
 2 D Manning   GB  Arden TR   1:22.25
 3 J Wilson    GB  Nordic R   1:22.29
 4 E Bernoldi  Brz Red Bull   1:22.36
 5 B Junqueira Brz Petrobas   1:22.40
 6 B Ayari     Fr  Coloni     1:22.54
 7 F Montagny  Fr  DAMS       1:22.89
 8 D Saelens   Bel Super Nova 1:23.02
 9 J v H'donk  Bel Witmeur    1:23.05
10 S Bourdais  Fr  Gauloises  1:23.07

F.RENAULT (Donington):-
Sunday qualifying:  mins secs
1 K Raikkonen Fin    1:08.183
2 D Watts     GB     1:08.355
3 C Breeze    GB     1:08.702
4 T Sisley    GB     1:08.709
5 L Walker    GB     1:08.748
6 R Dalziel   GB     1:08.810

Sunday qualifying:  mins secs
1 J Edwards Jr       1:20.522
2 D Buxton           1:20.854
3 P Sowerby          1:21.128
4 A Thompson         1:21.345
5 M Jackson          1:21.526
6 J Templeman        1:21.534

F.FORD (Donington):-
Sunday qualifying:  mins secs
1 J Courtney   Aus   1:12.445
2 G Catt       GB    1:12.747
3 A Davidson   GB    1:12.787
4 A Carroll    GB    1:12.863
5 R Dahlgren   Swe   1:12.953
6 H Mutoh      Jpn   1:12.971


F1:- David Coulthard is hoping that he can use Sunday's British Grand Prix triumph as the launchpad for a title bid. The Scot is currently 20 points behind championship leader Michael Schumacher but believes he can be caught. Coulthard is targeting a win in Spain on May 7 and said: "It will be close again with the Ferraris in Barcelona but I will be looking for another win. "There is still quite a gap to Michael if he keeps scoring points so it is difficult. We need to keep winning."

BTCC (Donington Park):- Alain Menu made it an Easter Monday double as he won both races. The Swiss driver came home 0.738 secs ahead of teammate Rickard Rydell in the 18-lap sprint event. Anthony Reid was third as Ford took an unprecedented one-two-three ` then Menu did it again in round four. Menu said: "It's a fantastic result for all the boys in the team. Nobody can really believe it but everyone worked so hard over the winter to help us towards this success."

Monday's round three result:   mins secs
 1 A Menu        Swi  Ford     21:38.350
 2 R Rydell      Swe  Ford     21:39.088
 3 A Reid        GB   Ford     21:39.759
 4 G Tarquini    It   Honda    21:41.168
 5 T Kristensen  Den  Honda    21:42.111
 6 J Plato       GB   Vauxhall 21:48.510
 7 V Radermecker Bel  Vauxhall 21:49.596
 8 M Neal        GB   Nissan   21:49.900
 9 C Blair       GB   Nissan   22:25.371
10 A Morrison    GB   Peugeot  22:38.116

Monday's round 4 result:
 1 A Menu        Swi  Ford     43:40.921
 2 G Tarquini    It   Honda    43:44.344
 3 R Rydell      Swe  Ford     43:46.309
 4 A Reid        GB   Ford     43:47.804
 5 Y Muller      Fr   Vauxhall 43:58.386
 6 T Kristensen  Den  Honda    43:58.536
 7 J Plato       GB   Vauxhall 43:58.961
 8 M Neal        GB   Nissan   44:15.170
 9 P Kox         Hol  Honda    44:24.425
10 C Blair       GB   Nissan   44:03.685

F.RENAULT (Donington Park):- Kimi Raikkonen held off the challenge of Ryan Dalziel to take victory. The result also means that Kaikkonen takes over at the top of the standings from Danny Watts, who finished third.

Monday's race result:mins secs
1 K Raikkonen Fin    32:24.594
2 R Dalziel   GB     32:25.837
3 D Watts     GB     32:29.370
4 C Breeze    GB     32:36.800
5 C Hall      GB     32:37.285
6 J Dalziel   GB     32:41.422

RENAULT SPORT UK CUP (Donington Park):-
Monday's result:     mins secs
1 H Taylor           18:07.882
2 J Edwards Jr       18:08.119
3 S Clarke           18:13.276
4 R Pearson          18:14.794
5 A Thompson         18:19.009
6 G Holmes           18:20.248

FORD FIESTA’S (Donington Park):- Gordon Shedden increased his lead in the series by claiming a lights-to-flag victory in round two. The race was stopped on lap eight when Colin Stancombe rolled his car at the Craner Curves but he was able to drive back to the pits.

