2001 November Motorsport News

F1:- Formula One's newcomers Toyota will launch their 2002 car at their Cologne headquarters on December 17. The Japanese team, who will make their Formula One debut in Australia in March, are likely to be the first of the 12 teams to unveil their new car. Toyota will have Scotland's Allan McNish and Finland's Mika Salo driving for them next season. BAR have said they plan to launch their new model in December before a lengthy ban on testing ends on January 1.

The Australian Grand Prix is unlikely to make a profit in 2002, Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker has said. The race on March 3 is likely to make a loss for the sixth successive year but Walker said economic benefits to Victoria outweigh operating losses.

RALLY AUSTRALIA:- Spain's former world champion Carlos Sainz took the lead of the rally after the opening special stage. Sainz finished the 2.2-kilometre stage in one minute, 30.5 seconds, 0.02 seconds ahead of Didier Auriol. Pasi Hagstrom of Finland was third while Colin McRae was back in 15th and Richard Burns and Tommi Makinen were tied in 17th respectively. The first major leg of the penultimat rally starts on Saturday with McRae and Burns both in contention for the title.

Leading positions after 1 stage:mins sec
 1 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       1:30.5
 2 D Auriol    Fin Peugeot    1:30.7
 3 P Hagstrom  Fin Toyota     1:31.2
 4 F Delecour  Fr  Ford       1:31.3
 5 P Solberg   Nor Subaru     1:31.6
 6 N Bates     Aus Toyota     1:31.6
 7 G Panizzi   Fin Peugeot    1:31.7
 8 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    1:31.8
 9 H Rovanpera Fin Peugeot    1:31.8
10 P Bourne    Fin Subaru     1:31.8
15 C McRae     GB  Ford
17 R Burns     GB  Subaru

BTCC:- The British Touring Car Championship have confirmed that a new manufacturer, Proton, will compete the 2002 series. Petronas is to back the works squad, which will be called the Petronas Syntium Proton Team and be under the direction of team manager David Wong. Wong's Petronas Primax Team have recorded over 80 wins in Malaysian and Asian-based saloon races. Petronas engineers will be working with Proton to build the race cars with the team based in Malaysia and the UK.

INDY LIGHTS:- Dan Wheldon will be looking to seal a hat-trick of Rookie of the Year titles when the final race of the Indy Lights championship takes place at Fontana. He is two points behind Irishman Damien Faulkner in the race, having won Rookie titles at US F2000 and CART Toyota Atlantic levels in the last two years. The pair are also contesting second place in the overall title race behind Townsend Bell, who has already won it. Practice for the last ever Indy Lights Championship race starts on Friday.

F1:- Minardi's Fernando Alonso has joined Renault as their test driver for next season. The 20-year-old already had a long-term contract with Renault managing director Flavio Briatore and they have now taken up their option. "We have followed up his performance very closely this season. He did an excellent job so we wanted to integrate him quickly," said Briatore. Minardi now need a driver to partner Alex Yoong for next season.

Car makers involved in Formula One racing are setting up a company to lead the negotiations about the future of the series with the German Kirch Group. The major car makers want to keep the races on free television to guarantee maximum exposure to sponsors. But Kirch, who hold a majority in the F1 marketing company SLEC, run a pay TV channel in Germany. If the talks are unsuccessful, the new company will set up a rival series, said DiamlerChrysler's Juergen Hubbert.

RALLY AUSTRALIA:- Richard Burns is proving a major threat to Colin McRae's bid for world glory. Burns, seven points behind McRae and Tommi Makinen in the standings, was in second place at the end of the first leg behind Finland's Marcus Gronholm. McRae surged up the leaderboard having started the day 15th but, after leading briefly, slipped to end the day fourth. Carlos Sainz's hopes were hit when his car twice caught fire after a crash and Tommi Makinen was struggling due to the hairline fracture of his vertebrae.

Colin McRae's chances of glory suffered a major blow after he was punished for turning up late for the start order selection conference. McRae, who is lying in fourth place after the first leg, could be forced to start Leg Two and sweep the road for his championship competitors. McRae's Ford team protested over the decision but then withdrew the appeal after two hours of talks with the FIA. McRae said: "The organisers say that I was late to the selection."

Peugeot are withdrawing from the British Touring Car Championship in order to concentrate on rallying. The French marque had struggled to make a serious impact in the Vauxhall- dominated series this season. As a result, they have decided to put all their efforts into their World Rally Championship challenge. They are rallying's reigning drivers' and manufacturers' champions, and have recruited England's Richard Burns to spearhead next year's campaign.

Leading positions after first leg:
                            hr min secs
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    1:25:56.3
 2 R Burns     GB  Subaru     1:25:59.9
 3 D Auriol    Fin Peugeot    1:26:00.1
 4 C McRae     GB  Ford       1:26:01.6
 5 H Rovanpera Fin Peugeot    1:26:12.2
 6 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 1:27:14.3
 7 P Solberg   Nor Subaru     1:27:20.1
 8 G Panizzi   Fin Peugeot    1:27:27.0
 9 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi 1:28:11.6
10 F Delecour  Fr  Ford       1:28:21.5
12 A McRae     GB  Hyundai    1:29:09.0

F1:- McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has insisted that there will be no sweeping changes at the team as they bid to become the top outfit in 2002. Ferrari overshadowed McLaren this year by sweeping to the driver and constructor titles. But Dennis said: "Our objective is to win. There is no revolution." Dennis admitted that the team were well into a "programme of detailed self-analysis of each of our operations" and added: "We want to raise our game."

JIM CLARK MEMORIAL RALLY:- Martin Rowe took full championship points when he won the Formula Jim Clark Rally, putting him back in the lead of the overall series. Peugeot driver Justin Dale failed to finish when he broke a driveshaft on stage four allowing the Ford driver to take the lead. Rowe then swopped fastest stage times and the le d with Volkswagen driver David Higgins. Fastest time on the last two stages clinched the winners spot for Rowe.

Martin Rowe's victory meant that Ford have secured the inaugural Formula Rally Manufacturers' Championship. Volkswagen's David Higgins set the fastest time on eight of the 13 stages but it was the Manxman who prevailed. "It turned out to be a great battle when the stages started to dry," said Rowe after his victory. "It's a great result for the team. We are delighted to win with one round remaining," said Ford's team manager Philip Dunabin.

David Higgins had led the Formula Jim Clark Rally on stages 10 and 11 having set fastest times in the Volkswagen. A spin on a bridge on stage 12, Fogo, lost him six seconds when the car stuck and dropped him behind Rowe. In the National A Jim Clark Memorial Rally, Irishman Paedar Hurson took overall honours in his Toyota Celica. Hurson had a close battle with Tim McNulty until a puncture on stage 10 lost McNulty five minutes and any chance of taking the lead.

Formula Rally result (Sat): hr min sec
1 M Rowe        Ford         1:39:59.4
2 D Higgins     Volkswagen   1:40:30.2
3 P Magaud      Ford         1:41:50.6
4 S Mauger      Proton       1:44:08.4
5 M McKillan    Citroen      1:44:15.0
6 M Andersson   Proton       1:45:29.3
7 P Wedgbury    Citroen      1:54:02.6

Leaderboard after 13 of 13 stages:hr min sec
 1 P Hurson        Toyota     1:37:30.8
 2 S Fleck         Subaru     1:41:45.3
 3 B Johnston      Subaru     1:42:19.2
 4 J Cope          Ford       1:42:23.3
 5 T McNulty       Subaru     1:43:17.6
 6 D Brown         Ford       1:43:25.1
 7 P Walker        Mazda      1:43:34.8
 8 J Threadgall    Ford       1:44:09.5
 9 S Clark         Peugeot    1:45:59.2
10 P Heatherington Mitsubishi 1:46:13.5

1 M Rowe         40 pts
2 J Dale         38
3 P Magaud       15
4 F Duval        14
5 M Sansom        9
= S Mauger        9
= M Andersson     9
8 D Higgins       7

1 Ford           95 pts
2 Peugeot        85
3 Proton         45
4 Volkswagen     33

CAMBRIAN RALLY (Llandudno):- North Wales police have confirmed that three youngsters were injured when a car crashed into a group of spectators on Friday night. Five people were hurt in total - a girl of 13 from Rhyl, a girl of 16, a boy of 16 from Abergele and a 26-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman from Llandudno. All were treated at Glan Clwyd hospital in Bodelwyddan. Police are appealing for witnesses to the accident, particularly anyone with photographic or video evidence.
Positions after 7 stages of 7:mins secs
 1 P Littler      Hyundai     53.26
 2 I Joel         Escort      54.32
 3 V Wetton       Lancer      54.59
 4 G Midwinter    Escort      55.09
 5 L Pesticcio    Lancer      55.18
 6 R Ceen         Impreza     55.24
 7 S Petch        Hyundai     55.32
 8 B Bell         Escort      56.18
 9 R Watts        Escort      57.01
10 P Collins      Escort      57.26

RALLY AUSTRALIA:- Reigning world champion Marcus Gronholm is on course for victory after the third day of competition Down Under. The Finn has a 34.3-second lead over Briton Richard Burns, while Gronholm's Peugeot team-mate Didier Auriol is in third place. Colin McRae, who like Burns is chasing the title, is in fifth place and Tommi Makinen is sixth. "I went too easy on the first half of the long stage this morning and lost a lot of time to Marcus," said Burns.

