July 2000 Motorsport News


Michael Schumacher stormed into pole position for Sunday's race ahead of David Coulthard. Schumacher gained his fourth pole of the season when he drove his Ferrari to the fastest lap in the final qualifying session in one minute, 15.632 seconds. McLaren's David Coulthard finished second with Rubens Barrichelo third and Mika Hakkinen fourth. Eddie Irvine finished in sixth place with team-mate Johnny Herbert 11th, one place behind Jenson Button.

Saturday's final qualifying times:
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:15.632
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:15.734
 3 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:16.047
 4 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:16.050
 5 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:16.291
 6 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar   1:16.399
 7 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:16.653
 8 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:16.658
 9 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:16.669
10 J Button      GB  Williams 1:16.905
11 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:17.176
12 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:17.223
13 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:17.279
14 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:17.317
15 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:17.361
16 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:17.374
17 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:17.408
18 J Alesi       Fra Prost    1:17.569
19 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:17.668
20 J Verstappen  NL  Arrows   1:17.933
21 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:18.130
22 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  1:18.302

BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:- The second leg of the SEAT Jim Clark Rally left Duns to complete the final 99 miles overnight. Mark Higgins held onto his lead although Tapio Laukkanen was quickest overall on both the opening stages in the Volkswagen. Jarmo Kytolehto is reported to be concerned about possible smoke from the back of the Kumho Tyres Hyundai. He is not sure whether he's seeing smoke or just dust in the dry conditions.

Neil Wearden is still suffering brake balance problems on his Vauxhall Astra Kit Car. The same problem caused him to go off on leg one through a hedge into a field losing the light pod in the process. Former British Champion, Martin Rowe is giving the new Ford Puma it's first rally and has maintained a top ten position for most of the event "The longer I drive it, the more I get to know it and I'm very pleased with the car so far." he commented.

LEADERBOARD after 13 of 24 stages
(interim)                    hr min sec
 1 M Higgins       Vauxhall   1:02:22.7
 2 T Laukkanen     Volkswagen 1:03:09.4
 3 J Kytolehto     Hyundai    1:03:29.7
 4 J Dale          Peugeot    1:04:22.2
 5 D Higgins       Peugeot    1:05:03.5
 6 N Simpson       Mitsubishi 1:05:06.1
 7 N Wearden       Vauxhall   1:05:07.1
 8 N McShea        Citroen    1:06:03.6
 9 M Rowe          Ford       1:06:14.0
10 G Anderson      Mitsubishi 1:06:23.6

BRITISH F3 (Donington Park):- Dane Nicholas Kiesa swept into pole position for Sunday's ninth round of the Green Flag British Formula 3 Championship after qualifying. Keisa sealed his first place on the grid by sweeping ahead of Scot Andrew Kirkaldy in the closing minutes of the final session. Antonio Pizzonia kept up his strong title bid by booking third, four places ahead of rival Tomas Scheckter. Only half a second seperated the top ten cars on the 2.5-mile circuit.

Qualifying times, second session (Sat):
1 N Kiesa           Dallara   1:28.544
2 A Kirkaldy        Dallara   1:28.559
3 A Pizzonia        Dallara   1:28.686
4 M Pavlovic        Dallara   1:28.786
5 T Sato            Dallara   1:28.804
6 G Bruni           Dallara   1:28.899

Qualifying times (round 7):
1 J Hunter          MGF       1:50.016
2 S Warburton       MGF       1:50.352
3 V Martin          MGF       1:50.376
4 N Carr            MGF       1:50.392
5 M Ticehurst       MGF       1:50.488
6 A Lyall           MGF       1:50.673

BRITISH GT’S (Donington Park):-
Leading times (Sat):
GT category
1 Ellis/Astley      Lotus     1:33.351
2 Harvey/Youles     Porsche   1:33.846
3 Erdos/Purvis      Marcos    1:34.084
4 McKellar/Verdon-R TVR       1:34.101

GTO category
1 Rymer/Lister      Porsche   1:37.154
2 Sumpter/Jordan    Porsche   1:37.308
3 Fuller/F'gill     Porsche   1:38.238
4 Barff/Short       TVR       1:38.465

NATIONAL SALOON’S (Silverstone):-
Leading times (Sat):
1 D Eaves           Peugeot   1:47.773
2 T Ruokonen        Peugeot   1:47.796
3 S Harrison        Ford      1:47.861
4 M Kelly           Nissan    1:47.933
5 T Masini          Honda     1:48.648
6 P Andrews         Ford      1:48.812


David Coulthard secured his third win of 2000 to increase the pressure on championship leader Michael Schumacher, who suffered a retirement. A superb overtaking manoeuvre on lap 40 led to the Scot gaining the lead from the German. Schumacher's engine failed on lap 59 to allow Mika Hakkinen to move into second place and give McLaren a one-two, while Rubens Barrichello was third. Jenson Button was eighth, Eddie Irvine 13th and Johnny Herbert did not finish.

Race winner David Coulthard apologised for a hand gesture he made while trying to pass leader Michael Schumacher. On the 34th lap Schumacher held his line to deny Coulthard, who then visibly made his feelings known. Coulthard, who eventually overtook the German on lap 40, said: "I would like to apologise for the hand gesture. It was not in keeping with the sport. My emotions were running high. I felt I had a clean run and felt he drove me wide and it made me angry at the time."

David Coulthard is determined to build on his French win in the next race in Austria on July 16. His Magny-Cours triumph comes in a week when he has earned a new McLaren deal and he enthused: "This has put us right back where we were after Monaco. Now I have to make sure we do the same in Austria. We benefited from Michael Schumacher not finishing but this victory was as much down to the mechanics, engineers and guys in the pit-lane as to me."

Michael Schumacher has hit back at David Coulthard's claim that he tried to push the Scot wide when he was attempting to overtake him. "In Japan last year he pushed me too wide but I did not complain about that," said the Ferrari star. "It was a good fight today. I believe that is racing and if I am in front then I can choose the line. I naturally tried to make it very difficult. As for the hand signal, I did not see it so have nothing to say about it."

David Coulthard had a poor start and slipped down to third from second as Rubens Barrichello passed him to move behind team-mate Michael Schumacher. Jacques Villeneuve reaped rewards after the lights went out, going up to fifth from seventh. Heinz-Harald Frentzen also gained two places on his rivals, surging to sixth from eighth. However, Eddie Irvine - who started from sixth on the grid - had a poor getaway and dropped to 10th.

Johnny Herbert's hopes of keeping his Jaguar drive for 2001 were dealt another blow as he failed to finish for the fifth time in nine races. Herbert's race ended on lap 21 because of a gearbox failure and he showed his frustration by thowing down his gloves. Coulthard, however, had better luck on the 22nd lap. He sold Rubens Barrichello a dummy to move into second place and then on lap 40 he stole in on the inside to claim the lead from Michael Schumacher.

Michael Schumacher refused to be downcast after he was denied the chance of a second-place finish because of an engine failure. He said: "Obviously after that you would have to question our reliability. However - and I have said this before - there is still a long way to go and a lot can happen. I am pretty sure that we can quickly fix the problems we had in this race and we will just have to see what happens in the next one."

Mika Hakkinen has revealed that he was happy to settle for second place once Michael Schumacher had gone out. The world champion could have pressed McLaren team-mate and eventual race winner David Coulthard in a bid to pick up 10 points. However, the Finn confirmed: "We were one and two so there was no point in pushing like mad and risking myself and the car. I decided to look at how Rubens Barrichello was running behind me."

Rubens Barrichello was happy with third place but admitted that better pit stops could have led to him achieving a higher finish. "My first pit stop was just a slow one but on the second there was a problem with the right wheel and that dropped me back 10 seconds," he said. "If it was not for that I maybe could have passed Mika Hakkinen. After 10 or 15 laps the tyres were starting to give up a bit and there was a lot of pressure on braking."

Jenson Button was pleased with his overall performance, despite finishing out of the points in eighth place. "My start was not the best in the world and I think Ralf Schumacher had the same problem as me," he admitted. "Then, at lap 12, I was able to get past Eddie Irvine at the hairpin and on the next lap Salo, so I managed to get in front and pull away. It was a good race and I enjoyed it. It was just annoying that I could not get past Heinz-Harald Frentzen."

Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine believes that his team missed out on a good chance to get in the points. "We cannot continue to qualify in the top six and walk away empty-handed. It is another chance missed," he claimed. "I still maintain that our sixth place qualifying position is an accurate reflection of where we stand as a team. Sure, there is work to do in refining a number of elements of the team but that will take time. We are building a picture of what we have to do."

Johnny Herbert has revealed that a gearbox problem was the reason behind his race retirement. He said: "I did not have any drive when I came off the power, then it would come back when I touched the throttle and then I lost first and second gear. I came in on schedule for my first pit stop and they reset the gearbox system but when I rejoined the race I still did not have first and second gear. By the time I came in again I had lost all the gears completely."

Jacques Villeneuve was delighted with his fourth-place finish in France. He said: "I am very happy to be fourth, especially on a track where we did not expect to be particularly strong. The start was so good that I even surprised myself. I was also surprised that the first four did not pull away from us. We were running throughout the race with more fuel than was necessary to give us more flexibility over when to make our stops."

Benetton driver Giancarlo Fisichella has stated that his ninth-place finish was realistically the best he could have hoped for. The Italian admitted: "I did not get a good start at all as I had no rear traction and lost two places. After my first pit stop I pulled up a few places and the balance on the car was much better and I was able to push. The car was much better with high fuel and I drove hard but unfortunately ninth was the best I could hope for."

Result after 72 laps:        hr min sec
 1 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:38.05.5
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:38.20.2
 3 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:38.37.9
 4 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:39.06.8
 5 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:39.09.5
 6 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:39.21.1
 7 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan     one lap
 8 J Button      GB  Williams   one lap
 9 G Fisichella  It  Benetton   one lap
10 M Salo        Fin Sauber     one lap
11 P Diniz       Brz Sauber     one lap
12 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost      one lap
13 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar    two laps
14 J Alesi       Fr  Prost     two laps
15 M Gene        Sp  Minardi   two laps

DID NOT FINISH (not classified)
                            laps completed
    M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari     58
    P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows      45
    A Wurz        Aut Benetton    34
    G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi     31
    J Verstappen  Hol Arrows      25
    J Herbert     GB  Jaguar      20
    R Zonta       Brz BAR         16
Fastest lap: D Coulthard 1:19.479

 1 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   56 pts
 2 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   44
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   38
 4 R Barrichello Brz  Ferrari   32
 5 G Fisichella  It   Benetton  18
 6 R Schumacher  Ger  Williams  14
 7 J Villeneuve  Can  BAR        8
 8 J Trulli      It   Jordan     6
 9 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan     5
10 J Button      GB   Williams   3
 = E Irvine      GB   Jaguar     3
 = M Salo        Fin  Sauber     3
13 J Verstappen  Hol  Arrows     2
14 R Zonta       Brz  BAR        1
 = P de la Rosa  Sp   Arrows     1

1 Ferrari       88 pts
2 McLaren       82
3 Benetton      18
4 Williams      17
5 Jordan        11
6 BAR            9
7 Sauber         3
= Jaguar         3
= Arrows         3

JIM CLARK RALLY:- Mark Higgins had a trouble free run to take overall victory on the SEAT Jim Clark Rally for Vauxhall. "What a perfect result" a jubilant Higgins said at the finish of the Duns event. "It was a difficult rally trying to drive on the safe side of flat out all the time! We managed to control the lead and when we had to, put in the work involved to keep it. The Astra was superb throughout the event."

Tapio Laukkanen finished the SEAT Jim Clark Rally in second place to give Volkswagen a much needed bost in the Mobil 1 British Championship. The Finn suffered gear selection problems late on Leg 1, but fought back to regain the lost time. "Second is a good result given our bad luck with the gear selector. The most important thing is that during the rally we have made some big improvements... we can really attack on the last two rounds."

The two car Peugeot Team started leg 2 of the Jim Clark Rally first and second in the Ferodo Super 1600 cup. The excellent work done on leg 1 was undone in the early hours of leg 2 when David Higgins lost almost 20 minutes fixing a minor electrical problem. Justin Dale's luck ran out several stages later when a driveshaft broke causing a fluid leak and small fire. "We had a superb run and I honestly felt that an overall win was possible," Dale said.

Jarmo Kytolehto has maintained a consistent top four place throughout the second leg of the Jim Clark Rally. This is the first tarmac rally for the Kuhmo Tyres Hyundai team and Kytolehto has been delighted with the car. "The initial performance on tarmac has far exceeded expectations and Andrew's performance on development compounds bodes well for the future," a spokesman for the team said. Teammate Andrew Pinker finished 11th after fighting back from 62nd.

Martin Sansom won the Super 106 Cup in the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, after setting a stunning time on the final stage. "We had brake problems throughout leg 1 but things went better today until a puncture on 23. I'm delighted with the final stage time!" Sansom said. Second and third places went to Seamus Donnelly and Andy Burnell. Grace Owen sealed the Ladies' title whilst James Glosters' win keeps the Rookie Championship alive.

FINAL LEADERBOARD after 24 stages
                             hr min sec
 1 M Higgins       Vauxhall   2:08:22.2
 2 T Laukkanen     Volkswagen 2:08:48.8
 3 N Wearden       Vauxhall   2:10:42.3
 4 J Kytolehto     Hyundai    2:11:00.4
 5 N Simpson       Mitsubishi 2:14:16.1
 6 M Rowe          Ford       2:16:36.9
 7 G Anderson      Mitsubishi 2:17:03.4
 8 M Ipatti        Mitsubishi 2:18:06.7
 9 D Wood          Subaru     2:19:34.2
10 G Cox           Mitsubishi 2:20:22.2

1 Ipatti        35   1 Hyundai     36
2 M Higgins     32   2 Vauxhall    34
3 Kytolehto     24   3 Proton      26
4 Wearden       23   4 Volkswagen  22
5 Laukkanen     22   5 Peugeot     22
6 Andersson     15

CART (Cleveland):-
Saturday qualifying times:
 1 R Moreno     Brz Ford     132.001mph
 2 G de Ferran  Brz Honda    131.799
 3 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes 131.767
 4 M Andretti   US  Ford     131.682
 5 C Da Matta   Brz Toyota   131.664
 6 J Montoya    Col Honda    131.623
 7 B Herta      US  Mercedes 131.463
 8 D Franchitti GB  Honda    131.449
 9 A Fernandez  Mex Ford     131.381
10 H Castro-N   Brz Honda    131.347
16 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes 130.136

BRITISH F3 (Donington Park):- Nicolas Kiesa scored his first F3 win in the ninth round of the Green Flag British Formula 3 Championship at Donington Park. Despite starting in third Kiesa moved into second when Takuma Sato received a stop/go penalty after a false start. A stunning move at Redgrave Corner then saw Kiesa skirt round the outside of Andrew Kirkaldy to lead the pack. Kirkaldy came home in second place ahead of championship leader Antonio Pizzonia who won the eighth round.

