The Month in Motor Sport
Oct 14: After an accident on the Pharaohs Rally, Jacky Ickx’s co-driver Christian Tarin succumbs to his injuries in a Paris burns clinic.
Oct 15: Bertrand Gachot is released from prison following a successful appeal against his 18-month conviction for assault. He flies straight to Suzuka, in an unsuccessful bid to secure a drive in the Japanese GP.
Oct 18: Porsche announces that it is pulling out of motorsport with immediate effect, after its disastrous F1 liaison with Footwork. Porsche’s Manfred Jantke stresses that the Stuttgart giant will not be out for long.
Oct 18: Subaru confirms that Ari Vatanen will drive for the team in 1992. The association is to start on this year’s Lombard RAC Rally.
Oct 18: Didier Auriol’s victory on the Sanremo Rally gives Lancia its fifth straight victory in the World Championship for Makes.
Oct 18: Eric Bernard breaks his left leg during free practice prior to the Japanese GP at Suzuka.
Oct 19: Larnborghini confirms that it will supply its V12 F1 engine to Larrousse and Minardi in 1992.
Oct 19: Footwork announces that it will run Mugen’s Honda-based V10 for the 1992 season. The cars will be driven by Aguri Suzuki and Michele Alboreto, leaving no place in the team for Alex Caffi.
Oct 19: British F3 champion Rubens Barrichello tests an Il Barone Rampante Reynard at Vallelunga. The Brazilian expects to graduate to the European F3000 Championship with the team in 1992.
Oct 20: Ayrton Senna clinches the World Championship at Suzuka, his title guaranteed when Nigel Mansell spins off on lap 10. Senna generously allows team-mate Gerhard Berger to sweep through to a maiden McLaren victory at the final corner, and then sours the occasion with a tirade of foul language in the post-race press briefing, most of it directed at FISA’s deposed President Jean-Marie Balestre. He also admits that he had pushed Prost off at the first corner one year previously . . .
Oct 20: Portugal’s Pedro Lamy clinches the GM Lotus Euroseries title at Donington Park.
Oct 20: David Llewellin takes his Nissan GTI-R to victory on the Audi Sport Rally. Third place is enough for Colin McRae to clinch the Open Championship title, the Subaru driver becoming the youngest ever winner at just 23.
Oct 20: The German Touring Car Championship contenders visit Britain. Frank Biela and Steve Soper are the stars of the show, Biela’s Audi V8 eventually getting the better of Soper’s BMW M3 at Donington Park.
Oct 20: Michael Andretti wins the CART finale at Laguna Seca, and with it the championship title. His only possible rival, Bobby Rahal, is an early retirement.
Oct 22: McLaren and Honda issue press releases in a bid to restrict the damage caused by their world champion’s outburst at Suzuka. Apologies are directed towards M Balestre . . .
Oct 22: Eric van de Poele signs for Brabham, where he will partner Akihiko Nakaya in 1992.
Oct 24: Walter Rohrl tries a Porsche 962 at Paul Ricard, in conditions of great secrecy. The car features a four-wheel steering system.
Oct 26: BRM reaffirms its commitment to sportscar racing. It shows a model of its new P351 at Autopolis.
Oct 27: Mercedes scores its first Group C victory of the season at Autopolis, where Teo Fabi clinches the Sportscar World Championship for Drivers by taking his Jaguar to third. Toyota’s impressive new TS010 chassis finishes sixth in the hands of Britons Geoff Lees and Andy Wallace.
Oct 27: Belgian Marc Goossens wins a thrilling Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, resisting intense pressure for the 20-lap final. Newcastle’s Warren Hughes finishes second, ahead of Finn Tomi Veijalainen.
Oct 29: British F3000 aspirant Richard Dean tests an Indy Lights car at Laguna Seca, and emerges fastest of the 30 drivers present.
Oct 29: In one of the bombshells of the season, Ferrari announces that it has sacked Alain Prost. His place in Adelaide will be taken by erstwhile Minardi racer and Ferrari tester Gianni Morbidelli. Prost says he is a free agent for 1992 . . . Elsewhere in the pre-Adelaide game of musical chairs, Roberto Moreno replaces Morbidelli at Minardi and Bertrand Gachot is signed to substitute for the injured Eric Bernard at Larrousse.
Oct 30: Ford issues its first official picture of the XB CART engine. Newman/Haas Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing will use the unit next year.
Nov 1: Nissan confirms its 1992 rally line-up. With François Chatriot and Tomi Mäkinen on team strength, there is no place for David Llewellin.
Nov 2: Kenjiro Shinozuka (Mitusbishi) becomes the first Japanese driver to win a round of the World Rally Championship, in the poorly supported Ivory Coast (Bandama) Rally.
Nov 3: Ayrton Senna wins the shortest ever F1 World Championship GP. Adelaide is red-flagged on lap 16, with results being declared at the end of lap 14. Nigel Mansell thus claims second, despite hitting a concrete wall.
NOV 3: Richard Morgan wins the Formula First winter series race at Brands Hatch, almost two years after losing an arm in a testing accident at Donington.
Nov 7: Pirelli pulls the plug on its F1 programme. Goodyear agrees to supply those teams left in the lurch.
Nov 7: Keke Rosberg has a pasta lunch in Maranello with Ferrari boss Piero Lardi, immediately fuelling speculation that he might replace Alain Prost at the Prancing Horse in 1992.
Nov 9: Vauxhall discloses that Dave Metcalfe will drive its new rally car, a turbocharged, 4wd Calibra.
Nov 11: At a crisis meeting to outline the future of sportscar racing, the decision is taken to drop the Sportscar World Championship from the calendar. In its place, a non-championship series of races will take place, the highlight of which will be the Le Mans 24 Hours. Jaguar, Mercedes and Peugeot all withdraw, though the former may turn out at Le Mans. It looks set to be a privateer arena, though works interest from Toyota and Mazda is likely. Support is also promised from BRM, Lola (via Euroracing) and Spice and the Brun, Kremer and best Porsche teams. Early applications to host 1000 km races come from Spa, Monza, Suzuka and the Nürburgring. Old turbo cars will be permitted to race against the modern 3.5-litre generation, thereby effectively turning the clock back two seasons.
Nov 12: Carlos Sainz retires from the Catalonia Rally, ensuring that the battle for the drivers’ title will go down to the wire on the RAC Rally.