Francois Delecour's co-driver Daniel Grataloup is reported to be in a "stable and satisfactory condition" after an accident on stage 13. He was hurt when Delecour's Ford Focus left the road 22.1km into the 45.42km stage, which was then cancelled. The car went sideways into a tree but Delecour was unhurt. Grataloup, 41, was airlifted to hospital with broken ribs, a broken right collarbone, a broken right shoulder blade and a collapsed lung.

Colin McRae remains philosophical after a controversial ruling effectively ended his hopes of victory. He had to run first for much of day three but did maintain his hopes of moving up the field from fifth place. Organisers claimed that McRae was late for a meeting on Friday night at which the top contenders were able to choose the starting order. McRae said: "With Harri Rovanpera less than 30 seconds ahead we must go flat out tomorrow. A lot can still happen."

Positions after 17 stages of 21:hr min secs
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    2:20.01.8
 2 R Burns     GB  Subaru     2:20.36.1
 3 D Auriol    Fin Peugeot    2:20.56.0
 4 H Rovanpera Fin Peugeot    2:21.18.0
 5 C McRae     GB  Ford       2:21.46.8
 6 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 2:22.48.5
 7 P Solberg   Nor Subaru     2:22.48.9
 8 G Panizzi   Fin Peugeot    2:23.35.5
 9 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       2:24.19.9
10 A McRae     GB  Hyundai    2:25.32.0

CART (Fontana):- Kenny Brack was quickest following the two practice sessions for Sunday's Marlboro 500 in California. Brack, who lost out in the title race in Australia last weekend when Gil de Ferran took the crown, secured the day's top speed of 371.031kph. Bruno Junqueira was second quickest and Paul Tracy third, while Briton Dario Franchitti was 12th. Swede Brack has had a series-high six poles and nine front-row starts in 20 races this year.
Marlboro 500 practice times (Fri):
 1 K Brack      Swe Ford     31.676
 2 B Junqueira  Brz Toyota   31.718
 3 P Tracy      Can Honda    31.771
 4 A Tagliani   Can Ford     31.821
 5 M Gidley     US  Toyota   31.901
 6 S Nakano     Jpn Honda    31.909
 7 P Carpentier Can Ford     31.984
 8 B Herta      US  Ford     31.988
 9 A Fernandez  Mex Honda    32.008
10 C da Matta   Brz Toyota   32.022
12 D Franchitti GB  Honda    32.069

Driver standings
 1 G de Ferran    Brz Honda    191 pts
 2 K Brack        Swe Ford     163
 3 H Castroneves  Brz Honda    141
 4 M Andretti     US  Honda    141
 5 C da Matta     Brz Toyota   120
 6 D Franchitti   GB  Honda    105
 7 S Dixon        NZ  Toyota    98
 8 M Papis        It  Ford      90
 9 P Carpentier   Can Ford      88
10 T Kanaan       Brz Honda     83

Manufacturer standings:
1 Honda                   332 pts
2 Toyota                  288
3 Ford-Cosworth           280

WINTER F.FORD (Silverstone):- Tom Gaymor converted pole position into a well-deserved victory after a thrilling battle for the lead. The first three cars were seperated by less than half a second, Steven Kane was second with Mike Conway third.
Leading results (Sat):      mins secs
1 T Gaymor     Mygale       14:05.564
2 S Kane       Van Diemen   14:05.757
3 M Conway     Van Diemen   14:05.914
4 G Catt       Mygale       14:06.923
5 B Clucas     Van Diemen   14:07.195
6 S Hall       Van Diemen   14:14.031

RALLY AUSTRALIA:- Colin McRae took an outright lead in the world championship standings after finishing fifth, one minute and 40 seconds behind winner Marcus Gronholm. Fellow Briton Richard Burns came second to stay third in the world standings, two points adrift of McRae and one behind Tommi Makinen. Gronholm did not win any of the final day's four stages but his five stage wins on Saturday proved decisive. The world championship finishes with the Rally of Great Britain this month.

Championship leader Colin McRae insisted the deciding Rally of Great Britain later this month would be a thrilling climax to the season. McRae heads former champion Tommi Makinen by one point and fellow Briton Richard Burns by two points after his fifth place in Australia. "We have everything to go for in Britain," said Scotland's McRae. "With three drivers separated by just two points it's going to be fun. It's simple - the winner takes all."

Final positions:             hr min secs
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot    3:17.01.3
 2 R Burns     GB  Subaru     3:17.41.7
 3 D Auriol    Fin Peugeot    3:18.21.4
 4 H Rovanpera Fin Peugeot    3:18.32.2
 5 C McRae     GB  Ford       3:18.41.3
 6 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi 3:20.04.0
 7 P Solberg   Nor Subaru     3:20.42.5
 8 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       3:22.00.5
 9 G Panizzi   Fin Peugeot    3:22.10.3
10 A McRae     GB  Hyundai    3:24.33.0

1 C McRae        GB   Ford       42 pts
2 T Makinen      Fin  Mitsubishi 41
3 R Burns        GB   Subaru     40
4 C Sainz        Sp   Ford       33
5 H Rovanpera    Fin  Peugeot    30
6 M Gronholm     Fin  Peugeot    26

1 Peugeot        90 pts
2 Ford           86
3 Mitsubishi     69
4 Subaru         62
5 Skoda          15
6 Hyundai        13

CART:- Alex Tagliani of Canada captured pole position for CART's season-ending Marlboro 500 at California Speedway. Only the race will be at stake after Brazil's Gil de Ferran clinched his second successive series championship two weeks ago in Australia. Tagliani has the inside advantage after driving his Ford to a fast lap of 228.727mph (368.090kmh). Cristiano da Matta of Brazil starts in second spot with Kenny Brack of Sweden in third place.
Marlboro 500 qualifying times (Sat):
 1 A Tagliani   Can Ford     31.935
 2 C da Matta   Brz Toyota   32.009
 3 K Brack      Swe Ford     32.060
 4 B Herta      US  Ford     32.100
 5 C Fittipaldi Brz Toyota   32.117
 6 M Papis      It  Ford     32.124
 7 M Jourdain   Mex Honda    32.220
 8 B Junqueira  Brz Toyota   32.270
 9 J Vasser     US  Toyota   32.296
10 S Dixon      Aus Toyota   32.330
22 D Franchitti GB  Honda    32.653

Driver standings
 1 G de Ferran    Brz Honda    191 pts
 2 K Brack        Swe Ford     163
 3 H Castroneves  Brz Honda    141
 4 M Andretti     US  Honda    141
 5 C da Matta     Brz Toyota   120
 6 D Franchitti   GB  Honda    105
 7 S Dixon        NZ  Toyota    98
 8 M Papis        It  Ford      90
 9 P Carpentier   Can Ford      88
10 T Kanaan       Brz Honda     83

Manufacturer standings:
1 Honda                   332 pts
2 Toyota                  288
3 Ford-Cosworth           280

INDY LIGHTS:- Dan Wheldon is aiming to end his season on a high in the 12th and final round of the 2001 CART Daytona Indy Lights Championship at Fontana. Wheldon was fifth fastest in qualifying in his Lola-Buick, just 0.443 seconds behind poleman and championship winner Townsend Bell. Wheldon is currently in third place in the Indy Lights Championship. The Englishman is also a close second in both the Rookie of the Year and Oval Track championship standings.

06.11.2001 - FORMULA RALLY
Ford are bidding to secure their second 2001 title in the series at the Banbury Rally on Saturday. They clinched the manufacturers' crown after claiming their fourth win in Scotland last weekend. Martin Rowe has a two-point lead over rival Justin Dale heading into the final round of the championship. Engineering manager of Ford Racing Philip Dunabin said: "We will be pushing hard in Banbury to help Martin win the drivers' crown."