Round eight result (Sat):
 1 A Pizzonia            30:05.545
 2 G Bruni                @  5.319
 3 T Sato                 @  7.095
 4 N Karthikeyan          @ 14.103
 5 M Pavlovic             @ 16.717
 6 N Kiesa                @ 17.560
 7 M Brentwood            @ 18.020
 8 B Collins              @ 18.735
 9 A Priaulx              @ 23.690
10 M O'Connell            @ 28.186

Round nine result (Sun):
1 N Kiesa               30:14.449
2 A Kirkaldy
3 A Pizzonia
4 G Bruni
5 M Pavlovic
6 T Scheckter

F3000 (Magny-Cours):-
Result after 49 laps:         hr min sec
 1 N Minassian   Fr  Playlife 1:15.44.6
 2 S Bourdais    Fr  G'loises 1:15.48.1
 3 D Saelens     Bel Playlife 1:15.52.5
 4 F Montagny    Fr  DAMS     1:15.59.0
 5 T Enge        Cz  Mysap    1:16.00.3
 6 S Sarrazin    Fr  Mysap    1:16.07.8
 7 C Albers      Hol E Arrows 1:16.12.6
 8 D Manning     GB  Arden    1:16.21.3
 9 J Wilson      GB  Nordic   1:16.23.1
10 B Leinders    Bel Jensen   1:16.43.9

MGF CUP (Donington Park):-
Round seven results (Sun):mins secs
 1 J Hunter               18:57.567
 2 A Lyall                19:02.425
 3 S Warburton            19:07.526
 4 N Carr                 19:09.618
 5 P O'Neill              19:10.562
 6 D Mason                19:11.120
 7 V Martin               19:17.642
 8 P Hughes               19:19.108
 9 D Shaw                 19:22.825
10 B Heerey               19:23.078

BRITISH GT’S (Donington Park):-
Round seven result (Sun):
GT category
1 T Needell/D Warnock  Lister Storm
2 C Ellis/I Astley     Lotus Esprit
3 D Clark/J Cleland    Chrysler Viper
4 C Lockie/C Euser     Marcos LM600
GTO category
1 M Sumpter/M Jordan   Porsche 911
2 M Short/R Barff      TVR Cerbera
3 T Rymer/G Lister     Porsche 911

NATIONAL SALOON'S (Donington Park):- Dan Eaves clinched victory for Peugeot after the 20-minute race was twice interrupted by caution flags. Matt Kelly came second in a Nissan with Tobia Masini's Honda taking third spot while Tom Boardman finished fourth.

Result (Sun):
1 D Eaves           Peugeot
2 M Kelly           Nissan
3 T Masini          Honda
4 T Boardman        Peugeot
5 R Moen            Peugeot
6 R Meins           Ford


F1:- French Grand Prix winner David Coulthard looks set to sound out title rival Michael Schumacher after their latest track confrontation. The Scot accused Schumacher of unsporting behaviour when he tried to pass the German in Sunday's race. Coulthard, who will be testing with the German at Mugello later this week, said: "This needs to be discussed. This is a sport isn't it? But I do not think that Michael is very sporting with the way he drives on the track."

RALLYING:- British rally champion Tapio Laukkanen will drive a Ford Focus world rally car in next month's Rally Finland. The 30-year-old Finn will join Ford's regular World Championship drivers Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz and Petter Solberg in the event. His car will be run on behalf of the Blue Rose team and he will be co-driven by regular partner Kaj Lindstrom. "It is a great opportunity for me to move up to world rally car level," he said. "I hope to test shortly."

F.FORD:- Luke Hines is making the move from the Junior Formula Ford Zetec Championship to contest the remaining rounds of the Slick 50 Formula Ford Zetec series. He will drive for Jim Warren's Haywood Racing Team, the outfit that helped Formula One driver Jenson Button to victory in 1998. "I am jumping in at the deep end but if you want to succeed you must race with the best," said Hines.

CART:- Roberto Moreno claimed his first CART victory in dominant style in the Grand Prix of Cleveland. After seven years in the series and 70 races, the 41-year-old - who also started from his first career pole - led for most of the 100-lap event. Moreno is the oldest driver to win a CART race and he admitted: "With about five laps to go I began to cry. I had to be careful not to lose the car." Mark Blundell was 12th and Dario Franchitti was hit by a car problem.

Cleveland Grand Prix result (Sun):
 1 R Moreno     Brz Ford        100
 2 K Brack      Swe Ford        100
 3 C Da Matta   Brz Toyota      100
 4 M Andretti   US  Ford        100
 5 P Carpentier Can Ford        100
 6 J Montoya    Col Honda       100
 7 A Fernandez  Mex Ford        100
 8 J Vasser     US  Toyota      100
 9 B Herta      US  Mercedes    100
10 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes    100
12 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes     98
13 D Franchitti GB  Honda        94 (mechanical problem)

TOYOTA ATLANTIC (Cleveland):- Dan Wheldon is still in second place at the halfway point of the series after finishing sixth in round six at the Burke Lakefront Airport circuit. Wheldon is the first Briton to contest the whole series and is well on his way to joining Dario Franchitti and Mark Blundell in the CART FedEx campaign. Twenty-two-year-old Wheldon was second after 23 laps. An incident with Martin Basso meant he dropped back to ninth before earning his fifth top-six finish of the season.


F1 (Silverstone):-
Wednesday's testing times:
1 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar   1:26.92
2 J Verstappen  Ned Arrows   1:26.61
3 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:26.61
4 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:26.76
5 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:27.01
6 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:27.49
7 J Villeneuve  CAN BAR      1:28.14

BTCC (Snetterton):- Touring Cars come out at night this Saturday as rounds 15 and 16 of the British Championship repeats last year's floodlit meeting. The inaugural event in 1999 was a huge success and organisers at the Norfolk circuit are planning a day of similar attractions this time round. The day culminates in the feature race, which starts at midnight. The championship is hotting up, with the trio of table-topping Ford Mondeos looking for further success.

Ford trio Alain Menu, Anthony Reid and Rickard Rydell will be carrying ballast for rounds 15 and 16 and their rivals will hope to take advantage. Honda driver Tom Kristensen, currently seventh in the standings, will be a favourite and has recent experience at night after driving at Le Mans. "I've very optimistic," he said. "The Honda is going very well at the moment. I'm not sure if my Le Mans experience will make much difference. Everybody drives with their eyes closed anyway!"

Vauxhall will be hoping for a more competitive weekend after encountering problems in the last rounds at Croft. Jason Plato and Vincent Radermecker's cars were wrecked in high-speed accidents, while Yvan Muller was off the pace all weekend. The team is trying to repair the two damaged Vectras before this weekend and it is uncertain whether all three cars will appear. If they do the team will be looking for a better performance this time round.

Independents champion Matt Neal is in form and is looking forward to the challenge of racing at night. "Night racing can be a bit fraught at times," he said. "Last year I didn't think I had a scratch on my car at the end of the race, but there wasn't one straight panel," he recalled. Scotland's Colin Blair will return to challenge Neal after a heavy crash in testing forced him out at Croft. It is his first drive at Snetterton.

RENAULT SPORT UK CUP (Snetterton):- Rick Pearson topped the testing times for the first time ahead of Saturday's night race. Series leader Jim Edwards Jnr was second quickest and his title rival Daniel Buxton was fourth.

Round eight testing times:
                     mins secs
1 R Pearson           1:18.435
2 J Edwards Jnr       1:18.505
3 D Gibson            1:18.956
4 D Buxton            1:18.998
5 P Sowerby           1:19.023
6 J Edwards Snr       1:19.063

F.RENAULT (Snetterton):- Kimi Raikkonen headed the testing times ahead of Saturday's round eight. Charles Hall was second quickest, while Raikkonen's title rival Ryan Dalziel was seventh.

Round eight testing times:mins secs
1 K Raikkonen      Fin   1:06.109
2 C Hall           GB    1:06.330
3 T Sisley         GB    1:06.560
4 J Jones          US    1:06.561
5 M McLoughlin     GB    1:06.703
6 D Watts          GB    1:06.708

NEWS:- The funeral of motorcyclist Joey Dunlop will take place at 2pm on Friday at Garryduff Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland. The five-time TT Formula One world champion was killed while competing in a road race in Estonia on Sunday.


F1:- Johnny Herbert, fearful his Formula One career could end this season, is sizing up a move to America. Herbert has denied that the Jaguar team for which he currently drives have told him he will not be needed next season. But he said: "It's not out of the window - but I am sort of prodding around in other areas. Herbert added in Autosport magazine: "It may be time to move on, and I can accept going off next year and doing something different."

ELCKERLYCK RALLYSPRINT:- The National Rally Championship makes its second annual visit across the English Channel this weekend for the Elckerlyck Rallysprint. The event consists of two stages run a minimum of four times, preceded by a practice run for competitors to make their own pace notes. Current Championship leader John Price narrowly missed out on victory last year - finishing in second place behind Chris Wood. Over 30 drivers are making the trip.


F.PALMER AUDI (Nurburgring):- Formula Palmer Audi visits Nurburgring for the first time this weekend as championship leader Damien Faulkner finished quickest in testing. Tim Mullen showed he is fully fit after a crash in Spa with a superb second place ahead of Bruce Jouanny.

Testing times (Thur):   mins secs
1 D Faulkner  Ire        1:38.089
2 T Mullen    GB         1:38.146
3 B Jouanny   Fr         1:38.207
4 P Edwards   US         1:38.264
= D Hayes     GB         1:38.264
6 R Lyons     GB         1:38.277

Richard Lyons has decided to join the EFPA field for a one-off appearance this weekend after a difficult season in Formula Renault Sport. Lyons, who was second in the 1999 UK FPA Championship, said: "It's great to be back. "The cars are fun to drive and I've got off to a good start, though qualifying on Saturday will be important. Lyons is replaced in Team JLR's Formula Renault line-up at Snetterton on Saturday by Stefan Hodgetts.

BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:- Yorkshire will stage a round of the Mobil 1 British Championship for the first time since 1991 next year when Trackrod Rally hosts the series climax. The event, based in York, has been introduced to increase the number of rounds to seven. In recent seasons, the Manx International Rally has been the final event in mid-September, but in 2001 it will be brought forward to August. Rally organisers agreed to the changes to create a better spread of events.

March 10-11    Rally Of Wales (Wrexham)
April 28-29    Pirelli Int (Carlisle)
June 9-10      Scottish Rally (Dumfries)
June 29-Jul 1  Jim Clark Mem (Duns)
Aug 2-4        Manx Int (Douglas)
Aug 21-Sep 1   MSA Rally (Grantham)
Sep 29-30      Trackrod Rally (York)

NASCAR:- NASCAR driver Kenny Irwin was killed on Friday during a practice session for Sunday's Winston Cup at the New Hampshire International Speedway. Irwin, 30, the 1998 Winston Cup rookie of the year, crashed not far from where Adam Petty was killed two months ago. Irwin was entering the third turn when his car went into the wall and flipped onto the roof. Rescuers pulled Irwin from the mangled Chevrolet and he was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.


BTCC (Snetterton):-
Qualifying times Round 15:   mins secs
 1 J Plato       GB  Vauxhall 1:09.378
 2 R Rydell      Swe Ford     1:09.531
 3 T Kristensen  Den Honda    1:09.585
 4 V Radermecker Bel Vauxhall 1:09.943
 5 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:09.944
 6 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:10.010
 7 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:10.131
 8 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:10.692
 9 A Menu        GB  Ford     1:11.515
10 A Morrison    It  Honda    1:17.280

Round 16 qualifying times:   mins secs
 1 R Rydell      Swe Ford     1:17.508
 2 A Menu        GB  Ford     1:17.795
 3 J Plato       GB  Vauxhall 1:17.882
 4 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:17.980
 5 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:17.987
 6 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:18.018
 7 T Kristensen  Den Honda    1:18.114
 8 G Tarquini    It  Honda    1:18.151
 9 V Radermecker Bel Vauxhall 1:18.242
10 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:18.765

ALMS (Nurburgring):- Allan McNish will start Sunday's race from pole position in his Audi R8 sportscar after he set the fastest time in Saturday's warm-up races. But he handed over to team-mate Rinaldo Capello for the 20-minute qualifying session and he set a quickest time of one minute, 27.938 seconds. Audi dominate the front row with Le Mans winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro completing the front row. "Rinaldo did an excellent job in qualifying," said McNish.

F.PALMER AUDI (Nurburgring):- Junior class leader Bruce Jouanny took another overall win in Germany to add to his victory in Spa last month. Pole position Damien Faulkner got a clean start but he spun at the start of the second lap. Jouanny took over and Robbie Kerr could not catch him.

Round 11 result (Sat):  mins secs
1 B Jouanny   Fr        24:41.916
2 R Kerr      GB           @1.677
3 J vd Ende   Hol          @6.225
4 J Keen      GB           @6.824
5 J Carlsen   Den          @7.553
6 D Hayes     GB           @7.787

F.PALMER AUDI (Nurburgring):- Damien Faulkner claimed his second pole position of the weekend after a superb display in Germany. Britain's Robbie Kerr set the early pace but Faulkner broke clear ten minutes into the session and nobody could overtake him.

Round 12 qualifying times (Sat):
                        mins secs
1 D Faulkner  Ire        1:36.330
2 R Kerr      GB           @0.070
3 B Jouanny   Fr           @0.157
4 D Hayes     GB           @0.218
5 J Keen      GB           @0.238
6 R Lyons     GB           @0.274

F.RENAULT (Snetterton):- Leighton Walker edged out points leader Kimi Raikkonen to take pole position on a wet track. Walker will hope to make pole count by catching Ryan Dalziel who currently lies second in the points. Dalziel will be starting from eighth on the grid.

Testing times (Sat):       mins secs
1 L Walker    GB  Motaworld l:16.419
2 K Raikkonen Fin Manor     1:16.713
3 D Watts     GB  Manor     1:16.933
4 C Hall      GB  Aztek     1:17.176
5 T Sisley    GB  Motaworld 1:17.620
6 J Jones     USA Manor     1:18.031

RENAULT CLIO CUP:- Rick Pearson backed up his testing form to claim pole position at Snetterton, while points leader Jim Edwards Jnr will start in second on the grid. Meanwhile, Edwards' main tital rival Daniel Buxton has to content himself with a start from eighth position.

Testing times (Sat):       mins secs
1 R Pearson Mark Fish MS    1:18.343
2 J Edwards Mark Fish MS    1:18.513
3 D Davies  Actiondoors     1:18.781
4 P Sowerby Peter Sowerby   1:18.931
5 H Taylor  Taylor Racing   1:18.970
6 M Burton  Goodliff Racing 1:18.993

FORD FIESTA’S:- Veteran racer Colin Stancombe will start from pole after finishing quickest in qualifying at Snetterton. Stancombe, who celebrates his 52nd birthday on Sunday, knocked championship leader Gordon Shedden off the top spot.

Testing times (Sat):       mins secs
1 C Stancombe GB            l:28.462
2 G Shedden   GB            1:28.529
3 M Pinny     GB            1:28.644
4 G Howell    GB            1:28.650
5 A Blencowe  GB            1:28.683
6 T Clark     GB            1:28.784

F.FORD (Snetterton):- Sweden's Robert Dahlgren set the fastest qualifying time on Saturday in sodden conditions. Dahlgren, currently fourth in the championship standings, edged out title rivals Mark Taylor and James Courtney.

Qualifying times (Sat):    mins secs
1 R Dahlgren  Swe           l:20.832
2 M Taylor    Eng           1:21.601
3 P Gray      Sco           1:21.614
4 J Courtney  Aus           1:21.624
5 R Bell      Eng           1:21.641
6 A Davidson  Eng           1:21.700


BTCC (Snetterton):- Jason Plato claimed his second victory of the season in the first of the two night races on Saturday. The Vauxhall driver beat Honda's Tom Kristensen by 1.630 seconds in a race marred by two accidents within the opening five laps. Plato's Vauxhall team-mates Yvan Muller and Vincent Radermecker were forced to retire after the crashes while Honda's James Thompson went out on lap one. Alain Menu took round 16 with Plato in second spot.