Monday's round two result:
1 G Shedden               12:15.896
2 G Howell                12:16.172
3 N Beaumont              12:17.470
4 M Pinny                 12:17.913
5 C Turkington            12:23.225
6 A Blencowe              12:24.467


SPORTSCARS:- Allan McNish will begin his build-up to the Le Mans 24-Hour race with warm-up trials on the French circuit on Sunday. The Scot will share his Audi R8 with Stephane Ortelli and Laurent Aiello, his winning team-mates from 1998. He said: "This year's test will be different in that competitors do not have to pre-qualify so we can concentrate on getting a good set-up."

PROTON COUPE’S:- Round two of the Tyresafe Proton Coupe Championship will now take place at Brands Hatch on Monday May 1. The event had been due to be held at Mallory Park on Easter Monday but an accident in the preceding race led to officials abandoning the meeting. The damage to a tyre wall would have taken too long to fix.


F1 TESTING (Barcelona):-
Wednesday test times:        mins secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari   1:21.80
 2 G Fisichella  It  Benetton  1:22.25
 3 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari   1:22.39
 4 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar    1:22.42
 5 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren   1:22.51
 6 O Panis       Fr  McLaren   1:22.51
 7 A Wurz        Aut Benetton  1:22.57
 8 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan    1:22.77
 9 J Verstappen  Hol Arrows    1:22.86
10 P Diniz       Brz Sauber    1:22.86

BTCC (Thruxton):- Ford look to be the team to beat in rounds five and six of the series on Bank Holiday Monday. Alain Menu leads the championship after winning three of the first four races. His Ford Mondeo team-mates Rickard Rydell and Anthony Reid have been in the top three five times between them. The Mondeo team qualified one-two-three for both Donington races. They won both of them on Monday, finishing one-two-three in the first.

Ford's successes at Donington Park over Easter were all the more impressive because the drivers were carrying extra ballast under the new regulations. Alain Menu, Rickard Rydell and Anthony Reid will all be carrying success ballast once again in these rounds. Menu and Rydell will have an extra 40kg and Reid will be carrying 20kg. They have risen above the penalties so far but the sweeping curves of Thruxton, which is near Andover, could present them with a tough test.

Redstone Team Honda and Gabriele Tarquini came closest to thwarting the Fords at Donington but he believes his team still have work to do. The three Accords were next best in qualifying after Ford and 1994 BTCC champion Tarquini claimed second place behind Alain Menu in round four. He said: "Our car was not really fast enough to beat the Fords at Donington. It was quite close but we must not forget that all the Fords had ballast. There is still a lot of work to do."

There is still a question mark over the fitness of Honda star James Thompson ahead of Monday's rounds. The Yorkshireman suffered mild concussion in an accident at Brands Hatch at the opening meeting and missed Donington's races over Easter. He was advised to rest by the BTCC medical officer. Thompson was due to have a further fitness check to see if he can compete. If he is ruled out then Dutchman Peter Kox will deputise.

Vauxhall trio Jason Plato, Yvan Muller and Vincent Randermecker are looking to improve on their qualifying displays after a poor showing at Donington. Plato led the series after the second round so will be out to bounce back. Meanwhile, Matt Neal regained the lead in the Michelin Cup for Independents but still believes that there is room for improvement. He wants to mix it more with the manufacturer teams and is targeting a top-three finish overall.

Mark Lemmer is hoping that his Thruxton experience in the National Saloon Championship will boost his chances in Class B on Monday. Honda Accord driver James Kaye leads Class B but his team-mate Lemmer believes that his Honda Intega Type R car could have the edge at Thruxton. "I was on pole for the national saloon race at Thruxton in March and the Integra is very good there," he said. "It has very good hihg-speed balance, which is essential for this circuit."

BTCC fans will also be able to see a bumper package of support races at the Thruxton meeting. This will include Slick Formula Ford Zetec, Ford Credit Fiesta Zetec, Autobytel Lotus and Formula Renault 2000 events. The round five Sprint Race, which is set to last for 16 laps (37.70 miles), will start at 12.45pm on Monday. The round six Feature Race, which is set to last for 32 laps (75.39 miles), will start at 3.30pm on Monday.