Martin Rowe knows that a victory in Saturday's Banbury Rally will hand him the drivers' crown. "We had to win in Scotland to boost our championship hopes," he said. "And we came away with 10 hard-won points, the manufacturers' title and the drivers' title lead. The Banbury Rally has lots of short special stages. So we will need to be on maximum pace, going as fast as possible every moment of the event. I am confident we can bring Ford a championship double."

Clive Wheeler and David Bateson are still in with a chance of the Volkswagen Polo Rally Challenge going into the final round. Bateson reduced Wheeler's lead to 10 points with a class win in the Jim Clark Memorial Rally. To have any chance of taking the title Bateson must win in Oxfordshire but Wheeler can still triumph if he finishes second or third. "I am not looking forward to it at all," said Bateson.

F1:- Gary Anderson is to return to Jordan Grand Prix as director of race and test engineering next month after three years away working for Jaguar Racing. Anderson joined Jordan at the start in 1990 and was the technical brain behind cars over an eight-year period. "I am thrilled to be returning," he said. "I am now able to use additional experience to build for the future." Chief executive Eddie Jordan said: "He has been a huge part of our history and are delighted to welcome him back."

French Formula One veteran Jean Alesi is considering moving into the German Touring Car Championship in an effort to prolong his motor racing career. "The DTM series is one possible way forward for me in motor sport," said Alesi after testing for the Mercedes CLK team in Hockenheim. Norbert Haug, the head of the Mercedes team, says it is not a publicity stunt. "He knows that the DTM Championship does not pay the sort of salary he was used to receiving in F1," said Haug.

RALLYING:- Daniel Grataloup, co-driver of France's Francois Delecour, remains in hospital in a "stable condition" four days after a 100kph crash in Rally Australia. Grataloup received broken ribs, a broken right collar bone, a broken right shoulder blade and a collapsed right lung. He was airlifted to hospital after his Ford Focus slammed into trees. A hospital spokesman said it was still not known how long the 41-year-old would need to stay in hospital.

F3:- Jaguar have said that Australian James Courtney, 21, will join the Carlin team as their lead driver in their British Formula Three Championship next season. He will also continue his involvement with the Jaguar team's Formula One testing programme.

RALLYING:- Mitsubishi's title contender Tommi Makinen will have Finland's Kaj Lindstrom as his partner for the final round of the World Championship. Lindstrom takes over from the injured Risto Mannisenmaki who hurt his back in the Corsica Rally last month. The four times champion is a point behind overall leader Colin McRae as the championship reaches its climax in Britain on November 25. Lindstrom won the British Championship title with Tapio Laukkanen in 1999.

Former world rally champion Didier Auriol says he is unsure about who he will be driving for next season. Auriol's long-time co-driver Denis Giraudet has already signed a deal with Citroen where he will aid Swede Thomas Radstrom in next year's championship. "I hope I will have made a decision by the time of the Rally of Great Britain later this month," Auriol said. "I've had a serious approach from Hyundai, and a less concrete offer from Subaru. I should know more next week."

F1:- Former Benetton Formula One team chief designer Peter Wirth has been appointed technical director of Reynard Motorsport, replacing Gary Anderson. Wirth will head up the Reynard technical department overseeing all the various programmes and focusing on the Champ car programme.

SPORTSCARS:- Vic Lee Racing plans to use a Reynard 02S Sportscar to compete in Le Mans 24 Hour race and selected ALMS events as part of its 2002 two-car programme.

NEWS:- Jean Alesi has virtually ruled out a drive in the CART FedEx Championship next year. Alesi, who retired from Formula One last month, told l'Equipe: "One thing is for sure, I will race next season. I am just looking for a category. But I will not be competing in Formula One grands prix any more. I have 99 per cent given up on CART." The Frenchman tested a Mercedes touring car this week and said a move into the German DTM series was a possibility.

F.RENAULT (Rockingham):- Frenchman Julien Piguet topped the times ahead of the opening winter round at the weekend. Briton Alex Kapadia, who has returned after a year away, was second quickest for the Saxon team.

Leading testing times:      mins secs
1 J Piguet    Fr  Chistel    1:37.350
2 A Kapadia   GB  Saxon      1:37.886
3 A Thompson  GB  Motoworld  1:38.374
4 D van L'mrn Bel Sl Formula 1:38.997
5 C Hollings  GB  Saxon      1:39.056
6 J Green     GB  Fotec      1:39.162

WINTER CLIO CUP (Rockingham):- Paul Rivett and Jason Templeman led the way in testing for the opening round of the winter series at the weekend. Newcomer Matt Pinny produced an impressive performance with the fifth fastest time for the Boulevard team.
Leading testing times:     mins secs
1 P Rivett     Firstair     1:44.955
2 J Templeman  TCR          1:44.993
3 J Coffin     TCR          1:45.589
4 M Davies     MGMR         1:45.657
5 M Pinny      Boulevard    1:45.718
6 M Johnson    Boulevard    1:45.895

CART:- Rockingham will host round 15 of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship on September 14. The series will begin its 2002 European leg at the circuit before moving to Germany a week later for round 16.

F.RENAULT (Rockingham):- Robert Bell recorded his second success of the weekend in Sunday's race, following up his win on Saturday. Martyn Steyn gave the Paston team its first ever podiumm finish and Lewis Hamilton who charged from 10th to 4th.
Sunday result:              mins secs
1 R Bell      GB  Motoworld 19:30.230
2 J Piguet    Fr  Chistel   19:37.048
3 M Steyn     SA  Paston    19:39.862
4 L Hamilton  GB  Manor     19:44.297
5 A Kapadia   GB  Saxon     19:46.069
6 A Lloyd     GB  Falcon    19:50.135

WINTER CLIO CUP (Rockingham):- Jason Templeman's victory puts him level with Paul Rivett ahead of next weekend's title decider at Donington. At the same corner as on Saturday, Templeman and Matt Pinny again clashed when vying for the lead. Pinny was the one to spin and only finished third.
Result (Sun):                mins secs
1 J Templeman   TCR          22:38.388
2 P Rivett      Firstair     22:39.982
3 M Pinny       Boulevard    22:57.867
4 S Clarke      Sugden       22:59.776
5 R MacDowall   TCR          23:02.655
6 M Davies      MGMR         23:06.363

F1:- Jenson Button has been told by Renault boss Flavio Briatore that he must perform next season. Button, on loan from Williams to what was previously the Benetton team, has been under pressure to do better. "Either he shows he is super-good or he leaves the big picture," Briatore told Gazzetta dello Sport. "After an excellent 2000 he spent a winter as a superstar and was then distracted by new toys. He has absolutely to pull himself together."

Brazilian Luciano Burti, who survived a horrendous crash at the Belgian Grand Prix last season, will be a test driver for world champions Ferrari in 2002. A spokesman for the Italian team said that Burti will take up testing duties alongside regular tester Luca Badoer.

F3:- Anthony Davidson is a doubt for Saturday's Macau Grand Prix Formula Three race after hitting the barriers during qualifying. Davidson climbed out of his car but suffered a sore neck in the crash. Sweden's Bjorn Wirdheim took pole for the race, with Britain's Andy Priaulx in sixth spot.

CART:- Bobby Rahal's team will return to the Indianapolis 500, fielding at least one car for the race next year. It will be Rahal's first Indy since 1995.

WINTER CLIO CUP:- Jason Templeman knocked over a second off Donington's best Clio lap to head testing for the title decider over the weekend. Paul Rivett, who is tied on points with Templeman for the series lead, was second fastest.

Leading testing times (Thu):mins secs
1 J Templeman     TCR        1:19.336
2 P Rivett        Firstair   1:19.688
3 J Coffin        TCR        1:19.932
4 R MacDowell     TCR        1:20.283
5 A Brakewell     Firstair   1:20.756

WINTER F.RENAULT (Donington Park):- Jamie Green beat Kimi Raikkonen's best ever Formula Renault lap at Donington to head testing for this weekend's title decider. Robert Bell, who leads the championship after victories in the opening two rounds, secured second fastest.
Leading testing times (Thu): mins secs
1 J Green         Fortec     1:07.554
2 R Bell          Motaworld  1:07.783
3 A Lloyd         Falcon     1:08.066
4 M Howson        Manor      1:08.086
5 J Piguet        Chistel    1:08.135

MACAU F3 GP:- British champion Takuma Sato dominated the race to give him victory in his final race in the series. The Japanese, who will drive for Jordan next season, defeated Bjorn Wirdheim by less than two seconds after 15 laps around the former Portuguese colony. Sato took the second leg by over four seconds to comfortably take the aggregate victory from Benoit Treluyer. Britain's Andy Priaulx finished fifth in race two, while Derek Hayes and Bruce Jouanny crashed out.