Round 15 result (Sat):       mins secs
 1 J Plato       GB  Vauxh'l 32:35.158
 2 T Kristensen  Den Honda   32:36.788
 3 R Rydell      Swe Ford    32:40.714
 4 A Reid        GB  Ford    32:41.160
 5 M Neal        GB  Nissan  32:46.545
 6 G Tarquini    It  Honda   32:55.098
 7 A Morrison    It  Honda   32:49.502
 8 J Kaye        GB  Honda   33:00.852
 9 M Lemmer      GB  Honda   33:02.126
10 M Nordon      GB  Nissan  33:38.512
11 N James       GB  Honda   32:37.897

Round 16 result:             mins secs
 1 A Menu       GB  Ford     26:29.772
 2 J Plato      GB  Vauxhall 26:30.269
 3 J Thompson   GB  Honda    26:31.898
 4 Y Muller     Fr  Vauxhall 26:34.378
 5 R Rydell     Swe Ford     26:41.095
 6 A Reid       GB  Ford     26:41.636
 7 G Tarquini   It  Honda    26:42.287
 8 M Neal       GB  Nissan   26:47.179
 9 R Collard    GB  Nissan   27:08.117
10 J Kaye       GB  Honda    27:18.240

1 A Menu        Swi Ford        144 pts
2 R Rydell      Swe Ford        134
3 A Reid        GB  Ford        130
4 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall    115
5 J Plato       GB  Vauxhall    113
6 T Kristensen  Den Honda        91

1 M Neal     GB  Nissan      232 pts
2 C Blair    GB  Nissan      132

1 Ford                394 pts
2 Vauxhall            283
3 Honda               268

ELCKERLYCK RALLYSPRINT:- John Price beat Jon Mercer by 20 seconds in Westrozebeke in Belgium to claim his third successive win in the Safety Devices Championship. The result keeps Price on course for his ninth series title. Retirements on the day included the Audi A3 Quattro of David Kynaston, Steve Hendy's Escort Cosworth and Phil Henderson's Metro 6R4. The next round of the Championship is the Tyneside Stages on August 12.

Saturday's result:          mins:secs
1 J Price     MG Metro 6R4   37:04.17
2 J Mercer    MG Metro 6R4   37:24.26
3 M Evans     Escort Rally   38:08.24
4 J Morgan    Escort Cos     38:20.34
5 P Lietaer   Ford Escort RS 38:31.72
6 C Griffiths Subaru Impreza 39:16.09
7 G Woodcock  Escorts RS2000 39:29.58
8 T Dekoninck Mitsubishi L   39:44.66

F.PALMER AUDI (Nurburgring):- Ulsterman Derek Hayes got his first win of the season after having twice come been runner-up recently. Robbie Kerr's good start was ruined when he found himself pointing the wrong way after Robbie Faulkner attempted to pass him at Veedol Chicane.

Round 12 result: (Sat)   mins secs
1 D Hayes     GB         24:28.963
2 B Jouanny   Fr            @7.882
3 J Keen      GB            @9.329
4 B Besson    Fr            @9.750
5 C Hohenadel Ger           @10.294
6 R Lyons     GB            @11.282

F.RENAULT (Snetterton):- Kimi Raikkonen overcame pole position man Leighton Walker on the first lap to ease to his fifth win of the season. Walker was second to close the gap on Ryan Dalziel, currently second in the championship standings, who could only take seventh place.

Round eight result (Sat):   mins:secs
1 K Raikkonen Fin Manor     23:37.370
2 L Walker    GB  Motaworld 23:48.884
3 T Sisley    GB  Motaworld 23:53.322
4 C Hall      GB  Aztek     23:54.702
5 D Watts     GB  Manor     23:57.589
6 J Jones     USA Manor     23:57.933

FORD FIESTA’S (Snetterton):- Colin Stancombe made pole count to celebrate his 52nd birthday with his first Championship win of the season. Championship leader Gordon Shedden led at quarter distance but was edged out of a podium place by Stancombe, Gareth Howell and Matt Pinny.

Round 9 Result: (Sat)      mins secs
1 C Stancombe   GB         18:04.981
2 G Howell      GB         18:05.192
3 M Pinny       GB         18:05.720
4 G Shedden     GB         18:05.991
5 A Blencowe    GB         18:06.476
6 N Padmore     GB         18:12.527

F.FORD (Snetterton):- Sweden's Robert Dahlgren claimed his first win of the season. The pole sitter led from start to finish and said: "It's a fantastic feeling to get my first win of the year after coming close many times."

Round 10 result (Sat):    mins:secs
1 R Dahlgren  Swe         23:49.362
2 J Courtney  Aus         23:51.650
3 M Taylor    Eng         23:59.142
4 P Gray      Sco         23:59.436
5 R Rudholm   Swe         24:13.343
6 R Coleman   Ire         24:13.678


F3000:- Thomas Scheckter, the son of 1979 world champion Jody, has moved a step closer to following in his father's Formula One footsteps. The 19-year-old South African has signed to race for the Formula 3000 outfit mySAP.com for the remaining four rounds of the championship. Scheckter replaces Stephane Sarrazin in the McLaren Mercedes-run team after impressing in a recent test session. The Monaco-based racer will also continue his British F3 commitments.

ALMS (Nurburgring):- Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta extended their lead in the championship with victory in Germany on Sunday. With the help of Marc Duez, the group sealed their fourth win of the season so far. Wendlinger survived a slight collision with a Porsche early in the race that damaged the front of his car. "I was on the inside going on to the straight and he accelerated on slick tyres on a damp track," he said. "I am happy that we have won here again."


Michael Schumacher will be keen to retake the initiative in the title race on Sunday after failing to finish the last race at Magny-Cours. The championship leader's closest rival David Coulthard won in France and is only 12 points behind Schumacher after the German was forced to retire. Schumacher has never won in Austria but will be keen to rectify that. A victory would give him a big psychological advantage, with his home German race the next up on July 30.

McLaren's David Coulthard appears to be the man to beat at the moment after proving that he fears no-one on the Formula One circuit. The aura surrounding series leader Michael Schumacher has been known to get the better of many a driver. But Coulthard displayed equal aggression in the last race in France, which helped him to earn another win. Britain last had a Formula One champion in 1996 with Damon Hill and Coulthard seems to have a chance to follow suit.

World champion Mika Hakkinen finds himself in the unusual position of being overshadowed by team-mate David Coulthard after nine races. The Finn is third in the championship behind Michael Schumacher and Coulthard but is still insistent that he can win his third straight crown. His qualifying performances have let him down of late. But he appears under less pressure this season and if he can recapture his one-lap form he could bounce back.

Williams driver Ralf Schumacher is hoping that further improvements to the FW22 will boost his chances of success in Sunday's race. "Last year we did not have such a good performance at the A1-Ring so we will be pushing hard to improve," he said. "At the A1-Ring the engine is highly stressed and the percentage of the lap spent on 100 per cent throttle is one of the highest of any current circuit. It would be great to finish within the points this year."

Jenson Button is optimistic of his chances, although it is yet another circuit that is new to him. "After the French weekend when I qualified 10th and ended the race in eighth position I feel reasonably confident," he confirmed. "Last week's testing in Estoril was positive as we made a few helpful changes and the car was feeling better. I am looking forward to being on the track with other teams though to see how competitive our car really is."

Eddie Jordan wants to put the first half of the season behind him and concentrate on making up for lost time. The Jordan chief executive said: "The first half of the season has been frustrating for us. Whilst we have led races and twice qualified on the front row we have not succeeded in transferring the car's potential into points on the track. Our determination to fight for third place in the constructors' championship is stronger than ever."

Eddie Irvine won the 1999 Austrian Grand Prix but would no doubt just settle for a points finish this year. "This is not the most exciting circuit in the world, especialy as everyone compares it with the old Osterreiching, which was a cracker," said Irvine. "The weather can be very changeable so I hope the storms keep away. It is a good place for spectators and after a positive test at Silverstone last week I hope we can give them something worth seeing."

Jaguar driver Johnny Herbert is hoping that Sunday's race will mark a turning point in his campaign. "I am very much looking forward to going back to Austria as I really like the circuit," he revealed. "Last year's Austrian race signalled a change in fortune for me and I am hoping for the same this weekend. We completed some good work at the Silverstone test last week, which I hope will stand us in good stead for the race."

British American Racing tested in two locations in an effort to boost the team's chances on Sunday. At Silverstone Jacques Villeneuve and Patrick Lemarie continued the Athena 2000 chassis development work. Ricardo Zonta and Darren Manning spent a day testing in Estoril. Villeneuve was fourth in the French Grand Prix earlier this month. And BAR are now only nine points off third place in the constructors' race.


Q: How has the 2000 season been so far?

A: Obviously it has been a disappointing season for me so far. There is not a lot more to say.

Q: What have been the best and worst parts of the season?

A: There were several bad parts, for example, two engine failures on the grid before the start of a race. And coming in for a pit stop and having no tyres waiting and therefore losing points. The good parts are yet to come for me.

Q: How do you think things have changed since Renault bought the team and Flavio Briatore came back in charge?

A: The comeback of Renault gave the team back the perspectives it needed. Everyone knows what Renault have accomplished in Formula One and there can be no doubt about their commitment to get back on top again. Flavio is very focused on improving technical performance. He puts a lot of pressure on everybody but that is okay as long as things are moving forward.

Q: How do you feel coming into your home grand prix? Is there extra pressure?

A: My home grand prix not only means racing in a nice atmosphere with the support of fans but also a lot of work off the track. My schedule is quite heavy, with lots of PR, sponsor appearances and media and little time to rest. But that is pressure I can cope with and I am very strict about having tme to myself to prepare properly for qualifying and the race.

Q: Do you spend much time in Austria?

A: Unfortunately my schedule between races and testing does not allow to many visits to Austria. It means I enjoy being there even more with friends and family and to go for mountain bike rides in the Wienerwald - the most beautiful place I know.

Q: Now you are in your third year of F1 has your routine for relaxing changed?

A: If you want to be successful long-term relaxing is a must. I do rock climbing, mountain biking and kite-surfing.

Q: Do you think you have changed since your F1 career began?

A: I certainly hope I have. It is important to keep moving forward and learning. It is the times when things are not going to plan that teach you the best lessons and I have certainly learned a lot this year.

Q: What are your goals for the rest of the season?

A: Very clearly to win points. We have good aerodynamic developments and a new spec engine for Austria so I am confident of achieving this.

Q: What are the characteristics of the A1- Ring? Is it a favourite circuit?

A: It is great publicity for Austria and it is a circuit I know very well. I was maybe one of the first who raced there after it was opened. Sometimes I miss the long corners where you really need guts to go flat out. It is a high-speed circuit where you need good brakes and also a lot of power for accelerating. Times in qualifying will be close - maybe the closest of the year.

ALEX WURZ DESCRIBES A LAP: The lap of the A1-Ring starts with the uphill section, which leads into Castrol Kurve. Although quite a long straight, the hill serves to limit the speed to just over 300k/h before braking for the first corner. That is taken in second gear at around 115k/h. Traction out of this corner is important as it lead on to the straight down to the tight Remus Kurve. At the end of this straight I will be doing about 310k/h. Then I will brake very hard down to the first gear. You have to use the kerbs to get round this corner well but still maintain stability on to the short straight that follows it. Although the straight is quite short, it is slightly downhill and so I will reach about 305k/h before braking for turn three. This turn will be taken in second gear at around 90k/h and is also quite a long corner. Then I will brake very hard down to the first gear. You have to use the kerbs to get round this corner well but still maintain stability on to the short straight that follows it. Although the straight is quite short, it is slightly downhill and so I will reach about 305k/h before braking for turn three. This turn will be taken in second gear at around 90k/h and is also quite a long corner. A short, fifth-gear straight where I reach about 270k/h leads into the two fast and very challenging left-hand corners, which are taken in fourth. The first - the Niki Lauda Kurve - is taken at 145k/h and the second - the Power Horse Kurve - is taken at 170k/h. A right-hand kink leads up the hill again and the cars will reach just under 300k/h before entering the penultimate corner, Jochen Rindt Kurve. It is taken in fourth and the final corner, the A1 Kurve, is in third.

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 71 laps or 190.430 miles. Mika Hakkinen set the fastest race lap last year with a time of one minute, 12.107 seconds on lap 39. Jacques Villeneuve holds the lap record for the A1-Ring with a time of one minute, 11.814 seconds set in 1997 - the year he won the race for Williams. The A1-Ring was originally known as the Osterreichring and was reopened in 1996 after a complete redevelopment costing around $25m.

RALLY NEW ZEALAND:- New Zealand plays host to round eight of the World Championship from Friday to Sunday, with drivers taking part in 24 gravel stages totalling 373km. After a ceremonial start 24 hours earlier, the Auckland-based rally begins on Friday with eight stages. The second leg contains the longest special stage in world rallying since rallies were made much shorter in 1986. The 59km stage is a combination of two tests called Parahi and Ararua, which are joined by a 2km stretch of asphalt.

The eighth round of the series could become a battle of Britain, with Richard Burns and Colin McRae lying first and second in the championship. Englishman Burns has a 14-point lead over the Scot, who has hit form in the last few rallies. Their Subaru and Ford teams are also locked in a fierce battle for the manufacturers' crown. The main threat to the pair's hopes could come from world champion and Mitsubishi driver Tommi Makinen.

Colin McRae is out to land his third victory in four events in a rally that he has won seven times during the past 10 years. The Scot said: "It is a big rally for me. It is the first World Championship event I won - in 1993 - and could prove vital in this year's championship. Richard Burns still has a fairly comfortable lead. But if we can score a similar result in New Zealand to that of Greece it will show the tide is really turning."

Ford Focus driver Colin McRae is hoping that he can close the gap on leader Richard Burns in one of his favourite events in the series. McRae likes the fast and smooth gravel roads in the rally. But he admitted: "The weather is not usually very good out there but the stages make up for it. It puts an added emphasis on the driver to squeeze out the extra few seconds that make the difference between winning and coming second."

Carlos Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya are chasing their fifth New Zealand victory this weekend. The pair triumphed in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1998 and 38-year-old Sainz stated: "It is a rally I enjoy greatly and an event which should suit the Focus. It is a pure driving event and the roads are fantastic. The camber encourages you to drive quickly. From the position of fighting for the championship, the second half of the season should be better for us."

Didier Auriol will be bidding to maintain his creditable record in New Zealand and give SEAT a podium finish. He has been second twice, third twice and has also finished fourth and fifth. He commented: "I believe New Zealand will give us the chance to be consistently fast during all three days of competition." The SEAT Cordoba WRC E2 will make its last official factory-entered World Championship appearance before it is replaced with the Cordoba WRC E3.

Hyundai's Kenneth Eriksson and Alister McRae are hopeful about their chances after an encouraging week of testing. Eriksson confirmed: "I am very happy with the car, especially as we covered so many kilometres without a problem." McRae added: "It is a rally where our car's early specification, without a fully active transmission for example, should not put us at a disadvantage. I would like to think we are at the point where we could set top-six times regularly. New Zealand should suit us."