F1:- Jordan technical director Mike Gascoyne will leave the team when his contract expires in July 2001. The team did not say where Gascoyne was going, but reports suggest he will take over as design head at Renault when they replace Benetton in 2002. "Due to our success in recent years it is inevitable that our key team members would be approached by other teams," said team boss Eddie Jordan. "Mike has done and will continue to do a great job for us."

RALLYING:- World Rally Championship leader Richard Burns has been confirmed as top driver in the latest British standings. Burns, winner of this year's Safari and Portugal rallies, is just ahead of 1995 World Champion Colin McRae, whom he faces in Argentina on May 12.

British Rally Driver Rankings, April
                   previous placing
1 R Burns                1
2 C McRae                2
3 A McRae                4
4 M Higgins              7
5 N Wearden              9

F.PALMER AUDI (Brands Hatch):-
Wednesday test times: mins secs
 1 Robbie Kerr      GB   43:516
 2 Richard Tarling  GB   43:523
 3 Tim Mullen       GB   43:549
 4 Bruno Besson     Fr   43:561
 5 Damien Faulkner  Ire  43:570
 6 Jesper Carlsen   Den  43:639
 7 Topi Serjala     Fin  43:656
 8 Justin Keen      GB   43:660
 9 Miku Santavirta  Fin  43:672
10 Bruce Jouanny    Fr   43:783


F1 PRACTICE TIMES (Barcelona):-
Times (Fri):
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:20.818
 2 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:20.977
 3 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:21.070
 4 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:21.432
 5 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:22.004
 6 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:22.603
 7 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:22.715
 8 O Panis       Fr  McLaren  1:23.026
 9 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:23.245
10 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:23.277
13 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:23.919

F.RENAULT SPORT (Thruxton):- Daniel Buxton bounced back from his 100mph crash at Donington on Monday to top the testing in the rain on Friday. He was over a second clear of the field headed by Donington winner Henry Taylor.

Leading resting times (Fri):
                       min secs
1 D Buxton             1:33.829
2 H Taylor             1:35.048
3 S Clarke             1:35.449
4 J Edwards jnr        1:35.531
5 R Pearson            1:35.688
6 D Davies             1:35.846

F.FORD (Thruxton):- Australia single seater star James Courtney set the fastest time of the day at a soaking Thruxton on Friday. Courtney said: "The car feels very good in the wet and I am really happy."

Leading testing times (Fri):
                       min secs
1 J Courtney           1:24.004
2 A Davidson           1:24.067
3 R Bell               1:24.201
4 R Dahlgren           1:24.742
5 G Catt               1:24.974
6 M Taylor             1:25.067

F2000 (Thruxton):- Points leader Kimi Raikkonen headed Leighton Walker and round one winner Danny Watts in the pouring rain. Richard Lyons was close behind ahead of Monday's third round.

Leading testing times (Fri):
                       min secs
1 K Raikkonen          1:17.315
2 L Walker             1:17.737
3 D Watts              1:17.821
4 R Lyons              1:19.246
5 J Pickford           1:19.347
6 T Sisley             1:19.472

MGF CUP (Oulton Park):- Alastair Lyall and Jamie Hunter lock horns once again when the third round takes place this weekend. Each driver has won once and finished second once so far this season. Lyall, who leads the championship by two points from Hunter, said: "I like Oulton Park circuit, and this weekend should be a closely fought race." Other drivers to watch out for this weekend include David Mason, the young Essex driver, and former Touring Car test driver Mark Ticehurst.

29.04.2000 - CART

Rookie Alex Tagliani edged out reigning champion Juan Montoya to take his first career pole for Sunday's Rio 200. Tagliani was quickest in the morning session with a time of 38.733 seconds and was even better in qualifying, posting a time of 38.587 seconds. Montoya was ahead of current championship leader Paul Tracy with another rookie, Kenny Brack, fourth. "The car was very good and running last, the track was perfect," Tagliani said after the session.