F.FORD (Donington Park):- Tony Rodgers made it four different winners from four races as fifth place for Joey Foster gave the Cornish driver the series lead with one race to go. Steven Kane crashed heavily to bring out the red flags, while Mike Conway retired and Tom Gaynor also exited.

Race result (Sun):           mins secs
1 T Rodgers       Mygale     13:30.532
2 D Smith         Mygale     13:30.668
3 S Hall          Van Diemen 13:31.715
4 M Allison       Mygale     13:33.523
5 J Foster        Ray-Ford Z 13:38.207
Mike Conway followed up his opening race victory by taking pole for the second race of the day. Conway headed team-mate Steve Kane and Irishman Tony Rodgers with points leader Ben Clucas fifth.
Leading qualifying times (Sun):
                            mins secs
1 M Conway      Van Diemen   1:11.469
2 S Kane        Van Diemen   1:11.698
3 T Rodgers     Mygale       1:11.993
4 S Hall        Van Diemen   1:12.156
5 B Clucas      Van Diemen   1:12.286
6 D Smith       Mygale       1:12.427

WINTER F.RENAULT (Donington Park):- Robert Bell was crowned the winter champion with his fourth straight win after passing early leader Jamie Green. A defensive Andrew Thompson secured third while Lewis Hamilton lost fourth to Julien Piguet at the final corner.
Race result (Sun):          mins secs
1 R Bell        Motaworld   17:14.351
2 J Green       Fortec      17:16.441
3 A Thompson    Motaworld   17:28.069
4 J Piguet      Chistel     17:31.056
5 L Hamilton    Manor       17:31.435
6 A Lloyd       Falcon      17:31.573

WINTER CLIO CUP (Donington Park):- Jason Templeman crossed the line in bizarre fashion backwards after spinning into a pitwall following a collision with rival Paul Rivett. However, Rivett's second place is enough to secure the championship after Templeman crashed out on Saturday.
Race result (Sun):           mins secs
1 J Templeman     TCR        20:11.703
2 P Rivett        Firstair   20:11.739
3 J Coffin        TCR        20:18.901
4 S Clarke        Sugden     20:21.090
5 A Brakewell     Firstair   20:44.910

The World Championship finale could not be more finely poised as both the drivers and manufacturers titles will be decided in the final round. The drivers championship hangs in the balance between four drivers, Colin McRae, Tommi Makinen, Richard Burns and Carlos Sainz. Peugeot and Ford are set to battle it out for the manufacturers crown. The 1600km event is over three legs and runs from Thursday until Sunday over 17 stages.

The 14th and final round of the 2001 World Rally Championship has all the ingredients for a thrilling finish. In the drivers contest, the event will see the closest finale the World Championship has ever seen. Four drivers are mathematically able to take the title, Colin McRae (42pts), Tommi Makinen (41pts), Richard Burns (40 pts) and Carlos Sainz (33pts). But it is the Battle of the Brits between local heroes Burns and McRae that looks set to dominate the event.

The final round of the season in Wales will also see a ding-dong battle for the manufacturers' title. In the race for the constructors crown, Peugeot (90pts) lead the series with Ford (86pts) right on their tail. Subaru (62pts) finished well in Australia and closed the gap on third-placed Mitsubishi (69pts). With 16 points available in the rally, Ford will be hoping to snatch the title from Peugeot, while Subaru is also set to challenge its Japanese rival.

The Rally of Great Britain will be based in Cardiff and will be run over 17 stages, covering over 1600km from Thursday until Sunday. The rally will be won and lost on a compact route in the forests of south and west Wales. It will be run in a series of loops based around Swansea, although it returns to Cardiff each night. The first of three legs is marginally the longest with the last, concentrated near Swansea, the shortest.

Current leader Colin McRae can clinch the drivers championship if he wins his fourth Rally of Great Britain title. Ford Focus driver McRae goes into the final round with a one-point lead in the championship race. McRae narrowly leads the championship from four-times winner Tommi Makinen in a Mitsubishi with England's Richard Burns just a point behind for Subaru. Victory for any of the top three would clinch the title, but if all fail to score points, Carlos Sainz could win.

Colin McRae is under no illusions about the task ahead as he attempts to clinch a second world championship. McRae will have to fight off, among others, fellow Briton Richard Burns if he is to emulate his 1995 success. "This is the toughest situation I've ever been in and for Richard as well," admitted McRae. "One thing I have got as an advantage over him is a bit more experience. I've been in high pressure situations a bit more and generally come out on top."

Colin McRae would have had a more relaxed finale to the season had he won the Rally of Australia, which would have sealed the drivers' championship. As it is, he must now fend off the challenge of his three nearest rivals if he is to clinch the title. "It would have been great to win the championship in Australia," he said. "We could then have relaxed and had a bit of fun, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and I think it's going to be a great finish to the year."

Tommi Makinen enters the final round of the 2001 World Rally Championship, bidding for his fifth world crown. Victory would not only clinch the title for Makinen, but it would also give the Finn a record-breaking 24th World Championship rally win. The Rally of Great Britain is one of four events Makinen has yet to win and there could be no better time than now. In 1997 he needed just one point to clinch the title, and he did that after fighting bad flu during the event.

Tommi Makinen obtained his best result in the Rally of Great Britain last year when he finished in third place. However he knows that this year he will have to improve on that or beat both Colin McRae and Richard Burns if he is to have a chance of another title. This will also be the Finn's last outing with Mitsubishi before he makes the move to Subaru. The rally will also be the last one for Freddy Loix with Mitsubishi before he switches allegiance to Hyundai in 2002.

Tommi Makinen is upbeat about his chances in the cliffhanging finale to the 2001 World Championship. Makinen is just one point behind leader Colin McRae and the four-times world champion is ready for the challenge in a fascinating battle for the title. "I always try to do my best all the time and try to win, that is all the motivation I need," said Makinen. "I think we've done as much as we can, we just have to get out there and make a big fight."

Tommi Makinen's rivals have poured cold water on his hopes of celebrating a fifth World Rally title even though he is only a point off the lead. "I don't see him as a threat," says Richard Burns, the Subaru driver who was Makinen's team-mate at Mitsubishi. "I would think he has virtually written himself out of it, just on pace." Ford's Colin McRae, who heads the other two, said: "You can't discount Tommi but on current form he has not been that competitive."

Richard Burns is the favourite to seal a fourth successive Rally of GB victory when the race starts on Thursday. But the Englishman knows that a win in the final round has the added incentive of giving him his first World Rally Drivers Championship. The Subaru ace has had a great season so far and appears to have a preference for the flowing gravel surface. But he is aware that nothing can be taken for granted with three other drivers capable of denying him glory.

Richard Burns is delighted to return to Wales as he bids to win his first World Rally Championship. Burns, who has won the Rally of GB for the last three years, said: "It's excellent to be back in Wales and on my home event. There is a great atmosphere and I get loads of encouragement from the spectators on the route. I'm going to give all I can. I've got a good momentum and it is going to be a good fight."

Carlos Sainz is the one driver of the four potential World Championship winners whose fate is not in his hands. The Spaniard needs his trio of rivals, Colin McRae, Tommi Makinen and Richard Burns to hit problems to be in with a chance of the title. The Ford driver is currently lying in fourth place, nine points behind leader McRae of Scotland. If Sainz is to become champion, he must not only win the rally, but the other three have to come away pointless.

Carlos Sainz is realistic about his chances of winning a third World Rally Drivers Championship. The Ford driver is currently in fourth place in the standings and his hopes of winning another title are slim. "My chances of winning are quite remote but while there is still a chance, I must be ready to take it," said Sainz. "My main targets are to help the team win the manufacturers' tile and to give every help to Colin McRae. We must make sure we make no mistakes."

Marcus Gronholm knows he has no chance of defending his world championship title in the final rally of the season. But the Finn will still be going flat out to ensure that his Peugeot team can retain the title it won last year. The race for the manufacturers title is as close as that for the drivers title and all hinges on this weekend. Peugeot currently hold a four point lead over their nearest rivals Ford and the destiny of both titles is is hanging on a knife-edge.