F1:- Silverstone's status as a Formula One venue has been put into doubt by FIA president Max Mosley. Mosley told Radio 5 Live: "I feel it's probably the least impressive of all the venues for the world championship. "That's why we're waiting now in order to confirm them on the 2001 calendar. They must produce a convincing plan." But ex-F1 star Derek Warwick said: "It is up to the job. We've done what Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone have required over the last few years."

Jenson Button has admitted that he must start piling up the points if he is to keep his drive at Williams. CART star Juan Pablo Montoya has been linked with the team but Button claims that reports saying that the Briton has already lost his place are premature. "I have got to get results if I want to stay at Williams," he said. "It is not over yet if I can get the results I need. Everyone says that I am leaving Wiliams. How do they know that? It is not true."

MSA RALLY:- Lincolnshire hosts the all-new MSA Rally on Saturday for the shortest round of the British Rally Championship but also one of the most important. The rally is based in Grantham and features 15 special stages at five different locations, including the grounds at Belvoir Castle. All five locations are made up of different asphalt surfaces and cover a total of 42 competitive miles. Round five starts at 8.15am and finishes at 6.30pm on the same day.

The fifth round will be crucial for the reigning British Champion Tapio Laukkanen as anything less than a win could spell the end of his title hopes. But the 30-year-old Finn believes victory is possible: "We showed on the Jim Clark Rally last week that the Volkswagen is the quickest on tarmac. I finished the rally very happy with the way the Golf was handling, so I feel we can win the MSA Rally. But of course it is an all-new event and nobody knows what to expect."

The newest addition to the British Championship calendar will be hardly fought and the Acrylicon Rally team recognise the difficulty of the task. Driver Charlie Jukes put in a brave performance at the Jim Clark Memorial Rally and finished in second place in the 1.6 litre class. Jukes said: "It is going to be tough to beat the factory teams on this event. This weekend's race is very different from the last one, where endurance counted as much as pace."

The Grantham all-tarmac event is likely to be a real sprint, with the longest stage comprising of just 3.4 miles. This fact is not lost on the two Vauxhall Astra drivers Neil Wearden and Mark Higgins, who said: "The Astra is a superb car on tarmac events. We are now only three points off the championship so there is everything to go for in this one." Wearden added: "This event poses its own special challenges and I must admit these short stages favour us."

CART:- Mark Blundell believes the news that Rockingham Motor Speedway will play host to the CART FedEx Championship will be a major boost for Britain. The Corby circuit will hold a round of the series on September 22 2001. CART driver Blundell said: "The arrival of Champ Cars in England will shake up the British motor racing scene. It will beat F1 hands down. F1 has lulled fans into believing there is no such thing as hard, fast, furious edge- of-the-seat racing."

F3000 (A1-Ring):- Kid Jensen Racing are hoping for a strong performance in the seventh round of the series on Saturday. Bas Leinders and Andrea Piccini were 10th and 12th in France two weeks ago. Piccini said: "We have the potential to score a very good result. I know the circuit extremely well as I drove for two years in Formula Opel. "I drove for Walter Penker's team, who are based just outside the circuit. I cannot say how many miles I have done there but it must be thousands."


Eddie Irvine has been forced to pull out of Sunday's race on medical advice. The Jaguar driver felt unwell after arriving at the circuit on Thursday and complained of abdominal pains, which could be appendicitis. After consulting medical staff at the A1-Ring, he was advised to return to England to see a top London surgeon. He will not take part in Saturday's qualifying session or the race on Sunday. Jaguar test driver Luciano Burti will take his place.

Jaguar have confirmed that Eddie Irvine has returned to England to undergo medical tests. Chairman and chief excutive office Neil Ressler said: "Having taken the advice of surgeons here in Austria, Eddie has flown back to England. He will undergo further tests so a fuller diagnosis can be given. It was the opinion of the medical team that, given the discomfort he was in, there was no point in him continuing this weekend."

David Coulthard built up to his 100th grand prix by clocking the fastest time in the second practice session for Sunday's race. The Scot, who won the last race in France, set a time of one minute, 12.464 seconds. Mika Hakkinen, who did not complete any laps in the first session because of a fuel pump problem, was second quickest. Michael Schumacher was fourth, Johnny Herbert was 16th, Jenson Button 20th and Eddie Irvine 21st.

Friday practice times:       mins secs
 1 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:12.464
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:12.711
 3 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:12.786
 4 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:12.823
 5 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:13.052
 6 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:13.146
 7 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:13.359
 8 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:13.463
 9 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:13.548
10 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:13.596
11 J Alesi       Fr  Prost    1:13.638
12 J Verstappen  Ned Arrows   1:13.648
13 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:13.794
14 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:13.807
15 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:13.815
16 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:13.878
17 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  1:14.030
18 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:14.042
19 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:14.136
20 J Button      GB  Williams 1:14.351
21 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar   1:14.603
22 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:15.572

Michael Schumacher believes that Mika Hakkinen should have left McLaren after winning his second drivers' crown with the team last year. Ferrari driver Schumacher said: "Mika does not seem to be at the optimum. "I do not know why, although it is far too early to say that he is out of the race for the championship. But if I was Mika and had been with a team for seven years and won two world championships I would probably have gone elsewhere for new motivation."

British American Racing director Craig Pollock has denied a story claiming Jacques Villeneuve may quit unless he can find a car to win him races. "He has not made any sort of decision yet and is quite capable of looking after himself," he told The Times. "He could also take a sabbatical if he can't get what he wants. He has had a look at the best seats in Ferrari and McLaren and might decide to wait around until one of those becomes available," Pollock added.

Michael Schumacher will be keen to retake the initiative in the title race on Sunday after failing to finish the last race at Magny-Cours. The championship leader's closest rival David Coulthard won in France and is only 12 points behind Schumacher after the German was forced to retire. Schumacher has never won in Austria but will be keen to rectify that. A victory would give him a big psychological advantage, with his home German race the next up on July 30.

McLaren's David Coulthard appears to be the man to beat at the moment after proving that he fears no-one on the Formula One circuit. The aura surrounding series leader Mich el Schumacher has been known to get the better of many a driver. But Coulthard displayed equal aggression in the last race in France, which helped him to earn another win. Britain last had a Formula One champion in 1996 with Damon Hill and Coulthard seems to have a chance to follow suit.

World champion Mika Hakkinen finds himself in the unusual position of being overshadowed by team-mate David Coulthard after nine races. The Finn is third in the championship behind Michael Schumacher and Coulthard but is still insistent that he can win his third straight crown. His qualifying performances have let him down of late. But he appears under less pressure this season and if he can recapture his one- lap form he could bounce back.

Williams driver Ralf Schumacher is hoping that further improvements to the FW22 will boost his chances of success in Sunday's race. "Last year we did not have such a good performance at the A1-Ring so we will be pushing hard to improve," he said. "At the A1-Ring the engine is highly stressed and the percentage of the lap spent on 100 per cent throttle is one of the highest of any current circuit. It would be great to finish within the points this year."

Jenson Button is optimistic of his chances, although it is yet another circuit that is new to him. "After the French weekend when I qualified 10th and ended the race in eighth position I feel reasonably confident," he confirmed. "Last week's testing in Estoril was positive as we made a few helpful changes and the car was feeling better. I am looking forward to being on the track with other teams though to see how competitive our car really is."

Eddie Jordan wants to put the first half of the season behind him and concentrate on making up for lost time. The Jordan chief executive said: "The first half of the season has been frustrating for us. Whilst we have led races and twice qualified on the front row we have not succeeded in transferring the car's potential into points on the track. Our determination to fight for third place in the constructors' championship is stronger than ever."

Eddie Irvine won the 1999 Austrian Grand Prix but would no doubt just settle for a points finish this year. "This is not the most exciting circuit in the world, especialy as everyone compares it with the old Osterreiching, which was a cracker," said Irvine. "The weather can be very changeable so I hope the storms keep away. It is a good place for spectators and after a positive test at Silverstone last week I hope we can give them something worth seeing."

Jaguar driver Johnny Herbert is hoping that Sunday's race will mark a turning point in his campaign. "I am very much looking forward to going back to Austria as I really like the circuit," he revealed. "Last year's Austrian race signalled a change in fortune for me and I am hoping for the same this weekend. We completed some good work at the Silverstone test last week, which I hope will stand us in good stead for the race."

British American Racing tested in two locations in an effort to boost the team's chances on Sunday. At Silverstone Jacques Villeneuve and Patrick Lemarie continued the Athena 2000 chassis development work. Ricardo Zonta and Darren Manning spent a day testing in Estoril. Villeneuve was fourth in the French Grand Prix earlier this month. And BAR are now only nine points off third place in the constructors' race.

RALLY NEW ZEALAND:- World championship leader Richard Burns suffered a disappointing opening day to the latest of this year's rallies. Burns finished in eighth, over a minute behind leader Francois Delecour, after starting first and having to clear the roads of gravel for his rivals. Delecour, without a win for over six years, won three of the day's eight stages to take control of the event. Petter Solberg was fastest on two stages to take second ahead of Marcus Gronholm while Colin McRae was sixth.

Richard Burns remained confident of his chances in the event despite finishing the first day in eighth place. "If it remains dry I should be able to redress the situation on the middle leg but if it rains I will have a major fight on my hands," he said. "The sixth run where the gravel had already been swept away put things into more perspective as I was second quickest over the stage." Colin McRae was not so optimistic. He said: "It'll be hard to make up time."

Positions after 8 stages:    Hr min sec
 1 F Delecour  Fr  Peugeot    1:16:36.2
 2 P Solberg   Nor Ford       1:16:45.9
 3 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    1:16:49.4
 4 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       1:17:06.3
 5 J Kankunnen Fin Subaru     1:17:28.1
 6 C McRae     GB  Ford       1:17:35.8
 7 K Eriksson  Swe Hyundai    1:17:36.3
 8 R Burns     GB  Subaru     1:17:42.9
 9 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 1:18:00.8
10 D Auriol    Fr  SEAT       1:18:14.1

F3000 (A1-Ring):-
Friday qualifying times:      mins sec
 1 J V Hooydonk Bel Witmeur   1:33.336
 2 D Saelens    Bel Playlife  1:33.529
 3 M Webber     Aus E Arrows  1:33.776
 4 N Minassian  Fr  Playlife  1:33.815
 5 J Melo       Brz Petrobas  1:34.214
 6 C Albers     Ned E Arrows  1:34.269
 7 D Manning    GB  Arden     1:34.333
 8 F Montagny   Fr  DAMS      1:34.604
 9 S Bourdais   Fr  Gauloises 1:34.771
10 T Enge       Cz  Mysap.com 1:34.829
11 J Wilson     GB  Nordic    1:35.134


Mika Hakkinen returned to top form to claim his first pole position for three months in Sunday's race. Hakkinen, fresh from a holiday, clocked a best time of one minute, 10.410 seconds and will share the front row with McLaren team-mate David Coulthard. Ferrari duo Rubens Barrichello and Championship leader Michael Schumacher will share the second row. Debutant Luciano Burti, replacing the ill Eddie Irvine, finished 21st after struggling in the earlier practice.

Doctors treating Eddie Irvine for abdominal pains have said there is no need for surgery at present. Irvine is expected to be released from hospital in the next 24 hours following extensive tests in London, although the cause of the pain is yet unknown. However, Irvine hopes to return for the Germany Grand Prix in two weeks time. "Obviously I'm disappointed not to be taking part in Austria, especially as I won the race last year, but I hope to be back in time for Germany," he said.

Eddie Irvine's abdominal problems could prove an even bigger pain for Jenson Button and Dario Franchitti. With Irvine unwell with suspected appendicitis, the search for his Jaguar team-mate next season took a new twist. Button, expected to leave Williams BMW, and Franchitti, looking to switch from Champ Cars to F1, are both in the frame But Irvine's withdrawal from Sunday's Austrian GP has handed Jaguar's Brazilian test driver Luciano Burti the chance to stake his claim.

Saturday's qualifying times: mins secs
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:10.410
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:10.795
 3 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:10.844
 4 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:11.046
 5 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:11.640
 6 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:11.647
 7 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:11.649
 8 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:11.658
 9 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:11.761
10 J Verstappen  Ned Arrows   1:11.905
11 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:11.931
12 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:11.978
13 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:12.037
14 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:12.038
15 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:12.043
16 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:12.238
17 J Alesi       Fr  Prost    1:12.304
18 J Button      GB  Williams 1:12.337
19 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:12.347
20 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:12.722
21 L Burti       It  Jaguar   1:12.822
22 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  1:13.419

RALLY NEW ZEALAND:- Colin McRae and Richard Burns both revived their challenge on a thrilling second day in Auckland. The British pair form the top three with leader Marcus Gronholm who led McRae by 22.9 seconds. Burns won the day's first four stages to storm up the leaderboard from eighth but Gronholm took the final three. McRae pipped Burns to second after a spin on stage 15. Overnight leader Francois Delecour was forced out with gearbox problems on stage 11.

Richard Burns is still confident of his victory chances after climbing from eighth to third on the second day. "The last few stages were very muddy and there was nothing I could do to improve my position," he said. "I think I stand a good chance of winning the event but I need it to be dry. It will be very hard to make up time in the wet." Second-placed Colin McRae said: "I think the gap may be a little too big to close but it will be a close fight."

Positions after 17 stages:
(End of day two)             Hr min sec
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    2:59:58.6
 2 C McRae     GB  Ford       3:00:21.5
 3 R Burns     GB  Subaru     3:00:36.0
 4 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       3:01:08.8
 5 J Kankunnen Fin Subaru     3:01:37.6
 6 P Solberg   Nor Ford       3:02:28.9
 7 K Eriksson  Swe Hyundai    3:03:05.4
 8 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 3:03:13.9
 9 A McRae     GB  Hyundai    3:03:27.5
10 P Bourne    NZ  Subaru     3:05:34.0

MSA RALLY:- Neal Wearden claimed victory after winning six of the 15 stages. It made the Vauxhall driver, a former British junior champion, the only man who can prevent Finn Marko Ipatti taking the Driver's Championship. "I'm relieved to finish a difficult event. It was surprising that 40 miles can be so taxing. That leaves a good fight for the Isle of Man. The Astra is good on asphalt, all I have to do is collect the 12 points. I don't mind the pressure."

British Championship leader Marko Ipatti retains his lead over the drivers' title after a tense battle on the MSA Rally. Ipatti had taken the early lead on the event, but finally finished third and said afterwards: "That's not so bad. I lost victory with two mistakes. The tree this morning bent the steering, which has been bad all day. I think I can win the championship in this car; 4th or 5th will be enough on the Manx," he added.

Defending British Rally champion Tapio Laukkanen was caught out by the stages to end hopes of defending his crown. "So it's a result. Earlier I would have been pleased with it. "Unfortunately, I came with completely the wrong settings. If I had to do it again, I would use full gravel specification," he said. Laukkanen spun on stage five and was off the pace through all the earlier stages only setting competitive times after service.

After a disppointing year, Jonny Milner was just relieved to finish the event, which formed the fifth round of the British Rally Championship. "Now I'm definitely going to the Isle of Man, having finally finished a round of the Championship! I'm really glad it didn't rain, as the stages would have cut up." Milner lost five minutes on stage five when he ended up in a field and finished 30th despite setting seven top 10 stage times.