Qualifying times (Sat):      seconds
 1 A Tagliani    Can Ford     38.587
 2 J Montoya     Col Toyota   38.696
 3 P Tracy       Can Honda    38.843
 4 K Brack       Swe Ford     38.876
 5 C Fittipaldi  Brz Ford     38.921
 6 J Vasser      US  Toyota   38.943
 7 H C-Neves     Brz Honda    38.985
 8 D Franchitti  GB  Honda    39.026
 9 T Kanaan      Brz Mercedes 39.101
10 M Papis       It  Ford     39.227
23 M Blundell    GB  Mercedes 40.073


Vauxhall ended Ford's reign as kings of qualifying this season with Jason Plato and Yvan Muller taking pole positions for Monday's races. Plato will be on pole for the feature event after getting the better of team- mate Muller to give Vauxhall their first top grid spot since 1995. Plato said: "The team have been doing a great job all season." However, in the sprint session Muller edged out Ford's Rickard Rydell and Anthony Reid to clock the fastest time.

Round five qualifying times (Sun):
                             mins secs
 1 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:13.046
 2 R Rydell      Swe Ford     1:13.200
 3 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:13.277
 4 V Radermecker Bel Vauxhall 1:13.434
 5 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:13.485
 6 J Plato       GB  Vauxhall 1:13.795
 7 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:14.133
 8 T Kristensen  Den Honda    1:14.289
 9 G Tarquini    It  Honda    1:14.382
10 D Leslie      GB  Honda    1:16.168

Round six qualifying times (Sun):
                              mins secs
 1 J Plato       GB  Vauxhall 1:12.562
 2 V Radermecker Bel Vauxhall 1:12.680
 3 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:12.873
 4 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:12.994
 5 T Kristensen  Den Honda    1:13.138
 6 R Rydell      Swe Ford     1:13.356
 7 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:13.383
 8 G Tarquini    It  Honda    1:13.493
 9 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:13.852
10 D Leslie      GB  Honda    1:14.231

BRITISH F3 (Oulton Park):- Antonio Pizzonia moved closer to a third win by claiming pole position for Monday's race. The Brazilian clinched his first Formula Three top grid spot in the closing moments of qualifying.

Leading qualifying times (Sun):
                       min secs
1 A Pizzonia           1:30.185
2 T Scheckter          1:30.277
3 A Priaulx            1:30.454
4 B Collins            1:30.698
5 N Karthikeyan        1:30.722
6 M Davies             1:30.729

BRITISH GT'S (Oulton Park):-
Final qualifying times (Sun):
GT category:                mins secs
1 Erdos/Schirle     Marcos   1:37.576
2 Schirle/Warnock   Lister S 1:38.219
3 McKellar/Verdon-R Cerbera  1:39.169
4 Cleland/Clark     Chrysler 1:39.303

GTO category:               mins secs
1 Short/Barff       Cerbera  1:40.909
2 Goodwin/Sumpter   Porsche  1:41.481
3 Hughes/Simmons    Porsche  1:41.736
4 Lister/Rymer      Porsche  1:42.140

F.RENAULT SPORT (Thruxton):- David Davies just edged out Daniel Buxton for the qualifying honours on his debut at Thruxton. Series leader Jim Edwards Jnr was sixth quickest and Donington winner Henry Taylor was 13th after a spin.

Leading qualifying times (Sun):
                       min secs
1 D Davies             1:25.278
2 D Buxton             1:25.531
3 M Jackson            1:25.910
4 S Clarke             1:25.995
5 R Pearson            1:26.329
6 J Edwards Jnr        1:26.394

MGF CUP (Oulton Park):- Nick Carr claimed pole position after Sunday's qualifying session. Carr, who is lying fourth in the championship, beat leader Alastair Lyall into second place on the grid. Jamie Hunter took third place.

Final qualifying times (Sun):
                       min secs
1 N Carr               1:53.769
2 A Lyall              1:53.909
3 J Hunter             1:54.353
4 D Mason              1:54.574
5 M Ticehurst          1:55.104
6 P O'Neill            1:55.125

NATIONAL SALOON'S (Oulton Park):- Peugeot driver Dan Eaves bounced back from a non-finish in the last event at Croft to top the times in the round three qualifying session. Eaves said: "I am absolutely over the moon. The car is very, very good."

Leading qualifying times (Sun):mins secs
1 D Eaves       Peugeot      1:49.528
2 T Ruokonen    Peugeot      1:50.759
3 S Harrison    Ford         1:51.343
4 R Moen        Peugeot      1:52.275
5 G Pyper       Alfa Romeo   1:52.625
6 T Ferrier     Alfa Romeo   1:53.006

LOTUS ELISE'S (Thruxton):- Thruxton race instructor Mark Cole used his local knowledge to claim pole position for Monday's round three. In a close half-hour session, six different drivers held provisional pole and the top 10 are covered by less than a second.