Peugeot will also be relying on Harri Rovanpera as well as current world champion Marcus Gronholm to help secure them a second manufacturers title. As in Australia Peugeot will be relying on Rovanpera to secure a few points as they try to hold off Ford's challenge. Last year he finished 10th in the event, while in 1999 he took the third step on the podium. Didier Auriol will aim to end his time with Peugeot on a high as he attempts a first podium finish in Britain.

Alister McRae may not be challenging for the drivers title in the World Championship like brother Colin, but he still hopes to end the season in style. In McRae's first full season as a works driver, he set Hyundai's first fastest stage time in New Zealand and won their first team point in Argentina. McRae is proving to be a natural in the traditions of the famous family. His father Jimmy McRae was five-times British champion while sibling Colin won the 1995 World Rally Championship.

Hyundai's Alister McRae is looking forward to the season's final race. After a tough event in Australia, where the team was crippled by being placed first on the road, McRae is keen to return to a more even playing field. "It will be good to get back on home turf. I always enjoy this event even though it's cold and wet and foggy!" commented the 30-year-old Scot. "It would be good to have the chance to score some more points for Hyundai in the last event of the season."

SEAT UK has entered the very latest version of the SEAT WRC E3 for Gwyndaf Evans in the season-ending finale. Evans and co-driver Chris Patterson will drive the car thanks to a deal made possible by an agreement between SEAT UK and MG Sport and Racing. A similar deal in July led to Evans winning the SEAT Lurgan Park Rally in Northern Ireland in a SEAT WRC. "Just like my entry at Lurgan Park, this is a big and very pleasant surprise," said the Welshman.

Mark Higgins will drive the third official Ford entry in the final round of the 2001 World Rally Championship. Earlier this year Higgins was due to drive the official Ford Focus rally car on each of seven rounds of the 2001 British Rally Championship. However, the series was ultimately cancelled after problems caused by the foot-and-mouth crisis. Higgins won the 1997 British Rally Championship and followed that with Formula Two victories in 1999 and 2000.

This year's rally sees no less than 34 Group N Mitsibushi Lancers do battle, which is 28 per cent of the entry list. Challenging for the fiercely fought Production Class, the Mitisbushi Lancer will be a a dominant force. Rising Welsh star Leon Pesticcio and countryman Howard Davies will be among the favourites after piloting their Lancer Evolution to recent triumphs. The inaugural Mitsubishi UK Evolution Challenge was won by Pesticcio when he scored four wins from four rounds.

Rising rally star Leon Pesticcio will be intending to see the year out on a high in the Production Class battle. So far this year, Pesticcio has claimed the ANCRO, BTRDA and Welsh National GpN titles and also won the Mitsubishi Ralliart UK Evolution Challenge. "It's been an incredible year for us," said the Welshman, who will be the youngest competitor in the rally. "Taking the Evolution Challenge was our main achievement and the other titles have been a tremendous bonus."

There will be no shortage of challengers in the Group N battle for the Production Class title. Apart from the Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge winner, Leon Petsiccio, there are other British drivers to watch for. Olly Clark, son of the legendary Roger Clark, Mike Brown and Nik Elsmore are in the elite group who have won a national rally Group N victory. Natalie Barratt from Prestbury, will be the only female Evolution driver this year.

The rally also marks the final round of the inaugural series for 1600cc front-wheel drive cars, regarded as the junior world championship. Six Ford Puma cars will start, headed by third-placed Martin Stenshorne and sixth-placed Francois Duval. The rally could be the most open of the year with Duval and Britain's Martin Rowe likle to head Ford's challenge. The title, however, has already been clinched by Sebastien Leob who drives a Citroen.

Britain's Niall McShea believes home advantage will be enough for him to fight for his maiden FIA Super 1600 Championship victory. If McShea wins, he will clinch third place in the championship, which is the official World Rally Championship junior feeder category. "It's the final round of the season and I have one goal - victory," he said. "Things have been going well for my co-driver Michael Orr and myself in the past two rounds."


* Four drivers are bidding for the FIA World Championship title this week, Colin McRae, Tommi Makinen, Richard Burns and Carlos Sainz.

* McRae, Makinen and Sainz each have 23 World Championship rally wins to their credit; Burns has 10.

* Makinen has won the World Championship four times (1996 to 1999) but has yet to win the Rally of GB.

* Kaj Lindstrom, 1999 British champion co-driver partners Makinen for the first time.

* Britain's Richard Burns is bidding for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory but has yet to win the World Rally Championship.

* Spain's Carlos Sainz starts his 151st World Championship Rally since his WRC debut in 1987. His nearest "rival" is Frenchman Didier Auriol, with 135 WRC starts and 20 victories.

* There is only one female driver this year, Natalie Barratt from Prestbury, Cheshire, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer.

* Gavin Cox from Grindleford is the is the event's most experienced amateur British driver starting his 20th consecutive Rally of Great Britain.

* Stig Blomqvist starts his 22nd Rally GB. He won the rally in 1971 and 1983 This year he drives a Mitsubishi.

* The youngest driver is Leon Pesticcio (20) from Bridgend, South Wales, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer. His co-driver is 1996 British champion co-driver, Howard Davies.

* The "elder statesman" of this year's rally is 60-year old Brian Bell from Skegness, driving a Ford Focus WRC.

* This year's Rally of GB is the 57th event since 1932, sponsored for the ninth consecutive year by Network Q and hosted for a second year by Cardiff.

Driver/co-driver     Nat    Team
Gronholm/Rautainen   Fin    Peugeot
Auriol/Giraudet      Fr     Peugeot
Sainz/Moya           Sp     Ford
C McRae/Grist        GB     Ford
Burns/Reid           GB     Subaru
Solberg/Mills      Nor/GB   Subaru
Makinen/Lindstrom    Fin    Mitsubishi
Loix/Smeets          Bel    Mitsubishi
Eriksson/Parmander   Swe    Hyundai
A McRae/Senior       GB     Hyundai
Schwarz/Hiemer       Ger    Skoda
Thiry/Prevot         Bel    Skoda
Rovanpera/Pi'lainen  Fin    Peugeot
Higgins/Thomas       GB     Ford
Martin/Park        Est/GB   Subaru
Liatti/Cassina       It     Hyundai
Kresta/Tomanek       Cz     Skoda
Arai/MacNeall      Jpn/Aus  Subaru
G Panizzi/H Panizzi  Fr     Peugeot
Tuohino/Vihavainen   Fin    Toyota
Evans/Patterson      GB     SEAT
Solberg/Menkerud     Nor    Subaru
De Mevuis/Boyere   Bel/Fr   Peugeot
Mortl/Eichhorner     Aut    Subaru
Backlund/Andersson   Swe    Mitsubishi
Wearden/Agnew        GB     Subaru
Blomqvist/Goni     Swe/Yug  Mitsubishi
McHale/Murphy        Ire    Toyota
Breijer/Van Goor     Ned    Subaru
P'mitriou/Harryman  Gr/GB   Subaru
Petch/Richardson     GB     Hyundai
Littler/Marchbank    GB     Hyundai
Higgins/Thorley      GB     Subaru
Brown/Davies         GB     Mitsubishi
Jaio/Cruz            Sp     Ford
Ferreyros/Marin    Per/Mex  Mitsubishi
Jones/Cowan          NZ     Mitsubishi
Cox/Hobbs            GB     Mitsubishi
Jones/Lewis          GB     Subaru
Bell/Spooner         GB     Ford
P B'velds/P B'velds  Ned    Mitsubishi
Easson/Gardner       GB     Mitsubishi
Svedlund/Nillson     Swe    Mitsubishi
Sterckx/Leyh         Bel    Mitsubishi
Stohl/Petrasko       Aut    Fiat
Magaud/Brun          Fr     Ford
Dallavilla/Be'cchini It     Fiat
Loeb/Elena          Fr/MC   Citroen
Cols/Colebunders     Bel    Peugeot
McShea/Orr           GB     Citroen
Basso/Guglielmini    It     Fiat
Robert/Bedon         Fr     Peugeot
S Vallejo/D Vallejo  Sp     Fiat
Rousselot/Mondesir   Fr     Ford
Fontana/Casazza      It     Peugeot
Valimaki/Honkanen    Fin    Peugeot
Stenshorne/Jenkins Nor/GB   Ford
Macaluso/Celot       It     Fiat
Galanti/Colon      Par/Sp   Ford
Llovera/Corral     And/Sp   Fiat
Ceccato/Dotta        It     Fiat
Bernardi/Cavalier    Fr     Peugeot
Duval/Fortin         Bel    Ford
Mazlan/Sturla      Mal/GB   Ford
Chemin/Bacchin       It     Fiat
Boland/Nestor        Ire    Subaru
Elsmore/Brown        GB     Mitsubishi
Sperrer/Carlsson   Aut/Swe  Peugeot
McGarrity/O'Gorman   Ire    Subaru
Rowe/Wood            GB     Ford
Bengry/Forsbrook     GB     Subaru
Ginley/Bargery       GB     Mitsubishi
Davis/Williams       GB     Mitsubishi
Ceen/Douglas         GB     Subaru
Pesticcio/Davies     GB     Mitsubishi
Errani/Casadio       It     Mitsubishi
Buckley/Redpath      GB     Mitsubishi
Clark/Pashley        GB     Mitsubishi
Reynolds/Thomas      GB     Subaru
Harron/McCrea        GB     Subaru
Swann/Bowman         GB     Mitsubishi
Middleton/Morgan     GB     Hyundai
Payne/Allsop         GB     Mitsubishi
Willmington/White    GB     Mitsubishi
Stephenson/Whittaker GB     Subaru
Redhead/Thomas       GB     Subaru
Baldacci/Barone      SM/It  Mitsubishi
Head/Dugdale         GB     Mitsubishi
B Colsoul/T Colsoul  Bel    Mitsubishi
Barratt/Freeman      GB     Mitsubishi