FINAL LEADERBOARD (after 15 stages):
                               mins secs
 1 N Wearden       Vauxhall     42:40.7
 2 G Anderson      Mitsubishi   42:54.5
 3 M Ipatti        Mitsubishi   42:58.3
 4 M Brown         Mitsubishi   43:05.5
 5 T Laukkanen     Volkswagen   43:10.2
 6 J Dale          Peugeot      43:23.0
 7 J Easson        Mitsubishi   43:38.5
 8 N McShea        Citroen      43:48.6
 9 D Higgins       Peugeot      43:59.1
10 G Cox           Mitsubishi   44:00.2

1 M Ipatti      45   1 Vauxhall    46
2 N Wearden     35   2 Hyundai     43
3 M Higgins     32   3 Volkswagen  32
4 T Laukkanen   30   4 Proton      32
5 J Kytolehto   29   5 Peugeot     30
6 J Dale        18
= M Andersson   18

CART (Toronto):- Helio Castroneves captured pole position for Sunday's Toronto Molson Indy, the 10th of 20 races this season. The Brazilian set the fastest lap of 57.200 seconds over the 2.75km, 11-turn Exhibition Place street course for his second pole of the season. Scotland's Franchitti, who claimed provisional pole on Friday, improved on his time but could only claim fifth. Franchitti lost the title to Juan Montoya on a tiebreaker last season and is currently 13th in the standings.

Saturday qualifying times:
 1 D Franchitti GB  Honda     58.877sec
 2 J Montoya    Col Honda     58.897
 3 H Castro-N   Brz Honda     59.436
 4 M Andretti   US  Ford      59.529
 5 G de Ferran  Brz Honda     59.542
 6 J Vasser     US  Toyota    59.889
 7 O Servia     Sp  Toyota    60.133
 8 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes  60.206
 9 B Herta      US  Mercedes  60.781
10 C Da Matta   Brz Toyota    61.340
15 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes  69.505

F3000 (A-1 Ring):- Yorkshire duo Justin Wilson and Darren Manning celebrated a double podium finish in the Formula 3000 race in Spielberg, Austria. Sheffield's Wilson finished a season's best in second while Knaresborough-born Manning was third in the 48-lap battle at the A-1 Ring. Wilson made one attempt to overtake race winner Nicolas Minassian before settling for second for his Nordic Racing team just 1.4 seconds adrift. Manning finished six seconds slower.

Saturday's result:           hr min sec
 1 N Minassian  Fr  Playlife  1:10:42.3
 2 J Wilson     GB  Nordic    1:10:43.7
 3 D Manning    GB  Arden     1:10:48.2
 4 M Webber     Aus E Arrows  1:10:48.4
 5 J Melo       Brz Petrobas  1:10:49.3
 6 F Alonso     Sp  Astromega 1:10:49.5
 7 B Junqueira  Brz Petrobas  1:10:50.8
 8 M Haberfield Brz Fortec    1:10:51.2
 9 S Bourdais   Fr  Gauloises 1:10:51.6
10 M Goossens   Bel Astromega 1:10:52.5


Mika Hakkinen's victory was put in doubt after an electronic computer box from his car was sent to London for further investigation. The box should have carried the seal of the FIA but it was missing. International Automobile Federation spokeswoman Agnes Kaiser confirmed that the box was missing a mandatory seal. She said that the matter would be investigated in London before the German Grand Prix, which is being held in Hockenheim on July 30.

Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard gave McLaren a one-two and closed the gap on championship leader Michael Schumacher, who was pushed out on lap one. Hakkinen led almost from start to finish before clinching his second win of the season but now faces a probe to see if he will keep the race. Coulthard's second place leaves him only six points behind Schumacher. Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello was third, Jenson Button was fifth and Johnny Herbert seventh.

Mika Hakkinen improved his chances of claiming his third title in a row after winning in Austria - although he could still lose the race off the track. The Finn said: "There are a lot of things to feel confident about as we head for Hockenheim and the next race. We have always been very competitive there and do some quick times. We will go flat out there." He must wait to see if the win is ratified because the FIA are looking at an electronic box on his McLaren.

Championship leader Michael Schumacher's race ended seconds after the start when he was shunted from behind by Ricardo Zonta. His Ferrari was then hit by Jarno Trulli, who also had to retire, while Giancarlo Fisichella made it three early pull-outs. The German got the car back on the track but it stalled. He then had to trudge back to the pits as the race officials decided against a restart in favour of the safety car.

Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard avoided the first-corner incidents to establish a one-second lead after the first few laps. Arrows driver Pedro de la Rosa moved from 12th to third at the start but he was eight seconds behind the McLaren pair after 10 laps. Ricardo Zonta and Pedro Diniz were given 10-second stop-go penalties on lap 17. Zonta's was for his first-lap shunt on Michael Schumacher.

Michael Schumacher was surprisingly unruffled after suffering a first-lap retirement through no fault of his own. After being forced out by Ricardo Zonta, the Ferrari star said: "It was disappointing but that is racing. I do not think that Ricardo would do anything like that on purpose. He over- extended his ability. I will have a quiet word next time I see him. I would have liked a restart but unfortunately the stewards made a very good job of clearing the track."

David Coulthard has insisted that he is not thinking about winning the title - even though he is only six points behind Michael Schumacher. After finishing second in his 100th grand prix, he said: "I just look at each individual race and if I can do well then I will have a good chance. I was quite happy with the outcome of the first lap in this race." Coulthard could be elevated to first place because the FIA are probing an electronic box on Mika Hakkinen's car.

Rubens Barrichello was happy with third place after his Ferrari was hit on the first corner of the race. While his team-mate Michael Schumacher was forced out at the same point, Barrichello was able to struggle on. "I saw that Michael came on the inside and I did not want to make a problem for him," he said. "But I was hit by somebody and obviously I went on the gravel and I was lucky to survive then. The car was almost undriveable until the pit stop."

Jenson Button boosted his hopes of keeping his Williams drive for 2001 by finishing fifth. The Briton conceded: "It was a very hard race. The first corner was pretty tough to find a way through. I am not quite sure how I came out of it at the end. The team did a good job with my pit stop. My second set of tyres seemed to be a bit more loose on the rear but I am happy to get two more points for the team and roll on to the next race."

Jaguar driver Johnny Herbert just missed out on his first point of the season by finishing seventh. "We were lucky at the start with all the chaos going on but I stayed out of trouble and got up to fifth place," admitted Herbert. "We looked good before the pit stop, running in fourth, but lost out to Mika Salo and then lost out big time to Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button. It is frustrating to finish seventh when you are pushing so hard."

Giancarlo Fisichella was furious after he was forced out at the first corner of the race. The Italian fumed: "That was just ridiculous. As I approached the first corner it was really tight then Pedro Diniz hit me from behind at 200kph. There was absolutely nothing I could do. I cannot believe that there was not a red flag." His team-mate Alexander Wurz was 10th and Benetton chief Flavio Briatore said: "It was a bad race for us."

Fourth-placed Jacques Villeneuve revealed that he never expected to get in the points in Austria. The former world champion confirmed: "I did not really think that I would get in the points so it was a good result. We obviously had a terrible start to the race but then our pit-stop strategy was good - we pitted late - and that is what allowed us to finish fourth. Without that first corner, both cars would have been in the points. I would like to thank everyone at the factory."

Arrows duo Pedro de la Rosa and Jos Verstappen failed to finish after both had looked capable of points finishes. De la Rosa was running in third place on the third lap but went out with a gearbox problem. He said: "I think that was the most incredible opportunity that has just escaped. I just cannot say how disappointed I am." Verstappen added: "I think we have lost a lot of points for the team. I had to stop because I lost power."

Result after 71 laps:         mins secs
 1 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:28.15.8
 2 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:28.28.1
 3 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:28.46.6
 4 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      @ one lap
 5 J Button      GB  Williams @ one lap
 6 M Salo        Fin Sauber   @ one lap
 7 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   @ one lap
 8 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  @ one lap
 9 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   @ one lap
10 A Wurz        Aut Benetton @ one lap
11 L Burti       Brz Jaguar   @ 2 laps
12 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  @ 3 laps

NOT CLASSIFIED:             laps completed
   R Zonta       Brz BAR         58
   R Schumacher  Ger Williams    52
   N Heidfeld    Ger Prost       41
   J Alesi       Fr  Prost       41
   P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows      32
   J Verstappen  Ned Arrows      14
   H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan       4
   M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari      0
   G Fisichella  It  Benetton     0
   J Trulli      It  Jordan       0

 1 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   56 pts
 2 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   50
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   48
 4 R Barrichello Brz  Ferrari   36
 5 G Fisichella  It   Benetton  18
 6 R Schumacher  Ger  Williams  14
 7 J Villeneuve  Can  BAR       11
 8 J Trulli      It   Jordan     6
 9 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan     5
 = J Button      GB   Williams   5
11 M Salo        Fin  Sauber     4
12 E Irvine      GB   Jaguar     3
13 J Verstappen  Hol  Arrows     2
14 R Zonta       Brz  BAR        1
 = P de la Rosa  Sp   Arrows     1

1 McLaren       98 pts
2 Ferrari       92
3 Williams      19
4 Benetton      18
5 BAR           12
6 Jordan        11
7 Sauber         4
8 Jaguar         3
= Arrows         3

RALLY NEW ZEALAND:- Finland's Marcus Gronholm won the Rally of New Zealand, finishing 14.5 seconds ahead of Briton Colin McRae. Spaniard Carlos Sainz secured a podium spot in third in his Ford after Briton Richard Burns was forced out at the end of stage 20. Burns' Subaru had developed steering and engine problems. Peugeot driver Gronholm is now four points behind championship leader Burns in the drivers' standings with six events remaining.

Colin McRae was not disappointed after finishing runner up to race winner Marcus Gronholm of Sweden. "I'm delighted with second because it makes the situation very interesting in both championships," said the Scot. "If we can maintain this kind of form for the second half of the year, we'll be in with a great chance of championship success in November." A spin ended McRae's hopes of winning and he added: "It gave Marcus a 10 second breathing space."

Alister McRae was forced to retire due to failed transmission after setting the fastest time over the first stage of the final day. After setting a winning margin of more than five seconds over the 31km Te Akau stage the Scot's transmission seized. "It was great to get the first stage win for Hyundai," said McRae: "To set the fastest time on dry, flowing gravel stages is very good. But it was obviously very frustrating when the transmission seized solid."

Final positions:             Hr min sec
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    3:45.13.4
 2 C McRae     GB  Ford       3:45.27.9
 3 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       3:46.31.8
 4 P Solberg   Nor Ford       3:48.14.1
 5 K Eriksson  Swe Hyundai    3:48.26.1
 6 P Bourne    NZ  Subaru     3:52.08.0
 7 M Stohl     Aut Mitsubishi 3:57.05.4
 8 C Crocker   Aus Subaru     3:57.14.6
 9 G Argyle    NZ  Mitsubishi 3:58.00.8
10 G Trelles   Uru Mitsubishi 3:58.57.1

1 R Burns      GB   Subaru      38 pts
2 M Gronholm   Fin  Peugeot     34
3 C McRae      GB   Ford        30
4 C Sainz      Sp   Ford        27
5 T Makinen    Fin  Mitsubishi  23
6 J Kankkunen  Fin  Subaru      18

1 Subaru         58 pts
2 Ford           57
3 Peugeot        41
4 Mitsubishi     29
5 Skoda           8
6 SEAT            7

CART (Toronto):- Michael Andretti captured the 40th Cart title of his long career to move to within two points of the series lead. It was his sixth win in this particular race and he has now finished fifth or better in 10 out of his 13 starts. Mexico's Adrian Fernandez was second with hometown favorite Paul Tracy third in the 112-lap temporary street course event, the 10th of 20 season races. Brazilian Roberto Moreno retains his lead at the top of the standings, but will be aware of Andretti's presence.

Molson Indy result (Sun):    hr min sec
 1 M Andretti   US  Ford     2:02.98.34 (112 laps)
 2 A Fernandez  Mex Ford      58.056
 3 P Tracy      Can Honda     same lap
 4 C Da Matta   Brz Toyota    same lap
 5 A Tagliani   Can Ford      same lap
 6 G de Ferran  Brz Honda     same lap
 7 P Carpentier Can Ford      same lap
 8 M Papis      It  Ford      same lap
 9 J Vasser     US  Toyota    same lap
10 K Brack      Swe Ford      same lap
22 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes   93 down
25 D Franchitti GB  Honda     111 down

INDY RACING LEAGUE (Atlanta):- Defending champion Greg Ray took advantage of pole position to win the Atlanta 500. He led for 150 of the 208 laps to claim his fourth career victory and his first of the season. He finished 3.05 seconds ahead of Buddy Lazier, who has taken over from Eddie Cheever as overall points leader. Ray said: "We have worked so hard all year long. We decided to lay all our eggs in one basket and go for it. The car was a missile in this race."

Results from Saturday      hrs mins secs
 1 G Ray        US         2:02.01
 2 B Lazier     US         @3.054sec
 3 A Unser Jr   US         same lap
 4 R McGehee    US         same lap
 5 D Beechler   US         one lap down
 6 R Buhl       US         one lap down
 7 S Gregoire   Fra        one lap down
 8 B Boat       US         one lap down
 9 S Hattori    Jpn        two lps/down
10 E Salazar    Chi        three l/down


F1:- CART FedEx Championship driver Dario Franchitti will test a Formula One car with Jaguar at Silverstone this week. He is known to Jackie Stewart and Jaguar because he was with Paul Stewart Racing in Formula Vauxhall Lotus and British Formula Three from 1992-1994. Twenty-seven-year-old Franchitti said: "I have retained strong ties with Jackie and Paul. Jackie and I have talked about testing for some time and I am delighted that Jaguar are able to make it happen."

McLaren are confident that Mika Hakkinen's Austrian Grand Prix victory will be declared official. The result was placed in doubt when an electronic box that controls the car's computer software was confiscated because an official seal was missing. McLaren believe that the software, which had been downloaded, will show that computer codes were not altered. FIA officials said a report would be submitted to the stewards of the meeting and an announcement is imminent.

TOYOTA ATLANTIC (Toronto):- Dan Wheldon has extended his lead in the race to become the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic rookie of the year after finishing third in round seven. The 22-year-old Briton produced another good performance in his Jayhard/BG Products Swift Toyota, which is entered by Champ Car team PPI Motorsports. Wheldon finished the 35-lap race 3.456 seconds behind winner Andrew Bordin and runner-up Buddy Rice. Rice leads the series, followed by Bordin and Wheldon.

RENAULT CLIO TROPHY (Donington Park):- Frenchman Jerome Policand just pipped Germany's Ralf Druckenmueller after a seesaw battle. Italy's Luca Rangoni was third, despite a trip across the grass that briefly dropped him to fifth, and so he retains the lead in the series.

1 J Policand        Fr   31:30.498
2 R Druckenmueller  Ger    @ 0.273
3 L Rangoni         It     @11.547
4 M Andersson       Swe    @13.170
5 M Bleekemolen     Ned    @15.139
6 V Postiglione     It     @27.529

F.RENAULT (Donington):- British teams claimed their first one- two-three in Formula Renault Eurocup history as Kimi Raikkonen led home Tom Sisley and Danny Watts. Felipe Massa was fourth, just ahead of points leader Matteo Grassotto.