Leading qualifying times (Sun):
1 M Coles            1:20.377
2 B Devlin           1:20.388
3 T Needell          1:20.508
4 E Horner           1:20.596
5 P Cate             1:20.696
6 A Wilcox           1:20.748

FORD FIESTA'S (Thruxton):- Nick Beaumont will start Monday's round three in pole positon. The 22-year-old from Bramhall in Cheshire set the fastest time by just over a 10th of a second to take his first top grid spot of the year.

Final qualifying times (Sun):
                       min secs
1 N Beaumont           1:34.727
2 G Shedden            1:34.871
3 C Turkington         1:34.952
4 N Padley             1:35.182
5 M Pinny              1:35.264
6 C Stancombe          1:35.531

F.FORD (Thruxton):- Australian single seater hotshoe James Courtney stormed to a victory that gave him a hat-trick of Slick 50 wins. In an action-packed race which saw 32 evenly matched cars, the works Van Diemen driver came through from sixth place with some expert overtaking.

Round three result (Sun):min secs
1 J Courtney   Aus    20:15.366
2 A Davidson   GB     20:16.935
3 R Bell       GB     20:17.115
4 M Taylor     GB     20:23.216
5 A Carroll    GB     20:31.074
6 A van der M  Swe    33:32.262

F.RENAULT 2000 (Thruxton):- Points leader Kimi Raikkonen secured his second pole position of the season by having the edge of Ryan Dalziel. Leighton Walker was third fastest after a late rally in the qualifying session.

Round three qualifying times (Sun):
                      mins secs
1 K Raikkonen     Fin  1:11.997
2 R Dalziel       GB   1:12.079
3 L Walker        GB   1:12.197
4 D Watts         GB   1:12.321
5 C Breeze        GB   1:12.473
6 C Hall          GB   1:12.493

F.PALMER AUDI (Brands Hatch):-
Round three qualifying times (Sun)
                      mins secs
1 A Simonsen   Den     51.908
2 J Carlsen    Den     52.046
3 T Serjala    Fin     52.079
4 D Hayes      GB      52.103
5 R Kerr       GB      52.277
6 J Keen       GB      52.291

Round four qualifying times (Sun):
1 R Kerr       GB      43.558
2 R Tarling    GB      43.605
3 T Mullen     GB      43.653
4 J Carlsen    Den     43.721
5 J Keen       GB      43.724
6 D Faulkner   Ire     43.880

SPORTSCARS:- Audi dominated the Le Mans 24-Hour test in France, although the session ended prematurely for Allan McNish. The Scotsman set the fastest time of three minutes, 36.620 seconds but then lost control of his Audi R8 30 minutes into the afternoon session. The ex-Le Mans winner said: "I am very pleased to have been the fastest in such a short space of time but do not know what happened when I went off." Audi's Emanuele Pirro and Michele Alboreto were second and third fastest.

CART (Rio de Janeiro):- Adrian Fernandez triumphed in the Rio 200 after pole-sitter Alex Tagliani's hopes disappeared late in the race. Canadian rookie Tagliani had dominated much of the event before losing control on the 99th lap. The spin led to a six-lap caution and he spun again on the restart with only three laps to go in the 108-lap race. Fernandez took the chequered flag under a caution ahead of Jimmy Vasser. Britain's Mark Blundell and Dario Franchitti were seventh and 11th.

Britain's Mark Blundell drove a fine race to finish seventh in round four of the series after starting in 23rd spot. Blundell was running in fourth place when he pitted on lap 77 and later rejoined the field in 14th after taking on a full load of fuel. He looked on course for a top-three finish before Michel Jourdain Jnr stopped on the track and the yellow flag was brought out. Blundell said: "The Motorola crew did a great job in the pits."

Rio 200 result after 108 laps (Sun):
                             hr min sec
 1 A Fernandez   Mex Ford     1:37.12.4
 2 J Vasser      US  Toyota      @.93
 3 P Tracy       Can Honda    108 laps
 4 C da Matta    Brz Toyota   108
 5 C Fittipaldi  Brz Ford     108
 6 R Moreno      Brz Ford     108
 7 M Blundell    GB  Mercedes 108
 8 M Gidley      US  Ford     108
 9 M Andretti    US  Ford     107
10 K Brack       Swe Ford     107
11 D Franchitti  GB  Honda    107