Start  Cardiff City Hall           1830
SS1    Cardiff Super Special,      1910
       1.51 miles                                                               
Parc Ferme  Cardiff City Hall      2010

Start  Cardiff City Hall           0600
SS2    St Gwynno, 8.49 miles       0826
SS3    Tyle, 6.56 miles            0853
SS4    Rhondda 1, 16.45 miles      0929
SS5    Crychan, 7.83 miles         1240
SS6    Halfway, 10.84 miles        1304
SS7    Brechfa 1, 18.52 miles      1603
SS8    Trawscoed 1, 16.32 miles    1651
Parc Ferme  Cardiff City Hall      2012

Start  Cardiff City Hall           0700
SS9    Resolfen, 28.86 miles       0855
SS10   Margam 1, 17.48 miles       1123
SS11   Brechfa 2, 18.52 miles      1353
SS12   Trawscoed 2, 16.32 miles    1441
SS13   Cardiff Super Special,      1910
       1.51 miles
Parc Ferme  Cardiff City Hall      2010

Start  Cardiff City Hall           0600                                         
SS14   Rheola 1, 19.56 miles       0758
SS15   Rhondda 2, 16.45 miles      0942
SS16   Rheola 2, 19.56 miles       1218
SS17   Margam 2, 17.48 miles       1336
Finish Cardiff City Hall           1610
Parc Ferme  Cardiff City Hall      1620

F1:- BMW motorsport team boss Gerhard Berger says they will not start the new season with a number one and number two driver but will wait to see how things emerge. He told Germany's Motorsport Aktuell that Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher would start the season on equal terms with the same resources. "We have two drivers who are similarly strong and they will get the same material," he said. "For some teams having a number one is right but we have no need in our team."

RALLY OF GREAT BRITAIN:- Colin McRae drew first blood in his battle of Britain with Richard Burns as he made a blistering start to the rally after the first stage. The 33-year-old Scot saw off his English rival in their head-to-head on the opening special stage of the rally in Cardiff Bay. Championship leader McRae finished the 1.52mile test 2.5 seconds quicker than Burns to also set the fastest time. Carlos Sainz was third with Burns finishing in 10th place.

Colin McRae got off to the perfect start as he won the first stage ahead of championship rival Richard Burns. McRae, Burns and Tommi Makinen are within two points of each other in the world championship standings as they start the final round of the season. "We have given Richard something to sleep on tonight," McRae said of Burns. Four-time championship winner Makinen had a terrible stage, with his Mitsubishi clattering into the barriers several times before finishing 18th.

Leading positions after stage SS1 (Thu)
                              mins secs
 1 C McRae     GB   Ford       2m10.1
 2 P Solberg   Nor  Subaru      @ 0.1
 3 C Sainz     Sp   Ford        @ 0.7
 4 M Gronholm  Fin  Peugeot     @ 1.1
 5 G Panizzi   Fr   Peugeot     @ 1.4
 6 D Auriol    Fr   Peugeot     @ 1.7
 7 A McRae     GB   Hyundai     @ 2.0
 8 K Eriksson  Swe  Hyundai     @ 2.4
 = M Martin    Est  Subaru      @ 2.4
10 R Burns     GB   Subaru      @ 2.5
11 G Evans     GB   SEAT        @ 2.7
12 T Arai      Jpn  Subaru      @ 2.8
13 M Higgins   GB   Ford        @ 3.3
14 S Schwarz   Ger  Peugeot     @ 3.4
15 F Loix      Bel  Mitsubishi  @ 3.4
16 H Rovanpera Fin  Peugeot     @ 3.6
17 B Thiry     Bel  Skoda       @ 3.6
18 T Makinen   Fin  Mitsubishi  @ 4.3
19 J Tuohino   Fin  Toyota      @ 4.6
20 N Wearden   GB   Subaru      @ 4.7

F1:- Alain Prost has vowed to get his Formula One team back up and running after they were forced into receivership with debts of $30m. "There is only one way to start on a new basis, by paying our debts," he told a news conference at the team headquarters in Guyancourt. "We must come up with a plan that lets us maintain the presence of the team in the paddock for the whole of 2002. What we need is a big sponsor. That's what's been missing from the start."

Formula One president Max Mosley will today unveil plans to ban tobacco advertising by 2006. Cigarette sponsorship contributes more than £250m - and teams like Ferrari rely heavily on tobacco cash. But the future of several grand prix races are under threat by national tobacco advertising bans. A FIA spokesman said: "We will seek support from this initiative from all countries that host FIA World Championship events."

RALLY OF GREAT BRITAIN:- Richard Burns is on course for a first world championship after he finished the second day in a second place. Burns, who will win the title if he finishes fourth or better, is 36.6 seconds behind leader Marcus Gronholm. The Englishman's hopes were given a huge boost when nearest rivals Colin McRae and Tommi Makinen went out. Burns is 15 seconds ahead of Harri Rovanpera in third place while Carlos Sainz, who has a slim chance of title glory, was in fifth place.

Richard Burns is not counting any chickens as he dreams of clinching his first World Rally Championship after a dramatic second day. Burns, who is in second place, will win the title if he finishes the rally in fourth or better after rivals Colin McRae and Tommi Makinen came unstuck. "There is still a long way to go. This is a very high pressure situation for everybody," said Burns. "It's tough if you're trying to win or you're trying to finish fourth."

Richard Burns rebuked a devastated Colin McRae as his dream of being the first Englishman to win the World Rally title remained on track. Burns told McRae he only had himself to blame after the Scot crashed out of contention while leading the rally. "I was following his marks and he was obviously taking some risks before he went off," said Burns. "I am surprised Colin was taking big risks on that stage and he's paid the price," he added.

Leading positions after stage SS8 (Fri)
                           hr min secs
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot   1:20.15.2
 2 R Burns     GB  Subaru       @ 36.6
 3 H Rovanpera Fin Peugeot      @ 52.4
 4 D Auriol    Fr  Peugeot    @ 2.10.0
 5 C Sainz     Sp  Ford       @ 2.26.9
 6 A McRae     GB  Hyundai    @ 2.37.6
 7 M Higgins   GB  Ford       @ 3.41.9
 8 A Schwarz   Ger Skoda      @ 3.51.9
 9 K Eriksson  Swe Hyundai    @ 3.52.4
10 F Loix      Bel Mitsubishi @ 4.17.5
11 N Wearden   GB  Subaru     @ 5.03.4
12 B Thiry     Bel Skoda      @ 5.03.7
13 G De Mevius Bel Peugeot    @ 6.24.7
14 T Arai      Jpn Subaru     @ 6.52.9
15 H Solberg   Nor Subaru     @ 8.50.2
16 R Ferreyros Per Mitsubishi @ 9.49.2
17 K Backlund  Swe Mitsubishi @10.00.5
18 D Higgins   GB  Subaru     @10.37.1
19 S Loeb      Fr  Citroen    @11.22.5
20 S Blomqvist Swe Mitsubishi @11.52.0

Leading retirements:
T Makinen   SS2  broken wishbone
P Liatti    SS2  broken clutch
P Solberg   SS2  fuel pressure problem
C McRae     SS4  rolled into ditch
G Panizzi   SS4  co-driver injured
M Martin    SS5  engine problem
Ford driver Colin McRae's title bid is in the balance after he crashed out of the event. The Scot barrel-rolled into a ditch on the fourth stage. McRae still leads the championship by one point but fellow Briton Richard Burns can take the crown for the first time if he finishes at least fourth. Tommi Makinen went out on stage two and Carlos Sainz, who only has an outside title chance, was given a 40-second penalty following a puncture.