1 K Raikkonen       Fin  27:37.412
2 T Sisley          GB     @ 8.498
3 D Watts           GB     @10.292
4 F Massa           Brz    @14.783
5 M Grassotto       It     @18.130
6 M Schmidt         Ger    @22.216

18.07.2000 - F1

Dario Franchitti is the subject of growing speculation concerning a possible signing for Jaguar Racing. Franchitti, currently involved in Formula One testing, looks increasingly likely to be named as Johnny Herbert's replacement for 2001. Jaguar have scheduled a press conference at Silverstone for Wednesday when Franchitti will also be present continuing his testing. The 27-year-old Scot has so far failed to comment on his future plans.


F1:- Dario Franchitti has ended two days of testing with Jaguar at Silverstone with his future still very much in doubt. The 27-year-old Scot, currently driving in the CART championship, said he was grateful to Jaguar for giving him the chance to try out an F1 car. "I wanted to drive an F1 car to see if I liked it and Jaguar have kindly given me the opportunity to do so," he said. "It's been an education. If everything goes well and Jaguar decide I did a good job, then we'll see what happens."

NATIONAL SALOON:- Gordon Shedden is in line to make his National Saloon Championship debut at Croft this weekend. Ford have awarded Shedden a drive thanks to the form that has seen him dominate the Credit Fiesta Zetec Championship this season. The 21-year-old Scot has won seven out of his last nine races and was delighted at Ford's decision. "Before last season I'd only ever raced at Knockhill," said Shedden: "But this season has been absolutely fantastic."

20.07.2000 - F1

Mika Hakkinen faces an anxious few days to see whether his win in last Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix will stand. The Finn's McLaren team will appear before stewards next Tuesday to explain why an official seal from an electronic control box was missing. Hakkinen won the race ahead of David Coulthard to put himself back in the hunt for the world championship. If Hakkinen is disqualified, Coulthard would move to within two points of Michael Schumacher in the championship.

Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine has been given the all-clear by doctors to drive in the German Grand Prix later this month after suffering abdominal pains. "I am feeling fresh, relaxed and ready to go. I have been told to rest for the next few days but I am very keen to get back in the cockpit," said Irvine. "I've been keeping tabs on testing this week and we are encouraged by what has been achieved." The Ulsterman won the German Grand Prix last season when driving for Ferrari.


ANCRO NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:- The fifth round of eight sees has a quality 75-car entry in the Enterprise Printing National Rally. The race gets underway from Swansea city centre at 9.30am on Saturday. Drivers then facing five long stages in the forests of the Neath and Afan Vales in South Wales. The event also forms a round of the Ford Racing Ka Rally Champinship, with over twenty crews involved aiming to chase leader David Henderson.

MGF CUP (Croft):- Alastair Lyall dominated testing on Friday ahead of round eight of 'the alphaclub.com MGF Cup' this weekend. The championship leader finished 0.077- of-a-second ahead of teammate Nick Carr.

Leading testing times (Fri):
                       min secs
1 A Lyall              1:33.573
2 N Carr               @  0.077
3 J Hunter             @  0.121
4 M Ticehurst          @  0.145
5 V Martin             @  0.377
6 S Warburton          @  0.606


CART (Michigan):- Canada's Paul Tracy set a track record with a lap of 234.949 mph to win pole position for Sunday's Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) 500. Tracy beat the two-mile (3.2 km) oval's fast-lap record of 234.665 mph set by Jimmy Vasser in 1996 to edge out Michael Andretti. Andretti was second at 234.627 mph while a total of four practice laps surpassed Vasser's old mark. It was Tracy's first pole since 1997 and the 13th of his career.

Drivers reached record speeds in first practice to stoke up the debate over the increasing pace of the cars. Manufacturers want aerodynamic changes to bring speeds down, and while drivers also want change they feel that reducing horsepower is a better option. "We have to do something to keep these cars under control, and reducing horsepower is one way of doing it," driver Michael Andretti said. Paul Tracy was quickest in practice with a lap at 234.949mph.

Driver standings:              Points
 1 R Moreno     Brz Ford         90
 2 M Andretti   US  Ford         88
 3 G de Ferran  Brz Honda        75
 4 P Tracy      Can Honda        73
 5 K Brack      Swe Ford         66
 6 J Vasser     US  Toyota       63
13 D Franchitti GB  Honda        44
19 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes     14

Manufacturer standings:   Points
1 Ford                    178
2 Honda                   153
3 Toyota                  145
4 Mercedes                 44

ANCRO NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:- Marcus Dodd and John Bennie were convincing winners of the fifth round of the rally in Port Talbot. The Subaru Impreza of Sunseeker Powerboats crew did have a scare after hitting a branch on the track in the final stages but held on to win. Number one seed and ANCRO champion of 1999 Kenny McKinstry went out on the first stage after the gearbox failed in his Irish Subaru. Mark Fisher placed second, two minutes behind Dodd, with Vince Whetton third.

NATIONAL SALOONS (Croft):- Dan Eaves was quickest in qualifying, heading off several challenges to finish half a second ahead. Simon Harrison was second, while Tobia Masini shrugged off an engine oil problem to take third.

Leading qualifying times (Sat):
                       min secs
1 D Eaves              1:29.929
2 S Harrison           1:30.470
3 T Masini             1:30.722
4 T Ruokonen           1:30.753
5 M Kelly              1:30.935
6 R Moen               1:31.101

F3 (Croft):- Japan's Takuma Sato took pole for Sunday's race. Sato's morning time was not beaten in the afternoon, although Tomas Scheckter narrowed the gap to just five hundreths -of-a-second.

Leading qualifying times (Sat):
                       min secs
1 T Sato               1:13.773
2 T Scheckter          1:13.830
3 N Kiesa              1:14.087
4 B Collins            1:14.131
5 A Pizzonia           1:14.341
6 M Ambrose            1:14.362

BRITISH GT'S (Croft):- Tommy Erdos topped the grid for the eighth round race on Sunday, while Geoff Lister beat first-session leader Mark Sumpter in the GTO category.

Leading qualifying times (Sat):
GT category            min secs
1 T Erdos/A Purvis     1:20.082
2 C Ellis/I Astley     1:20.108
3 D Warnock/R Dean     1:20.670
4 T Harvey/M Youles    1:21.253

GTO category
1 T Rymer/G Lister     1:23.252
2 M Sumpter/M Jordan   1:23.282
3 M Short/R Barff      1:23.761
4 P Fuller/M F'gill    1:24.042


CART:- Canada's Paul Tracy set a track record with a lap of 234.949 mph to win pole position for Sunday's Michigan 500. Tracy beat the two-mile (3.2km) oval's fast-lap record of 234.665 mph set by Jimmy Vasser in 1996 to edge out Michael Andretti. Andretti was second at 234.627mph and Brazil's Christian Fittipaldi was third, while a total of four practice laps surpassed Vasser's old mark. It is Tracy's first pole since 1997 and the 13th of his career.

Saturday qualifying times:     secs
 1 P Tracy      Can Honda     30.645
 2 M Andretti   US  Ford      30.687
 3 C Fittipaldi Brz Ford      30.739
 4 D Franchitti GB  Honda     30.878
 5 G de Ferran  Brz Honda     30.904
 6 J Vasser     US  Toyota    30.933
 7 J Montoya    Col Honda     30.963
 8 A Tagliani   Can Ford      30.990
 9 P Carpentier Can Ford      31.036
10 K Brack      Swe Ford      31.065
17 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes  31.780

F3 (Croft):- Japanese star Takuma Sato stormed to victory at Croft as he powered away at the start to go clear and record his second win of the season. Thomas Scheckter swept through to secure second place.

Result (Sun):          min secs
1 T Sato              31:13.030
2 T Scheckter         31:21.114
3 N Kiesa             31:24.635
4 B Collins           31:37.861
5 M Ambrose           31:37.861

BRITISH GT'S (Croft):- David Warnock won a war of attrition in the eighth round of the GT category while Mark Sumpter beat Paul Fuller in a nail-biting finish in the GTO event.

GT category           min secs
1 D Warnock/R Dean    60:20.492
2 T Harvey/M Youles   60:22.452
3 T Erdos/A Purvis    61:00.559
4 I McKellar/B V-Roe   41 laps

GTO category
1 M Sumpter/M Jordan   41 laps
2 P Fuller/M F'gill    41 laps
3 M Short/R Barff      40 laps
4 A Davies/M Bentley   39 laps

MGF CUP (Croft):- Jamie Hunter dominated the eighth round of 'the alphaclub.com MGF Cup'. Hunter started from pole and, although championship leader Alastair Lyall overtook him at the start, Hunter soon regained the lead and never lost it.

Leading times (Sun):   min secs
1 J Hunter            20:35.688
2 A Lyall             20:40.585
3 S Warburton         20:46.197
4 M Ticehurst         20:46.588
5 N Carr              20:47.038
6 V Martin            20:47.465

HISTORIC RALLYSPRINT:- David Llewillin made a winning return to rallying when he drove his Audi quattro to victory at the Historic Rallysprint at Silverstone. The 40-year-old former British champion beat Malcolm Wilson (Ford) in the final in front of a crowd of 7,500. The Welshman left a host of world rallying legends in his wake, including Stig Blomqvist (Audi), Marku Alen and Bjorn Waldegard (both Lancia). Nigel Mansell, Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewardt were among those also involved in the three-day Historic Festival.

24.07.2000 - F1

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve has agreed terms to stay with the BAR team for the next three years. The former world champion has ended speculation about his future by staying with the Northamptonshire-based outfit. "We are absolutely delighted with his decision," said BAR managing director Craig Pollock. "Jacques has been an integral part of the team since its formation and he shares our belief that this is a team that can win races," he added.

25.07.2000 - F1

Mika Hakkinen's victory in the Austrian Grand Prix on July 16 has been upheld. However, his McLaren Mercedes team has been fined around œ32,500 and stripped of its points from the race because of a technical violation. The FIA said the car did not comply with technical regulations because an official seal on an electronic control box was missing from the Finn's car. The team was fined because it is their duty to ensure that the car complies with the conditions of eligibility.

Mika Hakkinen said he was delighted with the FIA's decision to uphold his victory in the Austrian Grand Prix. "Obviously, I am pleased to have my victory in Austria confirmed and I am now looking forward to the German Grand Prix," said Hakkinen. "I am, of course, as part of the team, very disappointed that we have lost the Constructors' points," he added. "But I am determined that, with David, we will together help the team win this year's Constructors' Championship."

Prost will need a new engine supplier in 2001 following Peugeot's decision to pull out of Formula One at the end of the year. The Peugeot-Sport development arm has been sold to Asia Motor Technologies and the company have already agreed to supply the Arrows team. Peugeot will concentrate on expanding their market share in saloon cars. Jean Alesi and Nick Heidfeld have failed to score a single point for Alain Prost's team this season.


Johnny Herbert has said that he will quit Formula One at the end of the season to pursue a career in the US-based CART championship. "I decided that I will go to the American CART series next year," the British driver told a press conference in Frankfurt. "Obviously I've got to sign a contract for a drive but that's what I want to do next year. We will know what is going on probably within the next month."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen has announced he will stay with Jordan for at least two more seasons. The 33-yaer-old had been linked with a big-money move to rivals Jaguar, but the German has been persuaded to stay on with Silverstone-based Jordan. "I can say that I will be driving for Jordan for the next two years, and for Honda who will supply us with a new works engine from 2001," he said. Jordan's other driver, Jarno Trulli, is already contracted for next year.

Eddie Irvine, who missed the Austrian Grand Prix after suffering abdominal pains, says he is not yet fully fit. The Jaguar driver has been cleared to race in Sunday's German Grand Prix even though doctors were not sure exactly what he had been suffering from. Irvine admitted: "I couldn't eat for about three days last week, so I'm a bit run-down. I lost a lot of weight and have got to rebuild my strength. Luckily Hockenheim is not a difficult circuit physically."

Michael Schumacher will be going all out for a win on Sunday after seeing his lead shrink to six points. "I have lost 16 points of my 22-point lead in the last two races so obviously I will be eager to keep the six-point lead I have or improve on it," he said. "Hockenheim is always a bit of a compromise between straight-line speed and the handling in the stadium. It is also tough on the engine, which is running longer at higher revs than any other circuit we visit."

Ferrari star Michael Schumacher will no doubt have the majority of the crowd behind him in his home race. "The atmosphere at Hockenheim is really something special," he commented. "With the stands around the outside of the stadium you can see everyone cheering for you and sometimes even hear it. My home win in 1995 was something very special in my career and I would certainly like the chance to experience that again this year."

World champion Mika Hakkinen is relieved to be heading into the race with his win in Austria intact. The Finn kept his ten points after a stewards' verdict. "Obviously, I am pleased to have my victory in Austria confirmed and I am now looking forward to the German Grand Prix," he said. "Im disappointed that we have lost the constructors' points but I am determined that...we will win this year's constructors' championship."

David Coulthard is just six points behind Michael Schumacher going into the race, and is still in contention for his first world title. He is aiming for another positive result on Sunday, and said: "I'm looking forward to this race. Hockenheim is one of the quickest tracks on the calendar and we reach speeds in excess of 350km/h. I have really closed up in the Drivers Championship and will be going flat out in order to produce a good result."

Ferrari have made improvements to their car ahead of Sunday's round 11. Rubens Barrichello revealed: "I tried a very low downforce aerodynamic package in Mugello and then Michael Schumacher verified it in Fiorano. We also worked on engine and brake testing and we hope to be in good shape for the race. It is not a particularly challenging or interesting track nor is it physically very demanding. You need reliability and a good start."

Williams driver Jenson Button gained experience of Hockenheim during his Formula Ford days. "I distinctly remember the race in question and I hope it does not rain as much this weekend as it did then but I won the race," he said. "I learned quickly how hard Hockenheim can be in those conditions. The team spent two-and-a-half days testing for this race at Silverstone last week and made some good progress on low downforce set-up."

Ralf Schumacher will relish Sunday's race because his home circuit is one of his favourite tracks. The German confirmed: "After a hard weekend in Zeltweg I am looking forward to racing at Hockenheim, one of my favourite tracks. For set-up at this circuit it is important to find a good compromise between low aerodynamic downforce for the high speeds on the long straights. It is very important to accelerate well out of the chicanes."

Jordan have had a poor season compared with recent campaigns but have a reasonable record at Hockenheim. Jarno Trulli went out on the first corner in Austria but said: "Jordan have always done well at Hockenheim and have a lot of experience of the track. So I would expect us to be competitive there, especially with our new aeropackage. I hope to be consistently in the top six over the weekend. I raced at Hockenheim six times in Formula Three and won six times."

Eddie Irvine is raring to go after missing the last race in Austria because of illness. He said: "Believe me, having to watch qualifying and the race on television was not a pleasant experience. We have got a bit more grunt coming for this race and will certainly need it down those long, fast straights. The noise from the crowd in the stadium section comes as a contrast to the quiet down the straights where all you can hear is your engine straining."

Johnny Herbert is feeling more upbeat after he just missed out on a point by finishing seventh in Austria. The Jaguar driver stated: "Finishing seventh is better than what we have achieved in the last few races but it still means nil points. "My mission now is to carry the momentum from Austria and to start scoring points for the team. Concentration is the key because you are travelling in a straight line at full throttle for long periods."

British American Racing are keen to avoid a repeat of their 1999 display. Jacques Villeneuve went out at the first corner after being hit by Marc Gene's Minardi, while Ricardo Zonta managed 21 laps before retiring. Race engineer David Lloyd said: "Hockenheim has a reputation as a bit of an engine breaker. Ricardo ran on the last day of the Silverstone test with a low downforce version of the new aero kit we had at the A1-Ring and was positive about it."

Arrows are hopeful of adding to their points total in Germany. Pedro de la Rosa said: "I believe we can perform well at Hockenheim. It is a very fast circuit. "I think it will suit our car and there is a lot of hard braking, which is an area where the A21 is strong. I expect to go well there." His team-mate Jos Verstappen added: "I know Hockenheim well as I drove Formula Three there. Hopefully the car will be as good there as it was in Austria."

A LAP WITH HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN:- The first corner is taken at roughly 200km/h and the car gets very nervous when you approach the exit. You must use every centimetre of the track, especially on the exit so you can carry the speed along the straight. The first straight is the fastest on the track, reaching a maximum 350km/h in sixth gear. At this speed you do not really comprehend how fast you are travelling and as a driver you want more power. The chicane is very hard on the brakes. You brake 100m before the apex and then shift down into second gear for the right then left-hander and accelerate immediately afterwards. You reach about 330km/h coming into the Ostkurve and the braking is a bit tougher here as it is a very tight gear corner for drivers. The chicane has got a lot of camber change and it is a lot more difficult than it looks. Most of the time you are running over the kerbs. You have to make sure that you do not make a mistake and lift off as this spoils your momentum into the straight. It is not as long as the first and second straight and you reach nearly 330km/h before you brake for the fastest of the three chicanes. Next you approach a right-hander, which is very similar to the first corner and is taken at about 180km/h and increases to about 200km/h on the exit. The tendency is to run wide and use every inch of the track. Braking is difficult into the hairpin and the intense camber change lifts the insisde wheel up making the car difficult to control. When entering the infield area of the circuit you need to take care as it is a very challenging combination that is extremely slippery. The risk of sliding in the infield is very high and immediately you can lose half a second. The last corner you take at about 210 and exit at about 270km/h.

Sunday's race is scheduled to last for 45 laps or 307.125km. Ferrari earned a one-two in last year's German Grand Prix, with Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo taking the honours. Michael Schumacher missed the race after breaking his leg at Silverstone. Johnny Herbert retired from the 1999 race while running in fifth place and only five laps from the end. The Stewart driver was hit with an engine problem.

BTCC (Donington Park):- Rounds 17 and 18 take place this weekend, and the championship is as tight as ever. The standings are led by three Ford drivers, but Vauxhall pair Yvan Muller and Jason Plato are hot on their heels. Ford's Alain Menu won the feature race at Snetterton last time out, while Vauxhall's Jason Plato picked up the sprint victory. Both will be looking for further success this weekend as the season nears its climax.

Ford's Anthony Reid will be carrying no ballast this weekend as he aims for his first win of the season. Reid is currently third in the standings, 14 points adrift of leader and team-mate Alain Menu. "Going to Donington without carrying any ballast should be a great opportunity to close the gap to Alain and hopefully take a win," he said. "I've been happy with my consistency this year but I really need a race win to be able to challenge for the title."

Vauxhall's Jason Plato arrives at Donington full of confidence after a first and second place in the last round at Snetterton. "I am really looking forward to Donington," he said. "It's one of the best circuits in the country and I think the Vectra will perform well. We have made progress with set-ups which was reflected in our qualifying performance at the last round. I expect to give everyone a run for their money."

A bad crash at the season's opening meeting at Brands Hatch ensured that Honda driver James Thompson would not challenge for the champioship. Thompson missed four races because of the crash, leaving him too much ground to make up. However, he will be going for victory at the weekend and has a special incentive for success. Round 17 at Donington will mark his 150th BTCC start, and he will want to celebrate with a win.

Matt Neal has provisionally won the Michelin Cup for Independents, after Colin Blair withdrew from the series to concentrate on business commitments. Neal has 232 points, and with a maximum of 140 remaining he cannot be caught. "It's great to be champion again, now I can just concentrate on trying to get an outright race win," he said. Blair's decision to pull out means that David Leslie is reunited with Nissan's Primera. Leslie recorded three victories last season.

RALLYING:- Richard Burns stays top in the latest Sony/Volkswagen British Rally Driver rankings. Colin McRae is second and Alister McRae third.


Eddie Irvine has told Michael Schumacher to quit his role as drivers' figurehead after a row over tacics. Schumacher said he did not take Irvine seriously after the latter criticised the Ferrari driver's policy of veering across the track at the start of races. But Irvine said: "Michael should take me seriously. Michael is just arrogant. This is a safety issue and Michael should take it seriously. If not he should resign as head of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association."

Championship leader Michael Schumacher brushed off criticism over his tactics from his fellow drivers. The Ferrari driver was criticised by Eddie Irvine over his aggressive driving tactics ` feelings echoed by Jacques Villeneuve. Schumacher said: "I do not take those two guys seriously. This is Formula One. We race hard and fair. It is not just me doing this. The same guys who are complaining now have done the same to me in races in the past."

Eddie Jordan has confirmed that Heinz-Harald Frentzen has renewed his contract with the Jordan team for a further two years. The German driver is currently in his second year with the team. Jordan said: "We are delighted to have Heinz for another two years. He is our most successful driver to date in terms of wins, points and grid positions. "We expect him to play a key role in our challenge for honours with our 2001 partners Honda and Bridgestone."

RALLYING:- Hyundai will not compete in September's Cyprus rally, which has replaces the China rally on this year's schedule. Once the China rally had been withdrawn the team planned to use the time for tarmac testing, and will continue to work on development of their car. Team principal David Whitehead said: "The decision has been made in the wake of extremely encouraging performances on the last two gravel events. We recognise that more time needs to be spent on tarmac specification."

F2000:- Alex Kapadia has joined up with Falcon Motorsport for the remainder of the Formula 2000 season. Meanwhile, Fredric Haglund has replaced Stuart Wood in the RCL Motorsport team.


F1:- Michael Schumacher showed his class in his homeland as he recorded the fastest time in Friday's opening practice session for the German Grand Prix. A lunch-time downpour forced the drivers onto wet-weather tyres and the track eventually dried out for the final couple of minutes. Heinz-Harald Frentzen took advantage to clock the second best time as the chequered flag dropped. David Coulthard was fifth with Johnny Herbert 15th and Jenson Button 16th.

Friday's free practice times: min secs
 1 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:43.532
 2 H Frentzen    Ger Jordan   1:43.575
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:44.120
 4 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:44.128
 5 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:44.379
 6 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:44.521
 7 R Zonta       Bra BAR      1:44.906
 8 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:44.985
 9 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:45.048
10 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:44.094
11 N Heidfield   Ger Prost    1:45.229
12 P de la Rosa  Spa Arrows   1:45.433
15 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:45.664
16 J Button      GB  Williams 1:45.791

QUINTON STAGES RALLY:- The eighth stage of the BTRDA rally series takes place on Saturday, and with just three rounds to go the competition is hotting up. Last year's winners Gary Smith and Phil Clarke are defending their title, but are under pressure from Andy Burton, Pete Littler and Michael Watson. Martin Meadows will get the event underway at 9.00am on Saturday. The event also marks a round of the Peugeot Super 106 Cup with Andy Burnell the first car off.

F.RENAULT (Snetterton):- Kimi Raikkonen was almost a second clear of the rest of the field in testing for Sunday's ninth round, when he could mathematically win the title. Leighton Walker, Ryan Dlaziel and Tom Sisley, who can still stop him, were fifth seventh and ninth quickest.

Testing times:                min secs
1 K Raikkonen   Fin           1:33.326
2 J Jones       US            1:33.446
3 D Watts       GB            1:33.490
4 M McLoughlin  GB            1:33.693
5 L Walker      GB            1:33.778
6 C Hall        GB            1:34.044

RENAULT CLIO (Snetterton):- Previous round winner Henry Taylor topped the testing times for Sunday's round nine race. Points leader Jim Edwards Jnr was second quickest.

Testing times (Fri):          min secs
1 H Taylor                    1:49.388
2 J Edwards Jnr               1:49.556
3 D Davies                    1:49.813
4 R Pearson                   1:50.329
5 J Templeman                 1:50.388
6 D Buxton                    1:50.652


David Coulthard took pole position for Sunday's race but Michael Schumacher produced a superb lap at the end of the session to join him on the front row. Wet conditions led to little action on the track but championship leader Schumacher moved up from fourth place with only seconds left. Giancarlo Fisichella will start from third on the grid, while world champion Mika Hakkinen was fourth quickest. Johnny Herbert was eighth, Eddie Irvine 10th and Jenson Button 16th.

David Coulthard has insisted that he is ready to thwart the challenge of Michael Schumacher in Sunday's race. The Scot is on pole but the German was second quickest in qualifying and will be eager to get ahead at the start. "I want to be leading at the first corner and will be doing everything I can to make sure that happens. We know what the rules are," said Coulthard. "It is Michael's home race but so it is for Mercedes so we will have the power and the people behind us as well."

Ron Dennis has slammed Ferrari after it was said the Italians tried to get Mike Hakkinen and David Coulthard expelled from the Austrian Grand Prix. Ferarri sporting director Jean Todt reportedly wrote to three race stewards pointing out a missing seal on a control box on Hakkinen's car. "It was a blatant attempt to lobby the stewards. The argument they made was flawed," said McLaren boss Dennis.

Saturday's qualifying times: mins secs
 1 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren  1:45.697
 2 M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari  1:47.063
 3 G Fisichella  It  Benetton 1:47.130
 4 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren  1:47.162
 5 P de la Rosa  Sp  Arrows   1:47.786
 6 J Trulli      It  Jordan   1:47.833
 7 A Wurz        Aut Benetton 1:48.037
 8 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar   1:48.078
 9 J Villeneuve  Can BAR      1:48.121
10 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar   1:48.305
11 J Verstappen  Ned Arrows   1:48.321
12 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:48.665
13 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost    1:48.690
14 R Schumacher  Ger Williams 1:48.841
15 M Salo        Fin Sauber   1:49.204
16 J Button      GB  Williams 1:49.215
17 H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan   1:49.280
18 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:49.544
19 P Diniz       Brz Sauber   1:49.936
20 J Alesi       Fr  Prost    1:50.289
21 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi  1:51.611
22 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:53.094

BTCC (Donington Park):- Gabriele Tarquini will be on pole for both the sprint race and feature event on Sunday after building on his good form in testing. The Italian, who had topped the testing times on Thursday, pipped Anthony Reid in both qualifying sessions. However, it was still a boost to Reid's title hopes and the Ford driver said: "There are still 130 points available and I will not be taking any risks. I think I have been unlucky not to win a race yet this year."

Saturday's round 17 qualifying times:
                             mins secs
 1 G Tarquini    It  Honda    1:38.061
 2 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:38.387
 3 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:39.273
 4 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:39.733
 5 T Kristensen  Den Honda    1:40.338
 6 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:41.125
 7 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:41.754
 8 J Plato       GB  Vauxhall 1:42.805
 9 V Radermecker Bel Vauxhall 1:43.919
10 D Leslie      GB  Nissan   1:48.495

Saturday's round 18 qualifying times:
                             mins secs
 1 G Tarquini    It  Honda    1:36.276
 2 A Reid        GB  Ford     1:36.308
 3 M Neal        GB  Nissan   1:36.395
 4 R Rydell      Swe Ford     1:36.492
 5 J Thompson    GB  Honda    1:36.596
 6 T Kristensen  Den Honda    1:36.744
 7 A Menu        Swi Ford     1:36.978
 8 J Plato       GB  Vauxhall 1:37.206
 9 Y Muller      Fr  Vauxhall 1:37.379
10 V Radermecker Bel Vauxhall 1:37.581

QUINTON STAGES RALLY:- The eighth stage of the BTRDA rally series takes place today and with just three rounds to go the competition is hotting up. Last year's winners Gary Smith and Phil Clarke are defending their title, but are under pressure from Andy Burton, Pete Littler and Michael Watson. Martin Meadows got the event underway at 9am. The event also marks a round of the Peugeot Super 106 Cup with Andy Burnell the first car off.

CART (Chicago):- Brazil's Christian Fittipaldi was briefly knocked out, but otherwise unharmed, in a crash in practice for Sunday's Chicago Grand Prix. Fittipaldi, who also missed the same event last year, will miss the race. With less than half the season remaining, the top 10 drivers are separated by just 42 points and the title race looks wide open. Meanwhile, CART expects to release its 2001 schedule this weekend to include races in England, Germany and Mexico.

Round 12 qualifying: (Sat)      secs
 1 J Montoya    Col Toyota     22.107
 2 H C'troneves Brz Honda      22.133
 3 T Kannan     Brz Mercedes   22.137
 4 K Brack      Swe Ford       22.235
 5 C da Matta   Brz Toyota     22.280
 6 M Papis      Ita Ford       22.364
 7 P Tracey     Can Ford       22.394
 8 A Tagliani   Can Ford       22.409
 9 J Vasser     US  Toyota     22.423
10 G de Ferran  Brz Honda      22.437
11 D Franchitti GB  Honda      22.468

TOYOTA ATLANTIC:- Dan Wheldon was third fastest in the first qualifying session for Sunday's Player's Grand Prix. The 22-year-old Briton was fractionally slower than Andrew Bordin and Buddy Rice ahead of round eight. "It was a good session," said Wheldon. "I am much happier with my car but I could not get a good enough run together to secure the pole. But the gap is closer than it was so we could be in good shape for the final qualifying session."

F3000 (Hockenheim):- Tomas Scheckter missed out on his maiden victory in what was only his second attempt. The son of ex-Formula One world champion Jody was overtaken by his team-mate Tomas Enge at the start of the final lap. Enge had given up the lead to switch to slick tyres during the rain-hit race. Britons Kevin McGarrity and Darren Manning were 11th and 13th respectively, Justin Wilson spun off and Dino Morelli retired.

Round eight (Sat):
 1 T Enge      Cz  Mysap.com  1:14.50.5
 2 T Scheckter SA  Mysap.com  1:14.56.8
 3 M Webber    Aus E Arrows   1:15.06.8
 4 A Piccini   It  Kid Jensen 1:15.08.8
 5 K Kolby     Den DAMS       1:15.10.8
 6 E Bernoldi  Brz Red Bull   1:15.20.0
 7 N Minassian Fr  Playlife   1:15.20.0
 8 J Melo      Brz Petrobus   1:15.23.5
 9 M Haberfeld Brz Fortec     1:15.25.6
10 M Goosens   Bel Astromega  1:15.32.0

FORD FIESTA’S (Donington Park):- Matt Pinny will start Sunday's round 10 from pole after becoming the first independent driver to top the timesheets in qualifying. He said: "I am absolutely delighted and I will be looking for my first win."

Round 10 qualifying (Sat):mins secs
1 M Pinny          Eng     2:01.949
2 G Shedden        Sco     2:02.546
3 N Beaumont       Eng     2:02.712
4 C Turkington     Eng     2:02.775
5 G Howell         Wal     2:03.186
6 C Stancombe      Eng     2:03.254

F.FORD (Donington Park):- Anthony Davidson will be targeting his third win of the season on Sunday after taking pole position for round 11. The 21-year-old from Hemel Hempstead beat championship rivals James Courtney and Robert Dahlgren to the top spot.

Round 11 qualifying (Sat):mins secs
1 A Davidson       Eng     1:39.089
2 J Courtney       Aus     1:39.103
3 R Dahlgren       Swe     1:39.132
4 M Taylor         Eng     1:39.261
5 H Mutoh          Jpn     1:39.526
6 G Turkington     NI      1:39.545

F.RENAULT (Donington Park):- Kimi Raikkonen dominated a wet qualifying session to claim his fifth pole position of the season. Only Mark McLoughlin and Danny Watts got to within a second of the Finnish driver's time.