Scottish star Colin McRae was taken to hospital for a precautionary scan after his exit from the rally but was given the all-clear. His vision was briefly blurred after the incident, which thirty-three-year-old McRae revealed was his fault. "I made a mistake and we paid the penalty," he confirmed. "We cut a fast right-hand bend and the car hit a hole on the edge of the road. "I am devastated. I am so sorry for the team who have put in so much effort."

Colin McRae has refused to give up on the drivers' title ` despite going out of the final world championship round. The Scot said: "Obviously the pressure is off Richard Burns now but his car has still got to go for three days." McRae's co-driver Nicky Grist cut his lip and suffered a stiff neck when their Ford Focus rolled into a ditch. Grist said: "We have to remember a couple of years ago when Tommi Makinen won the championship after he had retired so it is not over yet."

Ford boss Malcolm Wilson has admitted that Colin McRae's title hopes are bleak after he went out on stage four. "He and Nicky Grist were doing a fantastic job until that point," confirmed Wilson. "It would seem that the championship is over." Co-driver Grist added: "We cut into a right-hand corner and something launched the car into the air. We rolled about four or five times and the car is badly damaged. It is not nice when it ends like this."

Tommi Makinen's hopes of winning his fifth drivers' crown ended when he had to retire from the event after hitting a rock in his Mitsubishi. Makinen had resumed the rally back in 18th place after a poor display in Thursday's opening stage when he hit the barriers and banking five times. The 37-year-old Finn has had a disappointing record in Britain. And in his final event for Mitsubishi before joining Subaru next year he was left stranded in the forests.

Tommi Makinen was understandably gutted after his title chances came to an end on the second stage. The Finn, who has never finished higher than third in Britain, stated: "We are very disappointed. It was some silly problem in the left suspension. We hit a boulder, the wheel was broken. We continued to the service area but it took too long and there was no point in continuing. We seem to be very, very unlucky here. It is a difficult sport sometimes."

French co-driver Herve Panizzi was taken to hospital after being struck by a stone thrown up by another car. Panizzi, who won last month's Sanremo Rally and was second in Corsica with his brother Gilles in a Peugeot, was hurt after stopping on stage four. He was hit by a fist-sized piece of rock and although the abdomen injury is not serious the hospital wanted to detain him overnight for observation. Gilles Panizzi was eighth in the World Championship before this final round.

The Volkswagen Racing UK team's hopes of finishing the rally with a flourish have been thwarted when the Polo GTI Super 1600 made an early exit. After a promising start which saw Finnish driver Kosti Katajamaki rise to 10th place in the class, transmission problems brought his charge to a halt. "Things were going very well after the third stage and I was making good progress," said Katajamaki. "But on stage four we had problems with the clutch and we could not go on."

Natalie Barratt, the only woman taking part in this year's rally, showed true grit in the forests of Wales. Barratt held 63rd position after just five stages before she suffered mechanical problems in the next stage. But her co-driver Roger Freeman managed to re-attach the propshalf with bolts from a seat bracket and they were able to get back to the Felindre service. The total time loss dropped Barratt down to 87th position before she was able to head for the final two stages.

Group N positions after stage SS8 (Fri)
                           hr min secs
1 R Ferreyros Per Mitsubishi 1:30.04.2
2 K Backlund  Swe Mitsubishi    @ 11.3
3 D Higgins   GB  Subaru        @ 47.9
4 S Blomqvist Swe Mitsubishi  @ 2.02.8
5 R Jones     NZ  Mitsubishi  @ 5.41.9
6 M Baldacci  SM  Mitsubishi  @ 5.48.3

S1600 positions after stage SS8 (Fri)
                            hr min secs
 1 S Loeb      Fr  Citroen    1:31.37.5
 2 A D'lavilla It  Fiat        @ 2.07.5
 3 N McShea    GB  Citroen     @ 2.37.2
 4 M Ste'horne Nor Ford        @ 4.17.1
 5 C Robert    Fr  Peugeot     @ 4.28.4
 6 L Cols      Bel Peugeot     @ 5.04.6
 7 A Galanti   Par Ford        @ 8.07.5
 8 B Rousselot Fr  Ford        @ 8.45.7
 9 M Ceccato   It  Fiat        @ 9.33.1
10 C Chemin    It  Fiat        @12.45.1

F1:- BAR Honda have announced a long-term extension of their partnership with Bridgestone after a productive relationship over the last three years. Three-time Formula One champion Jackie Stewart has been knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.


Leaderboard after stage SS13 (Sat):
                           hr min secs
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot   2:21.34.2
 2 R Burns     GB  Subaru    2:22.59.6
 3 H Rovanpera Fin Peugeot   2:23.18.8
 4 A McRae     GB  Hyundai   2:25.48.9
 5 A Schwarz   Ger Skoda     2:27.30.9
 6 K Eriksson  Swe Hyundai   2:27.44.3
 7 D Auriol    Fr  Peugeot   2:28.32.1
 8 B Thiry     Bel Skoda     2:29.14.4
 9 G De Mevius Bel Peugeot   2:31.50.7
10 T Arai      Jpn Subaru    2:32.48.1

Leading retirements:
N Wearden   SS10 went off the road
C Sainz     SS11 withdrew from event
M Higgins   SS11 withdrew from event
A total of 13 people were injured after being struck by a car during the special stage 11 in Brechfa Forest. The Ford Focus of Spain's Carlos Sainz went off the road into a spectator area during the stage near Carmarthen. Ambulances were called to the scene and organisers stopped the stage and cancelled the next one. The casualties, including two children aged 12 and 14, were taken to hospital but none of the injuries are considered to be life-threatening.

Ford Racing's European director Martin Whitaker said they would launch a probe into the crash of Carlos Sainz's car. "We are keen to work with the authorities to understand exactly what happened and why," he said. "We are genuinely upset that spectators were injured in an accident involving one of our cars and as a result we have decided to withdraw from the event." Sainz said: "The first four hours were not very nice until we realised the people involved were not badly hurt."

Peugeot have retained their World Rally constructors title following Ford's decision to pull Carlos Sainz out. Ford withdrew Sainz from the rally following his accident on stage 11 in which 13 spectators were injured. Sainz's car left the road in the Brechfa Forest and ploughed into the spectators. Two-time world champion Sainz was unhurt in the accident and was able to continue although the stage and the following one have been scrapped.

Richard Burns suffered a scare as he resumed his World Championship quest at the start of day three. Burns, who needs to finish in the top four to win the title, was briefly delayed when his Subaru refused to start after the overnight halt. He was forced to push the car out of Parc Ferme with co-driver Robert Reid before they could replace spark plugs. "It was not a pleasant way to start but the main thing was that we made it to service on time," said Burns.

Group N positions after stage SS8 (Fri)
                           hr min secs
1 R Ferreyros Per Mitsubishi 1:30.04.2
2 K Backlund  Swe Mitsubishi  @ 0.11.3
3 D Higgins   GB  Subaru      @ 0.47.9
4 S Blomqvist Swe Mitsubishi  @ 2.02.8
5 R Jones     NZ  Mitsubishi  @ 5.41.9
6 M Baldacci  SM  Mitsubishi  @ 5.48.3

S1600 positions after stage SS8 (Fri)
                            hr min secs
 1 S Loeb      Fr  Citroen    1:31.37.5
 2 A D'lavilla It  Fiat        @ 2.07.5
 3 N McShea    GB  Citroen     @ 2.37.2
 4 M Ste'horne Nor Ford        @ 4.17.1
 5 C Robert    Fr  Peugeot     @ 4.28.4
 6 L Cols      Bel Peugeot     @ 5.04.6
 7 A Galanti   Par Ford        @ 8.07.5
 8 B Rousselot Fr  Ford        @ 8.45.7
 9 M Ceccato   It  Fiat        @ 9.33.1
10 C Chemin    It  Fiat        @12.45.1

F1:- Australian Grand Prix organisers have detailed safety improvements for 2002 after the death of a marshal this year. Graham Beveridge was killed by debris after a collision between Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher. The FIA has said that it considers the fatality to have been a freak accident and made next year's race conditional on the result of an enquiry next month. The organisers said the current openings in fences would be replaced by two new specially designed types.