Round nine qualifying (Sat):
                         mins secs
1 K Raikkonen   Fin       1:43.318
2 M McLoughlin  GB        1:44.042
3 D Watts       GB        1:44.207
4 L Walker      GB        1:44.467
5 T Sisley      GB        1:44.989
6 C Hall        GB        1:45.063

CLIO RENAULT SPORT (Donington Park):- Daniel Buxton claimed his third pole position in a row and his fourth of the season ahead of Sunday's round nine. David Davies was second quickest and series leader Jim Edwards Jnr notched the fifth fastest time.

Round nine qualifying (Sat):
                       mins secs
1 D Buxton              1:49.773
2 D Davies              1:49.886
3 H Taylor              1:49.986
4 R Pearson             1:50.031
5 J Edwards Jnr         1:50.089
6 M Burton              1:50.172

Round nine result (Sat):
                  mins secs
 1 A Wilcox        26:25.757
 2 P Cook          26:32.959
 3 S Marsh         26:36.770
 4 B Devlin        26:39.587
 5 M Cole          26:44.361
 6 E Horner        26:53.891
 7 J Tee           26:55.055
 8 S Hill          26:56.297
 9 G Pickering     27:01.313
10 C Boon          27:01.625

SEAT LURGAN PARK RALLY:- Kenny McKinstry won the Rally for a record ninth time and collected a cheque for over £4,000. Gwyndaf Evans was fastest over all three stages on the Challenge Time Trial to win £6,000.

Result (Sat):               mins secs
1 K McKinstry/N Orr          15:10.5
2 D Biggerstaff/R McCandless 15:14.7
3 F Meagher/M Maher          15:22.8
4 P Snijers/W McKee          15:29.3
5 D Doherty/M Docherty       15:35.4


Brazilian Rubens Barrichello clinched his first Grand Prix victory after a race packed with drama. Mika Hakkinen was second in a McLaren after a spectator had wandered onto the track then heavy rain came late on. David Coulthard finished third in the other McLaren with fellow Briton Jenson Button coming fourth in a Williams. Championship leader Michael Schumacher crashed out of the race on the first lap for the second time in succession but still retains a slender lead.

Rubens Barrichello burst into tears on the winners podium after securing his first Grand Prix at his 124th attempt. "I just feel great. I heard the guys saying, 'you are going to win' and I can't believe it," he said afterwards. Barrichello's team decided to stay with slick tyres as the rain came down and it paid off for the Brazilian. "The slicks handled really well on the straights because the rain was coming down in different places and we had to keep an eye on Mika (Hakkinen)."

Rubens Barrichello dedicated his first Grand Prix victory to late Brazilian compatriot and friend Ayrton Senna. Senna was killed at the San Marino Grand Prix in May 1994 and Barrichello could not offer high enough praise for the influence Senna had on his career. "I was really dedicating the race to a guy up on top there, Ayrton," said Barrichello. "Since 1984 he changed my life and I definitely became a race driver from then on."

Michael Schumacher blamed Giancarlo Fisichella for the crash that forced him out of the race on the first bend. Schumacher hit a tyre barrier after a collision with the Italian after David Coulthard swerved across the track. "I am out of the race not because of David, but because of Fisichella. He is the person to watch out for cars in front of him," said Schumacher. "There is a limit to what you can do. You have to adapt to circumstances and he clearly didn't do that good enough."

Giancarlo Fisichella feels the rules should be clearer after his collision with Michael Schumacher forced both drivers out on the first bend. "It all happened so fast. I was on my line and then suddenly Michael's car was right in front of me, so I went to the back of his car," said Fisichella. "I think we should really decide in the rules about whether a driver should stick to his line or not. Like this, it's a waste of a race and it could have been a good race."

The man who caused the race to be suspended when he walked on to the track was protesting at his sacking by Mercedes, the race organisers said. The Frenchman had lost his job at the German company's factory at Le Mans and wanted to draw attention to his plight. He sauntered on to the track in the 26th lap, causing security officials to suspend the race until he was removed. The man was removed by German police, who had not detained him, the organisers confirmed.

Mika Hakkinen was not disappointed with second place after Brazilian Rubens Barrichello notched his first GP win. The world champion was called into the pits to change to wet tyres when a heavy downpour descended on the track. "I was called in and followed the order though I was a little surprised as it was going in my favour. If I had changed to slicks I could have gone off, but we can be extremely happy with the result," added the Finn, as the drivers championship hots up.

David Coulthard admitted to being confused with a pits call after a wandering spectator caused panic. Coulthard was in second place when a fan wandered onto the track and was then stranded behind a safety car as officials moved in to remove the man. "It was confusing on my part as I didn't hear the radio from the pits, so I didn't know who was pitting. But I'm happy that we have closed the gap on the championship leader," he added, after finally finishing third.

Britain's Jenson Button was delighted with his fourth place after a nightmare start to the race. Button was relegated to back of the grid after stalling at the start of the formation lap. "I am very happy, thinking how the race started, with my engine not firing up!" said Button. "The team made an excellent job of calling me in to switch to wet tyres. It was difficult at that time because the back of the circuit was dry."

Eddie Irvine is staying determined despite finishing in 10th place after a good start in his Jaguar. "I made a great start, staying clear of the mayhem at turn one," said Irvine after Michael Schumacher had crashed out on the first bend. "But I was losing time because I was struggling for grip and that cost me places in the early stages. We need to keep plugging away, improve the car, and put ourselves in a position to profit in races like this."

Johnny Herbert rued another missed chance to pick up points as his Jaguar was forced to retire on the 13th lap. "We had a clutch-related problem this morning which, after adjustment, seemed to be fixed," said Herbert. "I had my first bad shift when I passed Eddie (Irvine) but then I lost fourth gear before Jos (Verstappen) passed me and then I lost all drive. Once again it's unfortunate that we haven't been able to capitalise on a great opportunity."

Arrows driver Pedro de la Rosa was not entirely satisfied with finishing sixth after an eventful race at Hockenheim. "It was a strange race generally, there was even a spectator on the track. I was strong in the dry but had problems when the pace car came out," he said. "Things just got worse after that, but I think to get a point out of this race was a good result anyway. I made a mistake just before coming in to change tyres and dropped two places, so I should have finished higher up."

Result after 45 laps         hr min secs
 1 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari 1:25.34.418
 2 M Hakkinen    Fin McLaren 1:25.41.870
 3 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren 1:25.51.870
 4 J Button      GB  W'liams 1:25.57.103
 5 M Salo        Fin Sauber  1:26.01.530
 6 P d la Rosa   Sp  Arrows  1:26.03.498
 7 R Schumacher  Ger W'liams 1:26.05.316
 8 J Villeneuve  Can BAR     1:26.21.955
 9 J Trulli      It  Jordan  1:26.25.319
10 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar  1:25.54.082
11 G Mazzacane   Arg Minardi 1:27.03.922
12 N Heidfeld    Ger Prost
Not classified:
   H-H Frentzen  Ger Jordan
   J Verstappen  Hol Arrows
   R Zonta       Brz BAR
   M Gene        Sp  Minardi
   A Wurz        Aut Benetton
   P Diniz       Brz Sauber
   J Alesi       Fr  Prost
   J Herbert     GB  Jaguar
   M Schumacher  Ger Ferrari
   G Fisichella  It  Benetton

 1 M Schumacher  Ger  Ferrari   56 pts
 2 D Coulthard   GB   McLaren   54
 3 M Hakkinen    Fin  McLaren   54
 4 R Barrichello Brz  Ferrari   46
 5 G Fisichella  It   Benetton  18
 6 R Schumacher  Ger  Williams  14
 7 J Villeneuve  Can  BAR       11
 8 J Button      GB   Williams   8
 9 M Salo        Fin  Sauber     6
 = J Trulli      It   Jordan     6
11 H-H Frentzen  Ger  Jordan     5
12 E Irvine      GB   Jaguar     3
13 J Verstappen  Hol  Arrows     2
 = P de la Rosa  Sp   Arrows     2
14 R Zonta       Brz  BAR        1

1 Ferrari      102 pts
2 McLaren       98
3 Williams      22
4 Benetton      18
5 BAR           12
6 Jordan        11
7 Sauber         6
8 Arrows         4
9 Jaguar         3

BTCC (Donington Park):- Anthony Reid claimed his first victory of the year, before Gabriele Tarquini won the feature race in the sunshine. Reid, the most consistent performer in this year's series, finally ended his long wait for a win as he moved into the lead on the first lap. He pulled away from the field after Tarquini, whohad started on pole, ran wide and lost ground. Tarquini made up for his error by winning the second race, again from pole, to keep him in the title race.

Sunday's round 17 result:    mins secs
 1 A Reid        GB  Ford    24:44.363
 2 M Neal        GB  Nissan  24:46.383
 3 J Thompson    GB  Honda   24:48.880
 4 Y Muller      Fr  Vaux'll 24:49.213
 5 J Plato       GB  Vaux'll 24:57.932
 6 G Tarquini    It  Honda   25:00.732
 7 D Leslie      GB  Nissan  25:01.717
 8 A Menu        Swi Ford    25:34.483
 9 V Radermecker Bel Vaux'll 25:38.721
10 T Kristensen  Den Honda   25:53.809

Sunday's round 18 result:    mins secs
 1 G Tarquini    It  Honda   49:48.875
 2 M Neal        GB  Nissan  49:52.093
 3 A Reid        GB  Ford    49:52.482
 4 Y Muller      Fr  V'hall  49:54.364
 5 J Thompson    GB  Honda   50:08.786
 5 R Rydell      Swe Ford    50:16.809
 7 J Plato       GB  V'hall  50:19.201
 8 V Radermecker Bel V'hall  50:22.473
 9 A Menu        Swi Ford    50:32.041
10 D Leslie      GB  Nissan  50:37.708

FORD FIESTA’S (Donington Park):- Independent racer Matt Pinny made history at Donnington when he became the first independent winner in the Ford Credit Fiesta Zetec Championship. The 18-year-old started on pole and held off pressure from Gordon Shedden and Gareth Howell to win.

Round 10 Result:      mins secs
1 M Pinny     Eng     25:00.082
2 G Shedden   Sco     25:01.182
3 G Howell    Wal     25.01.388
4 C Turk'ton  N Ire   25:01.603
5 N Beaumont  Eng     25:01.845

F.FORD (Donington Park):- 21-year-old single seater ace Anthony Thompson romped to his thid win of the season at Donington. After starting on pole the Haywood Racing star held on despite some heavy pressure from Van Diemens pair James Courtney and Robert Dahlgren.

Round 11 Result:      mins secs
1 A Davidson  Eng     23:33.908
2 J Courtney  Aus     23:34.439
3 R Dahlgren  Swe     23.34.736
4 M Taylor    Eng     23:36.056
5 H Mutoh     Jap     23:36.913

QUINTON STAGES:- Andy Burton dominated the six stages of the Quinton Stages rally in their Peugeot Cosworth, coming home 38 seconds ahead of the field. Pete Littler matched his first stage time but could only manage second place in the Escort Cosworth. Third place went to 1999 Quinton rally winner Gary Smith, 37 seconds behind. The Gold Star secion was dominated by the Peugeot 106 Super Cup drivers. Rory Galligan came back from a puncture to beat Ryan Champion by five seconds.

F.RENAULT (Donington Park):- Kimi Raikkonen strolled to his sixth win of the season, while Tom Sisley won the scrap for second place. Leighton Walker and Danny Watts had fought hard for second before clashing. Watts then retired.

Round nine result (Sun): mins secs
1 K Raikkonen   Fin      27:59.643
2 T Sisley      GB       28:16.785
3 C Hall        GB       28:18.439
4 M McLoughlin  GB       28:20.683
5 J Jones       USA      28:20.771
6 R Dalziel     GB       28:25.585

CLIO RENAULT SPORT (Donington Park):- Daniel Buxton lost out to Henry Taylor in a closely fought race at Donnington. Series leader Jim Edwards tried outbreaking Buxton on the last bend but ran wide, allowing David Gibson to take third place.

Round nine result(Sun):mins secs
1 H Taylor             27:44.675
2 D Buxton             27:47.587
3 D Gibson             27:48.273
4 J Edwards Jnr        27:49.563
5 P Sowerby            28:00.348
6 D Davies             28:03.599


F1:- Williams' Formula One debutant Jenson Button's possible two-year loan move to Benetton has been thrown into doubt. Button, who earned a career-best fourth in the German Grand Prix, may be ousted at Williams by Juan-Pablo Montoya. Benetton boss Flavio Briatore said: "I am sure that Jenson is a guy with a future but whether that will be with us next season we will have to see. Giancarlo Fisichella is the priority for me at the moment and I hope to finalise him driving for us next year."

The FIA could punish the Hockenheim cicruit after Sunday's race was twice interrupted by a man. The protestor got on to the grid just before the start of the race and later returned to run across the track during the 26th lap, causing it to be halted. Tracks have been fined after similar incidents in the past but the FIA could take a more serious view in this case because of the man's second appearance. The 47-year-old was protesting at his sacking by Mercedes.

CART FEDEX (Chicago):- Brazil's Cristiano da Matta held off points leader Michael Andretti over the final 20 laps to capture his first CART title. Da Matta, 26, became the ninth different driver to win in 12 races this season, a CART record. The second-place finish allowed American Andretti to stretch his points lead over second-place Brazilian Roberto Moreno to 22 points. Pole sitter Juan Montoya suffered a power failure and finished 12th.

Round 12 result (Sun):
 1 C da Matta   Brz Toyota    225 laps
 2 M Andretti   US  Ford       @ 1.690
 3 G de Ferran  Brz Honda      @ 2.519
 4 K Brack      Swe Ford       @ 2.784
 5 A Fernandez  Brz Honda     @ 14.686
 6 R Moreno     Brz Ford      @ 15.549
 7 M Gugelmin   Brz Mercedes  @ 1 lap
 8 J Vasser     US  Toyota    @ 1 lap
 9 A Tagliani   Can Ford      @ 2 laps
10 M Gidley     US  Reynard  @ 18 laps
20 D Franchitti GB  Honda    @ 48 laps
23 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes @207 laps

Driver standings (after 11 rounds):
 1 M Andretti   US  Ford        120 pts
 2 R Moreno     Brz Ford         98
 3 G de Ferran  Brz Honda        89
 4 P Tracy      Can Honda        82
 5 C da Matta   Brz Toyota       80
 6 A Fernandez  Mex Ford         79
11 D Franchitti GB  Honda        58
19 M Blundell   GB  Mercedes     14

TOYOTA ATLANTIC:- Dan Wheldon moved back into second place in the championship after finishing as runner-up in the Player's Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres. The Englishman had qualified third on the grid and moved up to second place on lap 13 when his team-mate Andrew Bordin had to visit the pits. Buddy Rice won the race and is 17 points clear of 22-year-old Wheldon. Wheldon said: "It was another solid result for PPI Motorsports. It was one of the hardest races I have had."

F.NIPPON (Sugo):- Ralph Firman finished second behind championship leader Takuma Takagi in the latest round of the series. The Briton qualified in eighth place after two disappointing sessions but had made up two places by the first corner of the race. He said: "The team made a fantastic pit stop and were able to get me back out very quickly. As a result of this I made up valuable track time and a couple more places. I think we have at last sorted the car."