Final leaderboard after stage SS17
                           hr min secs
 1 M Gronholm  Fin Peugeot   3:23.44.8
 2 H Rovanpera Fin Peugeot    @ 2.27.1
 3 R Burns     GB  Subaru     @ 3.27.0
 4 A McRae     GB  Hyundai    @ 6.48.8
 5 A Schwarz   Ger Skoda      @ 7.31.3
 6 K Eriksson  Swe Hyundai    @ 8.11.0
 7 D Auriol    Fr  Peugeot    @ 8.21.1
 8 B Thiry     Bel Skoda      @10.55.6
 9 G De Mevius Bel Peugeot    @14.17.7
10 T Arai      Jpn Subaru     @15.06.4
11 D Higgins   GB  Subaru     @21.11.0
12 R Ferreyros Per Mitsubishi @21.14.7
13 H Solberg   Nor Subaru     @23.51.4
14 A Ginley    GB  Mitsubishi @26.47.9
15 S Loeb      Ger Skoda      @26.52.5
16 S Blomqvist Swe Mitsubishi @26.56.4
17 N McShea    GB  Citreon    @28.56.2
18 G Jones     GB  Subaru     @33.11.7
19 P Bijvelds  Ned Mitsubishi @34.12.4
20 E Boland    Ire Subaru     @34.22.9
21 O Clark     GB  Mitsubishi @35.09.4
22 L Cols      Bel Peugeot    @35.40.3
23 R Jones     NZ  Mitsubishi @38.00.2
24 N Buckley   GB  Mitsubishi @39.19.9
25 P Steph'son GB  Subaru     @44.30.3

1 R Burns        GB   Subaru     44 pts
2 C McRae        GB   Ford       42
3 T Makinen      Fin  Mitsubishi 41
4 M Gronholm     Fin  Peugeot    36
= H Rovanpera    Fin  Peugeot    36
6 C Sainz        Sp   Ford       33

1 Peugeot       106 pts
2 Ford           86
3 Mitsubishi     69
4 Subaru         66
5 Skoda          17
= Hyundai        17
Britain's Richard Burns has won the World Rally Championship in a Subaru after he finished third in the final round of the season. Finland's 2000 World Champion Marcus Gronholm won the rally for the first time, two minutes and 27.1 seconds ahead of compatriot Harri Rovanpera. Burns became the first English driver and only the second Briton to take the World Rally Championship. Peugeot had already retained the manufacturers' title.

Richard Burns was relieved to have sealed his first World Rally title after finishing in third place. "It is a shame we could not win the rally, but all I was thinking about was the Championship," said the Englishman. "We had a terrible first half of the season, but the second half has been just fantastic. There was a huge amount of pressure on myself and all of us before this rally. It becomes high risk so it is a relief to come through."

Richard Burns was the favourite to win his fourth successive Rally of Great Britain before the start. But a third-place finish was enough to give Burns his first-ever World Rally Championship win and he was thrilled to achieve it in his home event. "It's great that it happened here," said Burns, as he became the first Englishman to clinch the world crown. Despite winning the title, Burns has already decided to leave Subaru to join Peugeot in 2002.

Richard Burns did not score a point in the first two rounds of the season but came good in the end. Burns was given a massive boost on the second morning when both his nearest rivals, Colin McRae and Tommi Makinen were early casualties. As a consequence, Burns only needed a fourth place finish to win his first-ever World Championship. His third place was enough as he ended the campai n on 44 points with McRae on 42 and Makinen on 41.

Outgoing World Champion Marcus Gronholm may have lost his crown but he had the sweetener of winning his first Rally of Great Britain title. Gronholm held off the challenge of his compatriot Harri Rovanpera and his world title successor Richard Burns. The Finn came second last year when Burns notched a hat-trick of victories and was delighted with the result. "I am glad to have won - I said last year that I would be back to win it," said Gronholm.

Colin McRae paid tribute to Richard Burns after the Englishman had won the race for the World Rally Championship. McRae, who had led the tandings going into the final round, saw his hopes nosedive after he crashed out early on the second day. "Congratulations to Richard - he has done a great drive and deserves the title," said the Scotsman. "But we will be back next year stronger and better and all the more determined to take that title."

There was some consolation for the McRae family in the season's final race which had its share of drama. Colin McRae went into the race as leader of the World Championship but his dream ended on the second day when he crashed out of the event. But younger brother Alister finished fourth in his final rally for Hyundai before he joins up with Mitsubishi. Germany's Armin Schwarz was fifth in a Skoda with Sweden's Kenneth Eriksson sixth for Hyundai.

Didier Auriol finished just outside of the points, but still managed to end the season on a high note. The Frenchman finished in seventh place after setting the second best time ahead of Harri Rovanpera and Alister McRae in the final stage. Armin Schwarz was fifth in a Skoda with Kenneth Eriksson of Sweden ending the rally in sixth place in a Hyundai. Eighth place went to Bruno Thiry while Gregoire de Mevuis finished ninth ahead of Toshi Arai in a Subaru.

Natalie Barratt, the only woman driver in this year's rally, can reflect on a superb season with no lack of courageous determination. Barratt and co-driver Roger Freeman did their best to overcome transmission problems on the first two days. The pair managed to battle on, but at the start of stage 14 with a broken driveshaft, the cluch expired in their Mitsubishi which forced them to retire. "It was one of those events where one problem led to another," said Barratt.

An investigation is under way into the incident which left 13 people injured in an accident on stage 11 on Saturday. Two people, including a 13-year-old girl, will undergo surgery for injuries after the car of Carlos Sainz ploughed into the spectators in Brechfa Forest. Nine people who suffered minor injuries were discharged from West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen on Saturday. The investigation will be carried out by the Motor Sports Association and a report will be made to the FIA.

David Higgins clinched a superb win for Subaru in the Group N category after a dominating display in his Impreza. Higgins and co-driver Craig Thorley were the quickest Group N car on every stage since Saturday morning. The pair secured Subaru's first win in Group N for two years in any World Championship Rally. Higgins finished 2.8 seconds ahead of Ramon Ferreyros in a Mitsubishi Lancer but Kenneth Backlund, who was lying in third place, was forced to retire.

Group N positions after stage SS17
(Final)                     hr min secs
 1 D Higgins   GB  Subaru     3:44.56.7
 2 R Ferreyros Per Mitsubishi    @.02.8
 3 A Ginley    GB  Mitsubishi  @ 5.36.0
 4 S Blomqvist Swe Mitsubishi  @ 5.44.5
 5 P Bijvelds  Ned Mitsubishi  @13.00.5
 6 O Clark     GB  Mitsubishi  @13.57.5
 7 R Jones     NZ  Mitsubishi  @16.48.3
 8 N Buckley   GB  Mitsubishi  @18.08.0
 9 B Colsoul   Bel Mitsubishi  @23.47.8
10 P P'tillion Fr  Mitsubishi  @26.30.8
Niall McShea ended the inaugural FIA Super 1600 Championship with a season's best second place finish. The result secured him a superb third overall in the championship, the official feeder category for the manufacturer teams. McShea went into the final stage in Margam head-to-head with Andrea Dallavilla for the runner-up spot. Setting fastest time in his Citroen Saxo, McShea prevailed after his Italian rival slid off the road.
S1600 positions after stage SS17
(Final)                    hr min secs
1 S Loeb      Fr  Citroen    3:50.37.3
2 N McShea    GB  Citroen     @ 2.03.7
3 L Cols      Bel Peugeot     @ 8.47.8
4 A Galanti   Par Ford        @17.54.0
5 S Mazlan    Mal Citroen     @18.52.5
6 M Ceccato   It  Fiat        @19.05.1
7 N Bernardi  Fr  Peugeot     @25.21.7
8 C Chemin    It  Fiat        @28.33.0

WINTER F.FORD (Brands Hatch):- Steve Kane won the race but Joey Foster's fourth place was enough to give him the title. Kane's points total gave him the Class 1 award, with Foster taking Class 2 honours and Neil Doran winning the Newcomers' Cup award.
Round five result (Sun):    mins secs
1 S Kane                    13:36.591
2 T Gaynor                  13:36.748
3 C Murray                  13:41.184
4 J Foster                  13:45.226
5 M Conway                  13:48.077
6 B Clucas                  13:50.635

28.11.2001 - RALLYING
Bruno Thiry has signed an eight-rally deal with Peugeot Belgium which will keep him in the World Rally Championship next season.